The Cursed Rain [CSM/Cultists]

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

The Cursed Rain [CSM/Cultists]

Postby TheEyeOfNight » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:02 pm

(Long and boring author introduction at the end of the post. For now, storytime)

It rained on Kasthanas. It always rained, Gerril grumbled to himself as he ducked his head, shielding his face from the sting of the cold droplets. It smelled wrong, saturated with the chemical waste of the hive city's air. Hive legend was that staying out in the rain for too long melted your skin, or gave you nightmares, or any of a dozen other ridiculous fates.

Gerril was not a superstitious man, but he didn't plan on staying out that long. The droplets left miscolored streaks as they ran down the dank walls around him, and he quickened his steps while doing his best not to draw attention. Not that many were out in the streets this time of night, at least none who would bother alert the Arbites of someone violating curfew.

He was far more likely to be sliced across the throat and left in the poison rain to rot away.

With that thought haunting the back of his mind, Gerril ducked under the remains of a shattered ledge to get his bearings. His calloused hands wiped the foul smelling rain from his face, flicking it off to spatter against the blackened wall beside him. His eyes scanned the dark streets, watching for movement in the flickering lamps that struggled to light the nearby alleys. There was a sign, he was told, a symbol or a gesture that would beckon him to safety.

He saw it, halfway down the street. A door, with a small red cloth caught between the door and the frame. It hung limp in the rain, but still stood out in stark contrast to the dull street surrounding it. Gerril felt his heart race as his eyes fixed on the bit of color. To anyone on the street, it would have looked like garbage, but to him it was a beacon of promised freedom.

He glanced up and down the street twice more before moving. Puddles in the street splashed in slick waves as he ran down to the door, unable to contain his anxiety. He skidded to a halt in front of the door, waiting for someone to open it and welcome him in.

Silence.

His fist thudded into the door once, but was met with nothing more than the patter of rain on the back of his neck. The moisture ran down his spine, but it wasn't the rain that gave him a chill. Gerril felt eyes on him, though from the street behind or the door before, he was uncertain. Gritting his teeth, he reached down and wrapped his fingers around the red cloth, yanking it from the doorframe in a single violent pull. The dry half fluttered into view: a beautiful red, a rich crimson that seemed almost regal. The wet half hanging from his fist reminded him suddenly of fresh blood.

The door swung open, and the barrel of an ugly autopistol filled Gerril's vision. His heart, which had been racing at double speed a moment before, stopped with a cold thud. His throat closed up, and his fingers spread in a hopeless gesture of surrender.

The red cloth slipped from his hand and drifted into a puddle, deepening like a blood stain across the water.

“Please...”

The man holding the gun grunted once, and Gerril's eyes tore themselves from the barrel of the gun to lay sight on the wielder. It was a large man, uglier than the pistol was, with a series of bad chemical burns across the right side of his face. The flesh there had swollen and distorted, forcing his right eye almost fully shut, and twisting his face into a distorted, alien grimace.

The big man flicked the pistol downwards, and Gerril feared for a moment that he was going to have his legs shot off before his head followed. But no shots rang out.

Another grunt, and another gesture. Gerril's gaze followed the end of the pistol, to the puddle where the red cloth was settling into the slick water. With slow, meticulous care, Gerril lowered himself to one knee, keeping one hand in the air, and plucked the cloth from the water, offering it up to the big man like a tribute.

The gun lowered, and the big man's deformed face twisted into what might have been an amused smile. He stepped back, and jerked his head towards the inside of the house.

“In.” His voice sounded like grinding bricks.

Hesitantly, Gerril stepped into the house, relieved that he was no longer in the elements, but unnerved by having the towering brute at his back. The interior was a blackened, burnt-out husk that still smelled of old paint, smoke, and death. A handful of boxes sat in the center of the only room, forming a rough circle of makeshift chairs. Only one figure sat at the circle, though Gerril could swear that other shapes lurked in the shadows around them.

The brute behind him made no introductions, and gave no signal to indicate who this solitary man was, but his posture said everything: this was the boss.

The boss held a thick lho-stick, one of the poorly-made knockoffs common on this level of the hive. His head was shaved smooth, and his skin was dark, nearly black in the dim light of the room. His left eye was gone, replaced by a gleaming turqouise implant that pierced through the gloom, and bored deep into Gerril's forehead.

“Why did you come?” His voice cut the silence like a thunderclap, though he had not spoken loudly. It was the voice of one who commanded, and who was obeyed.

Gerril's voice returned to him, ragged from the slick droplets he had inhaled on the street. “My-my friend, Alai, he said-”

“Alai gave you directions. You came. Why?”

“I'm not sure-”

“Kho.”

Behind Gerril, the brute from the door stepped forward. He didn't raise his gun, he didn't need to. Gerril had no doubt that the big man could tear him in half if the occasion called for it. He swallowed hard, closing his eyes for just a moment.

He saw dead bodies left to lie in the toxic rain, flesh running like water into storm drains in the streets.

He saw light from above, that never reached the ground, stolen by those who ruled over the rest.

He saw the plump, well-fed priests at the shrine every week, teaching that the Emperor would guard the ragged masses from disease and death.

Gerril opened his eyes again, meeting the boss's expectant gaze. He didn't realize that his hands were fists, or that he now stood straight and tall despite the damp chill which had enveloped his body.

“I want to make them burn.”

The boss chuckled, and plucked the lho-stick from his lips. He gestured to one of the decrepit chairs with a respectful nod.

“And burn they shall. Welcome to the cause, brother Gerril.”

(I'm EoN, and I'm an amateur writer.
“Hi, EoN.”

I'm new to the site, and I'm posting here for three big reasons, some of which I'm sure we share:
1. I need practice. For realz, yo.
2. This story is about a homebrew Legion, so I'm not concerned about ruining my .00362% chance of actually getting it published.
3. I'm often poorly motivated when it comes to writing, and having an audience helps me crank out more words.

With that said, I'll post up more when I can. Comments/criticism/words-of-the-day are always welcome, and hope I don't bore you all with my weighty word-hammer.)
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