Mon, Jun 24, 5:55 PM CDT

Cody III, Chapter 8

Writers Science Fiction posted on May 27, 2024
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Cody III, Chapter 8 Cody's footsteps crunched softly on the pebbled shore, leaving prints in the mud that could have easily been mistaken for the clawed feet of a small dragon. The lake mirrored the sky, a canvas of muted blues and grays, waiting for the sun's brush. Mountains loomed in the distance, their jagged outlines coming into focus as dawn crept over the land. He breathed deep, the air cool and fresh with a hint of pine; it tasted like the aftermath of the night's tempest. A thin mist danced atop the water, ghost-like tendrils reaching out and then vanishing. He stooped, his slender fingers picking up a flat stone. With a flick of his wrist, the rock skittered across the lake’s surface, breaking the silence with a series of soft plops. Regret tinged his chest. The sound seemed an intrusion in this still world—a world that appeared uncharted, devoid of bustling life aside from the occasional chirp of a distant bird. Cody shivered, not from cold but from the realization of his solitude, among these silent sentinels of nature. Alone, with no Fang to watch him, no voices to call him back, he had slipped away while the guardian's rhythmic breathing still filled the cabin, a testament to the depth of Fang's slumber. Slipping past had been a challenge, but worth it for this moment of stolen freedom. The submerged colony ship beckoned from beneath the water’s surface. Three centuries it had lain there, a relic of humanity's reach for the stars. Doubtless now a tomb, flooded and forgotten. Yet curiosity gnawed at him, an itch only the sight of the ship could soothe. Cody approached the water's edge, hesitated, then placed a tentative foot into the lake. An icy jolt surged through him. He steadied his breath, focused inward. "Warmth," he commanded silently. The vine tattoos entwining his arms stirred. They writhed, a network of living art, glowing faintly as they infused him with heat. His skin prickled, the alien warmth banishing the cold as if by magic. "Next—Diving Mask." Could the vines do that too? As if in answer, the tattooed vines shifted again, stretching, coiling around his head. They formed a snug barrier over his nose and mouth, sealing him off from the frigid water. Cody inhaled through the bio-organic filter, and the air was sweet with the scent of Ara, a rush of memories flooding back—home, family, a different life. With a nod of determination, the boy waded deeper, his heart thundering in his chest. Adventure awaited in the shadowy depths. And perhaps, just maybe, a piece of his own history. The lake's embrace grew colder as Cody ventured deeper, the vine-formed mask a lifeline to the world above. His chest rose with a steady breath. A plunge into the depths, and darkness engulfed him. No leakage. The mask held firm. Air flowed like a whispered promise from the vines. "Flippers," he thought, eager for the test. Vines obeyed, weaving over his feet, solidifying into webbed appendages. A kick, another, and velocity was his ally. He marveled at the gift, the newfound agility a thrill coursing through him. Vision blurred, shapes melding in aquatic dance until dragon sight asserted itself. Membranes shielded his eyes; clarity returned. Murky became defined. The underwater realm revealed its secrets to his gaze. Silence reigned, punctuated only by the distant swish of fleeing fish. Solitude enveloped him, a companion in exploration—until it wasn't. An emerald glow pierced the tranquility, an alien presence in this quiet world. Fang had found him. No need to see the scowl, Cody felt it. The guardian had followed, duty-bound and disapproving. But guilt found no foothold within the young draconian. Independence was not a sin. "Should have known you'd show up," Cody murmured through the water's filter, voice lost to the lake. Fang's light hovered, insistent. A silent accusation shared in the depths. Yet, side by side they swam, the protector and the seeker, descending toward truths hidden beneath the surface. Time lost its grip as Cody navigated the shadowy depths, the ship's hull a slumbering giant in the silt. The past and future converged on this relic, half-swallowed by the lakebed's embrace. He traced its lines with an explorer's reverence, his heart ticking off the centuries it had lain dormant. "Here," he whispered, his voice a silent thought to Fang, as they hovered before a gaping hatch, where metal yawned open like a portal to history. Without hesitation, Cody slipped inside, the darkness within challenging his senses. Fang's light, a beacon of emerald, cut through the void, yet pride stirred within Cody—his own luminescence waited to be summoned. A focused thought, a surge of will, and his body responded; crystal-blue brilliance spiraled out from his skin, mingling with Fang's glow. Together, their lights cast an eerie dance across corroded walls. Corridors stretched before them, tomblike and silent save for the occasional dart of aquatic life claiming sanctuary within the wreckage. Empty rooms whispered tales of abandonment, but nothing piqued Cody's curiosity—until movement caught his eye. A water snake, scales glinting like discarded treasure, launched itself from a shadowed vent, fangs seeking purchase on his arm. It met only the hardness of draconian scales. With a swift motion, Cody plucked the serpent from his skin, its body coiling in protest. "Persistent little thing," he mused, attempting to release it unharmed. The creature, driven by instinct, twisted and struck again, undeterred by the impossibility of its endeavor. "Enough," Fang's tone held a note of annoyance, electric energy crackled from his fingertips, a mere flicker that sent the snake reeling back into the dark, reconsidering its choice of prey. "Let's move on," Cody said, pushing forward, leaving the startled snake to vanish among the ruins of a forgotten era. Cody surged upward, the waterline receding as he and Fang broke the surface into a hollow silence. The submerged ship's upper decks loomed around them, shrouded in darkness save for the eerie dance of their mingling lights. Droplets fell from Cody's hair, pattering against the metal floor with a rhythm that hinted at desolation. Fang moved ahead, his emerald light probing the gloom, vigilant against unseen dangers. Cody followed, senses heightened, attuned to the slightest stir in the stillness. Their breaths were the only sound, a steady rhythm amidst the hush of a ghostly grave. Cody trampled over a carpet of debris, his eyes scanning the remnants of lives paused in time. Fang's light cast stark shadows across the corridor as they moved, every corner revealing more of the ship's secrets. Sleeping mats lay abandoned, their synthetic fibers now homes to mildew and dust. Heaps of refuse formed miniature landscapes in the rooms they peered into—plastic wrappers, broken tools, fragments of what once were daily routines. "Look at this," Cody murmured, pointing towards a tattered doll resting against a wall, its one remaining eye staring blankly at them. "Left in a hurry, or gave up hope," Fang observed, his voice resonating with a note of solemnity. Cody picked his way around a mound of decaying food packages, the scent of mold heavy in the still air. Clothing lay scattered like fallen leaves in autumn, colors faded, the fabric torn and lifeless. His fingers brushed a shirt sleeve, the material crumbling under his touch. "Why did they stay? They could have gotten out," Cody asked, his voice trailing off as he pondered the desperation that must have filled these halls. Fang remained silent for a moment, contemplating the boy's question, before responding, "Survival can make a haven out of a prison, even when the door stands open." Cody nodded, somber realization dawning on him. The ship had become more than metal and machinery; it was a final stand against an unseen adversary, a refuge for those who had nowhere else to turn. The remnants of a life once lived covered the ground, every step stirring echoes in the hollow ship. He picked up a datapad, its screen cracked and lifeless, an epitaph to knowledge lost. Fang peered over his shoulder. "Records, logs... desperation etched in bytes and bits." "None of it makes sense," Cody breathed out, frustration knotting his brow. He set the datapad down with reverence, as if laying a memory to rest. "They came here to escape a threat on the surface, this was preferable to whatever they were fleeing from." Fang's tone held a gravity that pulled at Cody's chest. "They were probably hoping a ship from Earth would come to check on them eventually." Cody's gaze lingered on a sealed hatch, its edges corroded by time. "A ship was sent, but it was never heard from again," he replied, the fact hanging between them like a specter. The air felt heavier with the weight of their conversation, each word a reminder of the vast distance separating them from any other soul. Cody clenched his fists, the need for answers driving him forward. They moved deeper into the vessel, the past whispering around them with every displaced mote of dust. He traced a finger along the curve of a bulkhead, its metal cool and slick with algae. He squinted in the half-light as Fang's emerald glow danced off surfaces, revealing outlines of machinery once vital, now silent. "My guess is we'll find that ship at the original landing site, but they weren't as fortunate to escape whatever the threat was," Fang said, his voice slicing through the quiet like a blade. Cody paused, his eyes narrowing on a hatch sealed shut. "Why'd the colonists leave this ship?" he asked, his voice echoing slightly in the confined space. Fang floated closer, the light from his body casting shadows that played across Cody's face. "Survival instinct," he murmured. "When darkness falls, even the bravest seek dawn." Cody nodded slowly, his mind churning with the unsaid, the unknown. He turned, ready to delve deeper into the ghostly corridors of the past. The ship groaned around him, protesting its neglect. Fang's light cast aside shadows, banishing them to the corners of the corroded corridor. "Look here," Fang said, gesturing toward a gaping maw in the floor where metal had given way to relentless water. "The ship's power plant is on the lowest deck, once it flooded, there would have been no electricity, no heat, no oxygen generators. They had no choice." Cody peered into the abyss, picturing life draining away with the light and warmth. "And that's where the four tribes we saw came from," he murmured, connecting past to present. "They were here, and finally forced to leave." The weight of abandonment hung in the still air, spurring his resolve. "Okay, we know what happened now, but we don't know why. We need to go to the original landing site and find out what the threat was." He looked to Fang, his eyes seeking agreement. Fang nodded, yet his stance held hesitation. "And," Cody continued, scanning the dim interior, "we don't have any clues yet where to go next to find The First Light." Fang's light flickered with uncertainty. "I'm not sure it's advisable to go to the original landing site," he cautioned. His voice resonated in the hollow expanse, betraying his apprehension. "The threat may still be there." Cody turned, meeting Fang's gaze with steely resolve. "The colonists and the ship sent later from Earth didn't know there was a threat; they were caught off guard." His hand grazed the cold metal of the hatch. "We know there's a threat and can take precautions." Fang's luminescence shifted, bathing the dark corridor in a sudden surge of crimson. Cody's heart quickened; he knew that hue all too well—danger. "Something is happening, Whiskers says for us to stay here," Fang announced, his voice laden with an edge of urgency. "Are we under attack? Is it the threat?" Cody's words tumbled out, laced with alarm. His gaze darted around, seeking shadows that might hide answers. Fang stood rigid, listening to a conversation Cody couldn’t hear. Cody felt a shiver trace his spine, not from cold but from the unknown that lurked beyond their sight. His pulse throbbed in his ears, a rhythm out of sync with the throbbing red light emanating from Fang. The corridor's metal walls seemed to close in on them, pressing with silent urgency. Water dripped somewhere in the distance, a lone sound amidst their held breaths. "Whiskers and Two-tails are too busy protecting your family to reply," Fang's voice cut through the tension, tight with withheld information. Cody's fingers curled into fists, nails biting into his palms. The ship, a tomb of steel and silence, now felt like a cage. His thoughts churned. Family meant more than protocol, more than caution. They were out there, potentially in danger, while he stood submerged in stillness. "We're going back, now," Cody declared, his voice a command that belied his youth. Fang hesitated. A moment stretched between them, filled with unspoken fears. But duty—to protect, to obey—won over hesitation. They turned in unison, breaking into a swift pace. Each step echoed, a countdown to the surface. Their lights carved a path through the gloom, twin beacons seeking the world above. Cody's mind raced, crafting plans, discarding them, crafting anew. The unknown loomed large, but his resolve was larger still. He would face whatever awaited, with Fang at his side. His limbs propelled him through the murky depths, his living tattoos pulsating against his skin with every determined stroke. The ship's innards loomed like a skeletal beast, corridors stretching into darkness. He swam, a lone figure threading through its ribs, urgency driving him against the sluggish pull of water. A burst of light signaled the exit, and he surged upward, breaking the surface with a gasp. Chaos greeted him; the shore was a theater of madness. His mother and Tara clashed, sticks in hand, their movements a dance of desperation. Whiskers wove between them, a barrier of light and resolve. "Thar she blows, the white whale!" Sam's voice boomed over the water, incongruous and wild. He stood waist-deep, spear aloft, striking at phantoms. Two-tails circled, coaxing with outstretched tendrils of light, trying to reel him to safety. "Keep your mask on," Fang's shout pierced the tumult. The emerald glow around him flickered with intensity. "The air—something's wrong with it." Cody's heart raced. The tang of conflict hung heavy over the lake, mingling with the strange scent of alien atmosphere. He knew action was imperative. There was no time for hesitation. Cody's feet found purchase on the rocky shore, water cascading from his form as he scrambled out of the lake. The chaos on land vied for his attention—the two women sparring with the ferocity of cornered beasts, Whiskers' silver form a blur of motion trying to intervene. Fang's voice cut through the din, his emerald light now a beacon in the unsettling dawn. Cody, eyes wide with alarm, clutched at the living vines encircling his face, ensuring the seal remained intact. He stared at the unfolding violence, his mind racing. "But Tara and I were outside already, and nothing happened to us," Cody stated, confusion threading his tone, seeking logic amidst the madness. Fang turned to him, his features drawn tight. "You were only outside for fifteen minutes before the two of you returned to the ship, and today we were safe down on the colony ship for hours while they were up here waiting for you to return," Fang shouted, the implication clear and chilling. The revelation hung between them, heavy like the mist that still clung to the mountain peaks. It settled into Cody's understanding, the pieces of the puzzle snapping together with unwanted clarity. The air was their enemy, unseen and insidious. His gaze flickered to Tara, her movements erratic, fueled by an unseen force. The realization coiled in his stomach, a serpent of dread. Cody's resolve hardened, the need to act surging stronger than the frigid waters he had just left behind. With the precision of a commander, Cody's orders sliced through the chaos. "Fang, help Two-tails with Sam. Whiskers, assist my mom. I'll handle Tara." His voice brooked no argument, the Academy's training echoing in each clipped word. "Get them to the ship!" Fang sprang into action, his emerald glow slicing a path toward Two-tails and the floundering Sam. Muscles coiled beneath his skin as he moved, the promise of strength in every stride. Whiskers, broad and solid, bulldozed towards Cody's mother, his earthen light grounding the scene. The air around him seemed to tremble, acknowledging his formidable presence. Cody dashed to Tara, her figure distorted by the invisible poison. With swift determination, he wrapped an arm around her waist, steadying her erratic form. Her breath came in sharp gusts, her struggle palpable against his hold. "Got you," he whispered, more to himself than to her. The group converged, moving as one organism bound by urgency. Fang and Two-tails maneuvered Sam, their combined efforts firm yet gentle. Whiskers lifted Cody's mother with surprising tenderness, his massive frame a pillar in the turmoil. "Back to the ship," Cody reiterated, his voice a beacon guiding them through the mire of madness. As they progressed, each step was a triumph over the unseen adversary that laced the air, their movements efficient, purposeful—Cody led them, his only hope to get back on the ship and purge the poison from their lungs.

Comments (4)



11:37PM | Mon, 27 May 2024

you never ever fail to amaze your viewers.


starship64 Online Now!

1:30AM | Tue, 28 May 2024

Fantastic work!


RodS Online Now!

2:53PM | Thu, 30 May 2024

Oh, man.... I think they found "the threat!" An unknown element in the planet's air.. That would be a real challenge to overcome.

As always, a fantastic chapter and awesome writing! It was great chatting with you!



2:02PM | Sat, 01 June 2024

Cody will do it.

3 20 4

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