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Death Walk
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TITLE (EDIT)
Death Walk
DESCRIPTION
A space ship crashes on a lonely planet leaving the crew a long walk to safety.
[1,147 words]
AUTHOR
P J Lawton
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
-
[February 2004]
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
[email protected]
AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (9)
An Encounter With Evil (Short Stories) A young man's search for the bizarre gets him a little more than he bargined for. [1,761 words]
Food For Thought (Short Stories) Ever wonder where the food of the future will come from? [973 words]
Future Shock (Short Stories) A young woman gets a glance into the future, can she change her destiny? [1,035 words] [Science Fiction]
Night Ride (Short Stories) A tired young man accepts a ride from a mysterious stranger. [1,463 words]
Simon Says: Case Of The Deadly Diamond Dupe (Short Stories) A hard-boiled private detective reluctantly gets involved in a terrorist plot. [3,813 words]
Simon Says: Case Of Vengeance By The Letter (Short Stories) A hard-boiled private detective's past comes back to haunt him. [3,972 words]
Simon Says: The Case Of The Singing Lady Blues (Short Stories) A hard-boiled private detective makes a fatal mistake. He can't make it right but he can make those responsible pay. [3,757 words]
The Watchers (Short Stories) A young man has a strange encounter and is orderd to keep quiet, after 50 years he finally decides to tell his tale. [1,874 words] [Science Fiction]
Time Ripper (Short Stories) What if a serial killer could jump through time. Maybe he has! [1,459 words] [Science Fiction]
Death Walk
P J Lawton


The First Officer died early in the morning of the third day. A Gorlot ambush caught them coming through a narrow valley. A rain of rocks and some rough-hewn spears crashed down on them. A few well-placed blaster shots scattered the ambushers but it was too late for the First Officer. An unlucky blow from a spear caught her right in the armpit just above her body armor as she raised her weapon to fire. The heavy stake pierced her heart. She died instantly. He figured that maybe it was better that way.

Of the five that had started the walk he was all that now remained. The others? Yes all the others had died, horribly. Two had died during the first attack and another a day later. Now with First Officer was gone and he was alone.

He had known from the beginning that their chances of survival were slim but they couldnít remain with the stricken ship. There they would surely die. He wasnít sure he had much of a chance now being alone but he had to try.

A ruptured plasma conduit forced an emergency landing in the uninhabited zone. By dead reckoning he figured he still had about 40 kilometers remaining of the almost 200 from the crash site to TerraDome. 40 kilometers was still a long way to walk especially under such adverse conditions. From the first day the crew had fought intense heat, sandstorms and of course the local populace. What had ensued was an almost constant 100-kilometer running battle with the Gorlots, the beastlike inhabitants of this dreadful backwater planet. He now believed that he would run out of time and supplies before he ran out of kilometers or Gorlots.

***

TerraDome was the mining colony built on MIZA to mine the Torilium. Torilium, a super strong metal that could be easily molded into most any shape needed had become the most valuable commodity in the quadrant. The Terra Space Marines had come in, killed many Gorlots and provided safety for the builders of the domed city.

Once the miners arrived the safety and security of the city became the corporationís problem. It was rumored around the quadrant that many miners had died due to numerous Gorlot attacks. He had heard that TerraDome required as many security forces as miners. From what he had seen and experienced the last two days he could certainly believe that.

The Gorlots didnít have any modern weapons, only spears, clubs and slingshots to knock down their prey. Then they killed, viciously, using their long claws and razor sharp teeth. If time permitted they would work on their victims slowly tearing and ripping pieces of flesh until the hapless person was literally torn to shreds. Not a very nice way to die.

That was exactly what happened to the third member of his crew. The man had fallen asleep on watch and had been snatched by the skulking beasts. A shouted warning and cry for help came too late. There was nothing that they could do as the snarling creatures carried him away. The screams and horrifying cries lasted several hours. Twice he felt that he could take no more and had attempted to go to the manís aid. The First Officer held him back. Her reasoning was that there would have been no chance to help and would have simply ended up providing the Gorlots another human to torture. He understood the reasoning and finally agreed but that didnít make it any easier. Finally, mercifully just before daybreak it was over.

***

The leader covered the First Officer with stones hoping that the Gorlots wouldnít find her. He then gathered what little remained of the supplies and made a hasty departure. He had to be away before the Gorlots regained their courage. With one last look at his friendís grave he turned and rapidly stepped forward. Only 30 kilometers to go.

He covered another 10 kilometers that day. Twice more he fought off light Gorlot attacks. He now had only two charges left for his blaster. He had better get to TerraDome soon. As darkness fell he found a small cave with just enough room to hide. He piled up some boulders in the entrance and settled down. He knew it was going to be a long night.

He wasnít attacked during the night but several times he heard movement. Scarier than the movement was the low rumbling growls made by the waiting Gorlots. He decided then that he would not be taken alive. He would save at least one blaster shot.

***

As he came out of the low hills he could see a glint in the distance. It had to be the bright sunlight shining off the dome. He was getting closer but he had almost been caught napping this morning. He had awakened just in time to kill several charging Gorlots. That had been several hours ago. He was now down to one last blaster charge. Only 10 kilometers to go.

He could definitely make out the outlines of the dome now. It was painted with a gold paint that reflected the light and heat. Like the old see-through mirrors, people could see out but no one or better yet no thing could see in. He stopped for a moment to drink the last of his water. That was okay, there would have plenty more soon. Only four kilometers to go.

Something wasnít right. He should be seeing all sorts of activity now. There ought to be miners and security forces coming and going for the mining operation ran 24 hours per day. A large knot of dread and fear started to build in the pit of his stomach. Only one kilometer to go.

The sickly sweet stench of death overwhelmed his senses as he stepped through the open gate. He came to a dead stop giving his eyes time to slowly adjust to the dimness. It looked like the inside of a slaughterhouse. Human body parts and dead Gorlots were strewn everywhere. Somehow the beasts had gotten inside. The inhabitants had fought hard but hadnít had a chance, there were just too may Gorlots.

In an instant snarling howling Gorlots appeared from every direction. He pulled his blaster and fired and fired until his last charge cell was exhausted. He simply stood there staring at the large pile of blaster burned Gorlot bodies for the gruesome scene all around numbed his mind. Although he knew his fate was sealed he still shivered when a low throaty growl came from directly behind him. The Gorlots were slowing moving in.

An overwhelming sorrow engulfed him as he thought of the last few days, the loss of his crew and hardships that had been endured. He smiled a small sad smile as he glanced at his now useless blaster and realized that he hadnít saved that last shot after all.

End





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READER'S REVIEWS (1)
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"Great story, I loved the theme, and I thought that it was very well written. I loved the ending-the futility of it...great stuff! PJ Francis" -- PJ Francis, UK.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© 2003 P J Lawton
STORYMANIA PUBLICATION DATE
February 2004
NUMBER OF TIMES TITLE VIEWED
1881
 

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