Just recently finished the draft for Book 3 of Ark Lost in Time, here is a first look at Day One!
It was hot, I cannot think of anywhere on the Island that it was this hot, the Center was never this hot. Cryo still had not worn off enough for me to open my eyes but I could feel my skin burning in the heat. I could feel the ground beneath me vibrating, something large was moving along the ground nearby. I prayed to the Hosts that it was not a predator, I had not even woken up yet, I did not want to die already.
I took a deep breath, I cracked my eyes open, the sun was blazing and hot overhead. Slowly I pushed myself to sitting position. I sat naked in the sand, but this was not beach sand, it was coarse and packed hard. I stared wide eyes around me, I could see the air rippling from the heat, brown as far as the eye could see. No tall jungle forests just small shrubs clinging to life in a desert. Where the hell was I? I had never seen an Ark like this before, there was always an ocean, always hundreds of miles of jungle. Here there was only sand and rock.
I pushed myself to my feet and heard a whimper, I glanced around, and a little black blur rushed towards me. I was worried I was being attacked at first. I realized that the black blur was a wolf pup, Blue-eyes, he had made the upload with me. I knelt down to pick him up and snuggle him, he shook in fear.
“I’m scared to little one.” I whispered to him as I stood back up. I was burning up, I had to find some shelter, but first I had to find water. “Oh there had better be water,” I growled to myself, if I died before finding the others with no respawn point I would end up separated from Blue-eyes and he would die without me. The others, what if they had not come to this strange place with me, what if I was on my own again.
The rumbling in the ground grew greater, I looked up as a Paracer stepped by me. At least I recognized the animals, I thought. I would follow the paracer but I had no guarantee that he would be headed to water, the giants could go without water for days. Myself and the wolf cub in my arms we would need water soon. I stared up at the sun, was it morning or evening, was that west or east, I had never had to find my way to water before, away from it plenty.
It must have been morning, because the sun only grew higher as I worked my way across the burning sand. Blue was whining pitifully in my arms as I began to stumble, it grew hard to breathe, the air was burning my mouth and my sweat dried the second it made my skin.
I fell, and Blue-eyes rolled from my arms, my face hit the ground. The ground felt cool, and soft, I just wanted to close my eyes and die. Instead a dry tongue scraped against my cheek, he was not going to let me give up. I pushed myself up, and stared in astonishment at the ground in front of me.
The sand was dark and moist, water? I looked up, a pool of water bubbled before me, I dove into the puddle and began to gulp down the water as fast as I could swallow it. The water tasted like sand and algae but it was cool and refreshing. When I came up for air I crawled away from the pool and retched up all the water I had just taken in. I knelt at the edge of the pool panting, I had to take it slow or it would just happen again. Slowly I cupped my hands in the water and drank scoop by scoop.
“Do you realize how lucky we are we found this little puddle?” I asked Blue-eyes, he looked at me, his eyes glowing with a knowledge that I was still yet to understand. I sat back against a rock near the water, and stared up at the bright blue sky. “Do you think the others are here?” I whispered.
The ground began to rumble, and the rock behind me shifted. I jumped to my feet, and jumped the puddle to where Blue was, I snatched him up and stared up at the looming rock giant that grew before us. Was it my secret guardian named Apocalypse, I smiled up at the rocks that formed the monster’s head, searching for his glowing sapphire eyes. I stared up at an empty black crevice.
“Apocalypse?” I ventured. The great rock head turned to look down at me and Blue-eyes. There was no recognition in the dark creese that formed the creatures eyes.
“Run,” Cradix whispered in my ear, and I ran, I turned and sprinted over the sagebrush and thorny webs.
The sounds of rocks grinding against each other echoed through the air as I fled. My feet left the hot sand as a boulder hit the ground where I had been a moment before. Broken rocks pelted my bare back as I hit the sand and rolled. I was going to die, Blue-eyes was going to die, if that monster threw another rock and managed to crush us. I felt the ground fall out from under us as we rolled through the dust. We were falling, I curled tightly around the wolf pup, as we fell, at least if he survived I could find him later.
I hit the ground with a crack, pain shot through my right shoulder, a scream echoed against the rock around me. With all my strength I remained curled around Blue as I rolled off what every ledge I had landed on. I landed broken on the sand below. I stared up at the small line of blue above me, I was in a canyon, the dark sandstone walls that towered next to me were cool and welcoming. My arms rolled open and Blue-eyes crawled off of my, I tried to sit up and felt my spine crack, I was not going to leave this canyon alive. I looked over at Blue-eyes, he sat beside me his head down, a small whine escaped from him, as he licked my cheek.
“I’m sorry my love,” I whispered, the darkness began to close in. I shivered, how was I so cold in a desert. “I’ll find you,” I whispered to him, “Stay alive.” I breathed as the blue line above me vanished.
I could hear the lament of Blue-eyes howl, as I felt my beacon go dark, I felt my heartbreak.