Authors: Jake Taylor
Silence In Numbers:
By Jake Taylor
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Silence In Numbers:
Copyright 2013 by Jake Taylor
All rights reserved.
Simultaneously published in the United States, the UK, India, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, Spain and Brazil.
SKT Publishing, Houston, Tx 2013
This book may not be reproduced in whole or part, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission. Making or distributing electronic copies of this book constitutes copyright infringement and could subject the infringer to criminal and civil liability.
This book is dedicated to my sister, Kelsey, without whom I wouldn't have the love of fiction that pushed me to write in the first place; to my parents, Randy and Susan, whose support and encouragement of my writing has always been above and beyond anything that could be expected of normal human beings; to my friends Jon and Daniel, who helped turn my love of writing into an obsession; and to that one kid in the 6th grade who said I'd never be good at anything (suck it, Jason).
A Note to the Reader
You might see some things in this book that are familiar to you. You might say this isn't the Great American Novel or an astounding work of literary genius that changes the way you think or a brilliant example of an esoteric form of writing.
I never wanted to write any of those things. What I have always wanted to write about are characters - people. If, after you finish this, you remember any of the characters in years afterwards, if one of them becomes a favorite, if one feels like a friend, or if you're sad to see one go, then I've accomplished what I set out to do. I put everything into making these characters real, giving them their own personalities, and letting them tell their own stories - it doesn't really feel like I've written this book, to be honest. I just watched them; the book is only here so I can tell you what they did.
So, focus on the people, as I do. I hope you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it. You can visit my blog at www.theseventhshadow.com for info on other works.
Oh, yeah, and buy the sequel when it's out, too. What? Honest emotion doesn't pay my rent, man.
“Get away! Get away!”
“What is that thing?!”
“Unit 42 is gone! They’re just gone!”
“Pull back! We can’t – aaagh!”
Police officers and civilians both scattered in the wake of an attack by a huge beast the likes of which they’d never seen. The thing had black skin that seemed impervious to their bullets, four long clawed reptilian arms that were tearing people and buildings apart, and a long neck ending in an eyeless head with huge jaws. It was five stories tall and carving a swath of destruction through the city block.
They’d set up a blockade on a suspension bridge hoping to stop the demon’s path of destruction, but they weren’t going to hold out long. The police had no idea what they were dealing with. Anyone close was torn apart while those out of reach of the arms found themselves scrambling for cover from the acid-like saliva the monster spit out at them, melting metal and bone alike.
A captain stood nearby calling for an evacuation and assistance in a panic. “Nothing we do phases this thing! What the hell is it?! Get a military group out here, we need better hardware! We’re getting slaughtered!” He watched in fear as the beast came closer. Monsters didn’t exist, but how could he deny what was in front of his eyes? His radio hung loosely from his hand as he gave up calling in. He couldn’t imagine any assistance that could come help them with this.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“SIN 2, you’re clear to enter Zone 1.”
“About time!” A man with ragged brown hair, shades rather than goggles and an inappropriately casual Hawaiian shirt pulled on the throttle of the hyper-advanced black helicopter he was piloting, soaring between skyscrapers towards the location on his Heads-Up Display. “You hear that, Captain? We’re going in!”
Behind him sat a woman looking out the open side of the helicopter. Cigarette smoke surrounded her, lit faintly by the embers on the end of the small white cylinder. Purple-painted lips held the object carelessly as, a few inches higher, lavender colored eyes scanned the city calmly. Delicate fingers lifted to brush violet curls of hair from one of her eyes as she turned to regard the man. “Understood, Reno. Take us in high and give me a good spot.”
Reno gave her a thumbs-up and her attention went to the rifle at her side, longer than the average human was tall. Her hand re-checked it out of practice, loading the chamber and switching off the safety in instinctual movements. She lifted one hand to her ear. “Sano, we’re heading for a rooftop view. Take the low road and get the civvies out of there.”
“Yes, sir. On it already.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Get away from the bank, it’s collapsing!” The police captain was shouting orders into his radio as if it would help, but truth be told he didn’t know what else do to. The creature picked up one of his men and tore the man in half, flinging the pieces at others. It was chaos, violent chaos.
He blinked in surprise as black-clad soldiers rushed past him, setting up a line and lifting strange rifles. The captain jumped as a hand fell on his shoulder, turning to see a younger man with spiked back crimson hair, brown eyes and handsome features. The man was wearing a suit as casually as one could be worn, with the jacket open, no tie and the top couple buttons of his white shirt undone.
“We’ll take it from here.” He walked past the officer, moving towards the black-armored soldiers. “Fire!”
“Who are you people?!” The officer yelled. “You don’t have jurisdiction here! I can’t just let anyone-“
He was cut off by the high-pitched whine that emitted from all the soldiers’ rifles as they unleashed what looked like blue tracer rounds. The monster roared, turning its attention to them. The red-haired man looked back and pointed behind the officer. “Get your men and the civilians out of the area! You can’t do anything more here!” He turned back and drew a large pistol with blue-lit lines on it, firing at the creature.
The officer decided to take the advice, calling on his radio for his men to pull out and evacuate the block.
Kurasano made sure the officer was following his directions before putting a hand to his ear. “Captain? I’ve got a little issue here,” he said as he watched the beast roar in pain and make its way towards them.
A woman’s voice replied in his ear after a few seconds, “What’s the problem, Sano? You can’t take a Class-C by yourself?”
Sano ordered his men to back up, walking backwards himself. “Well I mean, I could, but then you’d feel left out.”
“You’re so sweet.”
Sano grinned. “What are friends for?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Up above the city, Katsumi Samakura stretched out, having been sitting in the same position for far too long. She slung her rifle over her shoulder and stepped up to the edge, looking down on the fires and chaos caused by the creature in the center. She stepped out and dropped through the air; wind rushed past her and whipped her shoulder-length violet curls across her face and neck.
She flipped at the last second and hit the roof of a building with a crack, landing on her feet in a run to the edge of the rooftop. She dropped to a prone position and set her rifle on the edge, getting a view on the chaos below. A small whine emitted from her left eye as a targeting reticule appeared only to her in front of her iris, scanning the street below and giving her angles and distance estimations.
Her vision zoomed in on the beast before she switched it off and put her eye to the scope of her rifle, taking aim as her finger rested on the trigger. She fired and the shot rang out over the city, the rifle kicking back viciously as a blue shot streaked down through the air and through the creature. It roared in pain as the bullet went clear through, putting a hole at the base of its neck on both sides.
Katsumi began reloading as the creature turned its attention to her, leaping onto the side of the skyscraper she was on and climbing quickly. Sano’s voice flared up in her ear. “Looks like you’ve got a guest, Captain Sama.”
“Yes, but I can take a demon myself.”
“Fine, so you’re better than me.”
“Don’t forget it.” Katsumi stood and stepped up to the edge, firing straight down. This shot went through the demon’s head and its entire body, eliciting another roar, but it kept climbing, shaking the building as it did. Katsumi growled and steadied her footing. “Reno, I’m gonna need a pick-up in twenty-four seconds.”
“I’ll be there.”
“Patience is a virtue, Captain Sama.”
“Spare me the platitudes and get over here Reno.”
“Fine, fine. On my way.”
Katsumi fired again and this time the demon responded by unleashing acidic spit in her direction. She dodged to the side but the demon was doing more than that, shaking the building and smashing his head inside to spit on the supports. The building’s integrity was rapidly dropping, and it wouldn’t be standing for much longer. “Reno…”
The demon was closer now, only a couple stories below the roof, and the groaning of the building’s metal supports was louder.
“Can’t make it go faster by yelling!”
The creature reached the roof and opened its jaws, forming a warped ball of acid and flame in its mouth that increased in size before it shot towards her. She sprinted a few steps and dived out of the way of the explosion, cursing as her cigarettes fell from her pocket during her roll. She wisely decided to leave them to the expanding wave of fire and leapt from the roof of the building, spinning in midair and firing a final shot that caught the creature in the middle of the chest.
The special round burned through its center and the demon gave an odd sound, staggering back and forth before falling and crashing through the roof into the floor below. The impact was enough to start the building’s collapse.
Katsumi slung her rifle onto her back and turned to face down, falling faster every second. The chopper suddenly caught up to her mid-fall and she spun, catching the edge of the open doorway and pulling herself in as the chopper pulled out of the dive. Reno looked back and waved at her. “Told you I’d pick you up. You worry too much.”
Samakura pushed herself up and turned to sit with her legs out the side. “I hate you, Reno.”
“I just saved your ass. You should be kissing my feet! Or just kissing me.”
Captain Sama tilted her head. “You know, maybe it’s time to throw you out the side of this thing and invest in an AI to pilot this for me…”
Reno waved his hand. “Shutting up now.”
“You sure? We’re high up enough you probably wouldn’t even feel anything on impact.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I don’t care either, as long as hitting the pavement shuts you up.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Hey, Captain?” Sano was looking upwards, staring at the building that was starting to collapse. “It wasn’t very nice of you to drop a building on me…”
Samakura’s reply came back promptly, which he was glad to hear since she’d been on top of that building. “It’s not my fault you couldn’t bring it down yourself.”
“I’m going to blame you anyway.” Sano backed up, looking around. He was the only one left on the bridge. “You could at least give me an exit strategy. Do you have a lock on my location?”
“Don’t I always? Why don’t you just jump off the bridge?”
“If you want me dead just say it, Captain,” Sano grinned, looking back to the building as metal snapped and collapsed in on itself.
“Just trust me. Leap of Faith.”
“Indiana Jones style?”
“You have a choice?”
Sano dodged as a huge piece of concrete slammed into the ground near him. “Nope.” He turned and dashed for the edge of the bridge, dodging debris and leaping over the edge as the building collapsed onto the area behind him. There were a few seconds of weightlessness before gravity took over to drag him towards the coast below. Fortunately, he only fell a few meters before a strong grip caught his wrist.
He looked up to see Samakura hanging out the edge of their chopper, smiling at him. “Nice exit. Next time try not to be so clumsy.”
“Conversations are better inside helicopters than hanging from them, Captain!”
She laughed and pulled him up as Reno looked back at them. “Careful, she’s threatening to throw people out of this thing.”
“Again?” Sano brushed some bits of debris from his hair before sitting down with a relieved sigh.
“Yep, she must be PM-“
“If you finish that sentence I’ll feed you feet first through the rotor blades, Reno.”
“Yes, ma’am, sorry, ma’am.”
Sano shook his head. “Learn to keep your mouth shut, man.”
Captain Samakura glanced at Sano as she pulled the chopper’s door closed. “You don’t look too bad in a suit, Sano. Maybe you should wear them more often.”
“Huh?” He glanced down at himself and then nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it’s not too shabby. Thanks.” He looked back up, automatically returning the compliment. “And your outfit looks…” He paused because, while his commander’s attractive features - especially her curly light-violet back-length hair and lavender eyes - were easy to compliment, the skin-tight gray-and-black combat outfit currently wrapped around her form was probably not the most appropriate thing to comment on. “Uh…”
Reno snickered. “Now who’s the one with his foot in his mouth?”
Samakura rolled her eyes, taking one of the seats. “Focus on flying us back to headquarters.”
“Right, victory flight commencing.”