Written for the Speakeasy at Yeah Write. A story about a terrifying revenge begins after the image.
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
The Great Purple Worms
“I have spent years chasing the tail of my darkness,” said Senor Maldonado. He tossed his cards down in disgust. “Fold.” Nanites illuminating the cards cleared the faces automatically.
“We all have our demons,” said the wealthy merchant, Senor Martinez, to his left.
“Some demons are far greater than others.”
“Then tell us of these demons,” said the other merchant, Senor Guzman. He gestured to Martinez. “My partner and I could use another story.”
“It is a long sad story.” Maldonado dismissed the idea.
“Then let us hear it! It will be hours before the anti-matter tanks of our ship are fueled. We have nothing to do but play poker. We have the time.” Guzman turned in his chair. “Senora! Sangria por favor.”
“A story you shall have then! But I will tell you a better a story. Have you heard of the great purple worms of San Cristobal?”
“They’re on this planet?” said Martinez. “I have never heard of this.”
“They are here,” insisted Maldonado. “It started long ago. A scientist, we’ll call him Venganzo, had dreams of doing great things with nanotechnology. People were already using them of course, but only for small things.” Maldonado collected the poker cards into a stack. He tapped it twice. “And now the cards are shuffled. Nanites in the cards have randomly rewritten the faces.”
“Everyone knows about this,” said Guzman.
“Yes, but now Venganzo dreamed much bigger. He was designing nanites into a weapon that would destroy all weapons of war. If he succeeded, peace would come to the Hundred Colonies within weeks. War could not be fought without weapons.
“After years of work, the weapon was nearly finished, but very dangerous. The disassemblers that destroyed the weapons still destroyed everything else. Control of them was not yet perfect. Venganzo’s co-designers stupidly thought it was ready and they stole the weapon. They sold it to a man, who sold it to another with the heart of a snake. He gave it to merchants who shipped it to the planet, San Cristos, knowing they carried a devastating weapon. One last, fanatical man, released the weapon. Within days, the weapons, the cities, and all the people had been reduced to component atoms. One more day later, the entire planet was consumed. Gone!”
Guzman looked hard at Martinez. “An entire planet? Is this possible?” Martinez stared at nothing, unmoving.
“The news was too terrible to broadcast, but yes, it’s true,” said Maldonado, looking at no one. “It wasn’t long before Venganzo learned what became of his stolen weapon, and how it was used. He was consumed by hatred, a life-stealing rage that absorbed every ounce of his being. He changed and became something different. A terrible weapon himself.
“He began to hunt down the men responsible. One by one, he killed them in the most hideous, most appalling ways. After years, there were only two left.”
Martinez and Guzman didn’t move. Only their eyes shifted, seeking out exits.
“But the fires in Venganzo had cooled. He found a beautiful woman who loved him like the sea loves the sky. Her warm heart convinced him that he had found enough justice.”
Martinez and Guzman sagged a little, appearing to breathe again.
“Venganzo returned to his nanite research, once again dreaming big. He learned how to turn one creature into another with nanites, a rabbit into a hawk, a lion into a worm. And then he learned the last two men who should die frequented a taqueria where he lived. Justice sang a sweet song.”
Martinez and Guzman ceased drinking, glasses poised at their lips.
“But Venganzo was no longer interested in killing. There had been enough.”
The two merchants moved again, taking long pulls of sangria.
“But there are worse things than death.”
They began to squirm.
“Venganzo joined them for a poker game and seeded the cards with nanites. The near invisible machines would turn anyone without the antidote into a Great Purple Worm.” Calmly, Maldonado took a drink. “He told them to sign over their shares of their shipping line to him, their life’s savings, or face an unimaginable horror.”
Martinez coughed and blood flew. Guzman’s arm began to twitch painfully.
“I understand the process is excruciating.”
Within an hour, Maldonado left the taqueria as sole owner of a successful shipping line. He smashed a vial from his pocket on the street. Behind him, the Senora began screaming as something purple shrieked and oozed out the taqueria door.
Author’s Note: In Spanish, Venganza means, “Revenge.”
Each week, writers of great quality and fine disposition, join together a the Speakeasy to write up to 750 words based upon a sentence and an image. The sentence is placed differently depending on the week. This time the sentence, “I have spent years chasing the tail of my darkness,” must be placed at the beginning of the work. Here is this week’s prompt: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/145-open/