Written for Write on Edge. A story about a fantastic sighting in a war zone begins after the image.
Genre: Science Fiction
Days after the second Iranian revolution began, it degraded into chaos. Six Al-Qaeda splinter groups were involved, fighting the government, and sometimes the rebel Iranians. The Iranian Quds force shot at anything not in uniform.
Me, I was right in the middle of it. My previous camera was small and lightweight. Anything I filmed fed directly into the newsroom in Atlanta. That got shot to shit within hours of arriving in Tabriz. I was down to a common camcorder, but I was still filming. That’s when “it” showed up.
I was sitting in dust and debris inside a half-blown out building. Across the street, one of the Al-Qaeda groups had rounded up 30 Iranian rebels and pushed them against a bullet-ridden wall. It seems the rebels didn’t want the Al-Qaeda’s help, and they would die for that. I was going to witness an execution.
At first, I only saw what it did. Al-Qeada men began exploding into clouds of blood and meat. In seconds, the Al-Qaeda were all dead. A thing followed the shooting. It was easily 8-feet tall, and it ran on four powerful legs. It had a segmented tail and neck. Its head was wedge-shaped with hemi-spherical blisters, antennae, and an obvious cannon muzzle. It moved with the unearthly grace of a cat. The machine was painted the color of stone, complete with realistic cracks and bullet holes. It nearly disappeared into the background.
The Iranian rebels watched it approach with mouths agape. A few fled, but most of the rest began praying. It stood up on it’s heavier rear two legs, gesturing to the rebels with its foreleg hands. A voice speaking Persian, sounded from the machine, telling them to return to their camp. I keyed the walkie to talk to my South African mercenary/bodyguard, covering me from the room above. “Van Hoyt. What is that thing?”
“I don’t know. Stop transmitting, you idiot!.”
Its head snapped toward me, and it approached, stalking like a predator. I thought I was doomed, but maybe…
As I backed away, I left a small camera running video on the remains of a piano. It entered the room while I still filmed it with the camcorder. Van Hoyt burst down the stairs, screaming and firing. It returned fire and painted the walls with Van Hoyt’s blood. I closed my eyes as it towered above me, preparing for the shots. All it did was snatch the camcorder from my hand and crush it. Without a word, it turned and ran off.
I still had footage from the small camera on the piano.
“Incredible!” said Pierce, my editor.
“Thanks,” I said. “Hey, was your computer connected to the internet when you watched the vid?”
He shrugged. “Probably. Why?”
I shivered. “That thing was super-advanced, and obviously it hates press coverage.”
“No one’s ever seen this thing? Maybe it’s monitoring the press’ computers? Maybe previous stories were squelched.”
In the silence between us, I could hear heavy footfalls outside the door.
Each week, Write on Edge presents an image and a sentence as writing prompts for 500 words of flash fiction. I just went the pic and a little inspiration from the sentence. The original prompt is here: http://writeonedge.com/2014/02/writing-prompt-2014-week-8/