A while ago I read a story done in the form of a test. Don’t remember the story at all, but I thought the idea was really neat, though obviously only for something quite short.
So for my very last A-Z Challenge post, I decided to give the idea a shot. So here is Zombified Past – a test taken by De’vii about his survival upon the Braken during the battle that erupted between wild and civilized houndmasters during the last Games. Have fun guessing what young De’vii did that day :)
ZOMBIFIED PAST : A TEST
1. When the fight during the last Lo’fel Games began you…
a) joined your dam’s side since you’d grown up with wild blood dominating your veins.
b) tried to convince your sire to back down.
c) hid like a coward with one of your dam’s pups.
d) weren’t sure which side to join, so in confusion you snarled at anyone who came close.
2. The moment you realized something, other than houndmasters and dogs, was on that battleground you…
a) ran to your dam like the pup you were and tried to tell her.
b) searched for your sire, terrified because he wouldn’t respond to your shouts.
c) went to where the game officials were trying to evacuate the pup grounds to join your friends.
d) remained hidden, too scared to do anything but stare as the murky cloud rose, jerking the dead back to life.
3. Your dam grabbed you by the scruff of your neck and for just a moment you though she might kill you in her wild bloodlust. You…
a) trusted her enough you went limp in submission.
b) cried and screamed, your voice lost in the war cries and shrieks and howls surrounding you.
c) kicked and bit as you’d been taught, fighting for your life as you called for Fel and Sou.
d) looked past her in time to see a monster forming out of the fog, its wings fluttering.
4. As the ground shook and your teeth chattered, you almost slipped in a dark puddle, but…
a) Fel gripped your arm and yanked you to safety where Sou steadied you.
b) you leapt the puddle, Fel and Sou right behind, and you raced for where you thought the wilds began.
c) a dog from your dam’s pack saved you, then led you east around the worst of the fighting.
d) you paused and watched the puddle sluggishly pour downhill.
5. As you passed the pup grounds, you saw the pillars surrounding the small sand pit collapse and saw your cousin, Te’iil, sprinting away through the fog, straight for the thickening stream of death you nearly fell into.
a) You shouted a warning, mentally linking through one of Te’iil’s dogs despite knowing he’d be furious.
b) You tackled him and dragged him bodily away.
c) You left him, too terrified when you saw the creature breathing across the pup grounds in Te’iil’s wake.
d) You watched as he slips and falls into the deathly river.
6. You regret most from that day…
a) that you didn’t do more to save your sire.
b) that you ignored the screams from the pup grounds in order to save yourself.
c) that you even went to the Lo’fel Games.
d) that you hurt Te’iil so badly in the aftermath.
When the fight broke out between wild and civilized, you hid, cowering behind your dam’s pup while your dam and sire went at it. They’d never been so full of fury before. And for the first time in your life, you felt as if you truly didn’t belong anywhere.
Before, they had always been safe, the one place you knew you were accepted. Yet in that moment, you watched as that one place of safety crumbled away to nothing while around you houndmasters and dogs let age-old bias guide them in their kills.
When the fog began to rise from the ground, you scrambled away, only to stumble in the path of a trio of dogs you’d never seen before. They snapped at you and would have ripped you apart had it not been for your dam’s pup. She threw herself in the way, all bravado, and her little body was flung around, her spine shattering before she landed in a heap.
You ran through the fog and fighting, shouting your sire’s name in a hoarse voice because you didn’t want to face your dam’s anger over her pup. But when you found him, he was purple and blue, his eyes open to the slowly disappearing stars, his mouth bloody and his arm bent awkwardly. You fell to your knees at his side, trying to remember what to do, how to help him.
Your dam found you there, grabbing your neck and giving you the most heart-rending expression before she growled ferousciously. You went limp in submission, but didn’t have to wait long before she looked past you at your sire’s prone form. Then she screamed wildly, horribly, pushed you away and told you to leave, to run and never look back.
But you did look back. In time to see your sire’s body twitch and his dead hand reach out to grab a hold of your dam. She ceased her fighting and spun with a shocked expression while behind her a creature with dozens of fluttering, powerful wings emerged from the fog. You wish you had obeyed her.
As you ran, the ground shook so violently your teeth chattered and you almost slipped right into a dark puddle streaming downhill. You corrected without help, but you remained there for a long moment watching the dark ripples flowing.
There, in that mess, with swirls of red coloring the puddle an eerie auburn-black, you saw pieces of houndmaster and dog, as if they’d melted into that mess. You slapped both hands to your mouth as Fel and Sou found you and ushered you away from the awful sight.
With Fel and Sou leading the way, you headed southeast, intent on getting away, but you slowed when you heard the awful creature from before descending out of the fog. It landed within the pup grounds and breathed along the line of officials guiding the pups away. The pillars of the sand pit broke under its weight, blocking much of the carnage from view, thankfully, but you caught sight of Te’iil running the wrong way.
You didn’t think, you just knew you didn’t want to watch anyone else you loved die. So you reached through Fel and caught Te’iil’s dog, Met, mentally and shouted for him to push Te’iil toward you. It worked and Te’iil’s wide-eyed sprint altered enough to get him going northward. Later, he called it a gut instinct because he refused to believe you could link with his dog. You let him believe it.
You can’t forget the way your sire looked after you found him and you hate the fact you can still remember the screams from the pup grounds, but you know you couldn’t do much in either case. On the other hand, you don’t regret hurting Te’iil later when he wanted to head back into the Braken to find his sire. You don’t regret holding him down with your teeth in his neck because you know, at the very least, you saved one person’s life that day.
But the one thing you do regret, more than anything, is that you even went to the Lo’fel Games at all. How much would be different had you not gone? That’s a question you torture yourself with every day.
Thank you to everyone who was with me during this Challenge! I’m super excited and happy with myself for finishing!
For some reason I’m more terrified than I’ve ever been before when publishing a new story, but it’s far too late to hide the novels in a drawer because Haunt of the Wilds is coming out in only 3 days! I hope everyone who’s giving the story a chance enjoys the adventure!