Via. A very young man lay relaxed and cool on a wind swept hill with his elbows behind his head. The clouds overhead were lazily floating by. It was a cliché relaxing moment in every sense. Via was a boy of but nine years living on the Kutiemuffin country side. He lived with his mom, his dad and his 12 year old brother. His parents were pastry farmers. They had a decent ranch up and running that shipped all sorts of pastries that were sent through ought the kingdom. The town of which Via lived in was called Acetoss. It was a simple town filled with houses that were the shape of muffins scattered randomly through the valley. It was located in an area that was surrounded by mountains on three sides and was very grassy with many hillsides. Via was always garbed in whatever his mother threw on him as he didn't much care to have any fashion sense as most children don't. At this time he was wearing a shirt for a band, long since broken up and floogin cargo pants with stars and wings of red black and white as the design. His medium length wavy shag of a head of hair hung down over his eyes much of the time. It had different color highlights in it each day, without the benefit of dye or any effort on his part. Via and his brother were Phausions, which were not much different from humans. Phausions were double the height of an adult Kutiemuffin. They were the only known two in the kingdom and no one was sure of how they got there. Usually Kutiemuffin children are baked into existence using sugar and dough and jelly etc. Via and Zaj's parents had won a contest in the past and two Phausion babies had arrived in boxes labeled 'ingredients'. Since they were obviously alive they were not baked.
Via's older brother Zaj nudged his younger brother in the ribs with the toe of his boot "wake up, Mom needs help with the harvest." Via had been waiting for something to occupy him all day. He slowly stood up and looked up at the sky and the clouds that swam within it. Then without a word between the two they walked back to their muffin shaped house to get the gathering baskets.
As they gathered jelly doughnuts in the fields, placing them into large baskets that were strapped on their backs a few local Kutiemuffins around the same age as Via came running up to them. "Hey! Zaj, did you pack for our adventure?!" One shouted while running towards them. When they were close both Via and his brother shushed them harshly with scrunched faces bringing their pointer fingers in front of their lips in unison. The Kutiemuffins had to cover their faces to prevent spit from flying in their eyes. They remembered now that they were told not to wander down the passage by Via and Zaj's parents not two days ago and they were only slightly out of earshot at this moment. They had been caught planning an expedition in Zaj's room, they had made all the things they were going to need gathered in the center of his room on the rug when Via's mom came into the room and quickly figured out what was going on. No punishment was given of course, nor would there be any later, as this was the Kutiemuffin Kingdom and there was no such thing.
The group shuffled off to the edge of the field of various pastries growing on branches, things like doughnuts, pies and cakes surrounded them on all sides and they crouched low to the ground while the brothers made it look as if they were digging up some rootcakes. Only the top of the brothers' huge baskets could be seen bobbing to and fro if the parental figures were to look this way. The five hooligans, Via, Zaj, Herms, Ulria and Archibald began to scheme their scheme. "Zaj, did you gather the things up again?" Herms asked in a hushed voice. Zaj looked up and gave a single nod, a small smirk upon his face. He continued to pretend to be digging for rootcakes. "When should we sneak out? Like, what time do you want to go?" Herms continued questioning. Ulria suddenly chimed in saying "We already chose when, right before their mom came in and caught us in the act." She said gesturing towards the brothers. "Well?" Herms and Archibald asked at the same time. Both had forgotten and so had Zaj. All were wearing a face that seemed to say 'go on.' "Eleven. The whole kingdom will be completely asleep and we will have time a plenty to explore and get back without being noticed" Ulria informed her group, adjusting her black rimmed square specs. At this moment Via's parents were getting too close to continue their scheming so the three Kutiemuffins jogged off, one of them shouting "we'll play later!" and giggled as they ran on. Via and Zaj continued their work in silence until 3:30 and then went in to their separate rooms to get some sleep before their big adventure.
Zaj had a hard time getting any sleep, his straight black hair kept getting in his eyes. It was dirty at the moment because he was sweating from harvesting. He had to get up and bathe in the pond outside before he was able to get comfortable enough to rest. He only actually got a few minutes of solid sleep the whole time he lay there. He was too excited.
Via however slept like a baby. He could sleep anywhere, on anything. Via didn't even really feel much like going on this adventure but Archibald was prone to trouble and was a small kid, even for a Kutiemuffin which were already half the size of a Phausion. Archibald wanted to go, but only because he knew Via was going to be there to keep him safe. Archibald was scrawny and wore a pointed yellow cone on top of his head and had blonde parted hair that came out from underneath it. Via didn't want him to feel left out so he decided to come. Plus he felt they would be safer the higher their numbers became, should something go wrong.
Zaj had to sneak into Via's room to wake him up. He shook him until his eyes opened lazily and the brothers opened the window and climbed out into the garden. They were careful not to trample any plants and snuck through the pastry field, crouching every now and then to see if anyone was watching. When they were far away enough from the house not to be recognized they walked upright at a casual pace, Via in front. This night, Via's highlights had turned a deep purple. When they reached the entrance to the crevasse between two steep cliffs they found that the rest of their team was already waiting for them. Zaj and Via handed the other three their share of the load of things they had brought and they set off, being careful not to make any sounds as they were right near Ulria's house.
The cliffs on either side of them loomed so high that you couldn't see the tops from the ground. The cliff was made of a smooth rock that curved inward on its way up and then pointed back out into a fine tip at the top. They walked for a half hour, fantasizing with each other childishly of what they might find at the end. None of them had ever walked so long in their lives, all were tired save for Via and Zaj. Zaj got tired at the one hour and thirty minute mark. "Let's stop please! Please! Sooooooo tiiiiirrrrred" Archibald whined from the back of the line. Everyone felt they could use a break and Ulria suggested they eat some of the food they had brought. "We gotta be at least halfway through" sighed Herms while rubbing his sore legs. Herms was a stalky Kutiemuffin who had developed some muscle to him from helping his father build cart wheels for as long as he could remember. He had a pudgy face and short white spiky hair. He often tucked his shirt in thinking it made him look more muscular but it only made him appear overweight. His arms were the only muscular things about him. The group sat for a spell rubbing their tired legs and munching the pazones they had brought. Via had not fully woken up yet and started to nod off again. He was not very physically tired at all. When the others noticed they nudged him and Ulria suggested that they should go before he's too difficult to wake up. So off they went for another go of walking.
After the next hour of their trek went by conversation grew scarce. All but Via and Zaj were moving at a zombie's pace, especially Archibald who complained the most. They took many small breaks, mostly for the benefit of Archibald who had begun to stumble more often than he normally did. "We should go back" he started to say after their third hour of walking went by. "Yes, we should, but if one of us goes back all of us go too" Ulria agreed. The group stopped and sat again for another break. "There's nothing ahead. I'm tired anyway. We'll go back after this break" Zaj said with disappointment heavy on his voice. "No, come on! We're almost at the end I can feel it!" pleaded Herms. He did not want to come so far and get nothing but sore legs from it. Via didn't really care either way. "I think we'd better go back. I am pretty sure we've been walking for three hours now. It will take another three to get back, by then it will be daylight and it will be difficult not to get caught" Ulria said wisely. Herms sort of puffed his cheeks out. He knew he was outnumbered. "Via! You want to go forward right?" Via shrugged with a calm look on his face. "Fine! Fine. How about I go alone? I'll be fine." Herms bargained. Archibald replied with an "okay" he just wanted to go home to bed, while Ulria didn't seem to be done arguing just yet "No, Herms you'll probably get caught or something on your way back. It's too risky." No punishment would come to them if they were caught, but they still didn't want their parents to feel disappointed in them. Herms looked at her a moment uncomfortably, then the other way in the direction they were headed. He looked back and quickly said "Too bad." And walked onward. Zaj walked back in the opposite direction, headed for home without saying anything, Ulria was pissed off and squinted at herms' back then stormed off after Zaj. Archibald was glad to be heading home, he wasn't too worried about herms. He thought Herms was tough enough to handle however long of a walk it was to the exit of the mountain pass. He followed Ulria sluggishly. Via however, went after Herms. He figured it would be best if he were around in case Herms got into any trouble. Ulria was going to say something to him but she thought it would only increase Herms' chances of not getting caught if he were in Via's more capable hands, and so the party was split.
After Zaj and co had returned to Acetoss they waited a short period of time in an inconspicuous manner by the nearest field of crops. They began pretending to get started work early, which was highly appreciated, yet rarely done in Acetoss. They were working on the field nearest the mountain pass so it could be in plain view. When the daylight came Ulria was officially worried about them and imagined the horrified faces of herms' and Via's parents when she told them the bad news. Archibald was just beginning to complain for the eighth time about having to work instead of sleep when a small rumbling began. "Listen." Said Zaj, and they all turned and looked toward the mountain pass where it was originating from. The rumbling grew louder. They kept their eyes on the pass. Archibald imagined gallons and gallons of water rushing through, thinking that Herms had unplugged a damn. he tried to swallow his fear. The rumbling grew louder still, and gradually louder and louder until the group was panicked. Kutiemuffins in the village were poking their heads out of windows and doors, coming outside to see what the commotion was all about. The entire population of Acetoss came outside in their curiosity of this very loud noise and all of them formed a U shaped crowd and began to stare at the mountain pass. Murmurs similar to "What is that?" and "what's going to happen?" could be heard through the crowd. A few moments later and they could hear a hoarse screaming, still far off. It was Herms' screams. It sounded as if he was screaming for a long time. Ulria put her hands over her mouth while Archibald backed away. Zaj moved into the crowd of people and called the other two to come with him, figuring it would be safer than out in the open. The rumbling was now deafening, along with the screams of herms, everyone was tense, especially herms' parents whose eyes were leaking that really good orange popsicle soda. Something that had not happened before. Suddenly Herms came running out from the mountain pass entrance screaming and flailing "Run! Run! Get out of the way! It's huge! Run!" He was covered in sweat and his eyes were nearly popping out of his head. Via was still nowhere to be seen and this made Zaj's eyes gloss over and he began blaming himself for the whole mess. The crowd started to move at a jog back to their homes, looking curiously over their shoulders. Herms was not looking back, only screaming and flailing. He stumbled, then scrambled back to his feet as fast as he could manage only to stumble again. The houses were shaking quite violently; bits of them were falling apart. Zaj began shouting to the crowd to get in the nearest houses but not everyone listened. Some ran towards their own homes, some just stood in one spot panicking like a squirrel does when it's trying to cross a busy highway, and some just threw themselves flat to the ground, hands covering their ears. The rumbling was shaking the ground and everyone on it for some moments and then the cause of the rumbling burst through the mountain pass, breaking it on both sides as it was so large it could not rightly fit in the small trench that it was. Large rock chunks flew everywhere in front of it crushing the nearest house and ruining large portions of the nearby crop fields. It was a 35 foot high, 20 foot wide big honkin' motherfucker of a tank. This monster was fully equipped with all sorts of weaponry, it had spikes on it's treads, which were 10 feet off the ground, easy, missiles, bombs, machine guns, lasers and basically anything else that was meant for killing, and on the very top of this juggernaut was Via, holding on tight to the hatch, struggling to turn the wheel to open it. The villagers of Acetoss paused for a moment and then flipped their tops once they took a look at what had come through. Everyone ran in all directions screaming, flailing and stumbling. This is what Kutiemuffins usually did when they were scared.
Zaj, Herms, Ulria and Archibald watched what follows from atop the farthest hill they could run to. Zaj had to carry Ulria and Archibald there or they would have been flattened. Luckily Herms had a head start or he would not have made it either.
The black monster wheeled around in circles trying to shake Via off so it could crush him under it's spiked treads, but his grip was too firm. As it jerked around it ran over two houses and another farmland. For fun it used it's flamethrower to set another three houses on fire and shot off a missile at town hall, blowing a large chunk of it to pieces. It tried to mow down a line of Kutiemuffins fleeing in the distance with its machine gun turrets but only managed to kill a quarter of them. This urged Via to work faster. The wheel finally gave and it turned slightly. He could hear an alarm within the beast going off, in moments it was jerking itself back and forth in another attempt to shake Via loose, but Via wasn't going anywhere. Suddenly it stopped and via used this small break to wipe the sweat from his brow and then continue turning the hatch open. It was coming easy now, and then too easy. It was being opened from the inside. Via hopped backwards ready to grapple with whatever came out. The hatch opened and a thin shiny black metal man slowly ascended out and stepped toward via with his arms raised in a manner that suggested he wanted to strangle him. It lunged for Via's neck and grasped it firmly with both hands. Via coughed and sputtered. He began to feel dizzy. He started kicking the metal man but it didn't help. Via managed to get his own hands around the metal man's neck and tried to squeeze back, but it was like squeezing a metal pipe. Via was now too disoriented to stand. He fell backwards still holding on to his enemy. He fell right off the top of the tank and was headed for the treads with spikes upon them. Via thought of what he was doing at this time the day before for the moment it took to hit the spikes. He never would have guessed he would die in such a way, he always expected he would die of boredom. He closed his eyes and then "schling!" they were on the spikes, but Via was not hurt. It turned out that gravity was his savior that day for the metal man was heavier and turned in mid air. The metal man had 50 spikes planted in his back. He was not moving anymore. Via carefully climbed back to the top of the tank. He was planning on going down the hatch to make sure no one else was in there when the tank started moving forward again. It smashed itself into the side of the cliff as fast as it could and this time via did not have anything to hold onto and was sent sailing through the air into the cliff face and then onto his back on top of the tank. Blood was streaming down his forehead and out of his nose. He had received a splitting headache courtesy of the wall. He lay there until he saw the turrets move to point towards him. He was not in their line of fire long enough to get hit, he dove towards the back of the tank, narrowly dodging the bullets fired at him. Via looked up through the eye that did not have blood covering it and saw two more of the black metal men standing on the tank 5 feet in front of him. One threw a rock at him, Via moved his body to the left and it missed and hit one of the turret caps. A large explosion went off where the 'rock' had landed, sending Via sprawling even more so to the left banging up his legs pretty badly as he landed awkwardly on his back atop the other turret cap. As soon as he could he was back on his feet. The metal men seemed to be staring at him. They had no eyes or any facial features at all, Via noticed. They were merely the shape of men. They both raised their right arms and rectangular panels popped up to reveal guns within their arms. They opened fire and their first shots hit Via in the left arm and right shoulder. He fell over backwards from the force behind the right turret. He screamed in agony. Never had he before experienced such pain. It felt as if someone had stabbed him with a burning rapier. Via's tormentors opened fire once more, but he was hidden safely behind the turret cap. He looked to his right and saw something that looked like their weapons within the wreckage of the right turret. He hoped it worked the way he thought it would. He picked up some scraps of metal and lobbed them over the turret cap at his attackers. He heard the clank of metal on metal and then more gunfire. He took his chance and lunged over to the weapon, grasped it, pulled the trigger and let out a stream of heat on his enemies which tore them apart in moments.
Once they were reduced to a pile of smoking rubble and bullet holes, he aimed the weapon downwards at the tank itself and spread the destruction all over its top. The behemoth jerked backward then frontward into the cliff again, which jostled Via off his balance. It then whirled around and faced the grass and drove forward and stopped quickly on a field of ruined crops so that it's back end raised upwards. Via almost fell off backwards but grasped the gun and looked back towards the ground over his shoulder. This did not help the pain. He winced and screamed hoarsely, when he turned his head to look in front of him his scream was ended abruptly. A large black object had crashed into him, foot first, knocking him off the front of the machine. Via fell the entire 35 feet and landed in the bushes of chocolate marshmallows. He was very badly beaten, there were scratches and bruises all over his body and his clothes were ripped in many places. He staggered very slowly to his feet and wobbled over to a clearing where some crops were on fire. The smell of burning dough made his stomach lurch.
'Crash!' a much larger version of the metal men landed in front of him, arms and legs spread apart with it's head pointed at him. It didn't seem happy. He had destroyed his co workers, caused heavy damage to his machine and ruined all the fun he was hoping to have. During his existence he had killed things for doing far less. Via looked up at where it's face should be and saw six spider-like limbs rise out from it's back and stick into the ground around him. He lifted himself off the ground and snatched Via up in one of his creepy legs, lifting the boy towards his body. The large metal man grasped Via's throat with one arm and held him out. Blood was dripping from Via in a few places; down both of his arms and from his exposed stomach through the rips in his shirt, but especially from his head where blood was flowing from every opening. Via attempted to take a breath but obviously failed. The metal spider jostled him a little, as punishment, Via's neck almost broke. This monster wanted to watch Via die slowly and painfully so he did not allow his neck to break. Via could feel the life draining out of him, he tried to grasp at the strangler's hands but it was no use, he couldn't lift them high enough. Via closed his eyes and started to feel the worst type of sleepiness possible. Thoughts began to swim through his head, he thought of what was for dinner a few days ago and the fireworks they had last year. He thought of his brother Zaj playing with him when he was younger, and of his parents and friends. Then he thought of the time the Queen had visited Acetoss to celebrate with them for fireworks day and she gave him the wink and gun gesture. Without realizing it Via mimicked the wink and gun gesture at the shiny metal spider that was strangling him to death 15 feet off the ground.
Through the tips of Via's pointing fingers came the most brilliant display of the color spectrum the whole Kutiemuffin Kingdom ever saw right into the evil fucker's face. The ray zoomed off into space doing small twirls as it went. Via felt very satisfied while he was falling to the ground. After this he saw no more of that day.
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Always Thinking... All content copyright the original author/artist.