Mick's Rejects

The fiction no one wanted


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THE UNFAITHFUL – Chapter 1- part 1

This is a story explaining how no one escapes God’s judgement. (Poverbs 11:3)

THE UNFAITHFUL

Ian Ruttmeyer, studied his computer notes for the billionth time. Everything looked right, but then, time travel was a simple concept in theory, yet physically impossible. If one travelled from A to B in a straight line, it took a certain amount of time. The same person could travel twice as fast, they would arrive twice as quickly. What if they went three times as fast, four times, or more? There wasn’t a limit to how swiftly one could travel, but there was a limit to how much time could be reduced. If quick enough, one could arrive instantaneously, but what if they were quicker still? Could time then reverse itself?

As a child he came up with the concept and met with ridicule, yet oddly, over the course of his life, a spate of science fiction films had employed the same idea. He pushed back his glasses. His reflection on the switched off computer screen looked haggard, with pale brown eyes regarding him through circular lenses. Blond hair, rusted at the roots flattened against his scalp, and swept to one side over his brow. Cheeks looked drawn, covered in a film of blond stubble. Seven cups sat at odd points around his desk, some with mould collecting within. The lab coat he wore looked grimy, both tantamount to the time he spent in his private workspace.

A rabbit nudged its nose at the bars of its cage adjacent to Ian’s desk. He dropped the lettuce from his half eaten hamburger through the top and watched as the rodent devoured the offering. Animal testing went as far as possible, the earliest experiments with disastrous results. Beyond him, a pod the size of a telephone booth stood with door open. A metal cradle suspended it in an upright position with a seat and harness within. As he had witnessed on dozens of occasions, the pod spun on its axis within the cradle at an alarming rate then disappeared. It took several weeks just to pay off the bill for the power surge and the pod with cradle failed to reappear. He experimented with solar panels, improving them with great success. In many cases, it produced at least ten times average domestic power output and more for industrial purposes. At first, he planned to keep the discovery a secret, but instead sold the patent, making him one of the wealthiest men in the world. The proceeds funded his needs to proceed with his experiments.

Rabbits were placed within specially made harnesses and a return protocol programmed into his computer. His theory proved correct, if the animals had indeed transported to another time, then the pod lacked the power to return to the present. A red smear covered the walls the first time he opened the pod. He engineered a way for the rabbits to travel safely despite the savage G forces.

That done, the animals disappeared and reappeared without mishap, but he had no way of knowing where they went. The time for animal testing had come to an end. Ian switched on his computer and hovered over the keys, perplexed as to what time to enter. 

Chapter 1


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Epilogue

Togullen sat over his desk with quill in hand then began to scrawl on a fresh parchment.

I Togullen, Chronicler of the Hall of Heroes, during the reign of Olleton the Wise of Nusalle have written this document. It has taken me months of prayer and much thought to gather the words needed to do Nusalle’s greatest account justice. Suffice it to say, we have won the war. Natas’s body was thrown into a volcano. It is said that folk have passed the area and heard his screams, swearing that they will go on forever more.

The southmen were driven back across the Pentraca river where Jaseda has restored the peace. I doubt we will fight with them again. 

And as for the conman; Estron. He quietly slipped away. I heard he ventured north into Queland  and paid with his life at the hands of an angry mob. It is likely just a story, but whether it is true or not, it does not matter. No man escapes justice. All must answer to God in the end. 

Since the war, Nusalle has entered a new era of peace and never known such prosperity. Many people became Christians. The Hall of Heroes has been repaired and Olleton has erected three more statues; all Blue River Guardsmen; Devra Kija, Veremaz, and a soldier from a millennium into the future who could wield the power of thunder with his sceptre. 

I am also pleased to write that Veremaz is drawing ever closer to Selaima. They are to wed next year and I have been invited. 

And Mick…

Togullen paused at the sound of his beeping digital watch and snorted.

…I will miss him greatly until the day the Lord calls me home. The God I know and serve is able to do anything. I do not know how, but I feel that He watches over me in my time, just as He watches over Mick in his. Whether Mick kept his word to write about us or not, I can never know, but of one thing I am certain – we will see each other again. 

***

That’s my latest novel, and I’d like to extend a big thankyou to all who both liked and followed the story.  This is a rewrite of the first manuscript I wrote. Now that it’s finished, you can see why I wrote myself into it. It was late at night when I wrote the first draft and I’ve got to say that I shed tears when I typed the final words. I experienced a lot of hardships with these people, walked the long miles with them, froze in the rain, and even fought a war with them. When I typed the last word, I was saying “goodbye” to people I created and knew better than people in real life. Thankyou for letting me share them with you.

 I plan to give myself a week off, but off course, that will never happen. In a few days probably, I’ll start my next novel. No title as yet, but it involves thieves using time travel …Mick Dawson


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THE CHAMPIONS OF NUSALLE – Chapter 11 – part – 21

Togullen rode across the country as he promised. He had fine Pendaran rum in his saddle bags to share with his hosts on his arrival at Mick’s current home. From what he understood, the young man lived in a house with the ferry master and his daughter, Selaima. Olleton requested that a Blue River Guardsman be assigned to him. Togullen insisted that it was the stocky young man, Veremaz. He had survived the fall by the palace mezzanine stairs. When his injuries mended, he was reassigned to the Hall of Heroes. In conversations thereafter, he learned that Veremaz was a close friend of Mick’s.  Although not much of a talker, he found the young man quite likable, and very protective. Apart from Devra Kija, he could think of no safer company.

“I see a barge ahead, Lord Chronicler,” said Veremaz from his saddle.

Partially obscured by the trees along the river’s edge, Togullen could make out the bow of the craft, tied to its pier.

“Let us go,” said Togullen, snapping the reins.

The horses bolted for the next tree line and rounded them, revealing the house. Selaima wrung clothes out by the back, while further away, Mick and Neman worked at digging out a stump.

“Good lady,” Togullen said, alighting from his horse.

Selaima bowed. “Lord Chronicler.”

“Togullen will do. I come as a friend. I would ask to see Mick but I see he already comes.”

Mick ran, shouting Togullen’s name and met in a colliding embrace.

The older man laughed and broke away. “See who I have with me.”

At first Mick gaped then hugged his friend. “I thought you were dead. I’ve got so much to thank you for. I never would have got through without your help.”

“The Lord helped you get where you are,” said Veremaz.

“I’ve been speaking to him about Christ,” Togullen explained. “And what of you, master of the house?” Togullen asked Neman.

The big man grinned. “He continually tries to tell me about his damnable god. He has not convinced me yet. To make matters worse, my daughter has accepted this Jesus too. In any case, Lord Chronicler, Mick told me of the letter you sent him, and you are quite welcome to stay.”

Togullen was about to berate the respectful tone, when he jolted at the crack of thunder.

“The skies are purple, just as they were before the river flooded,” Neman said.

Mick saw the clouds rolling upon one another, lightning cracking at their core, illuminating them like a shaded lamp.

“Well then, we had best get inside,” Neman offered. “Are you coming, Mick?”

He stared at the sky. Why Lord? Why now? I’ve finally found love and a home.

“What is wrong, Mick?” Selaima asked.

At first he couldn’t answer her. The pain in his heart was more for her than himself.

“God wants me to go back,” he said.

“Why?”

“Because I’ve finished what He asked me to do here.”

“No; do not go.”

“I have to, Selaima. I can’t just disobey him.”

“Then I will go with you.”

“Oh Selaima,” he said, kissing her forehead. “You would never fit in my time.”

He went to move off when she gripped his arm tightly. “I will go with you.”

Her tone sounded angry, but her actions were borne of emotional agony.

“Veremaz, please help me,” Mick said.

The stocky youth, gently but firmly pried Selaima away from him, allowing him to walk to the end of the pier.

“Mick,” Togullen called after him. “Do men in your time know of us?”

He slowly shook his head. “No,” he said regretfully.

Togullen looked crestfallen. “Then all my work, even our very lives have been for naught.”

Mick took a breath. “I promise you, Togullen, that when I get back, I’ll write about you.”

Saying no more, he dived over the edge and swam across the river. Selaima became frantic when he reached the other bank and managed to slip out of Veremaz’s grasp. She outpaced him for the end of the wharf and plunged into the water. Veremaz had to remove his hauberk and helmet before diving after her, and swam after her with powerful strokes. She climbed the other bank first and ran after Mick, shrieking his name. She caught up with him as he entered the eye of the storm and reached out. Her hand fell through his fading form as he disappeared from view.

Selaima sobbed into her arms as she laid face down on the ground. As Veremaz slowed his gait and knelt by her side, placing a comforting hand on her back.

***

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11


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THE CHAMPIONS OF NUSALLE – Chapter 11 – part – 20

Kija approached with bowed head and meek expression. Mick didn’t know the man was capable of any form of humility.

“Is it true, you know this king?” he asked.

“Yes, His name is Jesus”

Kija nodded. “I wish to know him too.”

Mick rested a hand on the sturdy NCOs shoulder, and their foreheads together as they prayed again. Halfway through, Selaima worked her petite hand into Mick’s. All three said “amen.”

She smiled clasping Mick’s cheeks in her hands.

“He is my God too now. Let us go home.”

He nodded, knowing he now had a home to go to. Selaima had become a Christian, making it possible to develop a meaningful relationship with her. Given time, he knew love would develop between them.

He bowed before Iersta. “Forgive me, my Queen, but I must leave your service.”

She kissed his cheek. “I think that you have made the right choice.”

“You are free to visit us any time as our friend,” Olleton said.

“Thank you, my king.”

“Mick,” Kija said gruffly.

“Aye, Devra?”

“This is yours,” he said, holding out the muddy surcoat.

Mick accepted the garment. “Thank you, Devra.”

“You cannot wear it of course, but you may keep it. You have earned the right as much as any Guardsman. And I hope that when next we meet, we do so as friends too.”

Without warning, he gripped Mick in a firm embrace, both men weeping over the other’s shoulder.

Mick broke away and faced Togullen, the man he felt most connected to in this strange era.

“I don’t know what to say, Togullen.”

“You do not have to say anything, my friend. Give me a month, and I will come to see you. I have always wanted to travel to the other end of the river.”

“Well,” Mick said, fumbling for words, when a thought occurred to him. “Here,” he said, pulling out his pocket Bible. “I know it’s in a different script to what you’re used to, but – well, you’re the linguist here and I know Nusalle’s going to need it.”

“Thank you, young friend,” Togullen said, clasping hands.

***

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11


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THE CHAMPIONS OF NUSALLE – Chapter 11 – part – 19

A Nusallean man in long locks strayed beyond Kija. Dogs followed the man with long raven locks, holding a tribesman’s axe in each hand.

“Nusallean, beware,” cried Kija.

One of the dogs nudged his leg as he turned. Eyes as green and as wild as the bushland itself gazed upon him. Oddly, the dogs made no move to attack.

“You cannot be who I think you are,” Kija whispered under his breath.

The stranger nodded, even though he couldn’t possibly have heard the question. Standing not more than ten paces from him was the deadliest warrior to ever tread the earth – Tonunda the Savage.

“Attack the men with the black skins,” Tonunda said.

Tonunda never spoke before, thought Kija.

The dogs slinked at first then sped off, singling out Vindavians. They leapt at the southmen and dragged them to the ground, ending their cries in circles of gnashing fangs.

Tonunda broke into a run, slashing up through a black breastplate, then ran up the dying man vaulting over him. On his pirouette to earth, he cleaved into two more southmen. A third ran from him a few strides. Tonunda launched one of the axes, sending it spinning end over end and finding its mark in the Vindavian’s back. He looked into the melee, seeking out his enemy. Natas stood taller than everyone else, swatting Nusalleans away from his horse.

A Black Eagle clutched at his shin. “My king, save us.”

“Save yourself or be damned,” Natas said, kicking him away into a Guardsman’s axe.

Tonunda had to reach the Vindavian king before he fled to safety. Already, Natas made to ride through his men. Not far from Tonunda, he saw the Forgotten One wrench a horse to the ground, making it possible for Nusalleans to slay the rider. He looked up as Tonunda approached.

“Father!”

He embraced the savage king with tears of  joy.

“It is good to see you too, my son, but we do not have much time. Lo, Natas is about to flee. I will need your help.”

The Forgotten One nodded, collected his father in one arm and flung him in Natas’ direction. Both collided heavily and struck the ground with Tonunda crouching on top.

Natas broke into laughter.

“Why do you laugh?”

“You have slain me before, and yet I came back. Kill me now and I will only return again.”

“Then I will keep killing you until you stay dead.”

Tonunda turned the spiked tip of his axe down and thrust with both hands, at the same time, emitting a growl so menacing it would have cowled the most savage dog. Natas breathed his last, ushering in the demise of his elite soon after. As one, the incarnations of Nusalle’s champions stopped where they stood and looked to Tonunda for guidance. He nodded. They silently made their way inside the great hall and climbed onto their pedestals, turning back to stone in the positions they were sculpted. Kija followed Tonunda, the last of the champions as he climbed back onto his column.

“My king, you saved us,” said Kija.

Tonunda smiled. “No,” he said softly, “It was a far greater King.” He nodded in Mick’s direction. “The prophet knows him.”

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11


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THE CHAMPIONS OF NUSALLE – Chapter 11 – part – 18

Ropes dropped from the ruined dome and Black Eagles slid down. Mick jabbed his bayonet into the first of them, and twisted it free, about to thrust into a second Vindavian. The southman hammered his sword against Mick’s barrel, knocking it aside. His foot shot out, kicking Mick’s feet out from under him, then grinned as he raised his sword for a two handed swing. Another sword crossed it an angle, deflecting it down and to the side. The blade jutted from the arm of its blind wielder, with a bandage tied around his eyes.

Mick noted the empty pedestal with Barand’s name on its plaque. The blind swordsman contemptuously flicked his wrist. His enemy stepped away, holding his throat. Six men came at the blind legend, thrusting and hacking almost at once. Barrand curled his sword under his arm and stabbed into the man behind him. He dropped to one knee, avoiding decapitating stroke. In a series of lunges and twists, he slew his half dozen adversaries and casually waded over the bodies.

“Barrand,” gasped Iersta.

“My Queen,” he said on passing.

“They have all come to life,” said Kija.

Mick witnessed the two hundred legends either already on the floor or in various stages of dismounting their pedestals.

“And in their prime too,” Kija added, then suddenly turned aside, “but where is Tonunda?”

A cursory glance showed the first empty column. From legend alone, told to Mick by Togullen, he recognised the second figure unwrapping his bandages.

The Forgotten One. 

In Blue River Guardsman uniform, the hefty Nusallean unraveled the last of the wrappings from his head, spilling raven locks about his shoulders.

“Open the doors!” he bellowed, slinging his axe over his back and taking up his own pedestal.

Some of the champions, Zorava among them, set their hands to the bar and lifted it free, allowing it to drop to the tiles, reverberating throughout the great hall.

Olleton stopped beside Mick.

“Zorava was slain at sea,” said the king.

“These must be incarnations then,” said Mick.

Southmen pushed the doors open as the Forgotten One raised the stone column above his head with little effort and flung it into the intruders. They screamed over their impending doom, then collapsed, twitching in death. Vindavians stampeded over their comrades only to meet with the new horde of champions; the Forgotten One leading the way, hacking down two, even three men at a time.

Inspired by the legend’s example, Kija rushed out the door and entered the frenzied swirl of fighters. He slashed instinctively wherever his peripheral vision detected black. His axe cleaved through breastplate and mail with every stroke. How long he fought for, he didn’t know, but he stopped, panting within a lull in the fighting about him. His limbs bleed from at least a dozen superficial wounds, although he didn’t remember receiving them.

Dogs watched at the edge of the battle field. It wasn’t unusual to see them fighting over carcasses after a battle, but one never saw them during.

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11


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THE CHAMPIONS OF NUSALLE – Chapter 11 – part – 17

Bodies piled on top of each other, continually dragged away by reluctant hands under Natas’ chastisement. Mick counted the shots of his rifle, leaving one round in the chamber. He whipped his spare magazine from his ammunition pouch and connected it to the weapon, so that he could fire without re-cocking.

Guardsmen began to cheer with every shot as the carnage continued to mount.

“Get inside!” Natas yelled.

Terror now etched itself on the new wave coming through the breach. Guardsmen attacked with zeal, cutting through them.

On his last magazine, Mick didn’t bother to count his ammunition. Fortunately, fear had slowed the emerging faces tremendously. He prayed as he fired, and hoped they might stop completely before he shot the last round.

Natas’ shouts became more desperate. They waves ceased. Every so often, Mick caught a glimpse of a Black Eagle running past the open gap, possibly to check if it was safe to enter. His sights followed a darting figure for the last time, only to hear the click of his firing pin. For a time, nothing flitted past the opening as all within the great hall looked on expectantly. Eventually, every Nusallean face turned to Mick as he fixed his bayonet.

Kija slapped his arm. “Shoot your thunder!”

“I can’t.”

“Why?” he demanded.

Mick struggled to think of an explanation for ammunition, then resigned himself to saying, “there is no more thunder.”

“They are returning!” one the guardsmen yelled.

Kija tore the hatchet from Mick’s belt and flung it into the first Vindavian to emerge. The spinning tool glanced from the southman’s helmet, knocking him groggily to his knees and meeting his end at the edge of a Guardsman’s axe.

“It seems you soldiers of the future have forgotten the basics,” the NCO said contemptuously.

The southmen entered with new vigour, trying to get a foothold inside. Blue River Guardsmen fought back tenaciously, loosing one man to the rate of three. Kija trembled as the last of his men took up positions around the opening; fourteen remained to stem the tide. Mick never new a harder man than Kija, yet his iron resolve visibly dissolved.

He stared through eyes, glassy with fear.  “Mick, please, we are doomed. Pray to your god.”

A Guardsman screamed, clutching at his chest. Kija watched the scene, then turned back.

“I will if you pray with me, Kija.”

The NCO spun fearfully as another of his men fell.

“You’ve got to trust Him to come through for you; can you?”

Twelve remained, bravely fighting on.

Kija nodded, spilling tears.

“Then close your eyes – and I’ll pray with you.”

He shuddered as another twisted aside.

“Trust the Lord, Kija.”

Down to ten men, he feared to close his eyes. He wanted to be ready to stand against impossible odds as Natas and his men waded through the breach. Nine.

“Trust Him.”

Eight! His lids closed, a part of him grateful not to witness his demise. Mick fervently prayed a few moments then said “amen.” Kija opened them as the last six men defended the breach.

Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11

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