Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fire Sky (Episode 1 of Acorn 666) by Josh St. John

Release date: March 16, 2015
Subgenre: Post-apocalyptic science fiction, animal stories

About Fire Sky:

he Acorn 666 series is released as short novellas ("episodes") every two weeks, with several episodes compiling a "season". 

The Human Apocalypse has Ended...

Within the destruction left from the fire that fell from the sky, only the animals remain. Prophesied by the Owl Queen and her loyal army for years, the Apocalypse has started a war of control between the various factions of animals left behind -- revealing ancient magic passed down from generation to generation. From the noble woodland creatures led by a quiet and mysterious council, to the domesticated animals who were once companions for humankind everywhere.

The Animal Apocalypse Begins...
Outside of the warring factions of animals left behind, the owls who foretold of the Apocalypse have regrouped. With the return of magic, the war has grown into a struggle of power. Not only power over the arcane, but power over life... and death. The Owl Queen has foretold of a new prophecy. One where owls rule the land under her command. In order to grow her army, the Queen comes up with a painful curse. A curse that will transform anyone who ingests it into a bloodthirsty and frenetic owl, hellbent on destruction. A curse that will make this prophecy come true. The prophecy of Acorn 666.
Don't eat the acorns.



The slowly rising sun’s soft beams of light crafted a shadow down onto the forest floor. Attached high atop an old tree stood the Owl Queen’s nest. Carefully crafted by the birds of the Noc faction; the twisting twigs, green leaves, and sturdy branches and sticks provided an enormous home for the Noc. The curves and bends from the random findings in the forest provided the nest with an architecture never before seen. The nest was built much like the mansions humankind had lived in, with multiple floors, rooms, and balconies. Deep inside one of the dark lower chambers of the nest, Yordestare nervously wiped his hands on a battered cloth sitting on one of the many desks in front of him.
Small jars lined the walls, many with small cracks or shards missing. Once again he found himself in a situation where pleasing the Owl Queen meant life or death for him. This time though, instead of a curse, he had been tasked to create a poison. Yordestare walked between jars, slowly stirring them, sometimes putting an acorn in. He’d let out an audible sigh as it’d quickly disintegrate. Sometimes he’d stir them, each stir creating bubbles, and sometimes little pockets of smoke. The smoke got him excited. The smoke was the sign that it was working.
Chained to the wall behind him was a female chipmunk. She barely had the strength to keep her head up, obviously tortured. The animal had burns along her face and arms from previously failed tests. From each burn, small dark feathers pierced through bloody blistered sores. Between checking his jars, Yordestare would walk up to the chipmunk. Sometimes, he’d sing it a song. Most of the time though, he laughed at her. He laughed at her suffering, and laughed at her cries for help.
One of the jars began to smoke and sizzle. Yordestare quickly ran over to it, fanning his small paws around it, trying to keep it from catching fire. He had been brewing this concoction for the past few days, and the Owl Queen was growing impatient with his abilities. However, last night, looking through his notes, he found what could be the fatal mistake to his new creation. Switching up the dosage of ingredients this time, he felt he had it. Before he was able to test it without the Owl Queen over his shoulder, he heard the scurrying of Noc soldiers in the hall outside the door. Yordestare looked over at the chipmunk chained to the wall and laughed. “I guess this time we’ll have an audience!” He sighed. The chipmunk moaned.
“Please, just… let me go.” The chipmunk begged. The Noc soldiers were growing in number outside of the door, it was only a matter of moments before the Owl Queen came in to check on Yordestare’s progress. Yordestare laughed.
“Let you go? Let you go! Haha! You silly beast. No. No such thing is happening. Not now, not ever. You’re very important… you know that?” Yordestare put his paw on the chipmunk’s face, carefully avoiding the burns that were still hot to the touch. Just then, the doors swung open. Yordestare immediately turned in direction of the door and knelt. The Owl Queen swiftly walked into the chamber.
“Stand, Yordestare.” She commanded. “Where are you at with the latest test?” Her gaze turned to the chipmunk. Yordestare stood and quickly ran over to the smoldering jar.
“I believe it’s ready for testing right now, my queen. You came just in time to see my progress for yourself.” He said.


About Josh St. John:

Josh St. John was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Writing from his 1960's mobile home, he has crafted a world where evil owls eat faces. He's 30 years old and lives with his partner of 8+ years and 3 cats. In his free time, he enjoys playing the board game CLUE, listening to NPR, and watching reality television. 

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