Authors: Madison Daniel
Lucas Ryan Versus
LUCAS RYAN VERSUS: The Hive
Original Text Copyright © 2011 by Madison Daniel
Kindle Copyright © 2013 by Madison Daniel
Cover Copyright © 2012 by Madison Daniel & Grzegorz Rutkowski
Cover Image created by Grzegorz Rutkowski
LUCAS RYAN VERSUS: The Hive
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and actions are used fictitiously or products of this author’s wild imagination. Any similarities to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Lucas Ryan Versus is a living, breathing work of entertainment. It’s meant to be enjoyed and consumed with a musical playlist. Each chapter is bookended by a song that resonates with the story and its characters. I have enclosed that musical playlist. Feel free to follow my lead or download your own playlist. Support the arts and the artists.
DO NOT ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD.
Look, listen and fade away...
“For the child in us all.”
INSERT YOUR TOKEN AND PRESS START:
Easier said than done. Black chunks of smoke slithered into my mouth and scratched at the back of my throat. Its filthy taste felt like chalk across my teeth. I tried to spit this poison out, but I wasn’t having much luck. More smoke crawled over me, causing my eyes to flood over in tears. My lungs began to itch with the ferocity of a fresh bug bite. Burning and clawing at my insides to get out. It hurt something awful, but I pushed away the pain.
Another wave of smoke rolled in front of me. My body tightened as I dug my knees into the charred ground. With a staggered breath, I steadied my blurring vision. The smoke before my eyes filled with glowing orange slits that sizzled and popped. The creature’s fire was much more intense and stomach turning than I had expected.
“Is that all you got?” I screamed out. The monster’s eyes focused on me harder. It could easily see that I was in bad shape, but working on my second wind. A small cough jumped from my mouth, causing my lumbering nemesis to flinch. Apparently, I had done more damage to it then I first thought. That realization brought a wicked little smile to my lips. The hulking beast hated that instantly. Its body trembled with a seething rage.
I rose to my feet and nervously watched the monster follow my lead. Its massive limbs rippled with a defensive rhythm. My heart pounded in my chest almost as loud as the music echoing throughout these once glorious halls. The music swelled and faded within our crumbling battlefield. The swarming fires painted the scenery, dampening the ear candy. Another cough and I had officially found my second wind. The creature’s iron plated tail vibrated quickly like a rattlesnake. It slowly rose up from behind its hunched back, mimicking a giant scorpion about to strike. Metal scales tightened together along its unnatural body, causing bright blue sparks to sprinkle along the ground. More smoke twisted itself around the monster’s flickering body. The blue sparks popped from inside the cloud, reminding me of magical fireflies caught in the night sky. It was terrifying but beautiful.
SMASH! Its clawed tail slammed against the wall beside me, instantly turning it into rubble. My
fell from my left hand and stuck in the scorched floor like a javelin. It took all my strength to hold onto the
in my right hand.
That snapped me from my silly daydream.
“Missed me,” I taunted. Thunder rumbled overhead as the creature recoiled for another attack. It shuffled its legs, kicking up ash that blinded me for a moment. Through the creeping dust I could barely make out the shadow of the beast as it inched forward. Thunder rumbled again, shaking what was left of the building’s foundation. It was letting us know that our time was almost up. We needed to finish this dance soon. We had let this battle go on too long. I guess this once majestic castle was on its last legs too.
Cocking my head to the side, “You ready?”
A low, guttural rumble filled its chest before traveling up its long neck. Pieces of the glass ceiling began to fall all around us. A thick growl gurgled from the monster’s rotten mouth as it tried to ignore the colorful, raining debris. It wasn’t a full blown roar, but still loud enough to almost drown out the pulsating music coming from the walls. I reached down to my belt and slid up the volume on the fading music. Drums beat with fury. Guitars squealed with delight. Violins chanted inside my head. As it filled my ears, I smiled wider. The beast did not share my new enthusiasm and snorted a fiery grunt my way. Its steel tail curled behind it again, readying for a final attack.
Sweat drizzled down my forearms and along my fingertips. I quickly reached down for my fallen blade, with adrenaline racing inside my veins. The hot moisture made it harder to hold the weight of my weapons. My gritty fingers tightened around the handle of my energy sword as I brought it back up to my left side. Instinctively, my index fingers tickled the triggers of each blade. I had practiced for this very moment for almost six months now, I would not let sweat be my downfall this time.
“Are you ready?” I asked, waving the two exotic swords before my eyes. They both screamed to life with a burst of power. First, the right blade in a yellow and white arc of light that hummed like a laser beam. The second blade buzzed alive like an angry chainsaw. I revved its trigger, building up a powerful pulse of electric fire that flashed blue and green in a strobe effect. It didn’t faze the smoldering behemoth in the least. Its back arched and cracked as it positioned itself for the last of our dance.
My armor was worthless now. The creature’s fire made sure of that. Though I felt like Superman, my teenage body would crumble easily if I wasn’t careful. One perfect strike from that dagger of a tail and I was done for. I had to make my move, and it had to be now. Time slowed as I focused on my target. Twirling embers fell along my shoulders as the castle began to quake.
“Bring it!” I taunted, with a quick flick of my blades. My breath stuttered in tiny puffs. The steel goliath filled with a staggered growl, that felt more jolly than deadly. A mocking roar that sounded exactly like an evil laugh. The same kind of laugh you hear from the serial killer in a slasher movie, just as he gets the upper hand. A morbid,
“I told you so!”
As that sound grew in strength, my cockiness withered a little and it could smell my new fear. I swallowed hard and stepped forward. So did the iron beast. Our eyes locked. Mine squinting through the dancing fires between us. Its bloodshot stare engulfed me. Purple lightning crackled to life from its cat like pupils, twisting up to the night sky in a gravity defying ribbon. It was now or never. I revved my elemental blades again and ran forward. They slashed through the thick air, pushing for the heart of my enemy. The monster lunged forward, its tail trembling furiously. Fire poured from its unhinged jaw, spilling over my legs and boots. This was it. This was my moment. My be all, end all. I was beyond ready.
Or so I thought...
“Oh no...” I whimpered from my worn chair. Her voice startled me and my soda spilled all over my lap.
“Lucas Ryan!” Her voice carried up the stairs from the kitchen.
“Yes, Mom,” I cringed. I glanced down at my soiled pants. The soft-drink had officially ruined my favorite pair of jeans.
be playing on that computer again! You know your father grounded you from that thing! I’m warning you...he’ll be home any minute.”
“Oh, joy,” I whispered, to my flashing computer screen. With a quick tug on the dangling chords from my headphones, I yanked out my earbuds with a pop. Music poured out from their tiny black speakers. Grumpily, I removed my drenched pants and reached for a dry pair of shorts.
“Dinners on the table! Hurry up!” she called upstairs, again. Softer this time, but still loud enough to annoy me.
“Be right down...”
“Your Algebra homework better be done too! Your dad’s going to have a fit when he sees your last math test!”
“I know, Mom!” I yelled as loud as she had before, mocking her tone. My chest grew tight with anger as I watched the two words,
, blink on my computer screen. I had spent the last hour fighting that digital demon with all my wits and tricks. I had him this time. My cyber clan would be furious with me. I had promised them a victory.
“Okay!” I huffed. Parents just don’t understand the plight of the young and valiant gamer. I let out a long sigh. “Next time, Infinity Dragon.”
I reached out to my computer screen and clicked the power button to off. As I surveyed my room, I found that I had attracted a familiar audience outside my bedroom window. The Anderson’s. My super rich, super uptight and super bored neighbors. They filled their retirement days treating my family as their own, personal pay-per-view event. The Ryan zoo next door.
Mr. Anderson with his silver and black hair, and expensive clothes that never seemed to fit his skinny body. Mrs. Anderson was exactly the same, only a few inches shorter. They could easily pass as some weird brother and sister. They stood next to each other from their spacious balcony, that was attached to their giant house. Judgmental glares and all. Man, I hated when they looked at me like that.
Slowly, I walked toward my bedroom door, dreading the conversation that loomed at dinner. As my hand found the doorknob, a wicked little smile slid to the corner of my mouth. I turned and found the Anderson’s still watching me, still judging. With a quick wink, I raised my hand and tipped my imaginary hat to them. I followed it up with a gracious bow.
“My pleasure,” I taunted, and walked out my door.
I ran down the stairs with the image of colorful flames from my previous battle tattooed inside my brain. The dragon’s breath still blurring my eyes. I hadn’t realized how hungry I was until the smell of dinner hit me. The magnificent scent of homemade tacos. Yum, my favorite. My new found joy would not last though.
“Really, Lucas? A 63 percent!” My tired and grumpy father stood stern, holding my latest travesty I called an Algebra test. He loosely crumpled the paper in his hands, waiting on my response. I tried my hardest to ignore the bright red
, circled at the top of the page.
“Dad, I can explain...”
“I don’t want to hear an explanation. I want results!” He dropped the paper to the dining table’s surface and folded his arms together. His face wore lines of grief and middle age.
“But, Dad...” I tried again. He stepped forward and placed his hands on my shoulders. I hated when he did that.
“You are not applying yourself, Son. You’re better than that grade. You have so much more inside of you.” His eyes filled with disappointment. I let my mind wander as he began his usual tirade. As the riot act grew louder, I drifted back to the digital battle that I had to forfeit earlier. I have been trying to slay that miserable dragon for the last three months, and that was the closest I had ever gotten to its demise. Maybe I wasn’t meant to reach the next level. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. Maybe...victory just was not meant to be.
“What’s not meant to be?” he asked. What? Was I thinking out loud again? I tended to do that when I was lost in thought or my favorite daydream. Bad habit, I know. His eyes filled with a quiet concern, and his hands fell to his sides, freeing me from my prison. It snapped my attention back to the subject at hand. My failures.
I nodded politely, “I’ll try harder.” Slowly, I sat down at the table and began to sulk. I had officially lost my appetite. As much as I hated to admit it, my dad was right. I could do better in my Algebra class. I could do the best. The best of the best. Numbers had always made sense to me. Equations were simple for me, but mind numbingly boring. Ugh! I learned at an early age that the smarter kids weren’t always considered the coolest, and the smartest kid was an absolute outcast. But lately, I was feeling the same way at home.
“One more chance, Lucas. One! You pass or you’re done! All your electronic toys, your gadgets...gone. You understand me? All of them,” he huffed over his plate of fresh food. I looked at his plate of tacos and then slowly up to his face. He looked as if he wished I was never born. It made my stomach ache. He stared at me, waiting for me to say something. I took a long deep breath and scooped up my dinner plate, even though I wasn’t hungry anymore.
“Welcome home, Dad.”
I turned and ran up the stairs to my room.