Saturday Sample Chapter: Piteraq Dusk

Here’s something new for my blog. Since I have some books coming on the way, I thought I would throw some of the sample chapters of my works.

Without further ado, here’s the first chapter of my novelette Piteraq Dusk!

I was accelerating toward the outpost. There was no traffic in returning, and I only saw one vehicle in the parking lot. Hmm, there should be at least one of the carrier trucks around even at this time, but it does throw me o when I’m dealing with another twenty-four hours of sunlight. I checked my watch and it said 8 P. M., yet it looked like the sun was just about to stretch out of its cosmic bed to meet all us frigid earthlings. Either the sun itself had narcolepsy or we’re just cold individuals. Everything has been covered in white for decades, especially around the Verglas Republic.

I finally parked my Arctic Skiff in the lot and walked inside the outpost. It was such a small metal shack amidst this snowy landscape that an arctic wolf would feel claustrophobic inside it. As I walked past the automatic doors, I saw my boss behind a counter in front of an infantry of parcels. He was wearing a thick jacket and had a huge black beard that doubled as a neck warmer for him.

“Thanks for getting back on time, Jaroslav [Yah-Row-Slav].” He flatly said in his gruff voice. “I’d thought you’d get here half an hour later.”

“That job was easier than expected. It was a miracle that there weren’t any snow hazards or wild animals around.” I spoke as I stomped by cobalt black boots on a nearby mat in the entrance. “So, what else do you need me to deliver, Sir?”

My bearded supervisor grabbed one of the packages and tossed it in my direction. I looked at the parcel in question and it read “Imperative Shipping to Aderyn Deltana 32 W. Hexagonal Terrace Nacelle, Verglas Republic.” It’s been a while since I got an imperative shipping notification. So that meant that I had to deliver it no later than two days from receiving it. Nacelle? That’s a trek from here. Man, that means I have to leave right away to make it on time. “Why are you standing there?” My supervisor questioned me.

“Alright, sir. I’ll be on my way.” I complied. I quickly grabbed a black backpack that had my full name of Jaroslav Chevak [Che-Vahk] patched into it.
“It’s an important package, so I’ve heard. Don’t fail me and you better not fail Dendrite Delivery Services.” He ordered.

I just nodded and went on my way with the package, going back outside into the frigid cold straight to Yukihime [You-Key-He-May], my Arctic Skiff. It was a light blue vehicle that faded into white. These forms of transportation were kind of like those ancient things called snowmobiles, but they had no wheels. They hovered a few inches from the ground and had built-in trunks to store things.

I checked my backpack to see if I had everything inside it. Extra coats and layers? Check. Food supply with calorie bars, granola, and meat rations? Check. Flares and a handgun? Check and check. Canned heat and emergency tents? Check. Thermo-skin gloves? Major check. It was enough wearing thick layers of clothing beneath this huge white coat made of synthetic fur, but one could not be overdressed in this landscape.

Collecting my bearings, I said, “Fire it up, Yukihime.” The ski immediately turned on and we began rising a few inches. “Hey, I’m looking to go to 32 W. Hexagonal Terrace in Nacelle. What’s the best way to get there?” A green compass then materialized with some lasers, and it pointed westward.

“Thanks for letting me know. How long is this going to take?” I asked my vehicle, “Just ballpark it.”

“Jaroslav, it’s going to be a day if we’re lucky. This journey will most likely take twenty-eight hours. I’d suggest a bunch of caffeine or a shot of adrenaline.” Yukihime spoke. She spoke in a very well-mannered tone, yet the hum of static undermined her otherwise human-sounding voice.

“Gotcha. We’ve done day-long excursions for work before now. Enough with the chitchat, we’ve got a package to deliver.” I told my machine.

“Alright. Just be careful, Jaroslav.” She responded.
“I make no promises, but I appreciate your concern.” I replied to Yukihime.

Then we sped out of the parking lot and into the great white yonder. My place of work must have been the only visible building for a while. It takes most people ten minutes or more to get to anything noticeable, whether it was getting groceries, fuel, or a clothing shop. There weren’t many places where people could be entertained in this eternal winter (not-so) wonderland out here in the vast V-Rep as we sometimes call this land. Only snow, mountains, and ice could be seen for miles, so this was going to be a boring drive. The only thing that could really entertain me or anyone else would be the occasional aurora borealis or any other natural phenomenon in this snowy desert. I swear if I had a dime for every time someone got outside of their homes to see those things, I’d take the first flight out of this land. It’s not like I could go ice fishing for money, or as some people say, that it grows on trees. Shame we don’t have those in my neck of the woods.

I wondered what was in the package I was being paid to carry. I couldn’t just tamper with it to find out what was inside that thing, but it must be important if this Aderyn person is requesting the fastest premium service that Dendrite Delivery offers. That’s quite the expense to allow couriers like us to deliver it to whomever uses it. This could be a bigger paycheck for me if I do this right and in a timely fashion.

We tread onward and I felt the frigid winds hit my face despite my wearing goggles and a thick scarf over my mouth. I knew that people dealt with the cold in these lands before this place was even called the Verglas republic.

You see, roughly three hundred years ago, some people were worried about something called global warming and how that was supposed to damage the climate, ice floes melting, seas rising, and many people dying. Well, the last part was true. Before I was born, earth actually went through global cooling. Both poles expanded with all the ice forming bigger lands, and some humans and several species of animals couldn’t handle the drop in temperature worldwide. Interestingly enough, some people in the Northern Hemisphere migrated closer to some of these frozen lands since it was cheaper and all that jazz.

I should know. My mother was one of them. She was from this one country that was once called Slovakia and she married one of the local guys of Aleutian descent over in the republic, and they had me. Granted, no one (including myself) expected that I would make a living as a postal courier in this arctic area, but who can blame me? How many jobs were out there that didn’t involve snow in some way? The only rich people I heard of that actually live around here work in the fuel business. Problem was that people couldn’t load up some dinosaurs in their vehicles as much as in past centuries, so they had to use new ideas like hydrogen, synthetic petrol, and other things I can barely pronounce. Maybe they should start using solar power which would be practical given these nonstop sunny days that happen during certain times of the year, but what do I know? I’m just an idiot who delivers packages to people in this frozen community. Come on, it’s Polycrystal Year 27 (PY 27 in our calendar or 2327 AD if we still used the old method of recording time) and we don’t have that stuff? Geez.

“Jaroslav, are you doing alright?” Yukihime asked me. “You seem to be immersed in your own thoughts. It’s a miracle that you’ve been following my navigational systems so far.”
I snapped out of my own little world and addressed my Arctic Skiff. “Sorry, Yuki. Seems like you know me too well.”

“I’ve known you for the past ten years of your life ever since your parents saved their money to buy me.” She noted. “You always have that vibe as if you’re ranting about something in your head.”

“Caught me red-handed. Looks like I did it again. It’s not like I get to rant about whatever’s on my mind with most humans you know.” I smirked under my scarf. “Anyway, we’ve been traveling this same path for a while now. Are you sure that we don’t need to turn any time soon?”

“Of course not.” Yukihime coyly snarked at me. “Trust me, you’ll know once we change course or anything like that.”

“Well, you’re the navigator here.” I said to her. “Don’t steer me wrong.”

“Have I ever done that to you?” It sounded like she was insulted when I said that.

“Can’t you just take a joke for once, Yuki?”

“Maybe. Looks like someone forgot to update my sarcasm chip in my emotional hard drive.” She said in a deadpan manner.

“Guilty as charged.” I complied with my machine. “Let’s keep going and deliver this package like I’m supposed to do.”

Yukihime just sighed with her static countenance as we trailed across more snowy fields. There might have been an arctic tern or hare within sight, but it was still pretty much the same in this initial part of our journey. Wouldn’t it be neat if a little action happened occasionally? Nothing to impede us at all, but just something that would make this trip less boring.

Don’t forget to pre-order Piteraq Dusk!

Piteraq Dusk is property of C. M. B. Bell.


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