A Whisper of Hope: Chapter 1

A Rude Awakening

The bright rays of the sun rudely awakened Marshall Matthews from the deepest sleep he’s ever had. Marshall immediately felt something was wrong. Instead of the soft comfort of his bed, he felt the tiny prickling of grass beneath him. Marshall’s eyes shot open and saw an angry man as he stood over him menacingly.

“Get up heretic,” the pointy eared man growled at Marshall. Marshall stared at the strange man standing over him as he held a bow with an arrow pointed at his chest. He wore strange clothing that seemed to be made of leaves patched together in some strange makeshift suit of armor. He had short pale blonde hair and a nasty snarl. Marshall looked into the pointy eared man’s sky blue eyes and saw hatred reflected back at him.

“Um…,” Marshall began as he tried to collect his thoughts. Marshall looked around but instead of his shared quarters with his coworkers, he saw thick trees and tall grass teeming with life. A rare sight.

Am I in a reforestation zone? Marshall wondered. What… what happened last night? This has to be Kimbal‘s fault somehow.

Marshall racked his brain for answers. Thinking quick and finding answers to problems has always been his forte. It’s how he got out of the slum zones and managed to get a scholarship and even graduate with honors from the United North American University. He was a damn prodigy!

But for all his mental acuity, Marshall remembered not even a hint of what happened the night before to land him in this situation. The more he tried to think, the more confused he became. The last thing he remembered is the lab, working on Project S.C with his colleagues. Now here he is flat on his back like a newborn babe while some wannabee elf aimed a very convincing replica bow and arrow at him.

“How dare you ignore me slave!” the pointy-eared man said but Marshall paid him no mind. He was lost in his own thoughts. He had bigger issues to deal with, like how to get back to the lab. Or more importantly, if Mrs. Kinsler would be making her famous pork sandwiches. IF

Marshall soon began to lose himself in his own world but a staggering pain in his abdomen quickly brought him back to reality.

Marshall groaned as h.e clutched his gut. Son of a…! He kicked me! What’s his problem? This cosplaying make-believe crap is getting our of hand. Focus Marshall. Deal with the crazed man first, fantasize about pork sandwiches later.

Marshall frantically looked around for anyone to help. However, Marshall did not see a single soul in sight. Damn. I don’t want to give these up, but this might be the only way to get this madman go leave me alone.

“Listen man if it’s ration cards you want, I can hook you up. Verified. Good organic stuff, none of the processed slop they give out at ration stores. Deal?” Marshall gave the pointy-eared man his best smile. The type he used to con old ladies out of their ration cards back when he was still a slum rat.

The pointy eared man snarled at him. “You think you can bribe a noble warrior of the Avalon Kingdom? You are going back to the slave pens. The rest of your friends have been caught. Now get up!”

“Whoa there Legolwhatever you are. I think this charade has gone on long enough. I don’t know who you thi-” a vicious kick quickly shut Marshall up.

Damn crazy bastard. I’ll have you reported to the authorities for this. I’m working my ass off everyday to save this dying rock. Where the hell are the guards!?

“I’ve has enough of your games human. Get up or die.”

Marshall looked at the strange man and realized he was serious. He really will kill him if he doesn’t cooperate. Just play it cool. Cooperate for now so you don’t get maimed.

Marshall ignored the throbbing pain from his gut and slowly got up. Marshall raised his hands above his head to show he would not resist.

The strange man looked at him like he was the crazy one but the man didn’t say anything.

“Let’s go,” the man said as he pointed towards a dirt path leading to God knows where.

Stiffly, Marshall began walking down the path with the strange man trailing behind him. With an arrow trained at his back, Marshall had no say in the matter. Please let that arrow be a replica or something. Marshall thought but he had a feeling it wasn’t.

As Marshall walked, he took note of the plants and trees he passed. They were strong, full of life and stood proudly firm in their place. Even the plants were growing well. Some of them reached his knees. A sight most people never get to see anymore.

Marshall felt a warm feeling in his chest. Perhaps it’s not too late for Earth after all. Now if only this crazed man wasn‘t kidnapping me. Where the hell is everyone? A reforestation zone that’s thriving should have several armed guards to keep the rebels from looting it. No way they got killed by some cosplayers with arrows.

“So, where are you taking me?” Marshall asks. Marshall waits but receives no response.

Not one for small talk I guess. I just need to play along for now until I can get away. After that I’ll need to get in contact with the authorities but where am I in the first place…

After a few minutes of walking. Marshall and his captor arrive at a small clearing where several other people were waiting for them.

Several armed men and women holding bows or swords were forcing people into large cages that were attached to makeshift wooden carriages. They wore some type of strange green clothing that covered their whole body.

Is that… made of leaves? Are they seriously wearing clothes made of leaves?

The people in the cages were incredibly thin and wore ragged clothing that were coming apart at the seams. Some of them were bloodied and covered in bruises and dirt.

Marshall had to cover his mouth at the scene. Fucking crazies! What’s wrong with these people. This is almost as bad as the slums.

One of the armed men approaches Marshall and his captor. He wore the strange collaboration of leaves and plant life that made up the rest of their clothes. But upon closer look, Marshall saw that instead of clothes, it looked more like some type of armor. The thing that stood out to him most was his very long hair.

Does a barber not exist to this guy? They’re free. Guess he spent so much time playing nature warrior that he doesn‘t what it’s liked to properly groom himself.

Long Hair sneered at Marshall, “Keep your eyes to yourself, slave.” The newcomer turned his attention towards Marshall’s captor but instead of English, they spoke a different language.

Marshall tried his best to understand, searching for any patterns or similarities to the languages he knew, but to no avail. There was something oddly familiar about the language but Marshall couldn’t figure it out. The two of them kept looking at Marshall, giving him odd looks filled with contempt and confusion.

Marshall followed their eyes and realized they weren’t staring at him, but rather they were staring at his clothes. Marshall examined his clothes but saw nothing out of the ordinary. He was a scientist, so of course he wore a lab coat. The only thing remotely odd about him would be his custom made work boots for the constant spills that Kimbal made.

Have these crazies never seen a scientist before? Marshall wondered with amazement. How ironic. I’m the scientist yet I’m not the crazy one.

As soon as the two finished their conversation, Long Hair looked at Marshall with a predator’s smile. A chill ran down Marshall’s spine and he instinctively took a step back. Marshall felt something sharp at his back and looked to see his original captor now holding a blade.

“Stay still,” Marshall’s captor said. Marshall. Marshall looked back at Long Hair and saw that he was holding a leather collar in his hand.

“No!” Marshall exclaimed. “You are not putting a fucking collar on me. I am not a animal!

Choosing pride over survival, Marshall sprang into action, throwing a wild elbow behind him. To Marshall’s surprise, the blow connected with a solid crack  knocking down his captor. Marshall ducked under Long Hair’s grasp and ran for his life.

I am not a damn slave. These people will actually enslave me, fuck! I am NOBODY’S play thing.

Before Marshall could get very far, one of the armed women tackled his legs and forced him down. Marshall tried to push her off but soon her comrades appeared. Marshall fought desperately but the weight of several people held him down as punches and kicks rained down on him.

Eventually Marshall’s strength ran out  and he resigned himself to blow after bloody blow on his limp body. His captors beat him for what armed like hours.

Fuck… this… shit. Is all Marshall thought before blacking out.

Hi there! I hope you enjoyed part 1 of A Whisper of Hope. This is very much a draft and a story very dear to me as it details the journey of one of the most influential characters that resides on the fantasy planet that I spent a few years on and off making. If you liked the story please leave a vote and it with your friends!

If you have any questions or criticism don’t hesitate to comment!

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