Monday, 4 March 2013

FLASH FICTION AT FIVE: Exile - A Sci-Fi Adventure by R. L. Kiser

Exiled by war Captain Kendrick  runs to the outer edge of the galaxy until out of fuel. He lands on Earth, 1600s Japan. A 6'5" interstellar traveler on Earth in 1600s Japan, where the average height is 5'8". Imagine the possibilities.

Kendrick raced toward the bandits but the one closest to him heard him coming and dropped to one knee deftly avoiding his clumsy sweep with the katana. As Kendrick rushed by, the big sword cleaving only air, he knew he made a mistake.

As the bandit rose he twirled bringing his katana level with Kendrick’s back, arms extending as he spun. Kendrick barely had time to dive forward, his momentum aiding him, but even so the other man’s blade passed within micrometers of his back. Kendrick went down on his face rather than in a roll as he should have, knowing it was another mistake. He rolled immediately to his right over the katana and his bad arm just as the other man’s blade stabbed into the ground where he was, the sharp steel missing him by only inches. He tucked his legs up and threw himself over backwards coming up with the katana in both hands held vertically in front of him, a natural defensive posture. And it was that for good reason because his opponent was already swinging his blade at him.

All in a flash of thought Kendrick calmed his mind, concentrated on only one thing, his opponent, remembering all the things he learned from Gogenko and Kenshi and even Doiyoko. He let those learned instincts take over and his muscles responded automatically. The other big blade crashed into his and sent a shockwave up through his injured arm. Had he not taken that split second to set his mind the pain would have been devastating.

Kenshi worked with him so patiently for a long time instructing him in not only the physical moves, but more importantly the mental and spiritual concepts behind his brand of martial arts. A warrior was not just a man with a weapon. He was the weapon, the fine steel in his hands just an extension of himself. There was only one objective, vanquish your opponent. Think of his moves before he does. He was a body of electrical energy, Kenshi called it Ki, and the body was capable of only so many moves. Your opponent would broadcast his thoughts and you could know his moves if you were attuned to him.

There was no joy, no pain, no try, just do. He instructed him in the way of energy flow through the body. The so called ‘power points’ where energy was generated within the body and sent out through channels. He was subconsciously doing this to heal his injured arm and other bruises without realizing it. Now his body felt like it was charged, his mind more alert than ever before.

There was an inner fear that lurked somewhere in his being. In front of him was a well-trained warrior. He knew what Kendrick knew. This was the first time he actually faced such an opponent in a life and death struggle with a blade.

In the same flash of thought he identified the fear and tore it from his thoughts flinging it away. He saw clearly his opponents’ next move and brought his blade vertical to the right and moved slightly to his left. The other blade came flashing down to meet Kendrick’s as he tilted the blade with his wrists down toward the guard hoping to catch the other man by surprise and maybe scoring a hit. It worked. The other man’s blade was thrown down and slightly to Kendrick’s right leaving him to pull his own blade back across the man’s arm just above the wrist. The man was wearing wrist and forearm guards but Kendrick’s finely made blade easily cut through the thick leather. Bright red blood oozed through the band.

The mercenary wondered who was this lazy tall stranger in front of him with a katana? Such a fine weapon was generally given to warriors with many years of training and in the service of someone important. A warlord or shukido, those trained in the ways of Bushido, the Way of the Warrior. He had never seen a man that looked like him before. Especially one so big. And despite his size he moved well, as if he too was trained in the ways of Bushido. But these were questions for later. He had a foe to vanquish.

Continue the story with Exile...

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