The Day The Sun Died - a steampunk fantasy adventure [teaser]

I was dressed for a funeral when the world ended.

We all were, actually.

A barren wasteland, desolate and overshadowed by a thick fog was all that remained. The roads were deserted. Quiet. Nothing but the faint wind and the sound of gravel beneath our tires. Muggy as it was, we had the top down. Sweat caused our formal attire to stick to our flesh in all sorts of uncomfortable places. Cas sat hunched behind the wheel, masking his concern with concentration. Yaxen sprawled lazily in the backseat with a map over his face; he was responsible for giving directions but the humidity made him wilt. Quill rode shotgun, literally holding a shotgun, his lean elbow propped against the door as his sallow cheek leaned into a grubby fist. Ari fussed with her dress, wondering if it wasn’t miserable-looking enough for the event at which we planned to make attendance. As if to reassure her, Yaxen took it upon himself to cross his ankles in her lap. Mud that was caked to his boots flaked off in chunks, which only irritated her further.

And me? I sat in the trunk. With the cooler and first aid kit. Knees drawn up to my chin, torso straining against the constricting corset Ari had forced me into earlier. She didn’t have to tie it so tight, really; my ribs felt as though they would crack and I couldn’t breathe; this humid air really wasn’t helping.

It seemed odd that no one was about, but then again it was quite early in the morning. Barely daybreak.

And yet something seemed…off. I couldn’t put a finger on it. But I knew the others could feel it too, especially Cas and Quill. Cas was gripping the steering wheel tighter than I’d ever seen him, and he was naturally a white-knuckler. A sullen, brooding boy, Quill never spoke much, but the way he held tight to that gun and the way his fist was pressed into his cheek made me anxious.

A low growling noise erupted from nowhere, causing Quill to snap his head around sharply, goggles nearly whipping off into the fog. He never went anywhere without those goggles, just like Yaxen never went anywhere without his lucky teacup.

“Don’t move, Kekiokolanee,” he muttered, jaw tight as he twisted in his seat and raised the gun to his shoulder. I kept my head down, burning with embarrassment over my name. What possessed my parents to give me such a title, I’d never known.

His heterochromatic eyes were keen, piecing through the gun’s sight as he lined up for a shot.

He fired. The gun kicked, lurching him against the dashboard as Cas floored it.

“GO GO GO!” Quill screamed, slapping the dash and lining up for another hit. I swayed in the back, holding myself tightly. If the corset hadn’t made me sick, Cas’s frantic driving surely might.

“I lost the map!” Shrieked Yaxen, groping aimlessly at the surrounding fog while Ari fought his flailing arms down. Agitated, Quill barked at them to keep still.

It’s never wise to get between a hunter and his game, though I wasn’t sure how on earth he could see anything, much less get a clear hit.

Whatever it was, he managed to strike it down. It gave a rusty clunk followed by a low moan before silencing altogether, and Cas tore off like hell’s hounds were nipping the jeep’s tires.

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