July Blog Chain

Doing AW‘s July Blog Chain. I hadn’t planned to do this month’s cause I am seriously busy, busy, busy. I just left editing hell for revision hell and am on a crash course for more writing, editing and revisions. But I couldn’t resist the prompt.

This month’s prompt:
Dog Days of Summer

In other words, the hottest and most sultry part of summer. Etymology lesson here. As always, can be prose, poetry, play, fiction, nonfiction.

Simply post your blog’s URL in this thread to join. I’ll let you know in this thread when it’s your turn. Once your turn comes up, you have two days to complete a blog post using the prompt. When you are finished, please add a link to your post on the thread.

Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible.

Dog Days

“Did you find them?”

“No, my Lord. They’ve hidden themselves well,” replied the soldier. His mouth was in a tight line. His eyes showing the fatigue his body did not.

“Search every house in the quarter. I want my slave back. And I want him back too,” Lord Andier’s voice sounded calm. His eyes were fevered, however.

The soldier kept his thoughts to himself. Wisely. The heat was making everyone crazy. Although, the soldier knew it wasn’t just the heat making Andier crazy. Andier had been crazy long before the sweltering summer heat. Trying to find Dideron and the stolen slave, Isla, was trying to find a needle in a haystack. There were too many people. Too many poor. Dideron and Isla could be hiding anywhere.

“If you can’t find them by tomorrow night, there will be hell to pay,” Lord Andier’s voice was still flat, holding no emotion. “Do I make myself clear, Major Ascanto?”

“Perfectly, my Lord. It shall be done,” Ascanto replied.

“Excellent. Find Isla. Bring her to me bound and naked. Bring them both to me bound and naked. Then raze the entire city,” Andier spoke.  Ascanto wasn’t sure he heard correctly.

“My Lord?”

“Bring that bitch to me and the mongrel she’s fucking, then kill everyone on this planet,” Andier’s voice was razor sharp.

Ascanto kept the horror off his face, but it was a near thing.

“Lord, there are a little over a million people just in this settlement,” Ascanto tried to reason with his Lord.

“Yes, and they hid my traitorous Isla, no? And spawned Dideron from their loins,” Andier’s eyes lost their feverishness as he spoke. “I loved her. I gave her everything. She betrayed me. With a street rat. Kill them all. They are mine. This planet is mine. The city is mine. They live by my sufferance. And now they will die by my sufferance as well.”

Ascanto knew better than to answer. Not this time. Andier had just dropped verbal landmines. But Ascanto couldn’t hide his thoughts from himself. It hadn’t taken long for Ascanto to realize Andier was insane. Completely and clinically insane. Andier was also too powerful for any to speak of his insanity.

The vision of the city burning along with its inhabitants made Ascanto’s stomach turn. He knew it then. He should have never accepted this post. He’s had reservations about it from the first. He knew the superstition about the Sirius sector. Had chalked it up to imagination and the need to blame the unseeable on the unknowable and hadn’t put credence in the warnings that something was wrong, seriously fucking wrong, here.

Now Ascanto knew it was true. All of it. It was also too late. He’d been caught in the madness. Caught by his arrogance.

“Shall I warn them, my Lord. At least tell them to evacuate?” Ascanto kept the horror from his voice, knowing it would fuel Andier’s anger to even greater heights.

Andier didn’t speak for long moments. “Yes. Let them scurry to try and evade the destruction. Whoever remains will be sacrificed. Those left behind will be payment for those allowed to escape.”

“It shall be done, my Lord,” Ascanto replied as if Andier had made the suggestion. It was safer for all of them if Andier thought it was so.

Ascanto turned and walked to the door.

“Major,” Andier called. “Don’t fail me. Your men will pay for your failure. While you watch.”

Ascanto was glad his back was turned and he was facing away from Andier. He wasn’t sure he could kept the revulsion from his face. This Sirius sector assignment had been a clusterfuck from the first. It had just gone past clusterfuckiness all the way to fucked up beyond all belief.

“It will be as you wish, my Lord.”

Ascanto stepped out of the Lord’s chambers and into the scorching summer heat. It was so hot, it felt as if the flesh was melting straight off his bones. His men should be resting, sleeping off the heat. Instead, they were going to go searching for a missing slave and her lover. House to house.

Sacrifice. Sirius. The height of summer. The words kept repeating in Ascanto’s mind. Over and over again. Until Ascanto threw back his head and laughed. It wasn’t a laugh of amusement. Not at all.

“Perfect. History is come alive. Repeating after nearly a millennia,” Ascanto spoke to himself. He entertained the thought that he was perhaps going slowly mad himself. Cracked. Like Andier. It wasn’t the first time he entertained the thought that it was the sector driving them crazy. Something in the air, or not in the air.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Height of summer.

It was a loop none of them could avoid.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Height of summer.

He should have never taken this assignment. He should have begged for the spot in the Orion sector. On his knees if he had to. He should have pleaded for a transfer when he realized the extent of the rot in the Sirius sector. He didn’t. And now he would pay. His men would pay. They would all pay.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Height of summer.

Madness had come for them all. All because of a crazed Lord, and a love affair. Forbidden love affair, true. It was the insane Lord that turned the love affair from a romance to a tragedy. That turned the sheltering of lovers into a mass treason. That was going to turn this city from a bustling market into a slaughterhouse. And make everyone on the planet a sacrifice.

Ascanto gave orders to his men. His men were too well trained to show any emotion. They moved to carry out his orders.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Summer.

Ascanto wondered if other soldiers in other times listened as those very same words reverberated within their minds. He should have never accepted this assignment. His realization came too late, however.

Sacrifice. Sirius. Summer.

Three words. Embedded forever in his brain. He wouldn’t survive. He knew it. He accepted the inevitable. Then he moved to follow his men. Searching each house. Until death came for them all.

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com (link to post)
articshark – http://www.drslaten.com/blog (link to post) <———— you are here
Sunwords – http://susannedoering.wordpress.com (link to post)
Diem_Allen – http://mindovermistakes.blogspot.com (link to post)
U2Girl – http://ancatdubh.org (link to post)
robynmackenzie – http://www.iwanttobeawesomewhenigrowup.com (link to post)
Lady Cat – http://radomwriterlythoughts.blogspot.ca (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com (link to post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Diana_Rajchel – http://blog.dianarajchel.com/ (link to post)
HistorySleuth – http://historysleuth.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
AshleyEpidemic – http://www.soipondered.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
SRHowen – http://srhowen1.blogspot.com (link to post)