The Sword: Genesis

They thought it was all easy
They thought it was 'just a war'
They thought the Turks were their only adversaries...

They were wrong.

This is my entry for the 'Sequel/Prequel' competition, based on Marcus Sedgwick's 'My Swordhand is Singing'.

1. Genesis


“Take cover!” shouted Thomas as the Turks began to fire their muskets. It was a dark day. The English were at war with the Turks; they had just arrived in Antalya and were hoping to make up ground . “Fire!” he bellowed again, as the enemy began to retreat. The ground was blood-soaked, and the air was pungent with gunpowder. Death pervaded the air like a disease - taking one man then spreading to another. 


Once given the order, Tom and his team ran forward, into the battlefield. They came across a group of Turks, cowering in the ruins of a hut, but when they entered, the men fled, through a small tear in the back of the hut, heading towards a nearby village. All they had to do was run after them and capture them in the village. To Tom and his team it seemed like a walk in the park. They had sent a scout to the town beforehand, Mario, and he briefed the team with the details. It seemed that they were the only Turks in the village, and there was no one else.


Tom was the leader of the team, and he told the other members, Victor,  Alexander and Esteban, what they would have to do, and what was going to happen afterwards. After he did so, they entered the village, and began to search the huts. Hut by hut they shouted ‘clear’. Soon, though, they came across one with a trapdoor.


“I found something!” shouted Alex. The group congregated around the door, analysing it, looking around, thinking of all possible sequence-of-events, thinking of a plan. “Okay,let’s go down there. Alexander, you stay here, and guard the entrance.” ordered Thomas.

“Okay, then.” Tom, Esteban and Victor headed down there, leaving Alexander behind them. There was a rusty ladder, it was built into mud, it looked unstable, like it would topple over, but the trio climbed down anyway.


When they reached the bottom of the ladder, they saw a dug-up cave. It was neither a mineshaft, nor a mine, but it was formed like one, with supports holding up the mud. It had not seemed that it had been ventured, it had just been dug out; it had obviously served as a secret exit, a hide-out, or even a headquarters. Whatever it was, it had to be explored, for the mission’s sake.


They explored the cave, not finding much, only empty rooms and places where it caved-in, so there was low expectations from the crew. “We've been in the army for three years, and we get stuck with 'cave duty'” The voices of some Turkish soldiers could be heard from afar. The men crouched, and snuck their way through the cave, peeking around corners, checking for the Turks, hoping to find something.


“We’re never gonna find anything!” Said Esteban, a bit too loudly.

“Hey, I heard something - over there!” Shouted one of the Turks. Some more soldiers came to their side, wielding weapons, ready to fight. They crept forward, inching towards them step-by-step, not losing their focus, never letting their guard down. They snuck around the corner, to find nothing. “What? I could've sworn that I heard something!”

“You’re going crazy, Berat! Now, come on, let’s go and get some ale and bread” The Turks walked off, without a clue what they heard, heading to their room, to end their shifts.


“That was close.”

The four men were hid in a small room, it stood unnoticed at the back of the tunnel, with the door muddy and rusty. Esteban checked if the coast was clear, peeping through a small crevice in the door. No guards were apparent, so he slowly creeped open the door, still peeking through the crack in it, and when it had been opened, there was no guard in sight.


They snuck out, standing erect and with their weapons sheathed. As they made their way back around the corner, there was still no guards, so they moved forward, aware, and with their weapons drawn. But just when they let their guard down, some Turks creeped up from behind, the ones they had seen before, but this time there was seven of them. They raised their swords in the air, ready to swing, however just when they were about to, their faces had become pallor, with their veins becoming darker, and they fell to the floor.


The three that remained turned around, wondering what was going on, and behind them stood four pale, tall men, with blank faces and marks on their neck. “What? Who are you?” Asked one of the soldiers, but, without reply, one of the men lunged forwards, digging his teeth into their neck, after a moment, he became pale, and just like the other men, fell to the ground. Two more of the mysterious men did the same to both of the other Turks.


“Run!” Shouted Victor, with the men coming ever closer, he had his sword drawn, but that was nothing compared to the power of the men, as one blow to the chest of Victor sent him into a wall of the tunnel, fracturing his spine, and dislocating his shoulder. He was left on the floor, screaming for his life, and begging for mercy, but that was not what he was given, as one of the men crouched down, grabbed his head, and snapped his neck.


The others ran away, trying to find an exit, a way out, a lifeline. They ran through the hallways, peering into each door, with only seconds to see into each one, making the chance of missing something very high.


They had been running for some time, and were almost starved of energy, but they came across a ladder, it was rusty, cold, but it seemed like it was a way up, and that was just what they were looking for.


They made with haste, knowing that every last second wasted would leave them more and more vulnerable to the beasts that they had seen earlier. They ran and began to seek refuge at a nearby village, at which point they had realised that they never closed the trap door. They told the people of what they had seen, but they had dismissed it as mere hocum.

This is the end of part one. 

I hope that you enjoyed reading this book, and I need YOU

Please comment your ideas on what I could add in the SECOND installment...

Swordhand: Imminence

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