Story Collection - Uncharted Territories

Chapter 1: Rahkim’s Gambit

Rahkim knew that time was precious. He had spent a lot of it on mundane things in his life. He wished now that he hadn’t. He wished that he had done something better with his life. He had heard that death brings this perspective in everyone’s life but this knowledge did him no good. His feelings didn’t change and he couldn’t handle this burst of emotion that his heart was feeling as it slowed down. It was tired now. He could feel the gap between his heartbeats increasing, slowly but surely.

The screeching sound startled his heart back into a flurry and his weakening resolve strengthened once again. Yes, he was going to die. Yes, he had no more time left. Yes, this is it. But he still had a few moments and if he can conquer these few moments, it just might be a lifetime’s worth of achievement. His mind send out these signals to his body and he got up, his whole body aching.

His left leg was completely shattered. Each step was more painful than the pain he had experienced in his whole life before today. His right leg was holding the weight of his entire crumbling body. The wound in his back had twisted his body to the left. He looked around with a strained neck and saw half his arm lying roughly seven feet away from him, still holding the gun. He was still holding the sword in his other hand and that was the only thing that had held the enemy at bay.

“Seven feet, I can do seven feet,” Rahkim whispered to himself and took one step towards his severed hand. His whole body jolted with pain as he tried to move towards his gun. What he wanted to do now will not work with his sword. In all irony, it was tactically a defensive weapon right now. He had taken two steps when he heard the manic scream again and his remaining hair stood. He knew what was coming next. He felt the heat on his back and a shot of pain as fire covered his body. If not for the sword, he would have been crisp but the sword took a lot of the heat.

“It’s now or never,” Rahkim grunted and hobbled towards his arm. He was still five feet away but close enough to just fall towards his gun. His ribs crushed in his lungs as he fell face first. He ignored the pain, dropped his sword and extended his hand towards his gun. His other hand was still holding the gun but there was enough space for him to pull the trigger. He turned with the gun in his hand facing his enemy.

The brown-scaled dragon looked at him with disdain and prepared for another fire attack. The dragon was almost thirty feet in length from head to tail, slender but with a mean temper. It stood on four legs and the wings remained open even when it landed on the ground. It was bleeding from the one bullet wound and one gash, the two attacks that Rahkim had managed till now. They hadn’t hurt him much but enough to make the dragon wary of Rahkim. Unfortunately, Rahkim had taken mortal damage and was barely breathing. He knew that he had one shot. The bullets were powerful enough to penetrate this dragon’s scales but the wound was not going to be lethal with the thick layer of muscle and fat.

‘Inside the mouth,’ he heard in his head and aimed straight at the dragon. The dragon opened his mouth to attack with fire. Rahkim curbed his instinct to move away from the flame and pulled the trigger as he got engulfed with the fire. With no sword to protect him, he felt the fire’s wrath on each cell of his skin as it burned away. He heard the screeches of the dragon in pain. Rahkim hoped that his shot had reached the target.

His body lay on the ground with no energy, no skin, and no pain. Either the pain receptors were burnt away or his mind was too numb to process pain anymore.

‘The dragon is dead. We won,’ a somber female voice said in Rahkim’s head.

‘Thank God,’ Rahkim said. He thought he smiled but he didn’t know if his face had responded to his mind.

‘Rest now, friend,’ another voice, boyish, said in a tone that relaxed Rahkim.

‘It’s over,’ Rahkim said as he felt his heartbeat increasing and his mind going to sleep.

The void went silent with two bodies – one human and one dragon – lay dead. There were no witness to this battle except for a sword and a gun.

‘Now?’ the gun – called Nisha – asked the sword – called Kabir.

‘Now, we search again. Rahkim was brave.’

‘Yes, I wish we had more time to train him. He would have been a good Slayer.’

‘He would have been. A week’s training was never going to be enough and on top of that, we had to fight a brown dragon.’

There was no sound during the whole conversation. The two weapons were connected telepathically as they were forged from the same metal by the same person at the same time.

‘Let’s find another Slayer,’ Kabir said and the two weapons vanished from the void along with Rahkim’s body.