Chapter 1 (Picking through the rubble)
The back of Kkaj’s head thumped from the hangover as he lifted another stone. How could a Metal Specialist do this much damage? A lump caught in his throat, and he stretched his back, looking upon the Desolation.
Smoke. Crushed buildings. One the banks of the Lokab River, Orakab City once thrived because of its superior trade routes. Filled the king’s coffers with tax revenue. Brought in the finest liquors from RiBer and JaZmoj. Now Orakab City was nothing more than an extended pile of rubble. Blood flowing down the streets and staining the Lokab River red. The stink of rusted coins and human waste clung to the air like a crocobear dragging dinner back to its lair.
Kkaj gagged, and a wave of dizziness slapped him across the face. He stumbled backwards. A piece of rubble caught his foot, and he fell to his butt. Thump. He squealed.
A cold hand flopped into his lap.
His gaze traced the limb to the pile of rocks on his left. “Is someone there?” He scrambled to his knees. A survivor! He grabbed the stone on top and tossed it aside. And the one beneath that. “Just hang —”
The arm fell free. Alone.
Kkaj’s heart fell into his stomach, and tears filled his eyes. No. He turned then puked into the street.
Saffer and Roffor stepped around the corner then rushed to his side. “Are you alright?” they asked as one in their beautiful RulFer accents, rolling each of the vowels off their tongues as if it were the sweetest liquor.
He trembled. “Moonshine!” He placed his face into his hands and cried. “Is there not a single survivor? How could I let this happen?”
The sisters each grabbed one of his shoulders and pulled him to his feet.
“I failed everyone.” Kkaj sniffled. “I wasn’t strong —”
Saffer jerked his head to the left and inspected his face with her large, golden gemstones she called eyes. Soot stained the white coat with three-quarters sleeves she always wore, and dust covered her dark green hair. She pulled a small blue rag from her pocket then stepped forward until her breasts pressed into his chest. “Calm down, love.” She wiped his lips then folded the rag and shoved it inside his mouth.
Kkaj’s eyes bulged, and he gagged as she scrubbed his tongue. “What are you —”
Saffer pressed her soft, peach flavored lips to his.
The tension melted from his shoulders, and his knees became weak. Why could she always do this to him? He was supposed to be sad, wasn’t he? Yet, with her tongue in his mouth, he became excited. A fire burned between his legs, but he put it out and slipped away from the kiss. “Thank you. I needed that.”
A smile split her face, and she glanced down to his waist. Then she leaned in close and lowered her voice. “I bet you need more. How about we give up this search? We won’t find any survivors.”
Tempting. Kkaj shook his head. “Sorry. If there are any survivors, we have to save them before it is too late.”
Saffer pouted her lips then kicked a stone across the street. “Fine.”
“We’ll have enough time for that later.”
Roffor coughed. “Are you two done yet?”
Kkaj turned to face her and nodded. “Yes —”
Unlike Saffer, Roffor had light blue eyes with a slightly paler complexion and her dark green hair was still pristine, tied in a bun. Her quick wit and beautiful dimples made her a joy to be around.
If he could only find a way to carry on a relationship without hurting the woman, he may have asked her out. Instead, Saffer pounced on the opening left by his last courtship.
Roffor’s gaze shifted towards his crotch, and her cheeks turned a deep crimson. She tugged at her turquoise short-sleeved shirt and chewed on her lower-lip.
His hand shot down to his dirty black pants and smoothed out the silky material. He strode into the street as if nothing were hard. “Let’s start,” his voice cracked, “this search.
Saffer snickered before joining him on the street. Once Roffor had caught up, all three began shouting, “Is anyone out there? Make even the smallest noise, and we’ll come find you!”
No response. Hours passed until the sun reached its peak overhead, and their voices gave in.
Kkaj rubbed at his throat. “How about lunch?”
The sisters nodded then pulled off their black and white leather backpacks. Saffer set up a fire while Roffor prepared the food.
From Kkaj’s backpack, he pulled out a bottle of water and three glasses. He reached from the rum and stopped himself short. No. With how powerless I was yesterday, I don’t even want to think about liquor right now. He filled each glass.
Saffer turned away from the fire and stared a hole through Roffor’s back.
Kkaj arched an eyebrow. “What is it?”
“Yes. Well, no.”
A smirk pulled at the edges of Kkaj’s mouth, and he craned his neck around to look at Roffer.
She tossed food into a large pot with the grace of a screaming octospider on a tightrope. Her lean muscles and round hips were — No.
Kkaj chewed on his upper-lip.
“That.” Saffer’s voice carried a hint of poison that would shame an octospider. “You always look at my sister like that.”
Kkaj blinked. “Huh?”
“Are you not satisfied with me? Do you not love me?”
Despite inhaling deeply, the air didn’t reach his lungs. Was he choking? “No. I mean yes.” The broken buildings around him spun. “It’s not like —”
Saffer brushed her fingers across his cheeks. “I’m just teasing you.”
He found his breath and sighed. “Oh.”
“You need to relax.”
Roffor sat the iron pot into the fire and took a swig of rum. Fire rolled from her fingers and a column of blue flames encased the pot. “My stupid sister is right.”
“Who are you calling stupid?” Saffer reached into her pocket and pulled out a flask of tequila.
A laugh bellowed from Kkaj’s lungs, and the tension fled his shoulders. “You two are hopeless.”
Both women turned to him with wide grins splitting their faces. “Glad to have you back,” they said at the same time.
Kkaj smiled, trying to ignore the destruction around. The Desolation he caused. For the women who had done so much for him, he could at least pretend to be happy for lunch.
Next: Chapter 2
PS: sorry for cutting down the search. It was getting a bit grim and didn't fit my mood last night while writing it.