The Harvesters are closing in. The beast is about to break free. Angie and Ruggie can’t outrun them. Their only hope is to venture into The Lost, the remains of civilization before the war, and before the collapse of the planet.

Scrappers Part IV continues the sci-fi horror universe that is being developed through short stories. Enjoy the story in written word, audio, artwork and soundscape.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

All Harvesters Short Stories

Into the Macrocosm

Into the Macrocosm by Konn Lavery

Short Stories of the Dark Cosmic, Bizarre, and the Fantastic

This story is found within the collection.

Enter the expanding universe through the lives of 22 souls, as the Nameless One and their ghoulish companion attempt to unlock the mysterious past of how they died.

Listen (original)

Read (edited)


Clash

Fear nearly demoralized me, as I struggled to grasp that this scenario was real. I wasn’t trained for this, and neither was Ruggy! He didn’t care, though. The hothead wanted to bring the brawl to the Harvesters. I knew he was right—wrangling the beast was our best bet. What other options did we have? Those damn gene-freaks were marching for us. Chances were they knew our location way before we knew theirs. That was what they did. They were faster, more advanced, and less compassionate. They were the bigger fish.

THWUMP! A desperate pounding came from our cruiser, and the whole vehicle wobbled. The beast was soon to break free. Ruggy’s crazy plan better work. We couldn’t outrun them. We couldn’t hide from them. The only advantage we had was that abomination.

ANGIE, THIS WAY, came Ruggy’s message.

I stayed close to my partner, hiding behind a boulder. Our night vision from the goggles let us see clearly in the shadowed rocks that shielded us from both threats. Razor-sharp claws peeled the cruiser door peeled open. The beast sprung out into The Lost, charging into the open space on all fours, like some enraged great ape. The Harvesters held their electro-spears, letting them hum with power. The gunmetal chrome suits shined against the light of their weapons. High-frequency clicking noises erupted from the outfits. These were the Harvesters I was used to. That Harvester at the crash site had been a rarity. They were never vulnerable. They were only killers.

GET READY TO FIRE AT THE BASTARDS, Ruggy typed. THAT BEAST IS CLOSING IN FAST.

I watched the Harvesters as Ruggy eyed the beast. We were on our own—game time. Sweat poured down my face as I watched the four Harvesters march up the hill. The clicking began to ring in my ear. Their suits’ frequencies were always just too high for us humans to handle. They were too close. There was nowhere for us to turn, either. We were backed into a corner. The only way out was to dash at the opportune moment. This plan needed to work.

The beast bellowed, leaping into the air, claws extended. The Harvesters were a good two dozen paces away from us. They raised their spears in defensive stances, ready for the soaring abomination. One Harvester typed something into its wrist, causing the suit to open several holes around its wrist and up the forearm. Pitch-black tentacles slithered out of the holes and up towards the beast. They reached the creature in a blink of an eye, coiling in midair. The beast hacked at the tentacles, slicing some of them apart. A couple of them wrapped around its limbs. Another grabbed the neck, immobilizing the beast in mid-air.

SHIT, LET’S GO! Ruggy typed, sprinting from the hideout.

New Plan

There was no time to ponder. I joined Ruggy, rushing from the spot back up to the cruiser. Glancing back, I saw the Harvesters were stabbing the beast, still in mid-air, with their electro-spears. Each penetration sent a charge pulsating through the creature’s body. It groaned in agony and fell limp. The clicking sounds increased in speed.

I THINK THEY’RE ON TO US, I typed out.

Ruggy didn’t reply. We ran. Now, I couldn’t look back. I didn’t want to lose track of Ruggy. Thumping picked up behind us as the clicking continued. They couldn’t be far behind. We could only run deeper into The Lost, ducking underneath a metal bar. I mimicked every jump, turn, and crouch Ruggy made to avoid obstacles. Our best bet was to use the terrain to shake these bastards loose. We skidded on a decline, reaching a cavern near the bottom. Or maybe it was a building. It was clearly human-made at one point in time, based on the concrete and metal frame.

We hurried through the hallway. Large rocks had fallen over, causing the ceiling to cave in. Moss and boulders covered the interior of the cavern. The small entrance would give the Harvesters a hell of a time getting in. Ruggy made a sharp turn left and all clicking dissipated. The humid cavern evolved into an old building as we ventured deeper, the plant life lessening. Parts of the floor were destroyed, showing deeper levels below. We carefully avoided falling, stepping around into the next room.

WAIT, Ruggy typed, holding out his hand. There was a window in the next room.

I SAW ANOTHER WAY, I typed out.

GO.

I took the lead, guiding us back to a split in the hallway. Each step we made kicked up dust, disrupting our view. I tried not to breathe in too intensely. The air was stale, and particles fell softly to the ground. We probably kicked those up as we jogged in. I did my best not to cough. We couldn’t make any sound, for the Harvesters couldn’t be far behind. We followed an incline. Small holes throughout the building let light in.

WE DON’T WANT TO GO UP, Ruggy typed. WINDOWS.

WHAT THEN? I asked.

WE SHOULD GO DOWN, Ruggy typed.

THAT’S THE BUILDING’S FOUNDATION. WE’D BE TRAPPED.

MAYBE. MAYBE NOT. THERE ARE TUNNELS ALL OVER THE LOST.

A loud crash came from behind us. Then the kicking of rocks. Fast rattling sounds. The Harvesters.

WE DON’T HAVE A CHOICE, I typed.

NEXT DROP WE’RE TAKING.

There was no time to argue. We had to keep moving as the thumping rose. It was distant, but it grew louder. I hopped over metal wires, rocks, and other rubble. We passed a corridor to a well-preserved hallway. Never had I run this fast before. I panted; my legs felt like delicate twigs, ready to snap at any moment. Our steps echoed. The air was thick, making me lightheaded, and yet I couldn’t stop, for there were no breaks. The light-holes were less frequent as we travelled deeper, a clear sign we were making progress downward.

Once the Same

Crashes erupted from behind us. The corridor crumbled as a herculean, gunmetal being charged towards us. The Harvester kept its head low to avoid the ceiling as it stormed forward.

SPLIT, Ruggy typed as he dashed into a side room. I GOT LEFT.

I took the next right turn I could, leading straight to a large pile of rubble blocking the path.

“No, no, no,” I whined. I spun around a couple of times. The ceiling had no gaps to hop up to. The clicking and footsteps amplified. The rubble in front had a small opening below. I could make it. I had to.

I chucked my gun underneath, letting it skid to the other side—my turn. I took a step back and dashed for the gap, falling onto my side and sliding on the dirty tiles. I stopped about halfway through and pushed with my legs for the remainder of the way.

A large hand slammed down as I lifted my foot, missing by a fraction. I got to my feet, snagging my rifle as a hand reached through the gap, attempting to grab anything it encountered. After several pats, the hand slid back. Through the smaller cracks in the rubble, I watched the Harvester stand upright, slightly hunching, in its full seamless suit. Small circuitry, or neurons, in a liquid substance, was just below a translucent layer of the suit, pulsating. The gunmetal texture was just below this outer later. The head stared at me through one of the higher openings. The unsettling part about the Harvester was that there were no eyes. No breathing holes. Only the shiny seamless suit with its complex outer membrane.

I twitched my eye, shutting off the night vision of the goggles to get a naked look at what humanity had become. The moment held as the Harvester stared at me in the poorly lit hall. The clicking stopped.

“Why?” I asked. I wasn’t even sure what made me speak. It was kind of a stupid thing to say. This was a Harvester, a gene-freak of another world. They’d left us to die on this rotting planet. They’d decided that they were better than us and would let humanity rot.

Maybe Not

The Harvester’s head tilted. Breathing calmly, it punched the rubble, causing dust to fall. The sound startled me, but I remained still. If I ever made it out of this, it would be one hell of a story to tell back at base. Now, I was even closer to a Harvester than at the crash site—all on the same scrapping mission. The key was I had to get out of here to brag about it.

A humming came from the suit as small holes appeared on the being’s face.

“No,” I mumbled, taking a step back.

Black leathery tentacles wiggled their way out of the holes, heading for me. Great. I roared, pulling the trigger on my rifle and firing at the approaching appendages, stepping backward. The gun clacked. Shells hit the ground. Bullets pinged off the Harvester’s face. It didn’t flinch. The tentacles closed in. I directed my aim. Some bullets shredded through the black things, causing them to fall to the ground, oozing translucent liquid.

They didn’t stop as their torn halves wormed forward. This was pointless—It was time to run. I spun around, sprinting down the hall. The Harvester slammed its fist against the rubble several times, sending shards flying. High-pitched clicking erupted like a sputtering engine.

RUGGY, WHERE ARE YOU? I typed.

I took a left turn in a T-intersection and hurried lower into the building. All light vanished. The deeper I went, the more the Harvester’s sounds faded. Perhaps the large being couldn’t make it through the rubble—a streak of luck. I could only pray to anything listening that this was the end of it. I navigated through my goggles’ interface to turn on the night vision.

ANGIE, came Ruggy’s text. WHERE ARE YOU? DON’T SHARE YOUR LOCATION, JUST TELL ME.

I KNOW THAT. I’M NOT A ROOKIE, I typed back. I’M FINE. I THINK. WHAT ABOUT YOU?

I GOT AWAY. I HEARD IT GO AFTER YOU. THEN THE FIRES. WHAT HAPPENED?

IT TRIED TO GET ME, BUT I SNUCK THROUGH SOME DEBRIS. THE FATASS COULDN’T FIT.

YOU LUCKY GIRL, Ruggy typed.

NO SHIT. WHAT’S THE PLAN? YOU IN A SAFE SPOT? I respond.

THERE’S NO WINDOWS HERE. I WENT DEEPER, BELOW GROUND. IT’S COLD, BUT SILENT.

GOOD, I typed, feeling relief as I approached a small turnoff. Maybe it had been a closet at some point in time. Either way, now it was as good a hideout as any.

YOU? Ruggy typed.

IT’S DARK; I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW. I THINK I DITCHED IT, THOUGH, I typed, sliding down to the ground.

ALL RIGHT. WE’LL WAIT IT OUT. KEEP STATUS UPDATES. ANYTHING WEIRD, YOU SHARE, OKAY?

CONFIRMED, I replied.

WE GOT THIS, KID :-), Ruggy typed.

I lowered my weapon with a sigh. We were both safe. Separated, but we’d get out of here. Harvesters had been known to give up on a hunt before. They had better things to do with their time than wait around for a couple of humans.

One Last Attempt

A light grazed on my calf, causing me to jump. I spun to face the wall, rifle pointed. Nothing. The sensation moved upward, pricking. I reacted, dropping my gun in a spasm. I twisted my leg. There, on my calf, a black remnant of the tentacle inched its way up me. I squealed, covering my mouth. No sound was my friend. Several deep breaths calmed me down as I watched the thing crawl up my leg. A sharp rock was on the floor. That’d do.

I leaned down gradually, keeping my eye on the wiggler. My hand reached for the rock, carefully avoiding sudden movement. I snagged the sharp stone and lifted it at the thing, ready to sideswipe. One deep breath in, and I swung. The rock slapped the wiggler, knocking it off my leg. It fell onto the floor and squirmed. I landed on my knees as I pushed the stone onto the tentacle, crushing it. That wasn’t enough. I raised the rock and continued to smash the wiggler until it was a flat disk, squirting transparent liquid everywhere. Some chunks of it rose from the mess, trying to move.

“Die!” I said through my teeth, slamming the rock down several more times, ending the final blow with a twist. I paused, waiting for it to make another move. It didn’t. I had won. Finally, the hunt was over. Now Ruggy and I would wait this out. We’d get out of here.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

All Harvesters Short Stories


Into the Macrocosm

Into the Macrocosm by Konn Lavery

Short Stories of the Dark Cosmic, Bizarre, and the Fantastic

This story is found within the collection.

Enter the expanding universe through the lives of 22 souls, as the Nameless One and their ghoulish companion attempt to unlock the mysterious past of how they died.

Scrappers Part IV by Konn Lavery
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Konn Lavery

About Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a Canadian author whose work has been recognized by Edmonton’s top five bestseller charts and by reviewers such as Readers’ Favorite, and Literary Titan.

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