The Last Mountain (Short Story)

“Is climbing as easy as you thought it was?” Nexus said.

“It’s, it’s not that bad” I choked, struggling up a mound of steel and glass embedded in the granite mountain.

“I told you it be harder;” Nexus chimed, crawling on the frame of my backpack, his blue lizardly tale coiling around rusted bar. His crystalline wings glittered in the mountain sun “But you’re the one carrying the weight.”

“Aren’t faery dragons supposed to be quiet?” I reached the top of the steel mass. “Warn the little Hansel and Gretel to speak ‘only in a whisper’, or the fae’ll drag you off to Baba Yaga.”

“Ah the good ole’ days of luring kids into the Sylvanwald”

“The Sylvanwald” I began, pausing to start climbing the floating concrete rubbles. “doesn’t fucking exist.”

“o-o-o-of course it does! You’re a witch, Kathryn! A witch! You have a piece of the Sylvanwald within you.”

“Are all fae this annoying?”

“You should watch your tongue around fae, o-or else a cat might steal your tongue!”

“All the mutants in the world and I’m stuck with you.”

“W-well I wouldn’t say stuck. I’m your familiar. You’re a witch after all”

“Yeah right. And how about you un-familiar?”

“Why would you want to dispel your familiar?”

“How about you get your satyr and pixie friends to come and sing a song and bull shit?”

“No! don’t listen to the siren’s song. Man is best not to meddle with the fae”

“Says the biohack reject. All the DNA programmers are the same. Make some impossible pipe dream shit that’s barely functional, fill it with lies, and throw it out to go fuck up the local ecosystem… What? You can’t take the heat? Then take your mundane ass and scram. I’m climbing this damn mountain to get the hell away from scum like you. I thought you might be fucking different. But no, you’re the same pothead trash that the rest of the mutants are.”

Nexus was still there. I could feel his scrawny body weighing on top of my backpack. He never made so much as a whimper.

We… I climbed in silence for a long time. The Last Mountain was hard to climb. The remnants of an old city were there. Vines pressed at the cracks in the faded gray blocks and dripped from the remittance of buildings scattered through the sky by tectonic bombs. A colossal patina statue float gently in the sky. Her torch and book now home to the gigarachnid who’s web hold them to the mountain wall. Other parts are adrift in the gaps between peaks of cliffs.

The once homes of the shattered city was silenced by plague long before the first mutants were made. Now the empty halls moaned like wales in the cliff top winds.

I made camp in the shell of a parking garage. All of the building had been blasted to dust, or thrown elsewhere, leaving a crown of rebar thorns around its bowed head. I cobbled together a fire by the base of a concrete column. I studied an outdated guide book as I picked through my rehydrated dinner.

“Young girl” Nexus whispered “A crumb for a spell?.”

“Fuck off you repressed rat.”

“Didn’t your mother teach you not to anger the fae?”

“Damn it. There are no fae, no Sylvanwald, no magic. You are the worst elements of a rat, a 7 year old, and the typical romantic ‘scientists’. You are a mistake, you are unnatural, you have no place on the mountain.” I tried to strangle the faded blue creature. Chased it up the rebar, reaching and grasping for its stupid slippery tale. When I ran out of rebar to climb I through rocks, hoping to shatter his iridescent wings. I pulled a loose chunk of concrete out and threw it with all the might I could muster. The sandy stone broke Nexus’s wings. He fell, barreling towards the ground. The centuries old column beneath me wained and crumbled.

end of psyco-chip® cache

ADDENDUM 4: OPPERATION SUMMERY

  • Objective: Assassination
  • Status: Successful (08/14/54)
  • Cause of Death: Gravity assisted head trauma

ADDENDUM 5: MESSAGE FROM CHIEF OF ANOMALOUS CONTAINMENT DIVISION 6.

Congratulations Task Force Omega. Witch 4306 (A.K.A. Kathryn “□□□□□” Baker) has been terminated. The Last Mountain program has been proven useful in containment of Witches, among other anomalous threats. Your request for additional funding is granted, in addition to further funds to expand the research of delivery and manipulation of psychoactive compounds.

– Commander Paul Baker

end of message