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The Lost Country, Episode Five: "Mesozoic Knights": The Lost Country, #5
The Lost Country, Episode Five: "Mesozoic Knights": The Lost Country, #5
The Lost Country, Episode Five: "Mesozoic Knights": The Lost Country, #5
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The Lost Country, Episode Five: "Mesozoic Knights": The Lost Country, #5

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First came the time-storm, which erased half the population. Then came the Dinosaur Apocalypse …

 

How did it all begin? Well, that depends on where you were and who you ask. In some places it started with the weather—which quickly became unstable and began behaving in impossible ways. In still others it started with the lights in the sky, which shifted and pulsed and could not be explained. Elsewhere it started with the disappearances: one here, a few there, but increasing in occurrence until fully three quarters of the population had vanished. Either way, there is one thing on which everyone agrees—it didn't take long for the prehistoric flora and fauna to start showing up (often appearing right where someone was standing, in which case the two were fused, spliced, amalgamated). It didn't take long for the great Time-displacement called the Flashback—which was brief but had aftershocks, like an earthquake—to change the face of the earth. Nor for the stories, some long and others short, some from before the maelstrom (and resulting societal collapse) and others after, to be recorded.

 

Welcome to the Lost Country.

 

From "Mesozoic Knights":

 

I unsheathed Blood Zephyr and gave her a heft—relishing the touch and feel of her (even if it was steel on steel); appreciating her weight and balance. "No, Black Duncan. It is not possible. The Quest must not be surrendered—not for you or for anyone. You know that."

 

"And again, I ask: Why? Why, when everything a man could possibly want exists right here, now, and in such great plentitude? Bah. This shard and purity nonsense … it's just that—nonsense. Why pursue it?"

 

I watched as Mortigen drew his own blade and paused to admire it, as I had done. "What would you prefer?" I snapped. "To live as prisoners? To wither away in this very cell but for the chance at some sexual gratification?"

 

Black Duncan guffawed. "They're not going to keep us here. Eve told me herself. It's only until they get to know us. Regardless, I think I should tell you, that, that …" He lifted his chin and squared his shoulders, as though having made up his mind at last. "That I'm staying. That, indeed, I did lay with my progen—my progen—"

 

"Your progenitrix," I said, curtly.

 

"His hooker, he means," quipped Mortigen.

 

Black Duncan shot him a glance—one I wouldn't want directed at me. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that. No; she was skilled in the art of love, it's true—but she was no prostitute. None of them are. What happened between us was genuine. It was real." He looked at me almost pleadingly. "Don't you see, Galaren, it was real. It wasn't like Ambergard—or Craxis—or the way we talk—or any of this other faux bullshit we've immersed ourselves in. No. This was nature, this was truth—real nature, not some phantasmagoria dreamed up by—by Them," He nodded toward the ceiling and the sky. "Like the bees we saw coming in. They are trying to build something here, Galaren; something based on reality, not fantasy. Something authentic. And I'm not simply going to walk away from that. I mean, surely you can understand—"

 

"What I understand is that we're getting out of here," I said. "And that the test of virtue will be met. And what I suggest just now is that you—"

 

"Your test of virtue, Galaren. Your test. I'm not leaving. I'll help you escape, but I'm not going to—"

 

"Shh," said Mortigen. "Someone's coming."

SpracheEnglish
HerausgeberHobb's End Books
Erscheinungsdatum19. Mai 2021
ISBN9798201392376
The Lost Country, Episode Five: "Mesozoic Knights": The Lost Country, #5
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Autor

Wayne Kyle Spitzer

Wayne Kyle Spitzer (born July 15, 1966) is an American author and low-budget horror filmmaker from Spokane, Washington. He is the writer/director of the short horror film, Shadows in the Garden, as well as the author of Flashback, an SF/horror novel published in 1993. Spitzer's non-genre writing has appeared in subTerrain Magazine: Strong Words for a Polite Nation and Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History. His recent fiction includes The Ferryman Pentalogy, consisting of Comes a Ferryman, The Tempter and the Taker, The Pierced Veil, Black Hole, White Fountain, and To the End of Ursathrax, as well as The X-Ray Rider Trilogy and a screen adaptation of Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows.

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    The Lost Country, Episode Five - Wayne Kyle Spitzer

    by

    Wayne Kyle Spitzer

    Copyright © 2021 Wayne Kyle Spitzer. All Rights Reserved. Published by Hobb’s End Books, a division of ACME Sprockets & Visions. Cover design Copyright © 2020 Wayne Kyle Spitzer. Please direct all inquiries to: HobbsEndBooks@yahoo.com

    All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this book is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

    The Flashback/Dinosaur

    Apocalypse Cycle

    Flashback

    (re-printed in Dinosaur Apocalypse)

    Flashback Dawn

    (re-printed in Dinosaur Apocalypse)

    Tales from the Flashback

    (re-printed as Dinosaur Rampage)

    Flashback Twilight

    (serialized as A Dinosaur is a Man’s Best Friend;

    re-printed as The Complete Ank & Williams,

    Dinosaur War, Paladins)

    A Reign of Thunder

    (serialized as Heat Wave, collected in

    The Lost Country [book], Escape from Seattle)

    A Survivor’s Guide to the

    Dinosaur Apocalypse

    (collected as Dinosaur Carnage, and in

    The Lost Country [book] and Escape from Seattle)

    The Lost Country: The Series

    _____________________________________________________________

    It shone lustrously, feverishly, sun-painted red and gold, as though it were on fire—the Gateway to the West (although for us it opened eastward); the towering landmark that meant we had arrived at our destination, our Court of Pelles and Eliazar. Even so, it wasn’t the great arch of St. Louis that had compelled us—Sirs Mortigen, Black Duncan and myself—to ride some 1,500 miles (all the way from Ambergard in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to the Missouri/Illinois border, on unshod horses), but, rather, the edict of King Craxis—who, having listened to the newcomer’s account (about what he had seen in St. Louis) had, at the behest of Mercurius, dispatched five of his knights—two of whom were now dead—to return physical proof of what the vagabond had (supposedly) seen.

    And yet it was supposed no more; for what the man had spoken of—with a tremor in his voice—now lay before us like a mirage (if it could be said to lay at all; for it had stabbed into the Mississippi at such an angle that its rear quarter hovered above the far bank like a cloud).

    ‘As though God Himself had shot an arrow into the earth,’ said Black Duncan, quoting the vagabond. I must say, it’s bigger even than I expected—easy now, girl.

    He wrestled with his reins; all of us did. The horses had become nervous.

    "And he was right about another thing. It stinks. Of Them. Positively reeks. Like sulfur mixed with ozone; or like when its little brother was hovering over Lake Coeur d’Alene."

    And set the mosasaurs against us, I muttered. Or so Mercurius believes.

    Mortigen laughed. "The beasties? Nah, they were just hungry. Lake Coeur d’Alene couldn’t sustain them, that’s all. Old Merc loses himself in the part—it doesn’t always have to be aliens. Plus he speaks in riddles. You know that."  

    And yet he has performed miracles, I said.

    We were referring, of course, to our oracle, our wizard, or at least the physics professor from Evergreen State College who had played him since before the Flashback (and continued to do so); someone who now claimed to have real gifts—an effect of the time-storm, he said; a supposition for which there was some evidence. As for who we were as a group—as an enclave of survivors—we had been the Northwestern Branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism (covering Oregon, Washington, and the northern tip of Idaho), otherwise known as the Kingdom of An Tir. At least, until Craxis—an outsider whose real name was unknown—had taken over and consolidated his power. Now we were Ambergard, a fully-functioning city-state with real weapons and a real stronghold (Castle Hagadone, formerly the Coeur d’Alene Resort and Marina, on Lake Coeur d’Alene). And we were not, despite Mortigen’s flippant tone and demeanor, to be trifled with. Nor were the considered theories of Mercurius to be taken lightly.

    What the hell are those? mumbled Black Duncan, his voice muffled. He was chewing some jerky from his saddlebag, peering at the top of the arch. "Are those—people, or something?"

    I followed his gaze—to where three dark shapes hung suspended from the monument (they were small enough in comparison that we hadn’t even noticed them earlier), then quickly fished out my binoculars.

    They are, I muttered, adjusting the lenses. People, I mean.

    I focused on the figures’ faces: on their blue, lolled tongues, their blank, bulging eyes. "What’s more, I’ll characterize them. Hanged people. Just kids, really. Teenagers. All boys. They hanged them from the windows."

    I handed the binoculars to Mortigen.  

    Weird that the vagabond didn’t mention it, said Black Duncan.

    They probably weren’t here then, I said. The decay hasn’t set in.

    He’s right, said Mortigen. They’re too fresh. Probably hasn’t been a week. He ground the eyepieces. Their clothes are clean—casual. Did you notice that? Like they’re crisp from civilization. The tall one’s even got a slipper—

    It’s a good bet we’re being watched, I said. I unhooked my helmet from the saddle and held it in my hands; then scanned the area to where a nearby bridge crossed the Mississippi. We should get moving.

    Eh? Mortigen lowered the glasses and looked at me, surprised. And test our virtue so soon? That isn’t like you, Galaren.

    I’d started to move away; now I curbed my horse—his name was Scar, due to an old jousting injury—and

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