Contact

The squeak of damp cotton and hot skin sliding across sweat soaked leather mingled with the tread of horses on gravel. The sun sat above the horizon and illuminated the peasant woman’s back betraying her firm curves beneath a faded summer dress. She hummed to herself as she put up the laundry on the clothesline. Wooden clothes pins snapped over the cloth with practiced efficiency.

Gloria dismounted and walked down the lane with the reins of the horses as Raul walked beside the beasts on the other side out of view ready to jump into action if needed. They ambled along to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Gloria looked down at the path of trampled stone and continued past the edge of the barn where she handed the reins to Raul. He placed himself between the horses to remain partially hidden.

Footsteps announced the woman coming around the far side. Gloria slipped around the corner of the building and ducked behind the open barn door next to a rain barrel. The woman walked through the open door and paused. She listened and looked around. Behind the door, Gloria felt her adrenaline skyrocket. She observed the other Dragon Sister through the crack between the door and frame. The young woman was wary. Perhaps she sensed the eyes on her or heard Gloria’s labored breath.

In the dim light of the old barn, a shaft of light burned through the shutters and illuminated Gloria’s quarry in swirling dust rising in a curtain around the Dragon Sister. She rummaged in a wooden bin and lifted a piece of pipe and looked around. Gloria paused in the shadows. The woman’s eyes narrowed to slits in anticipation of a battle with an unknown enemy stalking her in the barn.

“Sister.”  Gloria’s husky whisper escaped her anxiety choked throat.

A flash of movement registered in the light that cut through the musty air like lasers. Gloria held her ground and braced for an attack. A reply sliced through the silence on Gloria’s left side.

“You are not my sister,” came the icy reply.

“Come to me then and look into my eyes.” Gloria challenged the Dragon in the shadows. Gloria’s demeanor was that of a warrior accustomed to winning in battle, but her heart raced, and her head pounded with tension.

Angry eyes glowed in the dun colored dark, fixed on Gloria.

“Attack me so I can kill you or recognize me now,” Gloria demanded. “I don’t have time to play games with a village girl.” Gloria’s battle-hardened nature fueled the urge for a fight and the taste of blood.

A face formed around the glowing eyes as the woman approached Gloria. She stopped and glared.

Your skin smells like a Cybrid whore, but your eyes are those of my sisters.”  The cutting words stung Gloria, reminding her she was an outcast and not entitled to live inside the bond of the Dragon Sisterhood.

“It is good fortune to die before your pretty flesh sags from your bones and your skull cracks from the rage of a Cybrid whore fucking your man.”

The sound of the thick pipe hitting the dirt floor followed a hand touching Gloria on the cheek.

“You are the sister that fights the Cybrids alone.”

“We fight for our people, and each other.”  Gloria reached around her Dragon Sister and hugged her. She closed her eyes and felt the raw strength of the younger Dragon.

“I need your help, sister. My man and I need food, fresh clothes, and a place to sleep,”  Gloria pleaded.

“Where is your man?”

“He’s waiting outside with the horses.”

“Bring the horses in here for safe keeping. Upstairs is an empty room where you can stay.”

* * *

Tesli, the young Dragon Sister, knocked on the door then walked in with a tray of chicken Tabaka in hazelnut sauce, fresh baked bread, cheese, and wine. Georgian cuisine was famous throughout Eurasia and from the delicious herb and spice smell of the food, Gloria felt the popularity was well founded.

Their host put the tray on the small table and set out the meals and flatware. Tesli placed a small vase with a single wildflower in the center of the table as Gloria and Raul joined her. Their hunger showed in their eyes as the smell of the savory food excited their ravenous appetite.

The Dragons resisted devouring their meal like beasts. Raul busied himself with his meal and sipped his wine as his eyes shifted between Tesli and the door. He hadn’t lived to his current age on trust alone.

“Where is your man?” Gloria asked when she paused long enough to swallow her chicken with a sip of wine.

“He is off fighting the damned Cybrids. My man and I are the only Dragons left in this village. The rest were killed.” Tesli never lifted her eyes from the drab surface of the table. She pushed her fork around on her plate.

“Do you have children?” Gloria sensed her sister was vulnerable if she were alone.

“Dead,” was all Tesli would volunteer.

“How is it that the Cybrids can kill so many Dragons? They don’t have our skill, technology, and power in battle?”  Gloria’s question caused Tesli to lift her gaze; hatred distorted her face.

“They have assassins that hunt us like animals. They wait until the advantage is theirs then strike us down one by one. They are voracious hunters and spare no one, not even the children.”

Gloria reached across the table and touched her sister’s hand as she spoke. “Raul and I are here to end this if we can, but we need your help.”

“Ask it and I’ll do what I can,” Tesli promised as she looked at her older sister and felt the comfort of being with this strange Dragon warrior that looked and smelled like a Cybrid but had the bold instinct of a Dragon Praetorian.

“Raul and I need a ride to Tbilisi. We are to meet others there to help organize a resistance against the Cybrids. I have a contact number to call to arrange a meeting. Can you make this call for us from a secure location? If the number is compromised, we don’t want to bring anymore sadness to you or the village.”

“I know someone that can help. Let’s enjoy our meal and then I’ll leave you to rest. When I bring breakfast at sunrise, I’ll tell you if we can grant your wish.”

A conversation ensued that started with Gloria and Raul recounting memories of the past when Dragons ruled their insular world, before Cybrids and the war. Gloria told of her fight with Mariah that resulted in the Dragons turning her into an abomination of part Dragon and part Cybrid to keep her alive. In time she learned of the Dragons’ plan to evolve beyond the limitations of their flesh by breeding with Cybrids after they had matured and historical advances stacked up in the helix coil of their Cybrid DNA.

Gloria had lived to fight the Cybrids and their desire to turn on their surrogate parents’ dream of unity. She told how she saw the light, lived it in her body built from Mariah’s labor, the Cybrid she once tried to kill. The outcast Dragon Sister wanted to return to the right path. Raul placed his arm on Gloria’s shoulder and soothed her with his touch as she recounted the moment the war began.

That fateful moment when Gloria’s rage bought her a bullet through the cervical spine, fired by a beloved Dragon Master haunted Gloria though no one ever spoke of it again. In a voice cracked by emotion, Gloria told of her flesh withering, her organs failing, her mind shut off from her dying body. She was a patchwork of temporary fixes until Mariah spent all of her working hours devising ways to splice Gloria’s DNA with Cybrid stem cells, rebuilding her from the inside out. Now, she was a sentient machine, an apex predator hunting down the last enclave of Rebels intent on remaining free of Dragons to rule their own domain. That decision had earned them a death sentence.

* * *

Val rested on the couch as Vika showered before bed. The news on the viewer droned on about failing economies and the widespread disappearance of people and families. Her phone buzzed as she stared at the peeling plaster on the ceiling.

“Yes.”

“Val, I have two of the Dragons from Poti here. They need a ride to Tbilisi to meet their contacts. Can you help them?”

“Do you know their identity?”

“Yes, one is the sister that fought with your mother years ago, and she has her man with her. He is the Romanian captain from Constanta; the one Vika was hunting on her last mission to Romania.” Tesli’s information caused Val’s stomach to tense with anticipation.

“Keep them there out of view. I’ll be there tomorrow afternoon to pick them up. Do not tell them I am the one coming for them. Tell them to prepare to leave quickly when their ride arrives.

“Okay. I understand.”

Tesli disconnected leaving Valeriya swimming in anxiety and anticipation of the moment she dreamed of all her life. Gloria was the reason she joined the Dragon Sisters. Her secret life was spent arriving at this moment. Now, she needed to find a way to kill Vika without bringing suspicion on herself. She would bring Gloria back with her to the Praetorian Guards. She would pave the way for her father and mother’s dream of Dragon and Cybrid living together in peace after this rebellion was put down. She felt the weight of her plan press the breath out of her lungs. She would have to use Gloria in terrible ways to achieve her goal.

This mission would bring the mixed blood of Cybrids and Dragons to power; realizing their destiny. Val felt the exaltation of bringing the Dragon prophecy to reality. “The world belongs to the Hybrids.” The words spilled off of Val’s lips as Vika emerged from the shower.

35 thoughts on “March of the Cybrids-22

    1. Hi Rene! I am quite happy to have you back, safe and sound. I do hope your vacation was everything you hoped for to include that much needed rest. COVID-19 arrived with a bang in our neighborhood so the city has stepped up and enacted policies and procedures to keep us as safe as possible. What I love about our area is the deep sense of civic duty and shared responsibility between government, commerce, and citizens. Keeping our heads and not giving in to the panic and misinformation will get us through it. I know you are on the front lines of this fight and I admire and appreciate your dedication to those of us that need your skills and compassion to have some hope for tomorrow. 🤗

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      1. It’s nice to be back. I celebrated my birthday on a hotel patio 😊. I hope you and yours are safe and well. Thank you for the very kind words. Hopefully we will pass through this dark time and be the wiser and better prepared should we face it again in the future. Sending hugs. 🤗

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        1. Happy Birthday Rene. 🎂 I celebrated mine 3 March. I finally made it to mental maturity. I thought I was going to be stuck at 20 my entire life. Now, I can act responsibly. We will get through this challenge wiser and tougher. You are an awesome hugger. Me and the boys celebrate your awesomeness. 🎂😇😍😘🙃☺️🤓

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            1. I believe that makes us both Pisces. No wonder we both adore the water and beach life so much. I used to think I was born to ride the waves on my cheap foam surfboard because I was a Pisces. 29 is a lovely age. We should just stay there and count the rest as experience.

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  1. Hitler was right: you can get anyone to buy your propaganda if you dress it up in “snazzy” uniforms. Then send those brain-dead uniforms out to round up the “unwashed and uncouth libertines” and put them into concentration and death camps, work them to death as slaves, then exterminate. It worked really well for Hitler and I predict it will work just as well for American Nazis and fascists with or without spiffy uniforms, after they’ve slaughtered a few million blacks or non-whites and non-Christians. I am and have always been 100% ANTIFA, as were my parents who fought the Nazis in the Resistance and survived incredible horrors in Nazi POW camps. No one has ever extolled the “virtues” of fascism to my face and not gotten a well-deserved challenge. Fascists are the vilest gobs of pond scum on the face of this world.

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    1. I definitely agree with you regarding an informed opposition to Fascism, nationalism, socialism, communism, and anarchy. Americans just aren’t built for those types of government because of the abysmal weaknesses of political leaders and our ME focused world. It would take a Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot and plenty of supporters to turn America in that direction. They would need lots of powerful uniforms to crush a revolt and force a dictatorship under the guise of a government. It is not impossible but at the moment unlikely. Our geopolitical satire that has been ongoing for years born out of the vampire diaries spans many posts and blog sites. That certainly is not good for others trying to keep up but don’t be offended. We are not supporting fascists but rather poking the eye of those that would welcome an equally harmful if not worse form of pseudo government. I do not support the views of the group ANTIFA. They preach a false message based on ignorance against people who contribute far more to life than than they do. They are a do nothing fringe group that advocates violence for violence sake. So that group does not get my support but decent people working hard to prevent a recurrence of the ills of the 20th century do get my support. People who work to bring quality and positive experience in education, fight famine, disease, campaign for the environment, crusade against fraud, waste, and abuse are worthy efforts. There are many worthy efforts and this is where we should show our support so things like the world witnessed in WWII are stopped at the origins and not allowed to fester to full blown conflict.

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  2. How do you approach a trained killer? Very, very carefully. Gloria approaches and, when finally recognized, is welcomed back into the tribe with opened arms! Well set up! Eating together, the bonding, the helping…the sisterhood…but now, with help on the way Gloria may be faced with betrayal…as the prophecy, as ALL prophecies…attempts to self-fulfill! The world belongs to Hybrids! But since Gloria is, in fact, a Hybrid…although a reluctant one…how can she lose? It is RAUL who must watch his back! The intrigue deepens in the true spirit of a Shakespearean tragedy!

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    1. Excellent insights Bro! Gloria is what the Dragons seek and she doesn’t see herself as that bridge to the future although everything she is and does is the bridge. Val’s mother, Mariah and Val both see this and have invested their lives in returning Gloria into the inner circle again. Raul is a pure Dragon and will not be part of the future but he is the one person that can reach Gloria and make her feel whole again, if they survive. The set up for the next big event comes Thursday. See you there!

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  3. Ugh, you always write such succulent food scenes. I’d love to be there with Tesli, Gloria, and Raul enjoying that meal. Your dialogue is always so natural. As always, I admire your way with words! And the suspense you create is even better than the Coronavirus entering my city. 😉

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    1. I absolutely love the idea that the suspense in the story is better than Corona entering the city. That is serious suspense indeed. Dialogue comes with it’s own special challenges. I think I go into a zensunni trance and enter the heads of my characters and listen to them talk. The hard part is I write slow and they talk fast. If you ever find yourself suddenly in Tbilisi, you must go to one of the restaurants near the big shopping mall or down the side streets in the capitol area. You’ll find good people who fix good food the old way. The best protection for Corona while out and about is to wear a buff with the demon face on it. You pull it up over your mouth and nose and breath freely. The demon print scares the hell out of everybody and they back away thus not breathing their buggy breath on you. Mix some lemon, lime, tea tree oils as a 20% solution in a 50/50 mix of coconut oil and jojoba oil. Use it like hand sanitizer, surface cleaner, or spritz a little on your buff and Corona will avoid you like the plague. Also get you some copaiba oil and mix a couple of drops with 1/8 teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it on your sore joints like your ankle or sore muscles. You will be pain and virus free. It’s what I do. Trust me 🧙🏻I’m an uncertified alchemist. Copaiba is more effective than CBD oil because it attaches to the cannabinol receptors more effectively and viruses live in mortal fear of it. So don your demon buff and live carelessly, or is that carefree? I can’t remember. 🦠🙅🏼‍♀️

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      1. Corona has officially entered my city for real, so the survival games have begun. Is the apocalypse here? With Locusts swarming Africa as well, one begins to wonder… meanwhile I’m totally down to wear a demon buff even though I’m already scary. Not surprised you have a natural recipe for hand sanitizer! Perfect. ❤ And one for sore joints, you know me well! I have some friends who may benefit from that who said CBD didn’t end up working for them. Plus my parents often complain about arthritis now. I think when you’re a natural introvert you do more listening and less talking so creating dialogue comes easier! One day I will find myself in Europe, but it’s probably a ways off.

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        1. Do be cautious Lauren. Avoiding exposure eventually will be just like any of the seasonal flu’s that rage through the populace each year but this virus gets us in a way that is difficult to treat if it gets advanced enough. Proper nutrition is a huge boost to the immune system as well as good sleep. The essential oil solution is effective and not as likely to be in short supply immediately like we are seeing now with paper and cleaning products. Good ole soap and water is more effective than alcohol based sanitizers. I use Dr Bronners soap and add some essential oils to fight viruses and germs/bacteria and it works like a charm. We really don’t have to do much to be safe but the panic will force a lot of unnecessary actions that are more risky than the virus itself. The plagues are upon us and if I see a rider on a pale horse, I’m going to self quarantine and wait for things to die down. Oh, bad choice of words. Sorry. 😬 Copaiba is a tree oil. Here is a brief description: “Copaiba oil contains the highest levels of β-caryophyllene (BCP) among currently known essential oils. An irregular cannabinoid and sesquiterpene, BCP is a potent constituent within copaiba essential oil.” I do use it regularly for my back and hamstrings which tighten up due to the overcompensation for trying to remain upright. You still need to heal any underlying causes but it helps a lot with pain and soreness and by golly is a good antiviral and anti pathogen. I agree with our introvert super powers. I think from a visitors perspective, Europe has a lot to offer in a generally relaxed environment. I hope you do get to go someday with your friends as planned. There is lots to see and do.

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          1. Thank you – all good reminders, and some things I can discuss with my parents this evening as I worry about them even more. I could always do better on sleep, and now would probably be a good time to limit alcohol, too. I think I need to make one more major store run before this gets uglier. We have this big meeting tomorrow at work where everything thinks they will just tell us to go ahead and work from home for a little while. Lol die down. Yes. You have certainly done your research! Just like a good little ISTJ. Whenever I do visit Europe you can bet I’ll have lots of good blog material. 😉

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            1. You are a wonderful daughter to worry enough about your parents to talk this out with them. Having good plans and awareness is essential. Stopping the spread means stopping the exposure so being good introverts and spending some alone time is a good thing. I’m looking forward to some good netflix and book time. I might even come up with a timely sci-fi pandemic story. I’m hanging on for those witty European Vacation stories.

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              1. They are starting to listen more now that things are getting serious and there’s no toilet paper. 😉 I’ve got a latch hook rug to work on, plenty of unread books, and Netflix to keep me busy. And writing! My dad also mentioned I should work on a sci-fi pandemic story.

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                1. The no toilet paper syndrome is a global pandemic as well. Who woulda thunk it. I bet you could do a really good pandemic story. You have plenty of inspirational events to go by. Our hospitals are already being overrun by panicked people with seasonal allergies fully expecting to croak without ever getting a chance to cash in on their social security benefits. If you write the book, I’ll stay home and read it 😁

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                  1. What a time to be alive! I think it’d be interesting to do a pandemic story but give it a twist somehow, or change the time period. Something noir-esque.

                    Ha, I’ve had a dry baby cough this week and I’ve been hoping and thinking it must be allergies! No fever that I can tell. No thermometer to check, anyway.

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                    1. I think you could do a best seller Pandemic story staying true to your noir style. A lot of your short stories are so real feeling that I often wasn’t sure if you actually experienced the scene or not. Then the twist at the end would goose me and laugh at me in mid OMG 😳. You can make anything an engrossing story. So I am self quarantined effective this afternoon to save myself from others whose goal in life is to be a super spreader and beat Typhoid Mary’s record of wiping out Chicago. I will be in introvert heaven for a little while.

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                    2. I’m on it! Or maybe just a character sketch for now. Thank you ever so much – they are often slices of real experiences or dreams. 🙂 Well you’re doing better than my mother. She’s fed up with a group of dudes doing foundation work at the house and making lots of ruckus so her great idea is to go to the mall tomorrow. I told her she should stay home if she can…

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                    3. Wooo hoooo! I look forward to reading if the story comes to fruition. Your poor mom. What is worse, loud construction dudes or Corona Beer virus? The first one is a real nerve wrecker while the second one finishes the job. Maybe visit friends and drink green tea and talk about pleasant things would be fun. When my mother had all she could take she visited her neighbor friends and they would entertain each other for hours until a kid started wailing and they had to go do motherly things. Sniffles and sobbing didn’t count so we had to come up with something worthy like fall out of a tree or get the dog to bite us on the bootie.

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  4. You’re the first Hemingway I ever read. Honestly. I have yet to catch up my reading on all the other masterpieces in the world, but I’m fortunate to get to start with yours. And I must hastily add, you are more than Hemingway. So far I’ve read only one or two chapters here, but already I feel overwhelmed with all the poetry and … everything else one would ever dream but never could imagine. If life is a box of chocolate, your work is “Manchu-Han Imperial Banquet”, the most elaborate and sophisticated sort in Chinese culinary history, allegedly served 108 courses over a sensual feast lasted many days and still more to come … Thanks for such lavish experiences. I can foresee myself getting completely lost in this, never wanting to look back 🐾

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    1. Hi Dot! What a beautiful and inspiring comment. I thank you very much for the comparisons. Indeed, you don’t see the original content of the five books I wrote for the Dragon Society. It was a historical fiction going back to the 7 warring states period to a secret society establish around the world after the fall of Imperial China to the Nationalists and then the Maoists. I called it the Black Dragon Society after the properties of the Black Dragon and it’s need to hide. This society wanted to bring back the old ways of China world wide by living in plain sight but secretly educating and supporting each other in every enclave such as Australia and America. They would send their best scientists, engineers, musicians, and doctors etc to live and educate and become civic leaders everywhere, slowly bringing the quality of life higher and future generations carrying on the mission. This particular story doesn’t expose the background of the Dragon society but the desire to improve humanity is the theme. And as always, human nature will ensure that plans never go exactly right and things are never as they appear to be. I would love to attend the Manchu-Han Imperial Banquet. Wouldn’t that be the epicurean delight of a life time. I do hope you continue to enjoy the story. It has a happy ending but that might not be evident at the moment because we are in the dark part that must be overcome by our heroes.

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      1. I’m sure I will continue to enjoy the story. I wouldn’t even need it to have a happy ending. Your work is like a box of delicacies, one never knows what they’re gonna get, but one can be sure it’ll go beyond their imagination 🦋 I must admit I exaggerated things a little bit in my last comment, in the wording but not in the spirit. I realize Manchu-Han Imperial Banquet might not be the healthiest choice of words for your elegant works. A grandpa’s heart is the most precious thing on earth, must not be saturated with the Imperial China’s eating disorder. Sorry if it made you feel disconcerting. Why I often have to exaggerate things to my heart’s content. Is it a common trait of INFJ?

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        1. Oh don’t worry Dot. My INFJ understands your INFJ well. I do the same thing and my readers kindly let me know when I’ve exceeded the bounds of gravity and soared into the ozone layer. It truly is one of our best INFJ traits tied to our deep and colorful insights. I was excited to consider the Manchu-Han Imperial Banquet as it first speaks of harmony and the thing that brings people closest together is food shared in abundance; with pear or rice wine, of course. With our blogoteer group you are among friends and you can comment to your hearts desire as often as you like on any thing that you like. I do appreciate it.

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        1. Bwaaa haaahaaa! The unwashed and uncouth libertines should actually read a book and learn what fascism is before hurling that curse at everyone that showers and works for a living and pays taxes so they can be on the free needle exchange program.

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