One of the thin, wasp-like arms of the commandant reached down to finger the leather nursery strap that hung upon the black webbed utility belt that encircled her waist. Bluebird’s eyes widened for she began to see that many more instruments of torture and pain hung from the commandant’s belt and she knew in a moment of revelation that as she herself possessed an instrument in the likeness of the commandant’s own punishment strap and the administration and authority that such designated she soon would possess those other devices and mechanism of pain and verily be privy to all that they represented. As the commandant fingered the strap, her other hand raised and a long finger extended pointing into the distance – pointing beyond the image, beyond the regional headquarters – into the area of the unconquered region into which Bluebird, Britta and a wide cross-section of the organization’s military force would be penetrating now only a few hours hence.

A small filament of smoke began to inexplicably emanate from the extended finger of the commandant and then becoming a small cloud, iron grey and sootish black, which hung in the air. Within it could be seen the crackling of lightning and the sounds of millions of mechanical devices smashing and grinding into one another could be heard emanating from within. As the sound began its harsh rapport hot wet tears began to flow down Bluebird’s freckled cheeks, for she knew that this sound was the voice of the commandant herself.

The grey black clouds began to part slightly then and the light within them grew more pronounced – where the rent was made visions began to appear, cascading one upon the other in breakneck speed, yet Bluebird retained each one in its entirety – every aspect and import that was meant to be relayed by the commandant comprehended. In her visions blood spilled in waves upon waves, pools of blood in which the enemies of the organization drowned in abject despair. She saw her own martial forces, her units that marched beneath a pale blue flag bearing the black outline of a human figure from which expanded a starburst extending outward from an area between the heart and throat. She saw herself, radiant upon the back of an organizational tactical vehicle, standing aloft as winds carrying upon them spectral wraiths composed of yellow poisonous gas and before her alien figures, identities entirely obscured inside hazardous material suits, spreading out over a ruined landscape filled with screams, sobs and faces that had begun to melt into themselves.

Both of the girls visions slowly faded to black and fitful sleep came upon them. As the embers of the fire beneath the propaganda image of the commandant began to burn low the cult recruiters softly quietly moved about these two platinum graduates of the commandant’s training center. The needles and wires were removed from their wrists, restraints undone and their naked bodies gingerly lifted up withdrawing them from the metal inserts which had penetrated them. Small beds had been prepared, beneath the ever-watchful image of the commandant, and the two naked figures were wrapped in rough-hewn blankets and allowed to rest if only for a few hours. Outside of the bay doors of the loading area a reddish orange sun began to rise from behind the heavily wooded hills of the border region and somewhere in the rebel territories a cockerel began to crow, the unknowing herald of a bloody dawn.

SOURCE: Excerpted from BLUEBIRD – the second installment of the post-apocalyptic trilogy authored by the Tempel ov Blood that began with IRON GATES.

A thirteen year-old girl in a futuristic setting after a year of rigorous cult programming and systematic abuse at the hands of a brutal paramilitary organization finds herself installed as a deity representing the embodiment of chemical and radiological warfare in a disease-ridden DMZ-type border area between the paramilitary organization with whom she enlisted and the gateway to areas of unknown nuclear-war devastated territories from which she came.

BLUEBIRD – forthcoming from Martinet Press in 2016.