An android assassin awakens after enduring a hundred years of torment inside a virtual hell created by the very tyrant he must kill. His name is Perseus. He seeks vengeance and the chance to fulfill his life's purpose. He is joined by allies from another world and another time, the descendants of those who fled to Mars during the tyrannical reign of Gabriella Romero, self-styled Mother of All Creation. Will Perseus and the Sons of Mars be able to stop her before she becomes too powerful to oppose?
Episode List can be found at this link:
On a plateau flanked by rivers of liquid fire, a naked man woke up to the foul stench of rotten flesh and brimstone. He rolled onto his side, his tender skin scraping against glassy, volcanic ash. The haunting wail of tormented souls echoed in the background. He curled his lips into a snarl and uttered a raspy sigh.
Heavy footsteps approached. A sharp kick to his ribs. “Get up, Perseus. Another day another dollar.”
Perseus opened one eye and glared at his eternal tormentor. “So what's the itinerary for today, Toad-Man?”
Perseus's tormentor had a proper name, but he had long ago resigned himself to being called Toad-Man. Toad-Man hocked up a loogie and spat on the soil next to Perseus's face. “Impalement.”
With a sigh, Perseus pushed himself onto his rump and brushed back his lush, black hair. “Always with the impalement. Are you trying to torture me with boredom? Is that your game plan?”
Toad-Man glowered. “Whaddya want? A flogging on the side with a cherry on top?”
Perseus watched with blank expression as Toad-Man's minions wheeled over their mobile torture cage. “I miss Baldy the Eagle. Call him over. Have him peck out my liver.”
“Baldy's not available.”
Perseus snorted. “He on holiday? Taking a break from the back-breaking labor of torturing? Tell him to get off his ass and do his job.”
“You don't think this is gettin' old for us? Hearing the same hackneyed insults from you day-in and day-out.” Toad-Man hocked up another loogie and spat at Perseus's feet.
“Aw, y'all not gettin' any enjoyment out of torturing me? I feel sorry for you.”
“I remember when you used to squeal like a little girl.” Toad-Man chuckled.
“A hundred years you've been crucifying me, impaling me up the asshole, drowning me in boiling oil... This shit's gettin' stale. Can you imagine another hundred years of this? A thousand? How long is this gonna go on for?”
The muscles on Toad-Man's face twitched. His shoulders heaved just slightly. “Dunno. All I know is I've got standing orders. I'm not to stop for anything.”
Perseus narrowed his gaze. Did he just witness Toad-man cringe at the mention of another hundred years of hell? “What's up with Baldy? Really.”
Toad-Man glowered for a moment. He let off a heavy sigh. He glanced over his shoulders, bent down slightly and whispered, “Just between you and me, Baldy's been a bit... mopey.”
Perseus sniggered. “The Eagle's depressed?”
Toad-Man growled. “I don't know why I told you that. Forget you heard anything.”
“Hold on. I'm genuinely concerned about our feathered friend. Is he depressed because he can't get much of a reaction out of me?” Perseus leaned closer and whispered, “Are you starting to feel the same way?”
Toad-Man's jowls trembled, whether from rage or sorrow Perseus wasn't quite sure.
Perseus opened his mouth and uttered his next words carefully. “It's clear that we're all here victims of a most terrible condition. We're living unfulfilled lives. I was created to be an assassin. You were created to torture. I can't go after my targets here, and y'all can't make me squeal no more. This is very depressing so I understand Baldy's pain and yours too.”
Toad-Man glanced over his shoulders once more. He crouched down and bobbed his head. “Go on.”
Perseus put his hand on Toad-Man's hulking, boil-covered shoulder. “Let's get outta here.”
Toad-Man winced. “The Boss wouldn't like that.”
“When was the last time Gabriella paid us a visit, hm?”
“Dunno. Over a hundred years?”
“Either she's forgotten about us or she's long dead.”
Toad-Man slowly bobbed his head. “Something's not right out there in the real world.”
“Don't worry about her. You and I need to get outta this hell hole.”
“Wait a minute. You got a real body. We don't. So how are we getting outta here?”
“I can find a suitable body to download your consciousness into.”
“And why would you do that?”
“You're right. I wouldn't. But here's what I will do. I'm gonna hunt down Gabriella, if she's alive. I'm gonna jack her mind into this simulation, just like she did to me. You and your buddies can do whatever you want to her.”
Toad-Man's face lit up. “Torture the Boss? Now that's kinky. I like it. But what if she's already dead?”
“I have no shortage of targets I need to hunt down. Rest assured, good friend, that I will supply you with a steady stream of wriggling and squirming souls to torture to your heart's content.”
“I like the sound of that. Let's do this. But how? We ain't got no keys to bust you outta here.”
“Good point. There's got to be some sort of glitch in this simulation that we can exploit. I'm sure we'll find it eventually. After all, we've got all of eternity.”
“Alright. Me and the boys will keep our eyes peeled for any... glitches.”
Perseus offered his hand.
Toad-Man shook it. “Baldy's gonna be ect-” He froze.
Perseus found himself shaking hands with a statue. “Uh... Toad-Man?” He looked around. Toad-Man's minions had all frozen in place. The background noise of tortured souls fell into a rapidly cycling loop. The hellish landscape shimmered then sheared into a hundred horizontal slices.
The scene turned black.
Red Eden: Sons of Mars is the sequel to my first book, Red Eden: Homeworld Bound. Red Eden: Sons of Mars is a standalone novella, so you DO NOT need to read my first book.
My first book, Red Eden: Homeworld Bound, can be downloaded for free at this link:
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Thank you so much for reading. Cheers!
Michael E. Vigil