Embers of Humanity
From reddit thread to best-selling sci-fi novel, this is the book born from r/writingprompts. Warning: Very fun read.
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AN ANCIENT POWER…
Humans once wielded formidable magical powers; however, with over seven billion of us on the planet now, mana has spread far to thinly to have any effect. When Outer-Worlders reduce humanity to a mere fraction, the survivors discover that an ancient power has begun to awaken once again…
Can the embers of humanity be kept alive by this mysterious power? Or will there be annihilation?
Friend and Foe
Life and Death
Love and Hate
Trust and Betryal
Tammy’s head pounded and her stomach ached. She wanted nothing more than to lie down on a slab of concrete and go back to sleep. But they had to keep moving. She grabbed her little sister’s hand, “Come on Izzy, we’ve got to be quicker than this.”
“You’re hurting me!” Isabel complained, as Tammy half dragged her sister by her outstretched arm, along the broken road and over a pile of broken bricks. Sagging remnants of high-rise buildings loomed to their sides, leaning over them like concrete skeletons. Watching them; waiting to see what fate had in store for the last embers of humanity.
Tammy wondered who would fall first: the gutted, blackened buildings, or their creators.
“They’re close, Izzy,” Tammy said. “I can feel them — so we really need to get moving.”
“They’re always close,” her sister retorted. “Always.”
“Not this close. We slept too long last night.”
“Then why”— Isabel put a hand over her mouth — “am I still tired?”
“Just… just shut up, will you?” Tammy glanced between buildings, scoping them out, trying to decide if the risk of hiding inside an unstable structure, out-weighed the risk of staying in the open. Probably not.
Izzy’s mouth suddenly dropped open. “Tammy!”
The older girl looked back at her sister. “What is it?” she snapped.
“I forgot Henry!”
“Yeah? Well, they’re not after him, so he’ll be safe away from us. Let’s keep going, okay?”
“He’ll be scared!”
Tammy let out a long breath. “We’ll go back for him, after. When it’s safe.”
Izzy’s blue eyes became wet. “We need to go back, Tam. We can’t leave him. Please! Please!”
“He’s a fucking teddy-bear, Izzy!” she exploded. “Just a teddy — Hey!”
Izzy slipped out of sister’s grasp and began sprinting back down the road, back the way they’d come.
Tammy yelled after her, “Isabel, you idiot, get back here! Now, Izzy! I’m not messing around!”
Izzy didn’t even turn. She kept running into the hazy orange dust, behind which, somewhere, the sun was rising. Tammy cursed, then began chasing after her. “Izzy! Izzy!”
She was faster than her little sister, and gaining rapidly. There were only twenty or so feet between them, when Izzy’s silhouette slipped into the side-street where they had spent the previous night.
Tammy raised a hand to her forehead. Her headache struck her eyes and ears in thunderous pulses, making her want to vomit. She was used to the warnings, but it had been a long time since they’d been this painful. Since the creatures had been this close. Not since the day their parents…
“Izzy!” she screamed, as she turned the corner and saw her sister lying on the ground.
The huge, humanoid creature half-crouched above her sister, turned its head to her. A blood-stained helmet covered much of its face, and a thin suit of black material was stretched taut over its body. It cocked its elongated head, and she could see its many eyes behind the visor.
“Get back”, she said. Her voice only a whisper.
It grinned. She could see the rows of razor-blade fangs between the three slits of its mouth.
*I will keep your lips as a trophy.* The words rattled inside her head, although the creature’s mouth did not move. Its voice was like broken glass, ringing with a hint of amusement.
Her hand trembling, Tammy took her father’s pistol from off her belt. She pressed the safety, just as she’d been taught. “Get away from us, you son of a bitch,” she said, louder this time. Her head was pounding and her vision was blighted by dark spots, as if someone was turning the lights on and off in rapid succession. Don’t fall unconscious Tammy, she told herself, don’t you dare fall unconscious!
The creature took a step towards her.
Tammy pulled the trigger.
The bullet exploded out of the chamber and struck the creature’s chest. But the black suit only rippled, absorbing the impact, destroying the bullet.
She aimed again, higher this time. She had to hit the head. Tammy squeezed the trigger.
The bullet missed its target, lodging into a brick wall behind it in a plume of dust.
The creature dashed forward; a thick arm swiped at her body, sending her to the ground, and her gun to her side. Tammy’s head bounced off a rock. She could taste the blood blossoming in her mouth from where she had bitten her tongue.
“I’m sorry, Izzy,” she said. Tried to say. But nothing came out. “I’m so very sorry.”
The creature was above her. Its grin wider.
A drop of saliva fell from its mouth and landed with a splash on her face. She couldn’t help thinking how warm it was.
A clawed hand reached down towards her neck.
She closed her eyes. Let herself think of mom. Of dad. Izzy. Even of Henry. That fucking bear that had caused all of this. Scolding tears welled in her eyes.
Then there was an eruption of white light. Something like lightning, only it seemed to last longer. Tammy could see it even through her closed eyelids.
When it finally stopped, when the light had faded, she dared open an eye.
The creature was on the ground in front of her, on all fours, slowly picking itself up. Smoke was drifting out from its torso, as if it had been singed.
What the hell was going on?
Another blast of white light. Less intense, this time. Not enough to send the creature fully down.
A man, or a boy maybe — she wasn’t sure — with long brown hair and wearing no top at all, ran screaming towards it. He struck its helmet with a crowbar. Again. And again. Its helmet cracked and sank down onto its head, covering its eyes and most of its mouth.
The creature raised a hand up and caught the metal pole, squeezing it, crushing it. It bent in the middle, then fell in two halves to the ground.
The boy stepped backwards. “Shit,” he said. “There goes plan B.”
The alien ripped the ruined helmet off its head and tossed it to the ground. Then it lunged forward and caught the boy’s leg, pulling hard and sending him down. Tammy saw the back of his head hit the concrete beneath.
The alien was crawling to him now.
Its body on top of him. Pinning him.
Tammy pushed herself forward and reached for her pistol.
The creature’s jaws lowered to the boy’s neck.
The bullet exploded through its head. Black liquid hissed and steamed as it gurgled out of the wound.
The pain in Tammy’s own head died almost instantly, but her heart still thudded against her ribcage as if demanding to be let out, as the creature fell limply to the ground.
For a moment, Tammy just stared at it. Afraid that if she even breathed too loudly, it would wake up again.
A familiar but unexpected voice made Tammy jump.
“Who is he?”
“Izzy!” she said turning. “Izzy you big idiot! Don’t you ever disobey me again!” The tears that had been growing, now streamed freely down her face. “You hear me? What the hell did you go back for? Its only a God-damned bear!”
Izzy shrugged. “You wouldn’t have left me.”
“No, but…” She sighed and her shoulders fell.
“Who is he?” Izzy repeated, kneeling down by the boy’s side. “I thought you said we were the last?”
“I said we might be the last.” Tammy knelt by Izzy, putting a finger over the boy’s wrist. “God knows it’s been long enough since we saw someone else.” His skin was hot to touch, but he was still alive, at least.
“I don’t know who he is. I don’t even know what he is, to be honest. But I’m pretty sure he just saved us both.”
“He got real bright, Tam. Like a flashlight.”
She nodded, but as she did, she felt a single pulse thrum in her head. Somewhere at the very back of it. Weak, at least for now.
Tammy looked at her sister. “More are coming. We need to get him somewhere safe. Then we’ll find out who exactly he is.”
Fast-paced. Plot-driven. Non-stop action.
Embers of Humanity is the perfect short novel to peruse on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Experience all kinds of emotions while at the constant edge of your seat. This exciting journey will definitely leave you speechless.
A refreshingly new take on post-dystopian civilizations, with the smartest world-building you'll ever read.
B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
Embers of Humanity is a joy from start to finish. Entertaining, smart, surprising and unexpectedly human.
A novel that grasps its readers tightly, with an ingenious storyline and sharp dialogue. Toby Tabi's extraterrestrials are unlike anything sci-fi fans have seen.
Jennifer L. Armentrout
WHO TF IS TOBY TABI?
Widely respected as a super genius, Toby Tabi is indeed that awesome. Often, he takes strolls on the beach; not for the wind nor the ocean. Toby does it to look sophiscated. Hands stroking his non-existent luscious beard, he walks. One step. Two steps. Three… oh fuck. Tabi feels a slight breeze downtown. He had fallen victim to a culprit that has plagued men since Elias Howe Jr. invented the zipper in 1842…
Christmas 2017. I was wasting away back home doing legit nothing except wasting oxygen. So naturally I opened Reddit. What was on my front page? This post in r/writingprompts. I can still feel my brain overclocking from excitment as I read that prompt word-by-word.
Mana Mage: Dark Dawn
Happy endings only exist in fairy tales. Toby Tabi’s tale of the Mana Mage ain’t no fairy tale. Sex. Murder. Violence. Betryal. Death.
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