"FIRE THE CATAPULTS!!"
The operators pull the two triggers for each of their catapults, raining down fiery rocks, stones, and bombs on the battlefield below us. They hit their target: enemy ships in the harbor, which explode into balls of fire and engulf them. The operators and crew cheer loudly and start to load the catapults again. I run down the lower deck of the airship to the other side and give the good news to the first mate, the captain's second in command.
"Bring the goods news to the captain m'boy!!" he shouts to a much younger soldier, grinning and bursting with confidence. The boy nods and races up the stairs behind him to the top deck.
Our ship is state of the art: a flying wooden vessel that looks similar to a 1700's galleon - decked out with metal armor plating on the sides, giant half-wood, half-metal wings, and a two of the most up-to-date jet engines on either side of the rear to keep us moving, albeit slowly.
After the "Divine Revolution" - also known as World War 3 - occured about 1,000 years ago, we had to revert back to the stone age for a while as the earth began to heal and the human race started to recover from its dangerously low population levels. Long story short, our gracious ancestors set a few nukes off and almost made humanity extinct - almost. Humans are strong and able to adapt well to change. Our kingdom's forefathers helped gather what remained of humanity and rebuild from scratch.
A few hundred years ago, we were able to officially clear an area of radiation. We have since moved into the time period known as The Second Industrial Revolution. We have been able to recover and adapt old machines and technology for our uses today, including warships and airplanes. We have built upon old technology and used what we can to accomplish what was once considered science-fiction: flying boats - or "airships" - like the one I'm on now.
I hear what sounds like cannon fire and turn quickly as something whistle through the air at high speeds. I race to the nearest window, my eyes widening as I gaze down upon the horror that awaits our ship: a barrage of black objects flying towards us. I barely have time to react and I dive to the floor, just as the objects hit the ship and tear through the wood below. Screams of pain and the sound of wood being ripped apart are all that I hear for the next few seconds.
The ship lurches upwards and I start sliding across the floor towards the back. I claw at the floor desperately, trying to grab on to something, anything to stop me from falling. I see the front of the ship tilting up towards the sky; the large vessel groans and trembles loudly as it threatens to rip by the seems. It wasn't built to handle such sharp inclines; no ship was. I don't even want to know what happened to the people on the top deck above us...
The many boxes and crates throughout the lower deck start to slide towards the back of the ship with me. I am barely able to dodge them and move out of the way in time. One of the crates hits my left shoulder and I cry out in agony as it begins throbbing and pulsating uncontrollably from the large bruise. I'll definitely feel that in the morning - if I even make it out of this alive.
I spin across the floor from the collision and start to lift off the ground as the front of the flying ship keeps raising up higher and higher. Crew members scream as they slide and fly back towards the rear of the ship, some getting crushed under the crates after they hit the bottom. A few of them have grabbed onto the frames of the windows and the pole towards the center that was built to support the ceiling.
I land on one of the catapults and gasp in pain from having the wind knocked out of me. I grab onto the it and look up to see a crate flying towards me. I duck my head as the crate sails over me, hitting a crew member behind me in the head. His head is thrown to his left and he falls down with the crate, landing with a crunch and ending up in a position that no body should ever be in. My lunch jumps out of my mouth to join him; gross.
I try to catch my breath as I close my eyes, my heart beating a thousand miles per hour and not showing any signs of stopping.
"So this is war..." I whisper to myself. I open my eyes and blink a few times.
I look left and see a few people with their arms and legs wrapped around the pole, and one of them is yelling at the top of his lungs. I glance up to the right a bit and my face goes pale: two large crates are headed straight for the pole, which has already been hit a few times and is barely holding together. I scream for them to jump, hoping that there's another spot for them to grab on to, but there isn't anywhere else to go.
One of of the men says something and lets go, closing his eyes as he begins the long descent to his death, his arms and legs outstretched to the sky above. One of the others starts to do the same, but doesn't let go in time. The crates slam against the wooden pillar and snap it in half like a twig. The floor and ceiling where it was connected to break off with it and fall, along with the people that were holding onto the pole. Cracks start to form along the two floors from the new holes, spreading out across the floor and ceiling above towards each side; the ship won't be flying for much longer.
Another black object rocks the ship as it bursts through the floor above me. This thing is bigger though, and doesn't look like the small cannon balls that hit us before. Its long, thick arms grab onto a man below by his waist. His voice makes my body cringe as he shrieks at the top of his lungs - I only wish that I could cover my ears. The monster's hand disappears into the man's stomach as it lifts the (almost) lifeless body up a few feet, biting the man's head off while blood and guts ooze and fall out of him down to the abyss below. I stare up at the gruesome scene, frozen in fear and shaking like a leaf.
Oh my god...I. Need. To. Hide.
The ship groans again and slows down as it begins to level out. The large pile of crates and supplies at the rear of the ship don't make this easy though; their weight makes leveling out such a massive ship nearly impossible.
We start to level out slowly, but I look up again and realize that the monster from above isn't there anymore. The mutilated and mangled body of the man flies past me and bounces off the floor below me as it falls to the crates. I hear a series of grunts and feel a cold, wet liquid drip on to the back of my neck. I shiver and close my eyes as I stick my tongue out in disgust.
I shiver again and slowly look up. The monster is less than ten feet above me, and it's staring at me with intense yellow and black eyes. Its hulking figure doesn't make me feel any better.
The creature stares at me for a few more seconds, then opens its mouth and shrieks before launching itself in my direction.
The ship has almost finished leveling out, but the stress becomes too much for it to bear. The floor in front of me is covered in cracks. The ones from the holes finally connect, and the back half that I'm on breaks off from the other half of the flying ship. The creature sails over my head as I am thrown backwards from the force of the separation.
My body seems weightless as the back half of the boat detaches from the vessel, and begins its long drop to the earth below us. The air outside is freezing, and the wind around me picks up almost immediately as I descend into a free fall.
I face the sky as it starts; I watch the whole ship as it grows smaller and smaller in the clear and sunny sky. I see just how badly we were hit by the barrage of cannon balls earlier, holes covering most of the right side of the ship and the bottom of both wings. The front half of the ship above us starts to lean backwards as well, reminding me of depictions I'd seen of the Titanic in history books.
Three figures jump off of the front tip of the ship above me and dive for the ground. Wings shoot out of backpacks they carry and attach to their arms, allowing them to come out of their dive and glide away safely.
I scream in horror as my stomach lurches upward and I start tumbling in the air. I'd never taken skydiving lessons in the academy before being shipped out to the war, so I didn't have a way to get out of this cruel situation. I'd been told by another trainee that he had learned a way to survive a fall without a parachute, but he never told me how. Figures...
The three seem to hear my call for help and bring their wings close to their bodies, diving sharply with grace. They spread their wings again as they line up with my flailing body, allowing them to start to glide over to my position.
"HELP!!! HELP ME!!!"
The wind whips at my face and clothes as I continue to pick up speed. My saviors, thankfully, are more aerodynamic, and are quickly catching up to me. I just hope that they catch me before I hit the water.