New Age Lamians
The story is told in different measures and in different context all over the world. Every family, generation, and village have a different view and belief. There’s a myth told by many that the lightning was brought about by the accent Gods, specifically to awaken the Lamians. It’s told, that all the magic in life has been stored deep in the tallest mountains of the world for centuries. Mankind once believed that the apocalypse would come by rain of fire. They believed that it would be a great war of nuclear destruction brought upon themselves.
In no way was the world prepared for the real destruction that was to come. And in no way were they ready for the new age. The age of Lamia. However the Lamians came about, and for whatever reason, will forever remain a mystery. A different myth for every walk of the world. All that I believe in are the facts. The origin of the Lamians make no difference to me. I care that they’re evil in its truest form, slithering the earth, and that it’s my duty to kill them… every last one.
Before the second phase of humanities downfall, that of Lamia, came the first phase, the war of man and nature. The destruction began in the form of fire, but not the sort that was expected. There were no nuclear explosions or dominating nations. The war was one of bone crushing flashes of power raining down from the sky. The lightning began about 50 years before I was born, and it’s still crashing into the Earth’s surface on a nightly basis, I’m now 26. The first wave of lightning devastated human kind. It destroyed the greatest and smallest of cities alike. Birds fell from the sky and fish floated to the tops of water bodies by the hundreds. Homes burnt to the ground in every direction, and people fell to their deaths. With each almighty strike came unmeasurable devastation.
During the day, people would bury their loved ones and attempt to find food. At night came death and terror in the form of simultaneous lightning storms across the land. Electricity was completely knocked out, causing nothing but sparks and fire in the once booming streets. Jobs became nonexistent causing currency to be rendered meaningless.
The world became every man for himself in a fight for survival. Families came together in small groups to flee from cities and into the mountains and deserts to fend for themselves. Lightning seemed to be stronger and thicker in cities. Roads and power lines acted as beacons, drawing in the crashes from above.
In the first phase, there was one company, and one alone, who survived the electrical apocalypse. The preexisting source that powered this company was invented a mere five years before the lightning began. This company used a wireless energy that was harnessed underground in a liquid form. It sat beneath the sand in three overwhelmingly large locations across the globe. The great phenomenon sent from the heavens seemed to power the company in every sense. The liquid would receive a giant surge of cognition with every strike.
The lights in their facilities burned brighter, their electronics ran faster and more powerful, all systems ran without fail. At first, men and woman were welcomed into the safety of the company’s walls. Eventually, their buildings became too crowded and food became sparse. After a few short months of welcoming drifters by the dozens, the company closed its doors. Locks were secured, and gunmen were set in place to take out anyone who became hostile upon the refusal of entrance. Over time, the company grew from a few large buildings, into small cities within giant stone walls. A new flourishing world inside of an old diminishing one. The second phase did not come for years later.
Mankind on the outside have slowly been dying off, while the company has grown stronger and stronger. Time has allowed the remaining people in the world to adapt, and a permanent lifestyle to form. The company no longer bears the name of its owner but is known solely as The Company, for that is all that’s needed.
When it all started, my father and I were living in solidarity in a cave deep in the woods. There was a marketplace one mile away where several families met in the afternoon sun, every seventh day. Other families lived in surrounding caves much like ours. We were all very spaced out and far between. This eliminated the possibility of mass destruction with one strike.
At night when the lightning hit we would pray that we wouldn’t be the next to fall, or that a forest fire was not sparked nearby. During the day we’d hunt, tend to crops, and fish for whatever remained in a nearby stream. There was no such thing as summer or winter. It was as if time was floating around in a gloomy haze, and we were all stuck in the eye of the storm.
Once every couple of months a care package was dropped into the marketplace by a hovercraft sporting the mark of The Company. The packages contained rare foods, clothes, blankets, and deeply appreciated medicine kits. It was assumed that The Company made the same drops to all known existing communities. The crafts never touched ground unless they were in the safety of The Company walls.
I remember in distinct detail the first time I heard word of the Lamians. I can still picture every detail of the drifter carrying the discarded scales of the beast. My father and I had taken the short hike into the marketplace to mingle with the townsfolk, or so we called them, and to trade hides amongst other hunters. It wasn't much of a marketplace. It was more like a large clearing of grass with blankets laid out to help display items for trade. As we made our way into the clearing, a stirring amongst the crowd became instantly apparent. I glanced at my father in wonder.
“What do you think is going on?”
“It’s hard to say, but there’s a man down there that I’ve never seen before.”
“Another drifter you suppose? It’s been a while since we’ve seen a new face.”
I remember my father’s expression being stern and unreadable as he replied, “Stay close to me, Son. You remember the last drifter was out for blood. We mean nothing to them, they only want our food and supplies. Stay close at all times.”
We back tracked slowly into the trees unnoticed. We stashed the few rabbits and fish we had intended on trading. There was no need to bring them into the clearing to be taken. We were not to risk being killed by some stranger passing through for a short meal.
After covering our leather packs of goods with dirt and sticks, we returned to the edge of the clearing empty handed. My father and I walked shoulder to shoulder into the small group that formed in the center of the marketplace. This drifter was the biggest and dirtiest man I had ever seen. He stood a full foot above me and I prided myself on being the tallest in my spaced-out village. Laying at his feet was a huge shedding of what had to be some sort of a serpent’s skin.
I’d only seen a few snakes in my lifetime and they were nothing in comparison to this. He had it rolled up into a giant ball that sat on the ground, reaching up to his waist. The man stood next to old Mr. Hawthorn, who had joined our community when I was a small boy. Neither of them said a word. They stood side by side, waiting for the entire crowd to gather before speaking. Our marketplace gatherings were usually small. We were lucky to have twenty or so people trudge the unwelcoming walks from their caves. Some had to travel for miles to make their exchanges, so they skipped more than they attended.
I nodded at Mr. Hawthorn in welcome as he glanced in my direction. He dropped his head quickly to his chest in return, then he spoke in a loud voice, enunciating practically every word.
“I guess there is enough of us here. Johnson has a story to share with you all.”
He looked up at the drifter. Their eyes met in a disturbing silence before the drifter broke the glance and picked up the shedding.
“As this kind man mentioned, my name is Johnson. I’m from very far away and have been traveling for several years. I’ve seen many things that no man should see. I’ve witnessed the good, and evil of The Company. I’ve lived to experience the life of predator and prey. I’ll answer every question you have for me, but first I must show you this. You all must understand that there’s something out there. Something that’s inevitably coming your way. You cannot stop it, and you cannot hide from it. It’s the bringer of death and is far more powerful than God's weapon raining down at night. I’ve heard several stories of this beast in my travels, but until about a year ago I was oblivious to its reality.”
I studied the drifters face as I listened to his words. He was obviously aged by the sun and weather. His skin was like leather, with eyes covered in wrinkles, and a chin blanketed with hair. His beard touched down to his mid neckline and moved as he spoke. I listened to the scratch in his voice and watched the slight shake in his hands. I wondered how old this man must have been.
He spoke with a certain confidence and truth in his voice. With his arms wrapped around the rolled-up snake’s skin, he left the crowd making his way to the tree line. Bending at the waist, he unraveled the discarded skin. I watched as this towering man unrolled the ball. He left one end at edge of the grass, and slowly rolled the rest through the waiting crowd, to the other end of the clearing. The rolling ball grew smaller and smaller as the laid-out portion was left behind in one long, thick, impossible looking group of scales, stretching out across the entire length of the clearing. Shock instilled into the voices of the men and women standing next to me. I on the other hand, stood speechless along with my silent father.
The dead and detached skin of this snake stretched along the entire distance of the clearing that we’d proclaimed as the marketplace. Each scale was larger in diameter than the length of my wrist to forearm. Fearful whispers lingered in the crowd.
“Where did you come across this snake skin?” ask my father.
“It’s been passed through two other travelers before me, along with the story of its origins. But I assure you, Sir, this is the skin of no snake.”
“It looks like a snake to me.”
“At first glance, yes,” he replied. “But, notice the shape. It doesn’t shrink down on both sides nor have the head of a snake. It triples the size on one end as the other.”
Again, my father retorted “That doesn't mean anything. What if it’s much larger and just broken in the middle?”
Rolling laughter escaped from the drifter’s lips.
“I do like your style my good sir! Come along with me to the end, and I'll show you something before I tell you all the tale of what this skin belongs to.”
My father walked next to the drifter and I followed close in tow. The rest of the crowd slowly made their way behind us, at an understandably cautious distance. I stared down at the skin laying at my feet as I made step after step to the edge of the clearing. The skin grew wider and wider until it came to an abrupt stop.
After pointing at the end of the shedding, Johnson explained the way that the scales shrunk down around the edges of the final row, and they rounded into a different shape. In conclusion, he noted the slight indents at the outer edges indicating the way the scales formed and attached to the creature. Nodding his head, my father seemed to agree with the drifter’s logic.
I let my eyes wander the length of the shedding. I was overwhelmed by the size and mystery of it. It was dark gray in color with a blueish tint, unlike the average clear or tan pigment held by most other reptile shedding. Each scale was diamond in shape, aside from that final and largest row. An eerie beauty radiated from it, as its flow filled the grassy clearing and demanded the attention of every man and woman standing close.
“You do have my attention, Mr. Johnson.”
“Just Johnson, please.” He requested with a warm smile. “They’re calling these creatures Lamians. Half serpent, half man. Well… woman, I should say.”
Already a head taller than the rest, he seemed to stand even higher. His proud smile quickly faded into a menacing stare into the distance. A cloud crossed over the wrinkles on his face and the bags under his eyes.
“Upon much study, the story has been passed along with the skin. After seeing the terror in the eyes of a few men and women before I came across it, I believe every word. It’s said that snakes carrying the Lamian venom were stirred awake from an ancient sleep. The shock of the lightning, and the horrendous roll of the omnipotent thunder, unleashed its power. Snakes containing the most potent of a magical blood-line awoke from centuries of undisturbed slumber.”
I nodded, following the lead of my father, and we crossed our arms over our chests.
“The original beast was said to be transformed from a human into a serpent hundreds of thousands of years ago. She had an overwhelming loss in her life. She denounced the Gods, and in turn was cursed herself to live out her life as a serpent. Her name was Lamia. Upon being slaughtered by humans, the unborn snakes inside of her was put to rest by the Gods. That is… until the lightning began. The storm awoke the decedent snakes of Lamia. Her blood boiled in their veins. Her sight peered through their eyes, seeking out only the most beautiful women alive to carry out her plan of mayhem.”