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ETL

ETL

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Published by Dale Renton
A glitch in the program that manages reincarnation...
Quite a few readers have asked questions about this one. If you have a question, post a comment and I'll reply.
A glitch in the program that manages reincarnation...
Quite a few readers have asked questions about this one. If you have a question, post a comment and I'll reply.

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Published by: Dale Renton on Oct 29, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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11/28/2012

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“E.T.L” by 1John Dale Renton
E.T.L.By John Dale RentonMarat wheezed and coughed. The wind was gaining strength, biting at his ears,numbing his lips. He looked down towards the frozen creek that wound its way throughthe valley. He would have to try that way. The deer slung over his shoulders weighedtoo much to carry uphill, to the tree line.Half way down the slope, crusty snow gave way beneath him and he fell on his back, banged his head against the carcass. Black circles danced at the edge of his vision.The touch of snow flakes on his eyelashes stirred Marat awake. His head poundedand he rolled onto his side, retching. The light had faded, leaving the valley in deepshadow. Marat struggled to his feet, rubbing his left arm. Stabbing pains in his bicepsmade him grunt but he forced them from his thoughts. Marat had outlived his sons. Hetired quickly, walked when once he would have run. His woman had to chew his meat.But Marat could still hunt. The deer proved that. It would silence the young ones.Marat stooped and caught the deer by the hooves. He heaved and a hammer blowon his chest sent him staggering. He looked around in surprise.
Who
?The hurt grew worse. Marat pulled at his furs and bared his chest. Ice cracked beneath him and he felt himself sinking. His feet found the bottom of the creek but therewas no sensation of cold. Marat closed his eyes and lay down.INCARNATION MANAGER LOG : THREAD TERMINATIONEXTRACT :
 
“E.T.L” by 2John Dale Renton
TRANSFORM :LOAD :The moaning changed to a scream. Muran Ji cursed. He walked away from the fireand his brothers let him go. At the edge of the circle of tents he stopped and stared outacross the Steppe. Purples and golds at the horizon told him the sun had returned. Twonights and a day, and still the child had not come.Muran Ji started towards the horses, thinking a ride might clear his head. At least itwould take him away from the screams. He stood for a long time beside his horse, let thegelding nuzzle his arm.His youngest brother, Kos, brought fermented goat’s milk. Muran Ji took the bowland drank. The sun climbed above the trees and he felt it warm his face. He returned tohis tent.Li San’s screams had settled into a rhythm of whooping sighs. The tent flaps partedand the midwife’s head appeared.“The child is coming,” she said and withdrew. There was no joy in her eyes.Muran Ji pulled his shirt over his head, drew his sword.In the clearing beside his tent, Muran Ji cut and turned, thrust and leapt. He workedthe blade until sweat blinded him, until his arms trembled and refused to obey. He fell tohis knees, exhausted.~A shadow. Muran Ji looked up. The midwife held a fur-wrapped bundle close toher breast. Her eyes avoided Muran Ji’s.“A son or a daughter?” he asked.
 
“E.T.L” by 3John Dale Renton
“A son. The cord was caught around his neck.”Muran Ji nodded. “Let me see him.”The midwife held out the bundle. At Muran Ji’s touch, a faint cough emerged fromthe furs. The midwife’s eyes widened.Muran Ji turned back the furs and lifted his son. The boy’s skin was blue as thesky. Muran Ji pressed his ear against the baby’s chest. He heard the faint flutter of aheartbeat. Then nothing.INCARNATION MANAGER LOG : THREAD TERMINATIONEXTRACT :TRANSFORM :LOAD :Bartholomew Hoad felt his knee touch the edge of the bed and he brought thedagger down, hard. He heard a muffled grunt as his wrist jarred. Hoad stabbed again andagain until the only sound was his own ragged breathing. He backed away, felt for thedoor handle.In the passageway he worked tinder to a flame and set it to the wick of a candle.His fingers glistened, wet and red. He went back into Greely’s chamber and looked uponhis work.Jacob Greely stared at the ceiling with startled hare’s eyes. His nightshirt wasshredded, soaked in blood. Hoad set the candle on the bedside table and slid his handinto the mess. He felt the key, clasped it and jerked. Greely’s head flopped forward and back, banged against the headboard, but the tarred sailor’s twine didn’t break. Hoad cutthe twine then wiped the key and his hands on the sheets. He limped out of the room.

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