This is both old and new. The original text was written several long years ago, but was lost in the Great Hard Drive Apocalypse of 2007. I recently re-wrote this intro… almost exactly as it was… because the idea kept nagging me. It has since stopped nagging, and now I’ve got the exact same story fragment that I had before, minus the notes.
The idea was for a series inspired by shows like Doctor Who and Sliders: A person or group of persons traveling to alternate universes and/or timelines. In my version, the poor main character is inexplicably drawn from one doomed universe to another. Every version of Earth (or other planet) that he visits is on the verge of destruction and, contrary to the way things turn out on TV, he is completely unable to stop it from happening. He just goes from one apocalypse to another, eventually figuring out how to “rescue” people by taking them with him, and further along he figures out just why it is happening: he is gathering resources to save his OWN world from annihilation.
Heck, with a build-up like that, you’re probably expecting a lot, but really all I’ve got is this fragment of him arrival at the next doomed Earth, after narrowly escaping the previous doomed Earth:
He was flying.
The shockwave threw him forward in a surge of ash and heat. He screamed, and burning dust seared his throat as his eyes revolted at the impossibly bright light behind him. First red… then white… then a muffling blackness married to a sound so loud that his mind shut it out to keep itself whole for just a few seconds longer.
He couldn’t hear the screams. Not his. Not theirs.
And if oblivion meant that he would keep on NOT hearing them, then he would welcome it. He wanted it to take him. He wanted the blast to take him and chew him to burning cinders because at least then…
…at least then, he could be sure.
And as the heat tore at his back, his final thought wasn’t of the screams, or the blast, or the horror he was leaving behind.
And then he was somewhere else.
The ravenous heat yanked back suddenly like a dog at the end of its leash. Blind, deaf and breathless, the stranger was on the ground for several seconds before he realized he wasn’t moving… wasn’t dead.
Blistered fists clawed at the grass. Grass? What madness was this!? What… MADNESS!?
As the black silence receded and the sleek, mechanical shapes slid toward him from beyond the hill, the stranger knelt in the grass, raised his head to the sky and screamed.
Not much, I know, but I figured I’d share it anyway. For the record, in the world he just left, humanity was being systematically hunted down and annihilated by their own war machines (Robots evolved from smart-bombs. Cross a Dalek with a Terminator and put a nuke in its chest. I called them Incinerators.). The world he just arrived on was due for an alien invasion.
I gave up the idea the first time because it was TOO much like Sliders (although much darker). I gave it up the second time because I just had other stuff to work on.