This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
It was a bright and sunny day on an untouched tropical island somewhere in the Pacific. The island was modestly sized for a volcanic island: around 9 kilometers wide.
A long-dormant volcano centered the island, seemingly watching everything in its long idle rest. The waves lapped softly at the black-sanded beach, bringing along sediments and bits from beneath the ocean whence it came. The leaves of trees that made up the island's forest rustled in a chorus as a warm ocean breeze blew by. Various types of insects, flowers, and flora added color to the scene. Migratory birds chirped gleefully in the background as they bathed under the warm sunlight.
All in all, it was a peaceful and beautiful paradise.
Suddenly, the birds stopped chirping. The insects hid and crawled away. The breeze stopped blowing. Even the waves stopped licking the shoreline.
A large wave crashed onto the beach, surging through like a tsunami. A powerful gust rode the tides and it too, surged into the land. The leaves rustled loudly as the gust forced itself through the forest.
Just then, something huge broke the surface of the sea, displacing more water and casting another large wave to surge towards the beach.
A large spine made itself visible through the waves. Then came another, and another, until it formed a huge, spiny back sporting what looked like a dorsal fin. Next to reveal itself was the thick and armored neck. Finally came the head, which was rounded, large, long, and spiny.
The Kaiju named Caitiff rose to its full height, so that the water only reached its knees. Its impressive 320 feet tall poise towered over everything. Its shadow loomed on the waves and beach below it, casting a dark humongous image of itself on the water and black sand.
It lumbered towards the island, displacing more water. The ground shook as its gargantuan foot stomped on the beach, spraying sand and saltwater everywhere. The Kaiju rumbled, loud enough for the trees to vibrate and the leaves to rustle. Birds flew overhead, spooked by the huge alien creature that had just stepped into their land.
The Kaiju snorted dismissively at the fleeing flock. It was used to animals fleeing from it every time it got close. It couldn't blame them. It was a hundred meter tall alien created on the sole purpose of annihilating humanity.
It got down on all fours and gingerly lay itself down on the warm sand. It rumbled contently, drinking in the heat that emanated from the radiated beach. It closed its eyes, resting peacefully in its tranquility.
The Kaiju thought it was a good time to think now that it was somewhere peaceful...
It is nice here. It is calm... It has been a long time since I felt calm.
Back at home, when I was just released from the creation chambers, I saw that everything was full of chaos. No, there were no wars or conflicts in the Anteverse. Not including the occasional argument between some of my creators, it was surprisingly organized there. But ironically, the Anteverse was not. It was a chaotic world that looked like it had gone through numerous apocalypses and never healed.
Although I had been designed to thrive in the Anteverse, I don't like it there...
The sky was alway burned like acid. It did not bother me, since I had a very thick and scaly hide, but the way it looked like... It was red, and gray, and the colors were dull and sullen. Every time I looked up at the sky for too long, my eyes would burn. The sky swirled and churned hypnotically, but it was not beautiful.
Lightning would flash every once in a while, and that was the only thing I liked about my world. The way it streaked through the sky hypnotized me, and every time it flashed, I fall into a trance. The thunder that followed would sometimes startle me when it boomed too suddenly, but I still welcomed it. Those two were the only few things I accepted, and one of the reasons I kept on returning to the Anteverse willingly.
In the Anteverse, the ground was ashen, dull, and rocky. There was no sign of life other than my creators, some tiny crawlers, and my fellow Kaiju. There were also seas there, like on Earth. But unlike the blue and refreshing oceans and seas, the Anteverse held large pools of methane and sulfur. One time, during my first time out of containment, I had grown adventurous. I lumbered towards the shore, wondering what the gray and swirling liquids were. Out of curiosity I poked the liquid with one of my claws. It burned, and I felt immense pain. Ever since then, I dared not touch those.
But now... Now that I am here on Earth, I feel better. It was ironic that the home of my supposed enemies was my favorite planet. But would you blame me if I preferred cool water over burning acid, clear skies over sullen storms, or lively landscapes over bare deserts?
The only thing I missed was the lightning... But in my most utter joy, Earth experienced lightning storms, too. They were less frequent here, but at least I could still experience lightning without ever going back to the Anteverse.
A caw startled me from my thoughts, and I snapped open my eyes.
A brave albatross was standing before me, eyeing me with curiosity and wonder. It flew away when I snorted irritatedly at it for interrupting a well deserved rest.
I watched it fly off, and wondered how free it must feel like to actually be able to fly and explore. I had forgotten to ask Otachi about it, and I didn't get the chance either. She was apparently killed by a metal beast, sliced in half, and unfortunately, the youngling she was conceived with perished alongside her.
I felt bad for her. She didn't deserve to die; especially her youngling, which had not been able to even experience life. For that, I hated those metal beasts... they keep on killing us. We were only doing the jobs our creators have assigned us with.
But then, are they also just doing their duties?
Surely, they must have higher-ups that order them around and organize them. Their leaders must have ordered them to kill us... But for what reason? Why should they kill us? Did we do something wrong? Maybe it is because of those very tiny people we were tasked to hunt down and eradicate.
To be honest, I did not like my job as much as I did not like the Anteverse. I felt sorry for the very tiny people. I didn't want to destroy the structures that I knew they worked so hard for to build. I didn't want to kill innocents. Those very tiny people did not deserve death, especially in such a chaotic and inhumane way.
I still remembered my first mission years ago. My creators ordered me to go to an archipelago called "the Philippines" and take out the very tiny people residing there. I resisted at first and tried to ask them why, but they ignored me and just shouted harder. Although I could have simply killed them with one swipe of my large, clawed hands, I doubt I could get away with it alive. Some of the other Kaiju obeyed our creators' whim without question. They were loyal towards them, and I was sure that if I had killed the creators, the other Kaiju would tear me to my bones.
And so I was left no other choice, but to comply and exit the Breach.
The first time I went through, I did not like Earth. It was too bright, and too confusing. Since when did liquid not burn? Since when was the sky blue? Since when were there green things growing on brown soil? Since when did everything seem so tiny and vulnerable?
I made landfall in the Philippines at night during a storm. Lightning and thunder lashed and rumbled, and that eased me from the thought of facing one of those metal beasts that my creators warned me of. I didn't want a fight, nor did I want trouble. I knew my job would always get me into trouble, but it wasn't like I could do anything about it.
I circled around the settlements in the area, watching them curiously with piqued interest. The houses there looked so weak. Those brown boards and flimsy metal held together by tied knots couldn't possibly endure the storm... or my trampling spree. I thought it wasn't fair to destroy something so helpless and vulnerable, so I left those untouched.
Even through the rain, I could see the people residing in those little houses cower and hide from me. The storm picked up and the galvanized iron roofings of the houses I watched fluttered dangerously. They looked like that any minute now, they'd be torn off.
I didn't want those houses to be destroyed...
Just then, I hear my creators' voices shout at me, ordering me to destroy the vicinity. I didn't listen the first time, and I continued roaming around the towns, careful not to graze the vulnerable houses. I didn't like my creators' orders. They didn't seem to have any reason at all...
Around thirty minutes later, when I still hadn't complied to their orders, the creators sent a strong electric surge through my brain. It hurt! My whole body spazzed as I experienced seizure. It wasn't enough to kill me, but I didn't want to die from the continuous bouts of pain.
My creators yelled at me angrily, telling me that if I complied to their orders, they would stop the pain.
I wanted to ignore them again, but the pain... it may not kill me now, but I doubt that was the worst it could do. Sure enough, the pain amped up, and I screeched and roared wildly, trying to shake off the pounding headache. In my careless and reckless struggle, I had flattened a wide area of the town. Through the howling wind, I could hear the terrified and grief-stricken cries of the very tiny people below me. My throat tightened and my heart wrenched as I heard them.
And then came the metal beast. I still remember what it looked like. It was colored red, blue, white, and yellow in a pattern that resembled something like the Philippine "flag", as my creators said the banners were called. Something about its color-scheme echoed patriotism and nationality. A crest protruded from the top of its 'head'. There were two machine guns tucked on its shoulders.
It did a pose before pistons shot off from its wrists, propelling its hands forward. The sound of metal clanging echoed across the stormy air. The mechanical groan followed, and it vibrated the air.
I had exchanged it with a loud and shrill roar, and I could hear the very tiny people below me scream in sheer terror. My heart wrenched at hearing such fearful pleas, but I still focused on the metal beast before me. It surged towards me and I did the same.
We fought for hours, exchanging swipes, punches, bites, and kicks. In the end, I lost... The metal beast stood over me as I cowered below it, clutching my bleeding side.
I ran away, not wanting to die. It pursued me, and it was fast. For the first time, I felt fear. Fear of this metal beast that wanted to kill me.
I escaped, but at the cost of my pride.
I had been called back into the Anteverse, and I was greeted by a scolding from my creators, and mocks from the other Kaijus. They called me a recreant... a coward... a dastard... a caitiff Kaiju. Soon enough, I was named "Caitiff" by everyone. I hated the name. It meant that I was a coward and a contempt entity. But I was not...
Why were they mocking me when I just survived my first encounter with those metal beasts? They said that I only survived because I ran away and did not finish the fight. Was it wrong to not die? They said that I had no honor if I feared death. But I did not fear death! I would gladly welcome it! It is just that I am not yet ready to die! And why should we kill those innocent very tiny people? They said that I was a sissy for not being able to kill. But killing was not right!... Nonetheless, they think my unwillingness to die and doubt to kill unsportingly was cowardice and disloyalty.
The next two months, I had still been sent out of the Breach, despite my growing reputation as a fleeing coward. I obeyed my creators' every whim now, not wanting to further disappoint them and have a seizure.
I destroyed the cities they told me destroy. I killed the very tiny people with every step I took. The fearful cries always gutted my heart, but I tried hard to ignore them. And every time those metal beasts come for me, I flee away. Like the other metal beast in the Philippines, they pursued me. And just like every other time, I escaped.
I return back to the Breach, again to be half-heartedly congratulated and mocked. They said that me fleeing away was expected. They said that I did destroy what they told me to destroy, but I failed to bring the metal beasts down. They said I still failed them in the end.
I always tried to ignore their mocks, but I couldn't help but shed tears whenever I am alone. I was afraid to cry whenever there was someone else with me. I was afraid they would mock me for crying and weeping...
And then there was my last mission. I was sent towards Japan, and there, I fought another metal beast. Like the last time, I fled, but the metal beast was faster and it caught me by the tail, swung me around, and stabbed me with one of its weapons. I tried pushing it away, but it still kept on stabbing me and throwing me to the ground.
I roared painfully and apologetically, trying to get through those orange visors those metal beasts had for eyes. But its expressions never changed, and they never hesitated to land blow after blow on me. I tried to roar desperately, trying to talk my way out of this. The metal beast didn't hear me, and it instead, attacked me harder.
Seeing no point in continuing, I simply gave in. What would happen to me would be on the metal beast's hands, and I was sure that death would come for me shortly. As the metal beast landed the finishing blows on me, I shed tears without fear of being mocked. Nothing could mock me now that I was about to die...
And then, the metal beast hesitated, seeing the streams of blue, bioluminescent streams falling from my eyes. It grabbed me by the throat, but I did not protest. I closed my eyes, awaiting the final blow.
It never came.
The metal beast dropped me down unceremoniously on the rubble. It punched me in the face before I blacked out...
I opened my eyes groggily. I squinted. Everything was so bright... I'm not in the Anteverse am I? I groaned silently, feeling the immense pain on my flank, my neck, one of my arms, and face, as I began to get up sleepily.
A loud siren blared, and it jolted me awake. I could hear the panicked screams of the very tiny people below me. I growled a hasty apology before I ran away, trying not to step on anything. The very tiny people kept on screaming, pointing fingers at me... They called me names. But the names they called me were worse than what the other Kaiju and my creators called me.
They screamed, calling me a monster... a mindless slaughterer... a heartless beast...
My heart wrenched in guilt. I felt so much pain that I almost stumbled down and flattened a hospital that had miraculously survived my onslaught. I caught myself just in time, and I apologized. The very tiny people in the hospital saw me, and they too, began calling me names.
The guilt inside me grew, and without knowing, I shed tears... I roared to the skies, apologizing as much as I can. I'm sorry! I'm sorry I destroyed your homes! I didn't mean to! I was forced to! I'm sorry! I'm sorry that I killed your families! I'm sorry thar I traumatized your children! I'm sorry! I'm sorry I cannot do anything about it!
But the very tiny people took it the wrong way, and they began screaming louder. They took my roar as a sign of my enragement... I'm sorry for scaring all of you...
I ran away, like I always did.
I reached a small island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, and there, I laid to nurse myself back to health. If I returned to the Anteverse, my creators would not bother to heal me... They didn't throw me away yet because they think the more Kaiju they have under their disposal, the more power they have. Apparently, even cowardly Kaiju counted.
When I woke up and felt better, I tried to find my way back towards the Breach. But when I got to where it supposedly was, it was gone! Where was it? It was just right here! Did my creators not want me anymore and left me here to rot?
The cool ocean suddenly became cooler as I finally realized my fate.
I was stranded here... I was left alone... I was left to die here...
I am going to die alone. I am going to end my life without honor.
But that view has changed... This place is not so bad at all.
The blue skies which I had thought were weird, was not so bad. It was serene and calm, aside from when storms would occur. I did not complain about the cool and refreshing sea. The green things on brown soil, which I had learned were called trees, looked weird but beautiful; especially the flowering plants, which bloomed during a time. All in all, I liked Earth.
The Anteverse may have been where I was born, but that is not my home anymore. My creators brought me to life, but they were not my parents, for they did not treat me like their child. The very tiny people were supposed to be my enemies, when in truth, I was the monster they think is the true evil. The metal beasts may have killed the other Kaiju, but they had reasons after all.
My creators were bad for ordering me around to destroy very innocent people. I forgave the metal beasts for their actions towards me, finally understanding that they were just protecting the very tiny people my creators sought to destroy. I didn't destroy the very tiny people's homes anymore. That was bad, and I didn't want to hear those terrified screams again...
Earth is my new home, and now that it is my hearth, it is my duty to protect and care for it. And as an apology, I will protect the very tiny people, the same way those metal beasts did. I will try to go from a Caitiff and a monster to a protector and a knight.
Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...
Ding Fernando: very nice read.so realistic you can hardly put it down,i really like the character so human despite posessing immortality and eternal youth.though i would prefer a better ending..i still love this novel and i am recommending it to all sci fi fans to give it a try .you will love it too!!
thePeeJ: aced it boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...
Jalakins: I loved this story. The characters were very interesting and engaging. The plot was very interesting and I had a hard time when I had to stop reading - just wanted to read it all in one sitting! My only complaint on the story is that sometimes I felt like the storyline jumped from one thing to a ...
Profezzer: This is a prequel of sorts to a much larger drama that happens a couple thousand years in the future. The Olafson saga is as good as any I have read and ranks up there with some greats in terms of plot and the construction of her universe. Her one detraction is spelling and punctuation but do n...
Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.
Erica: La trama es muy interesante y original y eso ya dice muchísimo cuando todos tratan de triunfar con ideas ya trilladas.No puedo opinar en detalle sobre la gramática, porque a pesar de entender el inglés a la perfección, la falta de uso en cuanto a lectura y diálogo hacen que me maneje bastante mal...
Remini UDA: I would like to firstly admit I do not like the romance genre, it's not something I tend to read and as such I did not complete the whole story and only made it to chapter 15. Whether that affects this review is for you to consider.The Unknown Variant is a very well written book, as a reader I wa...
Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...
Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...
PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...