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literature

Caprisha: Getting Lost

Alethearia's avatar
By Alethearia   |   
0 0 122 (1 Today)
Published: April 5, 2010
Fear and anxiety, blood coursing through her ears, her chest, her limbs, making it more and more difficult to think as she ran.  The branch of a nearby tree reached out and scratched another tear in her otherwise clean-pressed blue jeans.

No moon meant she was traveling by starlight, which was barely enough in the thickly forested terrain.  The sky had gone black two hours prior.  She had been running for three. What from, she had no idea. All she really knew was that it was trying to kill her, and that was enough.

Turning for a split second, Gwen didn't anticipate the root that caught her over her foot.

Falling, tumbling , the sensation of rough, mostly-dry mud, and the harsh bark of twigs, all tearing at Gwen's clothes and skin. Instinctively, she wrapped her arms around her thin frame and tried to keep herself quiet.

Then she saw it: a singularly bright point overhead, moving far too fast to be a satellite and far too slow to be a shooting star.  As her mind focused on that brilliant streak, the sky slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, began to dissolve, scattering into a thousand fractalized pixels. The wave of gray-white pixels tumbled through the tree tops, over the still-blackened earth, crept up her arms, causing an inexplicable numbness. the numbness swept over her, barely leaving her breathing.

Gwen screamed...
….but the sound faded a foot away from her, then was cut off altogether in another blinding light...

...Caps!...

Caprisha blinked twice, staring wide eyed at the smoking gun held out straight in front of her. It felt oddly warm and cool at the same time. Her breathing was hard and heavy, and sounded to her as if she were wearing a helmet.

"Caprisha?" Nearby, Frostbite was holding her shoulder. His touch was a great comfort to her. He had been her copilot for six years.  Together, they had flown the Diligence in defense of the fleet countless times. His hand on her shoulder as she flew had always calmed her nerves, bringing her back to her cockpit; this time was no different.

Another voice, this one sounding like it was a great distance away and underwater. "Bring in the target."

"Caps," Frostbite repeated as he gently forced Caprisha's arms down.

Caprisha was finding it hard to focus; whirs of sound and light blared in her ears and flared across her frame of vision.  

"...Caps?"

Suddenly, Caprisha snapped up and looked around. She was at the shooting range. A target fluttered in from the back.  As it advanced, the holes came closer into view – though the holes would be more properly defined as hole...one, singular, hole about the size of a dime.

Caprisha's arms started shaking uncontrollably.

The gun slipped out of her hands onto the table.

"Caps, how did you?..."

But Caps didn't answer, some forbidding dread clutched her chest. Something was happening to her that she couldn't fully comprehend.

The smell of sulfur filled her nostrils instinctively, Caprisha pulled her hands to her face, cupping them over her nose and mouth; to no avail, the scent was on her hands almost more strongly than the scent in the room.

Shaking her head ever so slightly. Caprisha stepped back. She muttered something into her palms.

Frostbite wrapped his arm around Caps and ushered her out of the range. The questions of the handful of other soldiers in the room buffeted them as they left, questions both about how Caps had gotten those shots off, and about the condition of Caprisha herself. The questions were ignored.

***

Caprisha had read about the affects of shell-shock, of post-traumatic stress disorder, but she had never before considered herself vulnerable to such a weakness of character.  Maybe she was wrong; it wouldn't have been the first time.  Finding her mind wander away on matters of mental instability, Caps failed to realize that Frostbite was leading her to the infirmary, or that Trish was trailing them and was chattering away with Frostbite. No, all Caprisha could think and process was the fact that if she ever told anyone about what she was going through her flight status would be revoked...again.
© 2010 - 2020 Alethearia
Part two in my short story escapade.


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