|New flash fiction (250 words or less) every week!|
Not many people go willingly to death.
Those that do are either blessed... or cursed.
I am cursed.
“She’s metabolizing the anesthetic quickly. I’m giving her 2.2 mg of the inhibitor in case she wakes.”
A needle sank into Arden’s inner elbow. She flinched away reflexively, and a hand gently caught and pressed her shoulder down against the cold stone floor. There was a distant shifting of fabric. The calm voice spoke again as the needle withdrew. “Involuntary movement, nothing to worry about. She’ll likely be down for another few minutes.”
Arden opened her eyes a fraction. Brilliant white light shone down from above, partially blocked by a head full of curly brown hair. His tanned face was in profile, turned away from her, and he was wearing white robes with a familiar red insignia on them. Medic. It was his hand that was resting on her right shoulder. She risked shifting her head slightly, as if relaxing from the tension, and got a slightly better view of the room.
The medic was speaking to a pair of green-suited guards by the door with menacing-looking tattoos on their upper arms. Most likely armed, but she couldn’t tell how from here. Everything, including the door, was made of grey stone illuminated by the long tubes set into the ceiling. The only other break in the curving stone was an arm’s length to her left, where a grey sheet of mirrored glass was set into the wall. Behind it she could see shadowed shapes moving. There. There was a crackle of static and the medic turned back to Arden, putting his hand to his ear. Arden shut her eyes quickly, listening.
A whirring voice spoke out of the air, barely discernible even to Arden’s ears. “She’s awake.”
Arden’s eyes flashed open and caught the medic’s brown ones. His mouth opened to cry out, but he froze when his eyes met hers, as so many often did. Light indents ran from his nose to his mouth, etches worn into his walnut skin from smiling early and often. He had to be older than she was, but there was no pain in his eyes. It was like looking into the eyes of a child.
Arden reached out with her right hand and gripped his elbow. The back of her hand rapped against a half-open black box next to him containing an odd collection of vials and cloth. Med kit! He glanced down at his elbow in surprise, then seemed to realize what was happening. The first syllable of a cry for help escaped his lips as Arden surged to her feet, grasped his shoulder in her other hand, lifted him bodily into the air, and sent him crashing through the pane of shadowed glass. The green-clad guards across the room started towards her, shouting. She kicked the med kit shut, grabbed it by the handle, and then leaped through the opening she’d made.
She landed on the medic’s body. Shards of glass on his coat cut into her feet. This room, made of black stone, was dimly lit, to maintain the balance of the one-way mirror, and filled with tall stacks of filing cabinets. Two men with white robes and clipboards stared at her, open-mouthed. She took it all in and had started to run before they started to scream, heading straight toward the open arch set into the far wall.
At the doorframe she skidded to a stop and reached for the nearest filing cabinet. She had to drop the med kit, but she sent the cabinet crashing down in front of her pursuers, effectively blocking half the hallway. One of the guards took a swipe at her shirt through the opening. Dancing back, she picked up the black box and bolted again.
The corridor changed quickly into a tunnel of hard, packed earth as Arden ran. It was well-lit by evenly spread glow-moss, with no obstructions to trip over nor signs indicating where she was. She felt a little nauseous, probably from whatever it was the medic had stuck her with, her right arm was throbbing, and her feet hurt. Luckily, that seemed to be the worst of it. Arden focused her mind and ‘shouted’ silently down the hallway. <Tai? Tai! Where are you? Are you near?>
Two voices responded; both male, both familiar. The first was deeper and filled with frustration. <Well, that was quick. I go to all this work to pick you up and those idiots in the lab can’t keep you down for more than twenty minutes. No matter. I’ll just have to bring you back again.> Adrenaline spiked through her and she tore through the corridor with a new burst of speed, swearing to herself.
The second was a light tenor, and reflected the anxiety she felt. <Arden! I’m at the front entrance, come quickly.> The hallway split into two and she picked one at random, bolting down it with more speed than caution. Her feet protested this action immediately, causing her to hop down the hallway in a motion that didn’t really help.
She caught and focused on the second voice, directing her response just to him. <I don’t know where the light-damned front entrance is, and Dante is here, and we’re all going to shattering die.> And her feet were killing her. She leaned against the wall and slid to the floor, breathing heavily.
The second voice didn’t reply in words, but sent her the feeling of concern bordering on panic.
Arden fumbled with the latches on the medkit she was carrying until it opened. <Dante is coming, and I don’t know where I am and also I might throw up. Help me out here!> One side of the kit held a large selection of needles and vials containing various multicolored substances with complex markings on the side. Some of them had been jarred out of their place in the foam. Arden pushed them back in, careful not to break the glass. On the other side was an extensive selection of various-colored fabrics. She recognized a few of them, but what drew her attention was the tan roll in the far corner. <On the plus side, I found bandages,> she quipped, feeling a little better at the sight. There wasn’t any water, at least not that she could tell, and she wasn’t willing to pour mysterious substances on her feet, so she opted for removing the shards of glass by touch.
<Great, that’ll solve all our problems,> he replied, amused despite the stress. <How am I supposed to help you?> She didn’t respond, unwilling to send him the soft whimpering noises she was making as she slid her fingers down the shallow cuts in her feet. <Where are you?> he added.
Arden leaned back against the wall, breathing shallowly. Farther down the hall were some open arches set into the side wall. From here, she couldn’t make out what was in them. Arden shrugged and bent to the task of wrapping her feet in the long stretchy fabric. That hurt a lot less. <I don’t shattering know, do I?> she told him.
The voice radiated grumpy discontent at her. <Fine, I’m going left.>
The roll came with two little metal clips that held it shut, and she used them to secure the bandages on the top of each foot. It seemed a little strained, but she hoped it would hold. She closed the medkit, levered herself to her feet and took a few hesitant steps. Yes, that was much better.
She headed toward the arches. They led into what looked like small workspaces. Most of them were dark, but some of the ones ahead of her were lit up. A man in a white coat stepped out of one of the lit ones, not a meter ahead of her. Arden stopped dead, hoping against hope he wouldn’t see her if she held very still.
In the back of her head, the voice rumbled, <Are these… underground tunnels? That’s so fable.> Arden kept still, even though the man likely couldn't hear their silent ‘speech’ even if he tried.
The scientist was holding a small wicker cage with something grey and furry inside that was absorbing all his attention, and he had actually started walking toward her before he saw her. He gave a start, the small metal cage almost slipping out of his hands. A silver tag on his lapel reflected light back at her. Unarmed; favoring his right foot, but not actively injured. “Who… civilians aren’t allowed in here, miss.” He took a step toward her. “How did you get in? …What’s wrong with your eyes?”
|The current first chapter of my novel. A work in progress.|
|My inspiration... a little pick-me-up for when I fall down. ^_^ <3|
My avatar was not created by me, but by my amazing friend DetectiveWolf
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