Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Which I TEASE You

Long time, no tease, huh?  Well, friends, this one is from my on-again, off-again WiP involving an alien uprising, ZERO.

Enjoy!


The lieutenant’s brother reaches for a small black box on his belt.  It is not a gun, but I’ve seen it before.  Never have they ever used one on us.  These devices are reserved for when the hendlings get out of control.  The image of the hendling, a massive animal taller than a house with skin so thick as to be nearly impenetrable and large jagged horns on either side of its elongated snout.  A hendling cannot be taken down with just anything.  It requires something with deadly strength.

The box the man is unstrapping from his belt can easily kill a hendling.  Even on its lowest setting, it will vaporize me.

Self-preservation kicks in, and I launch into action.  I kick out again, punching my foot into the other man’s neck.  He crumples instantly.  No more time to torture and punish.  I whip around, eyes searching out the nearest exit.

“Leda, run!”  I snarl.  Why is she just standing there at the door staring at me?  She should’ve been miles away by now.  She and the other two should have been well away from the truck.  “Run!”

I leap away from the two men, stumbling as my hands fly out, shoving her toward the door and pushing her out into the hazy afternoon glow.  She and the others tumble down to the hard-packed soil.  Murky gray sand and dead yellow plants surround the truck.  I don’t need to look up to the sky and see the pale blue sun, shrouded in filmy gray to know where we are.

The guards are taking us through the Sunbelt.  That arid strip of land where nothing of any value grows.  The only water running through this barren wasteland is horrid, stagnant and tastes of death.  It’s the kind of water the humans prefer.  They call it freshwater, but there is nothing fresh about it.  The water is devoid of any nutrients.  It contains nothing to revitalize, only drains our bodies of strength, makes us sick.

“Run,” I shout at her again.

Grabbing hold of the two girls, she peels out, her legs pumping in fast strides as she drags them along with her.  I watch her for only a moment, just long enough to verify that she is, in fact, fleeing.  Then, I am in motion.  Propelling myself forward, crawling to the door to make my own escape.  But, I won’t be following in her wake.  I will run in the opposite direction.  When they give chase—which they most assuredly will—it will be me they come after, and Leda will be free.

At the door, my hands grip the metal frame of the truck, one foot stepping out.  I am almost clear of the danger the man and his hendling weapon pose when a hand latches onto my ankle.  It is nothing to jerk him loose.  He is weak as a babe, a groan floating out of him as he tries and fails to catch hold of me again.

“Stop,” he commands, his voice a low, pained rasp.

A smile curves my lips as I take off.  My feet are sure.  Even barefoot, I fly over the hot sand, barely noticing the jagged rocks that leap up to slice at my soles.  Nothing can stop me now.  I have won.  I am free.

“Dammit!” he thunders behind me as he drags himself from the truck.  “I said Stop!” 

Hazarding a quick glance over my shoulder, I see him push himself upright, take the stance they all do when readying themselves to shoot at a moving target.  I double my speed, my legs pumping harder and faster than I’ve ever pushed them before.

But, it is not enough.  Not when he aims that black box at my back.  Not when he clicks the button that will end me.

Three tiny prongs land on my back, centered perfectly between my shoulder blades.  They latch onto my clothing, dig into my flesh until they attach themselves to my spine.  I stumble to a halt, arms flying up, fingers scrabbling at my back, a vain attempt to reach the prongs, dig them out before they can—

Hot, sharp, and blinding.  White heat and static noise blanket my entire being.  My brain scrambles, frying under the electric current now skipping gleefully up and down my spine.  My body is no longer my own.  My arms and legs flail.  My shoulders and hips shaking.  I am a puppet, dancing on unseen strings. 

I have no control over what happens next.  Nor can I borrow the energy to care.  For in the next minute, I lose my grip—tenuous as it is—on life, and everything is gone.


That's it for this Tuesday, folks.  Until next week, when we see if Thia makes it out of this alive:)