Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday!

So, this snip picks right up where last week's tease left off.  Not as much action, but our MC needs some rest after all she went through last week, don't you think?

Enjoy!


I surface some time later.  My arms and legs bent at odd angles.  Ankles bound tightly together.  Arms stretched behind me with my wrists tethered to my feet.  My back curves in on itself until I am one big circle.  It is the pain of this position that brings me back to consciousness. 

I ache in places I never knew could feel pain before.  My head pounds, raging against some invisible assassin.  I can imagine the war being waged inside my brain, bullets punching holes in the soft tissue, threatening to take my ability to think for myself.  My contorted limbs cry out for relief, but there is none in sight.  It’s all I can do not to let loose the whimpers crawling around inside my chest, inching their way up the back of my throat.

I don’t open my eyes right away.  Instead, I let myself drift, waiting for my head to clear, the dizziness to subside.  While I wait, I open my ears, listen for anything that might tell me where we are, what is going on.

Hopefully, they will say what happened with Leda and those two girls.  Did they get away?  Or did the guards catch them, too?  Needles jab at my eyes with that thought.  Please let them have gotten away.  Let them be out there, somewhere, free of these evil humans. 

Let Leda be safe.

Beneath me, the truck rumbles along, each bump the tires hit, jolting through the floor and pounding into my body.  They must have placed me on the floor of the cab.  A booted foot rests on my side, a heavy persistent weight on my ribcage.  It isn’t crushing, but just enough to make me hyper-aware of its presence.

“Bitch broke my nose,” the other man grumbles. 

“You’ve already said that, Jim,” the lieutenant’s brother says.  “Twice.”

“Well, it won’t stop bleeding.” 

I want to smile at his surly reply, at the fact that I hurt him so badly, but a wide leather strap has been fitted over my mouth and under my chin, immobilizing my jaw.  I am effectively neutralized.  No weapons against them, not even my teeth to bite.  These men are so much smarter than I’d given them credit for.

“Hmm.”  The boot rolls over my side, sliding back and forth, back and forth, like he’s rocking me.  A light click-clacking sounds, and I wonder if he’s poking at one of those flat rectangles that they use all the time.  Com-pew-ters they call them.  We have no word for those glowing devices, nor have I ever bothered to figure out exactly what they do.  All I know is that these things are not weapons.  They cannot hurt us.  That is all I really need to know.

“System says she’s not one of the violent ones.”  More clicking.  “Threat level: zero.”

The other man—Jim—snorts.  “Gotta disagree with that assessment, Mick.  She practically caved my face in.  Damn near strangled you.  And, I heard that she tried to geld Snyder before they loaded her into this truck.” 

“Yeah well, Snyder’s needed to have his ass kicked for a long time now.  That he had it handed to him by a skinny savage just makes it all the better.”

“Guess you’re right,” he concedes.  “But still.  I would’ve liked to know in advance that we had a she-cat in our group.  Man, that could’ve so easily ended up going the other way.  You know?”  A pause while they both consider that.  “Did you key in her number right?  Maybe you’re looking up the wrong one.”

The boot rolls me again.  A hand skims over my shoulder, brushes aside my hair, and tugs at the collar of the ragged shirt I wear.  Warmth cascades over the back of my neck, right on the spot where the brand is. 

When we were taken captive, the first order of business had been the brands.  They’d lined us all up, pushed us down to our knees, and forced our chins to our chests.  One by one, they’d pressed a flat metal rectangle to each of our napes.  Then came the pain as the metal heated up, boiling the skin to torturous heights.  When the fire subsided, the metal plate had fused to our necks, a permanent sign of ownership.  Branding, they called it.  After a while, our wounds began to heal, new skin rising up to envelop the metal, drag it down far below the surface. 

There is no way to remove the brand, it is now a piece of me, embedded deep within my flesh.

A small metal wand allows them to read our brands through the layers of scarred skin that covers the plates, find out everything they know about us with one little swipe.  He rubs it over my neck now.  The beep it emits clangs against my ears, vibrating through my brain.  That done, he straightens, his foot pressing into my side again.  I bite down on my lip to quell the moan rising to the surface. 

A few more clicks, another beep, and he says, “Yep.  That’s the right one.  Says she’s a zero.  No violent episodes on record.”  He taps his foot on my side, rocks me again.  “Want to tell us what set you off, honey?”

“Are you crazy, Mick?  Don’t wake her up!”

“Scared?”  Mick belts out a laugh.  “Don’t worry, dude.  She’s gonna be out for a while.  Those tasers can be pretty nasty.  And, even if she did wake up right now, she’s trussed up good and tight.  No way is she taking us by surprise again.”

“Even so,” Jim grumps.  “I’d feel better if you didn’t poke at her.  My nose can’t handle any more blood loss.”

Mick’s deep, rumbly chuckles fill the truck.  He continues moving his foot over my ribs.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  The motion lulls me even as it sends knives hurtling through my middle. 

“Still,” he musses after several silent minutes.  “I wonder what set her off.  If she was so peaceful before, what changed to turn her so violent now?”

“Don’t know.  Don’t care,” Jim replies, irritated.  “We’ll be at the base in a few hours.  Then, she’ll be your brother’s problem.”

A few hours.  I have some time to think, to plan my next move.  I may be strapped down and immobile now, but they have to untie me sometime.  When they do, I will be ready for them.

Sooooo...how do we feel about our aliens now?