Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday on this here blog.  In the last episode of our fun little alien uprising story ZERO, we left Thia caught and in transit to her next uncertain destination.  At the time, many of you wondered what would happen once she got to where she was going and wasn't so tied up.

Well, now you get your answer;)  Enjoy!


The rumble of the guards herding the children out of the back dies down a little.  My body tenses as I open my ears, listening intently for any and all movement.  Mick left his door partially open when he climbed out, and now, I shift so I can see through the narrow space.
Stone walls rise along the perimeter of the encampment, climbing up so high there is no telling where they end and the sky begins.  Overly bright lamps cut through the absolute pitch black of night.  They burn hard and bright, searing spots onto the periphery of my vision if I look at them overlong.  Human-made lamps are so much harsher on the eyes than even the hottest summer sun.  The brightness could blind in an instant, I’m sure. 
I squint against the onslaught and look away, but more spots crowd my line of sight.  It takes a moment more for them to fade, for me to see clearly once again. 
When I do, it is to find myself staring directly into Mick’s face.  He’s leaning over me, confusion pinching his features together. 
“Are you hurt?” he asks as he skims his hands up my sides.
Schooling my features into a blank mask, I return his stare.
“Right,” he says, giving a short shake of his head.  “You can’t understand me, and I don’t speak gibberish.”  He reaches for the leather strap over my mouth and pitches his voice low and slow for his next words.  “I’m going to take this off now.  If you try to bite me, it’ll go back on.”
I keep the empty-eyed stare locked firmly in place.
The strap loosens.  My jaw falls open immediately upon the pressure lessening.  A line of drool hangs off the leather as it’s pulled away.  My tongue darts out of its own accord, lapping at the spittle still clinging to my lips.  Any kind of dampness against the desiccated muscle is welcome at this point.  How long has it been since I was last allowed even a tiny sip of water?  One day?  Two?  I don’t even know anymore.
He waits, watching me dubiously.  Other than my frantically roving tongue, I make no movement.  If I am still enough, he will believe me harmless.  He will remove the bindings over my ankles, my wrists, and I will be able to make my escape.  I just have to prove to him that I am well and truly defeated. 
That I am a Zero.
He lifts a bottle to my mouth in a slow, exaggerated movement, like I am a cornered animal, wild and unstable.  He is smart, for a human.  I cannot afford to underestimate him. 
Warm water sloshes over my lips, flooding over the cracked, dried out skin.  My brain, my mouth, even my throat don’t care that this is their water.  That it reeks of decay, of dead and dying things.  It doesn’t matter that the liquid passing through my lips contains nothing to help rebuild my strength.
It is something wet.  Soothing rain after a long, hard drought.
All too soon the steady stream cascading into my mouth slows to a mere trickle and then leaves altogether.  I can’t suppress the anguished sob that climbs out, gasping out a wordless plea for just a little bit more.
A tiny bit of water has transformed me into a pathetic creature, begging for even the smallest kindness from my captors.  Rage—at him, at the humans, at Mama and Papa for allowing us to be separated in the first place, at Leda for needing me so much since then, and even at myself for not being able to protect her properly, for being so weak—boils up from the deepest, darkest recesses of my being.  My body lunges upward with a surge of energy I didn’t know I still had, mouth snapping at the vanished stream.  The bindings lock me into place, cutting cruelly into my flesh as I tug futilely at them.
The bottle disappears, and his hands fall to my waist.  In one deft maneuver, he flips me over, my chin smacking the floor before he pulls back on my arms.  A soft snick sounds, and then my body unfurls, my chest and face crashing back toward the floor.  My legs fall slightly apart now that they are not bound.  My wrists, however, are still tightly lashed together. 
But, I don’t need my hands to run.  Just my feet.
“Come on,” he says as he yanks me backward once again.
My feet hit the ground, but after such a long journey twisted all up, my legs aren’t ready to bear my full weight.  I crumble almost immediately.
 “That’s the she-devil Jim was bitching about?” A voice behind me hoots.  “Nothing more than a skinny little runt, if you ask me.”
Lifting my head, I turn just enough to see who is speaking.  Flanked by several guards, he’s taller than the others and more muscular, a shock of yellow-white hair falling over his brow.  His eyes meet mine for only a second before passing right through me.  I am nothing to him, just another savage being paraded about. 
He turns his attention to my immediate right, his grin widening as he takes in the dark ring of bruises encircling Mick’s neck.  “You let her do that to you?  Oh man, I wish I could’ve seen it for myself.”
Mick’s mouth tips up in a rueful smile of his own.  He shakes his head as he grasps my shoulders and straightens me.  “Easy there,” he tells me before addressing the other man.  “I’m sure Jim wishes you would’ve been there, too, Conrad.  Maybe then, we wouldn’t have lost three of the little ones.”
Leda.  My whole system goes on alert at his mention of her.  So, she did make it out.  She is far from here.  My sister is safe.  At least, I did something right.  Finally.
“Lost?  Shit,” Conrad mutters, disgusted.  “I’ll get the dogs.  Come on, guys.”  He turns to go, the men beside him making to follow suit.
“Already done,” Mick says, his words effectively stopping them.  “Jim should be going back out within the hour.  You and your men can go with him.”
He frowns, perplexed.  “You think it’ll take long to find them?”
Mick shrugs.  “Don’t know, but after the hell this one—“ He shakes me, as if the others don’t already know who the troublemaker is.  Stupid humans.  “—put us through, I’m not taking any chances.” 
“Right.”  Conrad jerks out a curt nod, then motions to the other guards.  He’s important here.  Someone that needs to be taken out.  Quickly.  “You heard the man.  Let’s get the little ones into the barracks.  Then, we have some savages to wrangle.”
The red tide of rage within me surges forth at the gleeful way he says this.  No.  Leda needs to be safe.  She needs to stay far away from this man and his ‘dogs’.  If I do nothing else before they kill me, I will keep him from going after my sister, from hunting her down.
Even though my body is weak, my legs still unsteady, I launch into action, energized by rage and a burning need for vengeance. The element of surprise is on my side.  They are all armed and can move easily.  My hands are still tied behind my back, but I have my legs and my head.  That and speed are all I need.
Mick is first.  I slump against him, feigning dizziness.  He steps in immediately, hands out to catch me.  Just like with Snyder, he leaves himself wide open, vulnerable to attack.  Stupid humans.  They’re all the same.
Just like with Snyder, I slam my heel down on the top of his foot.  As he bends forward, howling in pain, my knee crashes upward, finding his soft middle with unerring accuracy.  He crumples, curling up into a tiny ball on the ground.
Run.  Run.  Run. 
My head swivels first right and then left, surveying the area, searching for exits.  Time is of the essence, and I am wasting precious seconds just standing there, gawking at my surroundings. 
After a shocked moment, the guards rush toward me, guns raised.



Sooooo?  What do we think?  Will Thia finally escape these evil humans?  Will she find Leda?  Questions. Questions.  I may or may not give you all the answers ;)