Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 04 - "Tranz-D"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

skeletons in the closet

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Published: 2008-10-15 - Updated: 2008-10-15 - 905 words - Complete

After an interminable amount of time, which was probably only ten or fifteen minutes, the alarms and commotion died out into this place’s former silence.

Justin Black had had to get over his fear of the dark at a young age in order to get by in the Ruins, but in this place of unknown risks, he really didn’t like being unable to see what was going on around him. That, and after the dry, cool, sterile air outside, there was a musty smell in the darkness of the closet that made his nostrils flare, as there was something about it he instinctively disliked. At last he could no longer stand it, and he reached along the wall for a light switch, finally finding one.

As the lights came on, he saw that he was in a storage closet of some type. Behind him were stacks of boxes, and a couple wall-mounted shelves bearing more boxes. Only a few square feet of open floorspace in here.

And nearly half of it was occupied by a pair of skeletons.

Justin stared at the dead couple for a long moment, trying not to scream. Upon closer inspection, he saw that they were not just blackened, blistered-looking skeletons, but dead bodies that were nearly mummified, what was left of their skin stretched across the emaciated remains of their frames. They both huddled in the corner opposite of him, facing the door. As if they had been standing guard against something. In one bony hand, each corpse clutched a double-barrel power pistol in a final death-grip.

On one hand, he was glad to finally see weapons he could get his hands on. But on the other, though, the hands that were currently clutching them gave him the creeps. Mostly because he believed he was beginning to understand what had happened to these two unfortunate individuals.

He envisioned them spending their final days (or hours) in this very closet, hiding from something. There was something about this scene that chilled him to the bone. What were they hiding from? Something worse than the guards? Then again, he figured they might have been doing alright until they ran out of ammo or starved to death or something.

However much juice they had left, weapons were still weapons as far as he was concerned. No prying this time; the skeletal hand crumbled to dust as he pulled on the gun. He would need these, along with anything else they had, more than they did now.

He searched their dusty clothes, trying not to touch the crumbling corpses any more than he had to as he worked. All he found was one spare clip between them. He also found a flashlight, a mysterious plastic card, an empty canteen, and a pen.

On one of them he also found a very disturbing note. Written in a rather shaky hand.

Beware NK-525...” Justin whispered, the yellowed paper already beginning to disintegrate in his fingers.

He sat there for a long moment, trying to keep a lid on the nameless fear buzzing in the back of his mind. Clearly these two, whoever they were, had been hiding from someone, more likely something, called NK-525. He tried not to think about it as he resumed his preparations; after all, whatever happened to these guys had happened long before his time.

Justin took the double-barrel pistols and the corpses’ gunbelts, combining them so he had a holster slung at each hip, their stacked barrels fitting perfectly. They hung at just the right height; they felt completely natural when he reached down for them. He tried his new draw, careful not to actually pull the triggers, as he didn’t want to risk injuring himself firing in such a confined space, or worse, somehow getting the guards’ attention.

Or, worst of all, wasting what little ammo he feared he had left.

After readying everything, he noticed just how quiet everything had become. Gone were the alarms, and he was certain he hadn’t heard any patrols stomp by in a good long while. Armed with his new guns, Justin stepped out of the closet to take a quick look around.

Remembering which closet he came from, in case he needed to make a hasty retreat, he advanced to the nearest junction. Looked right, then left, seeing nothing. Then he went to the other intersection, seeing more of the same.

The halls were empty. For now.

Still he fell back to the closet, not entirely sure why. Perhaps he just didn’t trust that silence. As empty as the halls looked, he still felt as if something nasty was waiting for him out there. Much as he hated his present company, they at least were harmless.

It was a maddening feeling, waiting, but he decided to try to form a plan. Yet he doubted much would come of it, but the stakes were too high not to try. The robo-guards were troublesome enough, but those canine models worried him more; he had already begun to think of them as the Junkyard Dogs, naming them after the guards he had escaped from in the Bone Yard so many years ago. Definitely the wrong direction to start thinking. For the longer he stood there, the more it seemed to him that the Triangle State had expanded a hundred fold, and the Works had been reduced to…

A closet.
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