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


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

vertical vents

Category: Fantasy - Rating: R - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Published: 2008-10-22 - Updated: 2008-10-22 - 613 words - Complete

How long he was out, Justin could only guess, but when he awoke, the cold metallic darkness of the vent shaft told him that his day thus far was no mere nightmare, as he was so fervently hoping. On top of that, he was starving.

Fortunately, the place he had crawled to was bigger than the shaft he originally entered, and he had enough room to dig in his coveralls for the ration bars he had grabbed earlier. He tore the wrapper open with his teeth and chowed down. A long time ago, he had heard it said that the greatest spice was hunger, but he couldn’t remember who said it. No matter. Never had one of the damn things ever tasted so good.

It wasn’t until he was on his fourth bar that he realized that he had eaten all of the rations he still had. He could have sworn he had grabbed more, but he probably lost them in the chase, and he again cursed the TSA.

If I just had some fuckin’ pockets…

He found he still had two bottles of water left, one of which had awakened him because it was digging into his groin. No food, only a day or two of water left, and a trigger-happy Enforcer Unit on his ass. He just kept telling himself that no matter how things looked, this still couldn’t be worse than the Triangle State.

All the same, he still felt trapped. Cornered. Nearly was, back in the closet. Yet he knew he couldn’t stay here too long, or he would suffer the same fate as those other two guys.

Then it dawned on him that he wasn’t trapped. If these vents were as big as their echo suggested, they must reach all over this place. As long as he traveled in here, no one (and nothing) would be able to follow him. Not even the Junkyard Dogs would be able to fit in those vent grills.

After drinking some more water, he started moving again, quickly discovering how much he had tenderized his knees and elbows. He still hadn’t figured out how to navigate down here, but then it occurred to him that he didn’t need to. For now, if he traveled far enough through here, even that bastard NK-525 couldn’t possibly know where he emerged.

He actually started laughing, no longer even caring if anything heard him in this maze of darkness and echoes.

At least until he crawled into a vertical shaft, falling head over heels into yawning blackness before he could stop himself.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!”

Justin dug his back and his heels into the walls, sliding several feet before finally wedging himself near the end of his legs’ reach.

He listened to the sound of one of his water bottles as it bounced against the sides of the shaft once… twice… thrice… finally clanking on the bottom many levels below.

“Fuckin’ A…” he groaned.

Realizing that he wouldn’t be able to stay in this precarious perch for long, he worked his way slowly up to the next level. Then he rolled over onto his side, waiting for his heart to slow down to a more reasonable rate.

“Where’s my flashlight when I need it…”

After a moment of thought, he was chagrined to realize that he still had the flashlight he picked up from that dead pair. And it had been that, not a water bottle, that had been digging into him earlier. He knew he would have to make selective use of it, though, for he doubted the power cells would hold for long.
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