Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 06 - "Falling"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

a boy and his cat

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG - Genres: Fantasy,Horror,Sci-fi - Published: 2008-12-04 - Updated: 2008-12-04 - 796 words - Complete

Shades strolled down the hall, in no particular hurry.

After a full session of Mosh Hour at Bankshot, he mostly looked forward to a quick dinner, and an evening of reading. His favorite time of the day. As much as time seemed to mean to him anymore, when he could lose himself in the music. The past week had been rather uneventful, for which he was grateful, as this place still kept him on edge. Which was good— if not for that, he feared he could become too complacent. The disguise surely helped, but he held little faith in it all by itself.

His more varied wardrobe, and the use of hotel shower and coin-op laundry helped him blend in and remain more anonymous. Along with that, he made it a policy to wander a different sector each day. He had seen the two guards who had pursued him that night when he went to the pool the other day, but they apparently failed to see him; Shades had kept his back turned and made no sudden moves until he saw the second pig, whose gut seemed somehow even bigger without his belt straining against it, out of the corner of his eye, and made a point of hanging out in a different part of the pool than they.

Of course, he was beginning to suspect that they didn’t get a very good look at his face back then, since a change of clothes and the absence of the shades seemed to confound them. In the course of his hunting and gathering, he had acquired a pair of futuristic-looking moon-boots dubbed “Romper-Stompers” that were guaranteed to last at least ten years, or his imaginary money back. A similarly durable jacket made of a Denim/Kevlar hybrid he called “Devlar”. And pants of many pockets, to compensate for his flattened backpack.

The Interloper’s New Clothes, like shedding his “Earth” skin and wearing new armor.

At first he had splurged on “upgrades” (as he had come to think of them) with the Card, then slowed down. After that, he had decided to use it more frugally, making gradual cash withdrawals against the day he finally exhausted its charge. He was never able to find the balance on the Card but resolved to use it up if necessary.

Keeping in mind it was the Card that enabled him to “cheat” and beat the System in here.

In his short time here, he had read and listened to the future. Things that might never be, and others that everyone else in his world would have to wait years to see. It was this one indulgent thrill that was his only compensation for this ordeal.

On the other hand, he sometimes felt a giddy sort of guilt, as well. As if he had slipped out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and peeked at his Christmas presents. But what wondrous presents they had turned out to be.

He had read the next chapter, listened to the next track, seen the shape of things to come.

And still he knew he was in a holding pattern, a kind of limbo. After more than a decade of public education, he knew what a holding pattern looked like. Just eating, sleeping, and hiding in a bookstore.

Shades held that thought as he spotted an unusual pair hanging out near the edge of the food court. Earlier, while he was chillin’ during Most Hour, he had spotted a young man with a black-and-white panther out of the corner of his eye. By the time he had extricated himself from the dance floor, though, both of them had vanished.

It seemed that he had finally caught up with them.

The young man, who couldn’t possibly be any older than himself, wore a strange headband, and clothes the like of which he had never seen before, even in this world. In spite of his rather sci-fi-looking attire, he carried an old-fashioned shoulder bag around with him, and Shades shuddered at how much crap the poor guy had probably already taken over it. Most of all, though, he found his attention drawn to the man’s feline companion, a type the like of which he had never seen before.

Since he first talked to Boss DJ, in the past three weeks, Shades MacLean had not so much as given his name to another human being. But on some inexplicable impulse, he had just made up his mind to make an exception. He feared speaking of the curse to most people would only bring him trouble, yet he felt strangely certain this fellow would believe him.

Somehow he knew, just knew, that this guy had a tale of his own to tell.
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