Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 07 - "Away From Home"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

the weight of despair

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror,Sci-fi - Published: 2009-01-06 - Updated: 2009-01-06 - 559 words - Complete

Justin reached out and pressed the button on yet another door, again getting the password prompt.

He pounded the wall— next to the controls, wasn’t going to make that mistake again. After building up his stockpile of food and water bottles, he had resumed his exploration, free of the Enforcer’s constant interference. In addition to those measures, he had also taken to using his staff— which, being a pulse weapon, wasn’t restricted by his ammo— to destroy hall and vent sensors as he went to make it harder for the security system to track him. Unfortunately, hours of walking up and down in different directions had still failed to yield a single unlocked door that didn’t lead to a storage closet.

When he first thought of it, his plan for accessing the computers he had seen through the vents in various rooms had seemed so simple, he could just scream. In the storage closets, he at least had stacks of boxes and other objects he could use to get up and down from high vents, whereas in most of the rooms there was little furniture, most of it built-in or too heavy for him to budge, and never anything right under the vent. It was hard enough getting down without twisting his ankle or something, and getting back up… left him without any useful escape route.

He was starting to think he would just have to risk it anyway… when he heard it.

“No… way… No fucking way…”

For a moment, he thought he was hearing things, that this place had finally succeeded in unhinging his mind. But when it refused to go away, he knew it was real. Even as his brain was telling him he should get his ass in gear, the rest of him refused to budge.

All of the hope he had felt earlier fell right out of him as he turned back toward his closet. Against the despair and denial weighing on every fiber of his being, he had to force one foot in front of the other every step of the way back as those tracks droned and rattled somewhere in this place’s bottomless background. When he reached the vent, he crawled in, wondering why he felt such a strong urge to just lie down and go to sleep, why his body felt so slow.

Maybe, if he just went to sleep, he would finally wake up from this nightmare…

But as he moved deeper into the shaft, he started moving faster, his fierce desire to live overruling his premature surrender before he could fully give in to it. Crawling faster and faster, becoming increasingly frantic. Imagining those tracks coming closer and closer. Even when he was around the corner, he kept on going.

It was only after he felt like he was going to pass out that he finally stopped.

But how…? his mind simply refused to finish the question. He had had a sinking feeling about leaving NK-525 behind after the explosion, but he had been so certain he had killed it. Now he wished he had taken the risk. For a moment, he wondered if there was perhaps more than one Enforcer Unit, but somehow he knew better.

Then, for the first time in years, Justin Black simply slumped where he was, just sobbing.
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