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


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin remembers more

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror,Sci-fi - Published: 2009-01-10 - Updated: 2009-01-10 - 728 words - Complete

No matter who built this place, it was never meant for human beings to live.

This had become Justin’s single strongest conviction in the interminable days since he first found himself deposited here. Everything was possessed by digital demons, and he felt that something ominous slept in the bowels of this place. Even here in the darkness of the vents, he felt it pressing in all around him, smothering him.

No escape seemed to be this place’s mantra, and he was beginning to fear that all those damn machines just might be right.

In order to keep his mind off it, he found himself reliving odd chapters from his past. Although Mr Morgan was the one who first taught him how to read, he also remembered another who had taught him still more. He managed to forget a lot about the painful things that had happened to him in his early days in the Triangle State, so naturally someone who was actually kind to him would stand out.

There were people who passed through the Triangle State from time to time who actually decided to put down roots, and most of them wore out their welcome all too quickly. Bringing in “strange ideas” like democracy, human rights, revolution, or even the crazy idea that the Authority devote some of its vast wealth to benefit the rest of the islanders. And the Board wasn’t having any of it. Mercenaries, missionaries, wannabe revolutionaries, even peaceful individuals who only wished to help others, all of them labeled Instigators by the TSA.

Emily was one of the latter, a wandering teacher devoted to spreading literacy, a soft-spoken young woman who often spoke out openly against the tyranny of the Authority. In retrospect, Justin believed her intentions were good, but he had to wonder if she really knew what she was getting herself into. During her short tenure on Benton Island, Justin, among other streetrats, could go to her boat near the edge of the harbor for reading lessons and whatever food she could scare up. If she had just settled for giving free food to vagrants, she might have lasted for a while, but since she insisted on teaching, and trying to compile the sad history of the Triangle State (and worse, telling people, in her own words, to unite for justice in this place that Justice had long forsaken), all Justin remembered about it was that she was found dead one morning, floating in the water of the harbor.

Now that he thought about it, he remembered that there was also a young man in Benton who, he recalled, was in love with Emily, and if the stories were to be believed, killed several guards trying to prevent her death. Later, captured without a fight and sent to the mines; it was said that when Emily died, he had lost the will to fight. Had lost his will to live. As he remembered these bits and pieces of the tapestry of misery the Authority had woven into those islands, he wondered if that broken man and Jasper, the mad bomber of Pullman Mine, weren’t one and the same.

Emily, I’m comin’ home!…

Those words snapped back to him across time and space, and he was now certain it was so.

Anymore, Justin often found himself lost in these remembrances. During his days in the Triangle State, he had spoken less and less as the stakes became greater and greater, but during his short time with Max in Paradise, he had come to enjoy the singular act of conversation itself. Now he wished his friend was still with him, just so he could hear the sound of another human voice in this vast tomb of soulless machines.

At times, he was surprised to find that he feared finding Max’s Enforcer-mangled carcass on one of his supply runs almost as much as he feared his own death. Visions of his friend decomposing on some forgotten stretch of hallway, or charred and blackened in a closet somewhere. Or even of Bandit, who surely didn’t deserve such a gruesome fate. Of finding out that he truly was all alone against this monster.

As time dragged on, not knowing where Max was, or what was happening to him, was starting to become as maddening as his own predicament.
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