Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 09 - "The Building is Hungry!"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin in frozen storage

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror - Published: 2009-10-04 - Updated: 2009-10-04 - 1098 words - Complete

Justin was lost.

He was finally forced to admit it when he discovered that he had no idea which way he came from. His path had by no means been direct to begin with, but he was still taken aback by how many branches he encountered on his return trip. Of course he tried his best, yet after walking farther than he remembered coming, he still couldn’t find the stairs.

Instead of the double-doors leading back to the caged rooms, he found himself wandering among metal-walled rooms lined with shelves. The shelves were all loaded with boxes. It took a while to notice it at first, but the place was getting cooler the farther he went.

The idea had occurred to him to turn around and go a different way— several times— but he was so worried about being followed that he didn’t dare. Even though there were no alarms when he broke into that vending machine earlier, he still feared he had gotten something’s attention. Hated to admit it now, but he was too afraid to double back, for fear he would be intercepted by some new enemy. On top of that, he was fast becoming certain that if Max or Shades had decided to come in after him, they surely already had by now.

For a moment, he thought about going back and marking the ways he had already gone, but he didn’t dare. Back in Tranz-D, he was pretty sure that NK-525 was reading his marks and using them to track him. He didn’t know for sure if anyone or anything actually was after him, but giving any potential pursuer even the slightest clue to his whereabouts struck him as too great a risk.

Just simply not knowing if he was being followed was starting to get to him.

When he first came in, he was so angry at Shades, and to a lesser extent at Kato for not leaving him a single hint as to which way she went, he hadn’t really given much thought to it. But the longer he wandered around in here, the more this place kept his trigger-finger constantly itching. How all these “belowground” places reminded him of the Works, the mines, and worst of all, of Tranz-D.

His ears constantly straining for even the faintest sound of tracks rolling.

To make matters worse, the farther he went, the colder the chambers got. Max at least apparently remembered that it could be a little chilly in Tranz-D, as he and Shades had the foresight to pack him a jacket in their rescue preparations. Which Justin pulled out of his pack and donned against the growing cold. By now he could see his breath, and felt a chill deeper and harsher than any he could recall from even the coldest morning in the Ruins.

After not too much of this, he finally decided to go back, pursuers or no pursuers.

Yet on his way back, he again found more twists and turns and forks than he remembered. Though his heart continued to hammer harder than he wanted it to, in his head at least he had become more confident that he wasn’t be followed. When he first started walking around, he would never have dreamed this place could possibly be such a maze. If Kato went a different way— to say nothing of her friends— she would have to find her own way out, and so would Max and Shades.

In the meantime, he would have to figure out his own way out. Though he quietly hoped to catch up with any of them, he didn’t want to be alone in here.

Justin found he was shivering in spite of himself, but it was when he slipped on a patch of ice that he truly realized just how cold it was in here. The rooms he passed through now were crammed with tall piles of frozen boxes. The lights fewer and farther between, frigid air blowing on him from every vent he passed. His nose and ears were starting to hurt, and his fingers were going numb on him.

When he walked into the next room, though, his body’s growing numbness took a back seat to the sight before him. It was the largest room he had seen in a while, and every bit as frigid as what he had passed through of late. What held his attention, though, were the masses dangling from the ceiling.

Back in the marketplace in Benton, he had seen skinned pigs and chickens on display, some even on ice, but most of what hung on these meathooks were too big even to be wild hogs. As he made his way along, he tried not to touch them, brick-frozen though they were. Especially after he caught sight of something stuck on one of those hooks that didn’t look like an animal to him, not at all.

There were several of these disturbing butchered shapes hanging around, and Justin tried hard not to let his eyes linger on any of them as he hastened his steps.

Again he found himself reaching into his pocket for that runic figurine, feeling what felt like a carved ice cube, as seemingly frozen as everything else in here. Cold comfort, in light of what he was seeing around him.

Unlike any of the other doors he had passed through thus far, he shut the door to this room firmly behind him, having no interest in coming back this way again.

The thoughts inspired by what he had seen, or at least thought he’d seen, chilled him more than the dropping temperature. Had no idea what all was in there, but in addition to what to him looked like sides of human torso, there were also things in there that his mind could not match to any creature he had ever seen or heard of. Frozen trigger-finger or not, he kept his guard up, having no intention of joining those macabre meat slabs back there.

After slicing the padlock off a massive metal door, Justin finally emerged from the dark frozen storage area. Not wanting anything to come after him without his knowing, Justin piled some metal shelving parts he found lying in a corner against the door after he closed it. Figured they would make enough noise for him to hear if that door opened again. At least until he was a long way away.

Blowing on his hands to warm them up again, Justin continued on his way.
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