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


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Kato in the Abandoned Wing

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror - Published: 2009-10-06 - Updated: 2009-10-06 - 1564 words - Complete

Kato ran all the way around the corner from the elevator before she realized what she was doing.

Even hearing nothing, she still decided not to go back; for now, just seeing the last of that freaky elevator was enough for her. When she heard the elevator door hiss shut again, eclipsing the hellish light spilling into the hall, she jumped in spite of herself. She peered back around the corner for a moment, seeing the elevator door just sitting there.

Looking so innocent.

But Kato didn’t buy it. Putting away her new laser whip and drawing her power pistol, she set out to see what this level had to offer. In her haste to get off that godforsaken elevator, she hadn’t even bothered to see what floor she got off on. Then again, she doubted it mattered.

Turning her attention back to the situation at hand, she took a closer look at the hallway itself.

Everything was rendered in the drab remains of institutional colors, further dulled by the scant light that shone in through the grimy windows of the occasional room on either side. Everywhere she looked, she saw cobwebs, unpainted drywall, exposed wiring, missing ceiling panels. Her footsteps echoed just a little too loudly on the floor, it was so quiet, announcing her presence more than she wanted. The whole place appeared to be abandoned.

Just like the elevator, she wanted out of here, seriously wanted out of here. Pistol first, she stepped into one room, feeling her hopes for an easy escape crumble as she looked out the window. The first window she had even found in this place, at that. Several floors down to a courtyard completely enclosed by the same building all around. Even though she had her own suspicions about what she would find, she crossed the hall and looked out the window on that side. Another courtyard, the same building.

The same Building, she now understood.

Realizing that she had no choice but to seek her exit elsewhere, she continued on her wary way through the Harken Building’s abandoned wing, one of which she feared would be many.

For some reason, Kato found herself thinking about the night she and her friends liberated their first Tri-Medal. At least that was what the museum they had stolen them from called them; she suspected that their real name was buried in the sands of time. The Centralict Museum of Antiquities was in the same district as the Centralict Library, so despite the fact that that incident was at least three years ago, returning to Centralict Island was still something of a risk because of that. She remembered them running all over the museum, Chase covering her, George covering the security system with that inexplicable precision that never ceased to amaze her. Using the same point of entry as their escape route like the amateurs they were.

The Triad had come a long way since then— or at least she had come to think they had until the day before.

As far as she was concerned, this time Chase had gone too far. If they made it out of here, she was going to buy him a leash. Nearly all of their adventures started out as her idea, but (her recent excursion into Tranz-D aside) when Chase and George started anything, they had a way of landing her in the strangest places. Even so, this had to be some kind of record.

For a moment, she thought that the only consolation she had was that they were in the same boat, but quickly took that thought back; no matter how angry she was with them, they were the only friends she had, and she would not abandon them in such a dangerous place. After all, something had to have left that severed hand— she was pretty sure the things didn’t grow on trees— and she kept picturing it emerging from that damnable elevator. Tall, lanky, reptilian, tail dragging quietly behind it…

She shook her head, wondering why that “Underdweller” exhibit from the Centralict Museum came to mind after all this time. Thing gave her the creeps, just like this place, that was probably why.

Wondered why she couldn’t shake the image of the godforsaken thing outrunning her every time… All she could think of was how fast she could run as a kid, and the gnawing doubt about her speed now. Even the fact that the she managed to outrun everything she needed to so far felt like little consolation. It had seemed so easy back then…

It just served to make her wonder what the hell was up with this; until recently, she never used to worry about such things.

The hoodie. The baggy pants. The feeling of hiding herself from the world. Found she feared that she at least looked fat in anything anymore. Somewhere along the way, she had heard some middle-aged guy remark, When you stop growing up, the only way left to grow is out, that long-forgotten remark echoing back to her and lingering increasingly these days. In the years after she stowed her way out of the Triangle State, she had grown like a weed. Over the past year or so, though, she had scarcely grown an inch. Was forced to admit she had probably filled out a little, as often as she didn’t get to eat…

Feared she would probably just drive herself crazy if she had a scale. Which again only made her wonder why she worried about it so much. It all seemed very unbecoming of a Cyexian.

Little realizing that her thoughts were now going in circles, she concluded that while she may have been able to eat whatever she wanted when she was a kid, now, much as she resented it, she suspected she was going to have to work to stay in shape. And not just appearance-wise, but in terms of ability. She was pretty sure even that shrimp Justin was actually running faster than her, and she was beginning to think she was taking her abilities for granted…

She was jolted out her spiraling thoughts by an indistinct noise from one of the rooms up ahead.

Or at least she thought it came from up ahead. Here— unlike the last level— being devoid of carpet or furniture, or much of anything else that would absorb sound, the faint echo made it hard to tell for sure. The hallway going from the elevator led to a t-joint, and she could see, even from here, that the other end of the hall was a dead end.

Meaning the only other way for her to go was back to the elevator.

She froze up for a moment, wondering how she could get so hung up on something so irrelevant to what she was currently doing. A repeat-loop, a broken record. Began to fear that this is what happened to other of the Building’s victims, getting hung up on the same thoughts over and over, driving them to distraction.

Reminding herself that something had left that skeletal hand behind, she snapped out of it, resolving to keep her guard up; after all, years as a wanderer had taught her that the best way to outrun anything was to see it coming from far enough away to get a good head start.

That made up Kato’s mind. Trying to look both ways at once, she advanced, poking her gun into each room as she went. Every one of them empty, yet her experience with the elevator had left her a little shaken. She didn’t know quite what she expected, but she kept expecting something.


The voice, which sounded to her like that of a little girl, issued from the room behind her, across the hall. Where she just checked a moment ago. Whispering so softly she could barely make out what it said.

“Who are you?” Kato turned her power pistol on the door, angry at herself for being afraid of such a weak-sounding voice, but even more furious at its owner’s choice of handles. “Where did you hear that name?”

The voice only responded with a faint giggle. From the next door down. It seemed to echo down the hall.

Kato saw that that room, which she was just about to inspect, was also empty.

After a long moment of just standing there, trying to look in all directions at once, trying to figure out if what she had heard was even real, that cute-little- girl voice whispered again.




Each Alex… mocking her from a different doorway. And that cute yet somehow disconcerting titter seemed to cascade up and down the hall, making it impossible to pinpoint.

“Where the fuck are you!?” Kato demanded.

The abandoned hall only answered her with maddening silence.

I’m definitely going to kill Chase when I find him… If I live long enough to find him…

Being unable to think of any other course of action in this bewildering hallway, Kato took off down the hall, looking for a way— any way other than that horrible elevator— to get the hell out of here.

And, she reflected bitterly, even in the midst of her near-panic, maybe get in a little exercise before she caught up with her friends.
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