sci-fi: Part 2 of 4
Not much writing was happening for me this week. Lots of editing, lots of reading, lots of sewing, but not much writing. Anxiety ate my soul around Monday, so mid-week was the standard battle to get my brain back to being capable of functioning – which worked in my favor this week. My oldest didn't have school yesterday or today, so we packed up the mini-van and went and hour from the house to visit the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. It's a really cool place if you like old cars, old planes, old farming equipment, old industrial equipment, and Canadian history and heroes. There's a bunch of kid-friendly activities and displays, as well, so this museum was a blast to take the girls to.
Writing plans for this weekend include: getting my ass back in gear and working on at least one work in progress; doing more than just editing. Happy Friday, all!
2. Neat and Sneaky Feats
It was an exercise day. On her twelfth lap around the big track a side door slid open and one of the Others came out. The sky-blue crested one. It turned away, not noticing her, and Abby ducked into the room behind it as the door slid shut again. As neat a feat no feet could beat – as her dad used to say. Usually when she did this, there would be more Others in the room she'd gone into and she would just be gently led back to wherever she had come from. Now and then she’d find herself in a long hallway, and usually could wander a bit and just look around at the strange place she was being kept. Different times, there would be an empty room and she would get a few minutes of looking around at things she’d never seen before. Always, though, she would then get caught and gently led back to where she was supposed to be.
Right now, the room was empty and had an enormous window. Completely ignoring the familiar strangeness of the things in the room, Abby sprinted up the few steps to look outside. She pressed her hands against the slick, perfectly clear material and gazed out at the spectacular view of the planet below her backed by the thousands – maybe even millions, or billions! – of stars.
She had grown up down there never even once dreaming that she might one day be up here. Now she was having the adventure of a lifetime, it was catered, and there was a private training program. Abby smiled. She was eating right and exercising and had never felt better in her whole life.
Abby was way too absorbed in the view to notice one of the Others walk up behind her. She nearly jumped through the window as she spun around and let out a yelp of surprise when it first touched her arm to take her back to the exercise area. (Probably ‘arena’ would be a better description, the place was massive.) The Other struck out at her defensively, the razor-sharp claws stopping less than an inch from her throat.
They stood still for a moment, frozen. Abby suddenly exhaled in a rush, her right hand moved to cover her heart and her left to her mouth. She closed her eyes so she would remember to breathe in again and when she opened them the Other was watching her warily, golden eyes gazing out from the coppery-colored, scaled skin behind the hardened mask. Her breath came out in giggles and the blood rushed up to make her face hot and uncomfortable. The Other’s stance finally relaxed and, with a head shake and a soft ruffling sound, the crest of feathers settled smoothly against the back of its neck.
Those feathers were a shiny, copper-tinted red, Abby knew. This was the same one that had grabbed Charlie. Abby watched for this one. She liked this one.
The Other waited for her giggles to subside and then, with the careful attentiveness humans would usually attribute to a pediatric surgeon, lifted the short sleeve of her tee-shirt to check her arm for the injury that had made her yelp. She giggled again as its head ducked and bobbed and those golden eyes darted back to her face, the sharp talons at the ends of its fingers piercing small holes in her shirt-sleeve as it paused. She bit her lips together to try and stop the embarrassment from escaping like this and failed miserably when it mistook her silly reaction to being startled as a further sign of injury.
She caught its big hand in both of hers when the Other moved to slice open her shirt with one of its talons.
“I’m okay,” she told it. “You...” she pointed at the door then mimed walking, then covered her ears. “So quiet.”
The Other’s head cocked sideways, curious and uncomprehending. Abby gave up with a sigh. They’d been trying to talk to each other since three times like this ago and had yet to get beyond being relaxed with each other. The Other took her arm carefully. Abby put her hand over its, patted the leathery skin and smiled what she hoped was a reassuring smile. It paused to allow her another moment of looking out the window at all those stars beyond the planet, its eyes kind, and then gently tugged her arm to lead her toward the door.
* * *
The Charlie Gang, as Abby thought of them, attempted their first escape at the end of a shower day. They made it down the hall. Charlie was so proud of himself and they all hailed it as a breakthrough that they’d even gotten the door open.
Abby had gone with them. Charlie was scared and angry and that scared her, like it had scared her when they’d been married, so it had been easy for him to make her go. She’d spent the entire five minutes in a panic and trying to see anywhere that she could get away from the Charlie Gang. There was no police station she could walk to barefoot up here. Much like when Charlie had grabbed her and pulled her into the alley seconds before they had been abducted, there wasn’t a soul around who knew what was going on well enough to help. And the ones who did know, wouldn’t.
The Others that caught them had been firm with them. Abby had hung onto the one that took her back to the cell so strongly that her knuckles had turned white where she grasped its fingers. She stood stiffly under the watchful eyes of Charlie as the sand-colored eyes set in light blue scaled skin darted from her hands to her blank face to its comrades. Through sheer will power, she didn’t grab at it again after it carefully pried her fingers loose.
It looked back at her once as it left the cell. Abby stood where she had been left, watching its back, and saw its metallic-teal crest feathers ruffle uneasily as the door closed.
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A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!