So many words... they keep filling up my head and falling out of my fingers. The keyboard catches most of them, but some slip through the spaces between the keys and get lost on my desk. I'm fairly certain that's where all the dust is coming from: words that got away.
It's a way more poetic thought than admitting I should clean up my office space a bit. (However, I did just read an article on Facebook that says messy space is good for creating creative kids - and Facebook would only post true stuff, right? - so maybe I'll put off cleaning up for a while yet.)
Besides, this week was for writing and editing. So much writing! It was a good week.
4. The Seventh Escape
They had all been given new shoes that morning. The shoes had hard soles and soft liners, slip-on things that were pliable and comfortable after a couple of days and replaced every month. The shoes they were all wearing were still in the brand-new and hard-soled phase of their life span. Charlie’s new shoe rolled off the stone and he tipped a little further. In slow motion, just like right before she had walked to the police station barefoot, his head turned so he could glare at her and she could see the blinding madness in his eyes. Just like that night, she balled her fist and drove it as hard as she could right between his eyes.
Time sped back up to full speed as his head snapped back and blood sprayed from his broken nose. He didn’t let go as he was falling, so Abby hit him again on the way down. His grip finally loosened and she jumped to her feet. She took two steps back from him and looked down. He rolled over onto his stomach and started moving towards her, reaching out to grab at her ankles. She stepped once and kicked. Charlie’s head snapped up and then dropped forward hard enough to bounce off the floor. His fingers twitched, but otherwise he’d stopped moving.
Abby remembered the rest of the Gang after a moment and spun around to face where they were standing, but they were all at the door about twenty feet away. All five of them were watching her. She could see the uncertainty, the contrary knowledge of Seeing slowly taking over from Blind Believing. They looked scared, the anger gone for the moment.
She turned away from them and started hunting for the stone that Charlie had stepped on. It was important for her to find it. A person didn’t give tokens to the dead for no reason, and now it might be lost... it had rolled into a shadow two tables away. She walked over, picked it up, and carried it back. The Other on the table was remarkably light for its size and Abby was able to shove it around so it was completely on the table again. She tried to put the arms and legs like the ones beside it and tucked the stone back into its hands as she folded them together, careful to avoid the sharp talons.
The Charlie Gang murmured to each other as she straightened out the next Other and replaced its stone, too. One of the Gang tried to approach her and stopped dead in his tracks under her accusing glare.
“We’re going to go,” he blurted out quietly. “You can come if -”
“Just go,” Abby interrupted him.
Her voice sounded flat and strange in the stillness. The remains of The Charlie Gang scurried out the door together, closing and locking it behind them.
Abby spent what felt like a long time straightening out the armor of the tussled corpses, trying to get them looking like the ones that lay undisturbed. Eventually the Gang burst back into the room, but this time the door didn’t shut. Abby let her hands fall to her sides as their pursuers lithely entered and firmly collected the wayward Gang members. And Charlie. The coppery-red colored Other entered with the rest, but instead of simply collecting Abby it stood across the table from her. After a moment of watching each other, it turned and pointed at a glossy, silver lump on the nearest wall. When it turned back, it tapped at its helmet beside its right eye.
Abby understood immediately. Those lumps were not common, but they were in many places. Cameras, or whatever kind of surveillance the Others used.
Suddenly her knees gave out. The Other came around slowly and knelt beside her. They still couldn’t understand each other, but were getting closer to it. She realized she was crying when it touched her cheek and lifted a tear onto the back of one of its talons. It gently checked her split lip and bruised arm. Abby leaned her forehead against its armored chest plates and sobbed.
* * *
When she woke up, she was lying on a bunk in a small room with a partly-open doorway into the hall. A group of Others – and a few different races she'd never imagined – walked past, talking quietly to each other over what Abby could only refer to as a tablet, barely glancing into her room as they went about their day. She sat up carefully, understanding slowly that she wasn't with the Charlie gang anymore. She was in the part of the ship where everyone lived and worked.
Her bruised arm could barely move, but her lip was stitched and her chest didn’t hurt so much from where she’d been kicked. She glanced around and saw that one whole wall of the room was a window, and that day was just breaking around the horizon of the planet outside. She stood and walked over to the window to stare out at the most beautiful sunrise she had ever seen.
A weekly blog updating every Saturday with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and parts of my short stories and novellas for everyone to read for free!