Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quicksand - Part 18

The footsteps didn't belong to Voss. These were not the slow and deliberate steps of a man with time to spare; these were the steps of a fox trying to be silent. Of course, Minty's ears could hear anything.
The door creaked open and a single stripe of yellow light poured in, followed by the furtive silhouette of a man in a hurry. His smell was unmistakable.
“Hello Craven Lorne,” Minty said, her voice hollow and metallic.
The figure stopped in front of her, surprised, then continued his advance.
“Do I die today, Craven Lorne?” Minty asked.
Craven moved toward her rapidly now, with a sharp, whispered shhh!
Minty tipped her head to the side as Craven started to work to release her from the chains. “Will you save me?” She sounded more confused than hopeful.
“Not if you keep talking,” Craven growled. “I've killed some, but there are more of them out there. We have to hurry.”
There was a sound of clinking metal, and somehow, Minty's arms came free. She fell forward, twisted and hit the cement floor hard, crushing her shoulder and breaking her arm off above the elbow. Her scream, though short-lived, was the worst sound Craven had ever heard.

 If you enjoyed reading this, stop by next week for another instalment. You may also like my published novel, Aigaion Girl ... a story of the end of days, available here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quicksand - Part 17 (18+ not safe for kids)

Minty stepped over the stream, watching the reflection of the Japanese maples and cherry trees that danced across the surface. The maple leaves and cherry blossoms seemed to fall endlessly from the trees, but the branches were never left naked. Minty loved it there, though she'd always found the cranes a bit disconcerting.
Time had slowed down, as it sometimes did, and Minty was watching the world fall in slow-motion, each flower spinning slightly as it drifted toward the water.
“I thought I might find you here,” said a voice from beside her. Minty started, her ear twitched, but she managed to hold her ground. “What are you doing?”
Minty was annoyed at herself for not having smelled him, but she managed a polite smile as she stepped back to take in his half mask. “Hello, Voss.” She nodded curtly and began to walk across the damp, well-manicured grass of the park.
Voss easily matched her stride. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?”
Minty sighed inwardly. “Walking,” she said simply.
“I'll join you.”
“I'll walk alone,” she said, a little bit more briskly than she intended.
It didn't seem to matter where Minty went or what she said, lately, Voss was showing up everywhere. And her polite refusal of his attentions only served to encourage him. 
She had been enjoying Japan; she didn't have the energy for him now. She stepped out of the way as he reached for her arm.
“No, wait—”
Minty stepped around a hedge, out of the lazy afternoon sunlight and into the early morning mist that hung about the river. She nodded in thanks to an otter who handed her a giant yellow umbrella then helped her steady it in the rushing water while she stepped on.
The river carried Minty away quickly, as the rain started to fall. As far as she could see, Voss was no longer behind her, and she almost felt certain that the otter would delay him as long as possible. Otters could always be trusted.
The umbrella whirled and danced on the water, threatening once or twice to buck Minty off as the raindrops made tiny pinging noises against her perfect porcelain skin. Eventually, the rain stopped. The water slowed, the river calmed and narrowed and Minty stepped off the umbrella and into a cornfield. She picked the umbrella up, righted it and blew it, like a dandelion seed, back to its owner.
She walked through among the tall, golden stalks of corn until she came to the edge of the forest. In the forest, it was morning, warm and sunshiny. Beautiful. Perfect. And blissfully emptier than Japan.
“So this is where you come—” His voice was slow and deliberate, only hinting at playful. “—When you want to get away.” Voss chuckled softly.
Minty ran. She didn't think about it, she didn't try to be polite. Her stomach lurched. All she could think about was getting away.
It didn't take long for Voss to catch her. He sprang on her from behind and only a cushion of sharp orange pine needles saved her from being shattered when she fell.
Voss was surprisingly heavy and he forced all of his weight against Minty, so that she could barely breathe, let alone struggle free.
When he entered her it was sharp and sudden, her underwear being pushed to one side. Nothing went through her mind. Everything did. Her brain was empty, exploding, bursting and caving in on itself – while he, his hands pinning her wrists to the ground, thrust faster and deeper. More than once, she tried to scream, but she couldn't. There was no reason not to, but she was physically incapable. No one was coming to help her.
The sound of footsteps on broken twigs was like music – a wonderful symphony or a single, perfect note. Her saviour. She looked into Craven Lorne's eyes and silently begged her to save him. Craven spun on his heel, ready to walk away.
Minty felt a sharp pain as Voss's weight forced her skin on her back to fracture.
Voss grunted, released her wrists and arched backwards and Minty... let go. She let go of everything that had been threatening to make her head explode, she let go of the hate she felt for Voss and of every silent scream. It burst through her skin, white hot, burning her, blinding her instantly. She could feel her eyes, but not use them. She felt them dry, turn to ash and blow away, one tiny flake at a time.
Voss was gone. Wherever he had landed, he was no longer on top of her and she did not waste time before crawling and groping her way to the edge of the forest.
 If you enjoyed reading this, stop by next week for another instalment. You may also like my published novel, Aigaion Girl ... a story of the end of days, available here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quicksand, Part 16 - not for children

She could tell his footsteps from the way they were aided by his cane. Every step was punctuated by a sharp tap on the concrete floor. Minty hoped her body would shut down, blank out anything that might be coming – but her mind was suddenly awake with possibilities, and her eye went from a sluggish flicker to a solid green glow.
He stepped into the room, his entourage at his heels, his cane in his hand, his mask on his face. He waved his minions away with a gloved hand.

A million images poured through Minty's head, and on the sidelines, the thought that she'd never known him like this, never heard his footsteps, shouted for attention. She hoped that her arms would shatter; she pictured herself running, armless, for the exit, fighting off her captors with the shards of broken porcelain that remained. Maybe the warehouse would shatter with her and the glass would cut him down.
“So,” said Voss, his voice as crystalline and perfect as it had always been. “Here we are.”
Her eye whirred as it focused on him, in his white suit, leaning on his cane.
“You know it's been a long time coming,” he said, stepping forward. Step, tap. “And, the truth is,” step, tap. “Even without our history, I would have come for you sooner or later. Step. Tap. “They're all excited, you know. You have white Dust.” She could feel his breath on her now. He stepped even closer, so that they were almost touching. “I know the truth,” he told her. “Too much Dust in one place, might cause some problems, but this—” and this seemed to mean his leg, his mask and everything and everyone that had ever hurt him. “This isn't just Dust. This is—I know what colour your Dust is, and believe me when I say, I will have all of it. I'm going to keep you alive for a long time, Minty. I'm going to drain you of every last grain.” He got closer, too close for her to see, his head next to hers, the cool metal of his mask pressed against her cheek, his breath seeping into her ear. “And in the meantime... you can't imagine the fun I'm going to have.”

 If you enjoyed reading this, stop by next week for another instalment. You may also like my published novel, Aigaion Girl ... a story of the end of days, available here.