After taking a week off to battle illness, I'm back with another installment of my flash fiction serial. For those who've missed previous entries, you can find the whole story on this PAGE.
Memoirs From the End of the World
The muted light that passed through RC’s eyelids was unexpected, to say the least. The sensation of steely hands clamped around her throat came back to her like a punch to the stomach. Horrified by the memory, she opened her eyes, hoping against hope that the image greeting her would be better than the last.
First of all, she was no longer in the same room. Light streamed in through a couple of windows, making the world appear much brighter than before.
Frantic, she remembered her last view of Alyx lying unconscious on the floor. Though her vision was somewhat blurred for some reason she couldn’t quite understand, she could see well enough to decide he wasn’t in the room with her now. Tim, on the other hand, was sitting crumpled up in the corner.
“It looks like she’s waking up.” A woman in a gray jumpsuit leaned over RC, her bright green eyes intense as they scrutinized her. This woman’s breath smelled like mint as it cascaded over her face. Though the smell itself wasn’t at all unpleasant, the sensation sent chills down her spine.
“I told you I didn’t hurt her that bad.” Gas Can’s voice sounded abrasively self-assured as usual.
The woman’s eyes flicked down toward RC’s legs before she nodded. “Sure. She might disagree with you on that, but I guess it won’t make any difference for our purposes.”
RC’s stomach knotted. What had he done to her while she was out cold? Where was this woman looking, and what did she see? Yet there wasn’t really a question in her mind about what happened. Not really. After hearing about Isabel’s experiences and what she went through, she had no doubts about what Gas Can and the others were capable of doing.
“That was Leo’s handiwork,” Gas Can replied. “He’s still upset about what Isabel did to his brother. Since she helped Isabel get away, it’s the closest thing to revenge he could get.”
When RC concentrated, she started to feel more than the residual pain in her neck. Her thighs ached, and she felt what had to be a deep gash that left her skin caked with dried blood. That discovery triggered a wave of nausea that forced her to look away from them both. The last thing she wanted was for them to analyze her like an animal in a zoo.
“Well, I’ll leave that one for you.” The woman nodded at Tim. “I don’t care what you do with him. His self-inflicted vasectomy makes him useless to us, and I don’t think you’re going to get him to talk at this point. I’ll take her.”
Where’s Alyx? RC thought frantically. If they’re discarding Tim, what would they do to Alyx? After all, they already declared him useless every time the patrols ignored him.
“You’re going to live a much more comfortable life where you’re going, sweetheart,” the woman said softly, though she didn’t look RC in the eye when she said it. “I don’t understand why people like you run for so long. The breeding facility isn’t nearly as bad as you might imagine it to be.”
RC didn’t bother to refute these assertions or to explain her position. That would be futile. Only one thing mattered enough to make her speak up. “Where’s Alyx?”
The woman furrowed her eyebrow. “Which one was that?”
“That’s the one who spit on me,” a new voice added. RC caught sight of a tuft of blond hair.
“Yeah, he didn’t like Leo all that much,” Gas Can replied. “It probably didn’t help that you made him watch everything you did to her.”
“He was the one with the messed up keg,” Leo added. “A souvenir I was more than happy to provide.”
The woman nodded in recognition. “Oh, him. Our medic already took him out of here. He won’t be going to the same place as you, but the Constable requested him for something. I have no idea what they want with him, though.”
“He’s lucky,” Leo added bitterly. “If they’d left him to us, I would have killed him and forced her to watch.”
Gas Can laughed. “You do like to have an audience, don’t you?”
“Can’t let good art go to waste,” Leo replied.
“You can always finish him for her entertainment.” Gas Can pointed to Tim. “It won’t be the same since they weren’t traveling together, but I bet you anything that it will still have an impact on her.”
The woman rolled her eyes. “Is this posturing really necessary?”
“Maybe we think it is,” Leo said defensively. “Now be a doll and sit her up for us.”
The woman sighed but did as they demanded. RC’s head swam as her body struggled to compensate for the sudden motion. Though she knew it was a bad idea, she quickly glanced down to see the damage firsthand. Her pants were gone, though they’d at least let her keep her underwear. Bruises were popping up all over her skin.
RC forced her eyes away from the injuries, biting her lower lip to keep the rage at bay. Exploding at them, justifiable though it might be, would in no way help her position.
Tim stirred when Leo grabbed him by the collar. “What do you want from me now?” he demanded angrily.
A look of undeniable relief came over Tim moments before the knife tore through his carotid artery. The blood came fast, but RC didn’t focus on that. She instead kept her eyes focused on his. Even as despair threatened to consume her, she focused on his relief, which remained firmly in place until the end.
As the woman yanked RC to her feet, she wondered if she should envy Tim. Would a swift death be better than what awaited her, or was there still hope to be found somewhere?
Only time would tell.
Go to Entry #30
Go to Entry #30