...brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Paradox. I know I'm posting a lot more lately, which is because I've had a lot of ideas. Also, I'm forcing myself to practice different scene/story types, and I'm trying to figure out how to tailor my writing to various age groups. (Usually I write for... well, I don't know. Suggestions, anyone?)
Anyway. This is a science fiction (very heavy emphasis on fiction) suspense story--suspense is my favorite genre to write, so that's why I tend to post that more than other stuff. It's odd, for sure (but what of my writing isn't?). If I overdid it and you're hyperventilating by the end, please let me know... I don't want to scare anyone too badly. I'd rather not be a horror author. XP
Also, I keep writing in first person... not sure why. I'll try to put my next story in third person. =P
And this intro is incredibly fragmented... sorry...
It starts with a bang every time. Literally.
I go from a dead sleep to on my feet getting dressed in a record time of 2.5 seconds. My heart is doing a tango on my rib cage. My lungs are slightly constricted, owing to the sudden burst of adrenaline which overcomes me. I get the rest of the way into my clothes, my fingers fumbling the whole way, and bolt out of my bedroom.
My brother, Korran, comes out of his bedroom at the same time I do, and we almost collide. The same thought is written on both of our faces:
They are here. They have found us already.
We run out into the garage and jump into the car. My brother jams his key into the ignition and tries to get the car to start, but the starter only clicks. It’s dead. We know why. Everything in the physical realm obeys Them… even car starters.
We try to get out of the car, but the doors have locked of their own accord. I’m almost frantic, and my brother is as close to panic as I’ve ever seen him. He throws himself against the door, swearing under his breath. I beat on the glass, to no avail, of course. The molecular bonds won’t be broken now. My brother goes silent. I stop pounding on the glass and glance at him. He’s staring straight ahead, his lips barely moving.
“Don’t do it, Korran. Don’t even try. You know how it went last time,” I warn him. He’s not listening. His lips are still moving slightly. I know what’s coming, so I curl up in a ball and cover my head with my arms.
The sides of the car explode away from us. Korran goes with them, dragging me along, too. So much for protecting my head; Korran slams into the wall, and I slam into his back. He’s fine, as usual. His energy blasts never hurt him. I, on the other hand, am somewhat dazed. He’s yelling something at me. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what’s going on anymore.
A bright light shines on us. It’s Them. Korran grabs my hand and tows me out of the garage through the back door. I’m finally starting to get my equilibrium back, so I get my legs under me and start running. There’s a forest behind the house; if we can make it there, the probability of our survival goes from 0.03 to 0.1.
They land troopers behind us. I can feel the heat from the troopers’ ray guns even at this distance. This isn’t good, and Korran and I both know it. We’ve almost made the trees. Just a few more paces and we’re there.
The forest in front of us explodes into flames. Korran curses and slides to a halt. I try to stop the fire, but something else is keeping it going.
“Can you do another energy blast yet?” I shout at Korran. He shakes his head, unable to respond verbally because he’s panting so hard. He’s exhausted, although he’d never admit it.
Another bright light shines on us. Korran reanimates abruptly and dives through the flames. I follow him, trying not to think too hard about what could happen if the fire is more than a few feet thick. There is a moment of searing heat all over my body, and then I’m through. Korran is already running again. Since I can’t see him, I try to track him by the ragged sound of his breathing.
I can’t catch up to him, but I know there’s a small river here somewhere. He told me earlier to go there if we got separated. If I can get to it, it’ll increase my chances of survival to 0.5. I can’t hear it or smell it; the sound of the blood pounding in my head drowns out every other sound and the scent of my singed, sweaty hair drives out any other smells.
I hear a rushing noise—it must be the river. I make a sharp right, and I’m almost right on top of the river. I splash into it and dive under the water, letting it carry me deeper into the forest.
I come up, sputtering, about a hundred yards from where I started. The glow from the burning trees still lights up the horizon. I can see the searchlights from Their cruisers darting here and there. I don’t know where Korran is; he was supposed to meet me. He was probably detained, or maybe he got lost; his senses aren’t as good as mine.
After a few chilly minutes, I crawl out onto the bank. I’m getting tired of fighting the current, and I’m pretty sure I’m cold enough to avoid being spotted by any heat-sensitive devices. I curl up in the undergrowth, shivering, to wait for Korran.
I’ve waited ten minutes. He’s not here. I’m not really cold anymore, and my blood is thumping in my ears again. I sit up cautiously, my neck craning like a frightened baby owl’s. There’s no one around. The only sounds are the river, my breath, and the faint roar of the fire.
A twig snaps behind me. I freeze, afraid to turn around. I allow what energy I have left to gather on my fingertips.
Another twig snaps and some leaves rustle. I think someone inept must be trying to sneak up on me. I force myself to breathe slowly and evenly, since I know that if I start hyperventilating, I won’t be able to control my energy.
Something touches my back, and I spin around, ready to turn whatever it is into a ball of flames. There’s nothing; I’m apparently imagining things. I’m dangerously close to hyperventilating now, and I feel somewhat dizzy. Twigs are cracking all around me now—or is it just my imagination? Something is playing havoc with my mind. It has to be one of Them—nothing else can get inside my head like this.
The twigs go crack-crack-crack-crack all around me; there are no pretenses about sneakiness now. I’m surrounded. I know it and They know it.
Then a hand comes over my mouth from behind. I shriek, but the sound never makes it out of my throat. I hear a voice in my ear: “Shh, Kiila—it’s me.” I relax, and the hand lets go of my mouth. I turn around and see Korran. He’s bleeding above his left eyebrow, but otherwise, he still looks all right. I hug him hard, and he laughs quietly.
“Softly, now. We need to go back up the river. They are downstream,” he tells me, taking my hand. I pull away. Suddenly, this doesn’t seem right. Korran’s hand is warm—hot, in fact. This shouldn’t be, since he ostensibly just came out of the river. I begin moving downstream.
“What’s wrong?” he asks. I shake my head. Korran’s eyebrows angle in slightly. I edge toward the river.
“I… I, um… I think we should…” I’m stalling for time, and Korran—a false Korran, I think—is beginning to get suspicious. I’ve reached the river bank now. False Korran lunges for me, but I dive into the water before he catches me. I set the river around me boiling, taking care not to burn myself in the process. I hear a bloodless wail above me, which tells me that that Korran was one of Them. I’ve narrowly escaped, and I don’t know where my real brother is. I also can’t hold my breath much longer.
I hold my breath until I see little black dots floating across my field of vision. Then I bob up, gasping, and scramble onto the riverbank. I’m now well away from the edge of the forest, and except for the sound of the river, everything is totally quiet. I drag myself out of the water and smell the air. There’s no scent of pursuit—just the familiar scent of hydrangeas. By this I know that I’m very close to Korran’s and my secret lair. I follow my nose and soon come to our small, well-camouflaged hut. Once I make sure that no one has followed me, I creep inside. Korran is already there. He’s bandaging a gash on his left arm. I help him finish, even though I’m trembling. He wraps me in his arms and rocks me gently.
“It’s okay. We’re safe now. It’s okay,” he whispers as I sob on his chest. He’s right; we’re safe now.
Relatively safe… our chances of survival have increased to 1.
See? I told you it was weird...