Archive | December 2017

Chapter 64: Cynara

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

“Hey Dysmas.”

Cya had learned that when Aviv did that, it seemed to mean he was buying her and Leo a little private time.  Cya looked at what she was cooking and moved things to the slow cooker.  It could sit indefinitely that way, and she could think about more important things than food, like her friends.

“I was wondering if I could borrow Cynara for a bit.”

Wait, what?  She continued moving through the paces of putting the food in the cooker, but she had to struggle to keep her ears from pointing right at Aviv.  Even if nobody could see her ears, they were still a dead giveaway.

“Borrow her?  What do you want her for?” Dysmas sounded – he sounded bored.  She struggled with the stab of indignation and hurt.  She bored him, did she?  He didn’t even really care what someone else wanted with her. Continue reading

Chapter 63: Abednego

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Abednego shifted back and forth on the couch.  His heart had stopped aching; his… everything had stopped hurting, thanks to the blue pills and a few days of doing absolutely nothing, although he was going to have to learn to walk all over again.

They were all staring at him.  It was the first day he’d been up and around, and every single one of the people in the suite were staring at him.

No, he realized, Zeke was staring at Joff.  Which kind of made sense.  Joff was acting weirder than normal.

Abednego scooted back on the couch, although it didn’t really work.  His knees — his everything — went all in the wrong directions now.  “Say something?”  He meant it as a plea.  It made everyone jump. Continue reading

Chapter 62: Arnbjörg

Friday, April 13, 2001

Arnbjörg had just finished running laps of the gym, after a session with the heavy bag and enough weights that her shoulders and back had that happy ache to them.  For once, she was enjoying walking through the halls unbothered. 

“No! No, I’m not going to… let go of me!”  A flash of lightning ripped through the hallway; the lights flickered and burnt out, leaving only the dim “Hell Night” red emergency lights.  

Arnbjörg reached for a weapon she didn’t have anymore.

“I think you should leave him alone.”  The lights flickered but did not turn back on, as a second voice chimed in, similar to the first one and both familiar…

They were her half-brothers, Arnbjörg realized. Ragnvaldr and Leofric. 

“She might seem nice now, but she’s not stable, and it’s not a healthy situation.”  The new, third speaker released his quarry, however, and stepped back until he was silhouetted against one of the red lights. “Rory, I’m just saying…” Continue reading

Chapter 61: Leofric

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

“So, I heard you got past Luke’s guard.”

“Yeah.” Leofric jabbed a punch at Conrad, shifting to the side to avoid Conrad’s counter as he missed. “We did.”

“I’m impressed.” Conrad smiled, then spun around in a kick – which Leofric realized was a feint just in time to dodge a tail grab. “How far did you get?”

Conrad wasn’t the first to ask him about his recent escape attempt. Their escape attempt. If it weren’t for that, Leofric would’ve written off the whole thing as a particularly depressing dream. As it was, all he could come up with were vague images of a dreary staircase and running over dead brown grass, then his thoughts slid away from it. Continue reading

Chapter 60: Cynara

Monday, April 9, 2001

It had been a crazy idea.

Of course it had been a crazy idea: it had been Leo’s, and he hadn’t been sane since –

since, well, Eriko.  But Leo had had an idea, and Cya had gone along with it just because it was Leo wanting to do something.

And because if it succeeded, she would find a way to be clear of this place if she had to cut it out of her mind with a scalpel, and then she could do the same for her friends, and THEN she could find a way to fix what had been done to Leo if she had to practice on every since insane person in America first. Continue reading

Chapter 59: Abednego

Saturday, April 7, 2001

He woke next to Rafe.

He did, sometimes.  More often these days than before.  He’d looked at Rafe and said, more honestly than he’d really wanted to be, “I hate sleeping on the floor.  It’s cold, and it’s hard, and the dog bed is even worse.  Do you think I could sleep in the bed?”

It was a trade-off, because he got to be warm, and he got to have something soft under him where he could stretch out – Addergoole must either invest in quality mattresses, or have someone somewhere in a basement muttering “Meentik Unutu mattress” over and over again, and he wouldn’t put either of those by Regine. – but he got cuddled.

Rafe, it turned out, was a cuddler. Continue reading

Chapter 58: Arnbjörg

Friday, April 6, 2001

“Good.”  Doug nodded at Arnbjörg.  “Much better.  Focused.”

Arnbjörg bowed back, trying to hide a smile.  “Thank you, sir.”  Much better was practically shouted praise from Doug.  She was getting better.  Focused!  “I’ve been practicing.”

“On?”  There was a challenge in his question.

“Oh, just the air.  Jaya doesn’t really want me getting into fights…”

She didn’t like admitting that.  She sounded – well, she sounded controlled, which was accurate, as such things went.  She was controlled. She ran her hand over her necklace.  She was owned.  And with everything else going on, nobody seemed to think being owned was even weird, as long as you weren’t badly owned.

“She doesn’t like the fuss, I guess?”  she added lamely.  Doug had this habit of making you want to fill in the silences. Continue reading

Chapter 57: Leofric

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Leofric had a plan.

He’d come up with it the past weekend, keeping it to himself – even if his Keeper seemed lax and helpful now, Leofric knew that the only way to be sure your Keeper wouldn’t tell you not to do something is if she– he didn’t know it was a thing in the first place.

Of course, Aviv hadn’t told him not to try to escape. He’d just said there wasn’t a way, while Leo felt along the boundary at the edge of “outside”.

Outside. Leofric had almost forgotten what it felt like, being outside. He hadn’t realized there was an outside they could get to, but then there it was, through a hidden invisible door, his Keeper leading him out and into the sun and sky and fresh air and letting him run. Even if there wasn’t a place he could run to, or a direction he could take to run away, he could still run. Continue reading