Okay, part 5 of The Hunter. Two more parts to go over the next two days. I am using prompts from Describli.com, which is a site for writers to post a short piece of fiction based on one of four daily prompts. Useful for writing practice, I find.
Dizziness. And nausea.
Lena opened her eyes. She grabbed at Zinna to steady herself. It felt like the floor was moving beneath her. “Is it me or is the ship swaying?”
“It’s you.” Zinna helped her to sit down on the bench against the wall. “It’ll pass.” Her eyes scanned the small room, the clutter that filled it. “There has to be something here that will explain what he is.” She started to search, moving things, careful to put them back where she found them. “I could use your memory over here. How are you feeling?”
Lena replaced the porcelain ornament she had been admiring and stood up. “Better.” She walked over to Zinna. Two steps. “Do you really think you’ll find a written confession or something?”
“I don’t know. Maybe the something.” She reached up onto a high shelf. Higher than Lena could reach. Her hands fumbled for a moment, then she drew down a leather case. She dropped it onto the bench and opened the zip.
“Oh stars…” Lena said.
Zinna shook her head. “Am I really seeing this?”
“If not, then we’ve both lost your minds.” She picked up one of the gold bars. It shone with the radiance of a sun. Pure. And stamped with the Carnite device.
“Smuggler?” Zinna questioned.
“Maybe.” She replaced the gold, back in the same precise position she had disturbed it from. “Doesn’t explain the lack of a shadow though.”
“No.” Zinna turned, scanning the room again. Her eyes alighted on the doorway through to the cockpit. She headed for it.
Lena followed. The small area was only just big enough for them both to stand in.
Zinna sat down in the only seat. Her hands hovered over the console before her, as if she could somehow sense any clues that might lurk there.
Something moved at the top of Lena’s vision. She looked up. No, not something moving. Something shining. Light from the previous room glinted off something abov her head. She reached up, standing on her tiptoes and bringing the thing down with just her fingertips.
It was soft. A small case. Like the leather one in miniature. It had a silver chain hanging from it, something broken off the end.
She opened it. More gold, or jewels maybe?
No. Keepsakes. Old-fashioned photos. A couple of pieces of tarnished, cheap-looking jewellery. Several letters, the writing faded and barely legible. An old voice-recorder, a model that even Lena had moved on from. She touched it, tempted to press play.
It didn’t work. The batteries must be out of charge.
“What’s that?” Zinna stood.
“Some old things.”
Zinna leafed through them, and picked up one of the photos. She studied it. “This is Tang, or a perfect match of him,” she said.
“Why wouldn’t it be him in the photo?”
“It pre-dates this century.”
“What? How could you know that?”
She showed the Lena the picture. “For one thing, who prints photos these days? And for another, look at the calendar on the wall behind him.”
Lena stared. “That’s four hundred years ago!”
“Yes. So if Tang isn’t from this time, that leaves two possibilities. One, whatever’s masquerading as Tang hasn’t been him for a long time. Two, he’s travelled through time.”
Both seemed impossible. But then…
“I think I prefer the second option.” Lena picked up another photo. And another. All were the same. All showed what seemed to be a similar time period. Four hundred years ago. “But does either explain him having no shadow?”
“Hm. I don’t know. All living things should cast a shadow.” She tapped her chin. “But if he has travelled through time, is he really here? Is he really a living thing?”
“He can interact with things,” Lena said. She had once read a book on theoretical time travel. It had given all the theories, all the speculation, all the possible scientific explanation and ways it could be done. But as no one had actually managed it, there was no proven explanations or evidence of anything, “I suppose the best way might be to ask him what’s going on.”
“I still don’t think he’s dangerous.” Lena replaced the photos, and then the case. “Come on. Let’s get out of – hang on, how exactly are we going to get back?”
“Using the transporter on this ship.”
“Won’t he know that we’ve been here then?”
“Probably.” Zinna took hold of Lena’s hand and pulled her through the small room with the bench. The transporter was right at the back of the ship.
“You really don’t care about offending him, do you?”
“I care more about you and Leo not getting killed. You trusted him far to easily.”
“It might not have been misplaced. We don’t know yet.”
Zinna snorted, and bundled her into the transporter. “Don’t count your gethres.”
Brinnan for chickens.
Today’s prompt was: A perfect match.