Welcome to Part 7 of my Describli-prompt inspired story. This week was a real effort as I exhausted myself this morning and have been fighting sleep all day.
I just want to say two things. One: Thank you to everyone who has read and commented and promoted this story. Even if you just clicked the like button. Thank you.
Two: Every installment of this story is a first draft, written in the maximum of a few hours. And as a consequence, there may be a few inconsistencies. I don’t mind if you point them out, in fact it would help when it comes to reworking them (which I plan to d0). This world has sucked me in and I am really enjoying writing Lena’s adventures. 🙂
And finally, to read earlier instalments click on the Lena: The Past link in the menu above. Or here.
Without further ado, here is said story. Part 8 next week.
A dim light at the end of the tunnel guided Lena and Zinna forward. Lena moved cautiously, feeling her way with her feet. The container had to be there somewhere. How long would the blue-lipped woman give her? Could she see her somehow? Know what she was doing? That she was looking, that she hadn’t turned away from saving Leo?
She kept moving forward. Zinna kept a steady pace behind her. That brought a degree of comfort.
As the end of the tunnel came closer, the blurry light turned into a chamber lit by a river of molten magma running through it. It was hot in there, and it felt like more heat was coming from the walls.
They were inside a volcano.
And the container sat right in the centre of the room.
Zinna caught her arm, holding her back. “Wait. There could be more to this than you see.”
She meant it could be a trap.
The container was roughly the size of a barrel, but square instead of round.
Zinna walked over to it, her footsteps lighter than Lena’s, and her gun in her hand. In the warm, she looked more comfortable, moved easier. She tapped the container with the tip of her gun, walked around it several times, before shaking her head and saying, “I think it’s safe.” She sounded like she couldn’t believe it.
Lena approached the container. “She wants this, right? So why would she booby-trap it?”
“I don’t know. But this doesn’t feel right.”
Zinna’s instincts weren’t usually far wrong. But Lena wanted her brother back, unharmed. She would take her chances. “Help me to lift it,” she said.
It wasn’t as heavy as she thought, but the bulk of it would have made it difficult for her to move on her own.
They made it to the mouth of the tunnel, back out into the cold.
The moment Lena’s foot made an imprint in the snow, the blue-lipped woman appeared, floating, as holos did, in front of her. Good, she said, her lips not moving, you’ve found it. I will retrieve it from here, Put it down and I will give you back your brother.
Her words were cold, as if it were a business deal.
Lena and Zinna lowered the container to the ground, but Lena kept one hand on it. “Give him back first.”
Blue-lips sighed. Who knew a holo could sigh? Very well.
She must have known, as well as Lena, that the container was going nowhere fast. Which lead Lena onto another thought. What had happened to her ship?
A sharp noise sliced through the atmosphere, and Leo materialised in the snow. He was bruised, and dried blood clung to his cheek. Lena ran to him. “Are you okay?” she asked, her hands on his face, looking for the source of the blood.
He nodded. He was pale. “I think so.”
“Where’s Alya?” Zinna asked.
A cold smile. You mean this man? She held her hand out and Alya appeared beside her. He stared straight ahead, like a machine that had been switched off.
Blue-lips waved her hand through him. A holo. But he wasn’t floating – he looked so real. And he had touched things, moved them…
Lena couldn’t take her eyes from him. A cold chill entered her heart. A new technology, taking away the only real difference between people and holos. How would anyone know the difference if they didn’t float and could manipulate physical objects?
Lena took Leo’s hand and coaxed him up onto his feet, then back to stand with Zinna. “You tricked us,” she said.
I did. And now I have what I want- the container faded away -I will return and leave you in peace. Again her words were cold. She didn’t gloat, or act superior. It was a statement of fact. She had won.
“What now?” Leo asked into the silence.
“We have to get back to the ship. Somehow.” Lena looked to Zinna. “If it’s still in one piece.”
Guilt in her eyes. She said, “We have to get back to our own time first.”
Lena’s heart pulled two ways: she wanted to go home, of course she did. But when was she going to get a chance to explore this place again? “Maybe we could head down the mountain? Find somewhere warm, some food, then think about going home?”
Zinna glanced over her shoulder at her back. “And I blend in how?”
“We’ll figure something out.” Zinna was starting to shiver again. The need to move was getting more urgent. “Come on, let’s move while we talk.”
This week’s prompt: Floating people.