Another contest entry for Chuck Wendig’s weekly challenge. It don’t think it turned out as good as the last one. But I tried. If you want to learn more about it here the linky. My d20 gave me Empath as my power. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/05/24/flash-fiction-challenge-must-contain-psychic-powers/
It was, and It wasn’t
I knew everything there was to know about Hoc. One day ten years ago when he was a day over thirty-one years old he broke into an illegal testing facility for one of many, many governments. The glass windows shattered under his barrage of bullets. The lights flashing at the end of his rifle. Tiny sparks bouncing off all the equipment in a shattered array like the night sky stars. Tanks lined up against the far wall the liquid shimmering silver. Bright LEDs brightened them showing human-shaped figures floating in them.
He lifted his gun a light flashed on above the barrel. The light swept back and forth lightening up the sterile lab equipment. He spoke urgently into his headset. “All clear.”
His men burst around the edges filling into the room. They knocked over equipment. They downloaded files. They freed the people in the tubes.
Hoc opened my tube and I fell wet, and naked in his arms. My eyes fluttered open looking into his single eye and a connection was made. I knew him. I kept feeling everything he felt: his disappointment, his desire, and his cool regard. Not a man to trifle with. I smiled. “I feel you.”
He blinked his eye. “Get survival blankets on them. They’ll freeze.”
“Won’t the official demand we remove the data?” One man motioned with his hand toward the naked bodies being covered with glossy, metallic blankets.
My weight shifted as Hoc pulled a gun on the man. “I don’t give a fucking shit. These are people. People who have nothing to do with anything.” He spit on the ground. “People who are test subjects. We aren’t going plugging them with holes to satisfy a motherfucking spreadsheet. You got that?”
Echoes of ‘yes sir’ filled my newly cleared ears.
Hoc slide his pistol back into its holster. “Get these people in the transport.” His head jerked back and forth above mine. “Only five alive, we can manage it. Quick step, men.”
I remembered little of the journey back to the transport. I was cold. My skin felt as if it would shake off from how hard I shivered. I wanted to ask what he meant to do with me. Fear lanced my heart, and I knew it was from him. My body tumbled to the ground as an ear shattering crack surrounded me. My hands slapped over my ears.
Silence then, the scent of copper in the air. I looked up. Hoc was covered in dark speckles. My head swiveled around me. People in sterile white and blue gear from in the boot tracked snow. A few wet bodies in the same gear as Hoc sat motionlessly. And a couple squirmed as groans began. Two pale, silver wrapped bodies lay still.
“Shit.” Hoc slammed another clip into his gun. “Someone sent out an alert.”
Air whistled past my ears as the snowy landscape blurred. My stomach slammed into his shoulder. He took off running as I was jarred with each leaping step. My fingers dug into his arm as my breath came out in white puffs.
“Civilians and wounded in the front. Guns ready, guard the back.” Hoc emotions hit me in a wave. Elations, joy, worry, and fear all jumbled together. The intensity of the whirlwind inside seemed all the more potent to the calm on the outside.
My head bounced as muzzles flashed before my eyes. Shouts and screams pierced the air. Figures in black and white fell down with splashes of crimson. I put my free hand over my eyes as I whimpered. Too much was happening too fast.
From beside me an echoing whimper. Another pale creature like myself flopped over a mercenaries shoulder like a sack. We looked at one another. He mouthed to me. “Do they know what we are?”
“I don’t know.” I mouthed back.
I had known thirty-two since we were children before the tubes. He and I were the only survivors of the original test subjects. The rest had joined the project later.
A loud steady droning grew louder, and louder. I struggled against Hoc trying to free myself. A casual shrug sent me falling onto a hard surface as the droning throbbed in my ears. The other men climbed into loud machine. Two more naked people dropped beside me. Gloved hands dragged us across the floor, metal catching on my delicate skin as I felt it tearing. All of it adding to the noise.
“Get around them, defensive perimeter.” Hoc’s voice cut through it all.
My stomach lurched as peered between the legs of the men. I could see the ground getting further away. I strangled a cry in my throat as a heavy, thick material was thrown on me. I felt my shivering lessen, and I grew tired. I could feel Hoc’s emotions. The strongest was relief.
“All clear, Sergent.” As we flew into a larger craft. The vehicle stopped and they jumped out. All except Hoc.
He kneeled beside me. He stripped off a glove and held back of his fingers to my forehead. “Good, no fever.” He moved and checked the other two. “Fuck.” He motioned at thirty-two. “His dead.” He checked the final one a small boy.
“Don’t hurt…” The boy’s words cut off with a cry.
“I won’t hurt a hair on your head. You, or the pretty lady here.” Hoc scratched his chin. “I’m not sure I can report you as survivors, but you can come live at our base. You’ll have food, clothes, and a place to live. You’ll be safe.”
“Why?” I could feel him. He feared us. His eyes told me he was not soft hearted.
He turned to me. His eye flashed blue for a moment allowing me to see the network of wires in it. “I know what’s it like to be someone’s lab rat.”
“Do you know what we are?”
“Do I need to?”
“We are Empaths. But, we don’t work right. We only bond with one person. We are failed experiments.” I motioned to the boy. “He hasn’t even manifested yet. And I bonded to you.”
He didn’t say anything for a long time. “Doesn’t matter. I’m the boss you’re going to stay with us. End of fucking story.”
It was, and it wasn’t. That is the nature of things.