Flying

As a boy of eight, Seth finds his life changed by a dark secret … something that he can’t possibly understand.

Years later, old faces, memories, and an envelope, draw Seth back into the web.

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39. 39 - Retribution

39  -  Retribution

 

 

May 17, 2383

 

 

The titanium sheathed bullet leaves the shaky gun, imbedding itself in a steel post near the bar. Seth hits the floor and rolls toward the exit, his ears, ringing from the blast. Another shot rings out …

 

Just inches from his leg, a small section of the aquamarine tilled floor explodes into small fragments and dust. Someone is shouting. Seth jumps to his feet. Two men, who had been sitting at a nearby table, stand. Seth sees the shaky gun turn toward the men.

 

The man in the light colored suit shouts at them. “No … don’t!” His voice cracks, sounding more like a plea than an order.

 

Seth runs to the exit and out into the corridor. He glances left and right. The corridor is empty. He turns right and runs, bracing himself to hear another shot. Ahead, the corridor tee’s.

 

He turns left, almost falling as his feet slip on the polished tiled floor. He runs down a long stretch of narrow corridor, passing a couple of unmarked doors. The corridor turns left.

 

Seth turns the corner and stops in his tracks. A few meters ahead, a barred gate blocks the way … his mind flashes back to the sound of rusty hinges

 

There’s no way to climb the vertical bars. He makes a jump, missing the top of the gate by almost a meter. He turns, returning to the corner, and runs back along the corridor to the first of the unmarked doors he had past. An entry pad is to the right of the door. He presses the entry icon, and sighs as the request for a password appears on the small screen. He hears footsteps approaching.

 

Seth runs back to the corner and steps around it, leaning against the wall. Slowly, he peers around the corner, seeing the corridor’s tee in the distance. The man in the light colored suit steps into view and turns, looking in his direction.

 

He backs away from the corner quickly, his heart racing. He almost cries out when he bumps into the air scrubber unit, protruding from the wall. He turns; looking at the large, green box, about as high as his waist. He looks at the gate, several meters away. The footsteps grow closer.

 

Seth takes a few steps back from the box, and launches himself toward it, bringing his shoulder down to hit it full on. There is a loud cracking sound as the unit moves slightly, breaking its syntactic plastic mounting. Seth ignores the pain in his shoulder, steps back, and launches himself at the box again. The unit breaks away, revealing an ugly, unfinished section in the wall, a broken air duct, and several tufts of scrubber fiber.

 

Seth turns his back to the box and squats, leaning back against it, and uses his legs to push with all his strength. There is a low scraping sound as he inches the heavy box toward the gate. He watches the corner and pushes harder and faster, his shoulder protesting his efforts. He turns his head, glancing back; still a couple of meters to go. He looks back to the corner.

 

The man in the light colored suit raises the shaky gun …

 

Seth jumps to his feet. He turns, climbs up onto the box, and leaps toward the gate. His chest hits the top of the gate and he falls, catching himself by hooking his elbows over it. He hangs, suspended for a second, taking in a breath before pulling himself up. He swings himself over the top as the gun rings out...

 

The bullet hits the back of his right ankle, passing through it, and ending its journey somewhere unseen.

 

Seth falls hard. Another shot brings him back to his feet. He tries to run and almost goes down again. His ankle didn’t feel broken, but something was wrong. His right foot felt numb. He stumbles forward, moving as fast as he can and looking for some cover, or some help.

 

The corridor turns right into a small, open square. Seth makes for an exit on the far side. After a few more steps, the numbness in his foot spreads through his leg. He glances back, hearing something in the corridor behind him.

 

He falls, reaching out at the last moment, not quick enough to keep his head from hitting the hard tile floor.

 

 

Seth opens his eyes and raises his head. The man in the light colored suit stands over him, looking down. Seth lies back on the hard tile. His eyes dart from side to side, following the movements of the shaky gun, aimed at his head. There is a long silence.

 

He thinks about Carry and swallows hard, forcing himself to look past the gun, and to the man holding it. He tries to keep his voice calm. “I’m purelike Carry … I’m pure.”

 

The gun comes to a stop, sighting itself on Seth’s forehead as the man stops shaking. He stares at Seth, and then past him. A few moments pass and he turns his head up, gazing at the ceiling of the square as if seeing the wonder of the stars for the first time.

 

Seth lays still and quiet, the gun still trained on his head.

 

The man looks back down to Seth. He takes a long, slow breath. His shoulders slump slightly as his whole body seems to relax. His dark eyes seem to flash with a decision or, perhaps, an inspiration. He slowly brings the gun up to his temple, and fires.

 

Seth scrambles back as the man falls to his knees and flops over backwards. The man stares up, small rivers of red running from his nose and mouth, spreading from the collar of his light colored suit.

 

Seth sits up, closing his eyes and shaking, his adrenaline spent. He hears a woman’s voice…

 

“What? What happened here?”

 

He opens his eyes to see two women in white robes, carefully approaching the bleeding man. One of them squats down beside him.

 

“Oh my … I don’t believe it.” She turns to her companion. “It’s Lanner. Lanner Wiccom.”

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