Up There so High

What do you get when you have a space fanatic, a runaway princess and a bunch of miscreants? Well, you get the three E's; Explosions, Expletives and Enemies.
You may not laugh along with this story but you may sing (because the main space man is very much fond of that).

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26. The Sea Salt Conundrum

 

~The Sea Salt Conundrum~

~Skylar~

 

If Skylar didn’t know any better she would have said that she was on a beach. Zeld had some beaches, but they were hard to find since the trees obscured everything. These beaches were hidden in caves and there was a shortage of them. But she couldn’t hear the lions roar, the rush and the exhilaration. She couldn’t feel the salt crusted on her eyelashes and her cracked lips. She couldn’t taste the water in her mouth, feel the sand underneath her feet, the rocky pebbles digging into skin. No she was just in a room, a room bleached with green light, in a chair with her arms strapped to the arms. So she was not at a beach, but it sure smelt like she was. 

They had dragged her from her bed. She had originally thought it to be nightmare, the men with blackened eyes who grabbed her with ease and no comfort. But no, it was real, all real, because even when she pinched herself the scene did not change. Even when she forced her eyes open, she found that they already were.

She had been there for minutes, hours, days, moments, she wasn’t entirely sure. But the men with blackened eyes had dumped her there and left. Cowards. Bastards.

Skylar didn’t want to be there. Even if she wasn’t sure where there was. She sniffled, god it was cold. Not too cold, but cold enough to warrant wanting something to cover her. She was still in her bedclothes, the lace nighty doing nothing against the cold.

Then a blackened eye man entered and chuckled as he watched her try to get out of the chair. “Ah, ah, ah you know better than that Skylar,” he chuckled, his hands folded behind his back rather neatly. The position didn’t suit him. Speaking of suits he was wearing a solid black suit with black shiny shoes. Could they not inject some colour into their wardrobes?

“How do you know my name?” she gritted out, finally leaning back in the chair. Trying to escape was draining her energy and she didn’t need that right now.

The man started laughing then, bracing his hands on his knees, “You’re a goddamn princess of course we know who you are,” he calmed down and Skylar wanted to head butt him. “The Miracle knows everything and everyone,” The man said bluntly.

“The Miracle?” Skylar questioned leaning farther back in the chair to escape the man.

“Yes The Miracle, the most powerful being in the universe.” The man was serious about this, dead serious. Skylar laughed, not believing the audacity of it. The most powerful being in the universe, come on, this was like some drugged up dream.

At first Skylar thought the man clapped. But that was not it. No, he had slapped her, right on her cheek, the sound being as strong as a clap. She was sure that it would leave a red welt behind, she could feel her skin turning red and tender. She couldn’t grip her face like she wanted to, she couldn’t stagger back like she wanted to. But her eyes were able to water. Yet she refused to cry, not in front of this bastard.

“How dare you laugh at The Miracle? If you don’t want to die here, you have to understand one thing; you will not criticise The Miracle and you will not talk down to The Miracle. They are the All Powerful, the destroyer of worlds and galaxies, and you will respect them.” The man was so serious about this, leaning so close to her face that the sea salt smell was nauseating.

Where was it coming from?

“Do you understand?” his hands were on her clothes, gripping them tightly and drawing them away from her skin. How dare he? How dare he be this close to her when she did not want him there?

“Yes,” Skylar gritted out even if she didn’t want to say the words.

The man smiled, “Good,” he crooned and Skylar hated him further, “We understand each other.”

“Why did you kidnap me?” She gritted out again and the man retreated from her. The distance between them made her breathe just a bit easier. The sea salt smell was less evident this way but it was still there. God it was annoying.

“We didn’t kidnap you,” the man was saying his back to her as though he couldn’t look at her anymore, “We saved you.”

Skylar was sure that they didn’t save her. No one saved her from anything. Zeldor was the safest city in Zeld, how could she be in danger in her home? This man was off his rockers, she was sure of it.

“The Miracle deemed you worthy enough to be on their craft,” the man spread his arms to gesture to the room, “You have information that is useful to them, to their mission. You should be privileged.” The man smiled, and his smile looked gruesome. Someone should tell him to never smile and people would be better off.

“What information?” Skylar questioned her eyebrows coming closer together as she tried to ignore the pain in her cheek.

“Everything.” The man had an air for dramatics and so he left her in that moment. Maybe it was so that she could reflect on everything, but Skylar didn’t have the intention of telling them anything, nevertheless everything.

She was a princess so she supposed that they wanted to know about the royals and the Pantheon. But something unnerved her, if they wanted to know everything that meant everything, every nook and cranny, and dust bunny in her mind. Something told her that they would do just about anything to attain that knowledge.

The room stayed the same shade of green, a bright green caused by the lights, even though the man had left. Alone with her thoughts the pain in her cheek was more prominent and she fought with herself to not let it get to her. But it did.

Pain always wormed its way back to her.

“You do know they’ll do anything to get what they want,” a voice whispered to her, close to her. Skylar jerked, she had been dozing, hoping that sleeping would make the time turn quicker, when she heard it. A female voice, blackened eyes on a small face, hair pulled into a tight bun on the top of her head. “You know that right?”

“What are they?” Skylar whispered, the girl was close to her, kneeling in front of her chair. When had she started to think of the chair as hers?

“I call them the Goons, the underlings of The Miracle,” the girl kept her voice low, her eyes going to the door now and again. Was she scared? If so, of what?

Goons sounded funny in Skylar’s head but it was enough to dampen the seriousness of the situation.

“And what is the Miracle?” Skylar asked further, hoping that the girl had all the answers she needed.

“The all-seeing, all powerful being, the destroyer. They have many titles, many descriptors.”

The girl gave nothing away. Nothing. God she was just about useless. “Destroyer of what?” Skylar whispered.

Then the girl looked terrified. “Everything. You need to tell them what they want otherwise you’ll become part of what they destroy. That can’t happen.” The concept of everything was huge. The girl seemed knowledgeable about it and Skylar didn’t want to ask why.

“Who are you exactly?” Skylar murmured assured that the girl would hear the quiet question. They were that close that they could hear anything that passed between them.

“I’m with them,” the girl whispered back and arose from her position on her haunches. “You have to tell them what they want, reach inside yourself. Open all the boxes you’ve piled into your mind, clear out all the dust. Open your lips and tell them everything. It’s the only way.”

“The only way to what?”

“To live.” The girl closed her eyes a little and created more distance between them.

“Help me escape,” Skylar tried, pulling her skin taut against the ropes and chains tying her to the chair. “Help me, I can tell you aren’t like the others, please help me.”

“That’s what they all say,” the girl sighed and walked away from Skylar, nearing the door. Skylar was desperate now but the girl was not listening. What did that statement even mean? “My obsession is not your compulsion.” The girl said before she left on silent feet.

Now what did that statement mean?

It was some time before Skylar got a visitor again. This time it was the man – ahem, the Goon – from before. Skylar suppressed a groan. This time he held an instrument in his hand, something long and black to match his outfit.

“Now, you’ve had some time to think on what I told you before,” he began walking in circles around her chair. He took something out of his pocket, something that jangled as he moved it. Handcuffs. He put one set of handcuffs around each hand and each arm of the chair. This way she was tied down by both metal and rope. God that was not helpful in the slightest. “I hope that you’ll give us everything we want and that means just talking about everything,” it sounded like he thought this was a simple concept.

But it wasn’t.

Then he flicked the black instrument on, and a spark ignited from the top. Skylar cringed away from it, but she could go nowhere.

“Where do I even start?” Skylar started, trying to deflect the Goon from the main subject.

The man smiled and that was not the reaction she wanted, “From the beginning.” Again he must have thought that this was the simplest concept in the world.

Skylar sighed and shut her eyes, living in the silence for the moment.

“Silence isn’t going to work,” he chuckled and then she felt the instrument against her skin. At first it was nothing, the feeling of metal against her skin and that was it. But then it felt like her skin was fizzing, bubbling, and the feeling spread up her arm, to her shoulder, to her neck and head.

It was uncomfortable until he seemed to push another button. Then it hurt. It felt like her blood was excited to be out of her body and that was not where it belonged. She gritted her teeth. She refused to scream, to give him the satisfaction.

“Get away from me!” she gritted, hoping that her Persuasion would do the trick. For a moment it did, the instrument was removed from her skin, and his eyes went glazed. He took a step back, a small step, but a step nevertheless. Then he shook his head, shaking her power off. He smiled a creepy smile.

God, no.

“It seemed like your parlour trick doesn’t work around here,” he pushed the instrument against her skin again, “You have The Miracle to thank for that.”

She hadn’t even met the Miracle but already she knew that they were a little shit.

~

 

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