Out of Luck.

There are days when everything changes. Something irreversible happens and the world will never be the same again. Some of these events are global. Some are personal but the world will be forever different.

There may be many of these days in our lives; days that we wish that we could be on the other side of. Theses moments are written in time – never to be forgotten. In these days we wish we could just move with what remains of our lives. We wish we could regain that lost innocence, if only for a moment.

Sometimes, we are just out of luck.

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4. Gemma.

As my eyes flickered open, the first thing that I noticed was the pain that shot through my head. The second was the harsh lights that alerted me of the fact I was no longer at home. My head tilted to the side as I saw a man, sleeping in a chair with sweat running down his forehead. Hastily pulling my hand from the man’s loose grasp, I bolted upright and looked around me with dread pooling in my stomach. His eyes opened as I tried to recall the last thing that I remembered.

Smiling. Pain. Then nothing.

Oh god.

Hearing nothing but the pounding of my heart, panicked blue eyes met mine as I fought to take a breath. I wouldn’t let them win. Not now and not ever.

Looking around me, I searched for a knife, a pen or anything that I could use to my advantage or to defend myself. Noticing the gleaming blade of a scalpel lying on a table mere feet away, I took the only chance I knew I’d get. I could see the man’s lips moving but no sound reached my ears. All I could hear was the ringing and the steady thrum of my heartbeat.

Flicking back the white sheet, I let out a wince as I threw my legs over the side of the mattress. Seeing a pair of hands reach over in an attempt to pull me back down, I swivelled around and threw a careless punch. Whatever chemicals they had given me had taken their toll but I couldn’t bring myself to care as my fist met with its target. I leapt to my feet, stumbling for a few steps before finally reaching my goal. 

As my hand covered the small metal tool, I held it out before me – ready to defend myself from the attackers. I wouldn’t be a victim. I would lose anyone else to the network.

I watched with a heavy heart as the man picked himself up from the floor and wiped away the blood from the corner of his mouth. He turned to face me with something new blazing in his eyes. He lifted up his hands – his lips still moving – as he gestured form me to drop my weapon.

As if.

It took a few moments for his words to reach me as I fought back my fear. The left side of his jaw had begun to redden as he lifted up his hands in silent surrender.

“-help you. Please, I only want to help you. You’re injured. We found you. Put the scalpel down and we can talk. Okay? Put it down and we can talk this out. Please, be reasonable.”

I shook my head in response to his words, gripping the utensil tighter. My vision faded out for a few moments but I held strong, retaining my last shred of dignity. I would not give in. Not today and not tomorrow. I had to remain strong.

Two figures loomed behind the man as he edged closer towards me. Every breath hurt; every move stung.

“We just want to help. Let us help you.” The man said calmly, freezing mid-step as I pointed the weapon at his chest. Fear made me capable of anything. Fear and adrenaline.

“Why won’t you let us help you?”

Ignoring his question, I could feel unconsciousness slipping over me. I fought against its hand, speaking to my captors whilst keeping my voice firm.

“Where the hell am i?”

“You’re in London. We found you here. You were hurt.” The man explained, voice deadly calm. Chasing black from the edges of my vision, I let his words sink in.

London was home. London was safe.

“Take me home.” I ordered, feeling fainter by the second.

“We can’t.” My heart sank. Maybe it was them after all.

“Why not?” I whispered.

“I’m afraid that you’re not-” Taking a step forwards, I caught him off guard, pressing the cold metal against his neck.

“Let. Me. Go.” I snarled as fear sparked in his eyes. The two figures lingering behind him inched forwards as the click of guns filled the air. I was outnumbered, out gunned, injured and battling against myself.

I had only one option.

“Okay. Okay. You win.” As I held out the device for the man to take, I saw his shadow lower their guard. I dropped my weapon and as three pairs of eyes looked down at it, I made my move. I darted away, hearing cries behind me as I burst through a pair of doors.

I ran. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. Bolting through their cluttered base, I searched for a way out and a way into the open air of the city. If I could find my way into the city, I could hide myself in the crowds. I found myself racing down a staircase as my gaze lingered on the glass that kept me from the outside world.

As I reached the ground floor, I looked around – trying every door but to no avail. They were all locked with red lights blinking down at me.

And then I saw it.

 A window. A fragile, beautiful window. Lifting up a nearby chair, I swung is around and effortlessly shivered down the wall of glass. As I climbed through the gap, I felt the skin of my arm tear against the shards. The figures were still behind me, watching in awe as I stumbled forwards – out into the open air of the night.

The cold ran across the length of my arms as I kept on running. Using the darkness as my cover, I ducked behind the nearest car and watched through the glass as the three agents ran past. I held my breath, refusing to make a sound – the will to survive taking over. I waited until they disappeared from my line of sight before finally stealing a breath.  With the mist in my mind lifting for a few moments, an idea sprung to mind.

I was hiding behind a car.

A sleek, black car.

Reaching out for the handle with a prayer on my tongue, I took a moment to hope.

The door swung open.

I clambered into the metal cage, dark leather comforting me as I closed the door as quietly as I could. I gripped the steering wheel for a few moments as the smell of copper filled my nostrils. Pausing for a moment, I glanced into the rear-view mirror and saw the blood on the seats behind me.

My blood.

Now was not the time to dwell on that. Now was the time for action.

Sifting through the contents of the glovebox, I pulled out a mobile, a headset and a gun but no key. My whole plan seemed to fall apart without that one vital object.

And then an idea struck me.

If they’d taken me to their base in such a hurry that they forgot to lock the car then maybe, just maybe I could be in luck. If I was lucky enough, the keys would have been left to.

I reached forwards, the plastic beneath my fingertips telling me  of my fortune. Wrapping my fingers around the key, I let a smile grace my lips as I took a deep breath before sparking the engine to life.

I threw my foot down, my knuckles turning white as I revved the engine before launching forwards in a cloud of dust. The three figures entered my view once again but I ploughed on without hesitation. Leaving cries of anger behind me, I drove through the gate and before I knew it, was on the open road back home. Navigating through the vast city, everything seemed somehow off but I quickly dismissed it – blaming it on my injuries.

With one hand on the wheel and my eyes firmly fixed on the road, I picked up the mobile and punched in a number that I knew off by heart. I slipped the Bluetooth device in my ear and simply waited.

I tore through a red light as I listened to the phone ring out. After seven beeps, it went to answer phone.

 

Beep.

 

“Shit. Logan, they got me. Meet me at the flat ASAP. We have to get out of here. Now. Get ready to go. Don’t call anyone. Just pack up and be ready – I’ve got a car. I’ll be there in ten.”

 

With that I hung up.

Speeding through the streets and weaving through mounting layer of traffic, I powered on – not daring to look back in fear of what I’d see. In an hour, I’d be gone. A new life, new identity and a new place to call home.

Pulling up the driveway of my shared apartment, I grabbed the gun before fleeing from the car with the keys firmly in my grasp. Typing in my usual code, the screen flashed a deep shade of red. Having no time to spare, a single kick snapped the lock in two as the door swung open before me. The rent was cheap and that was all that mattered. Clutching the metal close to my body, I stuck to the shadows, making my way up the four flights of stairs.

The door to my flat was already open.

“Logan?” I called out softly. “Logan, please.”

I stepped into the room with dread in every step.

The room began to spin. The layout was wrong, so wrong and all of my possessions were missing. The walls were bare and the furniture was covered in a thin layer of dust. I was too late. Logan was already gone.

“Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.” I chanted, searching for any sign of familiarity.

As soon as my eyes met the skyline, I knew that something was very wrong. I knew where I was or rather where I should have been but instead of flats, there were skyscrapers dominating the sky and filling the space where houses should have stood. Even the air carried a tinge of metal as it floated through the breeze.

This wasn’t right. None of this was right.

Hearing footsteps behind me, I snapped out of my thoughts and pressed myself against the wall. I rested my finger on the trigger of the gun in my gasp and prepared myself for the task that lay ahead; I wouldn’t let them take me. As the three agents filtered in, I pointed my gun at the leader, the blue-eyed man and felt my anger come flooding out.

“Where is he? What have you done to him?”

My voice echoed through the empty flat as the darkness came creeping in once again.

“Talk,” I hissed, lifting up my weapon. “While you still can.”

Holding his hands up in silent surrender, I watched as he placed his gun on the floor with the others following behind them. Kicking them away from their owners reach, I watched as their guns skidded across the length of the floor.

“Talk.” I repeated.

“My name is-” he began but I cut him off. A hiss of pain escaped from my lips as the adrenaline began to wear off but I continued anyway. Everything was so very wrong.

“Where am I?”

“London.”

“This,” I insisted, gesturing out of the window, “is not London. You don’t fool me. Where am I really?”

“It is London. It’s just not your London.”

Arms falling to my sides, the gun lay forgotten in my grasp as his words refused to sink in. I glared at the man in disbelief.

“What the hell does that mean?”

“You’re on an alternate earth. The cracks between realities are widening and you fell through. You were hurt. We found you. We only want to help.”

“No.” If I tried hard enough, I could almost pretend that my voice didn’t waver. “No, you’re lying.”

And then the darkness made its move.

Legs fiving way beneath me, I barely registered the arms which caught me. The gun slipped from my fingers as I fought to stay conscious.

“I’m sorry.” the man muttered. “I am so sorry for your loss.”

 

"No."

 

Then, my eyes fell closed – exhaustion and pain sweeping over me. As the door began to rise above me, I gave into the darkness and let it win.

 

Even after everything, I had lost.

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