Chapter 2 - Embers

Fire! Everything was on fire! Roiling clouds of fire burning all around her, plumes of flame aiming her way. Sarrah's icy skin melting and cracking, but the flames somehow calling to the thuum held deep inside her, awakening all of her dangerous emotions, heating her up from the inside out. Her fear, which she had not felt since over two Vahids ago when the Stnira picked up her near death body from her floating ship, broke through her, zigzagging across her body, pushing out a scream of terror she had held deep inside her for so long. A deafening, in-human roar answered her, deep in the flames. While it terrified her, it also bolstered her, attaching itself to her thuum. Impossible! No one had been able to get past her defences before! In horror she felt a feeling of bright hope flicker through her, answering the roar. What is this?! She peered into the roiling flames. Sensing a shape in there. Staring, suddenly bright flame-filled eyes appeared in her minds eye, branding her, looking into her. A kind, warm eye, triggering memories she never touched anymore. She rebelled, rejecting the unfamiliar feeling with a yell, grabbing for her blades. Recoiling when all she grabbed was air, and threw herself aside as a flame came at her again. She awoke with a jolt, and felt the cold, hard, metal deck beneath her. A bar of credits cutting into her hand, the payment for the secrets she stole. She let out the breath she was holding, remembering that the flames were not real, that the nightmares that had been plaguing her recently were not real. There were no flames, no fire on a space station. Such things were strictly forbidden in Struima, at least that's what she had been told.

Feeling the stiff ache in her body and the scrambled fogginess that always came after an upload - the exchange of secrets with the Stnira, she took stock of her body, locking down her emotions to not alarm anyone that might be in the hallway or other cabins. Checking the clock, she started her morning routine, a splash of water on her face, a quick powdered drink that was nasty, but would keep her full and healthy all day. She then checked that her tretharium was safely stored behind a genetic lock, and checked for any new messages, any new targets.

As expected, the Stnira had already allocated a new secret for her to ferret out. She opened the infodoc and started memorizing all the information about her target. As usual, they had sent her a target which was due to dock with the space station within the next couple days and was a lover of music and arts. An easy target, much like the last one. She was almost getting bored. At least when they had first driven all her emotions from her, the hunt, the chase, the thrill has motivated her. But now it was all just ice and bored numbness. Except the fires in her dreams at night. No. Don't think about that.

She knew each step of hunting now. Become a fixture at all their typical places to visit. Wear scents and fabrics their species liked - often her unknown and exotic look was enough, but always good to make sure. Drop a hint in passing of her shows. Then, once they showed up at her concerts, use the threll to coax them to meet her backstage. This target, a descendant from a lush and verdant world, loved the gardens and wilder terrariums that the space station kept. So she dressed the part and made her way towards the more popular terrariums.

Short story by SecretWords The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 54 times
Written on 2024-03-08 at 11:01

Tags Scifi  Dark  Dystopian 

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