Thursday, May 29, 2014
February 11, part 2
I stared to see the scary little alien beaming at us from the room outside. When had he shown up? I also noticed that all the other inmates had hidden themselves or cowered in the corners of their cells. That was not a good sign.
Oses stared for an instant and then growled, showing fangs and getting between me and the Ofetuchan. In those animal hides, the Nobek looked extremely primitive and nasty. His muscles stood out, corded and veined. I was impressed.
Little Creep was not. In fact, he looked pleased.
“Very nice. I’d given up on being able to keep any Kalquorians in my collection because your kind has a terrible habit of committing suicide rather than being imprisoned. Having the Earther woman to defend might make it worth your while to stay alive. You are a magnificent specimen.” Little Creep practically danced in his delight as he looked Oses over.
Oses’ stopped growling. His fangs began to hinge once more as he blinked uncertainly. I guess the Ofetuchan’s voice had an effect on him similar to what it did to me.
It lasted only a couple of seconds. Oses resumed growling and once more looked like he was ready to spring at the bastard at any moment. Remembering what the Dantovonian had said about the containment field, I put my hand on his shoulder. Oses thrummed under my touch, as if he had an electrical current running through him.
Little Creep’s eyes shone as he looked me over. “An Earther female. You are the real prize, especially given how few of you are left. You will be the center of my collection.”
“Fuck you,” I said. I pretended I wasn’t shaking in my fur. The fear I felt seemed to counteract the spell of his voice. That much was good.
Oses wasn’t so lucky. Yet again he stopped snarling and started to relax. An instant later, he was back to big, mean Nobek. “You lay a hand on her, and I’ll rip you to shreds,” Oses said, his words slurring around his fangs and rumbling like thunder.
“I don’t have to lay a hand on her. As for any punishment she receives, that is entirely up to you. A demonstration.” Little Creep said something that sounded like sherbeg.
Pain bolted through my spine and skull, white-hot and razor-sharp. It was like being hit by a lightning bolt full of daggers. I’m sure I screamed. I don’t remember doing so. I don’t remember anything except immeasurable agony that made me wish I could die.
It only lasted a second, but it was the longest, most horrific second of my life. When it was over I was lying on my back with Oses crouched over me, shouting my name. My whole body jittered.
Little Creep’s voice oozed like delicious poison. “A single word, and she suffers unbearably. As do you if she misbehaves. Sherbeg.”
Oses, whose face had gone slack again when Little Creep spoke, suddenly screamed fit to shatter my eardrums. His whole body went stiff, and then he fell over. He jerked and flailed on the grass.
“Oses!” I screamed, hauling my own shaking body up and grabbing him. He continued to contort and shriek.
I turned to scream at Little Creep. “Stop it! You’re killing him!”
“Oh, it won’t kill him. It might drive him insane, but he won’t die if I turn it off in time. Blonay.”
Oses’ cries cut off, resolving into moans. He twitched uncontrollably and heaved for breath.
“There, you see? He’ll be perfectly fine once he recovers from his lesson.”
I tried to ignore the melodious voice from Hell. I concentrated on Oses. “Oses, talk to me.”
The Nobek was suddenly up on his feet, towering over me. His face contorted in rage and he fucking roared at Little Creep.
It was then I noticed that Oses had lost control of his bodily functions when he’d been tortured. So had I, it turned out.
I rose to my feet to stand at his side, staring in horror at Little Creep. “What the hell did you do to us?” I gasped.
“The collars deliver pain at my order to keep you in line,” he said with a bright smile. “As you’ll be spending the rest of your lives here, I suggest you learn obedience right away. Oses’ fuck ups will result in your punishment, and your misbehavior will give him torment. The demonstration was extremely lenient. You do not want to find out what true punishment is.”
Oses had begun to shake his head hard while Little Creep spoke. I thought he was trying to drive off the hypnotic spell the bastard’s voice kept weaving over his senses.
“Oh, that won’t do anything but give you a headache,” our captor said. “Kalquorians and Plasians in particular are susceptible to the aural frequency of our voices. Certain parts of your brain find it lulling. Earthers feel it too, at least to some extent.”
He frowned at me then. I felt a little glimmer of hope that I could escape his spell, but it also scared me that he wasn’t happy about it. I really didn’t want the collar activated again.
Little Creep said, “With the brains of Kalquorians and Earthers being so similar, it should have the same effect. I wonder why you’re able to shake it off so well?”
I had no idea and I decided to not answer him. Silence seemed my best defense at the moment.
Little Creep shrugged it off. “No matter. The collar will be more than adequate to keep you in line. Now for another lesson.”
With that, he disappeared. The space where the containment held us captive shivered for an instant, like ripples in a lake. I gaped and exchanged a look with Oses. “Where do you think he went?” I asked.
The melodious voice answered from right behind me. “Do you miss me already, Shalia?”
I yelped and turned to find the Ofetuchan grinning up at me. An instant later, Oses snatched me backwards, putting his body between me and the nasty freak. He shook all over as he glowered at our captor, like a muscled earthquake personified. After a moment, I figured out why Oses was trembling so hard: it was taking all his willpower to not attack Little Creep. I wondered why he didn’t go for it. I know I would have if Oses hadn’t been in my way, especially when I saw the phase thing-y Lurb had told us about. It was indeed on the critter’s belt and gold in color. To me, it looked like a kazoo.
I thought for sure Oses would try for it, but he didn’t. Then it occurred to me that if the Nobek went after the Little Creep and failed to squash our tormentor, I would be punished. That was the reason he held back.
He might as well have tried. Things couldn’t have gone any worse.
Little Creep grinned at Oses. “So your breed does have some sense. I didn’t think Nobeks could control their violent urges so well.”
After a moment’s pause to let the Ofetuchan’s spell fade, Oses snarled, “I might have many surprises in store for you.”
“Perhaps.” Little Creep nodded, as if impressed. “I thought I would be teaching you another important lesson, the one in which attacking me would bring on another round of pain.” He grinned up at Oses. “You cannot touch me without setting off your collar. Physical contact without my willing it brings you the same agony as what you’ve just felt.”
Oses again shook off the mesmerizing notes of his voice. I too found myself sinking into something of a trance and blinked hard to pull myself out. My terror hadn’t gone, but as the minutes went past, it did fade. My immunity to Little Creep was wearing off.
“Very well.” Little Creep sat on one of the large rocks in our environment. “I know you are Shalia and Nobek Oses. My name is Finiuld, and you are now my property. This environment is your new home. It is based on Earth rather than Kalquor, but I believe the Nobek will find it adequate for living.”
“I cannot be penned up in such a small space for long,” Oses growled. “It will drive me insane.”
Little Creep – Finiuld – chuckled in a mean tone. “Oh, you will be brought out from time to time so I can show you off to my friends. You are not just a prize for me to collect and look at when the mood strikes. You are also entertainment.”
I was thunderstruck. “We’re not trained animals giving shows like in a circus!” I exclaimed.
The bastard crooked an eyebrow at me. “I am not sure what a ‘circus’ is, but I assure you, you will give my guests enjoyable diversions. If you refuse to perform, the Kalquorian will suffer most horribly. If he balks, you will be tortured. It’s as simple as that.” He grinned his awful tombstone smile. “I’ve heard enough pass between you two to know you mean a great deal to each other. Don’t think I won’t use it to its fullest capacity.”
Oses started growling again when he understood all that Finiuld had said. I felt like growling myself. Who knew what this maniac had in mind for us?
“You will be fed. You may wash – and I would expect you to do that soon – in the pond. The water is circulated and cleaned continuously, so you may both bathe and drink from it. The temperature in here will be kept at a comfortable level. If you would enjoy painting or reading or some pastime to while away the time, I will grant the materials for that, provided you behave yourselves.”
I couldn’t help myself. “Gee, what a nice guy.”
Finiuld’s eyes narrowed. “I can be. Do what you’re told and you’ll see that. Disobey me, and suffer the consequences.”
After a few seconds, Oses said, “You’ll pay for this. You’ll pay dearly.”
Finiuld laughed in his face ... or at his knees, actually. The height difference was incredible, and yet the tiny alien had control over my behemoth companion. “That’s what they all say, Kalquorian. They’ve been saying that to me for decades, and yet, I have never been caught and my prizes have never escaped – except through death.”
Oses turned away from him and towards me. I didn’t like that he put his back to the Little Creep, but what could he do? Between Finiuld’s voice and that damned collar, Oses was powerless.
Yet his gaze held mine, as if he wanted to communicate something. Then he looked at the room behind me, beyond the containment field. He looked me in the eye again.
It was obvious Oses was trying to tell me something. I thought he might be readying to attempt to get out. But how? I couldn’t imagine what his plan might be. However, I trusted Oses with my life ... and my child’s life as well. That was the biggest thing that kept me from shrinking away in fear of being punished. I had to get my little hitchhiker out of here. If Oses thought there was a way out of our predicament, I was more than ready to give it a try, even if it meant enduring that awful pain again.
I made my head twitch only a little, the barest suggestion of a nod I could manage.
Finiuld hopped down from his rock, and we both looked at him. “That will be all for now. You can bathe and explore your little corner of paradise. I’ll call for you later when I’m ready.”
With that, he disappeared again. A second later, Oses got his brain out of the bastard’s voice-initiated la-la land. He grabbed my hand and watched the area of the containment field.
I saw that funny little ripple I’d noted before. In an instant, it came to me what that was and what Oses had already figured out: Finiuld was walking out of our cell. The ripple was a giveaway of his passage through the containment field. Phased into that other dimension or whatever it was where he could wander around invisible, the Little Creep still made an impact in our world.
My realization was barely fully formed when Oses charged that ripple, pulling me along in a blur of movement. He reached with his free hand, clawing at air as we neared the invisible wall.
That jagged blast of pain returned to my body, searing all sense and thought. I was blind, deaf, and dumb to anything but white-hot agony filling me. It seemed to go on forever. At some point, I did find the ability to grasp one idea. I prayed for death. It was my one and only hope.
Death didn’t come, but the horror did end after I don’t know how long. When I returned to my senses, I lay on the deep fur rug outside the habitat I’d been in. Little Creep stood over me as I jerked and twitched in the luxuriant softness that didn’t feel as good as the cessation of pain did. Oses lay next to me, jittering and foaming at the mouth, his eyes glazed.
“Hello, Shalia,” Finiuld said, his tone as cheerful as it could be. “I figured the Nobek would make the escape attempt by phasing with me, but you were something of a surprise. So spirited and brave! What fun you’re going to be to show off to my friends! Now get back in your cage like a good girl, or I’ll make your friend scream some more. Maybe I’ll keep it up until Oses never does anything else for the rest of his life but scream.”
I looked into that smiling face with its tombstone teeth and saw the black brutality behind Finiuld’s merry exterior. He’d do it. He would drive Oses insane with pain right in front of me and probably laugh while he did so.
I was starting to crawl back to the cage when Oses jumped to his feet, howling with rage. A moment later, I was back in hell, pain screaming through me.
It ended after a moment. The Little Creep’s voice tinkled as brightly as ever. “That’s right, Kalquorian. She’ll suffer for every moment of resistance you offer. Get in there with her or I’ll make her scream until her lungs fly out of her mouth.”
Brutalized and beaten, Oses and I managed to get ourselves back into the containment. Oses could barely stand up straight, but he picked me up and carried me back to our little patch of lawn, rocks, and pond. I guess Finiuld had disabled the field long enough for us to cross the threshold, because we entered without a problem.
Once we were back inside, Oses turned so we faced our tormentor. Finiuld nodded. “So now you see. You have no hope for escape. I suggest that you come to terms with that as quickly as possible for your own sakes.”