Thursday, July 24, 2014
February 26, part 1
I woke with Oses wrapped around me. If there was a favorite time of day since our captivity began, this was it. Warm and sheltered in the Nobek’s arms, I was still sufficiently sleepy-brained to revel in the sensation. The hell of our situation wasn’t quite yet fully present. I could pretend for a few precious moments that I was safe and secure.
I was basking in this half-awake state of near-contentment when it happened. I felt what seemed to be someone lightly thumping low inside my abdomen. It happened twice.
I puzzled over this for a second when it hit me: the baby had moved. It moved and I felt it.
I sat up in our little cave with a gasp. Oses also sat up, his look quizzical.
“The baby kicked. I swear, I felt the baby,” I said excitedly.
Oses’ brows drew together in concern, and the euphoria of the moment passed for me too. My child was growing, and in a few weeks, I would be showing. Damn it, we had to escape.
I pushed past Oses to get out of the cave. Unable to stay still, I paced back and forth. My child was running out of time before Finiuld discovered its existence. We had to get out of here!
“It has to be soon,” I said as I passed Oses, who stood quietly, watching me fret. “And if we fail to get out, you’ll have to – you’ll have to—”
I broke off and stared up at him. I swallowed hard, unable to voice what had to be done if we couldn’t get off Finiuld’s ship.
He nodded. No words were needed to finish my sentence. Instead he pulled me close and hugged me hard to his body.
“If it comes to that, it will be quick and painless,” he whispered into my hair. “I promise you will have nothing to fear, and I will follow you soon after. We will meet the ancestors together.”
“Thank you,” I said, tears springing into my eyes.
My weeping was, shockingly enough, out of relief. Now that I had felt the first stirrings of my child’s life, one would think contemplating death would be more frightening for it. Not so. For the first time in weeks, I had something to look forward to: not being afraid anymore.
For the first time ever, I understood why some people opted out when things grew beyond endurance. It was freeing to know that this could be over soon. It was as if a great weight had lifted from me. Whether our escape attempt from Finiuld succeeded or failed, I would not have to wake up and go to sleep terrified of the future anymore.
I was leaving one way or the other, and my child would not suffer.
I smiled my first real smile since I was taken prisoner. I gave that smile to Oses. “Thank you from both of us,” I told him. “From me and the baby.”
Finiuld’s voice, shrill with delight, came from behind me.
As if caught by the monster in a nightmare, I slowly turned around. The nasty little bastard, wearing neon pink from his cap to his boots, was right there inside the containment. Apparently he’d snuck in to hear our quiet conversation. He fairly danced with glee.
“You’re pregnant? Is it this man’s? Will it be a boy or a girl? Oh Shalia, I so hope you’re having a daughter! Two lovely female Earthers in my collection! Everyone will be insane with jealousy!”
That was all Oses needed to hear. The moment the Ofetuchan stopped talking and Oses emerged a second later from the hypnotic weave of his voice, the Nobek launched himself at Finiuld. The next second Finiuld spoke the command, and the Nobek was writhing on the floor, screaming with pain.
Despite the agony, Oses managed to inch across the ground towards Finiuld, murder in his purple eyes. He battled the hell of his collar to get at our captor.
For his part, Finiuld’s good humor only seemed to heighten at the Nobek’s valiant attempt to get at him. “You’d better tell him to calm down before that collar drives him insane, Shalia.”
He was so busy being amused at Oses that he didn’t see me coming at him until I was right there. A moment later, my fingers wrapped around his throat.
“Oses’ collar off!” I screamed, praying that Finiuld had given me command over the Nobek as he’d promised. Oses’ shrieks ceased, but I didn’t look. I was too busy killing the Little Creep.
Finiuld’s black eyes bulged out at me. My lunge had knocked him on his back. His eyes bulged mostly because I was choking the life out of him, but there was also an expression of disbelief. He had never clued in to the fact that I had switched my collar off. Sometimes I do get lucky.
I wanted Finiuld dead. Let there be no doubt on that account. I have never wanted anyone six feet under more than him. I throttled him, squeezing his throat as hard as I possibly could, sitting my weight on him to keep him down. I wanted to kill him so bad I couldn’t feel his four fists battering me as he fought to get me off him. A bloodthirsty beast inside me thrilled in cold delight as Finiuld’s struggles grew weaker.
I have seen that face in my nightmares since then. I’ve watched the light fading in Finiuld’s eyes over and over. I’ve seen the tears rolling from their corners. I’ve seen his mouth gaping wide as he fought desperately for breath. I’ve watched that ruddy face purple, then hedge into blue. I wake screaming from it. I have no idea how much worse the dreams would be if I had actually killed the Little Creep.
However, Oses would not leave that awful necessity to me. As I attempted murder, Oses committed it by grabbing hold of Finiuld’s head and yanking it around backwards.
There was an unimportant cracking sound, like someone popping their knuckles. Then Finiuld went limp and Oses jerked away with a last agonized yell. I was left staring at the back of the Little Creep’s head with its wild orange spikes.
Finiuld was dead.