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Serenity Holland looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. The same face stared back yet somehow different. The same half decent face covered in freckles and topped in red hair. Something changed though. She ran ever since she got out of the hospital. She only stopped for a night or so per city. She used this gas station bathroom because it curved off the main street so it was exposed to less traffic. She finished washing her hands and left the cramped lavatory.
The voice didnít seem to come from anywhere. Creepy how they did that. They owned no mouth or lips visible. Their voices just kind of popped out of the air in front of you. Talk about disconcerting. She didnít have their money so she understood how this was destined to go, at least on her end. She could have been scared because she didnít know how many hid out there. Perhaps this time it would be too many. It might be this time. It made her sad that she would have to do this again. They thought alien and didnít seem to care if they died. She cared though, all the carnage wore her down. She couldnít let them take her back though. Legally they possessed the right. She signed the contracts and all the hardware inside her belonged to them. They didnít own her but it would be a very messy repossession if they wanted their property back.
One approached her babbling in that way they did when you wore no translator. What it said didnít really matter. The outcome ends the same regardless. The blob sped up. She drew the laser and shot it center mass. That section is where they kept their brains. She ran to the corner and hailed a cab. She didnít see any others around, but that did not seem likely.
ďGet me to Third and Union pronto!Ē
The cabbie pulled away into traffic. The cars moved enough that they got some distance before slowing down. It would have to be good enough. She distanced herself but still felt hunted. It must be the way that prey feels when it knows the predator is around somewhere. Always more out there of course. They came endlessly. She lowered herself below the window in the backseat to feel some anonymity. They would chase her forever of course. They didnít care about time. Their bodies ultimately being disposable. Kill one and it just downloaded into another blob. If you know youíre functionally immortal then what did time matter. A hundred years meant nothing to a species that developed no sense of self preservation. It increased her advantage that they displayed no proper motivation. It would also be her down fall because they would never stop.
She needed to get off planet. They appeared everywhere here on Earth. It wasnít a crime to kill them only because they could not die. They made that clear in their first negotiations with the Earth governments. She stopped at her temporary apartment to grab some things before she left town. The money and documents should still be there.
She paid the cabbie when they pulled up to the projects she currently flopped. She knew something skulked around, watching. The increases to her five senses allowed her to know such things. The boosts she acquired to speed and strength maybe going to be enough again. She hoped. It perpetuated an odd cycle. She could never kill them like this on a wholesale scale without these upgrades. She could never afford these upgrades if she had not volunteered for their experiments.
The silence gave them away. They didnít understand that a basic level of noise made humans comfortable. They tended to blow their own ambushes by making things entirely silent. It played out creepy. The street being entirely empty. No ambient noise echoed down the city street. Not a single soul was standing on the street. It scanned wrong on a multitude of levels. They could not be more ridiculous. There was no understanding of human instinct or reflex. They could not have been more alien if they tried.
ďOkay jelly fish letís do this!Ē
They came in a swarm. They charged in, ten from every point of the compass. She figured hundreds at least. It could be that more came to take her. They didnít have fear or compassion. They just came in waves. There wasnít reasoning or begging. It played to her advantage she wasnít reasonable or the type to beg. Ichor piled up on the street around her. She did not need to show compassion, even they admitted it wasnít killing. Aliens giving her the means to do this. Thirty of them disintegrated in the first three or four seconds.She punched through brain shields and squashed limbic systems like common assembly line work. She felt more alive momentarily when she destroyed like this. Sadly she thought differently after the fact.
It may have not been illegal but it still felt like killing when the adrenalin went down. They all ended smashed of course, quite horribly. The one earlier on the street in front of the gas station only got shot because he surprised her. She did not need to shoot them. She didnít need a weapon, she existed as a weapon. That explained their interest in her now.
She figured out which mods tactically functioned as the most necessary and powered down some of the others. She could use up the energy quota of a battleship in twenty-four hours if she ran them all at once. That much power being drained from the grid and she may as well buy a billboard in town announcing her presence. It was entirely possible that even this was just a test.
She walked up the stairs cleaning goo off her arms. They made themselves easy to kill. Why did they have to be so hard to clean off of you? She went through her door without unlocking it. She would never have to worry again about it locking. What did she really want here anyway? She previously hid some money in the rafters. She also needed the travel papers to go off planet. It didn't take long to gather the important articles.
Another cab in this part of town seemed unlikely but it happened eventually. She found time to think on the way to the star-port. She wasn't a victim or a hero surely. Mostly she acted the bitch through and through. She held some ethics but her past caused her to see things from a unique perspective. She looked out for herself and that was that. It ended up a comfortable way to be once you got used to it. Didn't really matter though all she owned at this point ended up being these mods and her attitude. The cab ride last too few moments for personal revelation anyway.
She bought the ticket to the furthest colony possible. They would follow her. They would die some more. They would never stop coming, but it would never be enough. She planned it that way. The combination of upgrades she was equipped with being perfect in selection. She could do this forever. She hoped she wouldnít have to do so. Strangely it didn't bother her so much if she did upon further reflection.
The announcement came on overhead, " All passengers boarding for the outer systems please report to gate 11."
She stood and walked in that direction. Another one of them hid nearby she could sense it. The only question, would she have to kill it before she got on the ship. It felt awful close and they saw her destination. They probably would just hold off till she got to her destination. It didn't matter to them and it didn't matter to her. They would be doing this a long time for sure. She would have a break for a while then.
She went to the boarding tube. The attendant smiled and turned towards her.
" Have a nice trip Madame!"
She smirked, "I don't even really know where I am going."
He smiled back at her, "There is a time for departure even when there is no certain place to go. Tennessee Williams said that you know."
"I have a feeling departures and arrivals are what I have for a while."
She went forward into the shuttle as an extra little chip in her neural net implant blinked ominously. She possessed little idea that not only did she go where they wished but she would be doing what they wished for quite some time.
esullivan240 - Thanks for reading this!
micheledutcher - JohnDavid Rose said: I liked the flow of the story and the basic plot of the hunted character trying to escape. My biggest criticism of the story is that I was confused in places about who "they" was referring to.
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Raymond Coulombe, Michael Gallant, Timothy O. Goyette
Timothy O. Goyette
|The Wizard's House|