Friday, October 12, 2012

Lost in space - excerpt from Kidnapped

It's Friday and I don't have anything particularly intelligent to say, so... Here's an excerpt from Kidnapped! 

Patricia followed Travis through the corridor, down a bend she hadn't seen before, and stopped and stared as they entered a gigantic mess hall. Their steps echoed between the walls, and the mere size and emptiness of the room made it eerie.

She stayed closer to him than she would have thought she wanted. He was still scary, but he was also somewhat familiar, and she no longer assumed he would immediately kill her. That might not be true when it came to whatever murderous robots, ghosts, or aliens might be lurking in the shadows in a room so vast she couldn't even see the end.

Travis veered off towards a long row of cabinets, opened one, and tossed something resembling an energy bar to her. She fumbled with it but managed to catch it, and he shook his head at her clumsiness as he headed for a chair. Patricia followed, and took a seat opposite him, trying to break through the thick foil separating her from the first meal she'd seen for what might be days.

"This is what you call food? Wow, this won't make you fat."

He shrugged slightly. "Food is fuel for a biological machine. It contains everything you need."

She took a tentative bite of it and grimaced at the lack of taste, but kept on eating. "Why are you alone here?"

She didn't expect him to answer, but he did. "I'm the only one required for this mission."

Patricia couldn't stop herself, and her voice dripped with sarcasm. "Oh yes, kidnapping girls from distant planets. Must be hard work."

"It could be worse; you could be dead. You still can be." His voice didn't betray any emotion at all, and she couldn't figure out if his words were a threat or not.

She ignored his steady gaze on her and munched her food until it was all gone. After folding the wrapper up neatly there didn't seem to be anything more to do, and she blurted out, "Can I ask you something?"

He shrugged. She wanted to find out about his face, but that seemed too forward, so instead she asked, "Why do you wear one glove?"

Travis quirked an eyebrow, and replied, amused, "All this technology, all these possibilities, and you want to know why I wear one glove?"

When put like that, it did seem kind of shallow. "Well, I guess I could ask you how to fly the ship, how to get home, who the rebels are, where you're really taking me, or what'll happen to me, but I doubt it'll do me any good, so yeah, why do you wear one glove?"

He sighed, and she wondered why his face no longer frightened her. "Fair enough I guess."

He pulled it off, and she oohed softly as she saw an intricate construction of metal rods, hydraulic tubes and multicolored electrical wires. He said flatly, "I wear the glove because I don't like this."

Flexing the fingers he continued, "It's strong, and it shoots people, so I never have to worry about losing my gun, but I still don't like it."

Meeting his eyes, she thought this was probably more than he'd confessed even to himself before. "What happened?"

It wasn't the most tactful question, but it jumped out of her mouth before she even thought about it. She didn't expect him to answer, and he looked surprised too as he said, "My commanding officer cut my arm off as a punishment for not obeying. It was rather messy, but still she did it herself, with an electric knife."

He met her eyes and continued in a detached voice, "There are better artificial limbs out there, but she likes me to have this one. It's supposed to remind me there's a price for disobedience."

Patricia felt a knot of sympathy in her stomach. It would probably be wise to let the subject rest, but she ignored common sense and let compassion paired with curiosity get the better of her. "Does it hurt?"

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