I have a short story, kind of a fanfic cuz the people are in another story’s reality (no literally, they reality jump 🙂 so not sure if I can get it published if I ever finish it, so I’m posting it on here in chunks 🙂 Let me know what you think.
“Don’t move or I’ll shoot you.”
I didn’t move. Color me ‘hey, gullible is written on the ceiling,’ but I believed him. The male voice to my right didn’t betray age or size beyond that fact that he was after puberty and probably bigger than me, but the barrel of the gun locked on my temple sure as shit made me want to listen regardless.
I kept my hands at the side of my swinging knee-length skirt, getting my bearings as fast as I could. The stone wall curved in front of me about ten feet away, stretching to beyond my eye’s ability to strain on both sides, almost like a cave, but wherever I was lacked that distinct damp feel and smell that came with caves.
He couldn’t possibly know I had a .32 revolver under my suit jacket, and it’s not like I cut an imposing figure, topping off at a whopping 5’3 in my kitten heels with a little help from the extra gel in my curly hair.
So why the hell did he have a gun on me?
Did he see me come through and know what I was? Freak out because he saw and didn’t know what I was? Just happened upon me and noticed I was an intruder? The last would imply I was someplace secured where they knew each other, like a military base. But what kind of military base would be designed to look like a cave, or be in a cave?
Some sort of rebel base maybe?
I needed to turn around, to see more, to begin to figure out where the hell was I.
No, what I needed was for Hector to pop up like he always did and get me out of this. I wasn’t going anywhere with that gun trying to make out with my brains.
Well this was getting me nowhere.
“Hi,” I said, keeping my voice as even as possible with the barrel of a gun to my head. It wasn’t the first time I’d had a gun pointed at me, but it was the first time I had one on me, pressing hard enough into my skull to leave a love bite. My heart ricocheted against my ribs like a ball bouncing from wall to wall and back again in a too small room. “My name’s Mina. What’s yours?”
“What’s my name?” His quiet voice prickled with laughter. “You break into my training center in the middle of the night, and you want to know my name? And what are you wearing?”
A hand big enough to circle my neck and be able to touch fingers wrapped around my bicep and flung me around, the gun pulling back just enough for the movement and my skirt twirling with me, hitting his shins.
It took my year of training to keep my jaw hinged.
He couldn’t have been old enough to drink in my version of the US!
He was at least a foot taller than me (but seriously, who wasn’t?), his face all hard angles, his eyes holding a look I recognized developing in the mirror over the last few months, a soldier’s look. But there was something about him, under that self-assurance most men didn’t have until well into their thirties, that spoke to me. He was trained and obviously more mature than the guys I was used to dealing with, but he was a baby, maybe twenty. His buzzed cut hair was too short to tell what color it was, and his jeans and jacket were black, telling the same story of “soldier” as the look in his eyes.
“Why aren’t you more scared?” He moved the barrel of the gun the barest inch up before settling it back on my face, like I wasn’t already staring at it.
What the hell, a little honesty couldn’t hurt.
“Because you told me to not move and had a gun on my head before I could blink. You’re trained. And you said it in a calm, steady way that tells me you’ve had guns on people before.”
“And that’s comforting?” One corner of his lips curled up, allllllmost a smile.
“Yes. Because it means you’re not going to panic and shoot me by accident. So as long as I do as you say, you’re not going to shoot me.”
“Very astute. Tells me you’re trained. But I don’t recognize you and you’re wearing,” his eyes didn’t sweep down me, didn’t leave my face, making me think even more of his training, “that.”
Okay, the bright blue ruffled button down, heels and gelled up hair were a little overboard for a normal workday, but I’d been in court today against Thompson, the absolutely lickable PD who had been flirting with me on and off over Facebook since law school and just moved back to town when a job opened up at the Federal PDs office.
“I wasn’t exactly planning on spelunking when I got dressed this morning.” I wrinkled my nose and shook it teasingly at him then batted my eyes. He didn’t blink. Apparently blond blue-eyed older women didn’t do it for him. Or he just wasn’t going to be distracted.
If I could just get the gun off me for a second.
I could see the rest of the room around us now. Just more of the curved rock room the size of a ballroom, meeting at the top maybe thirty feet overhead, and nothing but us, a hallway (tunnel?) leading out behind the guy, and a chair next to a computer station with five flat screens lined up in a row on top of a massive white computer body and no wires to be seen.
Soooooooo not low tech.
Who was this guy, Baby Batman?
Focus Mina, I could almost hear Hector saying in my head.
And where the hell was Hector anyway!
“So,” the guy leaned forward with the word, his voice still so quiet. Not whispering, just… calm, like he never had to yell a day in his life. He would open his mouth and concert halls would silence in swift fear. “How did you get in here? And why are you here? In that order.” He did smile now, straight, basically white teeth telling me they had dental hygiene here and maybe even orthodontia.
Ice slipped through my stomach. That was not a smile you wanted anyone to give you. But especially not someone holding a gun to your head.
Maybe he didn’t want to hurt me necessarily. But he wouldn’t not enjoy it.
“I…” I licked dry lips. Had they been dry before and I just noticed? Or did that smile suck the moisture out of them? “I don’t know how I got here. I was brought here. I…” Don’t move your eyes, don’t look away! “I woke up, was clearing my head, trying to figure out where I was when you put a gun to my head. I didn’t even hear you come up to me.”
His face remained impassive as a German playing Poker.
“So as for why I’m here. No clue.” I shrugged one shoulder, a micro movement so he wouldn’t think I was going for a weapon.
Though, he hadn’t frisked me yet. He probably didn’t think I had a weapon.
“So, could you do me a solid and tell me where I am? And why being here earns me a gun to the head?” I tried on what I hoped was a winsome smile.
He drew his eyebrows down, just enough to betray his confusion. What threw him off? Seriously, where was Hector? This may have been my last mission as a trainee, but he wasn’t actually going to leave me here on my own, was he?
Wouldn’t that just be like him? Always trying to teach me something. Every conversation a lecture. Every situation, no matter how small, a learning moment.
Every butterfly fart a freaking life lesson.
I didn’t even know where I was for Pete’s sake! I had no directions from The Brain, no teacher, and no fucking clue what kind of world I was in besides they had technology and spoke English.
Kind of like my first jump.
Was that it? Was my last jump as a trainee supposed to mimic my first? Only now I got to know what was going on when I got dropped in a strange place instead of thinking I’d been kidnapped by a fluffy blue light?
Maybe Hector wasn’t going to show up until I figured out where I was on my own and tried to fix it like I did that first time. The final test mirroring the first? Hector would think it was downright poetic.
That first jump, I didn’t have a kid with a gun to my head!
What was I supposed to do if Hector didn’t show up? If The Brains didn’t come through with information of what I was supposed to do? Hell, even what I could do without making everything implode. But I couldn’t just stand here and wait to be shot!
“You never did answer my question,” I said. “What’s your name?”
He smiled again, “I like you,” and cocked the gun, pressing it into my forehead almost hard enough to push me back. “You’re not from around here. You’re from outside.” He met my eyes, somehow reminding me of Hector lecturing despite his young age. “Why. Are. You. Here? Answer me truthfully and I won’t shoot you. Lie, and I will assume you are here to harm my trainees. You won’t like what happens if I assume that.”
I couldn’t move fast enough to get that gun off me. No way. The slightest twitch and he’d take me down.
Hector wouldn’t let me die. Not after a year of training. Not after all the resources and calculations it takes to train a new jumper. Not considering what it’d take to offset the imbalance my death would cause here.
“I…” I made my decision. He wouldn’t believe me, but it’d buy me something. Some time.
“Who are you!” burst from the tunnel.
I jumped, jerking my head towards it without thinking, my training not enough to keep me still.
The guy’s training was enough to keep him from blinking, from turning around to see what I was staring at, and from pulling the trigger.
Kid was good.
Another tall guy stumbled out of the tunnel and smacked into the wall hands first, the impact knocking him to the ground. He cradled his hands to his chest like they were burned, the girl who must’ve been the yeller emerged behind him, a gun trained on him like a weight watcher eyeing a chocolate cake. She was as short as me, her hair loose to her butt and a natural dark blond nobody gets from a bottle. Not that this girl would dye her hair. Her black tee, uniform pants and gun said she was as much a soldier as the guy holding me up.
“What is this?” My guy asked her without turning around, his voice and eyes softening so much I almost blushed for him.
It wasn’t a coincidence these two were wandering whatever this place was in the middle of the night. They were meeting here. Young love on some kind of military base? Where it probably wasn’t allowed?
This I could work with. The Brains called me Cupid, because I was the one who read all the romance novels.
Now if only I could figure out which one I was in.
Where the hell were The Brains with my intel?
“He was looking all discombobulated in the halls, talking nonsense.” She said, her voice holding the same little girl lilt mine did. If she was anything like me, she hated it, probably tried to lower her voice when she was talking to the boys.
“I’ll give you my name but after that, you talk,” my guy told me. “I’m Die, don’t worry, it’s a nickname. Most of the time.”
My head snapped up. Holy shit, that’s what reality I was in!
His eyes narrowed. “You know my name?”
“How?” The girl asked.
“Ummmmm.” I grinned.
This book was hard for me to read. Just some sore points. The theme that one choice could change your whole life, the facing the fears thing, and Die’s real name. But despite that, I loved this character. The tough guy with the heart of gold. Always saw his girl as strong even though she was the runt of the solider litter. Never tried to protect her when she didn’t need it, but always there for her when she did. On top of that, smart and built. The perfect guy. Romances always had perfect guys.
Too bad my reality had a shortage.
“Your name, it’s the same as my ex’s. It’s just… a long story, but yeah I don’t know you.”
“You’re lying. Now, I don’t know what you just figured out, but you know me. How? You need to start talking. We’re…”
Whatever he said next, I didn’t hear. Because the girl’s hostage lifted his head, slowly, like he couldn’t make sense of what was going on around him.
My blood turned to iced fire, a poison in my veins.
He was staring. Right. At. Me.
“Mina?” my ex asked, the Spanish spilling from his lips after my name betraying his confusion. He’d been speaking English since he was a toddler, it was as good as mine, his accent always an obvious tint to his words but never unintelligible. He only started spouting Spanish when he was too surprised to find English first.
I rushed around Die, hunching into myself though his size made it redundant.
I heard some protest leave his lips through the rushing in my ears as he turned with me, keeping the gun trained on me probably. I wasn’t going to turn around to find out.
Not happening. Not happening. Not happening.
My head wouldn’t stop shaking as I wrapped my arms around myself tighter and tighter.
Not happening. Not happening. Not happening.