Messing With Your Mind

No, it’s not Friday, not even close, and for me to say, “Thank goodness,” on a Monday must mean there’s something going on… yes.  Spring Break!  Oh, I know, I’m making a fuss about it a lot, but that’s because I was more than ready for it, and looking forward to in as a chance to get a lot of writing done.

I set myself a modest goal, because I know myself, and I know how things always go around here too. Not that I want to procrastinate, but… if I know that there are things that need doing – like the laundry that is currently taunting me to get up and get it done – then I can’t settle to write as well as I’d like, so… I might as well get up and do the damned laundry; that kind of procrastination.

This morning, I managed about 45 minutes to an hour of my modest three hours each day goal.  Out walking the dogs yesterday evening, the scene of the colony team entering the Use’a city for the first time came to mind, not fully realized, but some of the main details anyway.  And I had another outstanding prompt from The Writer’s Block, so I sat down and used the prompt to get myself going on the scene.  Here is the result… another sneaky peek.

The floor was covered in a thin layer of dust, but as far as Derby could tell, the wide hallway beyond the door that they’d pushed open enough to slide though, single file, was empty of anything else. The air inside smelled dry – much the same way he imagined an old library would smell – but had no other odor, no hint of mold or decay, just…

Loneliness… emptiness…

The two words whispered through his mind, almost like a physical presence, as if some consciousness had put them there, and he shivered; held up a hand for caution, a signal for the men of Lewis’ team behind him.

The hallway was lit only dimly lit by the ambient light creeping in with them from the doorway, so after a moment he clicked on the flashlight on his weapon, and slowly panned from left to right, taking in the geometric shapes in the molding along the walls with inset, but lifeless, fittings at a regular intervals that would have illuminated the blue-gray and darker blue paneling of the walls themselves.

Stepping carefully, he began to push forwards, disturbing the dust in little puffs with each footstep. Behind him he heard the shuffling footfalls of the team as they fell in behind him.  They’d barely gone ahead more than five yards, before the beam of his flashlight revealed the branching junction ahead, and he swore inwardly.  That would mean splitting the unit, and with radio still inoperative, along with most of their technology, they would have no way to stay in touch.

“All right,” he said, turning to Lewis. “There’s going to be no easy way to do this. Three teams. Lewis, you take three men explore the Left corridor, Marsh can take three and right. The rest with me.  Be methodical, and fall back at any sign of trouble.  Clear?”

“Understood,” Lewis answered.

“We’ll meet by the main door in…” he checked his watch, and decided arbitrarily, “thirty minutes.”

Lewis nodded, and backing up began to relay orders, and organize the teams.  As soon as they were ready, and moving slowly ahead, Derby began to feel an eerie sense of… almost déjà vu. Though he knew without any doubt at all that he had never been in this place, the walls, the shapes, even the feel of the atmosphere around him, was all very familiar in a way he couldn’t explain.

The sound was so subtle that, at first, he missed it. A fizzing, background hum that as it increased in volume, also became perceptible in other ways; the hum became a vibration that he could feel, not through the soles of his boots against the floor or his fingertips when he touched them, cautiously, to the panel beside him, although he realized as he did so that it did conduct, like a tuning fork, along the wall, but in his gut as though it were somehow pulling at him.

“You feel that…?” he asked the soldier to his left, his voice also conveying a query as to the man’s name.

“Gravely, sir, and yes,” the man answered.

Derby nodded, and released the safety on his weapon, fitting it more securely against his shoulder, and leaning down to keep his eye in line with the sight as they pushed ahead along what he now saw was a widening corridor, that was gradually getting lighter.

This afternoon’s goal is to get in at least another hour – though I don’t know how possible that’s going to do…  Laundry… dishes… another little job that’s niggling at me… but if it is possible, it’ll be an hour spent with a big piece of paper and a mind map!

About Eirian Houpe

Writer and Teacher. Published works: Eternal Dance (as Linden S Barclay) and articles for Wigston Magna Dog Training Club, and SFX Magazine.
This entry was posted in excerpts, Use'ara, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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