DOORS TOO SILVER
Something sent the pod sideways. Her heart pounded like a feral creature. I might come out of this supply pod alive-- some people might still live. She could imagine her father answering with his trademark scepticism, "Yeah, but you might be searching for doors too silver."
Bile gurgled in her throat. Her companion Daryl hadn't smelled all that great when they’d first escaped into the pod, but his oniony body odor was sorely missed now. The pod smelled of his death.
An alert orb flashed as the vents activated and her eyes filled with laces of hot new color in the darkness. The track outside sounded different, smoother. Stabilizing braces caught the pod. She gasped.
The hatch opened and inventory lasers suddenly hit her face. With a series of confused jerking movements, the beams tried to find something to count. She blinked past the sweeping red light at the new world outside her self-imposed coffin.
The conveyance channel had surfaced in a large medical tent sheltered in leather and bones. Overturned chemical drums and gurneys filled the tent among stacks of wooden supply crates. A large threshold framed the scorched earth, which led to an iodine-streaked horizon.
A breeze shook the vaulted ceiling and the bones flexed under its influence. Skulls unified support beams of femurs wrapped in tight black straps.
The wind roared. Something large just outside the tent crept with black and gray fire. She watched it burn for a while, a tangle of treading panthers with smoldering underbellies.
She wished the explosion had taken her with it.
Too easy though. Doors too silver.
Wide black rain drops patted the leather canvas overhead. She peered outside. A gloomy red-rust colored freighter sat atop the hill. The rain danced on pink corpses and washed away filthy carbon remainders; the death outside was spotless clean, unerring, substance without purpose.
She limped up the hill, soaked and aching, and continued across the ramp to the freighter. Climbing the ladder was difficult, but she kept on.
Several opened corpses lay around the bridge. Through the cockpit shield she could see dead bodies rushing away in the rain like streaking pencil lead.
That could have been me.
With a chill, she checked the navigation system. A destination had already been plotted. She touched the engage service button. The hatch downstairs shook as it closed. The freighter lifted, but she felt hollow. She, too, was on autopilot.
Soon the charcoal landscape was flowing quickly beneath her. She wasn’t hungry. She wasn’t thirsty. She wasn’t in need of anything. She would just continue on.
Hours passed. Just before dusk, something on the horizon caught a tenuous ray of sunshine through the rain and filled the air with intense light. She held up a hand to her eyes, momentarily blinded.
It was not long before she took another look at it.
Benjamin Kane Ethridge is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel Black & Orange. His official web presence is www.bkethridge.com and you can Facebook him here, www.facebook.com/benjamin.kane.ethridge and Tweet him here, www.twitter.com/#!/bkethridge
so --- curious about the book? Here's the link for it on GoodReads, and stay tuned for my review post tomorrow!