Unforeseen Dives – IXa – A Trouble In Paradise

<< VIIIb – A Sword Overhead

Casey rose from his chair and knelt beside it. He bent forward, resting his chest on the seat. His head hung on the other side, the neck offered for the cleaver. He turned his head and looked at me sideways. His smile troubled me deeply though he meant it as an encouragement.
How could anyone hope that cutting my would-be lover’s head would ever feel like the right thing to do? That he asked for it mattered very little. That my life depended on it mattered very little. I hadn’t surrendered the smallest part of my soul so far and what they now asked of me meant giving up.
A gun cocked on my left. The non-reader had the canon steadily pointed at my head. I prompt dived, desperate to find a way out of this. A flood of horror washed over me. I snapped back to reality and Ryan released his hold on my arm. He growled once for emphasis. His telepathic programming really made him quite a mess compared to Casey.
“I’m afraid cheating is prohibited.” The non-reader said. “Not that you could actually pull it off anyway.”
“I’m sorry. I haven’t been programmed to ignore my instincts.” I snapped. It suddenly hit me to ask, “Why haven’t I been programmed?”
Wayne moved closer to me. With the gun on my head, he trusted I wouldn’t try to harm him. Or he didn’t care.
“They wanted to do it.” He explained with a teary voice. “But you bested them, honey. You never broke. They couldn’t get in far enough to alter you.” His pride would have been endearing if he wasn’t a mad man forcing me to kill. “I didn’t want them to do it. I want to have you as you are.”
I swallowed my retort. His current manipulations were an attempt to change me. He coerced me to adhere with his ideology and thus turn my back on a part of who I am. On the other hand, who was counting the number of illogic arguments anyway?
“I can’t do this, Wayne.” I loosened my grip. The cleaver hit the floor with a loud clank. I raised my hands and backed against the wall.
Even if I killed Casey to save my life today, there was no guaranty I’d have an occasion to turn the knowledge I had of their organization against my captors. The whole thing wasn’t even about my feelings for Casey. It wasn’t about avenging the betrayal he had been programmed to exert upon me.
If I bent under this pressure, all I endured would only amount to failure.
I wasn’t giving my values and my mind up. Not two weeks ago when they cut my flesh. Not now as they ravaged my heart. I still had survival instincts and they banged against my skull, urging me to run, to beg, to cry, to kill if I had to. I wasn’t giving that up either.
“Oh honey!” Wayne sighed, shaking his head. “Why all the drama? It’s only a reader’s head!” He closed in on me and kissed me. I bit his lip. He drew back, surprised and hurt. His hand hit my face so hard I fell to the floor.
“Did you play me?” He begged and cried. He looked like a child who just learned his mother was leaving forever. “You said you understood!”
“I understand.” I replied, slowly dragging myself to my feet. The non-reader’s gun followed my ascension. “But I do not agree.”
My words wounded him like a bullet. A fraction of second later, a detonation filled the room. I hit the floor again with a yelp. My hand instinctively went to my left shoulder to press against the bullet wound and slow down the blood lost. The pain shot from my fingertips to my ear. I winced and moaned. My breathing hardened and the suffering morphed into rage.
I forced my will to shake my battered body. My head spun when I sat. I ignored it. I pulled myself up for the second time. The four other people in the room eyed me with different expressions. Ryan crouched like an animal ready to jump to my throat. Casey sat astride on his chair, wrapped his arms around the back and rested his chin on top. He smiled; I was a reader soon-to-be slaughtered, a good day by their group’s definition.
Wayne cried in silence but didn’t move. He tried to break me. I broke him. Fair game.
“The next one goes in your head.” The non-reader announced, readjusting his gun accordingly. “Are you sure you don’t want this thing to unfold differently?”
I stared at my bloody arm. My new shirt hadn’t remained whole for long. I smiled and straightened my spine. There wasn’t much more left to do. Either he killed me in the next hour, bandaged me or I would bleed to death. I could have panicked but I didn’t have enough energy left for that. Somehow, knowing the fight was over and that the game would be nulled freed me.
“I’d take a vacation in the south,” I taunted. “Are you offering?”
Wayne closed the gap between us and punched me in the stomach. My breath deserted me and I bowed forward. Beating while I bled to death, for the win!
“How can you do this to me?” He cried.
“You’re stealing my line, bastard.” Another punch cut my air. As soon as my lungs filled again, I emptied them with a laugh. My last words had to be an ode to Rebecca. I hoped she was okay. And the child too.
Wayne stepped back and I straightened, amazed by what the energy of despair could make me do. They couldn’t hurt me anymore. I held my head high, daring the non-reader to pull the trigger again.
They couldn’t have me.
“Alright then,” the non-reader said.
Another detonation filled the cabin.

IXb – A Trouble In Paradise >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “Unforeseen Dives – IXa – A Trouble In Paradise

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