Monday, November 03, 2008

"Never Special," Confrontation, pt. 3, 380 words

"You better be," he mutters, apparently thinking I can't hear him, but I can. It's not that my ears are super-sharp, he's just not very quiet.

I ignore Donner's muttered comment as I glance over at the fog cloud. My heart beats a little harder, watching Lucila jerk another few inches down towards the vat, but I keep my voice calm as I ask, "Does this place have a rooftop entrance?"

***

One of the skylights, fortunately, actually moves, it's not just fixed in place. I have to grope around for a minute in the smoke clouds to actually find it, but my goggles help, and it's there, right where they said it would be. Time and weather have rusted it shut, but I slam it open with a good shove, sliding the frame sideways with such force some of the old glass panes break. Better than bursting in through a wall, at least.

And I'm down into the warehouse, descending, and everything's clear. No smoke in here, just Nefarious and Lucila and a giant, bubbling vat of something transparent, like water... or various caustic acids.

Nefarious calls my name, a little too happy given what he's doing, what I want to do to him. He's standing next to the camera, aiming it at me, making a grand show of my approach. "We meet again," he cries for the world, and then swings the camera away, flips it off, and drops a bomb that flares and smokes.

It's a pretty paltry smoke bomb, to be honest. The lights in this place are glaring bright, and penetrate the cloud easily enough for me to make out his silhouette. I hover a moment, not really thinking consciously, not sure what I'm feeling, just trying to let my unconscious mind evaluate the situation quickly enough for a snap judgment.

"What are you going to do, Ms. Park," he says, barely hidden by the smoke.

Honestly, I'm conflicted. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I want to pull him into my arms, though whether for a loving embrace or to throttle him, I'm not sure. He's not the same man I knew, months and miles apart from me now, and I just don't know how to handle the change. Too much, too fast.

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