J.M. Blackman’s Picture Choice:
Title: Life is like a Speeding Train--The Rabbit Hole Part 10
You can imagine that for the hundredth time, I thought I was going to die. It's amazing how many scenarios the mind can create in a split second.
I thought perhaps they would obliterate me on the spot, ending my life in a flash of light and a plume of ash. I'd be lucky if I managed to catch Samir's eye in the middle of a death struggle, but I'd hope that somehow I could let him know before we died that I was sorry I wasn't more help, and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere but that in that moment, in that place with him. It wasn't a love thing. It was an honor thing. He saved my life. And regardless of the circumstances: I was indebted to him. I would pay him back in full.
I would hope that in the event that we could make that eye contact, all of that would have been on my face, in my eyes.
I also thought that perhaps they wouldn't kill us immediately. Perhaps they would imprison us and torture us. Torture us with things I couldn't even imagine as time and time travel had allowed macabre heights of creativity.
I still would choose now.
In the moment, Sam spun toward me and grabbed me to his chest. The room exploded in every direction and then I was staring into a glaring canopy of white. So white it burned my eyes. And then the blinding light turned into a train that was hurtling toward me.
I made to dive out of the way, but was snatched back. I screamed as I crashed backwards. I was sure it was Samir holding me until I felt two more hands than was normal.
Then, I started screaming anew, kicking and punching anything and everything. There were two quick oomphs and then Samir yelling, “Aniyah, Aniyah!”
I flipped over onto my knees and stood on them, air heaving in and out of my throat so quickly that it burned. The train was still screaming past us. It was a miracle I had heard him at all. The air whipped around us, dragging our clothes and hair and creating tiny devils of dust.
When the train passed, Samir still stood with his hands up, blood running down into his eye, down his cheek. The collar of his shirt was torn down the middle and his lip was starting to swell. “You okay?”
“Are you?” I demanded. He nodded and starting searching the guard who had hitched a ride with us. We’d have to jump again soon to make sure they didn’t track this guy. You never really knew if the tech sent a signal before you had a chance to destroy it.
“We were close.” He said it like we had done a good job. “It might take practice.”
“Won’t they know we’re coming?”
“Someone is always coming. They can’t differentiate us from any other threat. Especially with our shield.”
I wiped my nose. I didn’t know when it had started bleeding. “Guess we better get moving.”
He dabbed at his forehead with his sleeve. “Yes. Soon.” I just appreciated that the snow was numbing my legs.
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J.M. Blackman is a Language Arts teacher and a feminist. She endeavors to review nearly everything she reads and is a happy wife. She's a SFF enthusiast, loves dark humor, and has an unhealthy need to protect the image of Batman.