I’ve been doing a lot of heavy, serious posts lately. I needed a break so thought I’d share this little piece of fiction I wrote a while back for a contest. I didn’t even get an honorable mention, but I like it. It’s also my birthday so I’m not really here today.
The footsteps were getting closer. Aushka clutched the blaster tight in one hand. The other was pressed to the hole in her leg. Drops of blood spattered over the walkway showed where she’d been. Her breath came in short bursts.
“Aushka, where are you?” The sing-song voice froze the blood in her veins. “I know you’re here.”
“Trill, she’s been hit. Don’t you think that’s enough?” Beck wasn’t as bloodthirsty as his sister.
“She stole from me,” Trill said, her dulcet tones taking on a note of ice.
“You got the board back, you shot her, and you’ve ruined her reputation on the station,” Beck said. “She’s going to have to go planetside. That’s a death sentence right there. Why do you need to be the one to do it?”
“No one steals from me and comes out of it alive,” Trill said.
“Trill, let it go,” Beck said.
“If you don’t like it, go back to the habitat sector,” Trill said. “I’ll take care of her.”
Aushka heard Beck sigh but there was no sound of him leaving. Aushka peered out through the grate covering the access to the life support units. Trill and Beck stood to one side with Trill’s current toy standing to one side. He looked a little sick. He wasn’t going to last long. Not with Trill’s pastimes.
“She’s probably down the life support shaft,” Trill said. “Beck, you go look.”
“Go look yourself,” Beck said.
“Kal?” Trill looked over at him. “Never mind. You’re useless at times like this.” She stalked over to the grate. Aushka pushed herself back farther. She aimed her blaster at the opening.
“Trill Hiver, stop right there.” Trill froze. Aushka let out a slow, deep breath.
“Come to rescue your precious little girl?” Trill asked. She turned away from the grate and went back towards her brother, hips swaying with each step.
A blaster bolt stopped her before she got very far. “I said stop.” Aushka trembled at her father’s voice. Garrett Leo was not a man to cross. Aushka couldn’t see him but from the expressions on Beck and Kal’s faces it was obvious he wasn’t alone.
“What do you want?” Trill asked. There was no sweetness to her tone now. There was more of a growl to her voice.
“Two things,” Garrett said. “My daughter – alive, of course – and that board you stole from my son.”
“I didn’t steal anything from your son. Your daughter stole from me,” Trill said.
“That board still has our family mark on it. You never cut it off. Now, either I get what I want or I start shooting. Either way I win.” There was the sound of blasters powering up.
“Trill, give him what he wants,” Beck said. “I can’t afford you dying.”
“I don’t have his daughter,” Trill said. “The board is back with Neal.”
“Don’t make me laugh,” Garrett said. “I already spoke with Neal. He said you had it with you, and that you were tracking Aushka.”
“Well your daughter is in hiding,” Trill said. Aushka saw her pull something out of a pouch at her side. “Your board is here.”
“Set it down,” Garrett said. “Then go over there with that genetic waste heap you’ve attached to you. Beck, join them.”
Trill set the tiny thing on the ground. She sauntered over to where the two men were standing. “There. It’s on the ground. Good luck getting it without killing me.”
“Aushka, it’s safe now,” Garrett said, raising his voice a little. “We’ve got them covered. Come out.”
Aushka pushed the grate off and crawled out. Blood seeped out from behind her fingers but she managed to stay on her feet. “Sorry dad,” she said.
“I should have sent your brothers, not you. You weren’t ready for this,” Garrett said. “Get the board and come over here.”
“Okay.” Aushka limped over and picked up the tiny board. It was half the size of her hand. As she walked towards her father, she heard something behind her. She turned her head in time to see Trill pull her blaster. The impact of the energy bolt spun Aushka around. She collapsed. Her eyes dimmed. She was given the chance to see Trill’s body twitch and jerk as it fell not far from her. The last bit of light faded and she released her final breath.
Her eyes opened. She was cold. “Aushka, I’m sorry.” Garrett helped her sit up. “I knew she couldn’t be trusted.”
“How many does this make, Garrett?” Her mother looked angry. “How many more are we going to have before you stop?”
“This is only her fourth life,” Garrett said. “The implants are good for six. I’ll be sending her brothers out for a while, until I’m sure she’s back on her feet.”
Aushka turned her head to the side. On the reflective metal panel just to her right, she caught glimpse of her image. Her face was distorted but she could make out a shock of red hair and a metal band running around her head and down to her jaw. “I’m okay, mom. I’m always okay.”