Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Don’t worry, everyone does that on their first day

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

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“Don’t worry, everyone does that on their first day.”
The wall in front of her had collapsed in a heap of rubble. As they stood there, looking at it, an occasional brick fell down with an echoing crash. Clouds of dust filled the air, making it hard to even see what had happened.
When the dust cleared, he added, “Oh.” A pause. “Maybe they don’t do that...”
There was an enormous hole where the end of the alley used to be and their suspect was under the rubble. His foot protruded out from under a particularly solid piece of wall. The foot was not moving and it looked as if it hadn’t moved for a while. Her companion crouched down and reached out to put his hand around the foot, just above the ankle joint.
She saw a faint green sheen rise from his hand and creep up the calf. He waited for a few seconds, as the sheen travelled back to him, and then he looked up at her and shook his head. “He’s gone. Massive head injury, too.”
Standard protocol was to bring people in alive. Stunned was okay but alive was the main aim. It was tricky to question dead people; not impossible, mind you, just tricky. It meant calling in the heavy duty guys and no-one wanted to do that. Although how much information they could get from a guy with a caved in skull was another moot point.
She sighed.
“You might just need more practice?” He sounded as if he was trying to be conciliatory.
“I just killed the only lead.”
“Yeah... you did.”
“I can’t even aim right.”
“Well... to be honest, if you had hit him with that bolt, there wouldn’t have been a foot left for me to touch. You would have blasted him to smithereens.”
That was true, too. Her aim was off and her power levels (she had meant to stun him) were out of control. And she didn’t know why.
She was better than this and she wasn’t just saying that; she really was better than this poorly executed arrest looked. They might never let her out on a job again. “There’s something wrong,” she muttered.
He was staring at the foot again; almost as if he was willing it to move. “Hmmm?”
“Something’s wrong.” She said it very low and very quiet. “Can you scan me?”
He stepped towards her.
“Try not to touch me as you do it,” she added. “Just in case.” She was starting to think that there may have been a reason for the suspect’s increasingly erratic behaviour.
He gave her a very odd look. “I haven’t tried this for a while,” he said. Palms facing her; fingers spread - the green light danced and whirled between his fingers as if it was a living thing. It kind of was. “I’ll just see if I can read your aura. Close your eyes.”
She felt a faint tingling buzz pass across her face. The hairs on her scalp lifted and she resisted the urge to shiver.
“Kiss my artichoke,” he said.
“What?” Eyes open now.
“I don’t like to swear,” he said.
“No... what did you see?”
“And that’s... bad?”
“Your aura should at least show that you are alive and currently highly stressed. It should be green - for life - with a touch of orange for stress and maybe blue for sorrow or worry.”
“And it isn’t?”
“It is... it’s just buried under something.”
She pointed at the buried suspect. “I touched him... back at the apartment.” Before he had run and they had pursued him.
He stepped back, held his hand near his temple and spoke, “Healer 12 to Base.”
“Go ahead, Healer 12.” She could hear their response in her own head.
“I need a body pick-up and stabilisation chamber for the recently deceased...” he paused. “And I need a magical quarantine for my spell-partner.”
“Repeat that!”
He did.
“They’re coming,” he told her. It was unnecessary; she had heard their response and she knew protocol. She gritted her jaw and tried very hard not to panic.
“Try not to get angry,” he suggested carefully. He put his hands up in a placating gesture and they both saw it; a smoky tinge to his normal healthy glow.
He gave her a sad smile and touched his temple again. “Base? Make that two quarantine units.”
© AM Gray 2014

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