Twig

All non-original works should be posted here
Forum rules
Please read the forum rules carefully before you post.

If you like AnimorphsFanForum.com, please consider making a donation. Any donation will go towards the cost of the hosting, the domain and any other running costs.
User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:18 am

Chapter 11!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/11/Twig


Chapter 11

We had dropped David’s unconscious body on the large sofa in the living room. His first meeting with Twig could have gone a lot better. Then again, it could have been a lot worse.
Twig was clearly shaken, and he seemed very nervous while we were moving David.
“Why Steven bring human?” He whined.
“I’ll explain everything when he wakes up Twig.” I groaned. “We just have to make sure that everyone is calm and happily introduced first. David will need to get used to your presence. You aren’t exactly Little Red Riding Hood, are you?” I stated rhetorically.
Twig apparently took offense and pouted. “Steven always say. Twig not think that Twig is scary.”
“I understand that, Twig, but to someone who hasn’t met you, you look like the Russian’s answer to Godzilla.” I grumbled. “Look, just go make dinner and wait for Brenda to get home. It’s just gone seven o’clock, so she’ll be back soon. And Twig?”
He stopped pouting and looked at me. “Yes?”
“For the sake of all things good and holy, please, please stop singing.”
Twig whined like a lonely dog but obeyed, heading back into the kitchen. I made sure that David’s body was laid comfortably on the sofa, placing a cushion under his head and laying him on his side. I was hoping that a man of his age wouldn’t suffer a heart attack in such a situation.
I visited Twig back in the kitchen to make sure dinner wasn’t burned or undercooked. A recipe was placed on the cooking surface, opened to a pleasant-looking pasta recipe. “How’s dinner, Twig?” I asked him.
He still looked a little hurt, but he was willing to talk. “Dinner good. Twig follow recipe.”
“But you can’t read.” I reminded him.
“Twig look at picture.” He pointed a big claw to the picture and smiled. “Make pasta so it looks like book pasta.”
I recognised the obvious flaws in his methods, but I decided to let them drop. “As long as you don’t put any bark in, I’m sure it will be wonderful.”
“Yes… No bark…” His face turned to a look of embarrassment.
I wasn’t going to enjoy tonight’s dinner.
Nevertheless, I humoured him. “I’m sure it will be delicious, Twig.”
“Twig make good pasta.” He nodded with a grin.
“A good pasta. Twig make a good pasta.” I suggested. We still felt the need to improve his vocabulary, even if it seemed more and more like a lost cause every day.
“Twig make ayyyyyy good pasta.” He agreed. “Ayyyyyy…”
A bang erupted from the corridor. Brenda had arrived home. She swooped into the kitchen and gave us both a polite twist of the lips, setting down her work things on the dinner table.
“Hey, Brenda,” I greeted. “Before you ask why there is an old man lying on our sofa-”
She was looking over my shoulder as I was speaking, and then interrupted me. “Why is there an old man lying on our sofa?”
“It’s Professor Yates.” I informed her. “The guy who I gave… You-Know-Who’s sample to.” I avoided getting Twig’s attention.
She bit her lower lip, and then switched to Twig, admiring his cooking. Taking a smell of the food, she tapped him on the arm and smiled up at him. “Hi, Twig. The food smells delicious.” It was a pathetically disguised lie, but Twig was gullible enough to fall for it.
“Hello, Brenda. Twig make good pasta.” I rolled my eyes.
“Say, Twig,” Brenda continued. “Could you go vacuum our room? I’ll take care of dinner for now.”
Twig obediently left the kitchen, and Brenda turned back to me. “So what did he say?”
I leaned my body against the dinner table. “He thinks Twig is some kind of space alien. He went through all these complicated DNA analyses and found that it didn’t match anything. Apparantly, Twig isn’t genetically related to anything on this planet.”
The look on her face is one that I imagined I held when David had told me, a look of confusion and anxiety. “And how does that explain him lying unconscious on our sofa.”
“He wanted to see Twig. He saw Twig. Now he’s unconscious.” I bluntly stated.
She crossed her arms over her chest. “You just let him come to our house to see Twig?!”
“There wasn’t much I could do.” I said defensively. “He already has the DNA. I couldn’t just deny that Twig existed.” I hesitated in search of another excuse. “And anyway, David has studied that sample for two years. He says it will be some major scientific event. I can’t deny him that fame.”
“So what? You’re just going to betray Twig?” She growled.
“I can’t betray David. He’s put too much work and hope into this. We could still make this work out for everyone.”
She shrieked and pulled at her hair in anger. “We can’t, Steven! I can’t believe you could do this to Twig! You honestly think he would be allowed to stay here?”
We stood in silence for a while, trying to decipher the situation as best we could. I was searching out any possibility, and the only reasonable solution was one of compromise.
First, however, we needed to get David and Twig introduced without any fainting.
It wasn’t long before David regained consciousness. He moaned for about ten seconds before he realised what had happened, and he bolted upright on the sofa. I was stood over him.
“Where is it?!” He gasped, his head twisting to validate his location.
“Calm down, David.” I shushed him. “He’s upstairs, but we need to-”
He shot up from his seat, brushing me aside. “I must see it, Steven!”
I pulled on his arm to stop him rushing away, but he resisted. His eagerness from earlier had returned.
“Steven, did you see it?! It talked, Steven! The monster talked!” He practically screamed.
I was a younger man, and my fresher muscles prevailed over his. His resisting soon faded as I held him in place. “David, I will bring him down once you have calmed.”
David was panting, but he rubbed at his forehead and nodded. “Okay. I’m calm, I’m calm.”
Brenda helped me sit him down at the dinner table and offered him a drink, which he happily accepted. I assured him once again that there was no need to panic, and hurried upstairs to fetch Twig.
I explained the situation to him as well, but it wasn’t as much of an effort to keep him calm. He waddled after me back to the kitchen, and the two once again came face to face.
Twig’s confidence had returned for their second meeting, but David was again overwhelmed by Twig’s fearsome appearance. Thankfully, he avoided losing consciousness this time, and shakily took a sip from his coffee. Brenda and I watched on curiously.
“Well, Twig,” Brenda whispered. “Aren’t you going to welcome our guest?”
He reached a long arm slowly over the table and offered David a handshake. David hesitated, but eventually lifted a vibrating hand to join Twig’s
“Hello, David.” Twig uttered nervously. “My name is Twig.”
David was as white as a ghost. He seemed utterly amazed by Twig’s ability to speak. Who wouldn’t be?
“H-Hello, Twig…” He stammered. “Nice to… meet you…”
I signalled for Twig to take the seat opposite David, and I sat down between them. Brenda poured a couple more coffees for the two of us, and then she sat down herself, opposite to me.
We sat, four in a circle, in a very awkward silence. David was still gawking at Twig, who was looking sheepishly down at his claws that tapped on the table.
“This is one hell of a party.” I broke the silence, only for Brenda to give me a hateful glare over the table. I sighed, and tried to begin the discussions. “David, Twig is the creature that you took the sample from.”
Twig blinked and turned his eyes to me. “Sample?”
“Yes, Twig.” I said. “I took one of your scales when you were younger and sent it to David. We wanted to know what you were.”
He perked up at this revelation. “Know what Twig is now?!”
I mournfully shook my head. “I’m afraid not, Twig.”
Twig slumped visibly in his seat. David was still watching him intently, some of the colour returning to his cheeks.
Brenda felt the need to catch up on what David had discovered. “What exactly did you find from the sample?”
David repeated, almost word-for-word, what he had said to me in his office, and just like me, Brenda was barely able to keep up, but managed to get the gist of it.
“So,” He continued. “If I wanted to get this data published, I would need evidence that the specimen exists.”
Brenda looked rightfully troubled. “You want to take Twig away?”
The professor looked up at Twig, who had long since lost track of the conversation. “I wouldn’t need to take Twig. All I would need is some photographs and a few more samples. Maybe even a short video of him. After that, however, when the information is made available, others will want to investigate. Twig would likely be taken to a zoo to be studied.” He looked around at our dissatisfied faces and sighed. “I see, though, that this would not be desirable for you.”
“We are not going to let Twig be thrown in some dirty cell to be prodded and probed by university students.” Brenda asserted.
“I understand that.” David said. His eyes focused on Twig again, deep in consideration. “Twig?” He addressed, and the creature began paying attention once again. “I’m afraid I don’t know much about you. Could you please tell me a little about yourself?”
Twig hesitated and looked to Brenda for approval. With her nod, he gulped and searched around for things to say. “Twig two years old. Always live here with Steven and Brenda. Steven and Brenda take care of Twig.”
David smiled at him kindly. “Do you have any hobbies? Is there anything you want to do when you are older?”
“Twig want to play football. Play for 49ers.” He dipped his head, plainly embarrassed. “And Twig like to sing. Like to sing Santana. Steven say that Twig not sing good, though. Say Twig sing like elephant being pushed through doggy door.”
David narrowed his eyes at me. “It’s true.” I defensively retorted.
“Twig,” Brenda interrupted. “I think dinner is ready now. Why don’t you go and serve it up for us?”
He nodded and got up to leave the table.
David was still in awe of the creature, and when Twig was out of hearing range, he made sure that we knew of his fascination. “It’s amazing…” He murmured. “I expected to come here and find some small, uninteresting blob.”
“We were just as shocked as you.” I assured him.
“And not only that,” He continued. “But it talks! It… He has ambitions. Steven, Brenda, I don’t think I’ve ever been so confused in all my life.”
I sat forward in my seat, determined to get the conversation back on track before Twig returned. “David, are you going to publish your results?”
He shook himself back into reality, took notice of my question and fiddled with his glasses, making clear his inner conflict. “While I wish to let the world know of such a creature…” He mumbled. “I don’t believe now that I could bring myself to do it. I don’t trust the scientific community to treat him with the same decency and care as you clearly have, and I would hate to see a sentient being thrown into a zoo as some test dummy.”
I caught Brenda smiling, but I still felt a deep stab of guilt. “But what of all the work you did on this? What about your breakthrough?”
He shook his head. “I take lots of samples to analyse. That’s my job, so I didn’t have to expend too much energy on this single sample. But yes, I would have to sacrifice the scientific impact of such a creature’s discovery.”
I groaned in regret. “I’m sorry about this, David.”
“Please, Steven, don’t be.” He smiled. “I have had the great honour of meeting an actual space alien.” He winked, and his appreciation seemed genuine.
The meeting had gone better than expected, and as Twig began to prepare the table, I invited David to stay for dinner. He was more than happy to accept.
Dinner, as I expected was… unusual. Twig had some natural ability to prepare a meal where no two single ingredients matched. He was lucky, as his dinner consisted of a few small slabs of pine bark that he wholeheartedly enjoyed. We didn’t have to feel left out though, because he had craftily blended a hint of bark to our pasta. I spent half the meal pulling it out of my teeth.
David didn’t care, though. He had gotten over his initial fear, and was engaging in conversation with Twig for the entire length that it took for me and Brenda to get fed up with our pasta. David seemed utterly fascinated by Twig, and who could blame him? Twig was a geneticist’s dream come true.
An hour or so later, David finally remembered that he had a wife of his own, and decided that it was best to leave. He shook my hand and gave Brenda a gentlemanly kiss on the cheek.
He swivelled to Twig and shook his leathery, scaly hand as best as he could. “It was lovely to meet you, Twig.” He beamed. “Perhaps I should return again for a coffee.”
“I wouldn’t recommend it,” I intruded. “Not after the last time Twig drank coffee.”
“I see.” David said, looking a little disturbed. “Well anyway, I hope to see you soon.”
“Nice to meet David, too.” Twig responded.
I led the professor to the door and opened it with a smile. “I hope we’re making the right choice.” I whispered as we stepped onto the drive.
David nodded. “I’m sure were are, Steven. I haven’t been so sure of anything for a while.”
Since David hadn’t brought his car, it was my job to be his chauffeur, and I drove him home. His previous excitement had once again returned by the time we were in our seats, but now it seemed a little sour. He knew he would not receive the fame that he thought his results would bring him, and during the ride, he phoned his colleagues and asked them to discard the results he had sent as inaccurate. He admitted his disappointed about this to me, but at the same time, he seemed genuinely relieved to have met Twig, and he asked if he could visit again sometime in the near future.
I returned him to his home and began the long journey back, fully expecting to walk through the front door to Brenda, arms crossed, and a hateful, evil glare in her eyes.
I wasn’t wrong.

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:58 pm

Chapter 12!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/12/Twig


Chapter 12

For the rest of that night, Brenda hardly spoke a word, but her silence, couple with the angry glares gave me enough of a message. The message stated that I wasn’t getting any for at least a week. Back to the couch for Steven tonight!
But the message didn’t end there. Brenda felt appalled by my actions, and she also appeared to feel that I was also willing to betray Twig as soon as any small incentive was offered.
In truth, I did feel some level of guilt, but I shrugged it off as Brenda’s stares just getting to me.
I slept on the couch that night in front of Twig, who was laid flat out on the floor on several blankets. He wondered why I was there, and I just told him to go to sleep.
Tuesday at work went by as expected. The morning was spent dealing with the same dull patients, my lunch hour was spent in front of a pretty disgusting coffee and discussing motor racing with Johnson. Then the afternoon was wasted on yet more patients.
I tried to find Professor Yates, but for some inexplicable reason, he wasn’t at work today.
It was my turn to make dinner tonight, and I was forever thankful for it, after having tasted the vile concoction Twig has spawned yesterday. Today, I felt like fish. I liked fish.
And so did Brenda. Maybe a good fish dish would be enough for her to forgive me. After all, nothing bad had come of yesterday’s meeting.
But my confidence in my cooking was misplaced. Once Brenda had returned and got rid of her work things, and stared with disgust at the food.
“You think this is going to make me forgive you?” She growled.
I widened my eyes, trying to look as if such a thought had never crossed my mind. “What are you talking about?” The fish was nearly ready, and I was now rationing potatoes onto two plates.
“I’m still not happy with you.” She announced, as if I didn’t already know. “I cannot believe that you would do such a thing!”
“Look, Brenda,” I grumbled, anger growing in my chest. “It’s done, now. Nothing bad has happened. Twig is still here. David is happy to stay quiet.”
“It isn’t the outcome that concerns me!” She shrieked. “How much did you know about this Professor Yates before you brought him home?”
The fish was now ready, so I placed the fillets on the plates and moved them over to the dinner table. “I knew him well enough, Brenda. Well enough.”
“Oh yeah? Somehow I doubt it.” She hissed. “What if the guy decided he preferred money over his peers? What if it was Dan, your boss? The guy who would strangle his own mother for an extra buck? This Yates guy could have been just like that, and then what?”
“Well, he wasn’t.” I groaned. “Now will you just shut up and eat your food?!”
She shook her head in disbelief and apparent disgust, and then stormed out of the kitchen. “No, Steven. I’m going out.”
“Oh yeah?” I shouted after her. “You go enjoy McDonalds with Linda! See if I care!”
The front door slammed. Brenda had left as soon as she had arrived.
Twig had been listening in, his head poking through the opening to the living room.
“Why Brenda leave?” He asked, moving his body into full view.
I sighed. He didn’t need to know. “You like fish, Twig?”

Brenda returned a few hours later, and fortunately, she had calmed down enough not to slam the door free of its hinges. She quietly made her way to the kitchen where I was sat, flicking through some work files. There, she stood with her hands on her hips, staring at me like she deserved some grand apology.
“Your dinner is in the microwave.” I granted her instead. “Twig won’t eat fish.”
She huffed, retrieved her dinner from the microwave and dropped it on the table, opposite me. Once she had found a knife and a fork, she sat down without a word and ate.
I knew that the issue wouldn’t be dropped until we talked it through, so when she was done with her food, I brought it up again in a calmer, more civil manner.
“I understand why you’re upset with me Brenda.” I began. “I don’t want you to think that I would sell out this family as soon as an opportunity comes along.”
She glowered at me, her eyes still showing betrayal. “You did, though, Steven. You put the family in danger over some promise of fame.”
“Fame?” I snorted. “What fame? It would have been David whose name would be remembered for finding the first ever space alien!”
But Brenda saw through that. “You think he wouldn’t give you credit? You gave him the sample, you allowed him to see Twig. David is a nice guy, Steven, at least from what I’ve seen. His fame and riches would rub off right onto you.”
Of course, she was right. To some extent, anyway. David’s promise to repay me was the clinching factor in my decision to let him see Twig. I rubbed my hand over my hand, realising the dark, unpleasant side to myself.
“I’m not sure I can ever look at you the same way again.” Brenda’s voice changed, becoming pathetic and saddened. “I thought you would do anything to protect the family. Granted, we don’t have much of a family, but it still needs protecting.”
“Protecting?” I boomed, the anger and frustration that had been building finally showing. “The only reason it needs protecting is because you allowed Satan’s pet lizard into the house! What have we had since then? We can longer allow people into our house! We can’t allow builders or painters in to fix the holes that said beast has created! We’re forced to live a lie because you let your maternal instincts get the better of you over some damn alien! You talk about me protecting the family? Look at what you’ve done to it!”
“If it weren’t for the decisions I made, we wouldn’t even have a family!” She countered, her brutal tone returning. “I would have been happily divorced for over a year now! I could move to the city, have a decent social life. I could have a real job. I could meet a man who isn’t a total and utter d**k! You would be wasting away back in Colorado! If I didn’t make those decisions, I could be a free, happy woman. But I chose to have a family, Steven, and now that family needs to be protected.”
“Maybe I should go back to Colorado.” I growled bitterly. “I’ll leave you here. Obviously you’ll be better protected without the income that keeps us living in this hell hole.”
We seemed to reach a brief stalemate, and we both diverted our gazes and mulled over the next lines of attack. Brenda was the first to deliver.
“Mother was right to warn me about you. She never trusted you, you know.”
“Do I care about what she thought? She just couldn’t stand me because my qualifications threatened her. She couldn’t stand that I could give you everything that she never could! I mean, come on, what is the total sum of what she left you? A horrible little clock that now looks exactly like she did!”
Brenda’s emotions were spiralling, and now she was close to tears, but her voice still carried a vicious power. “Mother loved our family! She did everything she could for us! She wasn’t a selfish, uncaring, unloving scumbag!”
Round two was done, and a few stray tears dripped down her face. “I can’t take this. I just can’t take this.” She muttered, putting her hands over her face.
I sighed, another string of guilt curling around my neck. Neither of us enjoyed this kind of petty point-scoring argument, and as we sat there reeling, Twig entered the room. Once again, he had heard everything from the safety of the living room. Hell, our neighbours over a mile away probably heard it.
“Go away, Twig.” I warned under my breath, but he continued to approach, concluding by putting a large claw over Brenda’s shoulder. She accepted the comfort and put her hand on his.
Twig had chosen a side, and I no longer had the will to continue this fight. I rose from my seat, exchanged a ferocious glare with Twig, and left the kitchen for the living room.
I spent the next hour stuck somewhere in my own mind. I rushed over every word spat, regretted every little derisive comment, and yet I constantly found myself diverting the blame, pleading innocence, placing the blood of this relationship in everyone else’s hands. I blamed Brenda for the accusations. I blamed David for forcing me to make the fatal decision. I blamed Twig for making us live in secrecy.
But in the end, I knew that I was the one to blame. I had allowed, and in some cases pushed for this situation to arise. Our marriage, previously hanging on by threads, was severed by the lack of trust that we showed each other. We could no longer stand each other’s presence and that had showed its self, after having being bottled up for so long.
The television had been muted, and over the stuttering sound of my own breathing, I could barely make out the sound of Twig doing his best to comfort Brenda from upstairs. Her tears were slowly drying up, but I knew that she wouldn’t forgive me for tonight. She would find somewhere else to sleep.
Surely enough, she headed downstairs with a backpack full of essentials a few minutes later, and was closely followed by Twig. She began packing some more things, still sniffling away her sobs.
I was about to make a last attempt at peace between us, when the phone rang.
My eyes trailed to it, wondering who would possibly want to call at this hour.
I picked up the phone. “Hello?”
“Steven, it’s David!” He spoke. His voice was trembling. He sounded panicked.
“Oh, hi David,” I started. “How are y-”
“Steven! You have to leave your house!”
That stunned me, and left me swirling in confusion. “Excuse me? I swear you just told me to leave m-”
“You have to get out, Steven! Right now!” He was yelling, a trembling, frightened mess that I could picture perfectly, even over the phone.
“What’s gotten into you?!” I pressed, stepping back into the centre of the room, puzzled and anxious.
“Take Brenda. Take her far away from that place. Just do it now, and do it fast!” He panted heavily into the mouthpiece. “They’re coming for you.”
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up straight, sending a cold rush tickling down my spine. I stammered out a few loose syllables, but that was all I could muster.
“Steven, are you listening?!” He boomed. “Take Brenda and go! They’ve found me, Steven. Now they know where you live! You have to leave!”
My eyes darted around, looking for any sort of clue as to what he was saying. They turned to the windows. The night was pitch-black.
“David, who are you-”
“Steven, you have to get out of there NOW! They’re comi-” Suddenly, his voice cut out, and a long, haunting buzz took its place.
I placed the phone back on the receiver. The hairs on the back of my neck were bristling, and my breathing had quickened, my heart racing.
This was no joke. David sounded distraught, desperate. A defeated man.
“Brenda…” I whispered at first, struggling to find my voice. “Brenda!”
“I’m not listening, Steven!” She shouted from the kitchen.
I raced in after her, and she instantly noticed the fear in my eyes. “Brenda. We have to leave. Right now.”
She narrowed her eyes in confusion, but the anger remained. “Steven, who was on the phone?” She seethed suspiciously.
“It was David. But that doesn’t matter, Brenda. We have to leave right now!”
“No, Steven!” She shouted, pushing me away. “I’m not doing this anymore! I’m not playing any of your stupid games!”
I scraped my sweaty hands down my face and shook my head. “I’m not playing, Brenda! Get in the car, now!” I stormed towards her and began pushing her into the hallway with the least amount of force needed. Twig was beside the front door, twisting around and bouncing from one foot to the other, wondering what to do as I took Brenda by the shoulders.
“Get off me, Steven! GET OFF!”
Suddenly, a huge bang struck the house. We stopped shouting, and our heads all turned to the front door.
Another bang! The lock strained and began to tear from the wood.
Then it gave way.
With a third bang, the door flew back and slammed the wall, revealing the blunt end of a police battering ram.
Brenda screamed and instantly clung to my side. I moved her behind me and shouted my anger at the force responsible.
But from the darkness poured armed officers, covered from head to toe in helmets and bullet-proof clothing. Orders were yelled as they poured in through the opened door, unperturbed by Brenda’s frightened screams.
Then the officers saw Twig. They raised their pistols and unleashed their rounds.
At least five bullets hit, sending Twig back against the wall. He collapsed and slumped to the floor.
“Twig!” Brenda cried, but she continued to cling to my side. My own horror at what was happening had silenced my barks, and I took several steps back until we had our backs to the basement door.
The officers quickly filled the room, some of them branching off to search the house. Six of them stood watching us, pistols raised off the floor, ready to unload the bullets at the first sign of dissent.
Then, through the front door, strolled Police Chief Harris.
Brenda and I were completely speechless, but while she sobbed into my side, watching as unusual shades of blood oozed from Twig’s unmoving body, I stood my ground and tried to stay dignified.
Harris moved in front of us and smirked. “Well, well, well. It seems that my suspicions were correct all along.”
“What are you talking about?” I managed to say. “Why are you here?”
“We were after this.” Harris mumbled, kicking a foot against Twig’s mangled body. “And hence, we were also after you.”
“Why?!” I spat.
“That will become clear soon enough.” Harris grinned below his greying moustache, and then, seemingly talking to himself, said, “The Visser almost had my head over this whole fiasco. Maybe now, he’ll let me off the hook. He’s been after this escapee for two years now.”
I yelled at him, “What are you talking about?!”
He held up his hands, shushing me in an annoyingly condescending manner. “Now, now, Steven. This will go much smoother if you remain calm.”
“I’ll show you calm…” I threatened, but I got no more than two steps before every gun in the room was pointed at my head.
Harris smirked again. “You’re coming with us.”

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:36 pm

Chapter 13!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/13/Twig


Chapter 13

Brenda and I were both handcuffed, and after a minute or so of screaming, I was also gagged. Brenda was in tears, but too afraid of the weapons pointed at her to shout out. I tried to appeal for my rights to be upheld, but the officers took no notice.
We were being arrested, and we had no idea what for.
The officers pushed us both out into the night, and then forced us into two separate squad cars, much to our infuriation. I would have put up more of a fight, had a gun not been constantly pressed to my head right up until I was securely locked up in the back of the squad car.
I growled beneath my gag and watched the two officers through a metal guard, sat and having a laugh at my expense in the front of the car. They started up the engine, and through the window I watched as our illuminated house disappeared behind a wall of trees. The other police vehicles followed along behind, rows of headlights bobbing up and down in the pitch-black of the night.
I listened in on the conversations of the two officers in the front. For most of the journey, they remained in silence, and when they talked, a lot of unfamiliar words came up that quickly made me lose track of what they were saying. My seething anger and confusion didn’t help, either.
But one thing was soon certain: This was not a normal arrest.
For one thing, that hadn’t charged us, nor had they given us any formal measures that were used during arrests.
Secondly, they pretty much told me so.
The police officer who wasn’t driving turned his head to look at me. “You okay, back there?” It was said with a mocking smirk. I glared back at him.
“I bet you’re wondering where were headed.” He continued. “And I bet you’re also wondering why we’re taking you to wherever it is that we’re headed.”
I nodded very, very slowly.
A hideous grin found its way to the officer’s mouth. “We’re taking you to a new home, Steven. A new life. Something bigger and better than what you had before. A new start.”
That did nothing to calm me, nor was his tone convincing. I just kicked at the door in frustration.
I wanted my wife back. I wanted my house back. To be perfectly honest, under my hateful stares and occasional thrashing, I was utterly terrified. And it only got worse from there.
The car came to a halt, and I looked outside to see that we were still surrounded by trees. There was a meadow in the distance, marked off by a barbed wire fence.
The officers exited the car and marched around to open my door. I kicked and moaned beneath my gag as they reached in to take me. I managed to catch the driver in the jaw, but he returned the favour with a swift punch to my own, and I reeled from the hit. After a brief struggle, they lifted me from the vehicle, and a pair of officers from a second squad car helped in restraining me. One of them had resorted to threatening me with his pistol again, and that helped to calm me down externally.
As they stood me between a few mangled trees, I managed to catch a glimpse of the local area. Only two squad cars, including my own, had arrived here. The rest had disappeared, including the car Brenda had been taken it. I yelled behind from behind my cloth and gave another officer a kick on the shin. They were beginning to tire of my antics, and decided vocally to get the job over with.
That was when I became even more worried than before. These officers had me bound and gagged in the middle of the woods, no civilisation in sight, and they wanted to “get the job over with”. It was at that point that I thought I would die.
But they had no intention of killing me. One of the officers pulled a small electrical device from his pocket as the remaining three officers turned me toward an unusually wide oak tree. I watched as the first officer pressed a button on the electronic device, and the tree began to move.
It lifted off of the ground by about five inches at first, barely making a sound. Then, it proceeded to slide backwards with a harsh squeaking noise, like it needed a really good oiling. Beneath the tree appeared a large, black hole in the ground, just large enough, perhaps, to fit a car through. I struggled and resisted in horror as the police marched me toward it.
My feet found steps that descended into the unnerving darkness, and by the time we had reached a few steps down, and the final officer had entered the tunnel, the tree above began to squeak again, and rolled back into its original and deceiving position. The moment it lowered and touched the grass, a row of lights blazed on above, forming a single file line of haunting red light that stretched down into the impossibly long stairway.
They marched me down, the barrel of a gun pressed threateningly between my shoulder blades. I was beyond panic by this point, my body barely able to resist, my eyes widened, alert to whatever fate awaited me. By this point, it felt like I was just going to give up. There was now no escape from whatever it was that they were taking me to.
The stairs went on for an awfully long time, unchanging. The red lights that glowed above us were unending, and they soon began to irritate my eyes. But then the stairs began to widen, and a small amount of light radiated from an opening in the distance. We were coming to the end of the stairway.
It came to an opening like a huge cave entrance, and as soon as I exited it, I wished to head straight back in.
It opened up into what at first appeared to be an enormous underground base. There were buildings like barracks in a long line in front of us, complete with a medical bay and a cargo depot to our right. To my left was a building like a small aircraft hangar, and through the one open door, I spotted military trucks, motorcycles and various other vehicles that weren’t built for casual road use.
The rocky wall that we had emerged from curved up and over those buildings, forming a great dome, the tip of which ended in a large round hole in the roof about a mile from where we stood. The same red lighting from the tunnel was interspersed with white fluorescent lighting which circled the walls, lending them a horrid orange/red glow, and leaving shadows like scars running menacingly up the walls.
The officers marched me forward, gun still teasing my back, into an alleyway between two of the barrack-like buildings. We emerged out the other end, and from there the views only became more detailed. From here, I could see that the line of buildings continued in patches around the circumference of the enormous base, each patch with its own barracks, depot and medical bay. They were like tiny villages. The place was so huge that it probably warranted numerous settlements.
But what really got my attention here was what sat between and connected the villages. Like a huge lake, sat in the middle of this underground world was a red-brown, sludgy pool, its surface rippling with movement beneath the surface. From this distance, I couldn’t really make out what was causing the surface disruption.
On the edges of the lake sat several piers that hovered over the sludgy, rusty water, one adjacent to each small “village”. I saw figures stood over the nearest pier. People, and… Twig?
No, two Twigs. Three!
Confusion bubbled up into my mind again as I watched the activity bustling on beside the great lake, but my eyes were then drawn further back, trailing over to the space between the villages of military buildings. There sat rows upon rows of cages, with shadowy figures patrolling, squirming around inside.
My sense of vision, up to this point, was the most sensitive to my new surroundings, but now I began to pay attention to my other senses. I smelled the air and instantly felt my stomach turn. I smelled what I imagined was the rusty lake water. I smelled human blood. I thought that I smelled other types of blood, but I couldn’t be sure.
But by far the worst thing was the sounds that bounced off the walls and echoed harshly in my head. I heard screaming, crying, shouts of anger from every direction. Piercing screeches that pained my ears, the banging of metal on metal, sounds that were sharp and discomforting. They made my jaw quiver, and the hairs perk up on the back of my neck. Then again, they had been erect all night.
I was distracted from the horror that surrounded me as a bald, uniformed man in his twenties approached us. He had a small hand-held radio strapped to his belt, and he was clutching a notepad. “Report.” He spoke to my captors.
The officer who had operated the tree earlier stepped up and responded. “Antlac five-five-three reporting. Squadron has successfully performed Mission 4X-55. The two humans have been captured, unharmed.” He stated, indicating to me. “This is the human named Steven Reynolds. Dr Steven Reynolds.”
The uniformed man seemed to jot down these details on his notepad and nodded for more information.
“The second human was considered to be of less importance, and so has been taken to Station 6.” He continued. I shot him a cursing look at what he said and moaned behind my gag in protest. The officer to my left yanked at my arm to keep me quiet. “That humans name is Brenda Reynolds. Host 44-HB-72 was found in the home of these two humans.”
“What is 44-HB-72’s condition?” The uniformed man asked.
“Condition unknown. Farnad one-one-eight will report when the body has been inspected.”
With a curt nod, the uniformed man accepted the information and proceeded to look me over. “Is this human much of a handful for you?”
“He resists, but not enough to cause any problems.” The lead officer reported.
“Okay,” The bald man said. “This host has already been arranged for Yarfush three-one-seven. He is to be placed in cell B-68.”
The officer nodded and ended the report. I trawled through the load of information that had been transferred, but I simply couldn’t make sense of it all. It meant nothing to me, and I tried to vent my frustration by swinging my shoulders and barging my escorts, but it did not deter them.
I recalled the brief information that they gave on my wife. They had taken her elsewhere, most likely to another one of the small villages. I lifted my head as high as I could as searched the local area, but finding her was near to impossible in such an enormous cavern.
We moved over to the rows of cages that were strung between two villages. From closer up I could make out human faces within. Some were sobbing, some were screaming. Some were completely emotionless and silent. Hands stretched through the bars of the cages as we marched past.
There were more than just humans, as well. I saw more creatures like Twig that had been left in the cages. A few would roar and grunt at us as we moved along, while others would retreat back in their cages and whine. Others joined in with the sobbing humans.
A lot of the cages were shared, with between two and six individuals in each, and they were not necessarily race-divided.
Now I knew where I was headed. Looking up at the top edges of the cages, there were all given numbers. B-48, B-49, B-50…
I had been given B-68. My eyes drifted forward, looking for the cage I would be spending an undetermined time in.
My attention was briefly diverted as my foot splashed into a deep puddle of blood that soaked coldly into my shoes. I felt the cooled liquid delving between my toes. The cold shiver once again zigzagged down my spine.
We finally arrived at B-68, and I shuddered at the sight of it. It was small, the ceiling standing about six feet from the ground, meaning that my head would be scraping against the top. The bars were thick, cold steel, and the hideous red light from the nearest wall was the only colour that threatened to disturb the near-perfect darkness of its interior. I saw a figure sat in the far corner, but I could make out nothing more than a silhouette.
The cage was opened with a screech of metal, and I was forced before the entrance. A pair of hands reached up and began untying my gag. When it finally came loose, I released all the anger and confusion in screams directed at the men who had brought me to this hell, but my shouting and screaming was cut short with another sturdy slam to my jaw. I tasted blood in my mouth and let it dribble to the rocky ground.
The handcuffs were removed and I was immediately shoved into the darkness of the cage, falling forward and slamming hard into the bars on the opposite side. The door to the cage was closed and locked before I even had the chance to retaliate. Nevertheless, I rose to my feet and charged at the bars.
“Let me out, you bastards!” I yelled.
The officers just snickered amongst themselves and turned to leave.
“You bastards!” I repeated. “Let me out of this god damn cage!”
But I knew even then that my efforts were futile. The officers disappeared into a nearby building, leaving me to scream my lungs dry and clutch at the ice-cold steel bars.
I continued to scream at no one in particular. “Where’s my wife?! Let me out and bring me my wife!”
My cries went almost unheard, drowned out by the screams and sobs and guttural howls that echoed from the cages surrounding my own. It was a hideous, nightmarish ensemble of anguish and despair.
I was far passed tears now. I slammed my fists against the bars and cursed them for their presence. I tried to fiddle with the lock on the cage door, but its construction was foreign and unmovable.
Eventually, I gave up and sat in the centre of the cage, shivering in a mix of cold and radiating anger.
“Hey, man.”
I twitched, turning my head to the corner where the silhouette had been seen earlier. I had completely forgotten about it. The voice was deep and calm.
“Who’s there?” I stuttered through my gritted teeth. The man’s face was still hidden in complete darkness.
“The closest thing you have in this hell to a friend.”
The figure shuffled forward in the cage, his face becoming illuminated by a beam of light that shone through the bars. He was an African-American gentleman, probably in his forties. A layer of hair hugged his chin, and it stretched right up the short hair on his head. His eyes stared at me curiously, assessing, and he spoke again.
“Welcome to your new home.”

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:51 pm

Chapter 14!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/14/Twig


Chapter 14

“The name’s Howson.” The African-American man said, crawling out from the dark corner of the cage.
Sighing, I decided to play along. “Steven. Steven Reynolds.”
Howson nodded and forced a smile. “New guy, huh? I guess this must all be a big shock to you.”
I looked away and remained silent.
Howson came into full view beside me. He was a bulky man, and tall enough not to be able to stand up straight in the low cage. His eyes focused on me, but I avoided them and rested my chin in my hand.
“This won’t get any easier if you don’t talk.” He persisted. “Believe me, I’ve seen plenty of people hide themselves away, isolate themselves in their own little bubbles. I tell you now, it don’t ever end pretty for them. You may as well talk to me, because these are the only opportunities you’ll get to speak for yourself from now on.”
I granted him a sideways glance. “What is this place?” I asked, my voice tense and strained.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” He stated. “This stuff is understandably hard to take the first time.”
I let go a bitter chuckle. “Do I really want to know where I am? Do I really want to know why I’m in this cage?”
“Probably not,” He replied. “But it would be better for you to know about it now before you learn from experience.”
My teeth ground together and my loose hand clutched at the metal floor. “Stop with the dramatics and just tell me.”
He seemed undistracted by my admittedly poor attitude. “You see all those people out there? The ones that aren’t caged up like animals?” He started, nodding those who wandered freely around the base. “They ain’t people, Steven.”
I stared up at him, and replied sarcastically, “What are they? Aliens or something?”
“That’s a damn good guess, Steven.” He smiled. “Those people aren’t the people they used to be. At least, not on the outside.”
I groaned in frustration and got up from my seating position to stand up straight. My hair brushed the ceiling bars of the cage. “I don’t have time for this.”
Howson’s smile dropped. “It ain’t an easy thing to accept, Steven, but you’re going to have to. Are you going to listen to me, boy?”
“Fine.” I huffed reluctantly, resting heavily against the bars and half-heartedly watching the gruesome scenes outside. “Carry on.”
He did. “Those people out there are being controlled. Every move they make, every word they speak. Everything they do is controlled by something called a Yeerk.”
“A Yeerk?” I asked incredulously.
“A Yeerk.” He repeated. “Ugly little slugs that crawl inside your brain. That big lake you see? All those ripples in the water are Yeerks, living just like they should.”
The lake was about a hundred feet from our cage. From here, I could see the sludgy water, its surface bubbling with the movements of small grey things within. “Slugs…”
“Yeah, slugs. They ain’t no better.” Howson spat. “They crawl in through your ear. They take hold of your brain, and when they have their filthy little bodies wrapped around it, they have complete control. You spend all your time just watching it move you, listening to it as it uses your words, your own voice. There ain’t nothing worse, Steven. Nothing worse.”
“The officers…” I sighed. “The ones that brought me here…”
“All of them Yeerks.” Howson concluded for me. “They all have those filthy pieces of slime wrapped around in their heads.”
I felt a deep sense of hopelessness as I watched a small group of people walk past the cage. Somehow I just couldn’t quite believe Howson’s story, but I continued to play along nonetheless. “So why am I locked in this cage? What’s my purpose here?”
“You’ll become one of them, Steven.” He said calmly. “They’ll put a Yeerk in your head, just like they did to me.”
“People will notice I’m missing.” I burst defensively. “My boss will notice when I don’t come to work.”
“Oh, you’ll go to work.” Howson nodded. “They use you as a disguise. They’ll take you to work and do everything you would usually do. They don’t want to give their game away.”
“And why do they want me?”
He closed his eyes, a grim frown over his face. “They want us all, Steven.”
My hands gripped tightly onto the bars, and I heard a growl under my own breath. “I can’t believe that. You aren’t telling me the truth.”
Howson grew frustrated, and his voice rose above the distant cries around us. “You look out them bars, and you tell me I’m lying!”
I couldn’t bear to look anymore. The scenes that remained in my head were too overwhelming, like something out of some cruel nightmare. That’s exactly what I wanted it to be. I threw a fist against the bars, and smashed my head on the side. I wanted to wake up, but I wasn’t able to.
It began to dawn on me, and soon, I was beginning to believe him.
“So what is this?” I sighed, unwilling but needing to receive more information. “Is this humanities great end or something?”
“Maybe,” He shrugged. “It don’t look too good, but there’s a long way to go yet.”
I looked around the great lake again. “How many people know about this place? Surely someone must have spotted a huge underground base.”
He nodded. “People see it. Lots of people see it. But those people all end up in here.” He paused. “I was one of those people.”
I turned my head towards him. “Oh yeah?”
“It was nearly three years ago now. I took a detour through the park one night on the way home from the bar. We were watching the football, but I was feeling a little rough. When I got to the edge of the park, I saw a big hole open up under some water fountain. It just moved off of the ground. Next thing I know, someone had smashed me over the head. I woke up right here in this cage, just as scared and lost as you are now.”
“You’ve been here for three years?” I asked.
“Near enough.” He took a deep breath. “I come here every three days while the filth in my head feeds. When I’m not down here, I’m back at home, or I’m at work.” I noticed the brief sign of a tear roll down his cheek. “They used me to take my family. They used my mouth, and they used my hands to bring them to this hell!” His voice had steadily risen to a bitter growl. “Now we’re all slaves.”
“I’m sorry…” I paused, letting him fight down his anger. “These Yeerks feed every three days?”
He raised a hand and pointed to the foul lake. “That’s where they feed. They drop out of your ear, and you sit in your cage for those few hours, until the Yeerk is ready to leave. Those are the only hours of freedom we have.”
“Our only hours of freedom? Locked in this tiny cage?”
“It’s better than what’s out there.” He sighed.
There was a long, horrid silence as I tried to absorb all the information, but my mind was unfocused, fuzzed by the screams and howls that echoed off of the walls and the terrible realisation that there was no way out of this hell.
“My wife.” I whispered load enough for him to hear. “They took her too.”
“I’m sorry, man.” He consoled.
“They said that she was going to Station 6. Where is it?”
Howson rose to his feet, having to hunch over to avoid banging his head, and he moved up beside me. His arm lifted between the thick bars and pointed off into the distance. His finger was aimed at one of the small villages that stood on the opposite side of the lake. All I could make out was a few squalid buildings. “Station 6.” He indicated.
“Why is she so far away? Why separate us like this?” I asked, my voice full of anger.
“They station us according to how important they think we are. The stations with less important hosts are closer to the main entrances, in case of attack. They don’t want more important hosts getting caught in a fight.”
I remembered the officers describing my wife as “less important” as I was. I hated the idea of us being treated like chess pieces. My wife was in no way unimportant. “And how do they decide how important we are?”
“Your job.” He said. “Your influence on society. Your ability to aid the Yeerk cause.” He faced me. “What do you do?”
“I work in the hospital. Orthopedic ward.”
He nodded and stared back out into the cavern. “An important job. An important one for the Yeerks, too.”
“How would I be important to a bunch of mind-controlling slugs?” I grumbled.
“You’d be surprised at the number of bones that get snapped down here, man. But that ain’t the only reason. You have the power to influence people. They’ll use you to send more people down here.”
I cringed at the thought, but I understood what he was getting at. Part of my job was to offer my patients advice. Could I really be used to advice people into coming down to this disgusting pit?
“What do you do?” I asked Howson.
“Weapons engineer.” He revealed. “I make bombs.”
“Bombs?” I raised an eyebrow. “That could be really useful in a place like this…”
He smiled. “Sometimes I wish I could. I want to blow this hell so that there’s nothing left.” His head dropped. “But it’s impossible. And you never know who’s going to be down here… I don’t ever want to risk hurting my family again. For every filthy, stinking slug down here, there’s another family man, another loving wife. Kids.”
My scepticism was fast disappearing, dissolved by Howson’s sincerity and the sounds of the people suffering around us. I just felt like bursting into tears, only I was holding it back to save whatever dignity I had remaining.
I asked the question that I had been too afraid to ask before. “Is there anyone who can stop this?”
Howson absorbed the question and moved back towards his corner, retaking his seat. “There are some who try. Andalites.”
“What’s an Andalite?”
“The ones who started this f***-up mess in the first place.” He spat.
That didn’t fill me with much hope.
Howson continued, “There are a few here on Earth. They get in the way, take out a few Yeerks… That’s about it.” I sensed anger flowing from him, his eyes glaring down at the metal floor.
“You don’t sound like a big fan of these Andalites.”
His eyes traced back to mine. “They’ve killed friends. The only people I could truly talk to. Humans, Hork-Bajir. There were my cage-mates, and they were killed at the hands of the Andalite bandits.”
Another shudder made its way up my back. “They don’t sound much like allies…”
“They are our allies,” He said. “They’ve done a lot of good. But when they kill the Yeerks, they kill the hosts.”
This situation was just getting better and better. I once again thought about my wife. They seemed to consider her less important. A horrible idea flowed into my head.
“Who gets killed?” I asked, dreading his response. “Who fights these Andalites?”
He sighed, equally dreading the reaction I might give. “Those who the Yeerks think are less vital to recruitment, or carry less influence.”
I knew exactly what that meant. “My wife? Does that include my wife?!”
He smiled bitterly, offering me some consolidation. “Human hosts don’t suffer many casualties. Unless your wife is good with a gun, she probably won’t be doing much fighting.”
I breathed a small sigh of relief. Brenda was an awful shot with a gun.
Howson’s words had drawn my attention to the non-human figures that were also present in the base. I searched around and eventually spotted one of the Twig creatures. It was off in the distance, guarding the entrance to one of the barracks.
“What are those creatures?” I asked. “The big bladed ones.”
“Those are Hork-Bajir.” Howson informed me without even having to look.
“Hork-Bajir…” I repeated to myself. At least now I knew what Twig was.
Not that it mattered anymore.
I noticed another creature nearby. It was like a huge, yellow caterpillar, complete with rows of stubby peg legs and a grotesque, round mouth on top, surrounded by four red jelly eyes. “And those things? Those big caterpillars?”
“Taxxons.” Howson said, his voice displaying the same disgust that I felt on the inside. “I’ve got a tip for you. Don’t ever draw blood around those things.”
“I don’t intend to.” I huffed. “Nor do I intend to be anywhere near one.”
Howson shook his head sorrowfully. “I’m afraid you may not have a choice on that.”
I rubbed at my face with my hands and turned away from the scene outside. “Is this it, then?” I asked him. “Is my life over now? Am I destined to live like some animal to be used by some alien slugs?”
Howson didn’t reply. Somehow, I didn’t think he needed to.

An hour passed. We sat in our cell, watching as the other cages around us emptied and filled with other desperate souls. Howson seemed to know a lot of them, and exchanged empty conversations with those who were close enough. His manner and tone were admirable. While others around us screamed and cried, he would encourage as many as he could, distracting their attentions from their impossible situations for as long as they were around. He was in almost complete control of his behaviour. Maybe spending three years in this hell had dulled its horror for him.
While he was talking to others, I would stand with my head between the bars of our cage, gazing over at the distant Station 6. Brenda was there somewhere. I doubted she would be in such fortunate company.
More hosts seemed to be arriving, and within that hour, each cage around us contained at least one individual, Human or Hork-Bajir. Like most other caged hosts, they screamed or yelled at passers-by, and the level of noise became unbearable. I sat down in the cage and covered my ears. Howson didn’t even flinch, and did his best to quiet them down.
He was busy talking to the Human and Hork-Bajir contained in B-67, when two Hork-Bajir and two young, large men walked up to our cage. One of the men carried a notepad, and he seemed to be giving out orders.
By now, I had learned that all four of them would contain a Yeerk inside their heads. I couldn’t help but gaze at their ears and wonder how the slugs would fit.
“Steven Reynolds.” The man with the notepad said. “He’s a new host. Take him to platform C.”
The two Hork-Bajir fiddled with the lock of the cage, and I felt Howson’s hand grab my shoulder from behind. I turned to look him in the eyes.
“It’s time, Steven.” He said sadly.
“Time for what?” I asked, voiced panicked.
“You’re getting your Yeerk. I’m sorry, man.”
I stuttered and looked back to the Hork-Bajir, who had now just finished opening the cage. “I won’t let them.” I uttered, resistant.
Howson sighed. “The more you kick, the harder it becomes. Just remember that no matter how much it taunts you, how much it makes you want to die, there is still hope, Steven. ”
I shook my head as the Hork-Bajir slowly advanced. “I won’t let them take me, Howson.”
But it didn’t matter now. I threw a punch at one the Hork-Bajir as it approached, but it simply shrugged it off and grabbed my arm, restraining me. They dragged me from the cage, and the humans locked it behind me.
I kicked and I screamed, making clear my anger at their encroachment. From the corner of my eye, I saw Howson through the bars of my cage, and I saw his lips form words.
“Good luck, Steven. See you in three days.”

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:01 pm

Chapter 15!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/15/Twig


Chapter 15

I was dragged to one of the great steel platforms that hung over the edge of the slimy lake. I’m afraid to say that any last ounce of dignity I had was finally lost, as I flailed and screamed pathetically in my captors grasp. My arms began to ache as I tried to pull them away from the disappointingly unaffected Hork-Bajir.
The pier extended out in front of me. It was like some horrible death sentence, a stump to kneel down over. We moved past two more Hork-Bajir who stood guard, and my feet clomped onto the hollow steel boards. The clicking of the Hork-Bajir toenails soon followed, and we stopped, staring out over the sludge that rippled below.
The cause of the ripples became much more detailed now. From the water rose the large slugs that Howson had told me so much about. They were larger than slugs that I could find in our backyard, with a few extra bodily structures that gave them their more alien appearance.
The sound of them moving through the sludge was not at all pleasant, though maybe that was just a physical manifestation of the inner bias I now held, that now caused an outward aversion.
My Hork-Bajir captors pushed me down. I resisted, but I quickly found myself on my knees, their arms clung tight around my upper arms.
“Get off me you fu-”
They threw my head forward and down into the warm sludge. My entire head was submerged, held tight in place by a large Hork-Bajir claw. I screamed, bubbles rising stiffly through the foul water. I couldn’t open my eyes, as the initial impact of the water caused them to sting. All I could do was experience the sensations. Wet objects slid over my face, brushing swiftly over my facial features.
One of them stayed for longer than the rest. It impacted my nose and pressed against it, before it made its way over my cheek, towards my left ear.
This was the one. This was my Yeerk. I screamed again and tried to shake my head free, but the Yeerk was quick to latch onto my ear.
The following feeling was akin to a wet willy (something I last experienced way back when I was in school), except that instead of a hard, bony finger, it was a squelchy, pulsating piece of mush. I cringed at the hideous feeling of it squeezing into all the spaces within my ear. The pressure made me feel like my head was about to explode, and my other ear was experiencing a major popping sensation.
But then it ended. The Yeerk had manipulated its body and allowed the pressure to release. By now though, it was deep inside my ear, numbing and lubricating my ear drum. It must have been some collection of chemicals and processes unknown to me, but the Yeerk managed to crawl through the ear drum, leaving behind what felt like a numbing, hot liquid. After it had finally crawled through, the ear drum returned to its original state, as far as I could tell.
A sensation of drowning took over me, and my head felt dazed, but at the moment the Yeerk was completely inside my head, I was hoisted up from the disgusting water. I looked around, still in control of my body, but it was as if I was succumbing to an anaesthetic. My movement was slow, and everything looked fuzzy and non-distinct. My legs were no longer kicking, even when the Hork-Bajir carefully lifted me into an upright position.
That’s when it started. I was turning my head to look at one of the Hork-Bajir, when my eyes suddenly tracked back to stare out in front of me. It was brief, and I was then able to achieve my goal in looking up at my captor, but the momentary loss of control sent me into a panic. My stupor contained the frenzy that I would have otherwise released.
Soon, I found parts of my body seemingly acting on their own volition. My eyes darted around without my consent.
My captors released me, and I stood perfectly still. I wanted to kick. I wanted to scream. I wanted to push the Hork-Bajir on my right into the pool simply to humiliate it as petty revenge.
I could do none of those things. All I did was form a few words.
“Testing, testing, one, two…”
What?
<I apologise. My last host was a sound engineer.>
I felt like screaming, and I did. On the inside, anyway.
<Hey, quiet down please.> the voice in my head spoke again. I couldn’t really explain it. I could hear the words, but it was as if it were my own brain talking to me. I suppose, in a way, it was.
<You could say that.> the voice continued. <What you hear is what I wish for you to hear. I understand that you are a new host, but you’ll get used to it quite quickly.>
Was he hearing my thoughts? Was every vision and phrase that passed peripherally through my head his to see?
<I’m afraid so, Steven.>
I tried to address him directly. <Get out of my head, slug!>
<Slug? You know, I find that rather offensive.> He sneered.
<That’s offensive?> I growled. <How about taking over my body? I think I owe you offense!> I gave him a few more choice words, ones that he would find a lot more offensive than simply “slug”.
The Yeerk paid no notice, and instead made his (our? my?) way off of the pier.
<I suppose I may as well introduce myself.> He stated casually over my constant inner protests. <My name is Yarfush three-one-seven. I am your new master. And don’t worry about introducing yourself, I already know you well enough.>
<Shut up…> I groaned. <Just shut up and get out!>
<I’m only following orders, Steven.> He said formally. <You may as well get comfortable, because I’m not leaving.>
The next few minutes were spent wandering around the complex, mostly in front of the host cages. Yarfush was getting used to my body. It made me sick, and I made that perfectly clear to him throughout. I had stopped screaming and cursing. Now I was just being as stubborn and difficult as possible. If I couldn’t force him out, I would annoy him to the point when he would want to leave.
<What an interesting man you are, Steven.> Yarfush commented as we strolled past a small group of Taxxons.
<What a horrible piece of s*** you are, Yeerk.> I replied.
He ignored my petty insult. <You had a Hork-Bajir in your home for two years? Ah yes, 44-HB-72. The juvenile escapee, no less. The Visser was very interested in finding him.>
<And you killed him.> I growled bitterly.
<Me? That was me, was it?> He replied mockingly. <Do you take pride in making such sweeping generalisations? I had nothing to do with it, Steven.>
He rested my body against a wall and inspected my fingers. <You did well to stay hidden for two years. You and your wife, Brenda.>
<Don’t you say anything about her, Yeerk.>
He chuckled in my head, and it echoed through my body like some horrible illness. <I’ll have to at some point, Steven. We’ll be seeing her again tomorrow.>
<What do you mean?>
<When we go home.> He said. <I assume she will still be here for a little while longer, but she will return home at… oh… seven o’clock tomorrow. What shall we make for dinner? Mac and cheese sounds good.>
I felt another bout of rage building within me, and I once again gave him a few insults to bear. Yarfush, however, did not show any signs of cracking, and once he had accustomed himself to my body, he received some orders and filed some reports, and we were heading back up the long tunnel with two of the officers from before.
The officers drove me home and left me in the driveway. The house was just as we had left it, except that the front door had been re-fitted. Yarfush took my body inside and made some quick observations. The door looked a little battered, but it wasn’t too noticeable. The wall to our left, however, was very noticeable. Twig’s body had been removed, but the wall was covered in large blood stains from where he had been shot. The blood had pooled on the floor and dried.
<Great,> Yarfush moaned. <They leave me to clear this up?>
I cursed him again, appalled at his lack of empathy. He shrugged it off brazenly and fetched the appropriate tools for the job. Somehow, he knew exactly where everything was.
Once the last of Twig’s remains was cleaned up, he packed everything away and gazed up at the clock that hung up above the dinner table. It was five in the morning.
I was exhausted, and I definitely needed sleep after today’s events, but Yarfush had other ideas.
<I’m afraid we can’t sleep, Steven.> He informed. <We have to be up for work in two hours.>
<We’re seriously going to work?!> I fumed.
<Of course! Dr Steven Reynolds is never away from work.> He giggled to himself. <We just need some coffee. I know how much you enjoy your caffeine.>
<I enjoy it more when I’m alone.> I grunted.
<We could use these spare hours for some bonding.> He suggested. <We haven’t exactly gotten off to the best start, Steven.>
<Humans don’t tend to greet each other by crawling into each other’s ears…>
Yarfush paused, midway through making the coffee.
<We are very different, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find some common ground now, does it?>
<I have nothing in common with you!> I barked.
<How closed-minded…> I heard him tut. <Do you honestly think that I enjoy this job, Steven? Do you think I take pleasure in causing you and other beings such discomfort?>
<Yes, I do think that.>
<Well, I suppose I do enjoy the freedom and the senses that it gives me…> He chuckled. <But there are things that I don’t like, Steven. Things that I wish could change. I’m like you in one way, Steven: I can’t stand my job.>
<Am I supposed to sympathise with that?> I asked as he took the coffee into the living room. The TV was still on.
<I don’t expect you to. However, I could help you.>
I uttered a derisive laugh. <You? Help me?>
<Helping you will ultimately make things easier for me, Steven.> He said. <I see that for the last two years, you’ve been chasing a promotion. You’ve been too much of a coward to demand it, though.>
I remained silent, slightly offended at being called a coward.
<I will get you that promotion, Steven.> He spoke with confidence. <Perhaps then, you will do me the great favour of not acting like a petty child in reaction to everything I say.>
<I’m not going to compromise with you. Not after what your kind has done.>
<We’ll see, Steven.> He gulped down the coffee and lifted my body from the seat. He stretched, and shook my head to shake off the desperate need for sleep.
Yarfush observed the state of the house after he had put the mug back into the kitchen. He spotted a large dent in the living room ceiling where Twig’s head blades had caught.
<We’ll get this place fixed up.> He considered. <Re-plaster that dent for a start. Get some new flooring. Replace all the damaged door frames… You really should have trimmed that Hork-Bajir’s toenails, you know. Look at those holes in the floor!>
<Why are you so interested in the state of our home?> I queried.
<Your home is my home, now.> He chirped matter-of-factly.
<This will never be your home, Yeerk. Not as long as I’m alive.>
He again ignored me. <I could make this place so much more habitable. Your wife will appreciate it, I’m sure.>
I choked a little at such a suggestion. Was he trying to prove something? Did he somehow think he could treat my wife better than I could?
I hated that more than anything else he had said or done to me, but it also gave me a deep sense of anxiety. He had promised me a promotion, and now he wanted to improve our home. Something about all of that felt so defeating...
In those few hours, he gave me no time to sleep off the horrors that I had seen. He gave me no chance to mourn the loss of my body, Brenda, or Twig’s death. He was far too busy judging our home, cleaning away things he found unappealing, and drinking vast amounts of coffee to keep my body full of energy.
After he had finished throwing Twig’s sleeping blankets in the trash, he looked out of the window to watch as the Sun rose over the line of trees. He admired the view, indulging in the senses that my eyes granted him.
He munched on a couple of slices of toast, put on some new clothes after a shower, and we drove to work.

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:14 pm

Chapter 16!

FanFiction link:http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/16/Twig


Chapter 16

I despised work with a passion. I never looked forward to heading into my dreary office, but today, I dreaded it even more than usual. Yarfush was equally unhappy, having recalled my memory and decided that my experiences were enough to put him off.
I made it as difficult as possible for him, but in my weary state, my insults were slurred and uninspired. No amount of coffee could lighten our spirits, but it didn’t stop Yarfush putting on a convincing show for my work colleagues and the patients.
I was frankly amazed that despite the lack of sleep and the short amount of time that he had occupied my body, he was able to imitate me with such expertise and consistency. He had delved into my mind so deeply that he would know every reaction I would make to any given situation. No one would suspect a thing.
He did do some things a bit differently. He wasn’t quite a sarcastic with the patients, nor did he actively avoid contact with my more irritating work peers.
He even smiled once or twice.
I became jealous. In spite of the tired state of my body, he was enjoying my job more than I ever did when I had my own head. He didn’t enjoy it, per se, but he didn’t find it as mind-numbingly tedious as I did.
Several patients visited my office this morning, the last of whom was Mrs Rigby.
“Are you alright, Dr Reynolds?” She commented as she entered the room, noticing my baggy, blackened eyes with her own old, wrinkled ones.
“Oh, it’s just a lack of sleep.” Yarfush replied with my mouth. “I’ve been busier than usual these last few days.”
It was a lie anyone could believe, but I was too tired to make a sarcastic comment to him.
Like the other appointments that day, Yarfush was able to perform me almost perfectly, only really skipping out the bitterness I would usually ration out to the patients. Mrs Rigby had seen me for a number of appointments in recent weeks, and she didn’t suspect a thing.
Yarfush also did one other thing differently, as well. In the morning, before the appointments began, he had searched around in the staff lounge where small pamphlets and advertisements were placed. He had pulled out an A4 poster advertising The Sharing.
I remembered that organisation from the one time I had taken Brenda there. I was curious as to why he wanted it, and why he stuck it to my office door. He proceeded to advertise for The Sharing at the end of each appointment, suggesting that my patients give it a try for whatever reason he felt best suited their current situations. This time, however, he did not advertise, nor did he even draw Mrs Rigby’s attention to the poster on the door.
<Aren’t you going to suggest that she go to that awful community organisation, like you did to the rest of them?> I asked him as Mrs Rigby was leaving.
<She’s far too old, Steven. She would be of no use to us.>
Something clicked in my sleep-deprived brain. <Wait. That’s why you’ve been pushing it? Is The Sharing some kind of recruitment centre for you?>
<You took your time figuring that out.> He mocked.
<I’m too tired to think, slug.> I huffed. My mind recalled the time we had taken the ill-fated trip to The Sharing’s barbeque. Nothing seemed suspicious. I never saw any huge rusty lakes. I never saw great ugly caterpillars or dirty Yeerk slugs.
Yarfush chuckled, delving into my thoughts. <Of course you wouldn’t, Steven. We keep it all undercover. You should have stuck around a little longer, come to a few more meetings. We could have met a lot sooner!>
After Yarfush was satisfied with the state of my office, we headed off to the staff lounge to liven my body with more coffee.
David was there today.
Well, his body was.
He had been infested, just like me and Brenda. When the staff lounge was empty, our Yeerks dropped the pretence and talked without the need for disguise.
David’s Yeerk described how both I and David were captured. I assumed that his Yeerk was trying to infuriate and upset me. It wanted to let me know exactly where I went wrong, what gave me away to the Yeerks. I was too exhausted to express my anger.
According to his Yeerk, David had sent off Twig’s DNA results to three work colleagues at the University of California. David had later informed them, while I was driving him home from our house, to discard the results. However, one of his colleagues hosted a Yeerk, who was suspicious as to why results would be sent, and then later asked to be discarded. He had brought up the results and instantly recognised that the source of the sample did not occur naturally on Earth. He informed the Yeerks in our area after he had identified the sample as Hork-Bajir, and they infiltrated David’s computer, right here in this hospital.
They had found David’s personal notebook. From that, they found who had given him the sample. Us.
The clean-up job was carefully but masterfully done. The two uninfested colleagues at the University were captured and infested, in case they brought the results back up. They searched for David, and found him in his home.
Then they looked for us. They took out the escaped Hork-Bajir, and then captured us to be slaves.
The story made me sick to my stomach, and I found myself hating Twig for all the damage he had brought. We had been taken prisoner, probably for the rest of our lives. We may die as slaves trapped within our own bodies. Because of him, five people would be doomed to such a horrible fate.
Then I stopped myself. It wasn’t Twig’s fault for what had occurred. It was my fault. It was Brenda’s fault. We were both responsible for this. We had allowed Twig into our home, and now we and three other innocent people were suffering the consequences.
I found myself wallowing in self-pity. I expected to hear a mocking laugh from Yarfush, but instead he remained quiet. He was allowing me to mourn my own mistakes.
We were both glad when the work shift was over. Yarfush took our car and rushed home. We made our way inside and immediately crashed down on the sofa for a couple of hours sleep.

We got about two hours of much-needed rest before the front door slammed out in the corridor. A sense of dread once again flushed through me as my consciousness returned. I knew who caused the door to slam. I didn’t want to see her. Not like this.
But Yarfush was eager to meet his new partner, and he lifted my groggy body from the couch and into the kitchen area.
Brenda was stood at the dinner table, putting down her things. She turned to look me in the eyes, and I swear that I could have burst into tears, if my tear ducts were under my control.
The smile that breached her face just made it worse.
“Hello.” She… no… it said. An arm rose between us. “Decran four-two-two.”
Yarfush raised my hand to connect with hers in a formal handshake. “Yarfush three-one-seven. Good to meet you, Decran.”
I blasted my opinions to him in my head, but he just told me to remain quiet. He had prepared for such a situation, and pushed me to the side to continue his introduction.
“It seems like we will be spending a lot of time together.” He said to Decran… my wife.
“I look forward to it.” She replied. “I can’t wait to finally sleep in a real bed, to eat the wonderful human foods…” She paused and grimaced. “However, my host is most infuriating.”
Yarfush nodded his head. “My host has calmed significantly since we were first introduced.”
<Calm?!> I shouted at him, and proceeded to unleash another barrage of verbal abuse at him.
“…Until now, of course.” Yarfush continued. “He is easily riled up.”
“This one refuses to stop screaming.” Decran sneered. “I’ve been trying to find a way to shut her up.”
I just wanted to strangle the Yeerk. I wanted to rip its slimy body from Brenda’s ear and throw it in the nearest blender. I aimed my rage not at Yarfush, but to my hands.
To my great surprise, my right hand twitched, fingers spreading before they quickly relaxed, and Yarfush regained control.
Decran smirked. “Feisty.”
Yarfush seemed a little annoyed. “I would appreciate you not angering my host.”
I was calm again now, but still bubbling with an inner rage that Yarfush was desperate to keep under control.
“I’m sorry, Yarfush.” Decran apologised. “I’ve only ever had Taxxon hosts. They are more focused on their hunger than they are focused for each other. I am not used to handling these social hosts.”
“Taxxon hosts.” Yarfush hummed. “You must have been promoted.”
“It certainly feels like it.” Decran smiled. I hated the Yeerk using Brenda’s smile, but Yarfush hushed down my rage yet again. She continued, “I have learnt from my host that you are a doctor. A good host.”
“The work is tedious.” Yarfush admitted. “I have been assigned to recruitment.”
Decran nodded. “Before this host, I did a lot of work around combat situations.”
I froze, and had I been in control of my body, it would have gone ghost-white.
“But this body isn’t suited to combat.” Decran added. “It can’t shoot a gun. The host’s job has no real potential for recruitment. I’m yet to be assigned a role.”
I felt a great sense of relief. At least now, Brenda would not be killed in combat.
Yarfush smiled and moved the conversation along. “This house has suffered considerably over the last two years. I plan to redecorate.”
<This is not your home, Yarfush!> I reminded him.
<Come on, Steven, even you know that this home is in a dire state.> He replied. I could have argued, but he could read my thoughts. I couldn’t deny to him that, yes, I considered my home to be in a less than adequate condition.
Decran nodded. “I see you have already started. I will make some calls tomorrow. It’s not as if I have anything better to do.”

Yarfush made Mac and cheese that night. He knew the exact recipe that both I and Brenda enjoyed. Just the right amount of salt, just the right amount of cheese… It was then that I came to a few horrible realisations.
After less than a day of inhabiting my body, Yarfush already knew me completely. He knew my personal tastes, he knew my favourite television shows, and he knew all my favourite clothes. He even knew of my fantasies, my dreams, and he would make that known by commenting on them, telling me how I couldn’t achieve them. I didn’t appreciate his brutal honesty, and I quickly found myself cowering in some dark corner in my head, trying desperately to forget what was happening.
But I couldn’t close my eyes. I saw what he saw, I felt what he felt. I felt his pain when he caught his finger on a pin in perfect detail, but I could not tend to the injury myself.
Perhaps the worst thing was that he actually started to know me better than I knew myself. He saw all my qualities, he saw all my potential, and he could judge it like I couldn’t. I used to judge my own ability behind a wall of biases. Guilt and pride often shaped my opinions of myself, things that Yarfush did not have to pay attention to. It was a horrible feeling. I felt tiny, insignificant, a guest in my own head with nowhere else to go.
This was a torture that I never thought was possible. I never thought it would be this soul-destroying.
And it had only been a day. I thought of people like Howson, people who had been hosts for years. How could they possibly cope with such a hopeless life? How could Howson go down to those filthy cages every three days and manage a single comforting smile?
My screams for freedom from Yarfush stopped that night. They were pointless, simply dividing myself from the only thing that was now personal to me. I had lost my wife, my home, and my body. All I had now was Yarfush.
<Now you are beginning to understand.> He said, unravelling me from my thoughts. We were sat in the living room, watching another awful game show. Brenda was on the opposite side of the sofa.
<How can you do this?> I asked glumly. <How can you put people through such torture?>
Yarfush sighed. <I understand why you feel that way, Steven. Believe me, I do. But this is what we must do. This is how Yeerks live now. This is how we have progressed. You seem to think that I take great pleasure in your suffering, that I enjoy hearing your cries and your begging. I don’t, Steven. Some do, but I don’t. You don’t seem to understand that if I don’t take your body and fulfil my orders, my life will end. This isn’t just my job, this is my life.>
I sighed, depressed at being unable to convince him. How could I persuade him if his life depended on suppressing mine? I slumped further into my own head, drowning myself in my own self-pity. My life was over, and though Yarfush felt an extent of sympathy towards it, he showed me no mercy. He would drink coffee, watch my favourite TV shows, and grant me other trivial things that I enjoyed, but without my freedom, it all meant nothing, and it only reminded me of the things that I had lost.
There was nothing that could console me, and Yarfush stopped his half-hearted attempts at trying. I was merely a voice in his head now, nothing more than the occasional annoyance. A lot of the time, I wanted to keep it that way. I didn’t want to be there anymore. Death would be a welcome release.
Yarfush slept well that night. I didn’t. The feeling of being awake while your body is essentially asleep is a strange one. My body was almost completely still and unmoving, while my mind struggled to find comfort. Despite the lack of energy, I simply couldn’t sleep.
This was the rest of my life, and I was slowly beginning to accept it.

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:50 am

Chapter 17!

FanFiction Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/17/Twig


Chapter 17

It wasn’t long before Yarfush had to return to the underground Yeerk complex to feed. It was the weekend, so I didn’t have to go to work, but Yarfush had arranged to accompany Decran down there, so we had to wait until she finished her work hours.
Decran had been nervous. At least, that’s what she told Yarfush. She was unsure about what kind of post she would be handed, and she was certain that the decision would be made today. After feeding, she had to meet up with a sub-Visser to receive orders. It wouldn’t be a place on the front lines, and she got the feeling that her assignment would require dropping her current human job to work in a recruitment position elsewhere. Either that or she would be granted a job down in the base, which would require that she spend most of her time in that hell. It could mean that I would rarely see her, if at all.
To be honest, I didn’t really care. I couldn’t stand seeing Decran, knowing that somewhere inside, Brenda was crying, screaming, pleading for escape. It shook me to my core.
So Decran returned home at around seven o’clock, and as soon as she arrived, we left for the base. We took the car and drove into town to a new pool entrance, one that had easier access for two low-level human controllers.
Controllers. That’s what we were.
That’s what Yarfush told me, anyway.
We parked up outside the cinema on the edge of town and entered the large building. Yarfush led the way to the public restrooms, where a couple of entrances had been placed inside two out-of-order cubicles. We separated into our respective restrooms, and when no one was looking, Yarfush opened up the cubicle and we stood inside. Under the sink was a small switch. There was also one hidden in the paper holder. When switched together, the back wall of the cubicle shuddered and opened. With a few audible squeaks, the entire wall disappeared, unveiling a deep dark staircase, much narrower than the last one I had seen.
We descended, the wall closing behind us. Like last time, the staircase was illuminated with a deep red lighting. The steps spiralled down and emerged into the horrible cavern, Decran appearing from a neighbouring tunnel shortly after us.
Our Yeerks had been assigned to different stations. Decran had to make her way to Station 6, whereas I had to go to Station 2, so we instantly had to part ways. Decran went right, Yarfush went left.
It was a long and soul-destroying trip to Station 2. We passed by several stations, each with its own host caging area. The caged hosts reacted as normal to passing controllers, their cries and begging digging right down into my heart. Yarfush tried to hide his own pity, but it was almost as noticeable as mine.
That was a strange revelation that I had uncovered over the few days that we had known each other. Yarfush, despite his job, his loyalty and his pride in his own species, hated these walks just as much as I did. He had been walking through this Yeerk pool for years, and had acclimatised to it, but he still felt a slight sense of injustice. It was only his duty keeping him loyal to those who imposed such torture.
We headed straight for the drop-off pier. There was a line present, but it died down quickly. Our turn arrived soon.
<Well, Steven,> Yarfush said, after almost complete silence since we arrived in the base. <You will have a few hours to yourself. I’m sure that you won’t miss me.>
<I will miss you about as much as I miss contracting a fever.>
<I thought as much.> He grumbled. <I will see you in a few hours. Not literally, of course.>
He knelt my body over the pier and turned my head so that I was facing to the right. There was a horrible, squelchy sensation as Yarfush began to make his way out.
Suddenly, I had control. He had loosened himself from my brain. I could move my hands, my legs, my head, but after three days without such luxuries, my movement was slow and clumsy. I couldn’t form words with my lips, I couldn’t lift my body from the deck. I could have moved my head, if a Hork-Bajir claw hadn’t just secured it in place.
There was pain as Yarfush squeezes his way through my ear, and I could see his horrible, slimy body in the corner of my eye. By now, I was regaining the ability to effectively control my body, but it was still too sluggish to lift a hand up and grab at him. It wouldn’t matter anyway, because as time went on, the Hork-Bajir were slowly securing my body, now grabbing my arms in case of such a rebellion.
Yarfush dropped from ear and splashed into the rusty pool liquid, and my new captors lifted me to my feet. I had regained enough control now to curse his name and spit mucus into the pool. I didn’t have the energy to struggle in the Hork-Bajir grasp, not that I would have been able to achieve much, anyway.
Two new Hork-Bajir took over and walked me to my cell. I threw a few choice insults at them, but the Yeerks were professional enough to ignore me.
They opened up B-68 and pushed me lightly inside, quick to lock the cage door behind me.
I did not dart for the bars to pass on a few bitter insults. Now that I had my own tear ducts back, I just sat in a corner and cried.
I was not a person who would ever usually cried. I never allowed myself to. But after the horrible last three days, the emotion had all built up behind Yarfush’s controlling barrier, and now that he was gone, the pressure was being released. I cried like a child, pulling my knees to my chest and folding my arms over my head.
It was undignified, and I didn’t quite feel like myself. After enough tears were released, I stifled what remained and rubbed at my sore eyes, uncurling myself from my isolated ball and finally taking a look around my new home.
“Welcome back, Steven.”
Howson was here again, sat at the opposite end of the cage, partially hidden by the shadows of the bars. He bore a sorrowful smile. He had watched my little breakdown and waited for it to end before he spoke.
I looked at him as a greeting, too ashamed to utter any words. Instead, I gave him a polite nod.
There was someone else here as well. Sat to Howson’s close right was a Hork-Bajir, almost completely lost in the shadows, but the intimidating form was unmistakable.
“It’s tough.” Howson spoke. “Ain’t nothing tougher.”
I nodded and finally replied. “I can’t… I don’t know what I should do.”
“There’s nothing you can do.” Howson stated bitterly. “This is our life now.”
I wiped away a rogue tear from my cheek and slumped back against the bars. “It’s only been three days… I don’t think I could survive another.”
Howson kept his eyes on me, a pitying gaze. “I felt exactly the same way, Steven. And yet here I am, three years on.”
“How do I cope?” I asked, practically begging.
“There is no general rule, Steven. We each need to find our own way.” He sighed and readjusted his body on the cold, uncomfortable floor. “Some of us compromise. We find any common ground that we can. We take any comfort that we can get.”
“I understand that.” I replied. “Yarfush… The Yeerk tries to convince me. He lets me watch TV, he lets me eat my favourite foods and does things as I wish for them to be done. But… it’s not me. I’m not doing those things. My wife is there, but… that creature isn’t my wife. He takes me to work and… and…” I couldn’t really bring myself to admit it, but Howson was looking at me expectantly. “He does it all so much better.”
Howson looked glum, “A lot of people feel that way, at first.”
“You mean it will change?” I grumbled.
“It usually does. No one is better at playing you than you yourself. The Yeerks operate without the sense of personal self that comes with a host, and at first, they are able to bypass all of your emotions that would get in your way. But they soon succumb to it themselves.”
I shook my head. “I don’t understand.”
“The Yeerks are able to push those emotions aside, but they become a part of the Yeerks, Steven. They spend so long in your head that they become a part of you. Your emotion becomes their emotion. Your mental barriers become theirs. Soon enough, your Yeerk will develop the same emotional states as you. It becomes like a clone.”
“This happened to you?”
“It happens to all of us, Steven.” He smiled. “The Yeerk will still follow orders, will still oppress and torture you, but you will become more attached over time. You become one living being.”
I sat in silence, contemplating that. It seemed so awful, becoming so finely in tune with Yarfush that we both knew each other inside out, operating like one single being. Would that really make things any easier? I doubted it, but I trusted Howson enough to accept it for now.
“Do you ever see your family?” I brought up to Howson. “I mean, without the Yeerks in their heads? Do you ever get to talk to them.”
Howson seemed to start his answer, but then he hesitated and stopped himself. I looked up curiously to him, then to the Hork-Bajir who was sat to his right. It’s red, slit eyes were staring back at me.
Seeing our eyes connecting, Howson thought it was best to introduce us. “Steven, this is Hap Damal. She has been sharing this cage with me for over a year.” Then, to the Hork-Bajir, “Hap, this is Steven Reynolds. He’s new.”
There was no handshake, nor any sort of formal greeting. Hap looked down to the floor and clutched her knees against her chest, resigning herself to the dark corner.
I raised an eyebrow to Howson. “Your friend is quiet.”
Howson shot me a look like I had said something wrong, like I should stay quiet on the matter. I raised my hands in apology. Obviously, the Hork-Bajir was not up for talking.
“Is there anyone else who comes to this cage?” I asked Howson, putting the awkward introduction aside.
He nodded. “Three, including Hap. Two more humans, but I don’t see them as often. I’m sure you’ll meet them soon enough.”
Three days ago, I would have laughed that off, certain that I could find some way out. Now, I simply agreed and began to imagine what the two people would be like.
Once again, I felt utterly defeated.
The following hours passed in much the same way as last time. As I sat in the cage feeling sorry for myself, Howson found comfort in giving it to others around us. The base was busier today, and every cage around us housed at least two hosts each. The noise was again deafening, and I was still not quite used to it.
The time alone in the cage allowed me time to think. For the past three days, Yarfush was always there; my thoughts constantly surveyed and commented upon. I had no secrecy, no privacy. I was afraid of thinking personal thoughts.
Now I could summarise the situation in my head without Yarfush around to haunt me, but the more I thought about it, the more depressed I became. I found myself gazing subconsciously through the metal bars, over at Station 6. Maybe Brenda was doing the same. Maybe she was sat in silence, running every confused thought through her head. Or maybe she was like most of the others: Screaming, pleading her captors for mercy.
Tears were welling up in my eyes again, but I held them back and tried to remain strong. My emotions would not be allowed to get the better of me.
Howson noticed me sat up against the bars and knelt by my side. “Hey, man.”
“Howson.” I greeted nonchalantly.
“You know, ain’t nothing wrong about screaming like a baby.”
I huffed and looked in the opposite direction. “I don’t need to.”
“I see it in you.” He stated. “It’s obvious to everyone that you’re just bottling it all up. It’s not healthy.”
“I don’t need to!” I repeated angrily.
“I told you before, Steven.” Howson sighed. “These are the only times you get to speak for yourself. The only time. Don’t waste it in your own personal bubble, ‘cos it ain’t going to help.”
“I don’t want to talk!” I seethed. “I’ve had that damn Yeerk in my head for three days. I want time to myself!”
He kept his voice down, wary of those around us. “It would be better if you talked about it, Steven.”
“Talk about what, Howson?” I snapped. “Talk about how I’m a prisoner in my own home?! Talk about how I’ve lost my wife to some filthy Yeerk?! Should I tell you about how I lie awake while my body sleeps, sitting in bed wondering if I can ever be myself again?! How about I talk about having to sit in some dirty cage every three days, my only hours of freedom listening to hundreds of people screaming and crying and wanting to die?! My life isn’t worth living anymore, nor is it worth making it any worse by listening to everyone else’s problems!”
I turned to face Howson and stopped. He was looking at me angrily, the first time I had really seen such disgust in his eyes. It drew my attention to the Hork-Bajir who had remained quietly in the corner this whole time. She was growling.
“Human shut up!” Hap boomed from her corner.
Howson rushed to Hap’s side and tried to calm her down, but she wasn’t going to let it slip.
“Human think things so bad! Human think that nothing worse!” She barked in that typical guttural Hork-Bajir tone. “Human think that human live in hell. But human still have home!”
Howson continued trying to stop this rant. He tried to pat her on the shoulder or divert her furious gaze, but she gently pushed him aside.
“Human come here for few hours, then go home. Go home to eat human food, watch human picture box. Human have own bed! Have family at home, too. See family. Still hope for family, still touch family. Live in comfort! Still do things that make human happy! Yet human still complain!”
I grew angry myself at such an outburst, and opened my mouth to shout her back down, but a Hork-Bajir voice wins over a human voice any day.
“Human have those things. What does Hap have? Hap have no home. Yeerk makes Hap eat sawdust and pills. Hap never sit in trees. Hap not even have bed! Sleep on cold, wet floor when not in cage.” I saw a tear or two drip from her furious eyes. “Human have family, but Hap have no family. Hap family all die or lost. Hap made to have kawatnoj… child. Give child name, love child. Yeerks take child away from Hap. Never see again.”
My own fury diminished, and I found myself searching for the appropriate response, but Hap had still not finished. Her eyes dropped to the ground, refusing to look at mine.
“Yeerk make Hap spend all time underground, pushing friend’s heads under pool water. Hap cry to Yeerk to stop, but Yeerk say “Hap stupid, Hap stop complaining”…” Her tone quietened and softened to a bitter, spiteful whisper. “Now Yeerk changed. New Yeerk for Hap. Hap… go to front line. Fight. Die. Hap going to die.” Her eyes darted back to me “That is why Hap is quiet.”
Now the tears were flowing freely, the anger subsided. She shoved herself back into her corner and curled into a ball. Howson shook his head at me, disappointed, and then went to her side to comfort.
I was frozen in place, not sure whether to express confusion at some unjust outburst against me, or whether to be disgusted with myself for my self-important attitude. I honestly felt that I was in the worst position imaginable. I thought it could get no worse.
But Hap was right. I didn’t know the half of it. I had been so self-obsessed and stubborn that I couldn’t see that there were those worse off than myself. The outburst wasn’t unjust. I needed to realise that I still had some hope. I still had small things from my own life to hold onto. Many others had nothing.
I was disgusted with myself, even more so when Hap was taken away.
Howson comforted her right up until her last moments in the cage. He hugged her, held her hand, and she had eventually calmed.
“I’m sorry.” I said to Howson after she had gone.
He knew that I had become riddled with guilt, and after his initial infuriation at me, he had signalled his forgiveness. “It’s okay, man. You’re new here. You’ll learn how to channel your emotions.”
I shook my head, still not completely satisfied with my apology. “I didn’t know things could get that bad.”
Howson smiled. It was a sad smile. “You’re right. You didn’t know. Now you do.”
“Will she ever come back?” I asked gently.
“I doubt it.” He said, his eyes lowering to the steel floor. “The front line is a death sentence for the Hork-Bajir. They bear the brunt of the Andalite bandit attacks. Hap will probably die.”
I felt sick, and I once again found myself cursing the Yeerks under my breath.
For the first time that I had witnessed, Howson shed his share of tears. It was subtle, barely noticeable, but they were there.
Howson soon left to receive his refreshed Yeerk. I spent the next hour or so talking to those in neighbouring cages, comforting and being comforted in the hopes and fears of others.
I felt better that way.

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:46 pm

Chapter 18!

FanFiction Link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/18/Twig


Chapter 18

Monday again.
As usual, Yarfush was to spend the day impersonating me almost flawlessly, and now that my body was recovering and falling back into a sensible sleeping pattern, he found it much easier. As did I.
I remained quieter since the weekend. There was no way I could stay sane if I pushed him away and tried to pretend he wasn’t there. I had to put up with him. I even became less sarcastic, less bitter at his complete control over me. I was still acrimonious of course, and I would have given anything for my body and my life back, but while he was here, residing in my head, I had no choice but to keep things civil.
Today went smoother than regular Mondays. Despite my unending hatred of Yarfush, I couldn’t deny his intellect and, I hate to admit, his willingness to keep me happy. At least, as happy as a master can keep his slave. He treated me to coffee whenever I wanted it. He put programmes on the television that I would normally enjoy watching.
On Sunday, we watched the football, and he cheered along with me.
My head was spinning. How could one be both a horrible, merciless torturer and a friendly, generous benefactor, at the same time? I supposed that it was a compromise he had to make, something that would benefit the both of us in the long run.
Today, Yarfush was deep in consideration. He was distant, almost troubled.
<You’re quiet.> I told him as the last morning appointment came to an end.
<I am.> He agreed. <Things are changing. Things that I feel I may have to adapt to.>
He had been like this since he received his last briefing from his sub-Visser. Obviously, he felt like something big was going to affect him in the near future, but he refused to tell me what it was.
<And…> I mumbled. <Are you going to tell me?>
<You have asked me that on multiple occasions, Steven. I will not tell you until I know that it will affect us. It is not something that I wish for you to share with your fellow cage peers. It is nothing to concern you, and be sure that it probably isn’t a big deal. It isn’t important.>
I sensed sincerity in his voice, and I decided to drop it. <Alright then. If that’s the case, there must be something else on your mind.>
<Yes, there is.> He replied, removing himself from the office desk and heading out of the door.
I expected him to grab a coffee from the staff lounge and converse with Johnson. But he wasn’t heading in that direction, nor was he heading in the direction of David’s top-floor laboratory or to any other work-peers office. Instead, we were heading for the main office.
We were heading for my boss, Dan McGregor’s office.
<Why are we going there?> I asked, sounding perhaps a little panicked.
<Do you remember what I promised you on the day we met?> He responded, speaking like I was being an idiot. <I told you that I would get you a promotion.>
<No chance.> I grumbled. <You expect to walk into his office, plead for a raise, and Dan would somehow give it to you? I thought you could read my mind! You should know that Dan is tighter than a fly’s ass.>
<I don’t expect that.> He said, a hint of confidence in his voice.
<Wait, what are you going to do?>
Yarfush was silent again. He came to Dan’s office door and knocked. That was where the politeness ended.
Dan was sat in his office chair, a computer buzzing to his left, and several neatly stacked piles of paper to his right. He was a tall man, eleven years older than me. His black hair was greying on the sides, showing signs of receding. He wore a clean white shirt and deep red tie, the tip of which he fiddled compulsively in his left hand. He was on the phone, his right hand lifting it to his ear. As we stomped into the office, he gave us a nod, indicating for us to take a seat until his phone call was over.
Maybe I expected a calm discussion, for Yarfush to calmly take a seat and wait for Dan to finish his call. I certainly didn’t expect him to grab the phone from Dan’s ear and slam it down onto the receiver.
“What the hell, Steven?!” Dan boomed, getting up from his seat. “Have you got a screw loose?!”
“Sit!”
I had never heard my voice carry such ferocity in just a single order. Dan went wide-eyed and slowly sat back down.
<Yarfush?! What are you doing?!> I shrieked. <You want a promotion or do you want to be arrested?>
<Leave this to me, Steven.> He huffed, and then to Dan. “McGregor, we have known each other for a few years now, correct?”
I couldn’t quite pinpoint Dan’s expression. It was somewhere between shock, anger, confusion and fear.
“Yes, Steven…” He stammered. “A few years now.”
Yarfush made me nod, placing my hands on the edge of the desk and leaning in towards Dan, who shrunk back into his seat. “And how many times have my favours for you been repaid? How has all my hard work been rewarded?”
“What is this all about, Steven?” Dan said, forcing a nervous laugh.
“This is about the fact that for the last few years, I and my wife have had to live off of the pittance that you give me for slaving away in this horrible dump that you run.”
His nervous laugh retreated. “You… want a raise? Is that what you want?”
Yarfush grinned, almost threateningly. “I do not want a raise. I will have a raise.”
There was an unsettling period when they just stared into each other’s eyes. A non-verbal battle of will.
Dan’s nervous laugh returned. “Okay, Steven, okay…” He reached a shaking hand forward on the desk for a pen and a sticky-note pad. “You’re right. You have worked here long enough, I suppose.”
I could sense the hatred steaming from him as he wrote a few notes on the pad. Yarfush kept a close eye on him, spying on what he wrote. He seemed satisfied.
Dan sighed and stuck the note to the bottom of the computer screen. “Ten percent…” He said, conceding. “A ten percent raise. That’s all you get.” He seethed.
Yarfush huffed. “Good. I’m glad that we could come to an understanding.”
Dan looked defeated. He pursed his lips and fiddled with his pen. “I must make some phone calls. Thank you for coming.” It was a typical line that Dan used to excuse people from his office, said this time with considerably more vigour.
We exited his office and headed down to the staff lounge for a well-earned coffee. I was still in shock at what I had just witnessed.
Yarfush had done it. I had been given a raise. His method was one that I would never have thought of, and never, ever would have considered trying.
But Yarfush was a Yeerk. He lived within a maze of promotions and military struggles. This would have been a tactic he had picked up over the years in the much more hostile environment of war. Perhaps, to him, force was the only way to get through to people. It certainly worked on Dan in a way I never thought possible.
<He is a coward.> Yarfush interjected. <There is only one way to convince a coward effectively, and that is aggression. Put them in a corner, and they will concede to anything.>
I didn’t know whether to thank him for keeping his promise, or to berate him for utilising such a brutal method that could put me on bad terms with my boss.
<I think you should thank me.> Yarfush commented, continuing to read my thoughts. <Is that not what you wanted? A raise?>
<Yes.> I admitted. <I wanted a raise.>
I sighed to myself, partly relieved, partly annoyed that he could do something in under a minute that I had failed to do in years.
We returned home at about six o’clock and started tonight’s dinner. It was nothing special, just chicken and mashed potatoes.
I always thought that, on the day I finally got a raise, I would treat Brenda to one of my more ambitious, exotic meals. But it was Yarfush and Decran who would be talking over the meal. They were neither close, and nor would they really care. Maybe Yarfush would bring it up as a side-note, but I doubted that it would bring Brenda much relief.
In the spare moments that we had before Decran would return, Yarfush made phone calls to local plasterers and painters. He was going to redecorate the house. Before, he had his own plans, but now it seemed that I had a say in the matter.
<Beige? Really? Just keep it white. I like it that way.> I urged him.
<I’m just trying to add some colour.> He countered. <But hey, you’re the human. You’re the ones who spend so much time fussing over such trivial things. I just thought maybe you would like something a little more interesting.>
<I like white.> I grumbled.
<Fine.> He conceded. <White it is.>
He finished up the call. Painters and decorators would be invading our home sometime next week, something which I wasn’t looking forward to. This house rarely saw visitors since Twig had been introduced.
<You really should have left him outside.> Yarfush said, once again reading into and interrupting my stream of thought.
<For you Yeerks to come along and make him just another prisoner?> I snapped.
Yarfush exhaled through my mouth. <We didn’t need to. You did that perfectly well yourselves.>
I paused and considered what he said. <Wait, what do you mean?>
<You held that Hork-Bajir prisoner, Steven. A slave.>
<We did not!> I spat defensively.
Yarfush chuckled to himself. <Was he ever allowed outside, Steven? Did he ever play in the trees like any free Hork-Bajir should? Or did he mope around your cramped little house, barely able to stand up straight?> He craned our neck to gaze up at one of the dents in the ceiling where Twig’s headblades had hit. <I mean, for God’s sake Steven, you made him do your housework! No wonder this place is such a mess.>
<Whatever punishment we may have forced on him is nothing compared to the torture you would have put him through. We cared for him, gave him a home. He had a family.> I growled.
Yarfush smiled. <It was punishment, nonetheless. We are no more slave holders than you, Steven. Your pitiful race is just as willing to hold someone prisoner as we Yeerks are.>
I scowled internally, annoyed at his insistence. I couldn’t believe, for a minute, that what we did even came close to comparison to what the Yeerks were doing. Yarfush once again read my thoughts, and laughed it off. He tried to take my mind off of it by preparing dinner. It was ready as Decran hustled through the front door.
They ate dinner together. The food was average, and Decran seemed just as tense as Yarfush had. I got the feeling that Decran had received the same briefing from her respective sub-Visser.
It wasn’t like the Yeerks were nervous or edgy, but like they expected great shifts would arise soon. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Things were stranger still, as Decran was still to receive an assignment, which she claimed was due to uncertainty about the placement of current hosts. This, I assumed, was connected to the mysterious briefing in some way.
Yarfush and Decran then retired to the living room, indulging in yet another mindless television show. Tonight was little different, however. Thy cracked open a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses. I don’t think it was so much of a celebration, but more of a pleasure that they simply wished to enjoy.
This was not the first time Yarfush had been exposed to alcohol, of course, but Decran was unused to the sensations that occurred after a couple of wine glasses. She complained about the sensations to Yarfush, who would laugh and tell her that it was perfectly normal.
Soon enough, after a few glasses of wine each, they were just a little tipsy. They stopped drinking there, knowing that they had work tomorrow, but their conversations took on more and more personal tones as time went on. It was gossip, more than anything else. Yarfush had a few enemies in the pool, as did Decran, and they wholeheartedly indulged in expressing their anger and petty envy of some of their higher-ups. They had a few choice words about Visser One, who they both seemed to know quite well. Yarfush, rather thankfully, informed me that they knew him from reputation, and not on a personal level.
Then the conversation shifted in a direction that I had been worried about during the course of the evening. Yarfush wanted to talk about me.
“For the last few years, he’s been chasing promotion.” He began. “I managed to get us a raise today. That should be helpful when it comes to redecoration.”
I saw no smile from Decran, like I would have expected from Brenda. Instead, she nodded formally. “I am sure that has pleased your host to some extent. My own host, however, is refusing to back down. She wishes not to accept her fate. She still screams.”
I felt certain that those statements were more aimed towards Brenda as spite. Before, I would have been furious at the horrible, inconsiderate comments. Today, however, I released whatever rage built up by asking Yarfush to move the conversation away from that specific area.
He paused, clumsily putting down the empty wine glass that he had been holding. I was relieved when he moved the conversation to a more comfortable subject, but I couldn’t help but feel that he had ignored my request, and was moving the subject on his own accord. “We have people coming to the house next week to fix up all the holes and do some painting. My host insisted on white walls.”
Decran laughed. “My host doesn’t want us to touch anything.” She turned Brenda’s head to look over at her Mother’s clock. “We should get rid of that old thing.”
“Now, now, Decran.” Yarfush smirked. “You know that the humans treasure that clock. My host would not forgive us if that clock were gone.”
Decran smiled and adjusted in her seat to better face Yarfush. “I tell you what we could get rid of. This host received a load of clothes from yours a few months ago. She can’t stand them”
My heart sank a little. Brenda always told me that she loved those clothes. Had she lied to me the whole time?
Yarfush laughed, also adjusting to face Decran, one leg folding up onto to sofa. “Oh really? My host didn’t know that.” Then he twisted my face into a devious grin. “He bought them cheap. They were second hand.”
<Yarfush!> I shouted in disgust. Then I froze (as much as I could without my own body). Suddenly, I saw where this conversation was headed. <Yarfush, please stop this.>
He ignored me and paid his attention purely to Decran.
“Well you know what? My host can’t stand yours.” Decran murmured nonchalantly. “She doesn’t always have to work till seven, but she stays there, simply to avoid coming home.”
Another knife in my chest that sent me reeling. That couldn’t be true. What had I ever done that could make her hate me so much that she would actively avoid being around me?
This was no longer a conversation between our Yeerks. They were trying to humiliate us.
<Yarfush, stop this right now!> I yelled. <Don’t say anything else!>
His voice rang from my mouth. “My host had an affair for two years.”
There it was. My one big secret spilt out casually over a glass of wine. The thing that had cursed me and held me in shackles of guilt for such a long time, mumbled in such a trivial manner.
Brenda… Decran smiled.
“My host is disturbed.” She simply said.
“She remembers Cindy, I presume.” Yarfush continued.
“Yes. She does.”
<Yarfush…> I cried, now at the point of begging. <Don’t. Take it back. Tell her it was a lie!>
But it didn’t matter anymore. Brenda had always had her suspicions, though they had died down over the last year. The accusations soon disappeared too.
Now, they would all come back. But I would never hear them. I would never be able to explain myself to her.
I felt completely and utterly destroyed.
How could Yarfush betray me like that? How could he simply throw out such a big secret in such a casual setting?
Then I realised. He was drunk. His words were slurred, his body… our body was swaying ever so slightly as we sat up straight.
My hope of eventually saving Brenda and reuniting our relationship was obliterated, lost due to the excess consumption of wine.
<Yarfush…> I whined. <Take us away. Take us to bed, I don’t want to see her anymore.>
Yarfush was now beginning to show signs of regret. Of course, by now, it was too late for regret. His sinister grin had long since dropped, and now he turned our head away from Decran.
“I wish to sleep.” He mumbled. “I’m sure you do, too.”
Decran agreed, her voice similarly faltering. Brenda was giving her a rough time. I could tell.
They both stood, averting their gazes, and began to put things away for the night before they went to separate beds.
We interrupt your scheduled programme to bring you a special news bulletin
Yarfush and Decran, in the midst of putting away the wine, stopped and watched as the late night television game show was suddenly halted. The screen flashed, commanding attention.
It flickered and changed. There was now a reporter on the screen, a microphone held to her suspiciously downturned mouth. Around her, cameras flashed incessantly. She must have belonged to one of the major news stations.
Beside her stood another woman who was instantly recognisable. She looked just as rough as I felt.
It was our state governor, and she had some big news.

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:10 pm

Chapter 19!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/19/Twig


Chapter 19

The Governor’s message was loud and clear. The Yeerks had been found out, their secret invasion revealed. There would be scepticism at first, something which the Governor admitted, but now there was video evidence, and too many witnesses to ignore. The whole world would know about the Yeerk invasion.
Yarfush and Decran didn’t quite believe the news at first. They thought it was some effect of the alcohol, but once they had made a few phone calls, they began to panic. I could sense Yarfush’s anxiousness, and though I was glad of the news, I was also worried about how this would eventually affect us.
Yarfush phoned a few superiors, desperate to receive some orders, some instruction in where to go or what to do. Eventually, he got through to his sub-Visser.
We were ordered to head to the underground base immediately.
Yarfush and Decran packed a few essentials into a large backpack and we were soon on our way to the cinema. We arrived in a car park that was bustling with clueless human controllers. It seemed that a great number had been recalled to the great underground base for whatever reason.
No one cared for secrecy anymore. The secret was out, so there was no need for subtlety. Everyone headed straight for the base entrances and queued to get down the narrow stairways.
The base was in a state of anxiety. Sub-Vissers stood on podiums in front of their squadrons and barked out complex series of orders. Steel plates rose up around the Yeerk pool to stop people falling in as they ran around like headless chickens.
No one knew what to do, and the orders from the Visser were slow to arrive. Yarfush and Decran were parted instantly and headed for their respective stations. We made our way through human controllers shouting down handheld phones and Hork-Bajir controllers trying to keep everyone under control. Taxxons were ordered into empty buildings in case of any accidents that would send them into a riot.
We reached our station. The Sub-Visser in charge of our recruitment sector then gathered us outside one of the barracks.
“Listen up!” The blond-haired woman shouted from atop a soap box. “The humans have revealed the invasion! I have therefore been ordered to relieve you all of your recruitment duties! You must remain down here in the base until you are given further orders!”
Yarfush was now even more nervous than before. I suddenly got the feeling that our next assignment wouldn’t be so cosy.
<It won’t be.> He intruded my thought. <Recruitment requires that the humans are completely unaware of our presence. Now that they know we’re here, we have no choice but to take the humans by force.>
<And what does that mean for us?> I asked.
He paused, and then said, <Are you any good with a gun, Steven?>
I would have gulped if I could. This is exactly what I had feared. Now that humans wouldn’t come willingly, and the world’s military forces would be actively seeking us out, it made sense that we would be armed and prepared to fight.
All of us.
The Sub-Visser continued to scream out improvised orders. Other sub-Vissers were slowly gathering their troops, and the base was beginning to calm. Orders from Visser One were now coming through more clearly. We were to prepare for all-out war.
We were handed weapons. Not human weapons, but handheld Dracon beams. They were unfamiliar, but worked in essentially the same way.
Obviously, with the base so busy, there was nowhere to practise. The Yeerks were not fully prepared for this situation, and so we would not be prepared either. I was told how to turn the weapon to safety mode, how to adjust the beam power. How to stun. How to kill. That was all I would learn.
Somewhere, Brenda was receiving the same orders. I feared for her more than ever.
<So what now?> I demanded of Yarfush as our squadron was disbanded.
<We wait for more orders.> Yarfush growled. <We will either stay in the Yeerk pool, or we will be sent to reinforce some outpost somewhere. We will be safer if we stay here. Your country’s military will already be searching for Yeerk bases. They will probably be lost quite quickly.>
I felt a sudden wave of satisfaction, and I decided to express it with a taunting sneer. <Do you fear loss, Yarfush? Can this little base survive the largest military in the world?>
He snorted in return. <We are not just this one base, Steven. We will win.>
The next few hours were spent roaming the base with nothing to do. We still had not received our orders. Yarfush did a few odd-jobs here and there, mostly moving human hosts to the piers to be reinfested or transporting small goods to the barracks. The mindless chores that Yarfush had to complete took his full attention, and allowed me to picture several scenarios that could play out, were the military to attack. Not many of them ended well.
If an attack occurred, it was Yarfush’s duty to resist and push back any oncoming forces. He would be in the firing line, and so would I. I could die in a fight that I had no intention of being in. That was the case for pretty much all the hosts here. Innocent lives would be lost.
That’s war, I suppose.
The sub-Visser eventually gathered us back around the barracks. Everyone under her control was here now, not just the recruitment sector. She was dishing out our new assingments.
I was relieved to find out that we would be staying here. Some unfortunate groups were to be sent out to reinforce small bases elsewhere that would be the first to fall under military fire, but those groups mostly consisted on hosts trained for combat.
Yarfush was equally satisfied with the orders, but also frustrated that we would have little to do for an undetermined amount of time. Our new assignment meant that we would occasionally be sent out on small errands around town, maybe to collect supplies or to aid in rounding up new hosts, but apart from that, we would be wandering aimlessly around this hellish complex.
Visser One had released some new orders to deal with the new situation. We were to revert to what was essentially a Plan B: Take as many humans for hosts as we could find. Squadrons would be sent out to raid houses, schools, community halls and round up every uninfested human they could find. Prisoners would be sent down to subway stations, where the trains would drop them off right by the base. There was no need now for subtlety or pickiness, so they would take as many hosts as they could find.
Hosts were being shuffled in cages to make extra room, and I was informed that I would now be moved from cell B-68 to B-31 the next time Yarfush had to feed. The number of hosts per cage was raised from six to eight, which made for a lot of cramped, unhappy hosts. Yarfush put up with their moans for as long as possible, but a punch to the arm from a frustrated human finally made him lose his temper. He lashed out, catching the man in the face through the bars. He was reprimanded by his Sub-Visser and made to transport stock between station nurseries.
This job required making several trips to neighbouring stations. Since the new orders were established, all base nurseries were to be emptied, and the contents moved to smaller nurseries situated in stations 2 and 8. The extra space created was going to be used as weapon storage.
Yarfush moaned the entire time. It was the most frustrated I had ever known him to be. Then again, carrying heavy boxes filled with Taxxon eggs past hundreds of cages of crying hosts didn’t exactly make me feel the greatest level of comfort, either.
We handed over the egg boxes to human controllers in the new nurseries, who placed them in incubators. Every trip was long, and moving back and forth eventually took its toll on my body. Yarfush needed a drink, so we stepped next door once we had dropped off our seventh box. It was a small building much like a diner. Tables were dotted around the room, and a cafeteria stood at the far end. Extra controllers were brought in to deal with the excess numbers of customers, but it still took an awfully long time for us to reach the front of the queue. Yarfush ordered a large coffee and a ham sandwich.
The refreshments helped to calm Yarfush’s nerves, but he was still dangerously close to pulling my hair out. His fears of great change were coming true. No longer was he in a cushy office job, advertising community meetings of The Sharing. Now the threat of war hung over his head, and the worrying realisation that getting caught in a firing line was now a great possibility. He didn’t want to die, and the thought of it was sending him through a vicious cycle of emotions.
He took his time with the coffee, unwilling to get back to work, but also fearing the wrath of his sub-Visser if he refused to carry out his duty. There was still a lot to be moved from the nurseries, so he took the long trip to Station 11 to transport the last of the Taxxon eggs to their new incubation units.
A large box was handed to us, and we were ordered to be quick so that they could begin moving Hork-Bajir cubs. We exited the old nursery and headed southwards to Station 8 where the box was to be dropped off.
We were dragging our way past the Station 11 host cages, where several Hork-Bajir controllers were reshuffling hosts to new cells in order to make extra room.
Something slammed us. A scuffle had broken out involving a couple of hosts who decided to rebel, and they had charged a Hork-Bajir who consequently stumbled back into us. Yarfush almost lost his footing, and was barely able to save the egg box from smashing on the ground.
“Watch it, you bumbling fool!” He yelled at the Hork-Bajir.
“Then stay out of the way, human.” The controller hissed back.
Yarfush regained his composure and turned to issue some half-hearted threat to the clumsy controller. They stood face to face, and an eerie silence befell them.
The Hork-Bajir was of an average height, but his blades were noticeably blunted on his arms and legs. He bore horrible scars over his torso, about five in total that looked curiously like bullet wounds. His face was one that I recognised well.
Twig?
Yarfush was shocked, as was the Hork-Bajir. For a brief moment, a look of terror spread over his face, and his left eye twitched. He shook his head, and the angered face of the Yeerk reappeared.
“Get away from here.” He seethed. Then he turned, flicked his tail in anger and rushed away, dutifully returning to his job.
Yarfush did the same, shaking away the shock of the moment and turned in the direction of Station 8.
<That was Twig!> I told him, as if he hadn’t already figured that out. <He’s alive!>
<Forget it, Steven.> Yarfush ordered, trying to appear unfazed. <It doesn’t matter.>
I was too shocked to leave the matter unexplored. <But… we saw him die.>
<I know. That is what your memories suggested.> Yarfush grumbled, quickening our pace.
<He was shot five times…> I said, more to myself than to him. <He wasn’t moving. How did the bullets not kill him?>
<Hork-Bajir are resilient creatures.> Yarfush informed, still annoyed at this revelation that he knew would cause me to give him yet more grief. <A Hork-Bajir in his condition would usually be euthanized, but mortality rates have been high, so laws on euthanizing have become a lot stricter. It seems that they let him live.>
I should have been happy for Twig being alive, but a great part of me felt nauseous. Before, I felt like he had been granted an easy way out, a ticket away from a world of hardship and suffering. But no. He was here as well, suffering just as much as me and Brenda, maybe even more so.
<We should let Brenda know.> I told Yarfush. <She would want to know Twig is still alive.>
<Why waste our time? You’d just give her more to worry about.> He snapped. <Twig will probably die anyway. He barely has blades!>
He finished transferring the eggs and aided in the moving of Hork-Bajir cub cages, all the while putting up with my mental ponderings.
I had a deep nagging within that told me that my hopes were wasted on Twig. That Yarfush was right, and Twig would likely be killed. In any combat situation, he would be forced to the front with the other Hork-Bajir, and without effective blades, he would be basically useless. His lack of training wouldn’t help, either.
Perhaps it would have been better if he had died when we thought he had.
Anyway, Brenda was still the one that I desperately wanted to save, and the only one who I could realistically hope for. She may now know of my darkest secret, and maybe she hated me for it, but I still loved her, and I wanted to be the one to protect her. Maybe, after all of this, she could find some way to forgive me.
I doubted it, but I spent the rest of that day wallowing in that small hope.

User avatar
Blu
Rampant Drunk
Rampant Drunk
Posts: 4650
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:07 am
Gender: [Male][/Male]
Location: Behind you

Re: Twig

Post by Blu » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:30 am

Chapter 20!

FanFiction link: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9396469/20/Twig


Chapter 20

It wasn’t long before Yarfush was given a new assignment. I suppose that wandering aimlessly around the base and doing nothing of any use was beginning to irritate his sub-Visser.
The Yeerks were now performing raids around town in order to take as many new hosts as possible. We were already seeing a huge influx, the cages around each station becoming far busier than usual. The plan to drop off now host via subway trains was now in full swing, carrying unwilling prisoners from miles around directly to their new home. I thought that the base was loud before, but now it was deafening.
Yarfush and a few other controllers were called to the barracks for a briefing on the new assignment. As he suspected, it was not as straight-forward as transporting Taxxon eggs.
It was much more dangerous.
The plan was unorganised, panicked and risky. Both I and Yarfush instantly recognised that, as did the ten or so other human controllers who had been called up. A few angry grunts were aimed at the sub-Visser, but in the end she had the final say.
We were to perform a raid. Our group would impersonate normal human beings and enter a large public building, secretly armed with Dracon beams. A few would remain downstairs and block off the exits, while the rest made their way up the building, sending any humans inside downstairs. Once this was completed, the prisoners would be transferred to the nearest subway station to be transported down to the base.
It seemed simple enough, but there was no prior preparation. This was an on-the-spot decision by the sub-Visser. A panic decision. Yarfush suspected that she was under pressure from the Visser, and that it was causing her to make rash decisions.
The sub-Visser had decided to do the mission today, because several other raids were taking place in different areas of town. The local police, already under great strain, would be stretched so far as to become effectively useless, and if we could keep the mission quiet, we probably wouldn’t be disturbed.
But if word got out, and local forces came, it would likely come down to a combat situation, and none of us was trained for combat. We would almost certainly be killed. Neither Yarfush nor I liked that one bit, but protests against such a risky mission went unheard. We were soon on our way to the building that we would be raiding.
There was a specific reason that Yarfush had been selected for this mission. He was chosen because I (and hence, he) knew the building well, almost as well as I knew the back of my hand.
We were going to the hospital.
<She’s mad!> I complained. <She wants to raid the hospital of all places?>
Yarfush was equally miffed. <I suspect that she won’t be sub-Visser for long. With Visser One visiting soon, I suspect that she won’t even have a head soon.>
<So why bother?> I asked.
<I must follow my orders, no matter how stupid.> Yarfush said with some attempt at a prideful tone. <Besides, if we don’t follow through with this mission, it will be you who won’t have a head. There is no room now for disobedience.>
I sighed. <But… it’s a hospital! Who are we going to take for hosts? New-born babies? Cancer patients? Amputees?>
<Steven, you know as well as I do that the town is steadily being abandoned by the humans. They suspect the presence of our base under their soil. However, there are certain places that will always remain operating and full of human hosts, and a hospital is one of those places.>
We arrived shortly after two o’clock. The small hospital would be busy, full of potential host bodies. We arrived in a typical minibus and parked up near the entrance, while a 16-wheeler that had followed us rolled around to the other side of the building. That was what the prisoners would be transported in.
The truck was to be parked in a back alley, away from the viewing public. Nothing was to look suspicious, so to make sure that no one raised any eyebrows, the truck was one that was originally used to transport food to local businesses. No one would suspect a truck delivering food to a hospital.
The twelve of us left the minibus and separated. I was in my work clothes, to appear as if I was just going in for a normal day in the office. Most of the others in the squadron were disguised as patients.
I was to head upstairs and send people down to the bottom floor, as six of my comrades secured the area and held the prisoners. If they didn’t go down willingly, I had my Dracon beam hidden under my coat to better persuade them. In my pocket, I had a small handheld communication device, in case there were any issues that arose.
I had plenty of issues. I did not like this situation at all. I knew a lot of the people in this hospital, and I did not want to see them taken prisoner. But there was something far more sinister that Yarfush tried to avoid talking about.
We were to take the doctors, the nurses, the able-bodied patients. Everyone else was not worth having, and they would be left to die.
<It is a war, Steven!> Yarfush barked. <Innocents will die. It doesn’t make a difference what kind of innocent that is.>
<You’re just going to leave all those patients here? All those people hooked up to life support, all those babies in the maternity units? You’re just going to let them die? That is sick! It’s disgusting!>
<They are not my orders! If we do not obey, we both die! Dying will consequently have no effect on the outcome for those patients. Disobedience is not an option.>
<I am really starting to dislike you again…> I growled bitterly.
<You think I care?>
We left six of our squadron downstairs, and the rest of us went up to the second floor. There, we went to separate corners of the building and waited for the ground floor to be secured.
I was in the second floor eating area. There weren’t many people here, and a few left while I waited. By the time my communication device informed me that the ground floor was secured, only eight people remained, seven of them patients.
Yarfush got me to my feet and pretended to just finish a phone call. In my work clothes, Yarfush commanded a good deal of authority, especially over the patients, so when he announced to the room that builders were coming to the room and they would have to make their way to the eating area downstairs, they obeyed without suspicion. Yarfush herded them to the stairs where they would soon find themselves trapped and surrounded by six men with Dracon beams.
Yarfush could tell how sick this whole ordeal was making me, and hushed me whenever I would begin complaining again. He was not too pleased with the job either, but his loyalty kept him from showing any mercy. As soon as the eating room was cleared, he moved onto the next room.
The second floor was quickly cleared, and our half of the squadron met up at the stairwell. The third floor was much the same, but the patients were harder to convince. Moving down a single floor didn’t seem like much, but being moved down two floors for trivial reasons rose some eyebrows. Some doctors and nurses refused to leave sick patients, and so Dracon weapons were now beginning to be utilised.
Yarfush was herding three nurses to the stairs, when a couple of screams rang loudly through the white-walled corridors. The nurses froze, and after a few seconds of confusion, something seemed to click in their heads. They turned just as Yarfush pulled out the Dracon beam and held it at them.
“Don’t scream.” He ordered.
The nurses began to whimper, but raised their hands in reluctant surrender.
<Don’t you dare shoot, Yarfush!> I warned. <Don’t you dare!>
He laughed, though he seemed a little unsure of himself. <I won’t, Steven. This is just to keep them calm. Why waste a host?>
The screams from the corridor were silenced, and the perpetrators were being marched towards us, hands also raised in surrender. Yarfush and his fellow Yeerk urged the prisoners downstairs, weapons raised to their backs, and they soon joined the quickly increasing number of people hidden downstairs.
Then came the fourth floor. My floor.
Yarfush made sure that he would take care of the area where my office was situated. Then we headed past the all-too-familiar staff lounge and past Marty Johnson’s office. Thankfully, he wasn’t here. He was fortunate.
Yarfush headed for my office.
<There won’t be anyone in there.> I told him as he opened up the door.
My assertion was correct. However, Yarfush continued to stroll inside and closed the door behind him. He stood there, head slowly turning, observing the entire room. The office was just about as messy as I usually left it. The desk was smothered in patient files that dropped haphazardly to the floor beside my chair. Dried up coffee stains patterned the areas of the desk still visible. The carpeting was dirty and in desperate need of vacuuming, though its presence was minimal, suffocated by the large desk and file cabinets that patrolled the walls. Certificates hung at eye level, interspersed by pictures of bright city landscapes and sea views, something that could barely be seen out of the all-too-rarely cleaned window.
I hated the room with a strong passion. Life had gone so horribly downhill ever since I was forced to sit here every weekday, counting down the hours and thinking of how things could have been so much better. This room represented an era, a dark period in my life.
Now was the last time I would see this room.
<Yarfush,> I said impatiently. <What are we doing here?>
He said nothing, still gazing around the room. I felt no emotion from him. It was all mine.
Suddenly, I fell forward, collapsing onto my knees. My hands were barely able to uphold my weight, and I simply slumped clumsily to the floor.
Yarfush had let go. He had released his grip on me.
<What the…> I shrieked in shock. <Yarfush?>
<I am giving you temporary control of your body, Steven.>
I tried to raise myself from the floor with weak, unfamiliar arms. <Why?>
He didn’t need to answer, and after a moment of consideration, I understood why.
I finally recovered the use of my body and stood up on my own legs, looking around the horrid little office with my own eyes. I looked down at my own hands, moving my fingers and turning them to see my palms.
Yarfush became completely silent. I was alone with my own body, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I moved forward towards the window and bent down to pick up a loose piece of wood that had been left by builders years ago. I never thought of moving it, and perhaps this was why.
The wood was thick and sturdy. Perfect for the job.
I turned back to face the room and took the block of wood in both my hands. A kind of rage was quickly building in me, summoned by the terrible years spent in this decrepit office. I swung, and the wooden pole connected with a certificate frame on the wall. It smashed, small pieces of broken glass shattering over the floor. I swung again, destroying a considerably larger picture frame.
The floor was becoming littered with glass that crumpled under my shoes as I flung the pole around, smashing everything that could be broken. Once the wall features were out of the way, I turned my focus to the desk. I destroyed the computer monitor, sending it to the floor in a loud, satisfying bang.
The book shelves, the desk, the file cabinets… Everything was a victim. Everything was breakable.
I left the room completely trashed. The floor was decorated wildly with bits of computer, glass, books... Everything that once stood had fallen.
I spotted something unbroken: a small red picture frame. My weapon was raised, but before the strike was made, I stopped. I reached down a hand and picked up.
It was our wedding day photo. Brenda and I, stood hand-in-hand, smiling in marital bliss.
A tear rolled down my cheeks, and I set the picture back down. I would not break it.
I dropped the wood to the floor. <I’m done, Yarfush.>
And as soon as I said it, Yarfush retook control. He shook my body, making sure he was altogether in charge. <Did you have fun?>
<Shut up, Yarfush. I don’t really want to talk about it…> I replied briskly. <Can we get this job over with so we can get back to the dungeons you call home?>
His reply was rudely interrupted. A loud series of bangs shook the building. It sounded like machine gun fire.
Yarfush recognised it, too, extracting the memory of the sound from my brain. His head darted around, and then he rushed to the window. He opened it, and the distinct sound of sirens filled the open air.
The sound of machine gun fire echoed again. It sounded like it was coming from downstairs. It was accompanied by shouting.
“s***!” He hissed to himself. His hand reached down and pulled the communicator device from his pocket. Into it, he shouted, “Report! I hear human weaponry!”
Someone was instant to reply through the device. “The human forces have been alerted! They are heavily armed!”
Yarfush yelled out incoherently in frustration. “I knew this would happen!” Then, with his spare hand, he pulled out the Dracon beam and fiddled with the settings.
He set it to full power.
<If I’m going down, I’m taking a few with me.>
Now I was panicking. <Yarfush, forget the mission! Let’s get out of here!>
But nothing would stop Yarfush from following his orders. He put his ear to the door and, hearing no one immediately outside, brushed through the door, keeping close to the walls. The Dracon beam was clung to his side, out of sight from any onlookers.
The communicator buzzed up from its pocket. “All squad abandon mission! Request reinforcements on second floor!”
More gun shots were fired from the floor below us, followed by the unmistakeable noise of Dracon beams being used. Yarfush wasn’t going to run from it, and he bounded towards and down the staircase.
The huge noise of machine gun fire was now hurting my ears, and I screamed to Yarfush to stay away from the fight, but by now he was too far gone. He reached the end of the stairs, and we were on the second floor. A light layer of smoke weaved over the ceiling, a result of the battle that raged down the left corridor.
Yarfush, inexperienced with combat, seemed a little clueless, but he kept hidden behind a corner, turning his head around to peek at what was happening.
There were three uniformed men with their backs turned to us, kneeling behind makeshift defences. There were firing rounds into the distance, where I would occasionally catch a glimpse of one of our men. A Dracon laser blew past us, causing Yarfush to retreat his head around the wall. He was now panting, sweat pouring from his forehead.
<We can’t take them, Yarfush!> I warned. <They look highly trained, and we’ve barely held a gun before.>
<Yes.> He agreed. <But they can’t see us.>
Before I could raise my objections, Yarfush emerged from the corner, Dracon raised.
He pulled the trigger, and one soldier fell. Then another. The third officer finally noticed what was happening and turned to fire.
He was too late, and before he could fill me with holes, he had one himself. A large, gaping hole through his chest. He collapsed.
My objections stopped, silenced as I considered what I… what Yarfush had just done. Three men lay dead, destroyed by my Dracon fire.
My hand had killed. They had pulled the trigger. I was a killer.
<It wasn’t you, Steven.> Yarfush spoke. <Don’t blame yourself for their deaths.>
But I couldn’t help it. It was so real. I could feel the heat on my hand from the recently fired Dracon weapon. My finger still felt the harsh metal of the trigger.
Yarfush was too busy to worry about my self-pity. <We have to move now. There will be more human soldiers.>
The communicator buzzed once again. “Ground floor security is lost! Prisoners have escaped! All squad fall back! Retreat!”
Finally, someone had the good sense to know that this was an unwinnable battle. But how could we retreat if the ground floor had been lost?
Machine gun rounds were now being fired further down the corridor to our right, and from downstairs.
<I have an idea.> Yarfush said, still clearly shaken. He took one last look at his weapon, before throwing it down the corridor, along with his communicator.
<You’re throwing away our only weapon? Great idea…>
He ignored me and made his way to the next staircase. I suddenly caught onto his game when he made his way very slowly to the ground floor.
By the time he touched down on the bottom step, all machine gun and Dracon beam fire had stopped. The battle was over.
We were spotted as soon as we stepped into the ground floor corridor by several soldiers, weapons cocked. One stepped close to us, finger on the trigger.
Yarfush raised his hands and gave a frightened expression. He hoped that it would give them the false impression that he was just another prisoner.
The soldier inspected me from a distance, and then signalled a couple of his men to pat me down while he kept his gun directed at my head. The soldiers found nothing, and Yarfush breathed a big sigh of relief when we were escorted out of the building.
We took a bus to the cinema and descended the secret passage back down to the base. Of the dozen men who had left just a couple of hours before, I was the only one to return. The mission had failed.
Deep down, we knew that the plan was doomed from the start. It was a rash decision, not properly organised, not properly manned, not properly thought out.
We didn’t hear from our sub-Visser again after that day.