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Episode 10 Part 20

By:  Lenady

The hall was dark, but was also lined with small lights running along its length where the walls and the floor met. Tilly’s steps echoed as she walked down it slowly. She hadn’t been in this section of Toren before, or at least she didn’t think she had. It looked somewhat similar to the lower hallway, but she would have recognized it by this point if it had been, even with the space being so shadowy. She wasn’t completely certain as to how she had gotten to the corridor, but she was determined to find her way back, and without Toren’s help. Considering their recent arguments Tilly wasn’t completely certain Sanrook would be all that happy about her wandering around the ship by herself and the last thing they needed was more fuel to add to the fire. Of course, even if she didn’t ask for help, Toren would know where she was, and thus could mention it to Sanrook at any time. So the only thing holding Tilly back from asking for assistance was her own stubborn pride.  Tilly’s hands clenched as the memory of her wake-up call that morning came to mind. She would stick with her pride.
            She walked just a little more before she realizing, rather suddenly, that the area had gotten considerably darker and her steps were no longer making an echoing noise. In fact, she noted as she stopped moving, she could barely hear her footsteps at all, as if the walls were absorbing her sounds instead of bouncing them back at her. Well, that could have been a possible explanation if the walls had still been there. At some point the hall must have opened up into a larger area. The only thing she could see was the floor directly beneath her.

‘Well,’ she thought ‘So much for going forward. That was probably a stupid idea anywa-‘ Her thought cut off as she turned around and saw that the area behind her was just as dark and featureless. Tilly swallowed. To hell with pride.

“Toren?” she said, the sound too soft for her own liking.  It was as if her voice was being swallowed in the same way her footsteps were. The only response was more silence.

Tilly rubbed her hands on her jeans, then cleared her throat and tried again. “Toren?”

Tilly bit down on her lower lip as she waited for an answer. After a minute she rolled her shoulders and started moving in the direction she though the hall had been, arms held out in front of her, lest she run face first into a wall. After a few steps she realized though that that might not be as much an issue as she had previously thought. She should have been able to see the lights from the corridor. She should have been only a few steps away from a wall. What should have been and what were, however, seemed to be two entirely different things. She stopped moving, realizing that she knew nothing about the area she was in and remembering the water-filled hole she had found Sanrook in a week or so prior. All she needed was to fall down one of those things. She could swim, but didn’t know how well she could manage in the dark. So she stood in place, unmoving and uncertain as to what to do. To make matters worse she had started to feel cool, goosebumps popping up on the uncovered parts of her arms. She rubbed at them vigorously and was about to try yelling when she heard footsteps behind her.

Tilly turned around, heart thumping quickly in her chest. She felt pathetic as she recognized the person standing a few feet away. ‘Of course,’ she thought ‘who else would be on the ship?’

“Um, hey.” she said, “Where are we?”

Sanrook just looked at her.

 Tilly could feel her face heating up, despite the chill in the air. Had it gotten colder again? “Sorry,” Tilly said, looking down. “I know I probably shouldn’t have been just wandering around. But hey, I was looking for you anyway, so it works out okay, right?”

When Tilly looked back up she noticed Sanrook hadn’t moved. Perhaps where Tilly had been looking down… She took a deep breath in then out. “Look,” she started, forcing herself to look Sanrook in the eyes this time. “I’m sorry about everything. You’re right, I’m being a pain. It’s just…” Tilly trailed off, realizing she was getting absolutely no response from Sanrook. As if she wasn’t even listening.

“Sanrook?” Tilly asked as she took a step forward. The step was louder than it should have been, after standing in a relatively silent world for what felt like a small eternity. Suddenly her own breathes seemed more like gusts echoing in her own head, and the air around them felt prickly and sharp. Starting softer, but slowly growing louder, was an odd ticking, like a clock, or a metronome, except the rhythm was off. No, not just off. It was wrong, in every sense of the word.

“San, what is that?” She asked, then noticed that her friend’s mouth was moving, as if she was saying something to Tilly. There was no way she could have understood her however, if she was. The ticking was growing louder, and was causing Tilly’s head, her stomach, her whole body to hurt, to lurch, as if she was going to be physically ill.

Then to Tilly’s horror, Sanrook turned and started to walk away. The panic rose up in her and she rushed towards Sanrook, lest she be left in that horrible room by herself. She felt her hand touch Sanrook’s shoulder and grip onto the vest before the cracking began. It started in the shoulder she was gripping and spread outward quickly, the body in front of her shattering like a brittle stone and clattering to the floor. She opened her hand and let the last hard remnants of the vest drop to the floor. She felt herself beginning to shake and tried to breathe, noting subconsciously that the ticking was gone. The temporary silence, however, was broken by a sharp crack, causing Tilly to cover her ears, followed by the sensation of the world splintering around her.


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