28. Vivid Colours

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Jett first grew aware of people shouting. They were nearby, he could tell, but their voices were muffled. A man screamed, a short burst of sound that abruptly fell silent. Eerily silent. It made him uneasy, nauseas even, but before he could even try to understand what was going on, he needed to deal with the extremely uncomfortable position he was in.

He lay on the kitchen floor, curled into a tight ball. His face was pressed against the junction where cupboard met floor, jammed into the space like he was trying to meld his skin to the wood. The position squashed his nose.

It hurt.

He frowned. Why am I lying here? It was a strange thing to do. When he tried to remember what happened last, he drew a blank. His head felt stuffed full of cotton, which understandably made thinking hard.

The sounds outside grew louder. Something exploded, a short pop that sent a concussive wave through the floor beneath him. Jett flinched.

What's happening? Maybe lying around wasn't such a good idea right now, considering it sounded like people were fighting outside. Who was fighting? Why?

Carefully, he wriggled backwards, freeing his poor squashed nose. Then he got his arms beneath him and pushed himself upwards so he teetered on all fours. His entire right side had fallen asleep, feeling numb and prickly. A grimace wrinkled his nose.

Light suddenly flashed outside, spilling in through the windows and the cracks around the door in a shocking, blue-white brilliance. It only lasted a moment before it was chased away with a series of popping sounds, like popcorn bursting to life.

Startled, Jett jerked back, bumping sharply into the cupboards behind. A handle dug painfully into a hip, drawing a hiss from between clenched teeth.

Men shouted louder, voices raising in pitch. Their urgency was contagious, for Jett anxiously rose to his knees. He wanted to get out of this place. It didn't feel safe. He looked around, taking in his surroundings, looking for clues. For answers.

He realized the top part of his suit was unzipped, leaving his chest exposed to the cool air. Once he noticed this, he shivered, feeling all kinds of cold. This made no sense.

No flyer in their right mind would have a nap while partly undressed. What if the Kairg ambushed them? They'd be sitting prey, unable to fly off because they were busy trying to put their suit back on while the enemy would be happily slaughtering away.

Jett shivered again, but not just from the cold. His hands paused from where they had been about to properly fasten his suit closed. The kitchen seemed to constrict around him, no longer the familiar haven he knew.

Something was wrong.

What had he been doing here? He reached up with both hands, curling gloved fingers into his thick dark hair. An ache throbbed dully in his head when he tried to remember.

The Crossfires.... Jerrick. Tarrod. They left me here. Didn't trust me, the scary flyer I am.

"Ugh..." that didn't sound quite right. It wasn't wrong, either, but Jett got the sense that there was something else. Trying to dig deeper made his head hurt even worse, so he decided to leave it for now. First things first, he needed to fix his suit.

Why is it undone anyway? I never take it off. He gave his head an uneasy little shake. It only took a minute for him to get it zipped up properly. Instantly, he felt a million times warmer with its insulating layers.

He spotted his armor pieces in the far corner by the door. They weren't piled neatly, either. Someone had clearly thrown them there without much care or regard. Jett frowned. That wasn't his own doing, was it? Had he thrown them there on purpose?

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