The world was a blurry mixture of grey when Jaxen started to come too. At first, he thought something was wrong with his eyes, but as he blinked, he began to realise that wasn't the case. There was barely any colour in the room around him.
Jaxen snaps up at the voice, looking around wildly. In the hallway on the other side of the room, a small girl was standing there, giving him a toothy grin. She was an unmasked. Where was he? Had the Queen caught him? Was this some kind of jail cell? He studies the room around him. It seems he was on a couch, the only other furniture a single chair and a small table. Piles upon piles of metal lay scattered across the floor; the only exit he could see was the one the girl blocked. Certainly wasn't anywhere in the Aether.
"Where am I?" Jaxen coughs.
Ripples of spasming pain flare up across his stomach, and he was left clutching at the skin in an attempt to lessen it. Wait a minute. His hand trembles as he reaches up, touching his face. His mask was gone. The little girl still stood by the hallway, watching him, saying nothing.
Twisting her head slightly, she calls down the corridor. "Aeris! The weird boy is awake."
The weird boy? Hardly seemed fair. The little girl didn't move, but Jaxen could hear footsteps of someone approaching. He heard her voice before she came into view.
"I'm glad you're awake. I wasn't sure how long you'd be out for. That was quite a fall you took."
Jaxen looks away from the new girl who limps in. She was probably not much older than himself.
"Fall?" He asks, trying hard not to stare at her leg.
Everything under about halfway between her knee and upper thigh was missing. A lumpy stump of skin remained, with a mechanical leg attached to it. It was the shoddiest piece of metal work he'd ever seen. Not to mention it looked as if it barely worked.
Ignoring his question, she hands him a cup. "Here."
Peering into the cup, Jaxen swishes it around. It appeared to only be water.
"I cleaned it, don't worry."
Who cleans their water? Sipping it, he watches as the new girl, Aeris, he assumes, picks up the smaller one placing her on her lap as she takes a seat.
"I heard Aeris and Sylvie talking. You fell from the sky. Are you an Upper? What's it like up there? Can you see the sky? Do you have lots of food? We don't have a lot of food, and it's always the same yucky-"
"Ebba, shush," Aeris interjects, smoothing down the child's hair. "Our guest needs to rest."
Looking towards the hallway, Aeris raised her voice, "Sylvie, do you mind coming and taking Ebba?"
Jaxen kept his eyes down staring into his cup of water. So he'd made it then, to Imus. He was safe, but at what cost? He needed his mask. Had they taken it from him? Jaxen's eyes flick to the girl across from him. She seemed nice enough so far, but that didn't mean anything.
YOU ARE READING
Beasts of Steel and Bone *WATTYS WINNER*Science Fiction
When skin and bone are stolen, darkness uses wings of flesh and lead. ******** Beneath the vibrant city of Mallinasport, awash in the pollution is Imus, a commu...