30. Nothing Makes Sense Anymore

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Jett woke with a startled gasp, flying upright in a sudden flurry of panic and fear. His body was jerked to a halt by his wrists before he could fully sit up, and he fell backwards. A soft pillow caught his head. He might as well have landed on a spike, since pain lanced through his skull.

A hiss tore free from clenched teeth, and he helplessly lay back with eyes squeezed shut. Horrible things spun around in his mind, taunting and mocking and prodding in the places where it hurt most.

"No," he gasped, and instinctively tried to grab at his head. Something rustled, then tugged tight against his wrists, holding them back. He applied more force, to the point where it dug painfully into his flesh. His breath quickened.

Too dark. He couldn't see. Couldn't move. Couldn't breathe.


And there it was, a silver mask swimming through an ocean of decaying corpses towards him. Behind it lay icy bite of oblivion, one that he wanted more than anything else. To reach it though, he'd have to face the mask.

It drew near, close enough that if he dared look through the eyeholes, he'd see -

"No! Stay back!" Jett writhed where he lay, unable to move more than a few inches against the restraints. The sheet that once been loosely covering him shifted down to his hips and tangled around his legs. He kicked, trying to get it off.

"Stop it." The command cut through the hysteria like a cold slap to the face. Jett instantly stilled before the meaning of the words even registered, and he lay still save for the gasping breaths that only a body starved for air could take.

The voice spoke again, this time much closer. The soft baritone seemed to hover inches above him. "Good. Now look at me."

Jett couldn't help but shiver. Not from the cold, but from a sudden onset of fear. For some reason, he didn't want to listen to the voice. He didn't want to look at whoever was there.

He wasn't even sure why. As far as voices went, it kind of sounded familiar. At the very least, it wasn't one that he associated to anyone from the Kairg or Troit. Nor was it anyone from the rebels -

Oh. All the air whooshed out of his lungs at that thought. That's right. They're dead. He shivered harder, tears prickling at the corner of his closed eyes.

A soft huff of air briefly dusted his face. "If you can't open your own eyes, kid, then I'm going to have to help you. Is that what you want?"

"No," Jett blurted without thinking. Then he shivered, feeling a sudden sense of deju vu.

"Hmm." It made it impossible to tell what the man was thinking or feeling. That only meant there was no warning whatsoever before something cold and wet poked itself into Jett's belly button.

Jett shrieked, a high-pitch sound generally reserved for people of the feminine variety. He jerked upwards, eyes flying open, only to flop backwards for what was probably the eighteenth time in the very short amount of time he'd been awake.

A familiar face moved into Jett's field of view, from which impossibly violet eyes gazed down at him. They crinkled at the corners as the man smiled warmly.

"Hey there, little brother. How's it going?"

All thoughts fled from Jett's mind. He stared blankly into that face, unable to process what his eyes saw. His mouth opened. No sound managed to escape.

The man maintained his smile, waiting patiently for the cows to return home. It took a while. The cows took the scenic route back, stopping every few steps to chew on some grass. Some of them even got lost on the way.

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