When I woke up, I knew two things. One, my head hurt. Two. There was a vile stench around me so thick, I was gagging every time I took a breath.
My eyelids are heavy as I force them open, my surroundings slowly blinking into view. I was half lying, half slumped against a wall and- Oh gods. Twisting my head, I look up at the chain nailed to the wall above me, my arm locked into the manacle at the end. Using my free hand, I push myself up, taking in the area around me. It was dark, but a few glowstone orbs floated in the room, casting a spotlight over their space. It didn't take long for my eyes to adjust. Around the other walls of the room, I could just make out what I think are bodies.
"Hello? Is there anybody there?" My voice echoes, bouncing around the empty space.
Already an ache was forming in my arm from having it raised above my head. Holding my breath, I put all of my strength into pulling the chain from the wall. It doesn't budge. I pull harder, and as the chain rattles, I almost miss the soft voice that answers.
I stop pulling on the chain.
"What's your name?"
The girl is quiet a moment, before answering. "Cecily."
Cecily. I rack my brain and come up short. I was fairly sure there wasn't a Cecily living in Imus. Using my free hand, I push my self up and tuck my good leg underneath me, my mechanical leg bent out straight. The boost gave a little slack to my chained arm, and the aching dulled slightly.
"Are there others down here with us? Where are we?"
Cecily lets out a short, humourless laugh. The sound snakes a cold shiver up my spine. I look around in the dark, trying to spot her, to no avail.
"Yes. I doubt they will speak to you though. Likely they're all too frightened."
"Frightened?" My voice is sharper then I intended, and I take a breath. "Why?"
"Are you sure you want to know? Ignorance is a gift down here."
I start to shake my head but remember she can't see me. "No, I'd rather know."
It was true. If this place had horrors in store for me, it was better to know, better to be prepared. I can just hear a sigh in reply.
"I'm not sure where we are. Over the last year, I've been moved around so much I've lost all sense of direction. We came-"
I interrupt without thinking. "You're in Mallinasport. Well, that's where they took me from, so if we haven't left the city..." I trail off.
"Mallinasport," Cecily says, her voice barely above a whisper. "I never thought I'd make it this far West."
Curiosity bites at my fear, eventually winning out. "Where are you from, then?"
"My home is in New Harbour, though I do spend a lot of time in Far Haven, and even more travelling between the two. Well, I mean I used to."
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...