Scene 1.8 - Eve...
The Kindred Fortress:
For hours, Arik hovered in a corner of the room, resuming his celestial form as he watched over the sleeping female. He'd been studying her curiously from afar, wondering what to make of her.
She still lay on the sofa where he'd placed her after the creature had left. There was nothing to be done until she awoke, so he simply hovered and waited, resting to regain some of the energy he'd expended during his fit of rage.
It had been centuries since he'd had the energy to do more than sleep in a state of half-awareness of his surroundings. Now he was awake and alert, wondering how the human below him had managed to regenerate him. He could feel the restorative energy emanating from her body. Only certain Kindred were capable of harnessing and releasing it in healing waves like that. Those who possessed such power had died out more than a millennium ago.
There was no mistaking what she was though. She was undoubtedly human, dressed in white linen—a rather thin and flimsy material, he noted. Her eyes and forehead were securely wrapped beneath layers of cloth, possibly to bandage an injury, he suspected. He’d had plenty of time to assess her up close if he chose, but her presence unnerved him in a way that kept him at a distance.
The creature had said she was dangerous. A human? How could a human be dangerous to him?
He’d said that he could see what she was beneath the layers of her human flesh. He certainly knew what the Kindred were capable of, however he did not know what powers the ones possessed who had fled to inhabit the bodies of humans. Muted in their physical bodies, no doubt.
Despite his curiosity, he opted for patience instead. It was something he’d become acquainted with over centuries of captivity, stuck in these catacombs below the planet’s surface. It seemed his wait was nearly over now. The woman was beginning to rouse…
* * * *
Something was different… She could feel it in the air all around her…
Gone were the walls of the chamber that had imprisoned her for as long as she could remember. She stretched her senses as far as she could in all directions and felt—nothing!
For a long while she’d remained still and unmoving. It was deafeningly quiet to her ears in this place. Gone were the noises of workers coming and going in endless shifts around the clock. The thick walls of her cell had dulled the sound of it, but she could always hear people in the laboratory. It never ceased, night or day.
Something had changed, but she was slow to make sense of it. Her head was buzzing madly, so she knew not to move right away. It was always the same when they drugged her. There was a strange sensation that her mind and body were disconnected. It came with the feeling that she’d lost time once again, wondering how long she might have been unconscious. It would wear off soon enough. She simply had to wait it out.
This had to be another one of their endless run of experiments. She was no longer in her cell, nor was she bound to the bed in any way.
Move, she warned herself. Something was wrong. She was sure of it. She needed to move!
Her hands braced on the soft fabric beneath her body. That was quite different as well. The stiff sheets of her bed were never this… What was this material? It was soft.
She pushed to sit up, but she fell back down with a sharp gasp for breath. There was a stiff ache in her left side. Shot! She’d been shot with something, she remember now. Her hand reached to soothe the bruise below her ribcage, relieved to note they hadn’t punctured her skin. It hurt though.
Her wrists hurt as well, she realized. Reaching to rub them lightly, she felt the strange heat of her skin. Only the vaguest memory of a struggle lingered in her mind. She had been restrained with handcuffs that bit into her flesh before the blackness had overtaken her and she’d fallen. Oh, yes! A piercing needle had hit her in the side of her neck. It had come from some distance away and she’d been unable to avoid it. That she remembered quite vividly.
I’ll kill them! She swore it to herself, feeling a measure of rage filling her soul.
Laying back with determination, she drew briefly from the surrounding environment, pulling what energy she could from within the room. There was so little to draw on though. The entire room—it almost felt dead to her. Just as it was in the room of her cell. This place was much larger than that, however.
She could feel the effects of the chemicals burning away with each passing second. Her wounds were beginning to tingle, a sure sign that they were healing.
With a good measure of energy returned to her system, she was finally able to push to her feet. Her keen senses extended throughout the surrounding room. It was enormous! It was like nothing she could remember sensing in her lifetime. Having spent an eternity in a ten foot cell, the size of this place was unbelievable to her.
Where had they brought her? The smell of it was rather strange. There was nothing she could compare it to. The air felt cooler than she was accustomed to, but it wasn’t unbearable. Except… In the distance, she could sense a steep change in the environment.
Mapping the layout of the room in her mind, she walked around the object she’d been lying and headed for an opening in the wall up ahead. It led into a hall. At the far end of it was the object of her curiosity. Was it sunlight? Was that what she was sensing? Now, that was a thing she could remember with true delight. The warm summer sun… It was nothing but a distant memory to her, but it was a thing she could recall quite vividly when she allowed herself the luxury of daydreaming.
It was just beyond a tall archway at the end of the hall. She approached it with some confusion, seeing sunlight, yet feeling the presence of a solid wall in front of her. She almost raised a hand to touch it, but her brows crinkled and instead she began to back away. Something in the area felt toxic to her—like one of the noxious fumes that might have invaded her cell during one of the lab’s experiments.
Just as she backed out of the hall, she caught a hint of movement in the room behind her. Her senses began to heighten before she had even spun around, fully expecting someone to be standing there in the distance. For a time she stood very still, searching the room for any sign of movement. Then, she found the source of her concern.
There in the air, hovering high above the room. To her mind's eye, it appeared as a light-blue haze, swirling like mist in the air.
“Spirit,” she whispered to herself by way of acknowledgment that it posed no threat to her.
She can sense me, arose the question, filled with deep curiosity.
Eve smirked to herself, if not to the entity itself. She'd seen them before in the laboratory, although never under pleasant circumstances by any stretch of the imagination. Their presence was a mark of death of the most barbaric nature. Although he had her deepest sympathy, he was not her immediate concern. Let him be, she told herself. He couldn’t possibly hurt her now.
Arik followed her movements as she meandered around, examining her surroundings. She walked in the depths of darkness, blinded by the bandage she wore, yet she moved as though taking no heed of it. Where she had just ventured had his full attention. She’d walked directly toward the barrier, nearly reaching out to it as though she could feel what lay beyond the layers of stone that blocked the way.
Could she see him, he wondered in amazement. She’d come full circle and raised her head up to him. It truly appeared that she had somehow known he was there. Then she’d laughed. Had he imagined that as well?
Eve snickered slightly. She couldn’t help herself. The curiosity of the spirit was amusing. It's movements changed, stilling momentarily as its thoughts came to her unbidden. The idea of humoring it seemed harmless enough.
"I laughed because your question amused me," she deigned to answer him. For a moment he hovered there, then as quick as a flash he fled to a far distant corner of the room. Shaking her head at the skittishness of such beings, she continued to examine her surroundings.
She had no idea where she was. She could only guess how long it might be before the doctors came to drag her back to her cell. If she had anything to say about it, however…
Spirit? Again with Spirit?
She detected the objection in the thoughts the being projected her way, but no matter. His soul was probably in denial of his fate. She’d seen it in many of the others as well. Death was a thing that most found hard to accept.
He was hovering in the far reaches of the room where she supposed he felt safest to remain. Dismissing it from her thoughts, she crossed the chamber to her left. There was an archway there. Passing through it, she found herself standing in an open hallway. It traveled off in both directions and she debated which she should go. No sign of any objects lined the length of it, just cold stone walls.
She was vexed to feel unnerved by the dead silence all around her and that forced her to begin moving. Her footsteps echoed off the walls, disorienting her as she walked. She did not sense the spirit following behind her, assuming that was the last she’d see of him. No doubt, he preferred the solitude of his dwelling. She did not. This entire place felt like a veritable tomb. She didn’t like it at all.
Every now and then she passed a wooden door, but each one was locked and impossible to budge. At the end of the hall, it veered off to the left. How far should she traverse the unknown distance ahead? There was only one path back to the room where she’d awoken. It wasn’t likely that she’d get lost, yet she felt very uneasy. She had no idea where these halls were leading.
Was this some underground portion of the lab? Were they watching her from afar as another test of her abilities? She would put nothing past them. They enjoyed the games they played with her kind. The fun they had at the expense of their victims never seemed to end.
Shaking her head, she continued to walk, unwilling to accept defeat at their hands.
* * * *
Arik was momentarily paralyzed with indecision. He—who should fear no one—was held immobile by the surprising abilities of this strange woman. She could see him without eyes! She heard him when no human should be able to hear the thoughts of another. Even the Kindred did not possess that ability!
Was she really one of his kind? She had addressed him entirely without fear of his presence. How was that possible?
She had awoken so slowly, yet in an instant she had drawn nearly every ounce of energy from the room, including his. She’d regained her strength and presence of mind as she filled herself with it. The light she couldn’t possibly see from the ceiling overhead had been all but extinguished in an instant. Even now, he felt himself weakened from the experience while she had grown stronger.
The creature had said she was dangerous. Yet, he’d also said she was human. Hadn’t he? Or, was that his own assumption at the time?
He remained where he was for the longest time, puzzling the mystery out in his mind until it suddenly dawned on him where she was heading.
She had no idea what lay in the outreaches of the catacombs. He did. If her presence had been responsible for awakening him, what would happen when she crossed their path.
No, he raged. No!