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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Panacea -Chapter 5 (Formerly: Enhancing and destroying memories really)

By J.R. Wagner

image credit: giantbomb.com
I highly recommend reading parts 1-4 before continuing
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

We stepped into a foyer that would easily fit my entire house. Tessa didn't slow as I stared gape-jawed at the area. Wide, sweeping marble staircase; check. Niches filled with strange looking sculptures; check. Ugly paintings in uglier golden frames; check.

"Hurry up," Tessa said from the opposite end of the foyer.

I jogged to catch up. We crossed under several arched doorways and into the kitchen (insanely large, ornate, clean, as you can imagine) where she began rummaging through cabinets.

yes, just like this
Something caught my eye outside the windows that overlooked the pool. Movement. I walked toward the window to get a better look but whatever it was had disappeared.

"Do you have a dog?" I asked.

"No, why?"

Before I could reply the floor-to-ceiling window beside me shattered. I instinctively dove to the ground and not so instinctively wet my pants (just a bit). A second window shattered and I spotted something cylindrical hit the floor.  Just as I was able to focus on it, smoke began pouring from both ends.  Crap.

I looked over to where Tessa had been standing only to see empty space rapidly filling with smoke.  She ditched me.  That didn't take long.  My lungs and eyes began to burn and I knew I had to get out. I forced myself to stand and ran through the archway and into the dining room.

My eyes teared as I coughed -I'm not sure if it was from the running or the smoke.  I sat in a fancy wooden chair at the over-sized dining table to catch my breath and evaluate the situation. That's when Tessa reappeared in a doorway at the far end of the room.

"Get up, idiot!" she shouted.

I got up (slowly). She ran to me, grabbed my hand and pulled me behind her. We passed through the doorway where she had appeared a moment before, down a long hallway and up a set of stairs (not the sweeping marble stairs). Continually wiping the tears from my eyes with my free hand, my legs burning from the too-fast ascent and my lungs still protesting, I followed. We reached the top (thank god) and turned down another hallway and through a door.  Tessa slammed it behind us.

"What's happening?" I asked.

She ignored me and moved quickly to a large cabinet. Everything was a blur as the tears continued to spill and I continued to wipe. Tessa grabbed me by my shirt and once again, pulled me along behind her.  We moved into a smaller room off the first and again she shut and locked the door.  It was a bathroom. That much I could tell. She let go of my shirt and began rummaging through a cabinet.

"Look at me," she said.

I looked in the direction of her blurry outline as she roughly grabbed my chin.

"Open your eyes."

Something wet instantly hit my eyeball (left one) as I strained to open them fully. It then hit my right. She let go of my chin and stuffed a towel in my face. I wiped my eyes and was thankfully able to see once again. Tessa was standing beside an open door.  She had a large black backpack over her shoulders and an anxious look on her face.

"Lets go!" she shouted impatiently.

"What is going on?" I asked, moving across the room.

"They've come for me," she said, stepping through the door.

A loud bang sounded from behind us and once again she was tugging on my shirt. She pulled me into a dark, narrow space. If I didn't know any better, I would have guessed it was a linen closet.

"Shut the door," she said.

I shut and locked the door.  Darkness.

"What's going..."

"Shut up," she said.

Something clicked and light outlined what I thought was the back wall of the closet. Tessa pushed on the wall (door?) revealing another small room where an overhead fluorescent light was blinking to life. She stooped and pulled a nearly invisible latch in the floor.  A rectangular hatch fell open revealing a metal ladder. Another loud bang sounded somewhere nearby.

"Go," she whispered.

I went. It was a long descent -it didn't help that I couldn't see anything but darkness below. As I moved down the ladder small lights that must have been on motion sensors clicked on.  Above me, Tessa secured the hatch and began moving down. Quickly, she was just above me.

"Hurry," she said impatiently.

I hurried, finally hitting the bottom.  More lights clicked on revealing a cement room.  Tessa brushed past me and jerked a black tarp that was draped over something against the wall.

I instantly knew things were going to get worse before they got better.

The story continues...

Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8 
Chapter 9

To purchase Exiled, bid on the movie rights, hire me as a writer for the next Blade Runner film, the next Star Wars film, to bid on the rights to this story, offer me a job writing for a high school newspaper...for videos, fan art, contests and more, visit my website!

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