Thursday, November 14, 2013

Prompt: When need is greater than pride

Cherana lay on her back. Shallow breaths kept the pain at bay, as long as she didn’t try to move. Her right arm covered her eyes from the solar flares filtering through the thick atmosphere. Her helmet had come off—had she pulled it off earlier, desperate for air? She hadn’t landed on her back, so she must have moved a little. Somehow.

Footsteps. Voices. Two rangoth walking quickly. She could feel the vibrations of their hooves through the leaf litter. She opened her lips to call out, but she couldn’t make a sound. She saw them out of the corner of her eye. They would stop and help her.

Talking rapidly to each other, they split and walked around her, never glancing down. They walked on, out of sight. Out of hearing. Indignation fueled her to lift her head. Her uniform was torn, gaping open. Her stomach already burned from the solar exposure. Her arms didn’t want to work, but she managed to throw one down and pinch a corner of the torn cloth, tug it over her belly.

Her neck muscles screamed, but she looked down the length of her body and then rested her head, assessing what she had seen. Tunic torn, belly bleeding from scratches and badly burned. Nothing fatal there. Her left shoulder was dislocated; she could deal with that. Her legs. She couldn’t move them. And as she lay there, she couldn’t feel them.

Panic rose, and she took a deep breath to force it down. She choked on atmo and coughed, which hurt everything. Forcing herself back to shallow breaths, she saw a borlosk had settled on a tree limb over her. They weren’t carnivores. She was pretty sure. It was inspecting her intently.

“Help?” it squawked. She waved it away, shaking her head slowly side to side. She wasn’t sure she should admit weakness out here. “Help?” It squawked again. It flapped its wings and pushed off the branch, showering her with spiky leaves as it flew away. “Help?” she heard once more before it, too, was gone.

Calling on reserves she didn’t know she had, she rolled to her left side and raised up enough to throw her weight into her shoulder as she fell back down. Nausea fought with pain as she felt the bones heave into place. After the pain radiated out to her fingers, she pulled herself up, legs flopped in front of her. She tried to move one, then the other. A toe, a muscle twitch, anything. Nothing.

There was a shallow curve in the tree trunk under where the borlask had been. If she could get over there, it would be a little bit of shelter from the solar flares, and maybe shield her from other “visitors”. She “walked” backwards on her hands, slowly, agonizing. Stopped to lean forward and breath shallow breaths until the pain faded to bearable levels again.

Finally she reached the tree and leaned into the curved trunk, relaxing for the first time since she woke up. Her left thigh spasmed. She grinned until her cheeks hurt. No paralyzed! Still not moving, but not paralyzed.

“Help?” she heard the borlosk’s forlorn cry through the trees. Shaking her head in disgust, she almost missed the other sound. An engine…

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Time writing:
~40 minutes

October word count:

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