Blog Battle for 7th March has ‘Loose’ as the theme and scifi as the genre
‘You ready to be let loose?’ Betty meant well, Rich knew. Getting out of quarantine was something everyone looked forward to. Air that wasn’t filtered, food you can chew, taste, the touch of the cold or the heat undiluted by spacesuits and sun screens. But mostly it was the human contact.
‘Where first? The spa? The mall? The senzone?’ She smirked. Easy sexual fulfilment in the senzone for those who’ve been in space for more than 2 years. Sex in limited gravity wasn’t the same and for the unattached like Rich the perfect release. Or so a sister might think.
‘What about ice cream?’
Rich nodded. He had to keep moving or she’d begin to suspect. Betty’s bodysense was trained to pick up clues in ways sentients didn’t normally achieve and bots did. Why’d he have to have an empath for a sister?
‘So, you shaken off Mars dust?’
She meant well, trying to get him to talk. Another classic effect of the hibernation of space flight was the awkwardness when normal interactions were expected. He nodded again, noticing the crease of worry on her forehead. She suspects, he thought.
‘Vanilla.’ His first word outside the debriefing, the investigation.
She laughed once. ‘What happened to chocolate? Has Mars done for your tastebuds? Or is that a space myth?’
She linked arms. It took all his will power not to pull away, to let her get so close. She looked ahead as he squeezed his eyes shut, inhaling fem, her perfume like a cruel echo of that blast.
‘They kept you forever. Everything ok?’
Even a simple nod was beyond him.
‘People are saying…’
He slipped his arm free. He knew. They’d told him. The disbelief he could survive when she hadn’t. The complete and utter certainty everyone had he must have died and yet, and yet…’
‘They say you’re a miracle.’ She didn’t sound like he was a miracle, more a freak. All she wanted, he knew it, was something, some rational explanation. Not even plausible just something.
He forced his arms wide. ‘Yet here I am. Home.’ He blinked and surprised himself by saying, ‘Whole.’
‘Yes. Come on. Let’s get normal.’
Again a simple enough thing to say but it loosened something inside and he stumbled.
‘Here sit. It takes ages, doesn’t it?’ She added, unnecessarily he thought, ‘to get your legs back.’
He looked at her violet eyes, her barely concealed worry. She didn’t know, he thought. It was stamped on his head, he had been certain, like a branding on cattle of old. Killer. But no one said. Not even the most skilful of bots had been able to delve deep into his psyche and prize out the truth. Oh how they’d tried but they’d given him a clean bill of health and released him.
As his gaze locked on Betty’s the beast within removed the shield and revealed to her, just briefly, the horrors that awaited.
He fought, as he’d fought since being infected but he knew it hopeless. It wasn’t him who was now loose. He put a hand on Betty’s forearm letting the essence seep through. It wouldn’t be long.