Aftermath (Elise, pt. 6)

Here it is, everybody, the next installment of Elise! I’ve let things drag a little with this, so I’ve promised Joe Blame that as soon as he writes his response, I will write mine immediately. Enjoy! (go here for a list of all Joe’s parts, including part #1 for anyone new to the series).

*

People, all around. Rushing and shouting, the rank stench of burnt flesh and bubbling silicon. Charred mortar and molten glass. Elise shuddered as she found her way back to consciousness, a bone-deep convulsion that brought the reality of the situation back to her in paroxysms of horror. How long had she been lying there? How many people were dead? Her eyes flickered open, but the scene was foggy and dark, and she shut them tight to block it out again. Caleb. The thought of him brought a stab of pain to her chest, and the hidden membranes inside her ears clamped down again, involuntarily. I killed Caleb.

Elise felt a well of grief open up in the pit of her stomach, and she went limp with it as the knowledge of his death spread through her like poison. The membranes in her ears relaxed along with her limbs, letting the sound and confusion back in, and Elise became aware that somebody was speaking to her. Shaking her arm. I killed him.

“Honey, are you still with us?” said the voice. “Wake up, come on, just open those pretty eyes again. What’s your name? Can you hear me?” The ground was hard beneath her back, and small fires of pain began to igntite all over body as Elise came fully awake. Her skin felt torn, her limbs ached with impact stress. She grunted as a flash of nausea racked her body.

“There you are!” cried the voice. “I need some help over here! Come on darlin’, open those eyes, there’s a girl.”

A strong set of arms closed around her shoulders, and heaved her to a sitting position. The motion of it was sickening, but helped to clear the fog in her mind. Suddenly it came back to her: the bomb, the grid station, the fire and the explosion, and her part in the whole sorry mess. Her eyes snapped open. Two green ones were looking down at her with concern, framed in a round face.

“Just breathe, darlin’,” the man said.

“P-please,” stuttered Elise. “I… I don’t… I need to l-leave here. It was s-so lou-”

“I know, I know it was honey,” he cooed. “Let’s get you stood up. There’s a girl.” With that, the man gave a gentle tug on her arms, and manouvred Elise into a standing position. She felt wobbly. Drained. Her hair was mussed across her face so she couldn’t see properly, and she reflexively pushed it back over one long ear.

The man went quiet, and it took Elise a moment to realise what she’d done. Her heart burst into action, throbbing wildly in her chest. My ears. She turned aside, and shook her head in two sharp motions, forcing her hair back down. When she looked back, the man had an eyebrow raised.

“Don’t…” Elise whipered.

“Think we’d better get you out of here, darlin’,” said the man.

  1. Dear Daniel,

    Could have sworn you said Part 8 would be up yesterday!
    I might be mistaken. I am probably not. (I’m not)

    Excuses, please.

    Love, Joe.

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