Currently on hiatus. Will resume in July, or sooner.

Current story updates:

Current story interludes/Side stories:
Every other Saturday

Other pieces:
Every other Saturday (Saturdays I don't run the Interludes/Side Stories)

During certain periods updates may come more often; at other times updates may come less often. This schedule is my hoped-for goal.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Part 5

It is so very very hard to overcome negative momentum. Those of you who didn't do NaNoWriMo (and to my best knowledge that is all of you) do not know what I am talking about.
During NaNoWriMo I wrote every single day. I had story momentum. And now I sit and stare at my computer screen and go 'ughh. writing' It is a horrid state of affairs. And then I begin to procrastinate by doing things like this, writing the long header for the new chapter before I have even written the chapter. Unfortunately this seems to be how it is going to be until I do something about it. Namely, write.
So, without further ado I am going to get back to finishing this chapter. Hopefully.

Also, if anyone wants me to write a certain type of story, please tell me. I need motivation to overcome this bad momentum.
And for the final also, this chapter is again INSANE artist! Inspired by a story that I read recently.

Chapter 4

The artist climbed down the ladder and looked around. This next junction was also well decorated. Beautified. Painted. New.
She smiled and walked back to the little cabin that she had made her home. Nobody ever came to this part of the sewers. She didn’t know why. The woman must have lived somewhere near here as well, and been the only one who ever had a shift. She must have been called in every time something went wrong, and dealt with it herself, never calling in anyone else unless things went very wrong.
The artist was lucky that nothing had gone wrong in the year that she had stayed here. No mechanical errors, no other problems, nothing wrong at all.
Or else she would have had to go back to killing. And now that she had found peace here, for the first time ever, she did not want to go back to killing.
It was funny though that she still thought of herself as the artist. But for a very different reason now.
She looked up at the ceiling and smiled. Waterfalls fell and leaped, waves crested, the sun set time and again, and rose, and fanciful creatures leapt, things like dolphins, octopi, whales and sharks. She smiled and kept walking, focusing again on not slipping on the water slicked walkway.
One hallway that she passed she did not enter, nor did she look at ti. That was a shrine to the memory of her mother. She had painted those walls with tears and memories, burned names and epitaphs to all the crew of the Salvager and the Reclamation into the walls, and painted the flames that had stolen her life.
But it had been so freeing. To finally be free of that, to get it out, to put it on the walls. To be free of the pain.
She passed another hallway and this one she also did not look down. This was her epitaph for those she had killed. Here they would be remembered in all their beauty. She had painted them as she had seen them last, lying dead, sometimes dismembered, sometimes in worse condition. Here their beauty and her art would live on forever.
Sometimes she still wished for the old days, the old art, but only sometimes, and rarely now. The fact that it was so rarely almost made her sad, but she pushed that away as she walked back to the cabin.
She stepped inside and dropped her ladder and paints on the crate by the door. As she began to prepare a meal she walked around the room, checking on all her things.
She was interrupted by a horrible clank.
She ran outside and saw to her horror that the water had stopped flowing. She ran along the catwalks until she found the great turbines. They had stopped. Entirely stopped.
And there was nothing that she could do to fix it.
She stared at the turbines for a moment as everything came crashing down. Her whole new crafted world, her peace. All gone. Gone.
She shook her head and a growl escaped her lips.
No. She would not lose this now. She would hide, and when the crew was gone she would…
But the crew would not leave. Not once they saw the pictures that she had painted. Or rather, they would leave so that the security forces could move in. And she had no chance of it being the sniper this time. He would be long gone, on to more important things like the war she heard snippets of when she ventured out so very rarely to steal food.
She snarled again and turned to run back to her cabin. She threw her pack together and loaded her pistols, checked her supplies, and double checked them.
Brushing off her stolen worker uniform she put it on and straightened it out. Some officialness would help her to walk unmolested.
She peaked out the door and stepped out. She had gotten three steps when she heard a voice behind her.
“Hey! What are-”
She didn’t let the man finish his sentence. She spun, one hand going for her belt while the other twisted, popping the knife out of its sleeve holster and dropping it into her hand.
As her spin brought her about to face the man she opened her fingers and the knife lanced out to pierce his eye.
He stumbled backwards, screaming as she leapt towards him. She balanced on his chest for the moment it took to pull the knife out his eyeball with a sickening squelch before pushing off. The force propelled the two in very different directions. The artist twisted in the air and caught onto the top of her little cabin, swinging herself up with her free hand. The man stumbled backwards and fetched up against the guard rail. A bullet from the artist’s gun made a whole in his forehead, and he flipped backwards into the still waters.
As the artist turned to see the stunned group of technicians staring at her a twist of crimson began to stain the water below.
“I apologize, but you will not let me leave, and you will talk” Her voice was hoarse from disuse, and many of the people started back from the croaking wheeze that emerged from her throat. The artist pulled her second pistol from her belt and opened fire.
The people ran screaming, but it was no use. Four died before the others realized what was happening, and the others did not last much longer.
The one who lasted the longest was the woman who pretended to drop dead. When the artist lowered her pistols and was checking the ammunition that she had remaining she saw a flicker of movement.
The woman was running for the tunnels, and because she had been checking the ammunition she could not just shoot her.
The artist growled, and swung down from her perch. She hit the ground running, legs pumping. As she ran she shoved the pistols back into their holsters and drew another knife from her belt. Her favourite knife, she had not left it behind even when painting.
She felt the way it sat in her hand and smiled. She had missed this.
She pumped her legs faster and then cried out as her muscles cramped. She fell to her knees and began to spasm as the woman turned down a corridor that the artist knew was a dead end. She could not have caught her if it wasn’t. She lay there, twitching, limbs flailing as her implants turned against her.
So long without real use, and then this, overclocking them to shoot all the technicians, and then this run where she had gone dozens of metres in seconds had caused them to fail her. Maybe only momentarily, or maybe forever.
She gritted her teeth against the pain and did her best to stand up. With the aid of the railing she could pull herself to her knees at least. Teeth chattering, fingers clenching tighter than they ever had before, legs not responding, left arm flapping right arm rigid at her side she knew that if the woman were to come out now she could kill her, let alone an actual agent or security personnel with a weapon.
She was dead.
Slowly however the pain and shaking subsided, and nobody had killed her. She stood up in shaky legs and took a step. She could no longer feel the augments increasing the power of every step, every movement. In fact, she could feel the drag as her muscles were forced to bend the augments as well as her leg.
They were entirely shut down. She would not be able to run, to do anything at all until she got them recharged, or maybe even entirely overhauled.
She continued on dragging feet down the walkway to the corridor that the woman had run down. Slowly, she walked down it, listening at each juncture, using sense that she had had to use unaided for years, exercising muscles that had not done full work in even longer.
She felt worn out, exhausted, overused and empty. She knew that she needed to eat, but she did not have time for that. She needed to find the woman, kill her, then escape. She could not rest until the deed was done.
She came to a cross-corridor and finally heard the woman’s scared breathing. She turned down it, her left leg dragging behind her, her knife scraping against the wall because she did not have the energy to lift it fully right now. She supposed that she should just ready her gun and shoot the woman, but she trusted the knife more than she trusted herself with the gun. Her hands might shake and she might miss, or the kick may knock her off her feet. Much better to use the weapon that she had first used, and had grown to love since.
She heard the woman’s breathing hitch and then footsteps pattering away. She had to catch her soon, or else she would be too exhausted to finish things and get away. Every moment she delayed was another moment to not be escaping.
She picked up the pace, shuffling a bit faster. She supposed that the woman must have screamed because of the dragging of the feet and scraping of the knife. Without meaning to the artist had induced more fear than maybe ever before.
She would have to explore this more when she left, when she had time.
As she dragged herself down the corridor towards the fleeing woman, her knife scraping a curlicue of paint from the lovingly detailed hall her mind did not lament the fact that all the beauty was lost, all the time that she had spent at peace was now undone. Her mind was back to the state where she was a killer, brutal, cold efficient.
She rounded the corner to the sound of sobs. The woman was banging on the wall as the corridor had finally ended. She had evidently not had time to double back and find another cross corridor before the artist caught her.
She tapped the wall with her knife and took another dragging slow step as the woman collapsed sobbing. The artist flicked the switch that turned the ceiling lights back to automatic from the off that the woman had switched them to.
As the sensors detected motion and turned the lights on her paintings of those that she had killed filled the air. The fat man, that young girl, the depressed teenager, the rich boy, all the wonderful kills, the wonderful images. All of them spread out for the world to see.
The woman opened her eyes at the light and saw the pictures. She began to keen as the bloody images filled her eyes, as she realized the truth that there was no escape. That she would die.
The artist smiled as she stepped forwards, once again basking in the joy, the scent of the woman’s fear, the look in her eyes and the sound of her screams.
But she could not allow herself too much enjoyment. This was about business, pure and simple. She stepped forwards and lifted the knife high above her head. The woman’s screams cut off with a crunch and a spray of blood against the wall.

Her body slid down the wall as the artist walked lurched away. Empty eye sockets watched her go as tears of blood ran down the woman’s face.

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