No Way Back – Chapter 5 – Updated 08JAN2010

Chapter 5 is now ready for your perusal.  Now, anyone who’s seen the originals know that I only got to ch. 3.  That means these last two were newer.    I’m excited, because I’ve had several people that I know look over my work, and have yet to really recieve any real complaints, outside of the anthro-characters that make up the aliens.  But that’s okay, it’s just something I was thinking of, and I ain’t gonna say who.  🙂

Chapter Five.

Two years.

It’s been two years since she told me that she would go out with me if I beat her. And I’ve tried. Very hard. It’s two years today, and I vow that I’m going to get my chance to be with her. Like I have two or three times a week since she said it.

It doesn’t seem to matter what I do. I’ve learned to ignore her voice as we play. The distractions she throws at me no longer phase me. I’ve begun working on my most advanced Bot, a heavy-armor assault unit designated NightWolf. I’ve upgraded its engines to crank out the speed of a Bot half its weight. Its armor has been replaced with an energy-ablative coating to dissipate energy attacks. Each weapon has been specifically selected and configured for a specific purpose. I no longer stick to the shorter range weapons, because she simply hangs back and hammers me from range. When I switched to long range, she changed up to be close-in. She seemed to know when I was going to do something, and adjusted for it on the fly. So, I switched to an all-around configuration.

I’ve gotten close. So close that I can taste it. But, just when I think I have her, she does something. Once was a surprise minefield that she had lain for me when she knew that I was relying on shorter range weapons and would have to move in to hit her. Another time was a specifically-timed round fired practically straight up, which came down on my Bot and destroyed it in its weakened state. Another time, she used the bog to keep my Bot from coming after her and pounded it from behind. I had her down several times, thinking victory was mine. That’s when she would spring another surprise, firing her jumpjets to keep active, bouncing off of one foot and firing again, or firing from the ground.

And it’s been rough on me. I’ve almost given up a dozen times. Each time, she comes to me, comforts me, teases me. I’ve tried dating other girls, and each one of them left me because I was too in love with “that girl” to ever give myself to them. And she’s supported me every time they left. She let me know that there was someone for me, that, when the time is right, the right girl for me would come along. She would hold me, run her fingers through my hair. I asked her several times to forget the wager and just go out with me. Every time, she would say that, for as much as she wanted to, she thought it would make our time together online battling together or against each other special. That I would remember her forever because she made me work for it. So, almost like clockwork, every Sunday, I would challenge her. And, I would fail. Again. And again. And again. The only one I can’t seem to defeat is her.

Today is different, though. I can feel it. Something feels right. Something that says you’ve earned it, that she’s going to let me win.

I’ve felt that every Sunday, though…

I sigh, looking at my ceiling, wondering if I should just call Dannielle back, tell her that I want to see her. I hadn’t heard from her in almost a month. The last thing she said to me was, “Call me when you decide you’re done chasing someone who doesn’t want you.” It’s not that I didn’t want to see her, but I wind up spending my weekends on ChromeBots with Allessa. I think that was her breaking up with me, but, I’ve never been good with understanding women. Boy, do I want to call her right now. She really was sweet, kind, cute, and she even liked video games, if you count Pong and Breakout…

The house phone rings downstairs. I sit up, the air much warmer since they’d fixed that duct. I think about that for a moment, remembering when I was first in the attic and fell on that particular duct trying to not go through the floor. It saved me, but I damn-near pinched it shut.

RING!

I probably should get that, I think to myself. I jump up, quickly hopping into a pair of shorts. I get to the door, fling it open, and start into the hall

RING!

I leap down the steps, coming to an abrupt stop on the landing, spin around, and jump that flight of steps as well, landing with a sharp sting as my bare feet slap into the hardwood.

RING!

I turn, yelping from the sting, and rush the phone. I get to it right as the next ring starts, grabbing it from the charging cradle, and answer it. “Hello?”

“Hey…” I know the voice immediately, although it’s sad, almost teary.

“Dannielle? I haven’t heard from you in so long, I thought you hated me!” My voice is high-pitched to my ears, and I wince, knowing that I sounded more surprised than I wanted to.

“I tried calling. Some woman answered every time, saying you were busy, and that they’d have you call me back. Why haven’t you called me?”

“Dannielle, the last I’d heard from you, you told me that you didn’t want me to call, didn’t you?” I really thought that’s what she meant. “I didn’t want you to go, but I didn’t know what you wanted me to do. I’m sorry, I was confused.”

I hear her sniffle, then a smile shows in her voice. “I know you didn’t, but… You seemed so busy with your neighbor, and I didn’t want you to pretend to care about me.”

“Wait, I never pretended!,” which is true. “I do like you and–”

“Robert,” she interrupts, “you don’t have to lie to me. I’m a big girl. I just wish you would have told me about her before.”

“What do you mean, you know Allessa!”

“Not her. Some other girl, the girl I left the messages with. She kept saying her name was Chibi, but I knew that couldn’t have been her real name. And it didn’t sound like your mother.” She sighs, and I knew that she wasn’t making this up, and I needed to say something fast, or she really was about to break up with me for good.

“Wait, Dannielle, I don’t know anyone named Chibi, and no one ever gave me a message, I swear!”

“Look, I didn’t call you to harp on you for not being the perfect boyfriend. I called to say that I am done waiting for you to tell me what is going on.” I can hear her trying to hide her hurt. She is trying so hard to be strong, and I don’t blame her. “Rob, I care about you, but, you obviously have other things much more important.” I hear a soft sniffle. “And, I just can’t be second to someone who doesn’t feel for you like I do, and I won’t be second to some game. Goodbye.”

CLICK!

I stand there, a quiet phone held to my ear. Why? Why does this have to be happening to me? We just started our senior year, and every girl I’ve liked and dated, I’ve lost, either because of her or this “Chibi” person. And who is this person, anyway? I feel the anger growing, feeling betrayed. Someone had made it where I wasn’t with her. She really was a great girl! Why would someone be doing this to me? Who hates me so much?! I slam the phone back into its cradle, and launch an explosion of punches into the couch cushions, catching the supporting wood behind them. I keep swinging until I can’t lift my hands, my knuckles bruised and rug-burned. I look at my hands, swollen, painful, but blurry since I’m so angry that I’m starting to tear up. I turn towards my kitchen, heading to the sink, turning the cold water on full-force, plugging the sink, and letting my hands sit in the water as it fills over my hands. I notice a drop of water landing in the pool, realizing it wasn’t from the spigot. I close my eyes and feel another drop fall from them, hearing it landing in the water with a soft splash.

“If I ever find out who this person is, I will beat them within an inch of their lives.” It’s the only thing I can think of. It’s the words that leave my mouth, my hands still burning in the icy water. “And when I get them there, I’m gonna make them wish they were dead.”

“Look, I didn’t call you to harp on you for not being the perfect boyfriend. I called to say that I am done waiting for you to tell me what is going on. Rob, I care about you, but, you obviously have other things much more important. And, I just can’t be second to someone who doesn’t feel for you like I do, and I won’t be second to some game. Goodbye.”

CLICK!

Then a long pause. Breathing. Then a hard clacking sound, and the transmission cuts out

The human girl sounded so upset. She understood. She even sympathized. But, she couldn’t let anyone interfere with the plans. There was too much at stake. Her family. Her sister. Her friends Her own commander, the one being she loved. So many lives depended on her making sure this didn’t fail.

She lets her black-furred paw drift to the holodisplay, catching the disconnect symbol. She then stands and stretches her white-and black-spotted body, and lets both of her paws drift up, stroking her long, overly-oblong ears, pushed through her moderate-length black hair. They were sore from being hidden away, and she knew it wasn’t going to be the last time. So much to hide, so much coercion. It was all taking a toll on her. But, she’d made a deal. She’d find a suitable replacement for her own baby sister on this back-water planet. These humans didn’t even have the technology to replicate theirs, but they could handle what was made effectively. But, her captors only wanted the best. And she’d found him. She knew it already. He just needed to prove it, and this nightmare would be over.

She sat again, then pressed a control, bringing up a data file, containing a photograph of a young, dark-blonde haired, blue-eyed subject. It had all of his personal information, anything that could be collected on the planet’s data networks was already collected. Height, weight, social security, birth certificate, school records, any website he’s ever seen, all of it. Including his combat stats, which, while impressive, had one flaw: the last person on his dueling list whom he hadn’t beaten, call-signed ChiMaschi. She knew who that player was, very intimately.

This was all going to end soon, and she relished in the thought. She had done so much to prepare him for this. What she was doing was in gross violation of UFO law, but, it was that or know that her love would be left to die in his suspended animation when they simply shut down its power grid without awakening him. And her sister being forcedly conscripted into their horrible training program, making her nothing more than a horridly twisted version of herself, whose only wish is to follow the commands of their handlers, regardless of what that was. Her friends, members of her battlegroup, would be executed by being fed to their younglings. No, this was a much better outcome, she told herself, over and over again. One human life for her love, her friends, her family. But one thought kept nagging at her mind, making her rabbit-like nose twitch as she thought about it.

Was one life worth it all? Even if that life was a human’s?

To her, at this moment, it most definitely was.

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