First Part: CLICK HERE
Without movement, the pressure and her fear compounded, slowing time to a crawl. Her heart pounded. She tried to stifle her heavy breath within the crook of her arm. The back exit slammed and spun closed.
Several heartbeats later, misters sang their whispering song and bright white grow-lights bathed the red shadows in nearly natural radiance. The promise of color drew her eyes out of hiding.
She saw such an array of hues as she could never believe to be real. Black vines became green and orange squash turned honest yellow.
She also saw two pairs of pink feet.
Swallowing hard and holding her breath, the weight above lessened. A sea of adrenal fire flooded her veins. She fought to stay still, like some overwound spring.
“Find them!” demand a hoarse voice above the larger of the pink feet.
The smaller pair replied in a broken, whining whisper.
The woman in hiding heard a loud smack and watched in horror as small child spun to the grated floor. By some miracle of chance, the child never looked towards the hiding place while falling nor when crawling awkwardly back upright.
The child let out a choked sob before moving slowly down the hydroponic rows.
“I’ll have my meat one way or ‘nother, you little shit,” pronounced the larger feet with a short, joyless bark of almost laughter.
The smaller feet paced methodically through the rows and rows of well-lit fruits, vegetables, and machines. Eventually, those small toes stopped for far too long, directly before her hiding place. The woman felt something like a breeze brush against her temples.
The smaller feet let out a short breath before turning towards the larger pair.
“There’s… there’s nobody here,” the smaller feet spoke.
The larger feet suddenly bounded and disappeared from sight. Moments later, they landed beside the child.
“You worthless shit!” the thing attached to the big feet screamed. The woman in hiding heard another heavy smack. Tiny droplets of blood fell through the fine, white plastic grating.
She shot out from under the grow-pod in a primal fury. The woman grabbed hold of what proved to be a man’s thigh and raked like mad towards his groin. Her small, sharp knife found bloody purchase. Her rage boiled to cold white.
She remembered the old man’s anatomy lessons.
Seconds later it was done, all but the screaming.
She rose; the man-creature’s blood was her only raiment. Pulling her sack of provisions out from underneath, she took the weeping child in her other hand. They left through the back hatch.
They then dashed madly together into blood-red shadows.