Controller

Posted: October 19, 2009 in Fiction

I think I’ve figured out what to call this monstrosity of mine. If you’re wondering why I keep reposting part of the last installment with the current one, it’s largely because I’ve been fixing things that are unclear or that my unofficial editors think could use improvement. Or sometimes, I just decide it needs to change. Anyway, since I don’t know when a completed version is gonna land in my fileshare, I may as well share the good stuff as it comes.

Behind them, a man who had inexplicably tried to take a pair of skis as a carryon suddenly fell forward as the moving walkway reversed itself. The trail of people pitched forward onto their faces, and the skis arced forward. The only warning Eve’s captor had was the sudden mechanical grinding and the startled exclamations as finely honed edges of the skis carved into the back of his head. His grip faltered, only for a second, but it was enough. Eve yanked herself free faster than she would have believed she could. Her phone started to ring. In the moment between thought and action, she smirked inwardly; the ring was “Run Like Hell,” by Pink Floyd. She saw the second meathead take a step forward before she pivoted and sprinted back toward the gates.

Her long auburn hair floated out around her like a halo, and then snapped back as she launched herself back through the concourse. The walkway was crowded with passengers recently disgorged from their planes, and Eve had to shoulder her way through. For an instant, she thought she saw people she hadn’t reached stumble out of her way as though pushed, but she couldn’t afford to stop and contemplate. She drew her phone out of her pocket again, hoping it had a plan more detailed than just running away. The screen was showing the view through the device’s camera, but there was a red line curving off toward one of the gates. “Get a ticket,” it said. Eve snorted derisively. Easier said than… Eve stopped mid-thought. The camera was showing a man in front of her with a boarding pass sticking out of his pocket. The pass was outlined in red. She glanced around to see if the coast was clear. No one seemed to notice her, and her pursuit was still nowhere in sight. She snatched the pass as she walked by the poor man. She walked up to the nearby gate and was ushered onto another plane.

As she picked her way toward the ill-gotten seat, she eyed her phone. “What the hell is going on?” She muttered. Her phone vibrated again. Almost like I’m popular, she thought. Then it occurred to her; maybe she WAS popular. On the other hand, if she was so popular, wouldn’t someone have actually called her right now? So far, her phone seemed to be a direct line to someone who knew her every move, as well as the moves of whoever was trying to catch her. She didn’t need a memory to know that this pawn-on-a-chessboard bit was wearing thin. Still, she didn’t have many options until such time as she recovered at least her recent memories. She checked the screen. “They’ll check the seat. You need to hide.” On a plane? Where exactly did her chess-master expect her to hide? She cast about, hoping for inspiration. The only place that would even hold her out of direct view was the lavatory.

Eve looked for the flight crew. They were busy giving empty smiles to indifferent travelers. She ducked into the bathroom and slid the door closed. Eve was fairly small, but the compartment still felt cramped. Shortly, the pre-flight announcements started leaking through the door, and the aircraft started to move. Eve watched the shadows pass by in the crevice beneath the door, all the while whispering, “Please don’t see me please don’t see me.” As the plane taxied out to the runway, a pair of shadows stopped in front of the door. It slid open, bathing Eve and the interior of the bathroom in the pale fluorescent light. A stern-looking black woman glanced around and slid the door shut again.

Eve’s mind spun. This was too much. The woman had looked right at her. The scene replayed in her mind over and over. No, the woman had looked toward her, but her eyes never focused on her. Almost like she was looking through me, she thought. Her mind kept going. Now that she thought about it, a lot of things she had just gotten away with didn’t make sense. She had been able to move through the crowd in the concourse at a dead run. She had definitely pushed past the first person she reached, but Eve hadn’t touched the second or third, or any of the people she had to get through after that. They had just flown out of her path as though yanked. And how fast had she run that those two meatheads hadn’t been able to follow her? She couldn’t remember. Maybe her phone could tell her something. Then again, it hadn’t exactly been a fountain of answers. So far, it’d really only been good as an idiot’s guide to escaping danger she didn’t recognize. Eve was so far lost in thought that she didn’t really hear the turbine throttling up. The plane rolled along the runway, and then leapt forward. The nose lifted to the sky and the rest of the plane followed quickly. Eve fell backward and her head thumped against the wall above the toilet.

I’m going to be intentionally vague here, but I want to talk about personal problems on the internet. If you are groaning at the thought, just remember: It’s my damn blog. Also, at least I don’t act like this is LiveJournal. That place is a cesspool! That isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions, but I won’t take it back. The short version is thus: Life has begun imitating art. Although most things are going well in my world, my hierarchy of needs is not being met. In this case, the answer lies on the other end of a phone call or a message. I find myself staring at my sexy top-of-the-line phone and waiting for answers. The only difference is that the silence may be the answer. I just have to decide if I’m still going to tilt at this windmill or ride my donkey off into the sunset.

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Comments
  1. Sabrina says:

    I’d say, ride that ass. 😉

  2. Alana says:

    Here goes:1. "For an instant, she thought she saw people she hadn’t reached stumble out of her way as though pushed, but she couldn’t afford to stop and contemplate."I would just say "…she saw people ahead of her stumble out of her way as though they had been pushed by some unseen force, but…" or something like that.2. "Almost like I’m popular, she thought. Then it occurred to her; maybe she WAS popular. On the other hand, if she was so popular, wouldn’t someone have actually called her by now?"I know you’ve changed it a little and it’s a little clearer, but I still don’t understand what the purpose of this passage is. Of course she’s popular; she has a magic phone and she’s being chased by a couple of big freaks, all in the last twenty minutes. Can you just condense it to a single line, like, "Aren’t I popular?, she thought." I would cut out all unnecessary passages in order to keep the story suspenseful and moving along at a pretty quick place. Maybe I’m not understanding the significance of the passage, but right now three sentences on that particular subject seems bulky and unnecessary.3. "She didn’t need a memory to know that this pawn-on-a-chessboard bit was wearing thin. Still, she didn’t have many options until such time as she recovered at least her recent memories."This passage is also a little overlong. Maybe just, "This pawn-on-a-chessboard bit was wearing thin. Still, she didn’t have many other options."4. "Maybe her phone could tell her something. Then again, it hadn’t exactly been a fountain of answers. So far, it’d really only been good as an idiot’s guide to escaping danger she didn’t recognize. Eve was so far lost in thought that she didn’t really hear the turbine throttling up. The plane rolled along the runway…"Is this passage necessary at all? All of this has already been explained or is implied elsewhere. Sometimes it seems like you’re writing a serial so you repeat details, but I’m assuming you’ll eventually combine all this into one story, so just remember that we’ve been with Eve throughout her entire relationship with the phone (at least what she can remember, which is what’s important right now); we know it hasn’t supplied her with a lot of answers so far and we also know she hasn’t had time to ask it for any more. You’ve given the reader a lot to think about in this paragraph, and this seems kind of a lame finish. I would cut this whole thing and just change the last sentence to, "The turbine throttled up, and the plane rolled along the runway and leapt forward."You’re doing really well. Please keep that in mind. I feel bad going into all these silly little things, but it’s only because I haven’t found any plotholes or problematic logic so far – it’s really a good thing when I have to start with stuff like, "You should change this ‘a’ to ‘the’."

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