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Locked (Caged #2)
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People say I’m ferocious. Wild. Dangerous.
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Accompanying Song: “One Of Twelve” by Johann Johannsson
My stomach churns as the twisted, metallic bird plunges from the skies and crashes into the earth. A loud screeching and thundering noise make me cover my eyes. The ground underneath my feet quakes.
When I look up, I can clearly see the rift in the earth between the broken trees, not far ahead.
With my heels digging into the ground, I slide down the rocky hill, disappearing into the forest beyond.
Soot whirls through the air as I make my way toward the tower of smoke. Flakes of fire waft through the trees, the scent of burning wood filling my nostrils.
A loud scream stops me in my tracks.
I’m getting close.
I glance around, looking for the source, but all I see is the fire blazing, scorching the earth, changing the luscious jungle into a literal hell.
Another gut-wrenching scream prompts me to move.
Like a tiger, I take off. Rushing through the jungle, I jump over broken branches and avoid falling trees. Dread grows inside my heart as I realize I’ll have to approach that … monster.
The mangled metallic beast that wrecked my domain.
The moment I lay my eyes on it, I stop for a brief second and glare in awe.
The blades at the top look razor sharp, and judging by the marks left in the ground, they did a lot of damage.
What if it’s not done yet?
I clutch the spear in my hand tighter, realizing I have to be vigilant.
There’s no telling what could happen. But fuck … I’ve never seen anything like it.
The sheer size of this thing makes my jaw drop.
However, a voice up ahead forces me to focus again, and I hone in on the sound.
I run to the side of the blazing fire roaring in the metallic beast. Ignoring the scent of burning flesh, I hop over bits and pieces of shredded shrapnel and bent wood until I’ve circled it completely.
Near the front of the metal bird, shattered glass litters the ground … and right next to the metal beast’s nose, something groans and coughs.
Accompanying Song: “Hydraulic Lift” by Johann Johannsson
Darkness surrounds me.
I can’t see. Can’t open my eyes.
My ears ring with terror. Sounds are dampened … as if I’m partially deaf.
Turmoil runs through my veins, but when I try to move, everything hurts.
My muscles cramp, and a metallic taste lingers on my tongue.
I can feel the indents of my teeth from when I bit my tongue.
And my head … bangs with pain as if it’s about to explode.
I force my eyes open. That’s when I catch a glimpse of the destruction around me.
The earth is scorched; trees are completely destroyed.
Everything is burning.
Fire and smoke as far as the eye can see.
It fills my lungs when I gasp, and I cough.
I can hardly breathe.
A groan escapes my mouth when I try to yell. It’s like a knife sliding down my throat, the sharp pain making my eyes tear up.
And I still can’t see.
Nothing … but vague, blurry images of wrangled metal and the hard ground beneath my body. An engine whirs behind me, and the sound of blades whooshing in the air makes my stomach drop.
I try to scream once again, but my voice fails me, and nothing but a faint shriek leaves my throat.
I smell the fire as the heat eats away at everything around me.
Soon it’ll be me.
I have to get away. Have to escape.
But no matter how hard I try, I can’t find the strength to crawl. With nails digging into the soil, I try to force myself forward, but I manage mere inches.
It’s not enough.
And the longer I try, the more exhausted I become.
Oxygen is slowly leaving my body and along with it, my consciousness.
The last thing I see before I pass out is a shadowy figure, appearing from the thick, dark smoke … And piercing gray eyes as two strong arms pull at my body.
Coaxing me into the beyond.
Accompanying Song: “Xenoanthropology” by Johann Johannsson
I blink, but nothing seems to register.
My body moves, but I’m not initiating the action. I’m not the one in charge.
I can barely keep my eyes open, but I persist anyway, needing to know what happened. In front of me, a large fire rages, and the sky glows red. The scent of smoke and burning metal fills my nostrils … and another scent I can’t place, but it makes me want to puke.
However, something pulling on my arms keeps the bile down.
Not just something … a person.
My muscles are too weak to resist as he drags me along the rough terrain away from the fire. The stranger props me against a tree and leaves me there, running back into the fire.
I try to scream, but my lungs lack the oxygen, and it hurts so bad. I cough and heave as the smoke that entered my lungs has coated them with soot.