Tales from The Vacuous Breach pt4
The Figure watched as the man departed, once he was out of eye line he turned to his tallest follower. “Only disturb me if something goes wrong, I need to rest.” he instructed before retiring to his room. The room itself was far less impressive than one would expect out of a man who thinks so highly of himself. The Figure seated himself in a chair, and stared at the bed for a good long minute, not saying a word, not thinking a word, just looking.
“I have to make this work…” he said to the room.
The Figure bent over and removed his boots, first then the rest of his suit, removing the helmet last. Placing it on the chair. Looking at himself in the mirror he barely recognised the man he saw. Paled skin, dark sleep circles were heavy under his once bright eyes, now as cold as the room. His hair was turning not grey but stark white as if the colour were being sucked out not changing with age. The Figure rubbed his face. “I have to fix this…” he told himself, sitting down on the bed.
Cold, always cold. No matter what he tried, this room was always cold. Not that the whole of the complex wasn’t cold. It was, this room just felt all too different cold. Not just a lack of heat but like something was missing… He knew that…she was what was missing…
The Figure pulled covers over himself and closed his eyes for even a moment of sleep. And after drifting off, for once, a pleasant dream came to him. The Figure’s dream was tangably real. As he lay there he felt the opposite side of the bed shift, and a frame much shorter than his slid under the covers, a warm forehead placed between his shoulder blades. The shocking feel of that sudden warmth starts in a circle and radiates all throughout him. True warmth. Nothing remotely like the heating devices that kept this place bearable.
He wants to turn. Wants to see her face, so pale, her mess of hair she tried and failed to keep in any sort of bun, see her face scrunched up like she’s thinking really hard about how little her dream is making. He wants her to feel him watching her sleep and her to open those pale grey eyes of hers that always seemed to see something in him even with his intellect he couldn’t see in himself. But he knew if he did anything but lay there frozen in place the feeling would melt away, like a snowflake in the desert and she’d be gone again, gone back to that damnedable tube. So The Figure stayed, Enjoying the tickle of the hair on his bare back, her warmth against his. Every second made him ache for the real thing but he knew he’d only get it if he found a way to force this place to give him what he wants.
Who knows how long The Figure laid there still and stiff as a board but just when he felt like it might not be a dream, that everything up to this moment was the nightmare and he was finally starting to wake up a banging came from his door, and with the knock the cold was back that warm feeling snatched away.
The Figure stood, redressing himself the helmet last looking at himself once more in his own tired eyes before refitting and reclasping the helmet with a small hiss it was back in back and locked in.
“Yes…” he said to the tall comrade at the door.
“He has returned.” they responded.
Returning to the bulkhead that sealed away the outside, the two squat men began the process of opening the door. Just as the door became ajar the man threw himself through, the two squat followers of The Figure closed the door behind him and resealed it.
The moment the man hit the floor he was back to his feet, more like he bounced then fell, and was tearing the protective suit off his body. Once he was out and realised he was at least partly safe he turned to The Figure and his eyes filled with rage. “YOU BASTARD!” he spat. “YOU LIED TO ME! YOU SAID IT WAS SAFE!”
The Figure feigned being taken aback by the outburst. Almost mockingly so. “Me?” The Figure asked. “I said no such thing if I recall and I do. “I said relatively safe as long as you stay in the light.”
“You son of a bitch, I did stay in the light and something still grabbed me.” the man shouted again, with each outburst The Figure could see droplets of spit flying.
“You must be mistaken.” he said, “You probably…” The Figure was beginning but the man cut him off again.
“I was dead centre, I was nowhere near the edge and something pulled me into the dark.” The man snarled, “You were going to just let me die.” he shouted and lashed out. One of the more normal sized of The Figure’s men connected the stock of the crossbow with the man’s gut causing him to double over and dry wretch. “You…”
The Figure knelt and pulled the man's head up. “What…did…it…look…like?” The Figure asked slowly.
Through a wheeze the man explained the story the best he could. He told The Figure about seeing a strange dog…rat…insect-like creature. Then explained getting snagged by something that looked human shaped but didn’t have a mouth until it screamed. Like it tore open a mouth JUST to scream, and how it wasn’t like it screamed out loud, it was like it screamed in his head.
The Figure motioned for the others to gather on him, except on who kept a crossbow trained on the man. The man watched him converse with the others, until the very tall one eventually came back over to the man, “Follow me. We will prepare you to return with your freedom.”
The two squat men picked him up and helped him walk. The Figure’s men would erase all memories of what took place here, from the arrival to when he wakes up in the middle of nowhere, somewhere distant and new, and free. Plagued only with occasional nightmares of terrors he is incapable of fitting words to, and a possible phobia of the dark. Better than remembering.
The Figure arrived shortly after the memory alteration as his men placed the dazed man on a platform of stone, carved with runes both ancient and new. A teleportation spell set to send him somewhere he’d be safe, free and unknown as a person. With gaps in memory he might chalk up to an over indulgence of libations after gaining his freedom.
Once the spell was spent and the man gone The Figure turned to his following. “We need to research why something was able to press past the light. Find out if they are adapting to our presence.” He pointed to one of the other’s near his size. “Repair the teleportation circle. I may need to make a trip soon.” They all nodded at The Figure and set to begin the work ahead.