Shades of Light

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Chapter 17

The stupid creature would not understand her even if it could. You can not convince those who do not want to be convinced. That's why the Republic removed those people. That's why she would kill this thing now. The cost did not matter. The Republic would continue.

“This is not your world, soldier. You do not need to protect it,” it said in savage growls and grunts that somehow formed understandable words. The words sounded vile when it spoke them. It defiled their language simply by using it.

“This world is sacred!” she shouted, or at least attempted to shout. Breathing too deep made her cringe in pain and this thing across from her would not doubt to take advantage of any weakness.

“Ignorance, mindless obedience, perpetual stagnation.” It smiled, showing sharp, flat teeth and large canines. “Those are virtues to you?”

“There is Order here. Society is stable. People are happy,” she said and stumbled backward. She managed to keep her aim steady. The things eyes narrowed in anticipation as it observed her.

“Lies. If you want to be a blissful herd animal like the rest of these people you are a fool. This living dream has to be finite and will prove to be empty in the end. It can't be anything else!” it growled at her. “It can't.”

“Perhaps, but it damn well looks like it is,” she said and started to giggle. Pain shot through her in waves. Her hand found a handhold just in time for her to stay upright as she backed away further from the monster. His red eyes were transfixed on hers and the distance between them slowly decreased with every step.

“It will provide a good hiding place then,” it said. Caroline giggled again.

“You think you're so smart,” she said and stopped moving away from it. She reached into a pocket of her coat and took out a stick of dynamite and the lighter she had taken from Das' remains. Clenching the stick between her arm and body, she lit the fuse without taking her eyes off her opponent. Alex flinched when the fuse caught on fire.

“Do you know what this is, you son of a buck?” she said and threw the stick to him. As she did, she finally lost her balance. She fell on her ass but kept the gun trained on the creature. Alex was distracted long enough to not jump at the opportunity. He caught the strange fire stick and held it between his thumb and index finger. A quick glance told him nothing of what the purpose of the object was. Some kind of light?

“My name is Alex,” he said. “Now, why don't you tell me what you hope to achieve with this?”

Caroline just giggled again. The creature was trying to hide the fact that it didn't know what dynamite was.

Most of the dynamite in the box had been on a long fuse. Somehow, Das had missed how impractical that was in a combat situation. Perhaps he had been thinking of escape but it was painfully clear now that the thing they were hunting would outlive them all. Not by much, though, if she had anything to say about it. She'd lit the fuse before pursuing the creature from Hel deeper in the cave. Her hope had been to trap it in there with her. Now they were practically on top of the explosives. She could hear the spark of the fuse enter the box. Alex looked at her, his eyes filled with confused suspicion. She finally gave in to exhaustion and let her head fall back. When he decided to make a run for the exit, it was too late.

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