Heaven Below a Scorched Plane

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Chapter 18

I stood in that room, before the doors. I was leaning against a wall across from them, looking into the darkness. I thought that maybe at some point my eyes would adapt to the dark, and I would see the horrid thing, that savior of mankind we all gave alms to. Alms, alms of trust and alms of our future. We paid our alms and indeed, we were given rapture. We are to never want, for need is provided. Such is the nature of things. I guess in retrospect the Bible called it right, just stumbled a little on the dismount.

The black was pervasive, more so than usual. A thin trickle of light was visible around the corner, but it seemed to dissipate before really entering the room, as if the shadows were a shroud weighing down on it. Without it, it would have been impossible to track my relative position, and leaving would've become a task in its own right.

Time passed, maybe an hour, but I wouldn't know. Nothing seemed to change. Black was black. Dejected, I slid down to sit against the cement wall. It must have been audible, because somewhere in the distance I heard a light cough. Figures I wasn't alone. My hands listlessly brushed across the floor, picking up the grainy dust of eroded stone and running over damp spots where the pipes dripped. Though, the pipes weren't really supposed to run through that area, so thinking about it I guess it was something else that caused it. Anyway, that's not the part that matters.

My hands brushed against an object. I recoiled, knocking against whatever it was. It skirted a little bit, knocking against the cement before quiet took hold again. I quickly started towards where I estimated it'd gone, crawling along the ground. In the process my arm hit the thing again, and I scrambled to pick it up.

And bumped against someone else's arm.

Instinctively, I pushed against the body near me, and my hands found purchase, knocking them away with a thump and a yip from them. I picked up the object, only to be pushed down to the ground, another person on top of me. I struggled, but they'd already pinned one of my arms. I tried kneeing them in the stomach, but I couldn't produce enough force for it to really hurt them. I was struck in the face, not that hard, but hard enough to make me aware of the potential danger I was in. In a fit of desperation, I swung my other arm, clinging strong to whatever I was holding, into the air.

It connected. The other person slumped, falling against me. I quickly flipped over, pinning them down. Ten agonizing seconds passed, adrenaline rushing through me.

The effort proved unecessary. They didn't move. Upon realizing this, I slowly began to release my grip on them, and finally I let go. I ran my hands along the still body, looking for a pulse.

This person, whoever they were, wasn't wearing clothes. It was a woman. I pressed two fingers to her neck. Alive, thankfully. Her skin radiated heat, but it contrasted with the limpness of her body. For a while I didn't move, struck by this situation, what had happened. Despite the gravity of this encounter, and the risk it caused me, I felt this extreme calm. It felt as if I had stepped out of myself and was observing everything with distinct clarity, like a spirit. At the same time though, I had a strong sense of self, of hereness, if that makes any sense. This situation was the result of so much, so many factors outside of myself. It felt ordained.

It was this thought that led me to

I left, leaving the woman. I figured it was fine, since neither of us knew who the other was. No way to know. If I wanted to, I could have figured it out, but why bother? Best way to avoid her is to not know who she is in the first place. Essentially, the women I fought with in there is dead. Sure, another women may walk out of there, but she's functionally a different person, at least in regards to me.

But what was left was the object. After figuring out what it was, I hid it in my clothes, walking back to my room briskly. Once the door had been closed, then I placed it down on the desk, where it is now.

It was dusty, save for where my hand had touched it. Rust dotted it, but on the whole it looked to be in good condition. It didn't bother me that it wasn't worn, probably nobody'd touched the thing since it was dropped in that room, what bothered me was how it got in here in the first place.

How do you smuggle in a fully loaded revolver?

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