Chapter 33 The Choice
Sultry could not believe her eyes or other senses. A smell that rose up from the very earth shook her into action. By some miracle or because she was at the back behind everything she had escaped the explosion with only minor cuts ,a very dirty face, and a temporary cessation of her wits. The blast had been very localised but powerful and now there was pure silence with only the blue smoke from the smouldering wheat field drifting across a battle field. Her memory had a hole in it for she had no clear idea what had happened. ‘Get moving’ she told herself.
Trying to rise, her legs found it difficult to support her weight while her brain tried to compose a course of action.
‘find survivors’ she ordered herself. ‘Yes, survivors’ she repeatedly to herself. The first thing she found was a human arm with a gold bracelet and gold rings. ‘Olivetti’ she said and then felt very sick. More body parts littered the ground like drink cans left at a pop concert. Parts of a vehicle, tyres, metal panels, chard plastic everywhere, the scene was numbing her mind.
“Jesus ” she said out loud, ’what did this?
Then she saw some movement. The body of a man, for it was large, seemed to rise and fall. Approaching it with caution she saw the body was face down in a natural hollow with its back exposed. Exposed in the sense that all clothing plus skin had been stripped away leaving only blood red tissue. The muscles exposed to the air were so exquisite she immediately thought of Carlo.
“Carlo” she screamed and rushed forward. When the body moved again only then did she see that another body lay beneath the male body. A body much smaller and thinner. A female body that was alive.
Bending down to examine the male head closer she would have lifted the head by its hair only there was none. A bloody skull offered little purchase. Going to the feet she recognised the shoes as those of Carlo. Pulling him by his feet it took an adrenaline aided heave to slide the body backwards exposing the one beneath. It was K-kay.
Apart from burns up her legs she appeared unhurt. Upon seeing Carlo she rushed to him and mimicked hitting him with a clenched fist while an expression of pure distress filled her face.
Turning to Sultry she implored
“Why did he do that?”
“Knocked me down to the ground then threw himself on top of me”
“He saved your life.” answered Sultry slightly stunned.
“I know, I know” repeated K-kay in distressed anger.
“Men do the strangest of things.” said Sultry to no one in particular.
She then looked up at the scene of destruction amongst which she thought she heard something.
The word “Akram” came from somewhere beyond the burnt out remains of the Toyota.
“Akram means help. ” said K-kay, “it sounds like Jfive.”
They located her nearly halfway to the stranded Range rover. A trail of blood indicated her effort to crawl to her goal but she was not going to make it. One leg had nothing below the knee while her right hand was lifeless with all the fingers missing. Horrible burn marks covered most of her face on her right hand side from hip to the neck.
It suddenly dawned on K-kay what was in the ancient Ranger Rover and rushed away to return with a suitcase. In no time at all she had stopped the flow of blood from the leg, attached a metal cage that transformed itself into a crude prosthetic. Magic skin’ as Sultry called it soon covered the burns.
There was little else she could do for the hand or the arm since both were too badly damaged for what supplies she had.
Jfive spoke something which Sultry struggled to translate.
Heated words were exchanged between Jfive and K-kay but such were their reactions to each other that Sultry knew there was a fundamental difference of opinion with K-kay refusing to take orders.
Eventually, K-kay retrieved a small black box from the case, gave it to Sultry saying.
“This will start the rental van over there, we need transport out of this place. Attached it to the screen, press button, when blue light stops flashing press button no.2 and the van will start. Be quick .”
Sitting in the van, waiting for the blue light to settle, Sultry played through what she thought her two companions had been arguing about. Slowly picking through the sounds and phrases she realised it was about a female, human. Life or live on K-kay’s side of the argument and a word kept cropping up used by Jfive. It dawned on her as the blue light stayed on that they were debating if to kill a human. Pressing the button to start the van she felt a deep sinking hole in her stomach.
‘They were arguing over what to do with me.’ she thought,′ the only human witness’.
She turned the van around facing the open gate, trying to find a reason for going back into that field.
It was the sight of K-kay dancing up and down waving her hands frantically but in a excited manner, beckoning her that decided it. ‘What on earth?’ she asked herself.
As she pulled alongside K-kay with the window down the words
“Carlo alive.” crashed through all her thoughts.
‘Could this possible be true?’ she thought or was it a ruse to make her vulnerable, a way of luring her to her death.
“Never.” she said.
Then K-kay shouted the words,
“So is Hunter.”
Sultry looked down the field to where Jfive was last seen. To her relief the body of Jfive was still there looking all the world as if she were dead.
“I knocked her out.” assured K-kay seeing the direction of the Sultry’s gaze, “chemically.” She smiled.
Both men had a pulse. They found Hunter half under the wrecked Toyota his body burnt on one side with a large chunk of metal buried in his side. His head showed signs of trauma. This K-Kay decided was not that serious, the metal was.
Pulling Sultry to one side she looked incredibly grim.
“You have a choice.” she uttered the words in a deep serious voice.
“What choice?” Sultry was confused.
“I have enough supplies to save one but not both?”
“What do you mean?” stabbed Sultry in a demanding voice, half guessing at the implication.
“You must choose.” came the stern reply.
“You cannot ask me to do that!” exploded Sultry, “I would live the rest of my life with it.”
“Then I will choose for you, lover, colleague, friend, he man or would be father of your children, that is the choice.”
“Like hell, ” shouted the young woman stepping back from her companion as if revolted by the suggestion..
“Make the choice, “demanded K-kay, “or they will both die while we bicker about it.”
“No” screamed Sultry her face a picture of pure anguish.
Without warning K-kay produced a small disrupter from the suitcase, pointed it across the field to where the body of Carlo lay and fired. The body moved as if kicked then lay still.
“The choice is made.” said the alien, “Now help me save Hunter.”
“But you liked Carlo.” stated the young woman, confused and distraught.
“I did.” came the reply. The look on K-kay’s face warned Sultry off from pursuing this any further.
They worked frantically on the man to stabilise him before loading him onto a sheet of metal which they used as a ramp to slide him into the van. Next they retrieved Jfive.
“No sign of spider or Fen or Prem” said Sultry looking around, “or any of the others.”
“Vaporised” said K-kay as the sound of sirens could be heard in the distance.
“What did this?” said Sultry taking one last look at the scene.
“A camper van” came the answer “and dark matter.”
Sultry looked at her open mouthed.
“Out of time but I need to look at something.” announced K-kay.
They drove to an oval shaped crater in the ground. Getting out of the van, K-kay walked around the crater once then said,
“You know , I think the nurse was here, lying down, I think the Asyth blasted her through the passing point before committing suicide. Extraordinary”
“Is that possible?”
“The calculations needed to get everything right are..... ” she stopped letting the unfinished sentence explain her admiration.
As they left the field they could see blue flashing lights in the distance. They drove for a mile or so then Sultry asked,
“Why save Hunter and not Carlo?”
K-kay paused a long while before answering then said,
“Where I come from the father of my child would be a plastic tube and the sex would last 3 seconds at most. Your way is primitive but has to be better. I will say no more. Mind you”, she went on deep in an after thought, “we do not have the blood and gore of your childbirth. In fact we do not have the perpetual chaos you humans live in. Everything in my world is controlled. Control is everything.”
Whilst Sultry had a look of concern as well as puzzlement on her face as she spoke, somewhere at the back of her mind, in some primitive recess there was a thank you for a possible future. Her voice portrayed no hint of gratitude. She could not imagine the ordered world of K-kay.
“What will your superiors say, You saving a male and all?”
“Sister, I am in a lot of trouble.”
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