Thursday, March 27, 2014

Short story project: Unidentified Flying Object, Part 6

I took several long steps back. “I don’t want your help.”
Jason stared at me, leaning forward like he wanted to eliminate the gap between us, but he held his ground. “I can help people like you.”
People like…me?
“Didn’t you think there were others?” Jason kept his voice low as he stepped closer.
Every inch of my body screamed to back away, to run back into the library, but I stayed put, crossing my hands over my chest. “Of course,” I said, keeping my voice low, and my gaze locked on this strange young man. “Of course, I assumed—”
Jason opened his mouth.
“—but I don’t care.” I pivoted and my heel, headed for the library at full steam, chucking my cigarette on the pavement when I reached the wide front stairs. I took two steps at a time, gasping a little in my hurry.
“How can you not care?” The ever-athletic-seeming Jason had caught up to me, and kept pace. He didn’t even have the decency to appear out of breath.
“Because I don’t.” Because in this case, I doubted safety was in numbers. Groups of people with “special skills” would create a larger target for someone to hunt us down; to capture us and lock us away in the top secret government facilities I imagined had to exist somewhere. Living on my own meant that I had no one but myself to depend upon. I felt safe alone.
“You don’t, or you won’t?” Jason stepped in front of me, barring my way—his habit of doing that was growing annoying.
“Take your pick.” I said, then pushed past him. I was only a couple of strides away from the entrance.
“Stop pretending you don’t care, Claire.”
I froze, my hand partially extended toward the door. “I’m not pretending.” I clenched my teeth.
“Then why are you still standing here?” An irritatingly smug smile spread across Jason’s face.
I levelled my best glare at my…companion…as the muscles in my jaw grew sore. Why was I standing here? Maybe because Jason was pleasant to look at, or because despite my best efforts, I actually needed human contact, so much so that the desire to be touched was building into a humming sensation across my skin. Or, it could be because he was so infuriating I couldn’t think rationally.
“Look,” Jason inched closer to me, checking over his shoulders then mine as he moved. “The other night, when we met, I was trying to break into the research offices where my girlfriend used to work. She disappeared—”
“So call the police.”
“She was like you, special.” His voice was so low I could barely make out what he said. “She could run fast. Faster than the high speed trains in Japan, and her employers found out.”

“I-can’t-help.” I clenched everything. My teeth, my fists, every joint tensed. Then I forced myself forward, my gaze locked straight ahead of me. I wasn’t going to get involved in this. I yanked back one of the front doors to the library, my feet pounding against the floor as I steam-lined it to the elevator. I didn’t bother to check behind me to see if Jason followed, I sensed by the cool breeze at my back that he wasn’t there.
To be continued...check back for more of the story on Tuesday, April 1st (no fools!)

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