Chapter 11

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DARK WINDS

Shahn’dra crawled across the dirt floor towards the radio. Her vision was blurred and her head was spinning from the visions that flooded her mind’s eye. Instinctively, she unfurled her antennae to project a defensive aura to shut the visions out. But it was forbidden. She smoothed her antennae back down, but they seemed to have a life of their own and sprang back up to protect her as she struggled to keep from unleashing the full strength of her aura. If her mother hadn’t collapsed on the floor behind her, she probably would have just let the visions consume her until they were done with her.

She groped for the power switch and flicked on the radio. Static poured from the speaker, along with a round hum that slowly rose in pitch. She grabbed one dial and twisted it until the needle in the display moved under a red mark etched just above the window. A stark image infested her mind – visions of fires climbing out of the towering cord trees outside blinded her completely and she let out a whimper as she fumbled with the radio. She clutched at the microphone hooked to its side, but couldn’t pull it free. The fire in her mind blazed out of control and all her strength drained from her. She collapsed to the floor with a groan.

It was forbidden. Something deep inside clawed at her mind, desperate to escape and run wild. She was blind. She couldn’t feel the ground. All she could hear was the roar of the fire that threatened to consume her sanity. She let her antennae unfurl to their full extension and unleashed the forbidden from its cage. The visions blurred as her mind pushed back against the intruder. The radio came back into view and she lunged for the microphone, ripping it from its hook.

She squeezed the transmit key on the side and shrieked into the grill. “Two Bravo Delta, Two Bravo Delta, Crimson Sunshine, over.” She let go of the key and strained to listen for the response. Static floated out from the radio as the visions kept swirling in her mind. She kept them close enough to the edge of her awareness that she could still see the radio, but she didn’t know how long she could hold them back. She whimpered and keyed the microphone again. “Two Bravo Delta, Two Bravo Delta, Crimson Sunshine, Broken Arrow -” She lost her grip on the microphone and it fell to the ground. She rolled over on her back and tears welled up in her eyes. Her body shuddered with a sob and her snout tucked itself tightly against her chin. She thrashed the ground with her hand, searching for the microphone.

The fire roared into the sky. Buildings she had never seen before collapsed and were swept away by a harsh wind that swept across the land. Faces she had never known looked at her, imploring her to help and then disappeared behind a wall of flame. An avalanche of screams poured over her and suffocated her as they sucked the air away from the sky. Then she was alone, standing in an endless sea of smoke and wind.

She found the microphone and tugged it towards her face. She keyed the microphone just as the vision broke through an invisible wall and wrapped itself around her entire being.

“Help me.”

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©2016 Michael J Lawrence