Prologue from Deathworlds

It was cold bitter and dark. We could barely see from the shadowy corner we hid the freezing rock sapping all our warmth. Flickering torches set far from us cast the only illumination in the cavernous room. A high vaulted ceiling amplified every small sound so that we feared to move lest we give ourselves away.

Others were nearby, clustered together under one of the torches. They argued, but the same trick of sound that threatened to reveal us distorted their voices so much we could only guess at what they said.

My companion huddled closer to me, sharing what little heat we could. We both knew we shouldn’t be here, and if we were caught it would mean trouble. Still we didn’t leave, to curious at what was unfolding in front of us to have the sense to run.

The group began shouting, their angry voices bouncing off the cold black walls so much it began to hurt. One man, dressed in black from head to foot, stood separately from the other two. Waving his arms as though he was dismissing what was being said, then walked away.

My companion and I ducked back down behind the rock we had chosen as our hiding place. The dark man would pass inches away from us, he always did. Yet still fear raced through every part of my body, I could feel the person beside me trembling in time with my own shudders.

Soon it would be over, this nightmare, in a flash of cold light, violent shadows and searing pain. But it would be over.
Still I took her hand, as I always did, made the motion to keep quiet and slipped closer to whatever was going on.

Maby one day I’ll listen to the insistent tug trying to stop me. Or the horrified screams of the others spotting my dash to wards certain doom. But not this time, this time it played out as it always did.

The dark man turned to see me coming, the wall pulsed and cracked, light emanating from the fissures, and something monstrous reached out for me. Its claws slicing in to my skin as I tried to get away.

Too late.

Every time too late.

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