from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 3, Chapters 41-44

It appears that my technological wanderlust is acting up again, so in honor of that, I’m going to be cleaning out some of my old writing. And what better way to honor the hideous scribbles of days long gone than to mock them in the public eye?

It was a slow waking up.
I dragged myself to consciousness enough that I could see that I was on some sort of helicopter or something. I wiggled around a little bit, but my arms and legs were tied to the ground with some sort of wrist restraints.

Some sort of wrist restraints? How many sorts are there? And how do they work if they’re tied to the ground? Are they temporary?

I am tired and anxious and have way too many questions.

I felt a million times heavier and my vision was all blurry. But apparently I had more strength, or else I would not have been able to break the restraints as easily.

Using the powers of inferring, you have successfully broken out of the restraints. It would have been easier to describe the process to us, however. It would have made for more engagement. I feel like a ghost, sort of just floating outside the story…

You’re not good at engagement, G.

The scientist guy walked into my room on the helicopter. “Tomorrow, what are you doing on the floor?” he said in my direction. “And what happened to Algeria? She should be where you are. Where’d she go?”

Oh, joy, I can just smell a new superpower forming from here.

“What do you mean?” I said, noticing that my voice now had a metallic edge to it. “I just woke up here.”
“Taking a nap on the job, Tomorrow?” the guy said. “Whatever. Sweet dreams, future dictator.”
Dictator?

You heard him right. This series is taking a turn towards the dumpster. What better way to artificially create drama than to introduce a power struggle? They’re everywhere in YA fiction! We gotta have a piece of the action as well!

He left the room, leaving me. When I was sure that I was alone, I grabbed a mirror and looked at my reflection. And it did not look like me at all.

Helicopters don’t have rooms.

It looked like Tomorrow, the feral girl who had tried to kill me not a long time ago. I recognized the thin lips and sunken cheeks that made her look starved. Through my blurry vision I saw cruel wolf eyes with piercing yet nonreflective black irises look back at me. I smiled, and I could make out sharp teeth that came to a point.

That’s some nice forced character building you’ve got there. And besides, shapeshifting isn’t scientifically possible by humans, hybrid or no.

But you don’t care about facts, do you, G?

My smile immediately got replaced

It’s “was immediately replaced”.

by a haggard look, and I turned my head away from the mirror. Was I Tomorrow, or did I just look like her? It had to be one of the two.

Option 3 is drugs. It’s always drugs.

A new power stirred within me. I closed my eyes and mentally reached for this new power that was gathering force in me. Out of nowhere, an iciness spread through my body, and I felt something changing. I looked in the mirror again, and my face was back. I had to feel it to genuinely believe that I was myself again, but it was true.

Maybe your senses are lying to you? I wouldn’t be surprised.

But what was this new power? Surely hybrids did not have magic or anything like it. But that didn’t matter now. What mattered was that I could use the power again.

What mattered was that G now had a new excuse for lazy writing at her disposal.

I mentally reached back for the power and felt the now-familiar iciness spread through my body again. When I looked in the mirror, the Tomorrow impostor was back. When I reached for the power again, I was myself again.
I felt a smile form across my face, even when the scientist guy and the real Tomorrow came in and made me go back to Oblivion.

And just like that, Algeria is back to being almost a corpse again. What a wonderful transition.

When she had sufficiently slipped back into Oblivion, Tomorrow said to her servant-scientist-whatever, “Twenty, we have to get to where we’re going if she has any chance of surviving.”
Twenty replied, “She has three days left until her end begins.”

No explanation or anything. Chapter 41 just ends like Algeria’s life will. Please take multiple detours. I will pay you.

Emma was waiting at the platform in her dreams. Luna was standing beside her, golden curls blowing behind her in the wind.

Good, so they did find each other. Brains can come up with lands spanning universes. That’s a lot of space to get lost in.

Luna turned towards Emma. “We don’t have much time left to save her. I predict three days.”
“Five days until what?”

“No, you idiot. I said THREE days. I knew you had a problem processing sensory input, but seeing as I’m just a figment of your imagination, I guess I expected you to finally understand me.”

“Her end begins.”
“WHAT end? What does that mean?”

Finally, something I can relate to!

“Don’t you know? Hybrids have a limited life span.” Luna gave Emma a sad smile. “After the age of 14, freaks-of-nature basically self-destruct, and intentional hybrids, like I am, have their end come a year earlier. Algeria’s thirteen. It’s very close to her time.” Luna shed a single tear.

Just one tear, though, because that’s the amount of craps she gives.

The portal next to the platform opened, and Luna said, “Are you coming or not?”
“Where does it go?”
“The worst place in Oblivion there is. The place where the hybrids go when they’re all fizzled out.”

The medical waste bin?

They took each other’s hands and jumped.

But that was rendered useless by the fact that Luna had wings and Emma could bend reality to her will.

The helicopter arrived. Tomorrow and Twenty stepped out into the bright sunshine, bringing Algeria with them, who was still in Oblivion.
They slowly made their way down five flights of stairs into an underground bunker with a big tank (like an aquarium tank) that took up half of the room.
“This is where she will be,” Tomorrow said. With that, Twenty left the room.

You know that the author gives no hoots about making a quality work when one chapter is less than ten sentences long.

Tomorrow watched as Algeria was slowly lowered into the tank.
She took one last look at the sleeping girl, then lowered her head and simply said, “It is time.” She slowly walked out.

Time for her to die? I thought that you hated her, Tomorrow! Why are you helping her survive god-knows-what like this?

I was in the middle of a hurricane.
A whirlwind of dark emotions and events swirled around and overwhelmed my mind to the point of my closing my eyes and screaming.

In other words, the onset of puberty.

I was suddenly jerked back and I found myself in a tank of some liquid that was an iridescent pastel blue. My feet were weighted to the floor because, well, umm… I have my reasons.
Silence.
There is silence.

One moment I was lost in thought, and the next I was holding my head in my hands (again, my head does not come off my neck) and feeling that this was it.
Out of nowhere a ripping sensation whipped through my body, and my consciousness started to drift up to somewhere unknown.
I held on as long as possible, but I tired out and I let go, flipping head over heels into the big blue sky.

So you’re dead! Huh, I never knew that that’s how people died. Checkmate, scientists!

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