Sneak Peek! Ch 4. Forging Humans: Broken and Surviving
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
I’m no longer human. I’m a lab rat. They’ll never let me leave this cage. Sadie grinded her teeth while she fluffed her pillow and tried to get comfortable. She lifted her gown and examined the bandages underneath. A thick gauze covered the lower half of her torso.
The injury could be seen through her bandages, because it wouldn’t stop bleeding. Whoever the horse was, they had sliced her abdomen open from her sternum to her waist. It was a lethal blow for most people, a guaranteed disability for the lucky, and a cursed blight for her life.
They cut me open. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they weren’t such shitty doctors. All they do is make my days agonizing and confusing. Has it been 155 or 207 days? I counted the scratches but I keep losing track of them.
Sadie let go of her gown and turned her attention to the scratches she made on the head bar of the bed. She tapped the spaced out etchings with her fingers. Depending on how hard she struck the metal or how her fingertip landed, a different sound would ring from the impact. It sounded rather simple, but this would’ve been a nice instrumental if she had piano.
What are my friends doing now? I wonder if anyone celebrated my birthday or talked about me during Christmas? Do they have my picture on a shelf or in their wallet?
She watched the door and stood when it opened. Someone put a paper cup on the floor and slammed the door shut. This was the newest addition to her routine, a dose of painkillers.
Although it hurt to move, Sadie picked up the cup and went to the bathroom. She put all of the pills into her mouth, placed her lips to the faucet, and turned it on. It helped her swallow the bitter pills.
Afterward, she sat at the base of her bed and gazed at the door. Sadie coughed as rogue water droplets snuck into her windpipe. Then she chuckled, because choking was a sign of her mortality.
What a life. I can’t give up/. I worked my ass off to create music, and Lars wouldn’t give up on me! I can’t forget him, and I won’t. Even though it makes me cry.
Her tears trickled when she thought of Lars.
Reminiscing was foolhardy, yet it gave Sadie hope through the lost days. After the cut became bearable, her tears were dry.
A loud thumping came from the door. No one had knocked before entering. She didn’t have any privacy. Perhaps it was a cruel joke. The guards were bored, because the scientists performed the tests for several months. They tested experimental medicine and tried to heal her.
There was another bang from outside, and the door flew open. A guard fell over into the room, and blood spurted from his chest.
Huh, this is new. Did I take a new pill, or did they mix something into the painkillers? It was a chance for Sadie to escape, yet she didn’t run. She stepped closer to the body and poked its face with her foot. Was the dead body a coincidence or a test?
When she stood on top of the corpse, a sudden glare came from the doorway. She squinted her eyes and saw a knight covered from head to toe in gleaming armor. The medieval warrior carried a sword covered in blood.
“I’m here to help. Come with me,” the knight’s voice bellowed from his helmet.
Sadie sighed, stepped back, crossed her arms, and sat on the floor. She was tired of the drastic changes, drug dreams, and flash events. “You look stupid. Kill me or leave.”
The knight turned away and left the room. Sadie spat at the convincing body in front of her. Men shouted in the open hallways. When the alarm sounded, she tiptoed into the corridor.
Once Sadie was outside of the room, she followed the carnage. The knight stabbed a guard and removed his sword from the man’s guts. Red footprints went through the hallways.
This piqued Sadie’s interest, and she looked at the trailing aftermath to see what else had happened. A black woman who wore a paper gown stood in her way. The woman had luscious blond hair, and she was taller than Sadie by at least six inches.
Where did she come from! Sadie walked backward and slipped on some blood. She landed on her butt and stared in awe of the exotic giant woman.
Then the giant woman knelt down and lifted Sadie by the armpits. This woman didn’t have a muscular physique. However, it didn’t prevent her from picking Sadie up as if she were a baby. She hoisted Sadie onto her shoulder, carried her by the waist, and jogged past the bodies.
This is too real. Between Sadie’s sensitive belly and her inconsistent reality, it was too much to cope with. She puked, trailing a grungy yellow behind the giant woman.
“Whoa, don’t puke on me!” A little Asian child was following them. She had long red hair and wore a paper gown.
“Sorry,” said Sadie, “I think I’m dying.”
Guards ran into the corridor and were closing in on the redhead. The little girl didn’t show any fear. Her skin became silver, and her hair changed into red wires.
“Watch my back!” The redhead pulled out a stun gun and shot the nearest guard.
It knocked the guard unconscious, but there were three other men to deal with. The guards fired their stun guns, and the redhead flinched. She shouted and pulled off the stun gun darts. Then she ran to the closest guard and stuck the wires onto him. One stun gun alone would’ve taken the man down. The power of all three had set him on fire.
Another guard punched her in the face, and he recoiled with a bloody fist. The redhead jumped and clawed his neck. He grabbed her hand and removed it, revealing his slashed throat. Then he collapsed and gargled his last breath.
The giant woman stun gunned the last guard before he could attack the redhead. Loud footsteps and voices echoed behind Sadie, yet the others didn’t panic. Two guards fought the knight, but they couldn’t approach him.
A guard sidestepped an overhead swing and grabbed the sword hilt. The other guard moved in, but the knight punched him in the face. He was pushed into his colleague, and they were knocked into the wall. Then the knight swung his sword and cleaved the guards with a single motion.
The knight, the giant, and the redhead moved as a group. Sadie tried to speak, but she didn’t know what to say. Guards pursued and blocked them whenever they could. The three super-powered people fought every guard, and they littered the floor with numerous bodies.
Although the guards slowed them down, the women and the knight never stopped moving. The giant woman told them where to go with a monotonous voice. She carried Sadie and defended herself with mechanical efficiency.
After the knight finished off a stubborn straggler, they climbed a staircase. It led them to a hatch that rested right above their heads. They went through it and found themselves inside a garage, where multiple vans and trucks were parked.
“We’re actually escaping?” said Sadie, “Could you put me down. You know I can run right?”
“Yes, I know, but you are in no condition to move that fast. Carrying you is more efficient.” The giant lady walked straight to a nearby lockbox. She grabbed the padlock and ripped it off as if it were made of paper.
It contained a stash of keys. The giant woman took one and led the others to a van. She unlocked the back doors and gave the keys to the knight. Sadie was put in the back with the giant woman, and the redhead sat in front with the knight.
They were trying to escape, and Sadie couldn’t believe it was happening. She wanted to help, but she didn’t know what to do. The giant woman rummaged through a bunch of tiny shelves filled with random electronics, and the others sat quietly.
Sadie was about to run and steal another car until the giant woman found a smartphone. She switched it on and sat cross-legged with the phone in her hands. The giant woman didn’t dial any numbers, the redhead and the knight did nothing, and Sadie could feel herself going crazy.
“What are you doing? Call the police!” said Sadie.
“The authorities are useless until the garage is opened. Please stall the guards for at least one minute.” The giant lady closed her eyes. She didn’t move an inch, and the phone’s light flickered as if it were malfunctioning.
While they waited, the guards shouted and ran through the garage. Everyone in the van remained still and quiet. The tinted windows gave them a chance to stay hidden.
Time crept onward, and they could hear the sounds of footsteps all around them. When the back door clicked, Sadie clenched her teeth. A guard was banging on the door, and the garage became silent.
Then the guns started to fire. The tires popped, and the women ducked for cover as shattered glass and ricocheting bullets flew through the air. Their engine died, and the bullets stopped.
“Shit, this can’t be happening.” Sadie tried to calm down, but her breathing grew rapid. “Hey, draw your sword and pull out your claws. Do something!”
A loud banging occurred outside, and it wasn’t coming from the van. The shutter door was opening. Someone ordered the guards to drop their weapons and put their hands in the air.
Sadie looked outside through a bullet hole and saw the flashing police lights. Squads of officers took control and arrested the guards. It was a glorious sight.
“Ladies, are you ok?” said the officer as he helped Sadie out from the van.
“I want to go home,” said Sadie. “Where am I?”
“It’s all right, miss. You and the others will be well taken care of.” The officer escorted the blond giantess and Sadie to his car. He told them they would be safe in the back seat while they waited for an ambulance.
Sadie took a deep breath, and the night-time air liberated her. She smiled at the dark sky and the city lights. The torture was over, and in a few days, she would recover her love and life. All of a sudden, the driver’s door opened.
The redhead had snuck past police and sat in the driver’s seat. She turned to Sadie, smiled with her thin pointed eyes, and said, “Would you look at that? He forgot his keys.”
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing!” hissed Sadie. “Get out of here. I don’t want any trouble.”
“Shut up.” The redhead sneered and slammed her fist on the cage separating the front and back seats. “We’re still in trouble—”
A Caucasian woman who wore a soaked paper gown and had long black hair hopped into the car. She sat next to the redhead and said, “Thanks for waiting. Let’s go.”
“Drive within the speed limit,” said the giant blonde. “Once we’re a block away, we can use the siren and lights.”
There were too many things happening all at once. Sadie ordered everyone to stop, yet the redhead started the engine regardless of her demands. When Sadie was about to open the door, the giant blonde grabbed and put her into a headlock.
The blond giant wouldn’t budge, even though Sadie scratched and punched her. Sadie screamed till the giant blonde put her hand over Sadie’s mouth and clamped it shut. They drove away while the police took control of the garage.
“I apologize. We have to take you with us,” said the woman with the black hair. She had a silver circle tattooed on her forehead. It looked like a target on her face.
Screw you. I need to call Lars and go home. Sadie continued to fight the giant blonde. She tried to pull away the arm that strangled her, but the woman was unyielding.
“My name is Quail Jones,” said the tattooed woman. “Maddy Smith-Ayaan is the one holding you and Jumei Lian is our driver. Maddy, I think you can let her go.”
“No, she could jeopardize our escape,” said Maddy.
Jumei pounded her fist on the dashboard and said, “If she’s trouble, throw her into the trunk. It’s that easy.”
“Do I have to remind you two that we’re not enemies?” Quail rubbed her tattooed forehead. Then she made eye contact with Sadie. “If you promise not to scream or run, I’m sure Maddy will let you go.”
Sadie nodded in agreement and was able to breathe through her mouth again. “Quail, where did come from? You weren’t with us earlier.”
“Oh right, I guess the armor protects my identity.” Quail stopped when an indiscernible voice interrupted them. It came from the police radio. She tried to tune in to the signal, but the voice ended before they could hear the message.
“The police should’ve noticed our absence by now,” said Maddy. Jumei asked if the tracker in their car could be disabled. Maddy stated she had a better idea and told Jumei to park the car in front of the Washington Gift Shop.
“Do you need me to pop open the hood?” said Jumei as she parked behind a luxury cruiser.
“No, but you can shut off the engine.” Maddy held the smartphone in her hands. She went into a meditative state, and the phone lit up as it had before in the garage. However, the device beeped and flickered with a wider range of patterns.
It fluctuated at such a rate that Sadie expected the phone to burst into flames. The sounds became shrill before the device went silent. There was a brief pause before they heard a beep from outside.
The cruiser in front of them beeped and flashed its lights. It caught the attention of a few people, but they ignored the cruiser and continued with their day. A second afterward, the cruiser revved to life. While Maddy and Jumei got into the new car.
I don’t recognize this street. I must be far away from the university area. Sadie walked and tried to look for a way out.
“Come on, you don’t want to get caught.” Quail took hold of Sadie’s hand and rushed her into the cruiser. As Sadie let go, she noticed Quail had another circle tattoo on the back of her hand.
Maddy drove the car, and they pulled up to a drive-by ATM. She repeated her strange telepathy, and the machine spat money at them. They collected hundreds of dollars, and the ATM continued dispersing cash as they left.
“Wait, we can’t leave yet. Look at all the money we’re leaving behind.” Jumei waved the thick stack of cash in front of Maddy and told her to turn the car around.
“We’re not going back. I couldn’t override the alarm.” While Maddy drove through an intersection, a wailing police car passed them by. They drove several blocks away from the ATM and parked in the corner lot of a discount store.
“Wait here. I’ll buy us some new clothes,” said Maddy. Sadie stated that she wanted to go. Maddy told her no and explained how it would be too risky if more than one of them went out.
Quail, Sadie, and Jumei waited in the car. The sounds of living people and traffic made the situation awkward. Sadie stewed in her anger. She was free and a prisoner at the same time.
“So, Jumei,” said Sadie, “how long have you been living in San Diego?”
“I’ve never been there.”
This pissed Sadie off. Why were all of her abductors jerks and idiots? “You do know where we are, right?”
“Look around you,” said Jumei. “We’re in Seattle not San Diego.”
Sadie was struck dumb as she stepped out of the car. The streets, trees, and air were different. Then she saw the Washington license plates on the cars. Her heart stopped and sank into her stomach.
“Hey, I know it’s bad, but it helps to sit down and think.” Quail stood by her until Sadie returned to the car.
Why am I here? I need to go home. It was a new day in hell for Sadie. She needed to escape these people and the insanity connected to them.
Maddy arrived with a single bag of clothes. The women changed changed into the clothes and threw the gowns into the trunk. They put on the white T-shirts and black shorts.
This shirt is too baggy, and these shorts are going to slip off if I walk too fast. Sadie missed wearing real clothes, and these bargain-bin rags were barely adequate. Quail tucked her shirt to keep her pants from falling, but the clothes and tattoos made her look like a cosplayer.
Jumei’s shirt hung close to her knees and could’ve been made into a dress. Maddy wore the same type of clothes, but they couldn’t hide the fact that she had a body that cover girls would kill for.
“We’re going to need a new vehicle,” said Maddy.
It was ridiculous, Sadie clenched the door handle and marred the upholstery with her nails. “Why are you stealing another car! You know, this isn’t a game, right?”
“I can’t disable the GPS tracker in this car,” said Maddy. “We need a basic vehicle. I’m not playing any games.”
“But how do we get the keys?” said Quail, “We would have to mug someone.”
Jumei raised her hand and said, “I can do it.”
Quail’s eyes were wide with surprise. “You can’t.”
“I can find us a car and pick the locks to start it, or I could mug someone. Both are pretty easy to do.”
They left the cruiser and walked between the parked vehicles in the lot. Sadie asked how Jumei would pick the lock, but the others told her to keep quiet. Although Sadie wanted to run, the others kept her close at all times.
While they searched the area, Maddy spotted a car driving into a spot. It was a reliable and common model. A cheap vehicle that matched what they needed.
This poor man took his time to park, and Jumei stalked him. Her height allowed her to move between the cars without being spotted. She was one car away when the man headed to the store.
When the others reached the car, Jumei was studying the lock. She told them to keep an eye out because she needed to focus and didn’t want any interruptions.
Maddy and Quail kept watch for people who might be headed toward them. Jumei transformed her arm into silver, and she pressed her finger to the keyhole. Her skin rippled, and a wave traveled through her arm. Then her metallic substance flowed from her finger into the door.
There was a pause before they heard the door click open. Jumei removed her magical finger and put it to work in the ignition.
“Whattaya know,” said Jumei, “guess I have a knack for this after all.”