I dabble in writing, mainly for relaxation and my own enjoyment. This next piece is posted as a note on my FaceBook account, and on my Skepticality blog, so some readers will have already come across it.
For the others, this is my first and only attempt at writing fanfic. A familiarity with the character’s universe would help, but might also spoil the ending, so I’ll refrain from further comments until the end.
As she ran, the rain mounted a vigorous assault on her clothing, making them heavy, and binding her stride. It also made it hard to see, and she stumbled on crack that was hidden by a puddle. Regaining her balance, she risked a look back. They were still there; three figures jogging after her. She was in good shape, and luckily she was wearing comfortable shoes, but she got the impression they were not really trying to catch her . . . at least not yet. . .With a pang, she realized they wanted her tired. She steadied her breathing, and concentrated on her stride. But she was already tiring . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
Eleanor had left her office later than she normally liked. The sun had already set, and the parking lot was not lit. As long shadows united to form unbroken stretches of foreboding darkness, Eleanor hurried to cross it, and reach her small transport. As her eyes accustomed to the encroaching darkness, she slowed, then stopped. The transport was there, but so where two figures; one leaning on it, and one sitting on the small hood. She could not make them out, but they were looking toward her.
She checked her purse, and silently cursed as she realized her personal defense spray was still in the jacket she had worn jogging early this morning. She stopped. Turning to head back to the safety of her office, she nearly gasped as another figure blocked her path. This one she could see clearly and a chill ran down her spine.
“Forgot something?” asked the man, as he leaned on a cane he obviously did not need for walking.
Looking back to her transport, Eleanor noticed the other two men had left it, and were walking toward her. Facing the single menace seemed like her best chance. As he advanced toward her, she balanced her stance and got ready.
“Don’t worry; we won’t hurt you . . . much.”
“Look, I have some money, and you can have my transport. Just let me go.” She used a pleading voice, and as he neared she shifted her weight, and tensed her muscles.
“Oh, we’ll take all that, alright. It’s just that we want a little more. You’re . . . humph!”
The contact of her heel on his solar plexus knocked the wind out of him. He staggered back, and then went down on one knee. She had hoped he’d drop the cane, but he still held on to it. That meant she had nothing she could use against the other two.
Despite her self-defense training, she had no illusion about being able to fight three men at once. Dropping her purse, she took off running. She ran toward the warehouse, and the various storage lots beyond. If she could get some distance between her and her attackers, she hoped there would be some hiding places for her to try and elude them.
The men reacted almost immediately, sprinting after her. She could hear them yelling at each other, catching a few derogatory words directed at her. They were too close for her to duck into any hiding place. As she broke into a full out run, it started to rain.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
As her breading became labored, she desperately searched for an escape, a place of refuge, or some people who might dissuade her pursuers. But there was nothing, and no one, to help her. She knew she was slowing down, and could now hear derisive, and angry, taunts from her pursuers. Her original plan had backfired. These lots were deserted, stocked with long forgotten storage units that offered no safe heaven. If anything, they would be traps for what was likely to be her last few moments of life.
Reaching the point of exhaustion, she saw a light ahead. With renewed purpose, she sped toward it. Perhaps there were some workers, or a night watchman. But even as she got near, her heart sank. It was the light of a small fire, inside one of the containers. She had no choice but to continue, as her exhaustion, adrenaline, and loss of hope all caught up to her at once. She staggered in, her eyes searching for anything she might use as a weapon.
“Miss, are you alright?”
She turned, and saw a figure sitting in the corner. The shadows hid his face, and her first reaction was to flee, but his question, asked in a calm voice, told her he was no threat. Perhaps he . . .
“Got you!” said one of the men rushing in after her. He grabbed her arms, and held them behind her, as the other two circled in front of her. There was no pity in their eyes, and the one she had hit sported an evil grin as he paused to catch his breath
“You might want to let the young lady go,” said the stranger in the corner as he fluidly rose to his feet, “I believe you are hurting her.”
The three men took notice of him. While the one strengthened his grip on her arms, the other two separated a bit, and faced the now standing figure.
“Who the hell are you?” asked one of them.
“No one of consequence, but someone you should listen to.” The stranger stepped forward, the light from the small fire just barely illuminating his facial features. He had dark skin, and looked calm. Eleanor took notice of his clothes. Not new, but expensive; out of place with the surroundings. He did not look like he belonged in a storage unit, next to a small fire, in an abandoned storage lot.
The two men facing him smiled, and put more distance between them as they slowly moved to meet the advancing stranger. Both did something with their hands, and produced fixed bladed knives. The stranger stopped. His face was in the shadows. Eleanor recognized the relaxed stance of a trained fighter. She caught a glimpse of a smile as the light of the fire fought to push the shadows away.
Everything happened as in slow motion. The two men lunged almost simultaneously, their knives held in classic fighting manner, one coming in low, the other initiating a chest-high slashing motion. The stranger was a blur in motion, and she heard a sound she did not recognize. Sounded metallic, and immediately realized it had been the sound of a sword being drawn. She realized because the stranger now stood motionless, the sword held shoulder high, the blade pointing downward. Reflecting the firelight, it was evident the blade was partially covered by dark liquid that was dripping off of it as the stranger held his pose. Blood.
The two would be attackers slumped to the ground without making a sound.
“What the. . . “ the man who had been holding her pushed her away and reached for a gun.
The sword flashed across the short distance, thrown with precision. The third man just had time to look incredulously at the blade embedded in his chest before life left his startled eyes. He too slumped without much of a sound.
An eerie silence followed, Eleanor and the stranger as motionless as the three dead attackers. The fire painted the scene with the light of its dancing flames. The stranger moved first, retrieving his sword, and wiping it on the clothes of his last victim. A fluid motion, and the sword disappeared from view.
“Who are you?” asked Eleanor.
“As I said, no one of consequence. Can I escort you somewhere?” He asked offering his arm.
“My . . . my transport.” She looked at the carnage, and instinctively leaned on his offered arm. “I want to thank you . . . I don’t know your name.” She looked at his face, but the shadows still kept her from getting a good look.
“I have no name. I don’t really exist.” As he escorted her back to her transport, he wondered if perhaps in this chance encounter he had found a new calling. He may not be able to make better worlds, but he could perhaps help people of this world. Yes . . . it would be good to stop moving, to have a purpose once again.
Those not familiar with the movie Serenity are not likely to recognize the stranger. Those who are familiar might take this short piece as speculation regarding further adventures of The Operative. I wrote this at lunch one day about a year ago, and as usual I hope people had at least half as much fun reading it as I had writing it.