Random Scene from a WIP (June 2021)

This week I am treating you to a random scene from one of my WIPs. Please note: It is an incomplete, unedited first draft, so there are many flaws! I wouldn’t ordinarily let anyone see this until the work was complete and had been through at least three edits, but feel free to add your two cents if you like. I promise to not be upset or offended.

TRIGGER WARNING: Suicidal Ideation, Torture

Tristan stumbled into his quarters, tears obscuring his vision. He toed off his boots and attempted to unclasp the buttons of his shirt before giving it up as a bad job and sinking to his knees with a wail of despair. Sarah, his beautiful, kind, loving Sarah, was gone [consider omitting this sentence]. How was it possible to feel emptiness and numbness and soul-searing pain all at once? He had an aching need to feel her arms close around him, to hear her whisper words of comfort, to have her kiss his tears away. He keened between great, rasping sobs, struggling to draw in enough air as it sunk in that he would never have those things again.

Never again would he hear her laugh at one of his pathetic jokes or growl in anger at seeing a child treated harshly. Never again would he run his hands through her hair or gaze into brown eyes clouded with lust as they made love [Consider omitting these sentences]. Never again. He’d never…see…her…again.

Fumbling a little, Tristan drew his service weapon. Making a valiant effort to steady his hands he flipped the safety to ‘off’ and placed the barrel? [against his head? In his mouth?]. Just as he was beginning to put pressure on the trigger, the hidden door opened and Sam poked his head through.

[Alternative paragraph]

Fumbling a little, Tristan drew his service weapon. Making a valiant effort to steady his hands he flipped the safety to ‘off’. The metallic taste on his tongue was familiar, like coming home. Just as he was beginning to put pressure on the trigger, the hidden door opened, and Sam poked his head through.

“Tristan,” he was saying, “I know it wasn’t scheduled, but they’ve called a meeting. Sarah’s been found out. We need to figure out how to…” he said before noticing the state Tristan was in. He dived down and knocked the gun from Tristan’s hand before continuing. “Tristan? Tristan? What’s going on? Oh, God. It’s Sarah, isn’t it? We’re too late aren’t we? Tristan, talk to me, please, tell me what’s happening?”

Tristan let out another despairing wail, clinging to Sam like a small child seeking comfort. Knowing he wouldn’t be getting any information from Tristan any time soon, Sam simply held him, rocking him back and forth, hoping his presence brought some small comfort, but knowing that nothing could heal the pain Tristan was feeling if what he suspected was correct.

After about half an hour, a boy, no, young man for who was still a boy in this place?, one of the newer members of the Resistance, poked his head through the door, his eyes widening as he took in the scene. “What…” he began.

“I don’t know,” Sam interrupted. “But I have my suspicions and they aren’t good. You need to send Audrey in here. We need to deal with this before one of his colleagues decide to come check on him.”

He nodded and disappeared, hurrying to follow Sam’s instructions. As he ran down the passageway, his mind raced a mile a minute in an effort to figure out what could have led to the scene he had jus witnessed. He stopped abruptly as his mind made the connection between the reason for the sudden Resistance meeting and the particular guard he had left sobbing in Sam’s arms. His face paled. ‘Oh, fuck,’ he thought, ‘Please God, if you exist, then please let me be wrong.’ With that, he sprinted down the tunnel, hoping he wouldn’t be the one who had to break the news to everyone else if he was correct in his assumption that Sarah was dead.

Navigating the labyrinth of tunnels to where the meeting was set to take place, the young man made his way over to Audrey as unobtrusively as possible. Leaning over to whisper in her ear, he said “Audrey, ma’am. We have a problem. Sam requests your presence in Private (surname?)’s quarters.”

Taking in the man’s wide eyes and pale face, and adding it to the message she’d just received, Audrey felt her blood run cold. ‘Oh, please, no.’ She thought. ‘Please don’t let it be Sarah.’

Closing her eyes for a moment, she took a few deep breaths to centre herself, before nodding to the young man. “Tell no-one.” she commanded and hurried off. As she approached the secret door to Tristan’s room, she hesitated a moment, attempting to postpone the news she was certain she was about to receive.

Steeling herself, she entered the room, to see an exhausted Tristan being cradled gently by Sam, having obviously cried himself to sleep. Her sharp gaze took in the boots discarded by the doorway, Tristan’s half-unbuttoned shirt, and the gun laying on the floor halfway across the room.

Seeing her standing there, Sam followed the direction of her gaze and explained “He was just about to pull the trigger when I arrived. Had I been just a second later…” he trailed off, not wanting to finish the thought.

Audrey nodded, attempting to mask the fear in her eyes. “We’d best get him out of here.” she said. “He’s in no state to be dealing with any guards that come to check on him. There’s no way he could come up with an adequate excuse and, if what you say is true, I doubt he’d even try.”

“Help me get him up,” Sam agreed. “We’ll take him to the safe room.”

Audrey made her way over as Sam stroked Tristan’s hair, waking him as gently as he could. Tristan’s eyes blinked open in confusion, before he remembered why Sam was there and tears once again began to roll down his cheeks.

“She’s gone, Sam.” he sobbed. “They killed her. They tortured her, Sam. Oh God, the things they did to her. But she didn’t tell them anything. And then they killed her. What do I do, now, Sam? They took my Sarah. What do I do now?”

Sam took a few breaths in an attempt to stave off his own tears. “I had hoped,” he said. “When I saw you with that gun to your head/ in your mouth, I thought Sarah must be dead, but I hoped I was wrong.”

Sending a sympathetic glance to Audrey, who was also struggling with her grief, he spoke softly. “I’m sorry, Tristan, more sorry than I can say. Sarah was a special woman, able to keep hope alive, even in a place like this. She didn’t deserve what happened to her.” he sighed. “I wish I could tell you that it won’t hurt forever, that time moves on and the pain eventually disappears. I wish I could tell you these things, but I’d be lying. You will always hurt, though it won’t be as acute as it is now. You will always miss her, always feel her loss. The pain will never disappear, but you will learn to live with it, to compensate, until one day, you find you can smile once again, you can laugh, you can enjoy life and, though I know you don’t want to hear it now, you can still love.”

Pulling herself together for the moment, Audrey interrupted. “Sorry, guys, but we really need to get out of here.” Bending down, she assisted Tristan to stand, as Sam climbed to his feet and collected the gun. Allowing Tristan to lean on their shoulders, they led him into the tunnel making sure the doorway was closed firmly behind them.

Allowing Tristan to set the pace, the three friends slowly made their way through the tunnels to the safe room they had created to house Resistance members who were under suspicion. They weren’t sure this was the best place for Tristan, given that this is where they would have hidden Sarah, but they didn’t have anywhere else to put him.

The Prep Teams would smuggle him to Haven on their next outing, but until then he needed to be hidden, and this was the only place to hide him. It would have been better if he could carry on with his duties until the escape. His absence would only cause problems for the prisoners but, looking at him, Audrey could see there would be no point sending him back. The other guards would immediately notice something was wrong and he’d be killed or worse. Sarah would haunt her forever if she allowed anything to happen to him.

Biting her cheek to keep from crying, she helped Sam settle Tristan onto one of the beds in the safe room. Handing him a sleeping pill and a small cup of water, she left Sam to watch over him while she headed back to the meeting room. making her way to the front, she caught the eyes of the young man who had been sent to fetch her. Seeing his questioning look, she nodded gravely, quickly turning away from his sorrowful expression lest she again descend into tears.

Standing in front of the group, she cleared her throat, and waited until people began to notice her. Gradually, the chatter died away as people saw her standing there until, eventually she had the group’s undivided attention.

“Ok, all,” she began. “As most of you know, Sarah was apprehended by the guards this morning. This meeting was originally called to plan a rescue operation. That operation will no longer be necessary.”

There was a low murmur as some people wondered if she had escaped, while others worried about other, darker implications.

Audrey held up her hands. “Please, if you could let me finish.” She waited until the group quieted down before continuing. “We are, as yet, unaware as to the details, but it is my sad duty to inform you that after an extensive interrogation, during which she revealed nothing, Sarah (surname?) was killed earlier today.”

The room descended into chaos, sounds of dismay interspersed with angry questions and cries of sorrow. Audrey waited patiently for the group to settle down a little. “Please,” she said. “I know you are all upset, but I don’t know any more than what I have told you. Private (surname?) is currently resting under the influence of a sleeping pill, and was in no fit state to give details at any rate. I ask that everyone return to your barracks. Take time to grieve but do not antagonise the guards or give them any reason to suspect you. We will return here in two days time in order to elect a new leader. Hopefully, by then, we will have more details for you. Thank you and good night.”

Ignoring everyone who was trying to catch her attention in order to question her some more, Audrey pushed through to the tunnel and made her way back to the safe room to check on Sam and Tristan and allow herself to mourn her best friend.

Categories: Fiction Friday

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