Something Drastic

As she pulled them apart with her mind, one by one, the soldiers naturally, inevitably, were drawn to her. They believed they were made of bone and flesh and sinew, but Ayla saw beyond it. The soldiers, like all other things—living, dead, or somewhere in bewtween (where most things dwelled)—like Ayla herself, were made of threaded golden strands of light. And Ayla’s mind was the only sewing kit in the universe. She was custom tailored to unstitch the opposition.

Two. Three. Four. Five. She unstitched them all, and with their golden thread unraveled they dissipated, their particles no longer bound within a container. Alone now, Ayla wept in the pale moonlight and pulled her hospital gown around her. She sat on damp leaves beneath a nearly-naked elm, and the air chilled as the fog thickened.

Her stomach gurgled. This threading business—the unraveling of five men in as many minutes—had come with a cost, paid in energy. But she didn’t know where to find food. She’d never been outside the lab before. She did know about nighttime and daylight though. Once the sun came up she’d be unable to travel far—too much radiation—and Anchor would send more soldiers. By then she would be too exhausted, and they would…

No. She wouldn’t let them take her back. No matter what.

Ayla got her crying under control and wiped her eyes while she gave her last sniffle. The air out here smelled funny. Burnt. Too many smells. She didn’t like it. Earth was no place to stay. But how to leave? Time to try something drastic. Something new.

They’d taught—forced—Ayla to weaponize her mind, to pull the threads apart. But why not pull the threads together? Why not make something new? She could make a soldier of her own, use the last one she’d unraveled as a template. Keep the parts she needed, discard some of the unhelpful memories.

Ayla closed her eyes and pinched the elm above her with her mind, gently loosening the golden thread that made it an elm and weaving it into something else. Something that would suit her. Soon a heart began to beat, and lungs filled with air, and eyes opened wide. Afraid.

The reanimated soldier’s arms aimed a pulse rifle that was no longer there. “It’s you!” he said.

Ayla nodded. “I need your help.”

Notes: This was written as a follow-up piece to Consequences.

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