A Way Out

Author: Angus Miles

Bang. Bang.

Qean jams the knife into the man’s heart. He gurgles and crumples to the rust stained floor. Blood runs up the walls and across the ceiling like paint thrown from its bucket. The dead man’s half-flayed. Through the ship, the echoes hit her.

Bang. Bang.

She needs to get to the hangar. Captain Powell has a way out. Qean rips the knife from the flesh and turns down the hall. She drags a foot behind her, the limb a puppet with one string left. She scrunches her face up with every step. Haggin told her to amputate it, said she’d be better off without the pain. She groans from somewhere deep in her chest and grins with red-rimmed teeth. Haggin is dead now, and the pain keeps her alive.

Bang. Bang.

It’s closer. The vibrations thrum along her bones. The world was once illuminated by the speckled canvas of space. Milkdrops splattered against the onyx blanket they all slept under. Now, the bulkheads are down, and there is only the blood. Her arms swing in tired arcs with every step. She hasn’t slept for days.

Qean giggles. When she turned ten her dad bought her an overflowing bowl of red and blue jello. “Still not as sweet as you,” she says, and steps over MacMillan. His legs are gone.

Bang. Bang.

The flickering sign above her reads ‘HANGAR’. The captain has a way out. Kleo laid in bed with her, tangled in the sheets past midday. Breakfast in bed, but the best birthday gift was being with her. Qean doesn’t want to find Kleo.

Around the corner, four are plastered on the ground.

Galway.

Xi.

Jennings.

Ivetsky.

Beyond them, the stars and the culprit.

Bang. Bang.

The captain has a way out.

Her feet slide through little red puddles. The one window’s bulkhead hasn’t come down. The man continues.

Bang. Bang.

Against the cosmic backdrop he’s a shadow.

Bang. Bang.

Her knife drips, drips, drips in her hand. She’ll do him a favour. She wrenches him around, knife rising high.

“Powell?”

The captain stares at her. A river of wine runs down his face from the basin in his forehead.

“Did you like the wine I got you?” Qean says.

Like a crane he moves back to the window.

Bang. Bang.

The hangar’s door is clasped shut.

She drops the knife. A hairline crack runs across the window. The captain has a way out.

Qean longs for the milkdrops.

Bang. Bang.

Bang. Bang.

9 Comments

  1. rjerbacher

    One of my friends who reads my stories once said to me “You’re one sick puppy.” I offer you the same compliment.

    • A.M. Miles

      I’ll gladly accept it, means I’ve done my job!

  2. Hari Navarro

    Masterful, Angus… wonderful language evoking such sharp and engaging imagery. Very nice.

    • A.M. Miles

      I’ve read your stories on here Hari, and to see you call my own work masterful is such an incredible compliment, thank you so much.

  3. JT Velikovsky

    Wow! Nice and action packed.
    Love these lines: “The world was once illuminated by the speckled canvas of space. Milkdrops splattered against the onyx blanket they all slept under.”
    & very cool payoff with the 3rd-last line (“Qean longs for the milkdrops.”)

    (I still feel really sorry for Haggin, Xi, Ivetsky, MacMillan, Kleo and the others.)
    In fact maybe they all died. Holy sh*t.

    • A.M. Miles

      Thanks JT, really appreciate the kind words! And who knows what’s happened to Kleo? Certainly nothing good.

    • J P Roquard

      I think that’s Haggin on line two, getting knifed.

  4. J P Roquard

    Love it. Bang bang!

  5. reecemcintyre

    lit fam, good shit

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