The woman ran into the cave as she was ordered to, heaving to catch her breath.
"What are those things?!" she exclaimed, desperately attempting to wipe off the black blood that coated her shoulder. Her blonde hair was frazzled and her blue eyes were wide and scared as she looked at the man who called himself X-327.
"Shh!" the man put a finger to his lips. "Keep your voice down and calm yourself, Sarah," the man said urgently in a voice so low it could barely be heard. He made the woman sit until her breathing slowed to a steady wheeze and crouched down beside her, leaning in close to her ear. "Now listen to what I have to tell you: Those "things" are what we call Pursuers. They're aliens- lethal and sarcophagous. If you value your life, you need listen and follow my orders if you stand a chance to survive. Understand?"
"S-sarcophagous?" she stuttered. Her blue eyes stared at him blankly, her pupils dilating in an attempt to focus on the words coming out of the man's mouth.
"Yes. They eat humans- us!" he hissed. He paused, his body going rigid, as he heard an alien spacecraft hovering outside. They dare not breathe or move a muscle. The Pursuers spacecraft then let out a dangerous high-pitched frequency sound that caused an intense pain to shoot through the brain of X-327 and the Identification Chip welded in his skull. He fought to remain silent and still, not only so they would remain hidden, but to make sure the woman remained calm. She was in a fragile state as it was already. When he glanced over at Sarah he noticed she wasn't affected by the noise. She looked terrified out of her wits, but he could tell that she didn't feel the pain of the frequency. That's impossible, he thought. Unless she doesn't have an I.D. chip... But that would mean--
The sonic frequencies ripped through his brain, his body tensed and shook in an effort to lock his pained grunts from escaping his lips. X-327 did not let a sound escape from the deep valleys of his iron throat. He grimaced as he gripped the wall of the cave to brace himself as another wave wrecked through his body.
X-327 battled the amplified pain with his willpower, not willing to give in and reveal their location. He had a mission and he could not fail. The mangled and burnt corpses of his fallen Unit flashed through his mind and he remembered the smell of blasted flesh and the black blood of the Pursuers freshly splattered across the foliage from the battle that took place. X-327 should have been there. To fight, defend and die alongside his Unit. But he was sent ahead to scout the terrain, only to return to a destroyed camp that was ravished by a Pursuer attack. His commanding officer, L-42, was nothing but a pile of burnt ash and uniform, the Identification Chip lying on top and glinting in the sun.
X-327 gritted his teeth in rage and the muscles in his jaw flexed. He would not let Them ruin his mission. He had to deliver this woman to base and report what had happened to his Unit. X-327 glanced at the woman who quietly huddled in fright, oblivious to the frequencies emerging from the spacecraft. He inwardly cursed her luck of immunity against the high-pitched sounds. Slowly the frequencies stopped and the spacecraft moved on.
When it finally passed X-327 breathed in relief. The pain subsided into a dull throb and allowed his muscles to relax. His heartbeat slowed to its normal rhythm. "That was a close call," the man muttered unhappily. He didn't think he could last longer if the spacecraft had decided to stay and wait them out. He scowled as he looked at the drained face of the frightened woman. "We were lucky you didn't give us away," he reproached.
Suddenly Sarah burst into tears and started to hyperventilate and wail hysterically. Shocked, the man hurriedly pulled her into a hug in a desperate attempt to smother the strange sounds emitting from her throat. What was the strange liquid seeping from her eyes and soaking his shoulder? He even patted her back in an awkward attempt to soothe the female. "I want to g-go home," she blubbered as her body shook with shivers of fright. "I don't know what's going on and I hate it!" Her shrieks would not stop and she clung to his shoulder like a stubborn weed. He found his hands stroking her hair and patting her back repeatedly. What was he doing? Females are stupid and weak. He should be telling her to shut up so he can concentrate on other things, like securing the area for the night. The woman burrowed her head into his shoulder and continued to cry like a deranged animal.
At the moment all he could do was let her use his shoulder and wait for her to calm down. Then, X-327 decided, I will secure the area so tonight we can sleep safe. When Sarah started to quiet, he removed her from his shoulder and began on his next task, digging through his pouch in preparation. The sky dimmed slowly to a dark grey.
"I'm sorry," Sarah said. "I got snot all over your shoulder," she half-heartedly giggled. She wiped her nose on her sleeve. Then she looked at him curiously as he handed her a little square tin, "What's this?" she asked.
"Press the button."
Sarah hesitantly put her dainty finger and applied pressure to the small button. A warm light lit the cave up and radiated heat. Her eyes widened in amazement and curiosity. "It's warm," she stated.
X-327 nodded. "I will be leaving. Stay here." He evaluated her with his sharp brown eyes. He noticed the female was dehydrated and malnourished. Her round eyes were sunken in and full of tears, her skin was a slightly off tinge sickly yellow and her mouth seemed dry and not as red as it should be. Her dress was tattered and her shoes wet from the jungle dew. His eyebrow furrowed. "Take this. It'll provide nutrients. Take off your footwear and have your feet dry," he ordered. Then without another word he headed out towards the entrance of the cave.
"Wait! Don't leave me," Sarah frantically exclaimed. "I'm scared." Tears brimmed her eyes again. "I'll die out here without you."
X-327 paused mid-step. Her words echoed in his ears, intensified by the silent stillness of the cave that surrounded them. Don't leave....I'll die out here without you.... The images of his dead Unit flashed through his mind once again. All forty I.D. chips hung on his belt holster alongside his blades and common Pistol S3. He subconscious reached for them and heard them clink eerily together like the wind chimes of lost souls. X-327 leaned against the cave entrance as the faces of the deceased flashed through his mind. He was not there for them; he did not fight alongside them when he should have. And now they were dead and he was alone. X-327 could tell this woman was afraid that once he left he would never come back. But he wasn't going to leave her by herself. She did not have to be alone like he was. X-327 looked at her once more. The woman sat with her arms pulling in her knees, her head resting on top with her eyes closed and cheeks stained with a trail of wet salt. The yellow warmth from the tin radiated a glow to her. Sarah seemed like an angel, helpless and wounded with a deep sadness. Her eyes opened once more, a clear blue blaze of emotion.
"Stay," she pleaded.
How could one word be so demanding? The man was not used to females or the emotion Sarah was spilling out from her eyes. A strange reaction, he thought. But somehow he found himself moving back towards her. Deep inside him he instinctively knew. He would do whatever it takes to protect her.
This is something I am definitely going to turn into a book. For now, it shall remain a short story. Thanks for reading.425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡa8PHlJOfoJns 18.104.22.168da2