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My House Is In The Sky: Part 3

To start from the beginning...

If Jon’s week of illness had not made him weak, his terror at the sight of rows of bunk-beds filled with his dead coworkers would have filled him with the same nausea and faintness that he felt now. He didn’t understand — how could they all be dead and he still be alive? And why? Surely he was no different than any of the men around him.

The sight of the door creaking open startled him. He only had moments before the door was wide enough to admit the man who was pushing it open. Voices reached his ears, and his limbs shook as he bolted out of bed, hid under the bunk, peered out.

“...this time. I checked! Every last one of them. Really, Alfin, there’s no need...” This was the voice of the count man, though today it sounded anxious, worried.

“No, Doctor Manhurd, I think it is more than absolutely necessary. There’s no point in risking it.” And then Jon saw the man’s silhouette, outlined in the harsh light of day. He bore a device, some sort of bent stick with what looked like a hook underneath, that he began to carefully aim at the first man in the bed at the beginning of the hall.

“Are you certain –” and then the doctor winced as the lough ka-bang echoed around the room. Had Jon not already been quaking out of his mind, he might have winced or flinched into the bed. Instead, he merely squinted to see the effect of the boom, though he knew he could not see so far.

The man then climbed the bunk, aimed, fired. Calmly, he climbed back down, went to the next bed. And so he went, from bed to bed, until he reached halfway between Jon and the entrance. Here, he paused, reached out a hand. “Still breathing, Doctor,” Alfin said coolly. At these words, the man in the bed leapt upward, flinching away from the doorway but crying, “Please, please!” The man slowly raised the weapon, held it up to Jon’s coworker’s head, pulled the trigger. This time, it was not the noise that startled Jon. It was the small circle that appeared on the man’s head, the blood that poured from it, and the limp way the man fell over that made Jon’s heart thunder in his chest.

He just killed him, Jon wondered, rebelling against the way his Old World heart shuddered with fear. I have to get out of here, followed his second thought, an amazing insight. There was little time left – it took the man only a minute or two to reach as far as he had. As soon as his bunk was realized to be empty, Jon’s position would be given away and he would face the same fate as his comrade.

His only problem was that he couldn’t get his arms to move. He himself was dizzy with sickness and trepidation, his heart oozing adrenaline and terror throughout his body. I’ll never make it.

But the man with the Old World name and the Old World stubbornness would not die so easily. As silently and stealthily as he could, he drug himself over to the underneath of the bunk beside his. Here, he glanced out to see where the man was. He had already finished four bunks, and there were only twenty between the man and Jon’s bed.

Bang.

Jon slithered to another bunk, was halfway to the next – bang.

Jon crawled as fast as he could – two more bunks, bang.

Jon counted ten more bangs, kept crawling--

He was almost out--"Where is C76?"

"What do you mean, Alfin?" Jon could sense the doctor's alarm. He was at his bunk. He heard Dr. Manhurd's footsteps walking away from the door, toward the bed--

He was out.

"Hey! I said, where is C76?" followed him as he dashed for the trees.



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