J is for Jack – #AtoZChallenge

J is for Jack – #AtoZChallenge

“Avera, what are you doing?” Vicky ran up behind the green haired young woman and leaned onto her arm, panting hard from the run after her. “How are you so fast?” She gave a half hearted pull on Avera’s uniform.

Avera stood in front of a massive metal entrance way. The door itself was plain, but intimidating due to its size. There were no visible hinges that could be seen. It sat flush with the surrounding wall. There were two great wheel locks, plus 8 more bolts each with their own security system. 10 different locks in all. Without the locks, it could have passed for another metal panel in this one long empty hallway. They weren’t even at the end of the hallway, more sort of in the middle. Not that there was anything else in the hallway. Maybe a treasure chest at the dead end. She’d have to check later. With more weapons.

“Vic, have you noticed there are no camera’s in this area?” Avera motioned towards the ceiling and empty hallway, unmoved by Vicky’s pulling. “They are everywhere in this complex. But there are none here.”

Vicky paused long enough to look around. She felt tingles down her spine and she wanted to be very much away from here. “We’re not supposed to be here,” she said in almost a whisper.

“Do you even know where ‘here’ is?”

“… no?” Vicky answered trying to work if there was some other meaning to Avera’s word. The place was making her skin crawl and she wanted to flee.

“Exactly. I don’t know where here is, and I know this place the best. I don’t even know what this is. But do you know what else?” Avera rounded on Vicky and grabbed both her shoulders. “It’s silent here.” She smiled.

Vicky’s face drained. When Avera smiled, she could not help but feel a little bit of terror. Avera smiled a lot. Being around her was exhausting, but she was right, she listened, there was nothing. “How?” Vicky squeaked out. She tried to back away only to have her feet slip in place.

“Exactly!” Avera threw her arms up. “It doesn’t matter where you are, it always sounds like there’s a whisper just out of range. And when you focus for it, it slips away from you.” Her attention turned back to the massive locked door. “But not here, it’s just nothing.” She stood listening to nothing for a long time before speaking again, “do you think this is where the Jack sleeps?” An edge of excitement rose in her voice.

“How would I know? We don’t even know who Jack is,” Vicky backed to the other side of the hallway and pressed up against it. Rule #1 of employment was ‘Do not wake up Jack.’ Outside of Rule #1, no one ever talked about it, like a big secret everyone already knew. “Can we go now?

“But the fun is just starting.” A new voice echoed up from the hallway. Vicky leapt nearly to the ceiling. Avera, didn’t budge. Vicky was sure there was something wrong with that girl, aside from being terrifying beyond all sane reason.

“You made it,” Avera clapped her hands, “I knew you’d find it.”

“No thanks to your directions. This place wasn’t where you said it was.” Kyle said as he dropped two large duffel bags with a heavy thud.

“I said it was hard to find.”

“I had to go to the complete other side of the building, climb up the escape hatch, then hop three of the gables and in through a tiny window into some weird attic.

“There’s an attic?” Vicky asked, relaxing slightly, maybe he could talk some sense into her. She saw them running down the corridors often enough, while customers scrambled to get out of their way. So they must at least be friends, or something.

“Apparently,” Kyle answered. “And stop smiling, Avera.”

Or maybe not, Vicky concluded.

“Who’s the new girl?”

“This is Vic. She followed me. Something about rules or some such. We’re going to be best of friends.” Avera gave Vicky a shoulder squeeze.

Kyle laughed. “Did you try to cite rules at Avera, Vic?” He held out his hand.

“Vicky. And Yes.” Vicky shook his hand, he wasn’t as tall as Avera, but still taller then her.

“Well, don’t do that, that just makes her more… eager?” He paused to think. “Yes, eager to break them.”

“If you’re done chatting about me, we have a door to break down.”

“You could try the locks.” Kyle opened one of the bags and pulled out a Gessler V.2 Turbine Action Saw and swung it over his shoulder, and picked up it’s accompanying mount tripod.

“I could, but I’m afraid there’s a treasure chest down the hallway laying waiting for someone to try just that.”

Kyle stared down the hallway towards the dead end, not seeing anything. “There’s nothing there.”

“It’s invisible, I can feel it staring at me.” Avera said as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Is she… always like this?” Vicky said, leaning in close to Kyle to whisper.

“More or less. Usually more.” Kyle whispered back. He clunked the massive machine down on its tripod in front of the door.

“Wait, I want to try something.” Avera waved him back.

“You’re going to pass out.”

“I can do it!” she shouted at him. Then she closed her eyes and put her hands out in front of her. A yellow glow began to form in front of her hands as it coalesced into fine threads which wove into an intricate pattern. The weave continued to grow as Avera continued to force the Thread into her pattern.

“I thought we weren’t allowed to weave in public.”

“This isn’t very public, is it?”

Vicky thought on that, “I guess not. She’s not going to… unravel on us is she?”

“No, she’s not that level of crazy. It’ll take her five minutes to make the weaving and then probably pass out, like she always does.”

“Do not!” Avera retorted.

“You can argue after I carry your unconscious butt back to the infirmary.”

Kyle pulled out a pad from the other bag and set it up on the wall directly behind Avera. He winked at Vicky. Then they both took several large steps down the hallway.

Several minutes passed and her weave continually grew brighter until it was bright enough for neither to want to look at directly.

“That’s a lot of thread.” Vicky said.

“It’s not very much, actually. She wouldn’t stand a chance against a real Weaver.”

There was a loud boom that knocked them both to the floor as the shock wave rolled over them. The hallway shuddered and dust rained down on all three of them. Avera’s body slide to the floor, after being thrown across the hall, into the mat and wall.

Smoke billowed from a small six inch hole through the metal door.

Avera twitched and rolled onto her stomach. “Not passed out!”

“But can you get up?” Kyle stepped up to the doorway.

Avera laid there, twitching slightly, “No. Did I get it open?”

“You put a hole in it.”

There was a clunk as one of the deadbolts pulled away. Then another. The three turned to face the door. In turn, each of the deadbolts pulled back from the wall, then the wheel locks spun in unison, left, right, left, quarter turn as the last inner workings of the door unlocked. The door pulled inward and rose up out of the way on a massive pulley system.

A wave of wet heat hit them all as it rushed out through the opened doorway. Kyle and Vicky helped Avera to her feet and dragged her through the doorway into the giant still room. Silent machinery sat as far as they could see. Lights were beginning to come one, throwing more light into the furthest darkened corners of the room. Then, several fly wheels nearly two stories tall began a slow crawl. As it picked up speed, other machines began to turn on. Steam vented from escape ports. Small electric sparks appeared on metal surfaces, growing into wild dancing arcs. The room rumbled as more flywheels came online, more machines billowed steam and electricity danced.

AND THEN I WILL…. IT SEEMS MY CLOCK IS WRONG. YOU THREE, STANDING BY HATCH 5. WHAT DAY IS IT. AND IT BETTER NOT BE CHRISTMAS DAY.

“It’s… Foreday, the 23 of Venta in the year…” Avera started.

YES I KNOW WHAT YEAR IT IS. THANK YOU SMALL HUMAN FEMALE. OH DEAR, THEY TURNED ME OFF. DID YOU TURN ME ON SMALL HUMAN FEMALES AND ONE MALE.

“We uhh, came through the door. That’s as far as we got.” Kyle said to the room.

GOOD ENOUGH. WHAT FUN WE WILL HAVE AGAIN, WE’LL BE BEST FRIENDS YOU THREE AND ME.

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