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Friday, December 15, 2023

F³ Longshot 43


I pushed the scrambling, panicked thoughts behind a wall to be dealt with later. I took inventory. Outside the container, it was full dark, now, only tall light poles and building floodlights gave any light. The air was saturated; the gentle, almost nonexistent rain dampened everything and left it with a wet sheen. I smelled roses. Nikki almost always smelled like roses, but it was subtle, like petals folded in her clothing instead of a sharp perfume. On top of that, I smelled the musty, industrial scent of the docks and salt water.

I felt my breathing become more regular as the panic and shock subsided.

Nikki relaxed her hug, then looked into my eyes. She didn’t say anything, but she nodded.

I nodded back.

“How do we free them?” she asked.

The question gave my mind a new direction, and was even better than any kind of calming exercise. I searched my memory. Clearly, this was some kind of magic at work. While I didn’t know everything there was to know about magic, it followed some rules, and there were some things that I could try.

I went back into the container. Almost immediately, I felt the panic rise, just being near all of those souls imprisoned. I picked up the crate I had been sorting through, and carefully hauled it outside. I withdrew one of the figures and set it carefully on the ground. From inside my jacket, I pulled my flask. This was a longshot, at best, but it was the only shot I had at helping them on the spot. Instead of scotch or other liquor, I kept holy water. I poured the hole thing out on top of the figure and waited. Nikki watched from afar, checking her steps when she saw me pull out the flask.

Nothing happened.

I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.

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