Beacon 23: Part Four: Company (Kindle Single)

By Hugh Howey

Out right here at the fringe of quarter 8, i will be able to be by myself with my thoughts.

Sometimes, this is not an outstanding factor.

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Claire is peering down at me. I’m the rock among tender spots. “You imagine I don’t harm? ” Claire asks. She squeezes my hand. one way or the other, her hand is now keeping mine. “Look at me. ” Reluctantly, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I gaze up at her. She’s maintaining up her blouse. an online of scars peeks out above the waistband of her sweatpants—a tangle of lace-like flesh that wraps transparent round her hip. i look from this as much as her face and spot that she’s taking a look at my very own uncovered abdominal. i glance again at her wound.

You have been choosing your nostril, correct? not only scratching it. provide me the lock nuts. ” Her hand emerges. I position the 3 lock nuts in her palm. “I could have been settling on it,” I say. “I’m no longer proud. ” “No, you’re now not. i will be able to inform that approximately you. ” I can’t confirm if it is a praise or now not. It certainly doesn’t believe like a praise. “So where’d you serve, soldier? ” “All over. Orion. Humbolt. Dakka. Did my first journey on Gturn. ” Claire whistles. “They continually had you within the shit, didn’t they? ” “Hip deep.

Long gone are all of the good stuff I dream approximately. All that’s left is the bleak, the horrendous, the brutal, and the damage. The final little bit of egoism i've got left in me is to imagine to myself—as I convulse with sobs and bawl like a child—that nobody has ever cried like this. It’s the final time I’ll ever imagine I’m distinctive. The final time. simply because once i believe that nobody has ever cried like this, a lady is wrapping herself round me, a stranger, a sister, a fellow wounded, a lonely lover. and he or she exhibits me that I’m now not by myself.

I glance in addition. The pulsing, fluttering, palpitating, not sure lighting of the surprised and alarmed have again to that regular metronome, that consistent and assured pulse. Claire smiles at me. “Much better,” she says. I agree. • four • Cricket pounces on me as I input the lifeboat. She holds me opposed to the deck, mammoth paws on my chest, and growls and growls. Clamping down on my arm along with her mouth, she squeezes like she desires to chunk me. yet she simply holds me there, making threatening noises in her throat.

I rub her arm. I memorize how she feels for later. I take her loose hand and pull it to my lips, kiss the again of her hand, consider her squeeze my hand in assent, then take a deep sniff, attempting to memorize how she smells. “Have you ever performed this prior to? ” I ask. Claire laughs. “Would it subject? ” I shrug. A second passes. “No,” she says. “I most likely wanted this greater than you probably did. ” The previous me would’ve privately doubted. the hot me isn’t so definite. probably her course has been tougher than mine. probably i will permit move of the specialness of my discomfort.

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