How far would you go to survive?

Excerpt from the book EDEN

She started, her eyes flaring wide. The noise she heard echoed up the corridor. With her nerve failing, she jumped to her feet, allowing the broken appliance to fall to the floor. She could already hear heavy footsteps pounding up the corridor as she dashed across to the lobby.

At the exit, she slipped in a puddle of animal blood and fell, sprawling, to the ground. She began to scramble out of the doorway on her stomach, but her ankles were seized and she was whipped backwards at speed.

She was abruptly released, but the momentum caused her to roll until she hit the opposite wall. She lowered her hands, which had instinctively risen to shield her head against the impact, and peered fearfully at her attacker.

His feet, bare and soiled, were planted wide apart, and his naked chest was rising and falling rapidly. He threw something and she covered her head again. The crushed bottle caught her on the back of the hand. She stifled a shocked cry, and peered through her fingers at the alien, her stomach rolling and twisting like waves.

He reeled off a string of words, and she flinched at the tone. He bent towards her and she tried to hide within the wall, but she was lifted by the front of her suit and hung, like a ragdoll, from his hands. Her chin began to tremble.

She was deflated; all fight had fled her body.

‘I’m sorry.’ Tears fell in an endless rush. ‘I thought you’d gone. I thought you were on Taurus. Th-that’s w-why I drank it.’

She was shaken roughly, her head rocking on her shoulders, and then dropped. The instant she hit the floor she curled into the foetal position, with her arms covering her head.

Her senses were acute to sound, and her brain nagged her to flee, but she remained motionless. The old, old trick: play dead. It was miraculous how prehistoric instincts had quickly reasserted their position in her life.

Finally, the bare feet walked away. But she remained in a curled ball, the dismembered animal her neighbour, and wondered if the quality of her life would be worth the struggle to survive.

 

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