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The raven haired boy carries the motionless body of her sister Sonjia in his arms and Mari follows keeping one eye on him and the other on the sky. The gasoline spell that an impeding storm brings is getting stronger and they have only minutes to get to safety. The boy runs past a crumbling building and then stops, backing up and almost causes Mari to reveal her position.

“No, no. It’s here, stop being stupid Oliver!” the boy says.

Oliver, really? Lame. Thinks Mari.

He rushes down crumbling stairs to a cellar door that he is trying to touch with his hands while holding her sister. The door hasn’t budged.

“You can either continue lurking or you can help me get this door open,” shouts Oliver up to her.

“The rain falls down, in case you hadn’t noticed,” snaps Mari, annoyed that she hasn’t been stealthy as she thought.

“The door seals, I need you to trust me Mari.”

“How do you know my name?” Mari demands, backing away.

“She’s been whispering it over and over.”

“Liar. She’s dead.”

“Is she?”

They stand, Oliver’s back twisted under the Sonjia’s weight at the bottom of the stairs and Mari hovering on her tip toes at the top regarding each other. An impasse broken only when Mari hears the hiss of raindrops burning divots in the asphalt.

“Move,” Mari says, moving past him trying not to touch either him or her sister’s too cool flesh.

The door is made of an alloy that mimics copper. When her hand makes contact the surface shimmers and the façade of ruin fades away revealing a propeller that slowly extends from the center of the door.

“What exactly is wrong with you people?” asks Mari unable to fathom why someone would make such a thing.

“Lefty loosey, righty tighty,” says Oliver.

Even though Mari is positive he is seriously cracked in the head she does as he says and the door opens with a hiss. Oliver carries Sonjia inside and when Mari crosses the threshold the door closes behind her and reseals.

“Close your eyes, this isn’t pleasant,” says Oliver.

A series of jets spray the three of them. Whatever is hitting her skin is at first so cold it burns then a series of violet beams scan her.

“Proceed for injections,” says a disembodied voice.

“No fucking way are you sticking anything in me, you sick mother fuckers,” Mari rages.

Oliver ignores her, placing Sonjia on a surgical table.  A small key pad pops out and Oliver begins typing. Thin robotic arms extend from underneath the table like so many arachnid legs, some injecting her sister, others pumping fluids into her.

Mari knows in her soul that this fate is far worse than death and she sobs keening, mourning the life before the Reapers came. The life and family now as broken as the world itself.


Inspired by: Write at the Merge’s smashup prompt of cellar door and propeller.