Naomi sat huddled in the corner of her cell. Time–that eternal equalizer of man–had abandoned her. Her cloned body maintained the outward appearance of a half-Achuran, half-Khanid woman, essentially immortal. Her hands were clasped tight to her face, shielding her eyes from the sights, monstrosities, and familiar torments that slithered in and out of her cell. She parted her fingers slightly, cracking them open to catch a glimpse of the scene.
She was still there. Katerina Tzestu Sakakibara. The red-haired Khanid hadn’t moved from her position in the middle of the room, her eyes wild with pulsating hatred, her hair wreathing as if of flame. The Khanid wore an outfit of black, the logo of a legionnaire emblazoned above her right breast. She had a menacing smile plastered on her lips as she brandished a Sani Sabik blade. Naomi dared not to move an inch lest she provoke her again.
Naomi buried her face into her hands once more, whimpering a quiet, “Alexa.”
But Alexa never came. It had been weeks, months, maybe even years since she had last seen the kameira, that woman she had wronged, used, abused, and outright betrayed in her quest for power in the Sakakibara Holding in Myyhera. But now, what had all of that conniving brought her? Emptiness. Pain. Suffering. An eternity trapped in a cell with a torturess.
Her mind turned back to the table Katerina Tzestu Sakakibara had strapped her. The room had been damp, cold, the table itself made of metal and with a cut-out just large enough for Naomi to put her face. She could still feel the plastic feeding tube that the Khanid had shoved down her throat to keep her alive as she sliced away with the knife upon skin made bare. But the knife had only been the prelude to a far worse torture–a device Katerina had obtained from a former boyfriend: a Caldari adept at committing unspeakable acts.
Naomi tried to shut down the memories as they flooded into the forefront of her consciousness. First, Katerina set the device so that she could not fall asleep. Three days of sleep deprivation or three years, it had not mattered as exhaustion consumed her body, mind, and soul. The second trial was the suspension of homeostasis–her core temperature following the controls Katerina had set to the room itself. Hypothermia or an incredible fever–it had all been on the Khanid’s whim. Third was the pain. Excruciating.
Naomi had begged for death.
Naomi could feel hot tears escape onto the palms of her hands, tears that she had only shed before as an act to disarm Alexa. She felt empty without the Brutor woman by her side. For everything that she had done, for everything that she had plotted, for treating Alexa the way that she had, the kameira had forgiven her. She’d give anything to be back in Alexa’s arms once more, cradled gently as she cried her frustrations, her anguish into the safety of that loving embrace.
She parted her fingers once more to find that Katerina had disappeared. She knew that she was there–that she was always there–and that she would return. She rose to her feet unsteadily, glancing at the walls as they began to swirl into familiar hues of white, gray, and light blue. The overhead lights began to flicker against the fluttering of wings as dozens of butterflies descended from the ceiling. One particular specimen hovered lightly until it touched down onto her shoulder, its emerald wings sparkling against the white light of the cell.
Naomi smiled to it, “Where have you been, little one?”
The butterfly didn’t respond, then took flight once again, rejoining the growing flock of butterflies. She sat upon her bed, careful not to disturb the dozen or so caterpillars that called her sheets their home. She often sat for hours watching them–the dazzling display of greens, reds, oranges, browns, and yellows as if it were an autumn afternoon. After carefully moving her sheets off of her bed, she curled upon the mattress, exhaustion rearing itself within her tense muscles. She closed her eyes, drifting to sleep amidst the beating of fluttering wings.
When she awoke, her bed was teetering back and forth, the floor having transformed into a rolling sea of swirling colors. The walls and ceilings rocked in concert, immediately disorienting her. She looked over the side of her bed, clinging for dear life. She knew that she could drown in the rubber-like floor, gasping, choking, clawing to get out of it. Only her bed offered her any solid stability and even that was suspect as the floor pitched and fell.
“I don’t want to drown. I don’t want to drown. I don’t want to drown,” She repeated out loud as she clung to her mattress, swaying back and forth with the rolling floor.
Suddenly her bed bucked and she rolled off of the mattress, cast into the merciless ground below. She fell for hours, preparing herself for the collision, for the terror of sinking into the floor. She said a prayer she didn’t believe. Her final moments turned once again to Alexa de’Crux.
She hit the floor.
Although the floor still swirled with its hues and colors, she did not sink. She had been fortunate, she thought to herself, as she curled into a ball on the ground. The ground must have solidified before she reached it, during the hours it took to fall from her bed, which was two feet off of the ground. That was all it was. Luck.
She wiped beads of sweat from her forehead. She shook her head from side to side, trying to stave off the feeling of vertigo. She clambered onto all fours, then slowly rose to her feet. She took a deep breath, then turned to the center of the room.
Her light blue eyes locked with those of emerald green. Naomi rushed back to the corner and cowered.
Katerina Tzestu Sakakibara.
“Alexa…” She whimpered quietly.