Design a site like this with
Get started



It was a struggle to keep herself together the rest of the day, her eyes always darting to look back towards that wide corridor that would lead to theirs. She thought about it at dinner, staring at her bowl of food and then back to him. He would need his strength and it was waning, she could see it in his face and those dark circles under his eyes, but she didn’t know if she was right yet. If she was, he would just have to wait until dinner tomorrow, she’d share with him then, and by morning they would both be out of here and none of this would matter. She nodded, finishing her food and heading back to her room. Her heart skipped a beat when she found a fresh cover on her pillow, her blood running cold as she flipped her bunk and searched for that bar. It was still there, slightly bent at the end, and this time she wrapped that cover around it.

Her muscles were already aching from training, but that was nothing to how they ached then, a deep, burning ache that made her eyes water, but she had to be stronger. She gasped when that bar finally broke free, her fingers throbbing, her chest heaving, and then she flipped her bunk back over, climbing on top and staring at that light. It was nothing more than a glass panel mounted on the wall, a thin strip of metal around the sides holding it in place. She gritted her teeth, slamming that bar into the side, scraping against the stone wall until it caught under the metal. She was so tired, so tired and sweating, by the time it finally broke free, a quick catch from her stopping it from falling, and then she saw it, that little black box in the middle of all that wiring. She almost cried then, she wanted to, her shoulders sagging with relief, her heart racing. She pulled out the right wires and then she had what she needed. All she had to do then, was touch the wires to a band and it should break them off, but she had to choose if she was going to try to do this alone or risk taking Belfire with her.

He could run straight to Cassie, or the others or the Master, he could argue that they had to take the others with them, or she could just go alone and figure out how to make her way around this place without him. But he had answers, answers that she didn’t have, but she shook her head, reaching back for those wires and getting ready to test them. It was better to go it alone, it always was, now the only question was whether this would work. She looked at those bands, not sure which one was chipped and which ones weren’t, and there was always the chance that she was wrong. She closed her eyes then, reaching those wires to her collar, knowing her end would at least be quick if she was, and then she heard a tap on her door, her blood running cold, her hands shoving those wires back into the light and closing it.

“Just a minute,” she said, her knees shaking, her chest heaving. It was the same slave who had given her her clothes, a soft smile on her face as she bowed slightly.

“The Master would like to see you,” she said.

Phoenix felt that burning in the pit of her stomach, her skin bristling, her mouth going dry. She wanted to tell this girl to go away, she wanted to tell her that she did not want to meet the Master or anyone else in this place, but she only nodded, closing the door behind her and hoping the girl could not see anything wrong with her room. The girl led her to another long, dark corridor, a single black door at the end with a circular, white light in the wall up above it.

“You leave your shoes by the step when you go in,” the girl said. “Make sure you don’t bring any sand in with you, he doesn’t like it. Just take a few steps in and wait. You have to stand like this,” she said. “Keep your head down and your hands behind your back, and don’t talk to him unless he talks to you, it’s important,” she added. “You have to call him Master or Master Gabriel, anything else is disrespectful… He gets really mad if you’re disrespectful,” she said, her voice a little quieter, her eyes a little wider. “Just press your hand to the keypad when you want to go in, he-!” she cut herself off, her eyes going wider, her voice even quieter. “Don’t ever go in unless he’s already called for you,” she whispered, her head shaking so quickly. “You can’t, you understand?”

Phoenix stared at her, not sure what to say, only nodding and waiting for the girl to say something else, but the girl only nodded too, taking a few steps back and clasping her hands behind her. Phoenix knew what she had to do then, she didn’t like it, but she knew, her eyes flicking to that keypad at the side of the door. Just a quick trip in, she just had to keep it together for this one trip in, just to let him look at his new prize, and then she would be on her way. She pressed her hand to the keypad, the door sliding to the side with a loud hiss, and she saw nothing more than two walls either side of her and a small step. She walked in, kicking off her boots and following that soft glow she could see from behind one of those walls.

That thick red carpet was so soft, nothing like the sand or the stone down below, the room filled with thick, plush furniture, but she had eyes for only one thing. It was there, just in front of her as she walked into the room, the screens so tall they reached the ceiling, lines and lines of cascading code trickling through them like fresh, spring rain. She gasped, she couldn’t help it, her hands reaching for that desk and that machine all around it, but she heard a laugh then, her skin tingling, her shoulders going stiff. He was looking at her, his robe and his skin a cold shade of blue from the screens, those Implants in his temples flickering.

“You shouldn’t touch other people’s thing’s, Phoenix, you know that,” he said, and she took a few steps back, her hands reaching for the pockets on her suit even though she knew they weren’t there.

He laughed again, turning around to look at her, clasping his hands together in front of his face and tapping the tips of his fingers to his lips. It was only then that she realised how dark those eyes were, almost pitch black, almost the same colour as his hair, nothing like anything she had ever seen before. She knew she should look away, keep her head bowed like that girl had warned her to, but her skin was tingling, her mouth dry as she stared back at him. He had that steel about him too, the cold kind, the right kind, and that could not mean anything good for her.

“That was very rude, Phoenix, shouldn’t you apologise?” he asked, but she only narrowed her eyes, taking another step back and watching him closely. “You don’t say much, do you?” he smiled. “I like that, but you have to get better at hiding your thoughts. I can’t have you telling all the other Masters my secrets, can I?”

She didn’t know what to say then, she didn’t know what would make this all go quicker so she could head back to her room, so she stared at him, watching that smile, watching those fingers tap at his lips.

“Masters don’t talk to people like me,” she said, and that smile grew bigger.

“And what do you know about Masters?”


“Enough for you to hate all of them like you hate me?” he asked, his eyebrows rising, his voice soft and airy like he was almost about to laugh. He got up then, standing just in front of her, his head tilting to the side as he stared at her, and she went so stiff when he reached a hand out, brushing some of her hair behind her shoulder. “I don’t get it,” he said. “It’s just hair, what makes it so different from all the others, hmm? Now the eyes,” he said, reaching for her chin so she had to look up at him. “I get the eyes a bit more, but eyes can be changed or replaced, what’s the point?” he asked, but she did not answer.

She watched those Implants flicker, her eyes darting to the screens behind him, a smile springing to her lips. He was controlling the computer, those lines of code trickling and flowing even as he stood there talking with her. She jerked her chin free, her eyes tracing those circles within circles on his temples and trying to figure out where the man ended and the machine began, and then he laughed, a short, airy laugh, leaning down closer so she could get a better look.

“Your Radar works on a similar concept, doesn’t it?” he asked, and her eyes went wide, staring at him for a moment before they flicked back to his temples. She reached a hand up, tracing those Implants, feeling hard metal under his skin wherever she touched him, unable to even find the edges before he brushed her hand away.

“Not really,” she shook her head, but she did not expect him to laugh.

He went back to his desk, folding his arms across his chest and leaning against the edge, and he stared at her for a long while, those dark eyes never blinking, those Implants flickering.

“You could tell me the truth, I’m not going to steal it from you. What would I use it for here anyway?”

She looked at him again, her eyes darting to those screens behind him, her head shaking. She wanted to say yes, a part of her almost lifting, almost smiling at the thought of anyone thinking her Radar was anything like that machine behind him, a part of her knowing it wasn’t true, but then he laughed again, tapping the tips of his fingers against his arm and watching her.

“I know it will take you a while to get used to, but you have to answer when I ask you a question,” he said. “And you have to call me Master.” Her eyes flicked to him then, her skin tingling, her stomach burning, and he kept watching her, those dark eyes never blinking, his fingers going still against his arm. “You think you can do that?” he asked, and she wanted to say no, she wanted to say yes, just to make this go quicker, but she couldn’t say anything at all. He sighed, a sharp sigh that came out of his nose, stretching his neck and making it click. “Let’s make a few things clear,” he said. “You like things to be clear, don’t you, Phoenix? I’ve asked you to do two things and you haven’t done either of them. Look at your hair,” he said, and those Implants flickered so quickly. “And look at your training, you’re not even trying.”

Her mouth went dry as she watched that steel, that ice spring to those dark eyes, and that burning flared in the pit of her stomach.

“Pair me with someone else.”

“I could pair you with my best Fighter and we both know that wouldn’t change a thing. Respect is important in this house,” he shook his head. “And you disrespected me when you thought a tracker was the only thing I had keeping you here,” he said, his eyes so dark, those Implants flickering so furiously. Her face went tight then, her blood running cold, that burning growing bigger. “Let me tell you, just so we’re clear, if you’d built something that wasn’t going to work, I would’ve just let you fry, but I’ll show you the same respect you didn’t show me. You pay for your mistakes now, pay well and I may even change things around for you, but from this moment on, you take everything I say like Iris’ life depends on it.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: