“Hold her down! Hold her down!” Dr. Lorentz cried.
“Why's she doing that?!”
“She is dreaming, Mrs. Mitchell, nothing to worry about! Twitching isn't entirely uncommon. I am almost finished, so please, just keep your daughter still do I can finish.”
“Alright, alright, don't get your underwearhausen all tied up.”
Where is not important. Not now.
Neither is when.
And don't bother with why. You'll never get that one.
Emma certainly could not.
The walls around her did not matter. They were brick, stained, in places, with paint. Or were they wood? It did not matter. The blood-stains might, but in this world, blood is everywhere and covers everything. So she ignored them and carried on. But where? She could not answer where she was going or even where she was. She was lost in an aimless prison of brick, wood, paint, and blood. It was a labyrinth, truly a labyrinth.
Some doors led to the start.
Others lead nowhere.
Many more were simply locked.
The ground was littered with the tattered ruins of wherever this was. There was no floor, only a ground of dirt, mud, and bloody stains. Occasionally she would find shell casings or even abandoned weapons. There were all signs of battle, of something having happened at this place. All of that was normal to Emma though. She was used to seeing the world in tattered chaos with signs of death all around. Then again, this place was strange in its lack of death. For all the guns and spent casings, where were the bodies? Where were the targets?
Emma put her hand on her holster and found her Taurus sitting snugly. It was only a nominal comfort, but a comfort regardless.
Before her was another door. Emma didn't recognize it, but after having tried and failed to get anywhere at least a dozen times, she had little faith in this one being any different. With her left hand, she grabbed the door handle and then-
Something shuffled behind her.
Swiftly whirling, Emma brought her pistol to bear in her right hand and took aim. The corridor behind her had changed. Before, it was well-lit, but it became a place of darkness and of shadow. She could not see beyond about fifteen feet.
In a flash, there was a whisper and then Emma's arm tore open at the side. In pain and reflex, she dropped her pistol to the ground and screamed in pain. In another reflexive motion, she let go of her footing and scrambled for her pistol. Once her left arm found it, she immediately took aim, but there was no one. For a good minute she ignored her pain and kept her pistol raised. But there was nothing, no one.
Emma dropped her head and lowered her pistol. She sighed in relief, but soon questioned why. Whoever had done this was still out there. She checked the wound on her arm. It was definitely a gunshot, but fortunately it was only a graze. It was a nasty graze, but only such. On her belt, Emma kept a basic set of first aid, something her father had taught her to have at all times. Where the wound was most severe, Emma wrapped in gauze, but she didn't have enough for the whole arm. The bleeding wasn't too severe, but it would need treatment soon.
Painfully, Emma brought herself back to her feet. Since the world had changed behind her, she wondered if she should go the way the shot had come from. But she figured that only a fool went toward death. So Emma turned and tried the door again. This time, it opened easily, revealing yet another destroyed corridor.
Something snarled. Emma knew exactly what it was. She raised her Taurus and readied for what was coming: zombies. She was right. Three came around the corner. One was a woman with uncannily large, glowing blue eyes, another was a mangled character in a strange hat, and the last wore a gray shirt destroyed beyond recognition. Emma took aim at the one in the hat and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened except a dry, unhappy click.
She pulled the trigger again.
“Well, that sucks,” Emma threw her pistol away and drew her knife. It was an unlikely victory, but would Emma Mitchell go down without a fight? Hell no.
But there would be no fight. Suddenly, the zombie's heads burst open from behind. They all dropped almost simultaneously. Someone had shot them from behind and whoever it was, they were good. But Emma couldn't see where the shots had come from, just like before. It was as if the bullets sliced in from the shadows.
And then there was another whisper as Emma's leg exploded in a shower of blood. Her back hit the wall behind her and then she slid down to the muddy ground, hollering in pain. She put her hand on her leg to feel it, to assess damage, but it only felt like a hell of pain and bloody meat. Never before had she felt so much hurt. But Emma pushed it aside as best she could. She looked ahead and saw nothing, just the dead zombies and shadows.
And then she heard footsteps coming from the door next to her. Had the shots come from behind? No way. There was no way. What the hell was happening at this place?
The steps grew closer.
Emma examined them.
It was just one person, someone trying to tread lightly. But in the silence of these ruins, there was no way to come quietly. Emma clutched her knife and readied herself for a fight. Or at the very least, a last stand.
Around the corner came a man dressed in a black suit. His face was... unrecognizable. His features were not ordinary, but not extraordinary either. And there was a darkness all about him. Emma's instincts screamed to fear this man. In his right hand was a pistol with a suppressor, but it wasn't raised and his finger was off the trigger. He turned and looked down at his helpless victim.
Emma snarled, “You took the shots.”
“Yes,” the man replied. “I did.”
This man, this shadow, took a knee beside her, leaned in closely, and whispered, “You don't know the half of it. I am to going to kill you and everything you love.”
“Not if I kill you first!” Emma thrust the knife into the shadow's throat and then---
Emma eyes snapped open and without thought, she snatched the throat of the nearest person. Whoever it was yelped in surprise and then grabbed the girl's arm, easily pushing it away. Emma tried to shout, but out came only a mumble.
“Easy, Emma!” exclaimed a familiar voice. “Your anesthesia is only now wearing off, you need to lie still.”
“Ane- anesthesia?” Emma groaned as she realized how weak she was. That must have been how whoever this was had overpowered her so easily. She realized then how difficult it was to even keep her eyes open. “What? Where am I?”
“You are in the infirmary aboard the Holdsworth,” the voice said is it suddenly clicked as to who it was. The voice was Dr. Lorentz. “You're home, Emma.”
“W-what happened?” Emma struggled to stay conscious. The world wanted to slip away, to fade. “I- I'm hurt, aren't I?”
“Yes, Emma, you were shot twice. There was an incident, but you are fine now.”
“Shot? I was-?” Emma shook her head. “No, wait-” it came to her. She remembered her arm tearing and then her leg bursting open; all the blood. And then- “LeFleur! What happened to- is he okay?”
Dr. Lorentz sighed, “Emma, you need to be still and try to keep calm. Don't try to think too hard, you're not ready to-”
“Doc! Dammit!” Emma snapped. “Just- just tell me what- tell me-” her head went light. “Just tell me what happened to Chris.”
“Well, he was, er, he was- your friend was shot. He did not make it.”
“No,” Emma shook her head. “That's-” the memories came to her. “That's not-” they were true. “No, God, Chris!”
“Emma, please, try and relax,” Dr. Lorentz insisted as he put his hands over to her. If she moved too much, she would risk damaging her stitches. “Your mind is simply not ready for this. I am going to put you back to sleep for now and we'll work on this later.”
“Doc, I- I-”
“Hush,” Lorentz insisted as he squeezed a syringe of clear fluid into her IV. “You'll be out before you know it.”
“Doc, I don't- Doc, I-”
Emma's world slipped away....