The broken glass crunched under her shoes as she stepped inside, walking slowly and deliberately. The laughter continued, and with it came the sound of shifting rubble, and muffled winces of pain. Finally, as she passed over the shattered remains of the observation window’s frame, it faded into chuckles, and then finally stopped entirely.
“Damn,” a familiar voice exclaimed, laughter still floating underneath. “That was certainly something!”
There was a blur of motion through the dust cloud, and a second later, a powerful wind tore past her, yanking her few strands of loose hair backwards and clearing away most of the dust.
The room was utterly destroyed, Zarah could see immediately. The far wall and a decent chunk of the ceiling had collapsed entirely, creating a large slope of rubble. Sitting at the front of it, the cab of a truck was lying on its side, one wheel still spinning, headlights providing most of the illumination now that the lights weren’t working.
Improbably, H- the corpse still lay on the slab where Abigail had left it, mostly undisturbed apart from a thin coat of dust. Guster was crouched behind the far end of the slab, similarly coated, and the tattered remains of her forensic suit hung loosely off her. Evidently, she’d torn it open, to get access to the pistol she now held tightly in both hands, finger on the trigger.
She noticed Zarah and her single eye widened with shock then quickly narrowed in recognition and realisation. Zarah ignored her, though, gaze fixed on the new arrival.
Suspended above the floor, the limp form of Spencer held in the same blue tendrils that held him aloft, he turned towards her, and his face split into a broad, slightly manic grin.
“Oh, hey!” said the man from the power station, who’d punched a hole straight through Zarah’s chest and left her for dead, who’d murdered Hami. “Haven’t I killed you before?”
Chapter Twelve: Nobody Speak (in which… oh, screw it. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEE!)
Silence reigned in the room.
Not true silence – rubble shifted and settled, water rushed and spilled from broken pipes, sirens wailed in the distance – but the oppressive, artificial silence that comes from people very purposefully, very deliberately not speaking.
The man in blue was the first to break it, of course. “Wait,” he gasped, eyes widening. “Are you mute? Oh man, I’m gonna feel like such an asshole if you’re mute.”
With effort, Zarah tore her icy gaze away from him and looked at Guster. “You,” she said curtly, projecting her voice to carry across the room without shouting. “Get out, now.”
“Oh, good!” The man beamed, genuine excitement in his eyes. “That is a huge relief, let me tell you. So, what’s your name? I’m Paose, by the by-”
He was interrupted by two loud gunshots, as Guster spun up from behind the slab, pistol raised. Even as the first shots were still ringing, she began to fire again, deafeningly loud, the muzzle flashes briefly lighting up the room.