Infinity’s hand reached out for Derek, seemingly in slow motion as he contemplated his own death. They had truly turned this poor creature into a monster, he thought, destroyed everything that made her real, replacing it with blank cogs and steel.
“Infinity, I’m Derek.” He said, backing up until he reached the wall on the opposite side form her cell. Still she advanced, thick arm extended with dried blood still caking her fingers from the assault earlier. Her grey eyes were unfeeling, cold, distant. “I never asked you: did you like Winnie the Pooh? House on Pooh corner?”
Infinity paused. A small fragment of a shattered mirror was found, glimmering among hateful wreckage on the floor of her mind. She stared into the tiny reflection, remembered names as if from another lifetime. Winnie the Pooh. The Hundred Acre Wood. Book.
Suddenly, her head jerked back the way she had come, back into her cramped cell set within heavyset concrete. She remembered where they were, but what they was still an idea she could not grasp. There was something in there, but what? Leaving the relieved, bewildered Derek behind her, Infinity made her way into the cell and easily pulled the busted chain plate out of the wall. A number of books tumbled out onto the floor.
Her lips moved, but no words came. She couldn’t think of how to speak, if that was even possible, but now she had a precious few words in her mind now. They painted a very limited picture, a glimpse beyond, but something real.
Scooping up the books in one hand, she turned back to the frightened man who was staring wide-eyed at her. Derek. That was what he had said. He was connected to the books in some way, but she didn’t know how.
Before she could work on this tangle of confusion, a loud alarm sounded in the hallway, drowning out her thoughts in the jarring screeching noise. She looked down at the man in front of her, his attention having moved from her to the far side of the hall, where a vent near the door was beginning to discharge increasingly thick gouts of white smoke that clung largely to the floor, but was beginning to rise.
“Gas.” Derek said softly, eyes wide. Infinity didn’t know what that was, but he seemed afraid.
Looking at the gas, and then back at the man, Infinity made a choice.
There was another vent, heavily reinforced with slabs of steel forming a sort of grate over the entrance. Wrapping her hands around the metal, Infinity pulled back as hard as she could; the steel deformed, but only slightly. She pulled again, heaving her body back with the effort. It moved a little more, but remained mostly in place.
Infinity glanced back at the approaching cloud as it made its way across the floor before seeming to crawl up the walls. She had to hurry. Jerking on the grate again and again, it finally began to bend outward until the concrete around it couldn’t hold any longer, exploding outward with large shards scattering everywhere.
The man gasped, cursing something under his breath. Infinity looked down to see him clutching a hand to his cheek, a blossom of scarlet already beginning to spread between his fingers and down his face. A chunk of masonry must have caught his face when she pulled out the grate.
Derek yelped in surprise as Infinity hauled him up, thick hands twisted into the front of his uniform, holding him above the ground where his dangling feet couldn’t reach the floor. She stared into his eyes, her own gleaming grey and cold in the electric light of the hall. Suddenly, with a mixture of hunger and gentle restraint, she ran her rough tongue along the cut bleeding heavily along his cheek, blood sliding warmly across her lips and into her mouth. She did it again, this time with almost desperation.
She growled in frustration as she noticed the clouds of gas gathering around her waist, obscuring the floor and rising higher into the hallway. Shoving Derek into the vent, Infinity forced her way behind him, finding the passage extremely tight but usable for her size. The dazed man began moving as Infinity grabbed him from behind, giving him an insistent push to start moving. Soon, they were on their way in the cramped tunnel.
It didn’t take long for the vent to end with a steel door bearing a twist valve blocking their way. Derek gripped the valve, knowing he couldn’t rely on Infinity’s strength to get them through this time, there being no way for her to crawl across him to help without crushing him in the process. He pulled to the left, with no effect. A tug on his leg made him turn around.
The silent Infinity gestured behind herself, indicating the approaching gas moving into the duct. Derek nodded, turning back to the door. He pulled left again. Nothing. Not the slightest budge for his efforts. A hand laid on his back, forcing him gently yet inexorably to the floor of the duct. Infinity’s hand had so much power behind it, she must be even more solid than the strongest human alive, he though to himself as she attempted to crawl past him and reach the valve. Just as Derek thought, she was too large to at all fit around him, her body pressing on him as she reached as far as she could.
“No, stop it.” He said, more iron in his voice than he felt in that moment. The woman stopped, then moved back as he waved her away. He realized something, for safety reasons, these valves turned right to loosen, making sure they couldn’t be accidentally attached to the wrong doors. Gripping the valve once more, he hauled to the right this time, feeling the old screw threads finally releasing their rusty hold on the door, slipping around and opening before him.
Quickly as he could in the close confines, Derek crawled through the entrance, followed closely by the hulking form of Infinity. Derek gestured to her to close the door behind them, sealing the gas on the other side, which she promptly did, enclosing them in pitch darkness and silence. After a moment, Derek felt Infinity’s hand on his backside again, as if to comfort him in the black tunnel. It was strange to have a veritable stranger, and a female no less, keep touching him without restraint. He shrugged and began crawling, listening to the shuffling of the woman behind him, her soft breathing, her occasional grunt as she adjusted her neck or back in the tight space.
“Alright, Infinity, do you remember me now?” He asked after some length of time had passed.
A grunt of acknowledgement, but no words. Great.
“Well, anyway, thank you for saving me. Even if you have no idea what that means.” He said, more to himself than anything. “But you’re going to have to explain that licking thing someday.” He added.
Another grunt from behind. That was the only company he was getting, it seemed. Very well.