Faces in the Mist, Part 29

Read from the Beginning.

Skyla knew leaving her chambers would be a bad idea. Not just because there were five guards outside her door. They’d stop her before she’d get halfway down the corridor. She’d order them not to, but she wasn’t sure if that would make a difference. The Dome was quarantined. No one was safe.

No word from Earth, either. That unsettled her. She slumped by her dresser mirror in front of the console, willing it to light up. Had they heard about the quarantine? A quarantine didn’t mean there had to be radio silence.

Still…

The moment Earth heard that the entire Dome was shut down because of a “potential” Moon Flash Virus outbreak–even if it had nothing to do with the virus at all–they’d send Ambassador Conrod. He’d take over the Lunar Dome, and her career in politics would be finished.

She rubbed her tired face. She’d have to sleep sometime. A real sleep, no naps. The day was long gone, wasn’t it? Her bed beckoned. It looked so comfortable. Three plush pillows and a fluffy down duvet. Big enough for her to sprawl.
Before she knew it she was there. She sunk into the mattress, and then fell into something deeper…

The mist was thicker now. She couldn’t see herself. The faces weren’t there yet, but they’d arrive soon enough to pass judgment. Where had she been before she was in the mist? A tower. Yes. Climbing stairs…because she was going to her death.

It’s a dream, some part of her whispered.

No, it wasn’t.

She placed one bare foot in front of another. The floor was cool and smooth as she padded through the yellow smog. When had she lost her shoes? The men had taken them. Yes, that made sense. Before she’d come to the tower, after her death had been announced. They’d taken her shoes but left her clothes because even though she was a prisoner, she had to die with some dignity.

The smog faded somewhat. She was still in the tower, it seemed. Her death hadn’t happened yet. That was in the future. The near-future. This room was the death-room. Round, with a single window letting in a strip of sunlight across the wooden floor.

Wood? But the floor had been smooth before.

Yes, but you weren’t in the tower just then.

This is a dream.

No, because as she stepped into the sun, she was instantly warmed. How long since she’d felt the sun? Three days ago. She’d been walking down Spadina. It was a miserable day. People crowded the sidewalk. A street car had zoomed past, and Sebastian was there, urging her to run…

Sebastian? No that wasn’t right. He was long gone.

Skyla looked out the window. She was on Earth. The moon was just a fading grey ball in the sky as the sun overtook the sky with pink and yellow rays. Below, the rolling, grassy hills were a rich green. Off to the right, a town was just waking up. Far, far off, snow-topped mountains.

It would be a fairy tale, if not for the sense of doom around her.

The chopping block narrowly avoided the strip of sunshine in the room. She clutched her neck and gulped. The men weren’t here yet, but they would be soon. And then her head would be gone, and the people in the town would be happy.

Would they? What had she done to anger them?

It doesn’t matter, it’s a dream.

No, she knew this wood. She’d felt it before. She’d lived her death and it was going to happen. And if this was the place she was going to die, then she was here for a reason: to prevent it.

Even if, deep down, she felt she deserved it.

And then, the sunlight grew brighter. So bright, Skyla shielded her face and her eyes screamed in pain. She knew this light too. It blinked like a strobe light and probed her mind, searching…

Wake up. Wake up, Skyla…

“This is not a dream!” she screamed.

Skyla’s mouth, heavy with sleep, brought her back to her chambers. On the moon. Where she was queen and the entire base was quarantined but she was alive. Not sentenced to death. She still had her head. For now.

In the darkness, her chamber door creaked open, and a shadowy figure slipped inside.

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