So, I know I said I don't usually do blogfests...but a cliffhanger fest was too irresistible to pass up! Check out the other entries here, and here is the 500-words-or-less cliffhanger for Devolutionaries, chapter 1!
Grandad closed his eyes a minute, like he was listening for something. “They’ve come for me.”
“Who?” My throat tightened in panic, and my voice came out in a quiet screech. I already knew who. “What are we going to do?”
“Listen. They’re not going to kill me, okay?”
But there wasn’t another option. Unless… “They’re going to Disappear you? How do you know that?”
“I just know.”
What was that supposed to mean? Nobody knew exactly why the Government Disappeared anybody, just that somebody would suddenly be gone. None of their things missing, no hint about what had happened. No sign of a struggle.
“How can you—“
“Doesn’t matter,” Grandad said. “You just have to know they’re going to keep me alive. And you have to stay that way if you want to help. Now, I want you to stay here, behind the door. There’s only one of them. He’ll come for me, and when he does, run. Somewhere with lots of people. Go to the arcade. Then find Jay.”
I glared at him. “I’m not taking off on you like Wes. If there’s only one, I can attack him when he goes for you.”
“No!” His voice was sharp. “There’s only one because they only need one. He’ll kill you if you try that. You run. Find Jay.”
Suddenly, he stood up straighter. Then he strode across the room and stood over the boiling pot. “Do it, kiddo.”
He smiled at me, and I felt a sharp pain in my throat.
The door flew open and I threw my hand up to keep it from hitting my nose. Footsteps, then a clanging noise, a splash, a stranger’s yell. In my panic, a hysterical giggle rose up. There’d be signs of struggle after they Disappeared Grandad. Something crashed, and wood splintered. A sharp pfft echoed through the room, followed by a dull thump.
The room went silent, raising the hairs on my arm. Had he shot Grandad after all? I risked a peek around the door. The agent was kneeling next to Grandad, pulling the needle of a tranq bullet from a blue-stained spot on Grandad’s shoulder. He was alive. I started breathing again.
The agent’s back was still to me. It was now or never. I swung the door forward and dashed around it. My heart didn’t seem to beat to a normal rhythm, and I ran wildly through the night. I tripped over pavement cracks, darted into side streets, and skirted the corners where the military police clutched their guns. My feet pounded forward, and I grabbed at the pain growing in my side.
I stopped a few blocks from the arcade. Sucking in big gulps of air, I sank to the ground. I dropped my head between my knees. My mind buzzed, and thoughts didn’t stay long enough to register. Only two things made sense, and they pounded in my head with every gasping breath. Grandad. Disappeared.
Some people said Disappeared was worse than dead.