Alone in the dark, together

Lost in the dark

by Hopeschains

Tags: #cw:gore #buttrueferalism #dom:female #feralism #Human_Domestication_Guide #petplay #scifi #justbecausewecandoesitmeanweshould

Hello, all you wonderful sophonts!!  I hope you're having a good day!!  today I get to post a new chapter of my new delight.  I hope you all aren't scared of the dark.

She blinked for a moment, thinking even as she doused her own light and stood in the pure dark of the hallway.  She was in an isolated environment with a sophont who may or may not have been injured, and may or may not be hostile with unknown weaponry, and she had no access to backup or even talking to any other Affini.  ‘So basically you know nothing except that it’s dark in here’, she told herself.  ‘Well, sounds like you’ve a sophont to find and you need to get at it!!’, she said, and then pulled out her tablet.  Using her vines to shield the tablet from showing, she basically made a cape, and then threw it over herself and the tablet.  Scrolling through any prior messages, it seemed that the Baeira had NOT sent her the picture of the complex she was in


Ok.  No point in wishing for something that couldn't happen.  Best thing to do now was to assess the situation, make a plan, and then carry the plan out. She needed to find this sophont, figure out if they needed help or were hostile, and then act on that.  And the only way to do that was to search.  But how and where?

She had no idea, and then she thought of something.  If she stayed always with a wall on her right, eventually she'd make her way all through the outside of the complex.  That would give her a rough outline.  Then she could look for clues, and start making inroads.  'Yea, that'll work.  At least until I run out of water.'  Concentrating again, she smeared a small bit of glowing ichor on the wall, a way to identify that she was here.  Then she set off, hair-thin tendrils stretched out around her to hopefully give her some advance warning.

The hallway stretched onwards, branching off a few times.  Each time she marked the hallway, turned to the right, and explored.  When she found a room, she'd walk in, glow brightly as she searched, and then stop.  Whoever had built this place had planned on it being shut for a while, and having guests.  There were rooms with beds inside, clearly a dorm of some kind.  Each one had twenty beds, and there were ten that she found.  Eventually the hallway ended in blank rock, and she turned, walking back.

The darkness was oppressive, cloying and everywhere.  She wasn't prone to flights of fancy or worry, but it literally was as dark as a tomb in here.  Pulling out her tracker, she set it to read at a distance of 100 meters, and watched as the screen showed…


Well, it was too much to hope for.  She kept walking and searching, smearing little bits of ichor to mark her path.  As she walked to the west, she heard a squeaking behind her.  She whirled, looking around, but all she saw was some kind of rodent squeaking at her angrily.  It was standing up on its three hind legs and waving an impressive set of incisors at her.  "Well, I'm sorry for disturbing you as well", she told it as it scurried away.  Interesting.  She wouldn't mind seeing what other interesting evolutions she could see.

Turning, she continued her search.  After stopping to listen, she realized that it wasn't truly silent.  She could hear animals, the squeaking of bats, and some kind of dull roar.  But that last one was faint, off in the distance.  For now, she continued following the hallway, occasionally turning.  She found a room with locked bars that opened easily once she unlocked it.   The room  had pallets and pallets of nothing but containers with these cubes in them.  Confused and unsure what she was looking at, she suddenly saw writing on the side of a metallic crate.  Synthcubes.  That's what these things were, hundreds of thousands of them, based on her rough calculations.  Those Terran “foodstuffs”, she charitably called them.  Torture devices, really.  Then she realized her calculations were wrong, since the chamber she was in stretched out farther than she could see with her limited lighting.  This, she realized with some sadness, was no ordinary bunker.  This was the creation of someone who thought to prepare for a war of survival, and had wanted to save others.  And when it came, there was nobody to use those preparations.  Sad.

She kept on searching, the dark only seeming to grow more, and then she made the first grisly discovery by stepping on it.  Skeletons, small ones.  ‘Probably the small rodents’, she thought to herself as she saw them.  Some of them were whole, some in pieces.  They littered the almost totally dark hallway, a few clumps of lichen here and there providing the ambient glow.  If she stepped on them, they’d make noise, and she’d warn the sophont that she was coming, which could be a problem.  Panicking Terrans were prone to doing all sorts of rash and ill-advised things.  Januasai had heard that one pet on the Elletarium had actually overloaded their jump drive before the Affini could disable it and tried to suck the ship into a rift in space-time.  It didn’t work, of course, but the fact that she’d actually scratched the ship was a cause for thought.  ‘Someone should give the pet an award for trying so hard’, as she stared at the hallway.

If she brushed them out of the way, then she’d be leaving a clear sign that there was someone here, just in case the sophont came after her.  ‘Decisions, decisions.’

Looking at either side of the hallway, she had an idea.  Extruding a vine to either side, she hardened them, and then lifted her core up.  Balancing on the two, she extruded another two slightly forward and slightly at a downward angle, and hauled her core up, over vines coming out to stabilize her as she lost cohesion.  A few vines formed a small ‘bag’ to hold her gear, and as she slowly retracted her core towards the forward set of vines, she extruded two more forward of the two she was approaching.  It was slow going, but it was still progress, and soon she’d made it into the intersection…which was littered with more bones.  ‘PERFECTJust perfect’ she thought.

Debating what to do now, she decided to go to the right, and thankfully the hallways seemed to be relatively bone free.  Setting down, she resumed her bipedal form and kept searching, that roaring sound fading the more she went.  The rooms here had labels on them, signs next to the doors.  Carefully wiping the dust from one, she was able to read.  “Level One Library”, it read, and through the open door, Januasai could see that the room was full of book covered shelves.  As she watched, a rodent ran behind them, and the sound of chewing could be heard.  Frowning at the loss of whatever knowledge had been here, she decided to keep going. But not before she noticed the bones on the floor.  She assumed that skeletons would fall apart over time, the connective tissue degrading…but these seemed far more scattered than she would have thought. 

There were other rooms, each clearly labeled.  “Level One Rec Room”, “Level One Gymnasium”, “Level One Medbay” were the three that she found.  Each filled with moldering, rusty, or otherwise ruined equipment.  She realized with a sinking heart that this complex must have more than one floor, and the sophont could be anywhere.  Pulling the tracker out, she set the parameters for two hundred meters, and then sighed as the hallway ended at a rock face.  Turning around, she moved back to where she’d come from, but she caught sight of something.  More bones, but they didn’t look like what she’d seen before.  Walking forward and glowing slightly brighter, she blinked as she saw what appeared to be a Terran skeleton laying on the floor of the Medbay.  A flashlight laid next to it, and Januasai could see that both legs bones, one humerus, pelvis, and at least six ribs were broken.  Not just broken, but shattered.  Whatever happened to this sophont, it was fatal, and they’d dragged themselves here trying to seek medical treatment before dying of their injuries. She wondered if there was actually anyone here when it had happened, someone to comfort the sophont.  To ease their pain, letting them know they weren’t alone.

Saddened, she left the Medbay and backtracked, taking the longer method of transporting her core over the bones.  In the middle of a hallway, she felt the buzzing of her tracker.  Crap.  Of COURSE it would happen now when she didn’t have eyes to look at the tracker.  Setting down carefully, using the vines to hold her core and the upper half of her reforming torso above the ground, she slid her eyes back into place and then looked at the tracker.  It was picking up a signal ahead of her, almost out of range, and as she watched, it moved towards her by a meter, and then darted out of view.

‘Well, now I know where you are.  Sort of.’

She slowly crawled over the walls, her torso melted back into a formless mass of vines, but the tracker didn’t buzz again.  She kept moving in a straight line towards the signal that she’d seen, ignoring all other side tunnels or doors.  She was an Affini on a mission.  There was either a feralist here that needed to be caught for their own good, or some poor sophont who had wandered in here and needed to be rescued.  Either way, she was here and she was going to succeed.  The tracker buzzed again, and then again as she got closer.  She sped up, exhilaration making her move faster.  She could do this!!, she thought with some happiness.

The tunnel ended in a dead end.

There was no sophont in sight.

Groaning, she lowered herself to the ground and consulted the tracker again.  The sophont was still there, some fifty meters away.  ‘ROT!!!!!!!  May as well be on the moon since there’s Everbloom knows how much solid rock between us’, she thought, and then rose up.  Looked like she needed to do some exploring.  Climbing back up onto the walls, she had an idea.  A way to maybe make this happen a bit faster.  Six or seven vines erupted from her core on each side, and wedged themselves into cracks in the tunnel wall.  Stiffening, she began to ‘walk’, vines constantly rotating and finding new crevices to wedge themselves into.  The bones were even more prolific here, but oddly scattered.  As if they’d been moved into haphazard piles. Odd.

The roaring sound grew as she took a left turn the next chance that she could.  There was an arrow on the wall that pointed the way that she was going, but the words had faded.  She reformed her body, but smaller, her vines more compact and ready to move.  Carefully dousing her luminescence since there was an abundance of the lichen here, she stepped out of a doorway and looked around in wonder.

She stood in a huge chamber, lit well by the lichen, the light reflecting off of the water of a massive underground lake.  There was lichen on the ground, on the ceiling, covering the stalactites that hung down, shining brighter than they had in the complex.  Large ferns of a type she'd never seen waved in a breeze that she couldn't feel.  Suddenly there was a loud squeaking as part of the glowing ceiling detached itself and separated, flying around.  An aerial light show that she delighted in watching.  The flying creatures, she realized.  They must have some of the glowing lichen on them, that’s how the lichen got so far into the complex.  What looked like motes of glowing blue-green landed on the ground and in the water, one of the rodent creatures running out and nibbling on some before running off, but now covered in the lichen itself. Another explanation for the lichen in the hallways. 

Fascinating.  An entire ecosystem right below the colony above that they probably never knew about.  And that’s when she realized that her tracker had been silently buzzing, telling her that the sophont she was chasing was close.  But she’d been so busy looking up and being fascinated by the goings-on above her that she hadn’t paid attention.  Dousing her own light, she pulled it out and carefully checked, and her eyes widened.

It was right behind her.

thanks for reading!! I hope you enjoy the spooky as we enter the Halloween season.  Drop me a comment, for they give me life.  

remember: you're amazing.  Today is your day, you only need to go out and grab it.

Show the comments section (11 comments)

Back to top

Register / Log In