The Room

In the darkness Soolin sometimes distantly heard them.

They were the fragments like half-formed thoughts, that had been men: Dorian's nameless victims, the ones trapped in that room deep below who had died slowly and brutally so that he could live forever. Dorian was long gone, of course, and the underground cell he had used to feed on souls was gone too - one short, sharp blast courtesy of Dayna's bombs had put paid to any temptation to use it, to live on death, forever.

Not that the two young intruders - bright, fierce Dayna and smiling, overly charming Tarrant - were tempted. Nor the almost comically reluctant thief-turned-rebel-hero Vila Restal, who might want to live forever but would always be too scared to.

But the other one..?

Dark-eyed, thin-lipped, harsh of voice and icily fractured in mind, enemy of the Federation and pretty much everyone else Kerr Avon..?

She had the feeling his loving team mates didn't trust him an inch with such a seductive evil as immortality, trusted him even less than they trusted her. And if they didn't trust him, she wasn't going to.

So the room went, in a roar of plasma explosive and crashing rocks. Soolin smiled, and nodded, took her place among the newcomers, and almost convinced herself along with them that she hadn't felt the odd, fluttering lure of the place below where they slept.

But some sleepless nights, she'd lie with wide-open eyes and think about what it had been like for Dorian, when he drew life from his prisoners and left them twisted and tortured and not quite dying.

Fragments in her mind, that was all that remained now of all those dead men. Soolin could imagine them, almost hear them, scratching and sobbing and still trapped in the darkness. And she wondered if she would - could - would have done as Dorian did, and used the room and other people so that she could live forever.

And if it had felt good.

-the end -