Joshua glanced up lazily from the bed, woken by the sound of the door opening. "What do you want?" he muttered, allowing his head to fall back hard on the pillow.
"Are all humans as weak as you?" The woman he had seen a few hours before stood in the doorway, "you have slept for hours." Her voice was musical as though she was singing the words, words that were punctuated with the awkward pauses of one who speaks a language they have never truly mastered.
"Yes." The pillow muffled Joshua's answer, but did not mask the sentiment. "Go away."
The woman walked across the room and sat at the foot of the bed. After a moments silence, she prodded him sharply. "It is time to leave, it is dangerous here." Joshua pushed himself up and scowled at her, but an impassive gaze greeted his frown. The past few hours had felt like days, and his memory of that time was clouded by snatches of light and sound. He remembered that this woman had spoken to him before, but this was the first time he had really seen her face. He had thought she was blonde, but in the bright shafts of light poking through the torn curtains he saw that her hair was white. In spite of its style, her hair appeared unkempt and ragged, as though it was of only minor importance to her. He imagined that when a lock of hair had become too long, she had taken some scissors and simply snipped it away.
"We must go, we must go now." She stood to go but Joshua tried to take her arm. She pulled from his grasp with shocking speed and strength, standing back from him taut and proud as though poised for action. "Why did you do that?" Her voice carried the slightest hint of fear, but Joshua didn't doubt that she could be very dangerous. He tried to hold the gaze of her wide slate grey eyes, but their intensity forced him to look away. "It's not every day I get a beautiful woman sitting on my bed," he muttered, "especially one who saved my life."
The woman seemed to relax a little, but continued to fix him with a steady and purposeful gaze. In the beams of light growing stronger in the room, it seemed to Joshua that she was glowing with a supernatural light. He thought perhaps she was about his age, but her confidence and self-assurance spoke of greater years. "If you want me to get up, you better turn round." He tried to smile but it felt like a grimace. "A guy's entitled to some privacy ain't he?"
The woman turned around but as Joshua found his clothes and dressed, he sensed that her furtive glances were out of distrust rather than interest. Her trim and petite form stood perfectly still as he began pulling on his shoes, as though she was a statue bequeathed with life. "What are you?" he said quietly. She seemed to tense but did not answer. "Why did you ask me if all humans are weak?"
She glanced round and then faced him squarely. "I am a Lazloi." Joshua blinked in surprise and stood up. "I kinda wondered, but the stories seemed to make out you were super humans." The face that looked up at him did not miss a beat. "We are super human, more than you can imagine." Joshua thought he would see a hint of irony in a face that made such a statement, but instead, it was expression of a woman who knew she had stated an indisputable fact.
"What do I call you Lazloi?" Joshua saw the look on her face cool to ice, regretting that his remark had sounded so impertinent. She turned to go as though she was dismissing a naughty child. "You will call me Sylenia." Glancing over her shoulder she added, "The undead are in the building. I suggest you hurry; otherwise our partnership will be very short."
Joshua stumbled down the stairs behind Sylenia and almost bumped into her at the closed door. "What partnership?"
Sylenia ignored the clatter of animated flesh that hammered at the door and pointed a sharp finger at Joshua's chest. "I saved your life, you are bonded to me until the debt is paid. I will help you avenge the death of your brother; even destroy the gangs and the mobsters who have ruined your cities. In return, you will help me in my quest for knowledge. I too am here for revenge, our arrangement will be perfect symmetry."
Joshua snarled. "You prissy little bitch, I'm nobody's slave." Joshua found himself thrown against the wall, pinned there by Sylenia's slender frame. She raged angrily into his face. "Do you hear the dyybuks at the door? They can smell your flesh. For two days I have kept them at bay, all the while tending your wounds. Shall I let them in?"
Joshua blinked and shook his head slowly. "How do we get out of this place, partner?" Sylenia released him and moved back to the door. "My ship was disabled, but I was able to recover a few things, including my personal flyer."
Stephanie Petite 3 figure with Travalian outfit, textured with customised maps. Wildcat hair. Aircar is a custom model created in Hexagon 1.21
Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 6 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2