Sherdan’s Prophecy: Chapter 2

Here’s chapter 2 in the book. For previous chapters and other information check out the Sherdan’s Prophecy book page.

 

Anya stepped off the train onto the Bristol Temple Meads platform. She followed the few other people who had been on the train with her, down the steps and along the tunnel underneath all the other platforms. She tried to stay near the back of the group and not look too out of place.

For mid December she wasn’t wearing very much. Black trainers, trousers and a black long-sleeved top that clung to her small frame. She had a scarf on but the train had been warm and until now she had needed nothing else. The first shiver ran through her as she put her ticket into the barrier and made her way through to the exit of the train station.

Anya hesitated in the last warmth of the building before stepping out into the evening air. She had a twenty minute walk from here to her destination. determined, she set out at a brisk pace.

She had memorised her route by studying the map for several days and even though she had never been to Bristol before now she didn’t make a single wrong turn.

The whole time she prayed in tongues under her breath. She had read a book many years earlier about a Christian woman who had lived in the slums of Hong Kong and had done the same everyday as she had worked and lived there. The gangs had never done anything to harm her.

When Anya reached the last bin on her path she stopped, checked there was no one watching, removed her scarf, and placed it in the bin. She then continued as if nothing had happened. She shivered so much she could not tell if it was the cold, nervousness at her task, or most likely, a combination of the two.

She arrived at her destination five minutes early so stood and got her breath back on the corner of St Michael’s hill and Royal Fort Road. She knew she was already within his territory and briefly wondered if he knew of her existence already.

As soon as her watch said half eleven she took a deep breath and walked down Royal Fort Road. She didn’t have a plan for the next part. She wasn’t even sure where she was going, only of why.

Continuing to pray she walked towards the largest building she could see. For a moment her nerves got the better of her and she hesitated.

She looked for the nearest door while, controlling her breathing in a vain attempt to calm her heart beat back down again. Walking against the wall to the only entrance she could see, she tried to push it open.

It didn’t move. It appeared to be a safety door that could only be opened from the inside by pushing a bar or handle of some kind.

Anya went to find another door, knowing she shouldn’t waste time, but something made her stop. Instead she put her fingers against the crack in the door and tried to pull outwards.

The door clicked and swung open. It was a fire door but it couldn’t have been latched properly as it had swung out with no resistance.

She sneaked inside and pulled the door shut behind herself. She then crouched listening and never ceasing to pray. Every moment her lips moved in almost silent words she couldn’t understand.

Taking another deep breath, she moved from her spot. Picking her directions purely on what felt right at the time, she made her way through Sherdan’s compound.

While she explored she wondered what the man was like. She was almost certain she wouldn’t like him. How could she like anyone who ran a cult for their own benefit. He wasn’t the reason she was here, however, at least not directly.

Several minutes of slow creeping passed before Anya found herself taking her first wrong turn. She had wandered into a storage room despite having been led there by her feelings.

She frowned and was about to return through the door when she heard the sound of approaching people. Being as quiet as she could she shut the door and listened for any signs that she had been seen.

Whoever walked along the corridor did so cautiously. They took many minutes to pass out of earshot again and at several points when they had been right by the door she had thought she would be discovered. She had felt so sure of it that it took her a few more minutes to calm her nervous shaking.

Anya continued sneaking, pressing her whole body up against the wall and walking sideways. Each slow step took her several seconds and already twenty minutes had passed by when she moved through the third door.

The décor changed dramatically. What had been normally furnished rooms and corridors became concrete hallways and black walls, save for the lights at regular intervals. It was the fist sure sign that she had travelled in the right direction. She sighed and continued praying.

Anya heard sounds from behind and moved across the corridor to a door the other side. She didn’t wait to listen for people as she had at every other door but pulled it open and quickly ran inside. The light in the room came on automatically, showing her someone’s bedroom. Thankfully unoccupied.

She could hear the sounds of moving people getting louder as she ran towards the bed and crawled underneath. Her heart pounded in her chest and she strained to listen for the noise from outside the room.

It suddenly occurred to her that the light would give her away if anyone looked into the room. There was no other door and it was triggered by movement. As if responding to her thoughts the light went out, plunging her into the relief of blackness.

Less than five seconds later the door was yanked open and the light blinked on again. She heard two people shuffle through the doorway. She had scrambled under the bed the wrong way to be able to see anything but the wall in front of her.

“Nothing so far,” she heard a man say.

Anya closed her eyes in relief as they both walked out and closed the door behind them. For the moment she felt too shaken to continue.

She rested and waited until the light went out again. Before she could move the door opened for a second time. More feet could be heard walking in. They stayed a lot longer than the previous set but neither looked under the bed.

Almost as soon as they had left she slithered out from her hiding place. There had now been three sets of guards in a short space of time and she needed to get a move on as they were obviously aware she was here and searching for her.

She checked her watch. She had been in the building forty-five minutes already. It would be a long night.

Biting her lip She continued her escapade and made it to the end of the hallway. She found herself faced with a t-junction and hesitated for some minutes, unsure which way to go. The corridor continued in both directions before both ended in doorways.

Logically the right would take her in a similar direction to the way she had come so she opted for the left, however, after several minutes sneaking along the edge of the wall she felt increasingly unsettled. For now she ignored her feelings and continued but her unease grew.

Unable to disobey her doubts any longer Anya turned around and headed back, more swiftly than before. She had barely reached the t-junction again when the sound of approaching footsteps came from behind her.

These sounded different to the previous type. They were moving quicker and not trying to hide the sound at all. She had no where to hide but the junction itself and she pressed herself up against the wall, hoping they would walk right past and not notice her.

She didn’t dare breath and hardly dared to look. The next few seconds felt like minutes until the two people walked straight past her.

They were both engrossed in conversation and neither noticed her. They wore lab-coats and one carried a clipboard in his left hand.

Anya watched them go through the door at the end of the passageway and followed as silently as she could. She had now been in the compound for over an hour and the toll of being buzzed with adrenaline for that long was beginning to show.

The doorway opened to another corridor and Anya slowed again, having no idea where the two scientists or doctors had gone. She did not want to draw their attention.

She felt tired and had to try even harder to stay quiet as she moved. She was concentrating so hard it took her a moment to realise she could hear noises again. They were up ahead but she couldn’t tell if they were getting closer.

Anya considered going back but the door behind her started opening. She had no choice but to rush through the only other door off the room she was in.

She hastily turned and shut the door only to notice that she wasn’t alone in the room. The two men she had followed were staring at her.

“Hi,” she said, not knowing what else to do. She then waved, Neither of the guys said anything.

“I don’t suppose either of you know where the bathroom is do you? I get so lost here.” One guy pointed back the way she had come.

“Go left and it’s the third door on the left in the next hallway.”

Anya hesitated. The last thing she wanted to do was go back out of the room. She had already noticed that there wasn’t another exit, however.

“Where’s your identity badge? Sherdan requires everyone have one who works here,” the guy said.

“Ahh, crap.” She noticed that both of them had ID tags pinned to their lab coats. “I’ve gone and forgotten mine, I’m really ditsy like that, I mean I am blonde.” She pointed to her hair.

The guys just grinned. There was an awkward silence as Anya listened to the guards outside coming closer.

“So… I don’t think we’ve met, I’m…” Anya didn’t get to finish before the door behind her burst open.

“Don’t move or we’ll shoot,” the guard said. Four men stood in the doorway with four very large guns aimed straight at her.

“Hi.” She waved again. Her game was up and she knew it. All of them came closer to her as she waited, unmoving. When the front one reached her he pulled her hands behind her back and tied them.

He pulled the plastic ties so tight they dug into her wrists and made her wince. She was then patted down for weapons but the only thing she had on her was her watch and that was soon removed. She had deliberately left everything else at home.

No one said anything to her but one of the guards leaned into the radio pinned to his chest.

“We’ve got her safe and secure.”

“Bag her and bring her here,” a voice came back moments later. Anya gulped. Before she had time to react a black bag was pulled over her head. Her world descended into darkness. She blinked a few times, hoping her eyes would adjust to the dark but it was so black they couldn’t.

Both of her arms were grabbed making her flinch from the pain of her bonds digging in even further. She was steered towards the door.

As soon as she had been brought out into the corridor she was spun on the spot until dizziness spilled her into the arms of one of her captors.

“Walk,” someone yelled. Both of her arms were taken hold of again as she was marched off, now so disorientated she could have been going back into the same dead end room.

The only thing she knew for sure was that her bindings were too tight. They rubbed as she walked and dug so deep that she could feel the first few trickles of blood running down her hands.

 

Chapter 3 should be posted sometime between Christmas and new year.

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3 Responses
  1. Mahtlef says:

    Firstly I would like to say that I really like the way the plot is going. I was definitely engrossed while reading this second chapter. A lot of concepts are introduced but nothing is really explained, which left me wanting more. It was a very good balance.

    I also (having just re-read the first chapter) really like the way the story fits together from two different views. Particularly the observation of Anya on the security monitors which could easily have happened when she felt unease at her direction and turned around. I could be wrong about the timing though. Also, her attempt at bluffing to the scientists was brilliant. Probably my favourite couple of paragraphs.

    I am curious as to why Anya dumps her scarf in the bin at the beginning? It doesn’t seem to make any sense. I can guess why she might dump it but it I am left wondering why exactly it needs removing. I mean, it’s not like she particularly needs to be stealthy seeing as praying for protection seems to make her (mostly) invisible to the security camera’s anyway. I am aware that it could be important at a later date however.

    Apart from that and a few little editorial issues I think this is a brilliant chapter. It definitely makes me want to read more and I can’t wait for the next part. Thanks for the blog and for once again producing some stellar fiction.

    • Mahtlef says:

      Oh, while I think about it, I love that they span Anya around to disorientate her. Great attention to detail 😀

    • Jess says:

      This was actually one of my favourite chapters to write so really glad you liked it. Especially the conversation with the scientists.

      I had Anya dump her scarf as I felt it would hinder sneaking into the facility. I shall look at making it clearer as it evidently wasn’t quite clear enough as it’s currently written. I do have her being mostly invisible to the cameras but felt that it would still be within her character to prepare as much as she can herself.

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