Prompt 233-Priority

What is a priority for you right now?

Muffled voices broke through the fog in Todd’s head as he tried opening his eyes. His head throbbed with pain, almost as if he were upside down. When he managed to crack one eyelid open, he groaned. He was indeed upside down.

Shackled at the ankles, he dangled from the ceiling, his head just inches off the smooth stone floor. His arms were bound at his waist to prevent him from undoing his restraints but they had taken the time to bandage his right arm. If it wasn’t for his restraints and the fact that he was hanging by his ankles, he would almost believe he had been rescued. The gash from Vamir’s blade itched beneath the wrappings. How long had he been out?

The longer he hung upside down, the harder it was to think clearly. His other wounds ached, compounding his tenuous hold on his ability to focus. The pain meant he was still alive, though. First things first, he had to figure out how to get down.

As he began formulating a plan, an opening appeared in the wall across from him. A previously unseen panel slid down and a pair of Mosari soldiers entered the small cell. “Ah, you are awake.” Todd knew better than to assume the masculine voice of the smaller soldier indicated they were male, but there was something off about his physique. Maybe it was all the blood sloshing around in his skull, but Todd thought this soldier was human.

“How fortunate for us we found you first,” the other one said. “The Empress will be relieved with your recovery.”

“I’d recover a lot faster if you let me down from here,” Todd grumbled. His neck strained to look up at them and just made him dizzier.

“Freeing you would be the opposite of recovery,” the tall one said. “Why would we undo our own victory?”

“He meant his physical well-being, Parieth. I suspect he was making a joke but even by human standards it was pretty awful.”

Parieth grunted. “Your languages are odd.”

“So, you are human,” Todd said to the shorter soldier. He knew the Mosari had fighters from other peoples they had conquered, but he had not yet encountered a human enemy on the battleground.

“I was. The Empress has made us all her people. We are all Mosari.” He took off his helmet and crouched level with Todd’s face. He was young. He probably would have been around Jack’s age when the invasion started. A pang of guilt and grief tightened Todd’s throat as he remembered how he had been unable to save Jack back then. “You and your resistance are giving the rest of us a bad name. I would have liked to let you bleed out and just bring your head to the Empress, but we have use of you yet.”

“Eric.” Parieth’s voice held a note of warning.

The young man shook his head. “I know, I know.” He stood back up and faced his partner. “I talk too much. That’s another bad habit we humans have.” He sneered at Todd, hanging helplessly. “He’ll learn soon enough.”

“Just get the sample. I do not wish to remain in this wretch’s presence any longer than necessary.”

Todd couldn’t help himself. “What’s the matter Parry?” he said in the High Imperial Mosari dialect. “Afraid of a prisoner?” He wheezed as the man introduced his fist to Todd’s stomach.

“Vamir was my brother,” he growled in the lower Mosari. “To bring peace to his soul I would slay the one who killed him. My only fear is that I will kill you before we can find the traitors.”

Eric knelt next to Todd again as he swabbed the inside of Todd’s cheek. “I don’t know what you said to piss him off, but I wouldn’t do it again if I were you.” He took the stick and sealed it in a glass tube. Then he pulled a syringe out of the small case Todd hadn’t noticed they carried in with them. He drew a vial of blood from Todd’s uninjured arm and put that in the case with the cheek swab.

Parieth waited by the door with clenched fists as Eric closed the case. “Next time, we won’t be so gentle.” The panel slid closed behind them and Todd could no longer even make out the edge where the opening had been. His head still throbbed and he struggled to maintain consciousness. His plans to get out still had priority, but now he had a new problem. What were they doing with his blood?

Notes: Happy Saturday folks! Sorry I didn’t get this out for you last night. Husband and I had a late-ish dinner date and then I had a bit too much wine after we got home and fell asleep while trying to write this. Haven’t fallen asleep at my desk in a long while but I guess I was tired. It’s really risky when you’re already sleepy and you close your eyes to try and visualize your scene. Ah well, at least I was able to get it going today.

I’m glad I decided to go with Todd for this one because while I was working through this particular scene and looking through other things I’ve written for his story, it helped me to get back into his world. I had a bunch of notes—ramblings, really—where I tried to sort out some plot things or put forth questions I would need to answer later. While I didn’t answer any in this post, working through this one did get me thinking about them again subconsciously and I did come to an answer for a couple questions I had for myself. It might be time to make Todd’s story a priority again and get to finishing that novel.

Well the weather looks great for today, so I’m gonna try and spend some time outside this afternoon. I went running a couple times this week in anticipation of playing tennis this weekend so hopefully we can get over to the high school and play for an hour or two. Seems a bit breezy though so I hope that doesn’t make it too challenging.

Have a great rest of your weekend! I’ll see you tomorrow with next week’s list of prompts!

PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!

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