Good evening my lovelies!
Much the same as last year, the comp is to celebrate the upcoming release of Mark Lawrence‘s fifth book, The Liar’s Key, earning the lucky winner a rare advanced reader copy. Each entry must only be 300 words long and include the words “liar” and “key”.
So this is my contribution, titled The Nexus Protocol. Head over to the competition entries page too – there are 42 other awesome shorts to read!
THE NEXUS PROTOCOL
Leara slammed her fist down on the top of the box. Pain shot from her fingers to her elbow and she swore through clenched teeth as blood dribbled down her wrist – another fucking injury she didn’t have time for. She bit her tongue and hit it again. This time a line of small lights blinked to life on the front panel, glowing in the darkness.
She held her breath and flicked at the switches, toggling dials back and forth until a harsh hiss shattered the silence of the abandoned lab from the mesh on the face of the box. Her thumb trembled as it forced down the rusted transmission button.
‘Mandel?’ she asked the box.
It began to breath like a man. ‘Leara?’
‘I’m in… I spoke to him. Sorren’s not hiding anything.’
‘…Don’t be fooled. He might be a prince but he’s a liar. He is hiding Nexus.’ Mandel kept his voice low, speaking from miles away.
A deep boom thundered from beyond the tightly shut doors and muffled voices called out. Leara yanked a cable from the back of the box to kill it and ran. Her lower leg, now fully alloy and fitted better than the first, held her weight and she dove for a vent, feet first and cursing.
If Mandel was right and Sorren was hiding the key to the Disease’s cure, then those pretty eyes had lied straight to her face. Light washed into the room above her head and the skin on her injured hand tore, struggling to hold her from falling further into the vent. She could replace the hand as she had the leg, but without Nexus, she’d be completely alloy in a year. The Disease was nasty like that. It ate you away until nothing but your soul remained.