Lethean Shroud

Throbs pounded Rayanna’s temples, confirming pain as the rudest awakening. She blinked away sticky drizzle, which flowed up her cheeks–the wrong direction. Pressure dug into her hips and shoulder. Her aching arms hung past her ears. Her wrists clinked as she drew them closer. With a brush of her hair against the ceiling, she squinted at the cuffs.

I’m upside down. Handcuffed. Belted into the back seat of a patrol car. And this isn’t the first crash.

Awareness brought only the recent hour back to her mind, but she could recall nothing further. Garbled voices squawked from the front of the car. She wiped at an oozing slash on her chin. Where the safety belt’s vicious cinch tethered her to the seat, numbness inched across the top of her thighs.


Muffled jargon and static blurted from near the driver’s seat, followed by an eerie silence.

She raised her voice, but a croakiness grated its tone. “Sir, please wake up!”

This time, even the dispatch offered no semblance of a response. Rayana fumbled at the safety belt’s buckle. The awkardness of her cuffs exacerbated the difficulty posed by her quivering, blood-slicked fingers. She jabbed with her thumbs and finger until the hasp slipped free. Pain shot through her shoulders and back as she crumpled onto the ceiling.

Rayanna rolled onto her hands and knees with a groan. She crawled across the ceiling toward the front of the car. Glass shards bit at the denim of her jeans, but didn’t manage to sink through to her knees. Using the cuffs as barriers, she managed to avoid cutting her hands. Putting all her weight on the steel against her bare skin hurt nearly as much as a nick, however.

She blinked her eyes clear and gaped as she scanned the front cab around her. Gore splattered the ceiling and streaked across the dash through a huge hole in the windshield. The keys swung from the ignition. Just above her head, a squawk of code startled her. She snapped her gaze upward and shrieked at the one remaining piece left of the officer.

Wedged between the driver’s seat and console was a severed hand, still gripping the communicator.



Leave a Reply