A Ghostly Cry

Albion was, once again, woken by a high-pitched wail.

His system fluttered into awareness. Dark bags outlined dull, arctic-blue eyes as the young man rose up on his elbows. Platinum dreadlocks fell around his face, a sharp contrast against his bronze skin. Rising, he pushed his hair out of his face as he eyed the open door leading to the hallway, a door that rocked in its frame.

“Carry?” He waited a moment, listening. His partner-in-crime didn’t respond, and, with a groan, he pulled himself off the worn, crumbling floor. He grabbed his jacket on his way up and pulled it on as he made his way into the hallway. “Carry, where the hell you at?”

The hallway was empty. Davidson was nowhere in sight, his rifle leaning against a wall across the hall. Albion scowled, stuffed his hands in his pockets as he set out. “They’d best not be fucking. Ain’t the time for it…”

As he made his way into the foyer, the high-pitched wait cut through the air once more. It was loud, the cry piercing the air. Demanding to be heard, some part of him whispered. On the other side of the foyer was a door cracked open, a veil of black whirling beyond. When the wail came again, the hairs on his body stood.

He eyed that shadowy corner, his gaze drawn to that door and the darkness beyond. He could hear the chocked cries, knew they were beyond that unknown point. His gaze swept across the open space, and, after a moment, made his way over to the door. He paused in front of it, not quite sure he trusted himself.

Was it wise to cross that threshold? Albion closed his eyes, exhaling slowly as another wail rent the air. Then he stepped forward, nosed open the door and crossed into the dark. It was like a wave of cold, iced water rolling over his body. Albion shuddered, skin crawling as he opened his eyes to scan the barely-there outline of a hallway.

He let his feet lead him. This place, it was a maze.

Albion wasn’t all that sure what this massive building was supposed to be. The technology he could see, it was a time before his. The charts and the short-hand notes scribbled in fading ink a foreign language. The double-wide doors with the heavy non-glass windows, that opened with the lightest push, were nothing more than vague, broken memories.

When he followed the sharp wail into a small room, he didn’t need to know the past and its history to know what sort of room he had stumbled into. The cribs, three against the left and right walls, were in shambles. The metal was rusted, tattered blankets slipping between the bars. The beds were stained, the once-white mattresses yellow and brown.

In one bed, a shimmering ball of white-blue energy fluttered. It seemed to turn towards him, to reach for him. Albion stopped in front of that lone crib, cold inside as he looked upon the bones resting across the tiny mattress. He reached forward, a bitter smile crossing his face as a tiny, silver-blue hand wrapped around his finger.

He didn’t move as the ghostly infant, sitting in a bone-laden crib, leaned into his hand. It was silent, for that moment. He stood, one arm braced on the crib’s metal railing, watching as the tiny, shimmering creature pressed against its cold, uncaring cage. When the baby began to suck on his fingers, Albion relented.

The young man reached into the crib, slipped his hands under the cold, transparent arms of a squabbling baby. He lifted the infant straight out of its prison, tucked the small thing against his chest and rested his chin upon the crown of the baby’s head. Small hands batted at his face, and the baby squealed when its too-soft hands ran over his beard.

“Al.”

Albion turned, when he heard her voice. Carry stood in the doorway, eyes wide. Her vest was partly unzipped, bruises and bitemarks marring the pale flesh. She walked with a slight limp, though she froze when her gaze landed on the tiny bundle cooing in his arms.

Behind her, Davidson appeared. He was adjusting his pants, though paused when he nearly collided with her back. When he, too, caught sight of the infant, Davidson paled. Whiskey irses lightened, the pupils expanding rapidly as he hissed, “Al, that’s a ghost!”

“No,” Albion murmured as he ran a hand down the infant’s back. “This is a baby.”


Daily Prompt: Baby

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