RED PLANET STOWAWAY CHAPTER 2: BETWEEN A CRAP AND A LOUD PLACE
By MJ Heiser
Something about Malloy’s dangling bits fills you with rage. This is no way to live, you think to yourself as a red-hot surge of determination swells through you. I will not be victimized by this naked, grey-fuzz-covered ape.
These thoughts take next to no time to go through your head, but even so, it was time you really didn’t have. You’re past the decision point. You stagger over the soiled, filth-smeared underpants on the floor and heave your shoulder against the locker door.
Oh, crap, you think to yourself.
“What the –“
You curse the throbbing mass of pain on your head and use the brain that surely still operates beneath it to locate the lock mechanism for the locker. You lift it, the door opens, and you stagger out into the relative brightness of the hallway-sized room beyond.
You don’t get much of a chance to appreciate your freedom from Malloy’s locker. Your windpipe is cinched shut, and you’re hoisted roughly into the air.
“Urk,” you say, with less dignity than you were hoping.
Through the pain in your head and the steadily tightening tube of your awareness, you see Malloy scrutinizing you. The bright red of his face is alarming in contrast to the white nakedness of the rest of him. His eyes narrow. You’re pretty sure of this. You don’t want to think yet that it’s only your consciousness narrowing.
“You,” he breathes. Spittle lands on your cheek.
“Hack,” you reply in a choking gasp. You want to flail. You want to do the thing that kids do, which is sag, make themselves extraordinarily heavy, and slip out of their parents’ grasp. You can barely move.
“What were you doing in my locker?”
You flop your head to the other side, hoping for some relief on your windpipe. No dice. Malloy apparently did really well in the Chokehold classes at NOSSA Academy.
“Answer me, maggot!” he barks.
If you had the energy and the breath to do so, you would roll your eyes at him, sigh, then say, “Uh, hello? I can’t breathe, and therefore can’t answer, duh!” You come as close as you can and roll your eyes up to the whites.
You’re dropped. You take a great gasp of air, and it burns in your lungs. You spend a couple of seconds curled on your side, whooping air into your body and trying to come up with some creative way to get out of this.
You make the mistake of looking up. You are now gazing directly into the underside of Malloy’s underparts. You almost gag.
“Maggot, you owe me an explanation,” Malloy starts –
But again his junk has inflamed you with rage. You don’t have to lay here and take this. He wants an explanation you can’t give him. Above and beyond all of that, you’re being forced to confront the sight of the most unattractive genitals in the human species.
You strike out with your booted feet and feel the satisfying impact – like kicking a rolled up pair of tube socks. You hear Malloy suck in a huge breath. You’re reasonably certain you know what happens next, and there’s no real need to stick around to verify your assumption. You’re on your feet and moving fast, slipping out of the narrow locker rooms before Malloy can regain his composure.
You emerge into a long, narrow corridor, lit above and below by glowing fluorescent lamps in the ceiling and floor. You don’t get anything as easy as signs pointing the way. All you get are sounds and smells. To the right is the smell of hot grease, as well as the source of that chugging machinery noise that drowned out most of the conversation you heard from the locker. To the left is the unmistakable stench of human waste – sewage processing, most likely. About twenty feet down the right corridor you spy a metal-rung ladder heading up into parts unknown.
Malloy’s voice bellows behind you. If he hasn’t figured out yet that you overheard some very delicate conversation between him and Richardson, he will soon.
You have to make your choice.
A. Search the rust bucket's machine room for a weapon?
B. Dig around in the giant crapper for a miracle?
C. Take the ladder to nowhere, counting on Malloy being too fat to climb it?