The Launch

Here come The Chatterers again, Sebastian thought to himself. They were standing with their silly little planks of wood, staring at him. Sebastian wondered why they stared so much. He was just lying down, having a pleasant day dream. They’d already seen that before, several times. They were chattering away excitedly too, as always. They often seemed to do that. One of them was coming towards Sebastian. His plank of wood clutched in one arm, the other rubbing furiously across it. They seemed to do that a lot too. When Sebastian had first arrived in this new place, these white-coated outsiders had been fascinating to him. He’d never seen anything like them before. Now of course, they were there all the time. Their constant chattering is how he decided to name them. It was very boring in here. There were just a couple of trees and some grass, nothing like where he used to live. There were these strange barriers too. Big white cliffs, not made from stone though. They were some weird material, Sebastian had never seen before. He didn’t much care for them. Ugly things they were. The only punctuation of the white barrier was a hole that The Chatterers would come through. He longed to roam free like he had in the past. The one closest to Sebastian turned to the others and chattered some more. He reached out and grabbed for Seb’s hand. Sebastian let him do it. The Chatterers loved it when he did his little trick, normally giving him something to eat. They clearly thought he was pretty smart. They didn’t know the half of it. Seb let himself be led out of the place he’d been in for the longest time, so long he could scarcely remember when he’d first arrived. They went through the opening in the barrier and out of that place.

The other side of the hole had more of those barriers. The ground was shockingly cold and hard. Sebastian had never seen anything like it before. Each footstep they took echoed around the space. They led him along to another opening and into another place. There were strange objects in the room. Seb had never seen anything like them before, strange parts jutted out of them. A whole group of the chatterers were waiting for him. They didn’t have the same white coverings as the others. Some had dark colourings, with weird shiny colourful bits on their chests. Seb wondered if they were females trying to attract a mate. Seb had never even seen a female Chatterer before. The group were all chattering excitedly. They were very pleased to see Sebastian apparently. He couldn’t say the feeling was mutual. Seb was then inflicted with a prolonged assault of jabbing, measuring, poking and general medical unpleasantness. How long it lasted he couldn’t say, he’d long since given up trying to tell the time in this god awful place. They finally stopped. One of them was walking over clutching something in hands. It was some sort of leaf maybe, Seb wasn’t sure. It was about the size of Seb, so it must be a pretty big tree. A very unusual colour too, Seb hadn’t seen an orange leaf before! The shaky one was now at Sebastian. He stood for a second and grabbed for Seb’s leg. Sebastian was understandable startled by this and promptly smacked the thing right in his quivering jaw. What followed next was a little hazy. Seb remembered a lot of noise. Arms were flailing wildly. Where they his arms? He wasn’t sure anymore. He remembered more of them rushing into the place. He remembered the other thing, the stabbing in his neck. It was painful, but at the same time, it had felt good. An immense feeling of bliss washed over him. That’s when he’d decided to take a nap.

When Seb woke up after what felt like half an eternity, he found himself somewhere new. It was cold. It was a circular tube made of another weird material. Had they banished him here? Looking down he realized the strange orange leaf was encircling him. It had a total grasp on him. Maybe, it was more than a leaf. There was a small bit of light coming from something on the roof. He couldn’t see the sun though. There was a strange noise, like something rustling the leaves. Seb tried to look around but without much luck, the orange thing had him well in place. He could hear one of them chattering. He didn’t like it. Sebastian couldn’t see this Chatterer. It was making him nervous. The chattering stopped. Seb could feel his heart beating frantically in his chest, long forgotten memories came flooding back. Horrific images of his old life came flooding back, how could he use them to help. The whole place started to quake and shudder. There was a distant roar, like a tidal wave somewhere below him. He hoped he was high enough up. The Chatterer was back. This time though he wasn’t chattering. He was slowly saying something at a regular interval. The rumbling was getting worse and worse. Sebastian felt as though his skin would melt off his bones as the whole place juddered. The Chatterer stopped. Seb then felt the space rising up along with him. The whole place was lifting. Seb was screaming and howling desperate for help but the voice was long gone. He was going so fast. He’d never moved like this in his life. It was so wrong. His brain was screaming at him to fix it, not that he could do much. He could feel some half digested food rising up his gullet. A mess of fruit sloshed out of his mouth and floated in the air away from him. Seb’s heart was racing faster now. Where was he? What had he deserved to be tortured like this? Were they trying to make him crazy? Seb eventually blacked out.

When he awoke the shuddering had stopped. He could feel his own vomit plastered onto him as some still floated around the place. He felt weightless, like he was in water. It was amazing. He wished the orange thing would let him go. He was floating off his seat slightly and could see that it wasn’t the orange thing holding at all, but some terrifying black snake that had coiled around him and his seat. Something wasn’t right about it though. It was too still. Maybe it was dead. Great, Seb thought to himself, I’m floating in a weird place made of some weird material, with a weird orange thing clinging onto him and now a weird black snakey thing too. This was not a typical day at all. Seb yawned. The Chatters had always liked that too. He was feeling very drowsy but he’d slept so much already. Well, it had been a stressful day or however long it had been. He was actually feeling kind of light headed. It was like that time he saw one of the Chatterers drinking something in this see through thing. It was a browny golden colour, and when the chatterer was distracted he took a drink of it. He’d felt pretty good after that. Seb yawned again. The Chatterer had been so surprised. Another yawn. Wow, he was feeling kind of weird now. He couldn’t describe it. What was it like? What… When did he start feeling like that? Like what? Who was he talking to? Where did the Chatterers go? Yawn. He could feel his eyes beginning to flutter. Maybe just a little snooze. Yeah, that was a good idea. He would wake up fine. He was sure of it.


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