// 2019-12-29 // by Neon
[The previous section of this story can be found here. The next section can be found here.]
River felt a slight tingle on her skin as fluid gently flowed alongst her body. It felt wet. Really wet.
She went to let out a sigh and felt air bubble out of her mouth. Instinctively she drew for a breath. She couldn't breathe. She felt liquid flowing through her nostrils and gasped for air. She jolted awake as panic quickly replaced grogginess.
Everything was so bright... she tried to pull her arms up to swim to the surface, but they wouldn't move. None of her body would move. Her heart was racing. She was going to drown. At least it was calm here... it wouldn't be painful at least.
Wasn't drowning supposed to be painful?
River blinked her eyes several times and looked around, only to realise that there was a mostly-transparent curved glass only inches in front of her face. She was trapped here in some kind of glass tube immersed in some kind of fluid, all of it had a neon tint from a bright green light at the ceiling of the tube. Bubbles slowly rose from the base of the tube in front of River's face. She exhaled silently and a stream of liquid left and then re-entered her lungs as she breathed back in. She relaxed her body and breathed out again through her mouth, letting the tasteless warm fluid roll down her throat and basked in the profound yet simple euphoria of being able to breathe.
For a moment, she felt a happiness she had never felt before in her life, bouncing back from the inevitable grasp of death to realising that she was, in fact, very much still alive. But that bliss was fleeting. River looked down and found that the reason she could not move was because a multitude of large cylindrical metalic tubes roughly an inch in diameter ran all along River's unclothed body and punctured through her skin at regular intervals. The silvery cables ran from her neck down her torso and along her arms and legs, locking her in place like some kind of fucked up alien marionette.
River flexed her fingers and then made a fist, her hands being the one part of her body she actually could move. Despite her predicament she couldn't help but feel, well, great. Better than ever, honestly. She felt like an Olympic athlete after a leisurely jog, not like someone who had just been assaulted and shot. Looking down at her left leg there were an alien cables protruding from the side, but aside from that the skin was pristine with not a single mark or scar to indicate anywhere a bullet may have been. Not a single imperfection remained anywhere else on her body either, for that matter. Even the small brown mole that had been present on her upper right inner thigh all her life was nowhere to be seen.
A shiver ran down River's spine as she felt an ominous presense watching over her. She looked up and hardly made out the blurred form of an uncanilly tall and lanky humanoid form through the intense glare on the glass separating her from the outside. It stood there, motionless. Observing her. River felt her heart beat faster. The thing before her knew she was scared. It knew.
River felt a heaviness in her chest and her heart was pounding as if it was about to explode from out of her chest. She was so vulnerable, but she couldn't even scream through the viscosity of the fluid surrounding her. River couldn't make out what the thing behind the glass was doing, but she felt her muscles relax and her terror subsided into a deep exhaustion. River found herself entranced by the hypnotic reverberation of the warm current circulating past her ears as her world faded to black once more.
Artwork created using GIMP with resources obtained from Pixabay under a free to use license.
Source. Be warned, you won't be able to un-see the base image if you click the source for this one!