Screams in the Night
Tuesday, April 27, 2004

River remembers her past.


Disclaimer: Firefly is owned by Joss and Mutant Enemy. Just playing with the characters while waiting for the BDM. -----------

River awoke to the sound of screaming. Only after hearing her own panting breath did she realize that the screams were only in her head. Whimpering, she backed up on her bed until she was scrunched up in the corner of the room.

At first, she never heard the screams of the others. Her pain and disbelief at what was happening had been too raw and new. Later, she could feel what was to come from the older "academy students" and the fear from the "freshmen" who slowly realized the brochure had been a lie. She envied the classmates that were able to give in to the despair – the men in the blue gloves were always upset to learn that another subject had escaped from their own head. Her hope that Simon would come for her kept her attached to her own body and pain. Whenever she tried to release that hope, her memories of her childhood and his smile would prevent her from taking the last step into the black nothingness that beckoned with its empty promises of no more pain.

The Hands of Blue had once attempted to let the subjects socialize to determine if interaction would help the mental state of their students. It was a mistake that they never repeated. A boy who might have been older than River had been the first one to react. The guards had been assured that all the children were too drugged to offer resistance and had been surprised by the child's desperate strength. He had quickly gained a gun from one of the guards, but even then River had felt no worry from the observing Hands of Blue. After all, the guards only possessed sonic weapons which would not cause any lasting damage. The boy had taught them something new that day: a sonic blast to the temple caused much more damage than their needles could ever hope to replicate. Many of the other children had tried to get weapons after that first successful experiment. The last thing she remembered from that day was the sickly sweet smell of gas flooding the room.

River sometimes wondered if the screams that woke her in the night were memories or not. She felt sad that Simon had been unable to save the others, but maybe they would go back if he managed to fix her. Daddy would probably be unhappy if he had a lot of broken children running around Serenity.

River looked up when she saw a shadow on the floor. Simon, her brother she reminded herself, stood in the doorway. The light from the corridor gave him a glowy look as if he was an angel come to comfort her. Too bad that she knew how futile his attempts to banish the demons really were. It wasn't his fault that he was unable to believe in what he couldn't see.

"Mei mei, did you have a bad dream?" Simon asked her. His face was scrunched in a forlorn way that told her he was feeling helpless again. She shook her head at her brother. He couldn’t begin to understand the true meaning of helpless.

"What is it River, are you hurt?" he asked as he sat next to her on the bed.

She leaned against his shoulder as he hugged her tight. "The lambs are still screaming Simon. I don't know if they are screaming now or I'm just remembering the sound of their screams," she told him in a quiet voice. Simon didn't know what to say, he didn't understand her meaning. She wished she could stop worrying him, but he didn't like it when she didn't answer his questions. "It's okay ge ge, they've stopped for now."


Tuesday, April 27, 2004 7:13 AM


Very shiny, I am hoping there will be more of this story. You have really captured River so well and we never did learn what happened to the other poor 'lambs' in that facility. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 2:58 PM


Oh wow, jebbypal...this is amazing! Truly, you capture River and create such a wonderful, tense, creepy, dark vision of the Academy. Bravo!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 4:33 PM


Good story! I like the part about the Blue Hand men.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 4:36 PM


I love how you made the feeling that the 'nonsense' that River speaks makes total sense once you've stepped into her head.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004 10:46 PM


Creepy and powerful. Nicely done!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004 3:52 PM


Nice, I really like it when people get into river's frame of mind.

Saturday, June 9, 2007 6:43 AM


I agree with all the comments above, especially Lost. Great Job!


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