Story: Radial: Unravel
Challenge: FOTD - Algid; Blueberry Yoghurt #23 - Building
Word Count: 595
Summary: Icy patches, metal stairs and genetically modified hands don't combine well.
Notes: Written on my Nexus. And I don't think watching Final Destination films and writing go well. I kept trying to work out how this would end up killing him...
Winter. He liked it in theory, as frost curled its patterned fingers around windows and snow formed drifts that wouldn't look out of place on a chocolate box. In practice, however... He stared down at the steps, glossy with ice and thick with threat.
Just who thought a metal staircase would be a great idea?
Someone had made a derisory effort at tread when the steps were cast but he'd got no great faith that they would actually help. He wished he could pull his jacket more closely around himself but it was his leather one, zipped up before he opened the door; it would only be as a comforting gesture anyway. The cold was biting at his nose and ears, places the jacket couldn't exactly cover.
Plumes of steam rose from his mouth, quickening in time with his breathing. Couldn't he just stay at home today?
A glance at the phone-shaped bulge in his chest pocket reminded him how Alex usually reacted when he was late. Not coming in at all would probably end up involving a visit—
He paused, grinned to himself and almost, very almost, went back inside. Shame he had a training session too; those didn't involve home visits when he didn't go. They involved being hit with a stick every time he failed to dodge the weapon and the bruises were never worth it. He sighed, winced at the memories, and took a tentative step forwards.
Slippery, but that's what hand rails were for. Even if the one to his right looked just as unsafe as the steps. He gripped onto the metal, ignoring the bite of cold against his palm, and took the next step, and the next.
He was doing so well, right up until his foot slid from beneath him and sent the world flying. If he'd hoped to hit some steps on the way down he was in for a big disappointment: he tipped forward instead of back; there was just air between him and the pavement—
The hand he'd flung out with no expectation of anything except a crushing meeting with the tarmac brought him to a jarring halt. His elbow felt like someone had tried to rip it from its socket.
He stared at the dull grey claws that used to be fingers lodged into the brickwork and let out a heavy sigh. Just great. He'd saved himself, sure. But either he owned up now, or he got to spend weeks, maybe even months, wondering if the brickwork was as thick as he thought or if his neighbours would start to wonder why small shafts of light were making their way into their living room.
He shifted his fingers back, half-expecting to feel the crushing pain of flesh and bone trapped in clay, and another cloud of breath escaped his lips as his digits came free. Thank God for small mercies.
All he had to do now was hope he could thank him for big mercies too, because explaining how four long, narrow holes appeared in a wall to the wall's owners was far beyond him right now.
Perhaps they wouldn't notice?
He stared hopefully at the incisions in the brickwork.
Okay, there was deluding himself, and then there was sheer lunacy. He ducked his head, dodging a disapproving look from absolutely no one but himself, and slithered down the few remaining steps to the pavement. Maybe he could come up with some non-freakish excuse at work.
Large brick-boring beetles?
Okay, if that was the best he could do, he was definitely in trouble...