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Trixie & Me


01: Chained
Trixie lay in a fetal position, hugging her legs against her chest as she curled up on the floor,
trying to stay warm. Her eyes flickered in the dark, taking in the soft glow around her. The ground was
dirty, almost oily. Plant roots ran beneath her, crisscrossing the floor. A little warmth radiated through
the leathery surface, coming up from the engines deep below, but it wasn't enough to stave off the chill
hanging in the air. Her first thought on waking was that she was naked. Goosebumps prickled her skin.
Her covering was gone, and that surprised her more than the alien environment around her. She felt
vulnerable, alone and somewhat scared. Sitting up, she struggled to clear her thinking as she looked
around, trying to make out where she was.
A soft hum rang in her ears. Things moved about her, scurrying around her, ignoring her. There
were hundreds of them, maybe thousands. She wasn't sure if they were tiny machines or something that
was alive. Either way, she didn't want to know. They were leaving her alone, and that was fine with
her. She had no desire to change the arrangement.
Trixie blinked, her eyes taking in the soft light. The cavern was large, at least a hundred feet
high, with irregular, curved walls spiraling inward toward each other, joining at a point high above. The
walls around her looked like the inside of a hollow tree. The trunk was gnarled, the tree rotten. Faint
specks of light ran up the twisted knots. Tiny pinpricks of red, yellow and green pierced the darkness,
spreading throughout the cavern like ants climbing an ivy vine.
She could see Berry.
Berry hung in mid-air. He was suspended without any means of visible support, his feet just
inches from the ground, his head drooped to one side. The soft, orange glow of a force field surrounded
him. Like her, he was naked. His body puzzled her, she'd only ever seen him dressed, or, at least, that
was all she remembered. The contours of his muscles, the hair on his chest, the stubble on his face, it
aroused something primal within her, it was a feeling she didn't understand. Her thoughts were
confused.
Something ran across her hand, its prickly feet dancing briefly across her fingers. She wanted to
scream, but she resisted, pursing her lips so as to avoid making a sound. Slowly, she withdrew her hand
from where she had been leaning, not wanting to arouse any inadvertent attention.
As Trixie got up, she felt clumsy. Her legs felt too long, her arms too lanky. As she moved
forward, her fingers and arms splayed wide with surprise, helping her keep her balance. Stiff and sore,
she pushed through the ache in her muscles. She stepped over a thick root and tripped, falling forward,
landing on all fours, but her fall was slow, her landing soft. Gravity was reduced.
“Trix,” Berry called out, seeing her in the shadows. “You've got to get me out of here.”
Trixie shook her head slowly, watching her dark hair dangle in front of her. She got back to her
feet, trying to shake the drugged lethargy of the moment, not sure what had happened to her. Was this a
dream? A nightmare? Was any of this real? It seemed surreal. She was disoriented, detached.
“Trix, Honey,” called Berry. “Come on, baby. You can do this.”
Trixie heard him, but she wasn't interested. There were too many other strange and unusual
things competing for her attention, too much she was curious about, things she wanted to understand.
Something caught her eye, a colorful bracelet lying on the ground nearby. She picked it up, examining
it closely. Trixie wasn't sure why, but she sniffed it. She wasn't sure what she expected it to smell like,
but it smelt musty, almost familiar. Holding it, she looked at the petite woven threads. The rainbow
strands of colors were dull within the dark chamber. It must have been pretty to look at in the light. A
small bell hung from a silver name tag looped over the bracelet. It was pretty, she decided, even if she
couldn't see it properly. She slipped the bracelet over her wrist. The bell tinkled softly as she moved.
Trixie liked the sound. Her mind was struggling to comprehend what was going on, where she was,
what had happened to her, what had happened to Berry. Deep inside, she wanted to block everything
out, to ignore the bizarre sensations, and focus on the simple things, like the bracelet and the bell.
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