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Promises

by on July 23, 2014

“Ow…” Hadley said as her photons knit together. She’d lost her left arm again; it was flopping about in distress on the floor. From the look in Rain’s eyes, it was evident that the incarnation of Death had never hit someone so hard that their arm had come off.

“Hadley, look, I-oomph!”  Rain was having all sorts of new experiences that day. She had, apparently, never been punched in the stomach by a detached left arm before either. Acting on instinct, she seized Hadley’s arm and flung it back at her. She’d meant to knock the girl out, but Hadley caught it like the world’s weirdest football and stuck it back on again.

“O-kay!” Hadley yelled, her mauve eyes alight with the joy of battle. “Let’s try that again!”

“I’m Death, you idiot, you can’t kill me,” Rain started to explain. She was cut off as Hadley slammed into her. The incarnation of Death skidded backwards a pace or two. Her own anger flared, and she struck back, sending Hadley flying across the corridor again. This time Hadley hit the wall so hard that both her arms came off.

“What’re you going to do now,” Rain said coldly, “bite my leg? Get it through your head. You can’t kill me.”

Hadley’s left arm was on the move again. Rain ignored it. “Just give it up, Hadley Baxendale. You’re not getting past me, and you’re not signing a deal with the snake, okay? Deal with it.”

Hadley smiled, as her right arm skittered tiredly to her side and squinched itself on. “Thing is, I don’t need to get past you.”

“Finally. Now pull yourself together and let’s move. We-”

“At least,” Hadley went on. “Not all of me.”

“What…?”

Then Rain got it. She spun around, but it was too late. Hadley’s left arm had hopped onto the table. Her disembodied hand had grabbed the pen, and with a somewhat shaky flourish, had signed Hadley’s name to the contract. The snake, which had been watching the whole fight from a safe distance, smiled. “Good enough.”  There was a sulfuric flash. Hadley disappeared. So did Rain.

***

Jolene Kenneth, Auburn, First Officer of the starship Coral, had been somberly scanning the residue of the shattered planet from the science station on the bridge.  She was part of a recovery team, but there seemed nothing left to recover. Then, quite suddenly, the planet was there again. Jolene gaped as her sensors lit up. Everything seemed back to normal, except… “Captain?” Jolene said slowly. “There’s only two life signs down there.”

“Where’s everyone else?” the captain demanded. “There were three billion people on that planet!”

“There’s just two now. I’ll see if I can hail them.”

As she worked the communications, Jolene’s eyes burned, and she felt a sudden cough coming on. She reminded herself to check in with sickbay later. It was probably just a small cold. Nothing serious.

***

“Woohoo!” Hadley exulted, as she popped her triumphant left arm back on for what she hoped was the last time. They stood next to the same tree Hadley had started from, what seemed like ages ago, when she had only been trying to help the police solve a local murder. “We did it! We’re out of hell, my home planet’s back, Jolene’s got the creeping crud probably, and….”  She paused. Rain had an exceptionally dark look on her face.

“Okay, sorry about all that, but honestly, I don’t think it’s all that bad. We won, didn’t we?”

“Yeah?” Rain said. She waved around them. “Where’s all the people?”

Hadley wheeled. No one was there. “Um….”

“You didn’t happen to read that contract, did you? I assume the promise was that your planet would be restored? Did it say anything about the people on your planet?”

“Oh dear.”

Just then Hadley’s communicator chirped. She flipped it open, amazed that she could still get a signal when her world had apparently been depopulated. All she heard was static.

***

Jolene was hacking so hard she could hardly speak. “I can’t…quite…the frequency…excuse me,” she managed to her alarmed captain, and ran towards the sickbay emergency lift. An ensign moved to take her place. In the intervening seconds between her departure, and the ensign’s replacing her, a small sensor went off on her panel. The ensign, trying to get a read on the situation Jolene had left, missed the alert entirely. The bunnies were coming.

For previous entries in Hadley’s saga, go here.  Thanks for reading!

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16 Comments
  1. You already know how much I love this, so here is what I have to say: MOAR!

    • There will be more indeed. I’m taking the bar exam next week, as it happens, but not even that will keep me from writing a Hadley adventure. It may be somewhat delayed, but still. I’ve got to rescue Hadley from her plight somehow. 🙂

  2. Haha! The fight scene and the clever way Hadley signs the contract behind Rain’s back was so much fun to read, Mike. My favorite installment so far.

    • Thanks. I think the signing was my favorite part to write; I don’t know, legally, if signing a contract with a disembodied hand counts, but I don’t see why not.

  3. I can’t imagine there are a lot of rules in Hell.

    Question: Is the name of your heroine meant to invoke Hemingway’s first wife? That’s the first leap I take when I hear about a woman named Hadley.

    • Actually, no (at least, not intentionally); I named Hadley after a famous case in the world of contract law. (I’ve been in law school the past three years, and it presents an abundance of interesting case names). I actually did not plan, when I started this story, to have Hadley get into trouble by signing a contract from hell; it just worked out that way. Go figure. 🙂

  4. Meg permalink

    OMG, the bunnies, again!! I love the word “squinched.” I realized that these submissions are beginning to take on the feel of a serial for me, and I can appreciate how people would tune into the radio for the favorite serial shows in the old timey days. I look forward to Hadley and Rain and the gang every week. Thank you for another wonderful edition.

    • I used to listen to a radio show when I was a kid, and occasionally they’d have story arcs. I loved it. I’m so glad some of that vibe was captured for you with Hadley’s adventures. 🙂

  5. “Rain was having all sorts of new experiences that day. She had, apparently, never been punched in the stomach by a detached left arm before either” – man, I hate days like that! And now here come the dreaded bunnies… I’ve been looking forward to their arrival 🙂

    • I know, right? Nothing worse than a day where you’re punched by a disembodied limb. That’s just awful.

  6. Oh no! Dire circumstances! This looks like a really fun series. I’m glad I got a chance to read an installment this week 🙂

  7. Hadley fights like the Black Knight- she’s had worse, and she’ll bite your kneecaps off if she has to 😄

  8. She’s invincible!

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