Sophie shivered for what must have been the millionth time. It seemed she hadn’t been warm in ages; at least not since she was thrown into the dungeon nearly a year ago. She blew air through her hands; sending a small wave of warmth through them and making a cloud of hot air appear in front of her. ‘Will they ever find me here? Or will I become one of the many skeletons decorating this dungeon?’
As she thought that, a rustling came from the far side of the dungeon, near the entrance. ‘Tsepisch must be really angry today if he’s sending so many people down here.’ She moved towards the front of her cell, the motion warming her up. There was a sight that she had never expected. Her mentor, the Rebel leader Doug Solo was in the dungeon. He was fighting his way through four Draconian guards, towards her cell. His fighting was an amazing thing to behold as he took on the aliens who were stronger two humans each. He was almost winning. A quick slice from his blade and one fell. Then another and finally the last was gone. He was now on his way towards her. Calmly, he threw clothes and an Imperial Uniform at her as he tried to open the cell.
Sophie sluggishly changed into the clothes, her movements weak and slow because of her lack of food and nutrition. The clothes seemed to be radiating warmth, quickly bringing her body temperature back to normal.
“Come on Sophie, we have to get out now. We have only about thirty seconds until they come to check on the dungeon. Fighting the guards took longer than expected.” He grabbed her arm and practically carried her towards the exit.
“Doug! How, when?” Sophie was stuttering and trying to comprehend what was going on as they rushed out of the dungeon and into a refrigerator.
“Why are we here? This is a fridge, not an escape pathway!” her voice was nearly in hysterics.
Doug made a shushing motion with his hands and reached towards a bottle, pulling it towards them. The back of the fridge opened, revealing a passageway.
“Be quiet and quick. This is one of the old tunnels from when this palace was ruled by the just Mangini family. We must be silent thought, or they will catch us.”
The path was sloping and seemed to be going towards the dungeons again. Doug quickly turned to the right fork and stepped into a wall. He pulled Sophie through and into a car.
—————————————————Many Years Later—————————————————–
The water rippled as the girl’s left foot slammed into the puddle. In the distance Sophie heard the hum of the speeder engine. That was the sound of her impending demise. Sophie had been running from the aliens since they first landed when she was just 10. She sped up again, tearing her white shirt on the briars and leaving a trail of blood behind her. She ran into the muddy lake just as the ship touched down. Her thoughts were a blur. ‘Why do they keep chasing me? It’s not as if I am the only gifted child here on Mars.’ Her throat began to tighten and she reluctantly surfaced for air.
She took in two large breaths, each making a raspy sound that perked the guards’ ears. They turned their heads looking for the source. Sophie was again repulsed by the faces of the Draconians. They were flat, grey, and covered in scales that sparkled. The eyes were red and hollow, like blood. The lead guard, Gibberish, she thought his name was, pointed at her and a shrill cry came him though he had no visible mouth. Like lighting, a tracking pod had her. She struggled to no avail. The force field she was held in was impenetrable. She knew it was; she had seen her mentor blown to pieces trying to take one apart. Sophie stopped struggling and sank in defeat. She looked at her torn burlap shirt and ratty leather pants and wondered how long it had been since she’d escaped from the prison camp on the dumpy planet of Earth. It had to have been at least a season since she’d landed here on Mars, the headquarters of the Empire and rebellion. The tracking pod suddenly came to a halt and dumped her into the throne room of the Emperor.
Instinct taking over she bowed and repeated the traditional greeting that meant something like ‘greetings oh great ruler, God of the Universe.’ A high, mocking laugh came from the far end of the room where King Marcus Tsepisch sat. His withered frame was once that of a handsome, strong man who was one the former planets Most Beautiful People. When he had began to take over the galaxy under the Galactic Empire, Mars thought it was a great honor to have the leader of the galaxy come from their own soil.
“You dare to enter my court and mock me with that petty display of false loyalty? I ought to have your head on a platter for that my dear Sophie. I told you the last time you escaped that there would be no mercy.” His voice was low and soft, with a harsh tone that inspired fear from all who heard him.
Sophie defiantly stared at the Lord, twisting her body to face him.
“I was never loyal to you!” she spat out, rushing towards him in her fury. The bolts hit her like a thousand volts of electricity. She lay writhing in pain on the ground as the King looked on in amusement. He felt a strange sort of excitement at watching the former pride of the Galactic Army at his mercy.
“You were never loyal to me and the Empire? Was that before or after you blew up Jupiter or Neptune?” he cackled, signaling for the bolts to stop.
“Never,” she gasped clutching the left side of her ribs in pain, “I was never loyal to you.” Sophie knew as she said this she was sealing her fate. She would be executed for what she was about to say. “Who could be loyal to such a cruel, evil master?”
Her mind was racing. She glanced around, searching for any of the members of the Resistance. None were there. Those who they had planted in his service were all gone now. Either they were dead or with the rebels. She had no way to escape. Death was the only possibility now.
Just as she felt the resignation to her fate begin to fill her soul, there was a loud noise from outside of the throne room. Shouts came from Draconian guards mingled with the cries of humans. Tsepisch turned his head towards the sound.
“Guards, go end this fight now.” He commanded, signaling for two warriors to stop. “Gibberish, you and Klarg take the prisoner to the dungeon. Guard her there until I send two more to relieve you.”
“Yes master.” They whispered in unison, roughly tugging Sophie to her feet and practically dragging down the damp passage way that lead to the dungeons. She had been there once as a child. It was a dark place with never ending catacombs and many dead bodies all around. As they reached the end of the first level, a cell was opened and she was tossed inside.
This cell was the exact one she’d been forced to live in for a year when she was here the last time. She looked around, shivering as the cold began to seep through her thin, torn clothing. The cell had tattered fragments of cloth lying around, with a skeleton in the corner. If it was someone who actually died in the cell or simply a plant by the Empire to inspire fear, Sophie didn’t know; it still sent foreboding chills down her spine.
To Be Continued….