CooperationMature

Dark pricked her ears, opening one eye. She looked around the cab, but saw no signs of danger. Then she noticed a plastic cup on the control panel. It was shaking slightly, but picking up more so as she looked at it until it fell off. It began bouncing slightly, rolling in a circle. Now she could feel it; a rumbling shaking the whole cab slightly. She leapt up onto Alice, scraping her slightly with her claws. Alice’s eyes opened slightly, she saw Dark and then smiled, shutting them again.

 

“Alice! Get up!” Dark screamed at her. Alice’s reaction was a little more energetic; she yawned and fidgeted, opening her eyes.

 

Alice sighed. “What?”

 

Dark turned to the cup, which was happily bouncing along the floor of the cab. “We’ve got to go. Now”

 

Alice noticed the rumbling this time, standing up and getting a feel for it. She didn’t recognize the source, but knew it couldn’t be good. Rushing to the hatch, she opened it and entered the lift shaft. The lift was a few metres below her, a long fall but nothing bad. With precision she dropped and landed on the top of the elevator. It shifted slightly, groaning. Looking back up, she saw Dark peering cautiously over the ledge. Alice gestured up at her to jump. Doing what could be compared to a human gulp, Dark dropped from the hatch. Alice caught her with care, letting her lightly drop onto the elevator. Crouching, she found the service hatch, and opened it, falling neatly inside. Dark followed.

 

The rumbling was more obvious in the lift, and it creaked painfully, shifting slightly. The buttons were in a mess, and the right door was broken at an angle. A gap at the base allowed Alice to see the combat outside. A dense fog covered most of the skyline, so she was only able to make out the few buildings in the square. Dark mewled, and she looked down at her. Dark was holding a rope in her mouth, and had a thick, hooked bar of metal at her feet. Alice stared at them for a few seconds before reaching down to them and picking them up. Taking the metal bar, she tied the rope around the hooked end and clambered back up onto the top of the lift. She inserted the bar carefully into the brake mechanism, keeping hold of the rope. She cautiously pulled the rope, and the bar released the brake. The lift juddered down a few metres, and Alice smirked. Dropping back into the lift, she pulled the rope for a few seconds at a time, the elevator slowly juddering its way down to the ground.

 

Alice heard a familiar rumbling from high above. It was quite faint, but she’d recognize it anywhere.

 

“Screw it” she muttered. “Dark, hold on!”

 

“What to?” Dark started, as Alice pulled down on the rope. The brake groaned loudly, before the lift plummeted down the shaft. After several seconds, she released the rope. The lift screeched painfully, slowing down in its descent. The whole structure rocked violently as the lift hit the bottom, throwing Alice and Dark around. Alice shook her head, whistling.

 

“Could’ve done that a bit better maybe” she joked. Dark emerged from under a pile of plaster, looked disapprovingly at Alice and shook herself, dust flying into the air. Alice laughed, and then turned to the door. It had been partially dislodged in the fall, but the gap was still too small for her. Grabbing hold of the lift she pulled hard, but the door simply creaked. Dark mewled and leapt through the gap.

 

“Oh thanks” Alice cried after her.

 

A few seconds later she could hear some clattering. Dark reappeared, dragging something in her teeth. A broken metal pole.

 

“Hah, nice find there” Alice patted Dark on the head and took the bar, wedging it between the doors. Putting her weight behind it, she felt the door creak, before it finally gave way, sparks flying. As she left the lift, she heard a faint, cracked voice say “You have reached your destination”.

 

Alice worked her way carefully around the combat, trying to stay out of sight. They’d only managed to get a short distance before she heard a familiar roaring.

 

“Run!” She shouted at Dark, before sprinting down the street. She travelled in a straight line, leaping over all obstacles, knowing she had to get as far from the crane as possible. The roaring grew in intensity, and she glimpsed fast moving shapes in the corner of her eye. She jumped over a car and hid behind it, looking up. Overhead a formation of fighter-bombers rocketed past, releasing their payloads. The crane cab exploded into flames, wreckage flying in all directions. A sheet of metal buried itself in the car she was hiding behind. When the smoke had cleared, she looked around, but couldn’t see Dark anywhere. Standing, she started calling for her.

 

She was not going to lose her last companion. Not to these bastards. Running down the street she kept an eye out for anything different, avoiding the still falling wreckage. As she passed a doorway she heard something.

 

“Psst! Over here!” Alice looked around at the doorway, seeing a dark figure hiding behind a door. She ran over to him.

 

“Have you seen a cat?” the man looked startled, taken aback by her seemingly random question. “It’s important!”

 

The man shifted “No, but come, you must get to safety”

 

“Not until I find her!” she screamed, continuing down the street. “Dark! Dark! Where are you?”

 

The man gazed at her as she continued past, then looked down.

 

“You’re very cruel, you know that?” he whispered to the cat.

 

“She needs to learn” Dark replied. “In her sorrow, anger will surface” Dark looked thoughtfully, pawing the ground. “Until then, we must make sure she learns alone”

 

Dark began to wander off. The man sighed, closing the door. He wandered over to the window and watched Alice pass by. She was checking every piece of scrap. He wanted to tell her, but it was too risky. Instead, he walked over to his bed, and rested, staring at the cracked ceiling.

The End

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