The pulse rifle kicked like she was holding a jack hammer upright. The barrel jerked up and ripped itself out of her hands. The room reverberated with the sound of a dozen explosions.
A moment later, there was a thud as the creature hit the ground. The entire floor shuddered with the impact.
Cecilia barely registered it.
Her hands quivered and her entire body shook with terror. The BOOMs from the gun had been replaced by a high pitched ringing that threatened to drown out her hearing. She strained to hear anything but the penetrating 'tiiiiiiiiiiiing' in the throbbing pain in her ears.
It was just too much.
Curling up right there on the floor, Cecilia began to rock herself in place and sob uncontrollably. She screamed and clawed at her own ears as if the action would restore what was lost. As if it would stop the pain in her ribs and hers. As if it would bring back her hearing.
Whatever it was. The thing. The creature. It had stopped moving. Stopped advancing. Even if it hadn't, Cecilia couldn't imagine her response would have been much different.
After all, she couldn't hear.
And so she cried.
She stayed like that for an indiscernible period of time; eyes shut down and hot tears running down her face. Body convulsing through heaving sobs and soft wails.
But she also listened.
She listened for anything; trying to hear anything else but that high pitched ringing sound. She didn't care past that.
Just stop the ringing. Stop the pain.
In anger, she kicked the gun at her feet. It clattered away.
It was that clatter that was the first new noise she was able to register.
Her sobbing stopped and she opened her eyes.
Reaching out, she grabbed the butt of the discarded pulse rifle and dragged it back. The rifle clattered back along the grooves of the floor and she openly gasped with joy. She pushed it back and forth a few more times just to be sure she heard it right.
Soon, more things returned. She could hear the klaxon now. Its wailing scream high in the distance. After that, she could make out the sound of running and things moving through the halls above. She could hear a few terrified screams.
Slowly but surely, the ringing abated.
Throughout it all, the the thing never moved.
Cecilia let out a long, controlled sigh, followed by a much less controlled whimper, and pushed herself from the floor.
Cecilia had considered taking the gun with her, but quickly elected not to. She'd rather have her hands open and her ability to move around unimpeded. More importantly, she couldn't bear the thought of firing the thing again.
The sound was just too much to handle. She'd rather deal with trying to run from one of those monsters.
She had no idea what the creatures were that were loose on the station. They were big and ran around on all fours. They had great and terrible claws that raked grooves into the floor in shrieks of metal and they roared with a fierceness that made lions sound like pussycats. They seemed to be able to climb the walls and ceilings as easy as they walked on the floor.
And they were loose.
Cecilia could hear them running around above her. They moved like rhinos; thumping and galloping and slamming through whatever was in their way.
It made her glad to be down here. Wherever here was.
More then once she worried the floor would give way or she'd find one hiding in a shadow somewhere. But the moment never came.
While she initially thought she was in some sort of a hallway, Cecilia quickly realized that there weren't any doors. After a quick walk, she realized that there was some kind of piping or conduits running along the wall and she had to squeeze through a few areas to keep going. Doing so was agony with her broken ribs.
All the while, there was a vague, nauseating smell that seemed to waft in little puffs of breeze.
Perhaps a maintenance tunnel?
As time droned on, she was surprised to find that the world above got quieter and quieter. She groped her way along the tunnel and the sounds of galloping on metal started to fade. The screams stopped. The klaxon dulled into a soft wail. If she strained her ears against the growing silence, she started to hear a rustling sound. Almost like-
Cecilia, following the noise, took a step forward and found nothing to catch her. She fell forward and her head slammed hard into cold meta. She immediately lost what little footing she had and slid forward.
Her screams echoed off metal as she slid down the slick, angled tube towards infinite.