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The slow passage of time makes emotion possible. Otherwise there is nothing. Things might happen all around you, but there would be no way of knowing. There wouldn’t even be an understanding of darkness. There would be no pain. There would be no anxiety. No guilt. No longing for change. It wouldn’t even be still.
It has been said that the worst part of getting shot in the head is the anxiety beforehand. When it actually happens, you would not know it. If it was a good shot, the right shot fired at you, there would be no blood or pain or even noise. You would just be gone, and you wouldn’t even know anything had happened.
Here one moment; gone the next.
… and then what.
Awareness sparked, pitiful and small, deep inside the void.
Not the void of space: the void of nothing.
A microsecond. Not even temporally significant enough to gauge, but it was there. There and gone. No way of knowing the duration, how it felt, how it sounded, what color it was.
It was a change significant enough to focus upon, and that was all.
And then it happened again, but this time different. It was a spark? Black then white then gone. Back to nothing.
Nothing was nothing. Not even black. Just nothing.
What – was – that. Hush now. It’s …
A flash. It was a brightness. A fraction of static so quick it caused a … flinch? Shhhhhh. Nothing. Nothing is good. Nothing is calm. Nothing bothers nothing.
… and noone? Shhhhh. Leave m …
Brightness. Ungodly white flash of … of … of …
Nothing. Sweet nothing.
“Oh god, did you …”
What? What was that? Stop. The white … hurts. And I’m col …
LEAVE ME ALONE!
A deafening roar permeates my sweet state. Cloaked in blackness. Cold cold blackness. My nothing is gone.
Minute pinpricks of pressure and a void.
“God. Yes. There was a response. A definable motion. Oh God. Evangeline, what do we do?”
“Increase the intensity. Watch the levels. Reset the board.” A voice, flat and slightly muffled. Feminine. There is a reverberating whine. Increasing in intensity. Irritating. “On my count.”
A jolt. Of pain. Streaks through me. Knives stabbing. Everywhere. No – not knives. Spikes. And then the brightness. A white surge shoots through blackness.
I feel a body. My body? Arching. And there are … smells. Acrid. Burnt.
Sour tin. And rot. Copper. In my mouth?
My body comes down hard on an unforgiving surface.
Oh god it hurts. And it’s immeasurably cold. My arms flinch to my chest, an instinct to shield myself from the cold. But my hands are bound, chained. I flex in desperation against a rattle. My mouth opens and there’s a strangled gurgle before a pronounced choking.
“OH GOD! Mori??!!! Check the …”
“On it.” Another voice. Calm but cracking. Masculine?
Another flash. White. Painful.
And I see. I see things.
Just a moment, but yes, I see. Soft green fingers above my eyes. Hot white lights. A glint … of something. Metallic? I flex my arms. Kick out against the cold metal binding my limbs. I arch again, straining. A length of slick rigidity bows out and separates from my back slightly. Something groans. I growl back. I thrash against the pain tossing my head from side to side. My eyes loll and roll. The lids pinch shut. Heavy. They’re so heavy.
But even with them shut, the white. God the whiteness is awful. Please make it stop.
“Jess, administer the countermeasure.”
The whiteness subsides to a measured redness. Blurry, melting redness
I feel lighter. I accept everything around me for what it is. I drop my heavy arms. Leave my heavy legs and my head and eyes upon the table. And I begin to float.
Where am I going. What am I doing.
“Mori, commence tissue extraction.”
“Doctor I …”
“You what, Doctor Meurtins?”
“In it’s present state, I wouldn’t …”
“Wouldn’t what exactly? Might I remind you the repercussions should you not perform the required task?”
“What? Evangeline, I understand the job. But the levels. Much higher than anticipated. My recommendation would be complete sedation before …”
“Levels are dropping fast. 42 over 123 now. 36 over 117. Do we abort?”
“No. we’ve come too far.”
“Jess. Charge and hit it again. 1200 dpm.”
The 2nd feminine voice rises in desperation.
“Could kill him.”
The 1st voice answers. Strong. Definitive. Almost proud. Hell I could care less at this point. Floating back to the sweet nothing. I’m a cloud, an effortless puff in a warm breeze. Calm and comfortable.
“Was already dead. Hit him.”
I feel the room go silent.
“Yes ma’am.” the female voice sad.
Another voice erupts, “No WAIT …”
The jolt smashes into me, and I come crashing down. Red and white flashing inexorably. Pain spewing forth with the shock as if it were a criminal caught in the act with the flip of a light switch. I slam into the table. My heart hammers in my chest. My ears are screaming, and my eyes snap open and seek … the little person in the green gown holding the paddles …
My brain is on fire, and I flex my limbs, not just my hands and my feet. I push out and arch my back one last unforgiving time. And the bindings stretch, groan and snap. Screws and bolts, clips and clamps go flying. The tabletop bends, comes forward with me as far as it dares and then gives up and twists and buckles.
The masked little person has huge eyes but stands frozen looking up into my … face? as I bound out of my restraints. My feet pound onto the floor with a heavy thud, and I lunge forward with a low growl.
“OH G …”
The 2nd feminine voice cut short as I bat the paddles aside and close my fist around her entire throat.
Another green figure smacks heavily into my side to knock me off balance, but it caroms harmlessly off and falls through a few trays and table nearby.
Electrified by abrupt awareness sights sounds and pain, I yank the wide eyed figure off her feet to stare into her face. Big brown eyes stare back at me, the flesh around them reddening. I bare my teeth. She struggles, closing hands and fists around my wrist. Her eyes start to roll upward. The flailing gets weaker … and weaker …
My wrist. My wrist is … wrong. It’s immense. But that’s not truly what’s caught my attention. It’s pale, a ghostly white … but only on one side.
I release my captive. She drops limply to the floor. And I turn my hand over … pale flesh gives way to darker skin matted with dark hair along the inside of my forearm … the two lengths of flesh distinctly attached by a long line of … staples?? Fastened wire?? What?
Anger rises. It bubbles up in a pressure cooker somewhere within me reaching a quick crescendo and then explodes.
I grab the length of twisted metal beside me … a table … broken and crushed but … a table … with shattered restraints … and wires hanging down, dragging behind … me … still attached. I erupt, become a cannonball of fury, howling, growling … I yank the table out of the floor and toss it through the opposite wall. I yank the remaining wires out of my shoulder. Warm essence bubbles and spews from gouges left in my body. Swipe away the remaining tables with a fist. Allow the gowned tackler to collect his semiconscious cohort a panicked retreat through swinging doors. Wrench a nearby sink from its plumbing send it crashing into the horrid whiteness from the theater lights midst an eruption of sparks, shattered glass and spray, and then I spin around … seeking …
… the fool … who disturbed … my … peace.
A single masked figure remains a green specter lingering in a corner. The figure is lean, lithe. It is thin and built more heavily down low than up high. It’s eyes are green and calm above it’s masked face. There is light colored hair tied beneath it’s cap … a female.
I throw my arms out, bend my legs, ball my fists and bellow my intent. All violence and rage.
A single graceful motion, quick and effortless brings the pistol up. The eyes are calm, observant, emotionless … and then there’s a “phup”.
I’m halfway into a leap when the dart hits my chest. It’s startling having a metal shaft suddenly impale you. I glance down and grimace, lay a hand along an injectors length but my fingers cannot find purchase. Warmth spreads through my body. I pick up a stool, take two wobbling steps before tossing it lamely aside.
I’m on my hands and knees when her arm comes up again.
Another dart spouts from my shoulder. My left shoulder … where the skin doesn’t match and the hair is patterned very much like my forearm … coupled by criss-crosses of black wire?
I prop myself over my outstretched hands atop the linoleum floor. My eyes are so so heavy of a sudden. And my heart … my heart is beating rhythmically in my ears … calming warmth envelops me like a blanket. I notice the ring finger on my left hand is a reddish color. I shake my head and look up from two black patent leather shoes casually moving into my field of view. Shoes to green to a coat of white with a stethoscope draped across the collar to a slender neck and a green mask and a pair of calm, observant eyes.
Two beautiful green eyes. Perfect.
Think I’ll pull up a cloud.
My head hits tile behind my eyes closing upon a wall of darkness.
There’s a distant, retreating crash and … and …
“Doctor?!!! Eve??!!!! Are you alright?”
“Shhhhh.” comes the reply. “He’s sleeping.”
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