*The following tale is fiction. It contains
graphic descriptions, intense situations, and consenting sexual material
men, women, and in some cases teenagers. If this kind of material is illegal where you are, if you are underaged, or if material of this
sort offends you, you are urged to turn back RIGHT NOW. Otherwise please enjoy.
**Questions, feedback, and constructive criticism are very welcome. Please send it to: email@example.com
Denn's Mobile Circus
The Incredible Divided Man
The sound of someone speaking over an intercom got my attention. Made me wonder why Kev would have an intercom system in his backhouse. I opened my eyes, prepared to start looking for one, and witnessed all wonder about it go straight out the window. I was not in the room that I'd fallen asleep in.
I was up immediately.
"Whoa!" an unexpected voice on my left sounded startled.
Eyes were on the source of the voice.
It was a young Mexican man dressed up in white hospital scrubs. Surprise was just leaving his face to become a smile.
"Sorry about that, Mister Phillips, you got the jump on me again." he shook his head and sighed.
...And how did he know my last name?
I asked him that question and ended it with: "and where am I?"
An expression that started out as knowing, before it leaned toward disappointed, then fully back toward knowing again, went across his face.
"You're in your room, Mister Phillips. You were asleep." he answered.
"What room?" I inquired.
"The room that you live in."
"Which I've never seen before in life, so let me be a little more explicit: How do you know my last name and where the fuck am I?"
That widened his eyes just a bit.
"My name is Alex and I'm a staff member at Memorial Neurological Center. That's where you are right now." he answered.
"Uh...where did you say I was?" I couldn't have heard that right.
"Memorial Neurological Center." Alex answered. "You've been here ever since your accident."
"The one you had close to six years ago at the restaurant where you used to work."
If by accident he meant the sudden appearance of miss threw her carbonated water at me and almost received a one way ticket to death if it hadn't been for Jo-C? Then yes. That'd been an accident.
"What kind of accident?" I needed some clarification.
"One that messed you up pretty badly. You were at the trash bins and you slipped in a little bit of grease. You fell back and hit your head on the edge of one of the bins. It put you into a coma for a month."
"No I didn't." I contradicted.
"Yes you did." Alex stood firm.
"I think I would remember slipping and hitting my head. And that's not what I remember."
"You never do. Every time you wake up." Alex shrugged. "Part of the condition."
"Severe narcolepsy." Alex answered.
I knew that word.
"That has to do with falling asleep uncontrollably, right?" I inquired.
"Yes it does." Alex nodded. "And since you are awake, I need to give Doctor Shell a call."
"Your physician." he started over toward a phone that was mounted on the wall.
He picked it up and dialed a four digit number without waiting for me to respond.
"So, I just fall asleep? From out of nowhere?" I didn't care if he was on the phone.
"You stay awake for the same time you sleep. It's part of the cycle..."he answered, before Doctor Shell (I assumed) picked up the line and cut him short.
That was okay. I needed a second to think.
I didn't know the finest details about comas, or all the other business this boy was talking about. But I couldn't front. What he'd said sounded...sane. Sane enough to be a rational explanation for what I remembered happening at the trash bins and beyond.
Fools spilled grease all the time taking the trash out. Nine times out of ten, they cleaned it up to prevent what I'd just been told had happened to me from happening. But there were times when they didn't. It got me into the habit of looking down to check for any whenever I went in there.
...Except for that time.
If I would've slipped, hit my head, and fallen into a coma...would I have noticed time pass between that moment and the moment I remembered?
"Doctor Shell is on his way right now, Mister Phillips. He told me to tell you that he's glad to see you're back up again." Alex was done with his call.
"Shouldn't I have an IV or something if I fall asleep for near months at a time?" I felt I should call attention to such a detail.
"Already taken out." he indicated my arm. "Along with the catheter tube."
Looking down, I noticed a bandage across my right arm just before the spot where my arm folded.
"We usually do when we know you're about to wake up. Can't have you tearing the IV out again." he continued, as I further noticed my clothing was a short sleeved hospital robe
I was also in a hospital styled bed with the sheets pulled up to my waist.
I looked over at Alex, then back down at my arm where the IV had been removed. I touched it. A light, but present, sting answered. I looked back at Alex.
"That's not what I remember happening..."something inside me was still unsatisfied.
The sound of someone at the only door to the room caught mine and Alex's attention. It unlocked. Opened. And in stepped an older gentleman rolling a mobile workstation. He was on the tall side with kept gray hair and blue eyes that smiled along with his lips from behind his glasses.
"How are you feeling today, Mister Phillips?" he greeted me.
"Confused." I answered honestly.
"Understandable as always." he nodded. "Well, as Alex has probably mentioned, I'm your physician, Doctor Shell."
Doctor Shell parked his mobile workstation by the foot of the bed and retrieved the stethoscope from its place around his neck.
"Thank you, Alex. I'll take it from here." Doctor Shell excused him.
"Okay." Alex began toward the still open door. "Nice to see you awake again, Mister Phillips."
"Yeah." I sent back at him. Mind was still trying to get a grip on my new...reality.
"Let me have you take the top part of your robe off, please." Doctor Shell instructed.
I did as he asked. It called my attention to the fact that I didn't have any underwear on. I held the robe in place just below my waist.
"This...isn't how I remember things going." I didn't
"Well, what do you remember?" Doctor Shell asked, putting the cold diaphragm of the stethoscope against my chest by my heart. "Before you answer that, deep breath in."
I did as instructed, before being told to let the breath out. I performed the procedure a second time, before Doctor Shell moved the diaphragm further down and had me do the breathing again. After two times with that, he moved to my back and did the same thing.
"I don't think you'd believe me if I told you what I remember." I answered, breathing exercise complete.
"You're talking, of course, about the woman who turned into a monster at the dumpster?" Doctor Shell's response shocked me.
"How do you know that?" I responded to said shock.
"You've told me." he answered simply. "You've told me about the werewolves you met after the woman. How you come to find out you're a werewolf yourself. Everything."
"During the times you've been awake. You see, when you're in your sleep state, you enter a dream. In that dream, the things I just mentioned take place instead of what really happened, and it goes on from there."
That sounded like a "no" to my question of if I would've notice time pass between events.
"So you're saying everything I remember after I hit my head is a dream?" I wanted to be clear.
"One you've been having since your arrival almost seven years ago. It starts, plays out over a period of time, then ends. When it ends, it starts over from the beginning again, like a giant loop." Doctor Shell answered, "Let's take your pulse while we talk."
He put his two fingers on my wrist and looked at his wrist watch.
"I've been here for almost seven years?" that couldn't be possible.
"Yes." Doctor Shell continued to take my pulse.
"And I've told you about this dream from beginning to end?"
"Then why does it feel like this is the first time this...dream has ever happened?"
"It's one of the effects of your condition. Once you reach the end of the dream, your mind purges it from your memory." he answered finishing with my pulse. "Deletes the information just to feed the same thing back in. It's why you don't remember that you're in a hospital, or why, every time you wake from a sleep state. Mind deletes it. "
Doctor Shell adjusted his glasses, before he put his hand on my shoulder.
"Maybe this time, we'll be able to break the circle." reassurement was in his voice and smile. "Let's go ahead and get your requisite MRI done. I'll send Alex in to take you down and we'll resume this conversation when you return."
Just like Alex had, Doctor Shell didn't wait for a response from me as he went over to the phone, picked it up, and dialed in another four digit code.
"Yes, we have a patient ready for his MRI." he spoke into the phone.
He was silent for a moment.
"Right. Room 217. Thank you very much."
Hanging up the phone, he came back to where I was.
"If I've been here for almost seven years, it's clear I can't be helped." I had not been reassured.
"Not true. You see, the brain is a very complex thing. There are times in my field where we encounter something we just haven't seen before. Something new. When that happens, we have to take time to figure it out. So far, it's taken us almost seven years trying."
"No breakthroughs I take it?"
Doctor Shell shook his head.
"Not so far. But that doesn't mean we quit trying." he replied.
Keys in the door to the room interrupted. My attention went to it, along with Doctor Shell's, as it unlocked and opened. In walked an orderly that was not Alex. This one was white with a slender, but solid, build. His mostly round face was clean shaven, but had a kind of ruggedness to it. And his eyes were a stunning shade of green.
"...You." I knew exactly who I was looking at.
"Who?" both the orderly and Doctor Shell inquired.
I got ready to answer when,
"Act like you don't know me `n don't say my name."
That hadn't been Doctor Shell's voice.
But the orderly's lips weren't moving when I'd heard the instruction.
From him, I looked to Doctor Shell, who's eyes were fixed on me. A look of inquiry was on his face.
"Mr. Phillips, do you know this young man?" his voice matched.
"Uh...no." I decided to lie. "Just surprised it wasn't Alex."
"He's on break, Mister Phillips." the orderly I knew spoke, removing any doubt that it was his voice I'd heard earlier.
"Which he knows better than to do. He knows how sudden changes can upset Mister Phillips when he first wakes up." Doctor Shell told the orderly, then nodded to me. "I apologize for that."
"Yeah." I said. "Don't worry about it."
His attention went back to the orderly I knew.
"You know where to take him?"
"Yes." the orderly responded.
"All right." Doctor Shell acknowledged before turning to me. "I'll be back here by the time your MRI is finished."
"Thank you, Doctor."
"Do you need some help getting up?"
"No." I answered, pulling the covers back and getting out of the bed. "I think I got it."
"Okay." he nodded, taking his leave.
I waited until Doctor Shell was gone before my attention went back to the orderly.
"You're...Aurey, right?" I remembered Jo-C's lessons on how to talk while we were Dreamwalking.
As for his name, I'd asked myself one question: "Who is he?". The answer came like second nature.
"Yes sir." the orderly confirmed. "Let's keep the actual conversation between us on this level."
Now I could've been wrong, but according to Doctor Shell,
"I thought you weren't supposed to be real." I said. "How are you here?"
"I promise we'll explain everything to you once were out."
"What do you mean "out"? Out of what?"
"We'll explain that too. For right now, just listen 'n follow. Have a seat in the chair. Keep your head down until we get into the elevator. Don't look at anyone."
I wanted to say: "Explain some shit to me right now, or I'm gettin' my black ass back in the bed!" Because according to Doctor Shell, Aurey wasn't supposed to be real. Yet, there he was. Maybe the Doctor hadn't gotten around to it, but I hadn't heard him mention anything about me being delusional.
But...I couldn't be delusional.
Doctor Shell had seen Aurey too.
"Don't think, brother. Just do." Aurey cut in.
And before I could make up my mind to do it or not, I was doing it. I seated myself into the wheelchair and held my head down.
"Ready." I said.
Turning the chair around to face the open door, Aurey wheeled me out of the room and into the hallway. He parked me. I was tempted to look and see why, but I didn't. A door closed. A pair of keys came out, jingled, one was selected and used to lock what I figured was the door to my room. My chair unparked. Off we went down the hallway.
I saw the feet of people as they walked past. I heard conversations. Lots of them were just general talk. About work. About kids. About life. But some were about the patients. How mister so-and-so in room 227 had taken up his habit of exposing himself again. How miss so-and-so's daughter had finally decided to pull the plug on that vegetable she called her mother. I was about to tune out when I heard one of them mention Phillips on their way passed.
"Could you imagine spending most of your life asleep?" a woman's voice asked.
"God, no, I couldn't." an older woman's voice responded. "I feel so sorry for that young man."
"So do I."
"But I was in the break room earlier and that kid, Alex, was saying that he did wake up today."
"Let's see if we can actually..."
Their conversation drifted away as they continued on in their direction, making me wish they'd walked slower. But nobody walks slow in a hospital.
Aurey stopped. He walked past me and out of my line of sight forward. The ding of an elevator bell told me what he'd gone to do. His shoes returned, and went beyond my line of sight backward, as he retook his place behind my wheelchair again.
We waited until the elevator pinged again. The sound of its doors drawing open followed. Turning my chair around in the opposite direction, so that I was now facing the hallway, Aurey pulled me onto the elevator. Parking me, he went to push the button to whichever floor we were going to. The doors pulled shut and the elevator began to descend.
"All right. You're clear to lift your head." he said. "But we keep communication this way. Do not speak."
"Where are we going?" I inquired.
Moving around and to the side of me, he pulled the red "Emergency Stop" button. The elevator halted. A sound from above caught my attention before I could ask what he was doing. Looking up, I saw one of the panels in the ceiling moving up and off.
"Konichiwa, bitches." Jo-C appeared in the dark square. "Micah heads up."
He was gone for a second, then returned and passed down a large white bag to me. I took it.
"Stand up." Aurey hit side of the wheel chair lightly a couple of times.
I did, as he went back to his spot behind the chair. Flipping the switch at the bottom center of the chair, he pulled it together and collapsed it.
"Alley oop." Jo-C said, extending his arm down.
I stepped out of the way so they could do their thing.
"In that bag are regular clothes. We're gonna dress up in `em `n walk out the front door of this place." Aurey said, as he passed the chair to Jo-C, who pulled it up through the hole and onto the top of the elevator.
"How did you two get here? You're not supposed to be here." I wasn't quite passed that yet.
"Once we're out. Like I said before." Aurey answered.
And I was just about tired of that answer.
I let the bag drop to the ground.
"Tell me..." I felt my anger rising in a way and at a speed I'd never felt before.
And my voice.
Even though we were using telepathy, I could swear I heard it changing with the two words I got out before Aurey cut me off with,
"Got somethin' that'll help you handle that." he walked over to me.
...And kissed me full on the lips.
It was done and over with before my reaction to move away kicked in.
Reaction killed, the thought of what I was about to say to Aurey was just starting to form when something hit me.
The hit wasn't a painful. It was...weird. Like a sudden current of energy was coursing over and through my body. It filled me with a strong, but mellow, tingle. I could feel every hair on my arms, legs, and neck standing on end.
And that's when I felt it.
I could...feel him.
Like...he was a part of me.
The current winked out. The rest stayed.
"How's that anger? Better?" Aurey inquired. He'd pulled the bag into the center of the elevator and was opening it.
"...Yeah." I nodded finally. Voice sounded normal.
It'd been knocked down from a screaming ten to a frustrated two. Didn't know until I met it in the street that it could overwhelm me so fast. It'd just been so sudden and...raw.
"But we're talkin' about this shit later." I concluded.
Already knew he wasn't going to tell me what'd just happened if I asked. Also didn't want to take the risk of causing my anger to return.
"Yup." Aurey replied, opening the bag and pulling out the clothes. "These are yours."
He tossed me a pair of blue jeans and a black shirt, which I caught. Remembering I was butt-naked underneath the robe, I slid the jeans on first. Taking off the robe, I put it down, grabbed the black shirt, and put it on. It surprised me how well both fit me. It was like I'd picked them out myself.
Aurey started changing shortly after I did. Unlike me, he had on underwear when he shucked his scrub bottoms. He slid on his black set of jeans, got rid of his scrub top, and pulled on the white T-shirt he'd taken out for himself.
He went for the bag again.
"Yours." he said, pulling out a black pair of shoes.
I took them and put them on, while he took out a pair for himself and did the same. Shoes on, he grabbed all our hospital clothes and put them into the bag.
"Ditch it `n come on down." he said to Jo-C, closing up the bag with its drawstring and handing it to him.
Jo-C reached down, took the bag, and stashed it somewhere on top of the elevator. When he returned, he came out of the panel feet first. He maneuvered himself to sit on Aurey's shoulders. With the extra height, he reached up to close the panel back.
I could see he was already in regular clothes the moment he'd reached down for the wheelchair. But for some reason, I never noticed that he was wearing a black hat.
Aurey got down on his knees so Jo-C could get off his shoulders.
"This is for you." he said, taking out another black hat that I assumed he had in his back pocket. Hadn't seen him take it off his head.
I reached out to take the hat, catching it by the front, and brought it toward me. Jo-C pulled back on the hat suddenly. The tug pulled me forward. Not far, but just good enough to pull me into the right position so that when he walked forward I was in the right range of his lips, which touched mine in a full kiss.
"Did this little muthafucker just..." was the forming thought until a hit struck it like a pimp correctin' his bitch in public.
This wasn't the same. It didn't roll over me in a calm, almost zen, sort of way. It hit me, exploded, and sent a rush all through me. I couldn't help the shudder my body made, as goosebumps attacked every part of my skin.
That's when I felt it again.
And Aurey was no longer the only one I could feel.
Now there was Jo-C.
The rush brought me down gently and winked out. Everything else stayed again. And so did something else. An odd sort of...sense. It was like the elevator was giving off an energy that gave me its shape, size, and my position inside of it.
"So was that." Jo-C added letting go of the hat.
"Just so you know, you'll be present when me and Aurey have that talk." I told him.
"Depend on it." he nodded.
Aurey jumped my response.
"When we step off, we're goin' straight for the front door. Pull your hat down. Keep your head down. No eye-contact with anyone." he instructed, pushing in the red "STOP" button.
"How will I be able to keep up with you?" I saw a flaw in that plan.
"Won't have no trouble with that at all. You'll see."
Hoped so. Because if the objective was to sneak out (I'd assumed from the changing of and ditching of clothes) then I was going to stand out like a sore thumb bangin' all into shit.
The elevator rode for a moment before it slowed. Slowed became stopped. I pulled the front of the hat down and dropped my head to the ground. It gave a much restricted view, leaving me just enough forward line of sight to see the bottom backs of Aurey and Jo-C's shoes. I'd have to walk right with them to keep their shoes in sight.
Made me hope no fast moves needed to be made.
The sound of a television greeted us as the doors came open. Aurey and Jo-C stepped forward. I went with them. I figured we were in a waiting room lobby. That was usually the place where the televisions were located.
That wasn't what I sensed.
We weren't in the lobby. We were walking toward the lobby. And we were in a hallway. A wide one. I could feel the free space, but also the enclosement.
Noticing this put me a few steps behind Aurey and Jo-C, taking their shoes out of my line of sight. Panic tried to creep up until realization took over.
I could feel where they were.
Their direction. How fast they were moving. How far ahead they were. I didn't need to see in order to know where they were.
So that's what Aurey'd meant.
The hallway spread out. The area felt larger on both sides. There was more than one television. There were six. Three on each side of us. The sound they were putting out broadcasted their exact locations. How spread out they were from each other. Which direction they were from each other.
And then something was moving toward me from the left.
An object of some sort hit me lightly in the leg. I looked down. In front of my feet was a large white streaked with pink bouncing ball. Reminded me of the ones I'd played with when I was a kid.
The sense again.
Another something was moving toward me from the same direction as the ball.
Before I knew how to react, something stooped down to pick up the ball. It put a little girl, who didn't look any older than five, into my direct line of sight. She got her ball and looked up at me. Our eyes met.
The ball dropped from her hands and took a couple of bounces off to the right. Her right hand lashed out and fastened onto my wrist.
"I see you. I see you." her little voice sang in a song.
"The front door is directly in front of us." Aurey interrupted her.
"Book it!" Jo-C added.
Looking up, and snatching my hand out of the little girl's grip, I saw that the door was ten or so yards away from us. Would've made me run faster if it weren't for the group of officers I could see on the other side of the door about to walk in. Couldn't tell if they were actual police or just security, but whichever they were they had guns.
They came in through the electric double door that was the entrance to the place. I stalled. Aurey and Jo-C did too.
The officers spread out to the left and right in front of the door, forming a blockade.
"You know you're not supposed to be down here, Mister Phillips." a familiar voice spoke from the opposite direction.
I turned to look behind us. Officers were on that side of us too, blockade formed across the hallway leading to the elevator. The little girl was now on the left side of the lobby, standing along with all the other people who were in there. They were all facing us.
Looking at us.
Also looking at me was the owner of the familiar voice. Doctor Shell. He stood in front of the officers with arms crossed and a look that threatened to turn from stern to pissed at any second on his face.
"Let's get you back to your room." his tone simulated his face. "Right now."
"As of right now, Mister Phillips is bein' discharged." Aurey spoke the words.
Doctor Shell opened his mouth to respond.
"Don't believe he was addressing you, whoever you are." another familiar voice spoke from the opposite direction, cutting him off.
I turned just in time to see another person emerging from the officers barricading the front door. He was outfitted in the same uniform as the officers, minus the hat, and plus another gun on what would've been his night stick hip.
If I hadn't already felt like my situation had rolled into the Twilight Zone and parked for a spell, this would've done it. The dude speaking looked and sounded just like me.
"What. The. Fuck?" I was surprised I remembered not to speak.
"Exactly what I'm thinkin'." Jo-C agreed. "Aurey, is this supposed to be happening?"
"No." Aurey didn't hesitate on that response.
That concerned me.
"Don't know who you are," my double pointed to Aurey. "Or who this other little white boy is," he indicated Jo-C. "But I know how you're leaving."
By the time the thought to react formed in my head, my double had already drawn his guns and aimed at us.
"We're dead" was all I could think.
My double pulled the triggers and the guns fired.
I felt the shots as they struck. One directly in the center of my chest. The other was also to my chest, but to the right. I looked down at my shirt, expecting to see wet spots breaking out on the dark fabric. There was no blood. And there was no pain. Just...the feeling.
"AH! FUCK!" Jo-C cried out.
He was standing behind me to my right. I looked. He was holding his hand over the right side of his chest. Eyes clenched shut. Face contorted in pain. Body attempting to double over.
Made me realize I'd never been shot at all.
Jo-C had. And so had Aurey.
Jo-C's eyes came back open. He winced. Recovered. Then winced again harder. Recovering from that, his eyes started to look up at me before they suddenly focused directly ahead. Pain left his face and was replaced by a look that I knew only came with one thing. Realization. The bad kind.
"Oh shi..." was all he got out before his eyes rolled suddenly into the back of his head and his body collapsed to the ground.
The second it made impact with the floor, it exploded into ash.
"WHAT THE..." was all I got out as hands grabbed my shoulders roughly and spun me around to face Aurey.
He looked sick...
"Find a way..." he began before his eyes started to roll back in his head.
His lips pulled tightly together as if he were straining. His eyes rolled forward to look at me again.
"Out of here." he continued. "Don't go back..."
Again his eyes started to roll. The look of strain didn't show on his face as they rolled completely back. His grip loosened on my shoulders and he began to fall to the ground.
"No!" I reached out to grab him and hold him up.
But it was too late. His knee hit the ground just as I sprang into action and immediately his body turned to ash.
Then it was gone. Seemingly swallowed up by the air itself.
"After all that I've done for you. This is the fuckin' thanks I get? You trying to escape?" my double spoke in what sounded like true anger and betrayal.
Did not know what'd just happened to Aurey and Jo-C. Did not know what the actual fuck this person who looked like me was talking about. But I did know that my anger meter was movin' on up toward that dangerous level again. Whatever was holding it back before was slowly fading away. That was just fine. I wasn't about to hold it back.
But first, what was this shit about "escaping".
...And also, where were the officers?
They weren't there with my double anymore. He was the only thing standing between me and the front door to the place.
I took a quick glance over my shoulder. The officers blocking the hallway weren't there either. The people were gone as well. Me and my double were the only people in the room.
It was also dark outside. Before it'd been day. Add to that the feeling of Aurey and Jo-C being part of me suddenly not being there anymore...
"Who...are you?" I did my very best to keep my brain from exploding.
"Just the one who's taken care of you. Fed you. Educated you. Taught you how to wipe your own ass and keep your nose clean. " my double spat back. "Without me, you'd still be attacking everything that moves and trying to figure out how lick your own balls."
His response was so far out in left field, I didn't even know how to process it.
"So..." he continued. "You can do this the easy way and let me escort you back to your room. Or you can do it the hard way and have me drag you back to your room. Either way, you ain't leavin'."
Aurey's last sentence stuck out in my mind, pulling me back from encroaching insanity.
"Don't go back..."
Was that how he was going to finish the sentence? Don't go back to your room? Didn't know for sure. But my own mind, despite being screwed, was made up. I wasn't going anywhere except out the door of that place.
But I had some issues. Trying to get passed my double would be impossible. He'd shoot me at least six times before I even made it to him. I didn't know the place, so I didn't know any other way out except for the front door. That meant getting my double away from the door long enough to make it out. The only way I saw to do that was to lure him away somehow.
There'd been check-in stand on my left. I remembered the two women standing at it with their eyes locked on us with the rest of the people. It'd been open. No metal grate or plastic window protecting it. It would provide cover to get behind and protection from the left and right sides, due to being walled in. It would also force my double to enter in the same way I'd have to, which could provide an advantage.
I glanced over my shoulder toward the check-in stand. I guessed it at about thirty feet away. Without thinking about being fast enough to make it, I turned my body and made a sprint for it.
"So...the hard way, then." my double said from behind me.
I still didn't stop. Hauled ass toward the check-in stand.
Approaching it, I leapt up and let my left foot connect with the edge of its counter. I used that as my step to carry my right foot forward across the counter.
That's when I heard the shot.
Half a second later, I felt it.
It tore into the back of my right arm, searing it with pain. I stumbled and fell off the counter and into the area behind it.
The pain was all I could focus on. The point of impact felt like it'd gone numb. The rest of my arm, however, was on fire. I fought not to let it overwhelm me.
"Just like to make you aware, I know this place like the back of my hand. Let's see how long you can run before I catch your ass." my double taunted from beyond the check in station.
His last word was just getting finished when I realized I couldn't feel my surroundings anymore, like I was able to earlier.
Couldn't focus on that though.
My eyes opened from being squinted in pain and surveyed. There was a small desk a few feet in front of me. I could see the other side of the room underneath its front end. There was a door.
Pulling myself up into a hunched position (with the pain from being shot attacking me like my name was Susan) I made my way to the door as quickly as I could. I reached for the door handle, expecting to hear a shot. I didn't. I turned the handle and was never more happy to see a door open in life.
If I'd been locked I'd have been screwed. Since Plan A had gone out the window upon getting shot (plus not being able to feel my surroundings), Plan B was get the fuck away. That plan had led me to a room that was lined with five cubicles on each side. Beyond that was what looked like a laboratory where specimens were worked with. The floor path went to the left and right at the entrance to the laboratory.
I entered and stood up completely. Pushing the door back too without closing it, I resumed my run. I went on passed the cubicles and to the laboratory, where the road went left or right, and stopped.
On the right was a door. I figured it led back out into the lobby. It would be the way to go if my double chose to follow my same path. But would he? Was it easier to skip my path and walk to the door I was currently considering?
My attention went to the left, where the path led to more cubicles, before turning to the right. If there was a door beyond that right turn, I figured it could take me back to the lobby. If my double used any of the other doors, I'd be able to hear it and make my move.
If there was a door.
I took the risk. I went down the left path and turned right. There were more cubicles. At the end of that was the door I was hoping for. I made a dash for it, listening as best I could to hear if any of the other doors came open, or opened further.
Making it to the door, I grasped the handle, turned it, and slowly began pulling it open. It did lead back out into the lobby. Just before the area where the hallway that led to where the elevators were. It also led to my double. He was standing right there with his gun pointed directly at me.
"Whoops." he stated, before he pulled the trigger.
I fell backward. It was the first reaction I could think to come up with. I heard the shot. I landed ass and lower back first on the floor facing toward the door.
My feet were still close enough to touch it.
I kicked the door back shut.
Immediately I was up, tossing myself back first onto the door as a barricade. I already knew there was no way in hell I'd make it to the turn without getting shot if he got in.
"I'm gonna give you two seconds to figure out why that's a bad idea." my double spoke from the other side of the door.
Only took me one.
The door I was behind was probably not bulletproof...
I launched myself off the door and down the pathway in a ducking run.
A shot came.
I heard the door shatter as the bullet pierced a hole through it.
I stumbled and fell suddenly, just in time to hear what I thought was a bullet soaring over the left side of my head. Scrambling back onto my feet, I made it to the turn and took it.
My double pursued. The sound of the door being opened roughly alerted me just after making the turn. I pulled up into full standing position and full sprint. I was going for the door directly in front. Going the other way would mean trying to get back over the counter at the check-in station.
The sound of my double's footsteps on the floor told me he wasn't running, but he was moving fast. Had to fight to not let the question of if I'd be fast enough to reach the door before that fool came around the corner screw with me. I just kept haulin' until I made it to the door, opened it, and stepped out into the lobby without hearing a shot made.
This door led into the lobby itself. I took a second to look for the front door. It was to the right. I sprinted in that direction. Even if my double ran, he wouldn't catch me before I made it out.
Sensing my arrival, the electronic opening device began opening the front doors for me. They were about half way open when I noticed they reflected what was behind me. The only reason I noticed was because there was movement in the reflection in a place where I wasn't at.
My double had run. Had to have in order to make it to the check-in desk when he had. I heaved myself through the still opening doors at the same time a shot went off.
But I hadn't.
I sprawled onto the ground outside the doors, falling onto my shot arm.
The pain hit me so hard it paralyzed me to the spot.
It was about to consume me completely when something hit me. It was so powerful it made me feel like I'd been knocked out of my own body for a moment, before it snatched me back and fastened me down.
I knew this feeling.
I'd felt this before. Back at the empty house when large marge had Jo-C down for the counter.
...I was Shifting.
The warmth I remembered from before returned, filling my body with its energy. I could feel the bullet in the meat of my arm moving.
It was...beginning to repair itself.
At least that's what it felt like. The numbness melted away as the feeling of the bullet moving increased. It moved up. The further up it moved, the more the pain decreased. Further and further it went until it was back up and on top of the surface of my skin.
The pain vanished completely.
But somethings had reappeared.
I could feel Aurey and Jo-C again. It was nowhere near as strong as it had been before. Just...barely there. The sense of surrounding, which had abandoned me earlier, had also come back. It was in full force.
And there was something...off.
I was outside. Why wasn't I hearing any crickets? Why was it so still? Why wasn't there even a buzz from the electric lights that were lighting up the outside with bright amber colored light?
No time to question that. The sound of footsteps approaching me returned my attention to the situation. My double was in pursuit of.
Picking myself up off the ground, I noticed the bullet was still stuck on the backside of my arm where it'd come out, covered in my blood. I brushed it off and turned to look back through the front doors. My double stood not fifteen feet away, stalled in mid-step.
"Huh." unsureness was what I thought I heard in his voice.
He finished his step.
"This'll be useless now." he decided, preparing to holster his gun, before, "No. That just ain't possible."
It startled me how fast he was able to pull that thing and fire it.
Didn't even get a moment to think about moving as a shot struck me in the left leg, reminding me why I hadn't liked getting shot the first time.
"Guuuhh!" I cried out, balance snatched.
I fell onto my good side and steadied myself with my hands. My left leg throbbed angrily.
"Let's see what you can do with that." my double sneered.
I was already on it. The same thing that'd happened with my first shot was happening again. My leg began to heal, pushing the bullet closer to out as it did so. This bullet actually popped out as my body finished rejecting its presence this time. The sound the bullet made as it hit the ground wasn't loud, but it was audible.
"How in the fuck..." my double was in absolute confusion.
It told me that he must've either seen the bullet or heard it when it came back out.
Full feeling back in my leg, I stood up.
A shot went off.
I was hit.
And another shot went off.
Each hit knocked me backward a little as they made impact. Pain followed each and every one of them. Each time, however, it was less than the last. And it felt like I was healing faster.
The fucker really liked my arms and legs as targets.
Recovering from the assault, which had not knocked me down, the last bullet my double had shot me with was rejected forcefully. My gaze returned to him as I prepared for him to unload the rest of the clip on me.
He'd forgotten about shooting. He stood there with a look of disbelief plastered across his face. That look began to change as he holstered his gun and reached with both hands behind his back.
Had no idea what he was going to pull out.
His hands came back into view. They were outfitted in a pair of silver colored brass knuckles.
"Let's see how these do." his balls seemed to have dropped again, as he broke into a sprint right at me.
No way in hell I was going back in there.
I turned my back and walked away from the door. I wanted a bit more distance between me and it, just in case this fool was stronger than I thought and attempted to throw me back in. Couldn't chance that shit considering how fast he'd been with his guns.
Stopping, I turned around just as my double reached me and took a swing. His brass knuckle covered fist struck my jaw, snapping my head to the right. I was ready for the pain it erupted into.
Wasn't ready for how short lived it was.
It dulled faster than the pain from the gun shots. Just as that was becoming non-existent, the second hit from the other direction came. Once again in the jaw. This hit didn't land as hard as the first, but it was still enough to cause a reaction. A third punch followed same as the first. A fourth punch followed same as the second. By the tenth punch it was like I wasn't even being hit at all. It was as if the power had been drained out of his punches with each one he gave.
...And he realized it.
He took a half-hearted eleventh punch. When my head didn't so much as twitch from the impact, he shook his head. He took a step away from me. And for the first time I saw fear creep into his eyes.
"Fuck this shit!" he decided, turning to run back toward the building.
"No!" I, in my deepened voice, disagreed.
I lashed out and snagged the arm he was pulling back to start his run. He never got the chance to react until he was spun around to face me and my hand had latched itself around his neck in a death grip.
I brought him face to face with me, growling behind clenched teeth.
Time to see if this fucker turned into dust when he died.
"Le.. see...how l...ng you makit...witho...e." he tried to speak.
And then...he spat on me.
The level of rage that hit me was so powerful it removed all logic.
I opened my mouth.
It hadn't happened back at the house, but this time my teeth changed. How I knew what the strange sensation was in my gums so automatically, I didn't know. But it didn't take long for them to do their thing. When they did, I removed my hand and went for his throat in an attempt to take his head clean off.
My teeth gripped, then tore into his flesh effortlessly. The sound of his windpipe crushing was satisfying . I whipped my head to the right, enjoying the feeling of his ripping flesh as my teeth tore through it. Didn't need to whip to the left. One was all it took to snatch his entire throat out.
Holding it in my mouth, I caught his falling head in my hand.
I looked him directly in the eyes...
Then spat his ripped out throat into his face.
Let him think about that for a moment before I let his head go.
His hands grabbed at the gaping wound in his neck as I did so. His body collapsed to the ground and began to shake as if it were seizing. Gurgling sounds came from his throat as he tried to breathe with a non-existent windpipe. Blood squirted through his fingers as his heart continued to pump to an area that wasn't there anymore.
I watched, curious to see how long it would take him to die. Didn't have to wait long. The shaking of his body slowed until it was stopped completely. He took one final, shallow, gurgling breath a second after.
Then, there was silence.
Didn't know why I felt the need to do it until a split second before it came out of my mouth. I needed to do it because this was release. This was vindication. This was victory.
It was all let loose in the thunderous howl that tore out of me.
* * * * * *