Twilight – chpt 17
It was absence of life that drew her forward, a void shifting its position through an area that should have been saturated with living energy. As she stalked her quarry; that slice of demon rummaged through the skeleton filled closets of her mind, sifting through 'boxes' of memories of lives gone by, events of the past, things she'd long ago hoped to forget, or to attempt redemption for. A flash of a face with cerulean blue eyes gazing sightlessly upward and spattered with crimson brought a stutter to her step.
"So who was he? Nice eyes... did you pluck 'em out? No? It's a shame, they would've made a nice keepsake. I bet you wanted to though didn't you?" She could almost feel the demon nodding, and could certainly feel it grinning inside, "So what'd HE do to deserve such a fate? Or were you just having a bad day?" it asked. 'You're not entitled to a response,' Laura thought closing her mind as tightly as possible against the intruder forcing herself not to even think the man's name. It was bad enough the last vision of his corpse was burned into her brain. 'I would have done things differently if it happened today, but then, this IS a different world,' she did acknowledge.
The scent of burning wood and flesh rolled through the back of her nose as the demon dragged out another memory, this one drew out from her throat a tight grunt as the pleading, tear and soot streaked face with shimmering liquid brown eyes begged her for help.
She grasped a tree, resting her head against its cool misty bark, shame working hard to bring her to her knees while teardrops crackled on the dry leaves below. "Oooh Hooo... that's a good one... what happened here emissary? Was this YOUR doing? Did you get that little girl 'cleansed' at the stake? God I miss the Puritans, they were so much fun, so what? Was it ergot in the rye? Was it Morgan? Did he do something and you couldn't stop him? C'mon share, get it off your chest... Who'm I gonna tell huh?" the voice cackled.
'Yeah... who're you gonna tell...' though she could feel her lips tingling with the desire to shout her transgressions for all the world to hear. And more importantly, maybe somehow they might even find their way into the ears of those who kept her anchored to this world. "Aww everyone makes mistakes...they'd...HE'D forgive you... course they weren't really mistakes now were they? On second thought, maybe he wouldn't."
The double doors swung open and another of the surgical staff appeared, their eyes scanned the room passing over Shep and Tom who for third time this hour sat just that much straighter in their chairs, their eyes glued to that blue covered figure approaching the waiting room, the head half hidden in a bonnet, the mask drawn down and laying cavalierly on his chest, while the bootied-shoes whispered conspiratorially on the shiny tile floor.
"Carter...?" he called and was met by a man with two small children in tow, a brother and sister that appeared to be about eight and four, the brother being the oldest. This little family like the two before them, was ushered into one of the conference rooms and the door closed behind them.
Tom checked his watch, Shep glanced at the clock on the wall, "It's over two and a half hours man... we shoulda heard something from ONE of them by now," Tom grunted.
"They're takin' their time, makin' sure to do the job right Tom. It'll be alright," Shep nodded, heedless of the effect his use of Tom's proper name had on his nephew.
"What have you found?" he asked motioning to the chicken scratch that amounted to Sheps notes.
"Badness son, not much but badness," he shook his head.
The unmistakable scream of a young child sent shivers through both men and drew looks from every one of the dozen sets of eyes in the waiting room just as the door slammed open and a red faced little girl shot out of the room and down the hall to the double doors where she stood slamming her fists and hiccough-sobbing, "Mommy!" until her voice was nothing more than rocky air.
Tom's heart leaped in his throat and tears to his eyes with his own similar memory. With time turning backward inside, he watched the girls' brother dash after her, the tearful and grief stricken father watching with half an eye while nodding numbly at whatever the doctor was saying. In his mind, though the brother grabbed his little sister away from the doors, it was his own hands grabbing a two year old insanely frustrated Sam away from the motel room door.
Something deep in his belly turned much as it had on that long ago night and he set the laptop on the chair beside him then strode haltingly toward the children with Shep watching curiously.
He watched his nephew usher the children away from the doors and back toward the waiting room, the big brother half drowning in the death grip his little sister seemed to have on him. No sooner were they into the hall proper when the doors swung open once more and a bed was pushed into the very spot they'd just vacated, the staffer who was supposed to be pushing the bed was responding to someone behind them and would not have seen the kids.
Y'always did have a pretty good sense in ya, Shep thought cocking half a smile.
A sharp downturn of the mouth caught his attention as Tom turned quickly, dashing behind the doors just as they closed. Please Lord... he thought urgently sticking his notes into the book and piling the laptop into the bag on top of it while he waited for someone to either 'shoo' his nephew from the recovery area or to come get him.
The waiting lasted about 30 seconds post packing, before he slung the strap over his shoulder and sought out the push button that would give him 'behind the scenes' access. He jumped back as the doors opened and Tom waved him quietly in.
Sam lay in one of the cubicles, the rise and fall of his chest so faint it was barely visible. If it weren't for the occasional grunt or furrow of his brows he might've been, God forbid, Shep thought watching his nephew standing protectively at the young hunters' side, his hand resting gently on the pillow above his head ready to reach out with a touch or a pet when the young man showed distress.
"S'up doc?" Shep asked as the curtain was pulled closed around them, "Any word on Dean?" he asked quietly.
"Dean..." Sam's head rolled left and right, "Dean!" he barked.
"Shhh s'okay Sam, just rest little man, everything's okay..." Tom soothed while looking at Dr. Benson who nodded with a shrug. As far as he knew everything was moving along fine.
Sam's head twitched into Tom's palm and his eyes struggled to open, "Dean?" he asked.
"I'll check on his brother in a minute, it looked like Dr. Fitzgerald was getting close to finishing up when we were coming out," he smiled softly.
"Did you..." Shep started to ask.
"I don't know," he pre-empted then motioned to Sam, "He's going to need to stay for a couple days, we're going to have to monitor him closely to make sure we can eradicate the infection before he goes anywhere, and the same holds for Dean. We talked about it before we started the procedures on both men," he paused taking in the look that shot between the boys' guardians.
"I'm under the impression that these gentlemen may be in some serious trouble, Dr. Abrams wasn't clear on details except to say what happened at his hospital after they 'disappeared' was very unpleasant for a number of staff members..."
"Oh hell..." Tom sighed looking at his uncle, "Did Bobby tell you anything?"
Shep shook his head, his brow furrowed, "Nuh uh... probably didn't wanna take the chance on us moving again before getting the boys some help."
"Look fellas..." Dr. Benson drew them aside, "Whatever you may be thinking... both of these men will have undergone major surgeries by the time Dr. Fitzgerald is finished. The only reason this one's not in ICU is because the infection didn't manage to infiltrate the whole of his system, as for the other one, I don't mind telling you Dr. Fitzgerald can't explain why he wasn't at least comatose," his voice dropped to become nearly inaudible with respect to his patient, "...if not dead, especially with some of those injuries, and the blood loss we KNOW he had to have suffered."
"So what's your point doc?" Shep asked.
"Point is, whatever went down in Doc Abrams hospital... I won't have it go down here," he met eyes with each of the men, "Can you give me SOME kind of assurance that it won't?"
Tom sighed, "No, but we can try."
Dr. Benson nodded, "Dean had an IV catheter in his hand when you brought him in, and you said he was on antibiotics? Levaquin 750 every four hours for the last two to three days that you're aware of right?"
"Yep," they nodded.
"Same person cleaned him and stitched him up?"
"Yeah," Shep arched an eyebrow, "Why? Something wrong?"
"No, not really... just wondering what kind person would do that kind of work and not even bother to call an ambulance to get him taken care of. Whoever it was had to have known what they were risking by giving him half assed medical care... the man might lose his arm because of it," he growled through clenched teeth.
To Tom's surprise Shep dropped his hand onto the doctors shoulder, "No doc, the man might lose his arm because the same bitch that flogged him with barbed wire, also put a nail through his hand, and his leg, and his elbow not to mention a laundry list of God only knows what else..."
"What's chasing these boys is evil doc... I don't know just how much of that you get, but we're not talking serial killer human borne evil," Tom breathed and noted a slight nod from his uncle, "We're talking whole worlds of different... kind of evil."
Dr. Benson's uneasy chuckle, and quickly shifting eyes brought home to both men the long hard road that their charges would have to face if they were unable to stay with them.
"Doc..." Shep began with a gentle hand on the man's shoulder, "Y'ever wondered what just might be out there beyond the day to day?"
"Ma'am, please step out of the car," Deputy Berkins stepped back and began to motion to the remaining few cars stopped behind this one, to continue on their way.
"Officer I don't understand, is there something wrong?" she asked through her slightly opened window while her eyes flicked to the rear view mirror where in the back seat three young girls dressed in Brownie uniforms lay woven around each other sleeping soundly.
"Ma'am I need you to step out of the car please..." he insisted.
Fran Wainwright threw the car into park, and unfastened her seatbelt then pushed the driver door open. She grabbed the keys out of the ignition and auto-locked the vehicle then tiredly drew her seven months pregnant body out onto the street with purse in hand.
"Whatever reason you think you have for hauling my cookies out of the car at 3 o'clock in the morning better be damned good Officer... I want your name and badge number..." she didn't get an opportunity to finish the statement before her body crumpled to the ground with a set of taser leads sticking out of her chest.
Stooping at her side Deputy Berkins' hand shook as he fought the need to pick up the keys and unlock the car. To give access to those sleeping children to whatever it was that had crawled into his head and was forcing him to do this.
A hard body barreled into him before his finger could touch the keys, and no matter how he used what he knew to fight back, the gratitude he felt as his finger undid the snap on his holster was pervasive. Sandpaper covered steely knuckles grated across his jaw as at the edge of the road plants and bushes rustled bringing him face to face with the creature that he just KNEW had entwined itself in his mind.
Red-orange light crackled in the empty sockets as an atrocity in a child's body stepped forward, around the car. The woman who'd hit him, the one whom he was trying with all his might to NOT shoot, slid behind him wrapping her arm around his neck and her legs around his waist. Her grip was nearly crushing as he felt both of their bodies slide back a few feet along the tarmac.
"You wanna shoot something shoot THAT!" the woman hissed into his ear.
His arm moved quickly, under his own volition with the woman's words, Hell YES I wanna shoot that thing! he thought with a shiver and pulled the trigger.
The body was knocked over the sprawled legs of the pregnant woman and onto its back and for a split second everything stopped.
The Deputy made to move but a quick twitch of Laura's arms and legs stayed him. "It's not dead..." she breathed into his ear.
The man, literally in her clutches had the good sense to keep his mouth shut though his head did nod. "Don't move," she breathed again and loosened her grip on him.
When she'd hit him Deputy Berkins hadn't really seen her and as he felt the pull of his shirt when she peeled herself from his back he wasn't sure he wanted to. In over a dozen years as a County Sheriff's Deputy he'd seen a lot of strange things, and knew people were capable of doing and surviving horrific things, but beginning with his shooting of that young man with the classic car yesterday he wondered if he'd be able to get past this.
He watched her step around him, inching toward the supine child's body and frowned noting the myriad wounds she bore, most of them open and weeping, Dear God, if you're up there... please... he started then startled as the body rose in one motion, like something supernatural out of one of those horror movies his kids liked to watch, the marble like hand appeared to grasp the substantially taller woman at the throat, though it certainly wasn't making any contact, and lift her from the ground choking, gasping for air with her feet kicking. His eyes flicked to a spot of what should have been black on the child's forehead, where his bullet had slid into its head, but to his knee-quaking surprise the hole seemed to flicker with the same red-orange light that burned in its sockets.
The woman was cast to the side, slammed hard enough to wrap her body around the trunk of a tree. She tumbled straight to the ground lost in the undergrowth while the thing inside the child turned its focus on unconscious Fran.
"Perfect," its layered voices seemed to sneer as the hand that had somehow managed to fling the woman across the road motioned to him, "Kill the emissary," it instructed.
No, whatever you're gonna do, you're not gonna do it on MY watch! he argued despite the fact that his body was already moving toward the far shoulder with his gun still drawn.
The abomination lowered itself wearily to its knees on the ground, one hand hovered over the woman's throat, the other over her rounded womb. It took a breath with the child's body and lowered its hands toward the woman's flesh, but could not make contact. It tried again, and then once more to make contact with the living energies it sought to steal before a scream of rage boiled the air in a column toward the area Laura had gone down.
"Get down..." she muttered blowing another bubble of blood from her nose when its latest puppet arrived. Her eyes were fixed on the woman, her left hand deep in the earth pointing toward the creature, her right hand pressed firmly to a tree, all around her hand a growing patch of dark rot that told him somehow, this woman was doing to the tree, what that THING had wanted to do to the woman he'd tased.
Above her head a chunk of the tree's trunk exploded in fiery orange flames that seemed somehow to crackle, and through the ground a glowing serpent of blue-white moved through the earth sliding over the unconscious pregnant woman, then filling her until she sat up, her eyes sparking electric blue, her hand reached out, grasping the abomination by the throat and Laura's voice spoke through her, "What's it gonna take to kill you..."
Bruce Berkins watched, unable to comprehend what his eyes were seeing. His existence had been steeped in reality, fairy tales and ghost stories, and creatures that could do the kinds of things he'd been subjected to and witnessed were the stuff of TV shows and movies and yet he couldn't stop watching.
Red-orange crackled and bit against blue-white floes as the woman at his side used the other to try and find the answers it wanted. A silent battle charged the air, the world went still and later he would marvel that on this busy though narrow patch of highway not a single car passed in either direction once he'd sent them past the initial roadblock.
The body of the child began to redden as the blue-white crawled over its head, seeking to envelop it, and he couldn't be sure but he thought he saw parts of it trying to, somehow separate from the whole. A piercing cry that could not have come from anything made on earth shattered the silence as a series of explosions impacted the tree once more until the thunder-crack of broken wood forced him to act.
His hand wavered near the faint blue that seemed to race through her toward the other woman, and for a split second he had the desire to simply cut and run. Shamed by the thought he grasped her by the legs and hauled her out of the way as the majority of the tree tumbled down, crashing as if dropped on end, where she'd been laying.
On the road the thing Laura had been holding through Fran burst into a flesh colored column of roiling smoky substance before disappearing with a screech into the night sky, and the pregnant woman fell back to the ground and began to rouse.
"Oh shit, I knew I shouldn'ta got outta bed this morning..." he breathed turning the woman beside him onto her back and grimacing at the mess of her flesh before feeling for a pulse. "Stay here..." he said and shook his head, Like there's a choice... stupid ass...
He moved quickly across the street where the woman was getting to her feet before she doubled over with a scream and water broke over the pavement.
"Oh man..." Bruce sighed grabbing the keys and unlocking the car door, "Just sit down now ma'am... I'm gonna call for an ambulance alright?" he soothed.
She nodded frowning, "What happened?"
"Ma'am... I don't think we wanna know..." he muttered as the three brownies in the back seat started to awaken with the woman's grunts and groans of the start of her labor.
All eyes turned as the curtain was drawn aside and Dr. Fitzgerald stepped into the cubicle.
"Dean?" Sam muttered still fighting to come fully awake, "How's m'brother?" he asked.
The surgeon slid the cap off his head, drew a deep breath and nodded, "I've done everything I can."
Twilight has officially ended, but Dawn will come, eventually.
I dearly hope to see everyone who's been so kind and generous, return when she does demand her story be told.
Deepest thanks ... :D Very deepest.