A/N WARNING: I wonder if I've mentioned this or if readers have noticed this yet, but to follow the storyline I have to copy a lot of paragraphs from the book, so please forgive me for not using my own original writing form to move the story along…but I will, eventually. Until then, take note that this chapter is very much heavily plagiarised from the book the get the events through…if you want you can just skip this chapter, but then you would miss where I hid all my sarcastic/funny inputs.
And a huge THANK YOU cake for Seshochan for a very moving review for me! I'll continue to do my best!
Thank you Dark's Mistress, I'll get to that scene in the next chapter xD
Pokemonsuit, it's because I've been copying paragraphs from the book…at the same time…yeah, his sarcasm has gotten to me through his writing.
A person has vivid dreams under anaesthetic. My mind replayed the events of the past twenty-four hours in glorious Technicolour and surround sound.
Actually, the past twenty-four hours that involved Red Sharkey in it. Red Sharkey pulling me out by the collar. Red Sharkey's hand groping my ass as he rummaged in my pockets for my detective badge. I swear, I never noticed it when it actually happened but why am I feeling it so strongly now, not to mention my ass really likes the attention. Red Sharkey and his muscles, his broad shoulders, torso, muscular form, that irresistible glare. I felt myself go weak at the knees, feeling light-headed despite all the anaesthetic, feeling my heartbeat flutter…
I could hear crunching noises disturbing my dreams, but I guess the crunching should be my nose being hauled in line. I shouldn't interfere with that, right, since a certain med school dropout is enjoying that.
Time passed and a theory emerged. The sequence of events seemed simple enough: I get hired to investigate the Sharkeys, May tattles to Red, and he does something about it. But attacking me in the middle of the night? I admit, some part of me really hopes it wasn't Red, some aching part of me…
Besides, I don't have proof that it was Red who was my midnight assailant…or do I?
Something clicked inside my head. If it had been Red Sharkey who attacked me, he had probably used the same weapon as he had to threaten me earlier. His hurl embossed with his own name. His own name!
I woke up in the recovery room and immediately started yakking a mile a minute to the nurse about my secret infatuation with a certain tall red-headed boy who might be trying to kill me, but she merely stroked my forehead with a cool hand until I had no choice but to fall asleep again.
I woke up for the second time. Sort of. My head was awake, but my body was pleading for sleep. It's either that or the tent under my gown was no dream.
Great, now I'm having wet dreams, when will the torture end? Until I take him into custody? But apparently a certain member of my body is suggesting Red to take me into his custody…
I ignored it for now, this Red idea (the name thing) needed to be acted on now. Tomorrow would be too late. The proof would be lost in a pool of blood.
What time is it? Night? It was dark in the room but I could see a slit of light under the door and hear the slap of nurses' rubber-soled shoes in the hall.
I sat up in bed. Too quickly. I felt as though my head was balanced like a ball and would plop off if I jiggled too much. I was back in my own hospital room and the nurse had gone. Nobody to lean on.
No Red to lean on… I closed my eyes and tried to shut the thoughts out. Besides, he tried to knock my head off my shoulders.
Taking it slow, I made my way to the bathroom, ignoring the way the walls of my room flexed this way and that due to the anaesthetic.
I stumbled into the bathroom, grabbing onto anything to support myself. "Anything" being the radiator. It could've been hot. I wasn't sure. My fingers were still buzzing from the anaesthetic.
The bathroom was cramped, which suited me just fine. I could lean against a wall and still see myself in the mirror. But would I be able to recognize the remains of once normal features? What if my face stays this way and Red sees me like this?
I try to ignore, or at least push down the panic that wants to overwhelm me. I'm not vain, not at all, but there's nothing wrong with the healthy need to avoid looking like a mutated troll, right? Maybe I should just go back to bed.
Before I could be lulled by this tempting idea, I grabbed the light cord and yanked. After a moment's wincing, I focused.
Oh dear God! My face! My beautiful, beautiful face!
It was not a pretty sight. Doctor Blender-brain had been right: ugly was going to be my first, middle and last names for quite some time.
Okay, not to say my face was beautiful or even handsome originally, but still, I'd go back to being an Average Joe anytime to avoid THIS! Gah!
In fact, the best-looking feature for me was the nasal splint, a small aluminium V clamped on to my nose. The rest of it looked as though someone had dropped a pound of rare steak on it and it had stuck…
'Focus,' I told myself. Yeah, 'cause I didn't become a P.E. Investigator for the looks…right? Anyway, I had to act now, or the evidence could be lost.
My left arm was bound from elbow to knuckle in a soft cast. I tugged on the Velcro straps with my teeth, all the time arguing with my sensible side. The pressure eased, and my arm seemed to expand like an inflated rubber glove. Ew… I expected some pain but none came. However, beyonf the anaesthetic, I sensed that my body was screaming at me just how stupid this idea was.
What could be stupider than reassuring myself that Red Sharkey's "mark" is on me…
I'm not listening to my hormonal side ever again. I don't have a problem with the calm acceptance of my own sexual preference but does it have to be Red Sharkey?
I slipped off the cast with my good hand. My left arm was even uglier than my face, which was saying something. The single blow had managed to connect with every inch of skin facing the weapon. I forced myself to study the bruising. There were several colours, from sickly yellow to angry red. And running from my wrist to my hand, a deep purple trio of distinct marks. My evidence.
I held my arm to the light. And there in the mirror was my proof. Three letters. R E D. The round-headed tacks on Red Sharkey's hurl had etched their signature into my arm.
I collapsed on the floor. Leaning against the wall I hugged my knees as best I could with my good hand. I didn't want to look at them, but I had to. Finally, my vision blurred with tears that seemed to have made up the decision for me.
I don't want to cry, I've never cried in years. Why am I even crying over a boy I can't date? A criminal.
I tried to distract myself by pulling out what I could remember on bruising. Bruises faded quickly. Sometimes in hours. This purple bruising would quickly soften and spread. I needed to preserve the evidence before it blended with the rest of the tissue damage. There must be a way.
Of course, in a perfect world, I would simply press the call button and tell the nurse that I needed a digital camera immediately. But I knew from experience that adults do not react well to boy detectives.
I've never experimented as a crying boy detective and I do not intend to try.
Anyway, the nurse would more than likely look at me as though I had two heads and one of them was purple. I would be bundled into bed and possibly sedated until the bruising had faded. On top of that, I would be lucky to wake up without a child psychologist in the room.
I slowly got to my feet…
The only option left was to "check myself out". No, I'm not that vain…yet. After a bit of trouble with my alien-feet a part of my brain realized that the anaesthetic still had a grip on my good sense, but the rest of me had evidence to process and was determined to be professional, tears or no tears.
The hallway was clear. I could hear conversation on the wards, but there was nothing but floor tiles between me and the nurses' station. I strolled across confidently, as if I had a medical reason for being there. The station was bordered by a semicircular counter, and behind that a few worn chairs. There was an extension lead on the floor. Plugged into it were a kettle and a photocopier. Lucky me.
I switched on the copier and waited, rubbing my eyes and shuffling impatiently, while it heated up. At last the red light flashed green. I pulled back the lid and plonked my arm on the glass. That really should've hurt, and probably would later, but at that moment I felt no pain.
This was ridiculous. In this age of technology, I was being thwarted by a Stone Age photocopier. Ugh, I can't use these copies. I needed a digital camera. Right now. Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed as though the incriminating bruises were already fading. If only my family were here. Hazel's mobile phone had a built-in camera. But if I had removed my cast in front of my mother to take a photo of a bruise, she would've had a nervous breakdown on the spot.
Pink chick May Devereux had a camera connected to the computer in her Wendy house and I knew where the key to it is. God I hate that place…but the Devereux house was barely a minute from the hospital. Heck, I could just waltz in and snap a few quick shots and nip back to bed before anyone's the wiser.
I made my way down to the reception area. In my semi-anaesthetized condition, also known as mental, I decided it would be a good idea to sing a quiet little song, so as not to appear casual and certainly not up to mischief. I don't know if I can manage with my heart in shreds right now, so I sang like someone wearing headphones. Out of tune, and louder than I intended.
A nurse blocked my path. I was eye level with her rack. Dear Lord those can't be natural. She glared at me the way you might look at something that has crawled from a sewer leaving a trail behind it.
'Excuse me, Tex,' she said, hands on hips. Well 'Excuse me, Plastic Surgery.' 'Would you mind reining in the voice. There are babies being born in this hospital. We wouldn't want the first sound they hear to be your painful howling. There could be lawsuits.' There should be some against you. That rack would instil unwanted thoughts in any newborn babies.
'Of course, sister. I'm so sorry. I get carried away sometimes.'
'This could be one of those times if you're not careful. Now, on your way. And keep the noise down, or I may decide to check your temperature and, believe me, you don't want that.' What're you gonna do? Smother me with your boobs? My temperature would actually drop.
I scurried to a waiting area before my mouth pries itself open and cracks all the obscene jokes it could think of.
Okay, outside, I waltzed right onto someone else's front yard. Big oops. My brain controlled my body like it was drunk and I tittered over to the next house the shaggy old man pointed me to. He's probably burning up the phone lines between here and the police station as soon as I was out the fate. I had minutes before a couple of boys in blue came to drag me back to the hospital.
I hurried next door, trying no to let my head wobble too much, which was quite a feat. The dizziness was worse now and I wanted nothing more than to lie down in the rose garden and have a little rest. Perhaps if I went to sleep here, I would somehow wake up in my own bed.
I would only need two minutes. Two minutes would've been plenty if something hadn't caught my eye. The entire side of May's house was glowing a flickering orange. There was a fire somewhere nearby. I loped around the corner feeling slightly duller than a jelly knife.
I heard the fire before I saw it. Pistol-crack flames and boiling hiss. Black smoke filled the garden, rolling in thick coils from a bonfire near the Wendy house. I staggered closer, trying to see what was being burned. All I could make out was the elbow crook of a sleeve, glinting with golden thread.
I gasped with sudden horrible recollection. May's Irish-dancing costume had gold thread.
That little prancing idiot could be in the fire, I thought.
'Fire!' I screamed, and my head nearly exploded. The pain drove me to my knees in a bed of roses. Thorns…
'Fire!' I howled again, and the unlikely combination of pain and anaesthetic shut my entire body down for a few crucial moments.
I awoke to find myself somehow closer to the fire. Alive then, but only barely, judging by the pulpy feel of my skull. I staggered to my feet, working up to a sprint to the Devereux's side door. Some small part of my mind told me to leave her because she's been wanting to get into Red's pants since he glanced at her.
I reached up to check my nasal splint and realized that there was a blackened stick in my hand.
This is so not good, I thought.
That was when two of Lock's finest hurdled the garden wall and buried me deeper than the flower roots. Shit…
A/N: Okay, still with me? *hugs for those who are* Okay, the next chapter, I'll try to put at least 50% of my own writing! Of course I would, you all know what's gonna come next and there's the bike scene I have to wing. xD