Poltergeist: The Legacy
Injured "Nick's story."
by: Maven Alysse
Disclaimer: Poltergeist: The Legacy belongs to Showtime and Trilogy Entertainment Group
A/N: Written June 1998. Originally posted on a geocities site that has since gone defunct. Thanks to Aislinn for being an awesome beta!
Injured: "Nick's Story."
It was late, nearing one in the morning, when Nick finally admitted that he was lost. Turning the overhead light on he peered at the map Derek had drawn for him showing the way to the small town of Merrel. 'Should have been there by now,' he mused. 'Wish these directions had been clearer.' He pulled out his cell-phone. 'Maybe Derek can clear this up for me.' Nick winced at the static that snarled in his ear. 'Or not. Guess that case of his will have to wait until I can figure out where I am.'
A low roll of thunder was heard and a few drops of ran splattered on the windshield. Nick snapped off the interior light and continued down the road. He hadn't seen any signs of civilization in quite some time and hoped he'd find something soon. The rain fell harder, making the road slippery. He could feel the car jerk as the wheels alternately slipped from or gripped the pavement. 'What else can happen?' As if in answer, the car slued to one side, running off the road and onto the shoulder. Something snagged the undercarriage of the vehicle and brought it up short, jerking Nick in his seat. "Whoa!" Nick tried putting the car into reverse, but the engine stalled and refused to turn over. Nick swore softly to himself. "Had to ask, didn't I?"
Nick looked distastefully out at the rain as he zipped his black leather jacket up. He slipped the cell-phone into a pocket, donned a pair of gloves, and left the relative safety of the car. His dark brown hair was instantly plastered to his skull - bangs hanging in his eyes. Checking under the car, he swore again. A tree branch had seemingly wrapped itself around the axle of his car, effectively pinning it in place. No amount of pushing or pulling loosened its hold. 'I'm gonna need a tow truck. Terrific.' Nick stood and looked around. From his vantage point he could just make out the lights of some sort of building a couple of miles away. 'Nothing for it then. Guess I'll have to walk.' He sighed. "Let's get this show on the road, then."
Three-quarters of an hour saw Nick breathing a sigh of relief as a three story house came into view. It looked Victorian, with a balcony and porch overlooking a large front lawn and garden. The storm had not let up. In fact, it had become increasingly worse over time. As Nick made his way up towards the porch, a light went on in a room on the second floor. "Looks like someone's up. Hope they can help." He sneezed twice, his eyes tearing, and stifled a cough. 'Great. Now I've gone and caught a cold.'
Nick climbed the steps leading to the door, glad to be under some cover. He knocked on the door, suppressing a shiver as the wind took that moment to run down his collar. Waiting, he wiped the rain off his face and shook what he could from his hair and clothes.
A bolt of lightning flashed, the immediate thunder crash reverberating in his chest told him how close it had come. Suddenly, the hairs on Nick's neck tingled almost painfully. A brief hush and the taste of ozone in the air caused Nick to scan the sky anxiously. 'Incoming,' he thought wildly. As if it had heard, a bolt sizzled down, striking a nearby oak tree with the intensity of a bomb. Nick flung up an arm to protect his face from the wooden shrapnel that exploded from the tree. The dying tree toppled, branches falling on and catching at the porch roof. With a groan, the roof began caving in. Nick tried to leap off the porch to safety, but a branch caught him squarely on the side of his head, spinning him back onto the porch. His last view was of a support beam falling towards him.
Nick opened his eyes, but it was several long minutes before his brain was able to sort through all the images and sensations rushing over him. He shut them quickly and groaned as the room began spinning. 'What happened?' Images of the storm, the falling tree, and his own unsuccessful attempt of getting off the porch assailed him.
Almost automatically, he quickly ran an assessment of himself, checking for injuries. His head ached abominably. His fingertips discovered a thick bandage on his right temple. 'Must've been from the branch.' His left arm was immobilized, set in a kind of splint. A quick examination revealed it to be because of a badly sprained and bruised shoulder and not from a break. 'Thank heaven.' The movement, however, caused pain to flair in his side. He hitched in a breath, now aware of bandages wrapped tightly about his ribs. 'Must've cracked a few. If not broken them outright.' One ankle was lightly bandaged, but rotating it caused no pain, so Nick assumed it had been cut. The other injuries were nothing but bruises and small cuts, nothing to really worry about, but damned uncomfortable.
Assured that he was going to live, Nick glanced around the room, trying to figure out where he was. He was laying in a four-poster bed in a small bedroom. A chest of drawers and a wardrobe stood in one corner; a writing desk with chair and lamp stood in another. His clothing and personal effects lay on the desk, apparently intact. It was then that he realized that he was dressed only in his boxers. The light streaming in from the window told him that it was late afternoon. The look of the room lead him to think that he was still at the old Victorian house. 'Wonder if anyone is about?' "Hello? Is there anyone here?" He was startled at how weak his voice sounded. It had a rasping quality he'd never heard before which scared him somewhat. He listened intently, but all he could hear was his breath wheezing in and out of his lungs.
He noticed a glass of water on the table beside him and was suddenly aware of how thirsty he was. He eased himself upright, but the sudden shift caused him to start coughing. The coughs rocked him, causing his already injured chest to spasm. He doubled over, fists clenching the cotton sheets of the bed. His vision clouded over, sparkles of light appearing as he desperately tried to stop coughing and take in a breath of oxygen. The bout of coughing set his ribs afire and his head to pounding. Then, as if to further torment him, his diaphragm kinked up and refused to draw in anymore air. Gasping, Nick fell back onto the pillow and passed out.
Nick came to sometime later. He wasn't sure how long he'd been out. He'd had a vague idea that someone had been in sitting beside him and soothing his coughs and fevered brow, but he didn't know who. His dreams had been both comforting and uneasy. Everything of importance that had happened to him in his life had seemed to make an appearance in his dream, almost like a film for some unknown observer.
A small water basin and cloth stood on the desk along with a bottle of something and a few bandages. His aches and pains were greatly diminished, much to his surprise. He noticed that his arm was no longer immobilized, though still very sore and that the bandage on his temple had been changed and was smaller than before.
His mouth felt as dry as a desert and he was glad to see that the glass of water was still on the bedside table. 'Wonder if I can get it this time.' Carefully, very carefully, he eased himself upright. He stifled a cough, eyes narrowed in apprehension, but the movement didn't trigger another coughing bout. This time he successfully retrieved the water and gulped it down greedily. Finished, he noticed a small plate of bread and fruit, along with cubes of meat and cheese on the table. He was hungry, but more curious as to the identity of his mysterious benefactor. "Hello?"
Nick eyed the desk warily, wondering if he could retrieve his clothing. "Never know till I try. Here we go. Once more into the breach." He was gratified to note his voice sounded better, only rasping slightly. He rose slowly, took a few stumbling steps and leaned heavily on the desk. He spent a couple of minutes regaining his balance and easing the coughing.
Although it took a bit of doing, he felt immensely better once he had his jeans on. Noting the rips and bloodstains, he gave the shirt up as a lost cause. He was surprised to find his wallet, keys, and gun (with bullets) lying beside his shoes. 'Humn. Either they don't think I'll be a threat or they want to let me know that they mean no harm.' He tucked the gun in the waistband at his back taking comfort in its cool weight. The only things he couldn't find were his cell-phone and Swiss army knife. 'Maybe they fell out during the accident.' He replaced his things into his pockets and carefully eased on his jacket. He wasn't sure he was going to be coming back to this room or not. 'Better to be prepared for anything,' the ex-Navy SEAL thought.
Nick slipped his feet into his shoes - sans socks - and was going to check the house when his stomach sharply reminded him that he was forgetting something. He made sort work of the food, again thankful to... 'Whoever. Let's find out, shall we? If nothing else, maybe I'll find a working phone.' He made his way down the hall, one hand trailing along the wall for balance. He glanced briefly into each room he passed. The rooms were furnished elegantly, if simply, but none seemed to exhibit any life. 'Everything's neat as a pin, almost like no one lives here at all, except that there's no dust.'
By the time he reached the staircase he was breathing hard from exertion. He sat heavily on the top step, one arm hugging his ribs, the other pinching the bridge of his nose as his vision blurred. He closed his eyes for a moment taking in a shuddering breath, trying to steady himself. His eyes snapped open at the sound of footsteps below him. "Hello? Is someone there?"
He received no response and a glance down the stairs didn't reveal anything. He struggled to his feet, wincing in pain, and cautiously made his way to the first floor watching for any movement. He found his cell-phone spread out upon the kitchen table. The casing was covered in a spider-web of cracks and he could tell that some of the wiring had been destroyed. A lamp lay dismantled beside the phone, his knife beside it. He poked at the various parts. 'Looks like someone's trying to repair it.' Nick made another sweep of the house, this time noting that there were no phones in evidence. As he checked, he wondered about his missing host. 'Could I have imagined those footsteps?' His instincts said no, but there didn't appear to be anyone but himself in the house. 'Now, who would leave a stranger alone in their house? Never mind that he's injured and might not be able to move on his own. I don't get it.'
He drifted back to the kitchen and started fiddling with the phone. 'Guess this is going to be my only way out of here.' He examined the damage and smiled for the first time since starting on this nightmare trip. 'I can rig this up in a couple of hours, no problem.'
A few hours later.
'Here goes.' Nick pressed the 'talk' button and nervously waited for the dial-tone. 'A bit static-y, but it works. Let's see if I can find out where I am.' He punched in the number for information, hoping to get hold of an operator, but all he got was time and temp. "Damn," he said softly. 'All right. Let's go for broke here.' He dialed the house number, praying someone would answer.
He bit his bottom lip as the answering machine picked up. ~"You have reached the Luna Foundation. No one is currently able to take your call. Please leave your name and number and we'll get right back to you." *beep*~
"Derek? You in? It's Nick. Look, I had an accident and I'm not too sure where I am. Call me on my cell-phone, I finally got it working again. 555-1325. Bye." He hung up, disappointed. As if responding to his mood, his body took that time to betray him. A wave of dizziness washed over him and he clutched at the table, knuckles white, to keep from falling. When it passed, he stumbled into the living room, stretched out on the couch and fell instantly asleep.
Nick was burning up with fever. 'Guess I pushed myself too hard.' He shifted on the couch, not quite awake, but unable to sleep either. Without opening his eyes he could tell that his jacket and shoes had once again been removed. A wet cloth was placed upon his forehead, wonderfully cool. Opening his eyes, all he could make out was a slender form kneeling beside him. He couldn't make out any features; night had fallen and his eyes refused to focus properly. "Who are you?" he asked, his voice little more than a whisper.
"Hush," he thought he heard. "Your friends will be here for you soon."
Confused, and anxious to see his benefactor, Nick tried to sit up. "But..."
He was gently pushed back. Cool fingers stilled his lips then stroked his fevered brow until he was lulled back into sleep.
Just before dawn, Nick woke once again. Someone had placed a pillow beneath his head and a warm afghan was tucked about him. His headache had lessened as well as the fever that had gripped him earlier. Nick looked about and was unsurprised to see a glass of water nearby. He drank about half then put it down. Quietly, almost to himself, he said, "I don't know if you're about, but... thank you. For everything."
As he drifted back to sleep he thought he heard, "You're welcome."
Nick heard voices, as if from a great distance. "Alex, you and Rachel search upstairs. Philip, you check this side of the house, I'll check the other." A murmuring of assent was heard. A moment later: "Nick? Derek, I found him!" He felt his hand being picked up and a strong Irish voice, filled with worry and concern, reached his ears again. "Nick? Please wake up, Nick." A warm hand stroked the side of his face.
Nick opened bleary eyes and focused upon his friend's face, who knelt beside him. "Heya, Philip," he whispered. "When did you get here?"
Philip heaved a sigh of relief. "God, Nick. We've been worried sick. Are you all right?" The priest grasped Nick's sore shoulder and quickly removed it at the wince of pain.
"I've felt better," he said truthfully. He looked about the room. Derek was coming out of the kitchen and Alex and Rachel rushed back down the stairs.
Rachel gently moved Philip out of the way in order to examine Nick. "How are you feeling, Nick?"
"Sore." His voice was still rough, but the ugly rasping quality was gone.
She poked at his bandaged ribs, eliciting a hiss from him. "Who patched you up, kiddo? They did a terrific job."
Nick shrugged. "Dunno. Never saw them."
Derek raised a brow. "In all the time you were here, you saw no one?" His voice sounded amazed.
"No," he said absently, his thoughts focused on what Derek had said and the look the others were exchanging. "What do you mean 'in all the time I was here'? How long have I been here?"
Derek sighed. "Two weeks."
"Two...?" Incredulous, Nick tried to sit up but was pushed back by Rachel. "Lie still." She said sharply with a glare at Derek. "Let me finish." A few moments later she pulled the afghan back up around his shoulders. "Well, your ribs are healing nicely. As is that nasty cut on your forehead. From the slight fever and raspiness of your voice, I'd say you're also getting over a bout of pneumonia. With some antibiotics, you'll be fine in no time." She smiled down at the young man.
"What happened to you, Nick?" Alex reached down to smooth his bangs out of his eyes.
"I was on my way to Merrel. Took a wrong turn somewhere. Axle got caught up by a branch a few miles up the road. Had to hike it here in the rain. When I made it here, I got caught when the porch fell in." The others winced. "Next thing I know, I'm in a room upstairs. I thought I'd only been here a couple of days. I must have been real sick not to notice."
"Well, let's get you home then, shall we?" Derek nodded to Philip who retrieved Nick's shirt and held it up to help the young man into it. Nick stared at it for a moment before putting it on, the bloodstains were gone and the rips had been mended. He stuffed his feet into his shoes and let the others help him to his feet. He swayed a bit, Philip grabbed an elbow to steady him. "How did you find me, anyway?"
Alex answered. "When we got your message, we kept trying your cell-phone. The first couple of days, we didn't get a response." Nick blinked at that. "Then yesterday Derek called and someone picked up. No one said anything, but the connection stayed open. We contacted your service and triangulated your position."
He smiled weakly. "You make it sound so easy."
Derek interrupted. "It wasn't. This house isn't on the maps. We literally stumbled upon it." The group left the house through the back door and made their way up front to the car.
Nick looked at the wreck of what had once been a magnificent porch. The oak tree lay flat across the front door, having crushed the porch roof and flattened the platform. Nick's face paled and he murmured, "Nothing could have survived that."
Philip placed an arm across his shoulders. "You were verra lucky. You must have just cleared the deck."
Nick felt a chill up his spine and he suppressed a shudder as he remembered only too well how he had hit the side of the house when the branch had slammed into him. He had been directly under a supporting beam as it fell. 'By all rights, I should be dead.' He closed his eyes and swayed dizzily. He'd come so close to dying.
Philip braced him as he tried to catch his balance. "Nick?"
"I'm fine. I just..." he paused and looked entreatingly at his friend, "Can we go home, now? Please?"
"Yeah. Yeah, we can go home now." Philip helped Nick into the car and the others piled in as well.
Derek cleared his throat. "We had your car towed back to the island. No one had bothered it."
Nick nodded absently, looking out the window towards the house. He thought he saw a figure looking out from the second story window - but it disappeared before he could tell for sure. 'Thank you,' he thought silently.
'Your welcome,' came the response.
Nick's Journal Entry:
It's been several days since I had been found at the old house. Rachel seems confident that I'll make a full recovery. My illness and injuries explain, at least to her and the others, the reasons behind why I had no knowledge of the passage of time. I drove by the house yesterday, despite Rachel's protests. The house, when I could find it, was completely empty – all the furnishings gone, as if they'd never been. All I found was a pure white feather in the room where I thought I had seen my benefactor as I was leaving.
One thing has changed. My nightmares have all but disappeared. Somehow, during my illness, I finally started letting go of everything that had been festering inside of me for so long. Most of it still hurts, but I really think I'm healing in more than just my body. I don't know if my benefactor had anything to do with it, but something inside tells me yes, and I am eternally grateful for that.
I checked the background of that house. No one's lived there in almost seventy years, no one's died of unexplained or tragic means. But I am positive that someone, or something, helped me when I needed it most. Though more familiar with the evils of this world, I believe that this will help me remember that not all of the entities that we encounter are harmful. Perhaps one day I'll discover who or what really helped me, and I'll be able to give a proper thanks. Until that time, I shall enjoy this second chance at life.