Poltergeist: The Legacy
Injured: "The Other Side of the Story."
by: Maven Alysse
Sequel to: Injured: "Nick's Story".
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 "The other side of the story."
The storm raged across the sky. The flashes of lightning turned the night to day. 'What a night!' I turned on a light so I could find my way up later then wandered downstairs and made myself comfortable in the window seat overlooking the porch and front yard. Almost lulled to sleep by the rain, motion drew my attention to the end of the yard. A dark figure was making its way towards the house. 'Who would be out on a night like this?'
Intermittent flashes of light gave me glimpses of him as he climbed up on the porch. Sodden black leather jacket, hands jammed into the pockets, collar up around a thin serious face. Tennis shoes that were most definitely soaked through. Blue jeans that clung to lean legs. Dark brown hair that was plastered against his skull. 'Bet its real soft when dry,' came the stray thought.
The thick door and the storm muffled the sound of his knock. A flash of lightning, followed closely by a crash of thunder, caused both of us to jump. With a sudden premonition I clawed at the window's lock, struggling to get it open. I knew I wouldn't make it to the door in time, but I had to get to him, somehow.
Moments later, the oak tree that had stood as silent sentry through nearly nine decades exploded in a shower of sparks and wood shards as lightning pierced down from the heavens. I watched the man duck from shards and try to jump off the porch as the oak tumbled forward onto the porch roof. I got the window open just as a branch cracked up against the man's head, flinging him closer to me... and to danger. I winced as he landed with a thud, hitting his head against the floor. The roof began caving in. I wasn't going to make it to him in time.
Luck was with us, the wrought-iron bench at one end of the porch caught the weight of the falling support beam, saving the man from being crushed completely. Quickly, I crawled out the window to his side. He was unconscious, a nasty-looking cut above his eye bled profusely. A section of the roof lay across his chest and left arm. After a few moments of struggling I was able to remove it, making it easier to slide him out from under the beam, if necessary. 'I... probably shouldn't move him. No telling what kind of injuries he has.'
A sudden shifting in the floorboards convinced me otherwise. 'This whole thing is gonna collapse. Guess that means we're moving.' I grasped him under the arms and pulled him towards the window, trying not to jar him any more than I had to. "Sorry about this." I hoisted him through the window, careful not to drop him on the other side, apologizing the whole time.
I lay him out on the living room floor, thankful that he still breathed. "Don't go anywhere," I mumbled. 'Yeah, right. Like where's he going to go?' I grabbed a few towels and the med kit from the bathroom. A crash had me running back. The floorboards had finally given way sending the support beam right through, along with the bench. The tree now lay flush against the house. 'Guess I'll be using the back door for a while.'
I turned my attention to the man by my feet. I patched up the wound on his forehead then checked him for other injuries. Carefully removing his jacket and shirt, I found an angry bruise blossoming across his chest, indicating a fracture or break in one or more rib. I gently ran my hands across his ribs, assessing the damage. "One broken, two others are cracked, at least. Well, mister, it looks like you're gonna have some problems with moving about for a bit. But it doesn't seem as if they've punched into anything. Thank God."
I talked to him the whole time I wrapped up his ribs and checked for any other injuries. I wasn't sure if he heard me or not, but it helped me keep focused. I heard a ::clunk:: as I shifted him about. Curious, I reached underneath him and pulled out a gun. A bit shocked, I checked that the safety was on and the chamber empty before setting it aside, though my gaze returned to it frequently during my administrations. 'Luger. 9mm. In excellent condition. Whew. I sure hope you have a license for that thing, boyo.' I decided to put it out of my mind until I learned more about my new guest.
I noticed a shudder run through him and I chided myself. 'Good going. He's soaked, now he's probably got a cold. Better get him out of those wet things before he gets any worse.' I thought for a moment, trying to decide the best place for him. 'Guest bedroom. It's got its own bathroom and I can hear him from my room if he needs anything.'
I settled him into the bed: I removed his clothing and toweled him dry as best I could, then tucked the covers over him. Other than a few cuts and scrapes, his only other major injury was his shoulder. It had become dislocated. 'I hope I didn't do that to him when moving him.' I placed a glass of water beside his bed, then went through his pockets. I felt guilty, but since he didn't seem like he would be waking any time soon to answer my questions, I felt I had the right to find out who he was. 'Especially since he had that gun.'
I sat at the desk and examined my find: a well-used Swiss army knife, a handful of change, a set of keys. 'I wonder if his car is nearby?' I pulled out his cell-phone. The casing was cracked, almost shattered, and a shake got me a rattle for my troubles. 'Oh, this has certainly seen better days.' I turned it on, but didn't get a dial tone. 'Wonder if I can fix it? Won't know till I try, I guess.' I put it aside for a moment and retrieved his wallet.
'Bingo,' I thought, as I pulled out his drivers' license. "Humn..." I mumbled to myself. "Nicholas Patrick Boyle. Mind if I call you Nick?" I glanced at his unconscious figure and shook my head wryly. "Sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes. Age: 25. Hair: Brown; obviously. Eyes: Hazel. Five foot eight, hundred and sixty pounds. Well, that all fits." I found a military I.D. "Let's see... Says here you're an ex Navy S.E.A.L. Impressive. Anything else?"
I pulled out the rest of the wallet's contents. Only a few items seemed of importance. One was a license for the gun he carried. 'Well, that's one worry off my mind.' Another was a card identifying him as the head of security for the Luna Foundation based in San Francisco. "A bit far from home, aren't we, my friend?" A contact number under the name of Dr. Derek Raynes was listed. "Huh. The sooner I can get that phone working, the better."
The last were a couple of pictures. One was of Nick and a young woman with blonde hair. They stood closely together and I could tell that they cared for one another deeply. A large mansion could be seen in the background. I flipped the picture over. On the back was written, 'Nick- with all my love- Julia. '90' "It figures that you'd be attached, wouldn't it?" I asked with a grin.
The other was a group photo. Nick sat in a chair in the center. A young girl sat in his lap. On one side was a young man who sat on the arm of the chair, one arm draped over Nick's shoulders. On the other was a stunning Creole woman, her eyes warm with affection. An older gentleman and woman stood behind the chair, smiling at the camera. On the back was written, 'Happy Birthday, Nick.' And it was signed by everyone in the photo. 'Love, Derek, Rachel, Philip, Alex, and Kat. '93.'
I slowly replaced the items back in the wallet, taking care to put everything where I had gotten it. Piling everything neatly onto the desk, I debated with myself, then placed his gun with his other belongings with a shrug. 'It's his. And he's got a license. It's not as if he can do anything to me. Not in the state he's in now, anyway.' I checked on my patient. He hadn't moved, but sweat dotted his brow and his face looked flushed. I bathed his face, taking care not to get his bandage wet. I talked to him while I worked, or to myself, who knew what he was aware of. "You're a lucky man, Mr. Boyle. They look like good friends. You'll definitely be missed." I leaned back and took another good look at him. "So let's see what we can do about getting you home as soon as possible, shall we?"
I took his cell-phone and knife downstairs with me to see if I could fix it. I ended up having to cannibalize a couple of lamps for wiring. The accident had fried some of the wiring and the broken casing had clipped a few others, they needed splicing.
I eventually had to temporarily abandon my repairs. Nick became extremely ill. He had caught a cold during the storm, and the accident had caused complications turning it into pneumonia. I did what I could for him; bathing him when the fever spiked, giving him liquids to replace what he sweated away. I had some penicillin in the med kit and I gave that to him hoping the antibiotic would help. I hadn't seen anything stating he was allergic to anything. I only prayed that he wasn't, all the while listening to the air rasping in his lungs.
I never understood why the body insisted on replaying that which was painful or terrifying when it was injured. I always thought a person would heal faster if they had pleasant memories to concentrate on. Nick's fevers were accompanied by nightmares. At least, I think they were nightmares. Some of the things he babbled were so fantastic: tales of werewolves, ghosts, demons, vampires, all taken care of by the people in his picture, and something called the Legacy... it was difficult to believe that they could have actually happened. But, somehow, I knew that everything he talked about was real.
Not all of his dreams were terrifying, though. He had good memories as well, and he shared them with me, albeit unknowingly. At first, I was embarrassed to be hearing his private thoughts and feelings, but in the five days that the fever raged, I learned a lot about that young man. His strength and determination to survive and to help his friends awed me. His sensitivity and compassion shone through, as well.
I knew that he was desperately ill and needed a doctor, but I was terrified of leaving him alone for the amount of time it would have taken me to walk to town for help. His lungs were so congested, several times I would have sworn he was going to stop breathing.
I was downstairs getting more ice when he apparently tried to get out of bed. I heard his coughing from down the hall. Long, harsh sounds, as if he was tearing himself apart from the inside out. Then, silence. I rushed to his room, my heart in my throat. I found him flopped sideways on the bed, unconscious, a fever raging. He spent the rest of the morning submerged in my bathtub, a pack of ice on his neck and forehead, as I tried to bring his temperature down to a more tolerable level. I thought I was going to lose him. The fever broke two long days later.
I cut up the last of the meat and cheese I had and put it on a plate to leave in Nick's room. I was hoping he'd feel well enough later to be able to eat some of it. 'Going to need some supplies soon.' I checked on him and changed his bandages. He was sleeping peacefully, his skin cool. His lungs were almost completely clear of all the junk that had clogged it and he was breathing easier. "Okay, Nick. I'm going to see if I can find your car. I'm assuming you didn't walk all the way here. If I can, I'll bring it here and then get you to town and a doctor. If not..." I brushed his hair off his forehead hoping he could hear something of what I was saying. "Well, your phone had better not be too difficult to fix, now had it?" I rose and made my way out of the room. "I shouldn't be too long."
'Now. Should I check towards town or away from town?' I contemplated the area for a moment, trying to remember exactly what was between here and town. 'Away from town. I don't think he'd have shown up here if he knew "civilization" was only a few miles away. There isn't much around here.' I kept a brisk pace up, there was a chill in the air and I didn't want to leave my guest alone any longer than necessary. I glanced at the overcast sky and hoped it wouldn't rain until after I got back to the house.
I checked a few promising places - areas where a space in the underbrush indicated a car had passed through - with no luck. I was out for an hour before I spotted a red Mustang off to the side of the road. A Luna Foundation sticker could be seen on a corner of the windshield. 'This must be it. Nice car.'
I noticed that the car was canted at an odd angle, as if it rested on something. Checking underneath, I saw that the car's axle was entangled by a tree branch. Testing the strength of the branch I concluded that moving the car would entail a minor miracle, 'Or at least a tow truck. Just our luck.' It was then that I noticed that I had forgotten to bring the keys with me. 'Well then, it's a good thing that moving it is a moot point anyway, isn't it?' I was annoyed with myself, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. I checked that the car was secure then made my way back to the house.
Once at the house, I went upstairs to check on Nick. All I found was a rumpled bed and his torn and bloodstained shirt still lying on the chair. I picked it up, a bit shocked. 'Where did he go?' Peripherally, I noticed that the water and food I'd left were gone. 'Looks like he's feeling better. Better go find him, see how well he really is.'
I checked the house, starting with the upstairs room and making my way down. I heaved a sigh of relief when I spotted him lying on the couch. I'd missed seeing him when I had gone up the back stairs. I went over to him. He was sleeping. A quick check showed that he was bothered by a low-grade fever, perspiration dotted his forehead. "Overexerted yourself, didn't you?" I chided. I wet a cloth in the kitchen, noticing that the phone was missing.
Returning to Nick, I found the phone on the floor by the couch. 'Wonder if you got through to anyone?'
I gently bathed his face, then took his shoes and jacket off, making him more comfortable. I found a warm afghan and tucked it around him. 'It'll be easier to deal with you down here for now. Not sure I could get you back up those stairs again.' I picked up the phone, wincing at the static. I tried auto re-dial, but apparently not all the repairs were perfect, only the first three numbers went through, then the phone cut off. Thinking, I pulled out Nick's wallet and found the contact number for the Luna Foundation. I tried calling, but the storm that had been threatening all day seemed to be scrambling the signals and I couldn't get through to anyone. Defeated, I concentrated on Nick's condition.
It rained unceasingly during the next few days. Nick's fever had returned, though not as bad as previously, thank God. I got him to drink some soup at one point and I made sure to keep liquids in him. A couple of times the phone ringed, but when I picked up, all I got was a dial tone. I couldn't tell if it was due to the weather or due to faulty wiring, but it sure was annoying knowing help was only a phone call away, and the phone wouldn't work. To distract myself, I worked on fixing Nick's shirt. I was able to get the bloodstains out of his shirt with some judicious scrubbing and I mended the rips in it.
It was about ten in the evening when the phone rang. I picked it up, hoping, praying that this time it would work. "Hello?"
"Nick? Nick are you there?" The gentleman's voice sounded tight with worry and concern, his accent making his words clipped. "Nick? It's Derek."
"Hello? Mr. Raynes? Can you hear me?" I raised my voice, hoping he'd hear.
"Nick? Look, if you can hear me, don't hang up the phone. Do you understand? I repeat, do not hang up the phone. We'll find where you are and come to you." There was a pause and some murmuring. I assume he was talking to someone in the room with him. "Nick? We're coming. Just hang on."
I set the phone down, my teeth worrying my bottom lip. 'Well, guess some help's on the way. Though how they're going to find us..." I shrugged.
Later that night, I placed a new cloth on Nick's forehead. The fever was lessening, but still causing problems. He shifted on the couch, the first independent motion he'd made in quite some time. I was relieved, hopeful that he would awaken.
His eyes were slightly glazed over as he looked up at me. "Who are you?" he asked, his voice little more than a whisper.
"Hush," I told him. I didn't want him moving about too much. He was still sick. "Your friends will be here for you soon."
Confusion entered into his hazel eyes and he tried to sit up. "But..."
I gently pushed him back. I stilled his lips with my fingers then stroked his fevered brow until he was lulled back into sleep.
It was near dawn when I heard Nick stir. I was curled up in the armchair next to the couch, half asleep. He reached over for the glass of water I had placed nearby and drank about half of it. I didn't want to startle him, so I kept quiet. He laid back down on the couch and appeared to have fallen asleep. I was surprised when I heard him whisper, "I don't know if you're about, but... thank you. For everything."
I don't know if he heard me, but I whispered back, "You're welcome."
The next morning, I was upstairs, cleaning up the guest room while Nick slept when I heard voices downstairs. I glided over to the top of the stairs and looked down. Four people entered the living room. I recognized them from Nick's photograph. The older, distinguished looking man spoke. "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. The two women started up the stairs. The younger spoke first. "Do you think he's all right, Rachel?"
"I sure hope so, Alex. I sure hope so." They were almost to the top when Philip's voice rang out. "Nick? Derek, I found him!" The two exchanged glances and ran back downstairs. I followed them, stopping half-way down and sitting on the steps. I could see the entire room, even Nick lying on the couch. I don't know why I didn't try to gain their attention. I was just glad that they had arrived.
I watched as Philip knelt by Nick and picked up his hand, his strong Irish voice filled with worry and concern. "Nick? Please wake up, Nick."
Nick opened his eyes and focused upon his friend's face. "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," came the quiet reply. He looked about the room. Derek was coming out of the kitchen and Alex and Rachel had already rushed back down the stairs. I tried to blend into the wall. I didn't want the attention of these people. 'Humnph,' I thought, 'Heck of a time to get shy all of a sudden.' But I didn't move.
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." I smiled at that, glad I had done all right.
Nick shrugged. "Dunno. Never saw them."
Derek spoke, "In all the time you were here, you saw no one?" I could hear the amazement in his voice.
"No," he said absently. "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." I bit my lower lip, I'd lost track of time too. It hadn't felt like two weeks, but... I thought it over and found it was true. 'No wonder they looked so frantic. And so relieved to find him okay.'
A few moments later Rachel 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. I heaved a silent sigh of relief.
"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."
I saw the others wince. Alex gave a shudder and Philip's eyes clouded over with concern. I couldn't tell Derek's reaction as his back was turned to me. Rachel looked on sympathetically.
Nick continued, "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, I can only imagine what he might have been thinking. 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."
They had been making their way towards the back door. I crept down the stairs and followed them, listening, until they made it to the door.
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. I rushed back up the stairs and watched them through one of the upstairs windows. I could still hear their conversation.
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 swayed again, Philip braced him, face and voice concerned. "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.
Nick looked up at the house from inside the car. I backed away from the window. He never saw me during his stay, no reason for him to do so now.
Though no words were spoken, I heard him say, 'Thank you.'
'Your welcome,' I responded.
I watched the car drive away and smiled in satisfaction, memory returning. My job was done. I'd been sent there to wait for someone, and to help them when they arrived, and I had. I believe I helped in more than just the physical sense. Much of what Nick had said during his nightmares were clearly things he hadn't told to anyone else, and they weighed down on him. I hope that by bringing them out into the open, even unknowingly, he could begin the process of healing his spirit.
"You did well, child." The Voice said behind me.
"Will he be all right?" I asked, still concerned for the young man.
"He's with his friends now. His family. They'll take over where you left off."
"I'm glad. This wasn't one of the easiest assignments I've had."
"That's because you weren't allowed to reveal yourself to him, or the others."
"Or do anything that a normal human couldn't do," I added.
"Precisely." I basked in the warm glow of approval for a moment. "Ready for your next assignment?"
I nodded, "Where to?"
"A small town called Sloanville. There's a precinct you need to look in to."
The room disappeared in a flash of white light.
A pure white feather drifted to the floor in an empty Victorian house.