The thick pungent fragrance of antiseptic and heat invades my nose mixing with the muggy white of the flickering fluorescent light in the room. It's buzzing lights up the bleak walls of the dreary cream colored room. I'm back in the same hospital room as the first night of my stay at Mclean's. A nervous tapping interrupts my reminiscing, I rotate my stiff neck to the source of the noise. Their hands cover their face as they sob quietly hunched over in a seat at my bedside, the only thing I can see is the moss color of their shaggy hair. Shaking I inch my hand closer to the trembling figure, grazing my hand over their arm.
The face whips up, its Duncan. His face is puffy, eyes red from the tears, and his eyes are outlined with the stain of purple outlining the bags under his eyes. The top of his hair is limp lacking its usual vibrancy, the brown hair sticking through makes the remaining green look like a swamp. He stares at me gripping my hand in his.
"Were you crying?" I whisper out.
Duncan snorts out, "What? I never cry, that's crazy."
Duncan takes his arm wiping the remaining tears from the sides of his face. I watch his tears slide across his face, I can't help but smile at his contempt for emotion.
"How long have I been in here?" I ask shifting in the bed.
Duncan answers, "Just a few days I-we were all worried really worried about you."
Duncan points to a cart sitting in the corner of the room, it sits adorned with bears, flowers, and get well cards.
"You're a real popular patient."
My mouth breaks out in a small grin at the affection, and then back to Duncan. He stares at me with wide open eyes searching for something. "Are you ok?" I ask.
Duncan eyes pop in surprise at my question he returns, "Uh-uh yeah… I was just wondering; what was the last thing you remember about the attack on the school?"
"Well…. all the elementals were at the beach and everyone was yelling. Then that red smoke bomb was all over the campus and we went to go find the kids."
I jump up in my bed "Duncan are all the kids ok?"
"Yeah we found them all except-"
"Except after hearing about the accident some of the parents are starting to pull their kids out of the school. About fifteen kids have checked out already."
My shoulder relaxes sinking into the bed after hearing the news. We both pause at the memory of the attack staring at each other attentively.
Duncan pipes up, "So there's nothing else you remember about that night?"
"It's all a fog really. No other than being attacked I remember us going to Mclean's office with the Professor. Should I?"
My forehead pulses with pain as I attempt to recall the rest of the events from the night. I clench my eyes shut to remember, nothing but that red fog comes to mind.
Duncan rubs his hands behind his neck avoiding eye contact with me. "Nothing major we just got into a little argument while we were at the beach."
My eyebrows shoot up in surprise, "Really, was it bad?"
Duncan shakes his head quickly, "Nah nothing major."
"That's good," I yawn out.
I reach out to caress what's remaining of Duncan's mohawk, the dark green hairs mix into the oaky brown of his roots. "Nice hair," I muse.
He shakes out the mess I made of his hair retorting, "Oh hardy har har, they don't exactly sell hair gel and dye at the hospital gift shop Princess."
"Have you even left the hospital since I got here?"
Duncan doesn't respond. I declare, "Duncan you need to go back to your dorm I'll be fine, I'm tough." By the end of my sentence I'm slurring my words and my eyelids become heavy in fatigue.
"Somehow I don't think I'll be leaving this room until you're leaving too," Duncan declares with a smirk.
"You need to shower and change your clothes," I argue.
Duncan rolls his eyes, "And why should I?"
"Proper hygiene is a really unattractive feature, and plus my master persuasive skills have already convinced you to," I yawn out.
"I don't think so," Duncan chuckles.
"You should listen to the girl Duncan it would do you some good you smell like my old PE locker in high school. Plus I need some quality time with Courtney would you mind?" Dr. Hart appears in the doorway glancing over a clipboard of charts.
Duncan nods without protest sauntering out of the room, right before giving me a wink. Dr. Hart's wide smile falls into a dead expression he asks, "How are you today Courtney?"
"About as good as someone who got attacked by their former math teacher and passed out for nearly 3 days," I grumble.
"That seems like something to put anyone in a bad mood," Dr. Hart reasons.
"What's the diagnosis Dr. Hart how sick did the attack make me?"
"Actually it seems to be the opposite," Dr. Hart explains.
"How is that possible? Whatever the professor did was able to knock me out for three days," I interrupt.
Dr. Hart leans back against the wall in dismay massaging his temples. He says in a defeated tone, "I wish I knew. In all the years I've done medicine there has never been a problem that I have been unable heal. When you were delivered to the hospital wing whatever the Professor injected inside of you your body was doing its best to reject it at first. We had you on around the clock watch with healers waiting for your next seizure. In these seizures your body summoned unbelievable fire power."
He points to the wall above the bed and ceiling, the regular cream walls are browned from a deep burn. Then he guides my eyes to the belted restraints on each side of the bed.
"After the initial 24 hours of your body rejecting the serum you went into a completely unresponsive state to any of the hospital's healers. None of the psychics at the school or even Duncan with your mental connection could locate where you were mentally. Fortunately you didn't let out anymore fire and your vitals were completely normal."
"Well if I'm looking so amazing and my powers are completely normal then what's the problem?" I ask.
The Doctor takes a deep breath sighing, "The question that remains is why would an assailant attack you with something that enhances your powers and make you nearly invulnerable to mental power attacks?"
I press my hands to my head to relax my pulsating forehead. I ask, "So what do you think is going on?"
The Doctor pauses again digging his eyes into mine. "I think that there maybe something bigger happening than a terrorist attack on the school and some injured students."
"I have been at this school before Mclean was wearing diapers, I knew Professor Sevilla when she first arrived here. I cannot believe that she would have it inside her to do this, the doctor says in dismay."
"Sorry Dr. Hart I find that hard to believe because I have the hole in my neck to prove it, and there's no way you're old enough to have been at the school this long," I argue.
He has to be kidding me the doctor's dark walnut skin devoid of wrinkles couldn't be over the age of thirty. A short laugh almost makes a smile appear on the Doctor's face.
"You can shoot fire out of your mouth and hands and me being old is what you're having trouble with? Things are not always what they seem, keep your eyes open Courtney, I fear that there are some evil workings afoot at this school. If I were you I would suggest finding out what," he commands with the slightest force in his voice.
The doctor reaches into his pocket grabbing a metal syringe the metal carrier still stained with the lightest tinge of pink.
"Whatever was in this heightened your mental abilities I think it would do you good to investigate."
"How do I do that?"
"Ask the source," the doctor whispers.
I sit in suspended silence evaluating Dr. Hart. A knock on the door erupts through the room following by the swinging of the door. Duncan pops his head through the door chiming, "I'm officially showered, can I come back in?"
Duncan now has a warm glow about him instead of a somber stain of tears and musk. Dressed in his usual attire of a black tee shirt and jeans, his hair is slicked back instead of propped up in a mohawk.
Dr. Hart's dreary scowl is returned to a light opening grin. On cue he chimes, "Of course Duncan. Come in."
Dr. Hart stands up walking towards the doorway he calls to me, "Courtney after your meeting with Mclean please return to the hospital we're keeping you overnight for analysis. But in the meantime feel free to go about and explore the campus."
Duncan replaces the Doctor in his seat and asks, "What was that about?"
"Nothing," I dismiss.
"So what's up with this meeting with Mclean?" I ask eager to change the subject.
Duncan gaffs, "Probably nothing but Mclean summoned a meeting tonight with all the Chosen elementals some announcement. Pretty routine no special birthmark no invite."
"Duncan what happened to the professor after I blacked out?"
The flimsy paper sheets clench in Duncan's hands at the mention of her name. He explains, "She's being transported tomorrow morning into custody of the state."
"I need to talk to her," I say hopping out of the bed.
Duncan sneers, "What are you going to do barge into Mclean's office and demand to see the prisoner?"
"When did you become so keen on following the rules?" I ask with raised eyebrows.
Duncan shrugs his shoulders, "Never, but I've never been keen on getting caught or doing something that stupid. She was there in one of those hoods during a Verwoya attack, I thought-we thought you were going to die! There's no way I'm letting you anywhere near her."
"Duncan I need to talk to her about that night before she leaves it may be my only chance."
"And what if I were to stop you."
"You wouldn't because you're going to help me," I declare.
"Why would I do that?" Duncan retorts crossing his arms.
"Because you have to be curious, why a teacher with a long line of Special history and a teacher at this school would do this? I've got to talk to her myself."
Duncan looks upon me with dismay from his chair mulling over what I have said. Frustrated I say, "If you won't help me I'll do it myself."
Disappointed I walk to the door to leave Duncan jumps up grabbing my wrist. He mounts his hands over my shoulders staring deep into my eyes he asks sternly, "Do you really need to do this?"
I nod my head. Duncan sighs, "I'll collect some information today on where she's being held and we can try to find her after the meeting with Mclean stay in bed until we need to leave for the meeting and rest. I'll come and pick you up."
Duncan studies my face waiting for something I can't tell if he's trying to read my mind or examining my face. I don't protest just let his eyes roam.
"You can let go now," I suggest.
The longer he stared the harder he grips my shoulders, his eyebrow flies up in surprise. Duncan laughs, "Sorry about that it's just been kind of quiet without your voice in my head I'm getting used to it again."
"Just go back to bed and I promise I'll have something figured out by tonight."
Duncan leads me back to bed tucking me in and handing me the TV remote.
"Don't forget," I yell as Duncan walks into the hallway.
He doesn't smile or even smirk his eyes sit pale yearning for something to happen.
I lie in bed admiring at the burn marks on the room and how the scorch marks made everything seem less clean and perfect. The room isn't quiet enough all the tubes and lights keep whirring and buzzing making my head feel worse. I close my eyes to escape the noise, and make the time pass any faster. The first image to pop into my head is the red gas and how suffocating it was and how it kept getting bigger and impossible to see.
I want to go to sleep but I can't help the feeling I would see something bad that may happen. My eyes revert back to the ceiling content to count the porous holes in the ceiling and losing count again. My mind whirs like a broken engine occupying the time.
A knock at the door interrupts my idleness Duncan crashes through the door without a response he announces, "I have a plan."
His words catch my attention making me sit up in anticipation. He throws a plastic bag at me filled with clothes inside "First change," he commands.
I climb out of bed with the bag and go to the bathroom, the first ensemble I find inside is a black cat suit. He has got to be kidding me. The rest is a pair of jeans and a sweater from my room and some slip on shoes. I put on the outfit mentally protesting the tightness of the cat suit.
"Can I know what the cat suit is for?" I ask once back in the room.
"Of course I'm going to explain on the way," Duncan says pulling me out of the room.
Duncan whispers in the whirring of the elevator, "She's being held in the prison below the library in the old detention room. We only have a ten minute window between guard shifts when they get their coffee. We get in we get out, I already have the materials up on the roof when we get there obtain all the information you can."
"The school has a prison?" I ask in surprise.
Duncan nods steadily, "The school is a lot nicer than it use to be. The institute was once a base for the government during a war against the Verwoya. Now it's just used for storage and the occasional incident but I hear people use to do it in there all the time.
"But why do I need the cat suit?" I demand trying to keep up with Duncan's fast stride.
"Because we can't just walk through the door and say we're here for the prisoner. You have to descend from the roof from the air conditioning unit, it gets smaller towards the end and I don't want you to get stuck."
I nod my head in response standing outside of Chris's office we enter to find that we are the last ones to arrive. A grinning Chris Mclean stands in the corner of his office perched against the wall holding his alcohol in a crystal glass.
He announces, "So nice for you two to join us tonight come in come in."
He waves us in with a constrained smile plastered to his composure is much better than the last time we had met, he's much more of a happy drunk today, no sweat marks and slurred words. I sit on the left couch between Bridgette and Gwen and Duncan sits on the right with Geoff and Trent. Mclean pops into a seat in front of the mantle with all of us facing him.
"First and foremost I would like to welcome Courtney back to the land of the living we are glad to have you back."
I smile trying not to meet his gaze and notice how depraved his eyes look when he smiles at me. He curls up his smile turning back to the group.
"Secondly I would like to congratulate all of you on your professionalism and leadership skills in regard to the attack on the school that involved a teacher of ours. I would like to let you know that the authorities will be handling matter to ensure nothing like this will happen again."
Heather blurts out, "So are we finally going to get a proper screening method for the teachers? Are we going to have grief counseling for the younger students? Will we have trained security to patrol the school at night?"
"No," Maclean sings out as light as possible.
"How are we supposed to prevent this from happening again?" Gwen asks.
"I'm getting there stop interrupting!" Mclean stands up unfolding a rolled up paper beside him. In crass colors the words decorating a drawn design of the school is "The Mclean Games"
Chris scans the room for approval.
"You have got to be kidding me." Bridgette breathes out
"Not that I don't love games dude really. But how is this going to protect students?" Geoff asks.
Mclean rolls up the paper again explaining, "I'm glad you asked Geoff. This is going to protect the students by protecting the image of the school as a safe environment with fun challenges and prizes. And when the school sponsors see that everything is alright they'll keep sending money and parents will keep sending students here! Everyone wins."
"How do we win?" I ask.
"By getting to be the first competitors in the games!" Chris announces.
"I feel like I'm missing the punchline here," Sierra drawls out.
Mclean sits down on his chair with a serious expression he says in a calm voice, "I get it. You guys are scared of what could have happened if you guys weren't there that night. But what I have concocted is a fool-proof solution to all our worries."
I would almost believe him if his smile weren't so cynical. His eyes jet from both couches waiting to meet our approval. I look to the clock there's only ten minutes until the shift change and my only opportunity to see the Professor.
My hands slam together in a thunder of applause I say, "I think it's an amazing idea Chris."
Chris's eyes light up in surprise as he exclaims, "You really think so?"
"Yeah…" I squeak out.
My voice sounds uneven and totally unbelieveable, but Chris looks more pleased than ever. Duncan looks at me with a confused expression, I point my eyes to the clock that reads 7 minutes until the shift change. Duncan's smile curls up into a smirk joining my applause. "I think it's a great idea don't you boys?"
"No this is an awful idea," Trent complains
Chris points at Trent arguing, "Since you're only here because Cody is still in the hospital your opinion doesn't matter.
Duncan clasps his arms around the necks of Alejandro and Geoff encouraging them to join in the round of applause. Soon everyone is clapping unsure of why looking at Duncan and I for explanation. Chris beams in all the admiration plastering on his best TV smile. "Thank you I knew that this would win you over! Take that Chef!"
"Can we go now? I have to go back to the hospital for overnight examination." I ask.
"Of course!" Mclean says waving me off.
With my permission granted I skip out of the room on beat. Duncan interjects, "I better walk her back the Doc said eyes on her at all times."
"If you must."
Duncan doesn't wait for a reply, he just flies out of the sofa running out of the door behind me. We both land in the elevator letting it descend down to the ground floor Duncan asks, "How did you know that would work?"
"I didn't but if Chris love himself as much as I think I do he would be the first to accept an applause."
Dashing towards the library we pound through the grass towards the back of the building. An ancient fire escape holds on to dear life at the side of the brick wall. I jump on to the first rung of the ladder towards the roof the rusty exterior prickles my palms with each grip.
My feet land on the cement roof of the building first, next to me is an old air conditioning unit and a drawstring bag. Duncan arrives on the rooftop commanding, "We have less than two minutes get ready,"
I slip off my sweater and pants down to the black cat suit. Duncan grabs me attaching a belt with hooks onto my waist. He breathes deeply rushing to attach the ropes, the hot air from his mouth blows stray hair from my face. Next he ties a miner's light strapped to my head. He tosses gently onto my back the drawstring bag.
"What's this for?" I ask tugging on the bag.
"Some bribery in case your master persuasion skill are not enough to make her spill the beans. If prison food is as bad as I remember nothing's more persuasive than some food that's edible," Duncan explains.
Duncan attaches a blue tooth ear piece to my face."If you think for a second that something might go wrong you get out of there. You have about minute to crawl in these ducts under the basement to the cells. Once you're in there you have ten minutes when I say "Get out" do it.
"Got it," I reply breathlessly. My heart is starting to race in fear pounding in my chest.
The ducts sit with the vent already unlatched for an easy entrance. My hands grip on to the cold metal vent and wait for Duncan's cue. He stares into me persuading, "It's not too late to back out of this."
"Backing out isn't an option.," I reply shaking my head. I slide in arms first zipping down the tube, a blur dust and metal zips by me inside the old machine. My speed slows bringing me to a halt inside the vent. At the end a small light shines inside the vent, outside of the sphere of my flashlight. I click off the light following the cone of light shining inside the vent. Pushing my arm one in front of the other army crawl style the vent boxes me farther in limiting movement. Inching towards the exit I unestle my arm from the vent to the metal cage blocking my entryway. Through the bars to the prison there's robust gentlemen in a guard outfit snoring on a stool next to one of the cages a round outline of the professor sits leaned against the wall.
I wiggle my arm to bring it farther forward, the metal echoes a loud bump in the room. The guard startles in his seat awaking from his sleep. He looks around the room eyes wide and attentive disoriented he shouts, "Who's there?"
Sevilla shifts in her cell catching a glimpse of me from the vent. Her eyes close in on me she chokes, "Relax it was just me, I hit the bucket."
The guard relaxes staring into his watch he announces with glee, "Quitting time!"
He hobbles off the stool clumsily exciting he says, "Hey don't you go nowhere."
His joke sends him into laughing hysterics as he slams the door behind him
The bluetooth in my ear feeds out static, Duncan's voice rips through, "Are you inside yet?"
"Yeah but how do I get out of the vent?" I ask.
"The entire thing is really old just shove it hard and it will pop out," Duncan explains.
I do as instructed pushing my hands to the rusty metal gate. After a few seconds of prying the gate pops open falling to the ground with a clank. I shimmy through the tubing to the dirty floor, the room is dim with few light bulbs swinging on the ceiling and other rusty cages. The professor leans against a wall, dismally not moving at my presence. Her medallion skin is sullied with dark purple bruises, accompanied by dark rings encircling her eyes, and a soiled gray jumpsuit.
"How are you Professor?" I whisper.
"Fine but I doubt you came here for pleasantries," she breathes out.
"I brought you something," reaching into my bag I grab a bottle of water and bagged sandwich. I push the food through the bars of the cells, the professor snatches them guzzling the water down mercilessly and cramming the sandwich down into her mouth.
"Who in the world pities a prisoner nonetheless someone who attacked them" she asks.
"Someone who's skeptical about what happened that night," I answer
"How are you going to take the information from me do it with mental torture? Fire?" she asks shaking.
"No, I'm merely going to ask and you're going to answer and convince me that you don't belong here." Her golden face swings up at me in surprise.
"Why me? Why was I the only person attacked that night in the fog?" I demand in a tight voice.
"I don't know"
"Well that's not good enough." I object.
She winces, "It's like the most fragmented dream I've ever had. Like a puppet having its strings planted a picture in my head like a mission and it was the only thing I could comprehend. Then it was just me laying down in that fog. Everytime I try to remember I just get static and ripped up faded pictures of that fog. It hurts everytime I think about it. The last clear thing I remember is being in my room grading papers."
Duncan's voice buzzes in my ear "You only have a few minutes left wrap this up."
"If it wasn't you attacking me then who was it?" I question.
The professor shakes her head holding back tears," Someone with incredible telepathic ability and wants you."
"You're a telepath who stabbed me in the neck," I spit.
The professor digs her fingers through her hair angrily, "I'm a telekinetic, I can use my abilities to move objects around me but nothing to that dimension. It's sick and wrong to be inside someone's body like that. I could never."
"Is whoever controlling you coming after anyone else?" I interrogate.
"If they were willing to attack the leader of the future council I'm sure they're coming after the rest of your friends. They want power and they want it bad and they know with your friends under control they could have it. This was just a message... something bigger is coming and its going to be bad."
The weak lighting shines cascading over the Professor's face. Her trembling sullen face and red eyes arouse the slightest twinge of sympathy.
"Courtney you have two minutes left you need to go," Duncan blares inside the ear piece.
"Not yet," I whisper back to Duncan.
"I believe you," I answer ignoring Duncan's requests. "But if your powers are telekinetic why don't you just open the bars and leave? Why would you stay in this musty old prison." I ask.
" Dammit Courtney just listen to me for once. We don't have time for this you need to go!"
I groan at Duncan's insufferable grumbling. I press the glowing blue off button on the bluetooth to listen to the Professor. The rope attached to my waist tugs at me stubbornly from the jail cell.
"These prisons are power draining I have no control over anything as long as I'm in this room. Even if I got out where could I go? I am a fugitive of the state and I have no place in the human world. My life is over."
Clenching on to the rusted iron bars I whisper, "I'm going to find out who did this and I'm going to make sure they came to justice. I won't forget about you."
The door handle in the room violently shakes piercing a small golden sliver of light inside the room. My eyes widen in alarm, I jump back to the vent sliding my feet inside.
Breathing hard I latch the gate on to the vent letting heat from my hands melt the gate on to the vent. The silhouette of the guard slides through the holes of the gate, my heart pounds sporadically at each step he takes. Sitting silently as possible I'm yanked back by my waist, my stomach leaping up into my chest. Flying upward the blood rushes to my head as I'm forced upside down to the roof. I fall to the gravel feeling my head return to normal, a voice erupts next to me, "How could you turn off your blue tooth like that? Do you know how much trouble you could have gotten in if you were caught?"
My eyes flash open at the anger in Duncan's voice I argue, "Lighten up I needed to get the information and I got it. I don't get why you're so mad."
I sit up with the gravel clinging to the catsuit cockeyed staring at Duncan's pacing figure.
"You're right you wouldn't-," Duncan exclaims. He stops in his war path and stares back at my his eyes glimmering with a subtle mortification. He tightens his lips like he's afraid of the rest of the words lodged in his throat. Duncan takes a deep breath closing his eyes facing me straight this time. "You're right I need to relax ."
The fixture of fear and calm of his face surprises me, he promptly avoids my eye contact grabbing his materials from the floor. He changes the subject coughing, "So what did you find out?"
My eyebrows fly up in surprise at his behavior. Admitting I'm right and controlling his anger all in one day what's up with him? Taking a pregnant pause I reply, "That Sevilla wasn't the one who planned the attack on the school, and I don't think she was behind Cody getting hurt either."
Duncan breathes out slowly rubbing the back of his neck with his hands. He stares at me deeply and asks, "Then who is?"
"Someone that wants all of the Chosens under control and is willing to do anything to get it."
What's up y'all it's been a while. This chapter was written weeks ago but due to some technical difficulties such as my computer not working at all I was unable to edit and upload. So the file just sat on my computer and I didn't upload it because I figured nobody cared but I got a PM for someone asking me to upload another chapter. I don't know when the next upload will be but most likely in three weeks. Thanks for reading
Constructive criticism is always nice, please do me a solid Follow, Favorite, and Review.
Are any of you watching TDRR?
I've only watched one episode is it worth watching?