Ashley kicked the gun away from the dead man's hand. This was the last of the nine decked-out commandos that had been chasing this kid, the only one who had kept up the pursuit, the only one who had fired a shot at him, and the only one Ashley didn't have to think twice before shooting down.
She reached down and put two fingers at the nape of the boy's neck, feeling that his pulse was weak and getting weaker.
"Hang on kid," she whispered. She carefully lifted him up; he was surprisingly light as she carried him to the waiting motorcycle.
It was a short ride from where she had found the kid at the edge of Old City to the Sanctuary, but by the time she crossed the gate, the kid was barely breathing and as her mother along with the Big Guy rushed the kid to the medi-lab, she had a feeling he wouldn't make it.
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Ashley was making a sandwich, though she really wasn't that hungry; when her mother came into the kitchen a look of distress on face.
"Is he okay?" she asked. Helen took a deep breath and shook her head.
"We did all we could, but he died about ten minutes ago." She pulled up a chair opposite her daughter and sat down. "He couldn't have been more than thirteen. How did you find him?"
"I was following a lead, heard that a large group of heavily armed commandos were hiking around down near the edge of Old City. Rumor was they were Cabal. I wanted to know what they were up to and if we needed to be concerned. One must have split from the group and was chasing him and shooting off rounds, shooting to kill. He managed to nail him as he tried to scale an electric fence. I took care of him like the other nine just as he was about to shoot the kid in the head, but I guess I didn't make it in time for him," Ashley finished. "I don't even know why they were after him. He's only a kid, and it's not like he could fight back." She reached under the table and pulled out a well worn backpack. "There's no weapons, no gold bars, nothing in here that would interest an adult, just normal kid stuff." She paused. "Is he…was he human?"
"As far as I can tell, yes." Ashley reached into the backpack and began pulling out the contents. "Anything that can tell us his identity?"
"Nothing, like I said, just normal kid's stuff." She paused pulling out a tee-shirt and a pair of jeans rolled up together and shoved in the bag "change of clothes, walkman, headphones, sketchbook, pencil…well, hello, guess I was wrong about the weapons." Ashley extracted two knives: one a Swiss-army knife, the other a much older, small dagger sheathed in leather. Its handle was made of animal bone, but was carefully wrapped in the same leather that made up the sheath. "Mom look at this thing!" she handed the knife carefully across the table. After examining it for just a moment, Magnus shook her head in surprise.
"The leather on this knife, it's at least two hundred years old, maybe more."
"Do you think he stole it?"
"It's impossible to say." Helen paused "Ashley hand me the sketch book." Ashley gently pulled the book out from the bag and handed it to her mother "These sketches are remarkable; he obviously had a talent."
"Well, he was definitely a street kid, but I'd still like to know why those GI Joes were chasing him and why they killed him."
"Unfortunately, unless the dead figure out a way to talk, we may never know."
Suddenly the swinging door to the kitchen burst open, Bigfoot was in the doorway a look of surprise on his face.
"Dr. Magnus, the boy…he's waking up!" Helen exchanged a look with Ashley
"Impossible, I pronounced him dead, he had no pulse, there was no brain activity whatsoever!" she exclaimed, standing up.
"Well, there is now, the heart monitor showed a pulse and color is returning to his skin. He's alive."
Bigfoot didn't need to convince Helen and Ashley of anything else; the pair of them abandoned the boy's belongings in the kitchen and took off towards the med-lab.
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I felt an instinctive deep breath fill my lungs as life returned to my body. Off to my left I could hear a beeping that matched my heartbeat, starting off slow as my heart slowly revived itself.
The tingling washed off my body as feeling returned to my extremities. The first thing I felt was cold. My eyes slowly opened and I understood why it was hazy. I was covered only by a thin sheet, my shirt was gone, from the waist up I was naked…again. I sat up, slipping the sheet off my face, but was pulled back as the wires attached to my arms and chest stretched to their limits.
Where the heck was I? A hospital? I looked around, didn't look like any hospital I'd ever seen, though I made it a point to avoid hospitals for the obvious reason.
The beeping noise turned into a loud screech as I yanked the suction cups off my chest, before it went silent. I could see medical equipment all around me and felt my heart pick up pace, had those Cabal goons chasing me caught me when I died? I knew I was in some kind of lab, but not the same lab I had been in hours before…it felt different, safer even.
Damn, I had hoped I made it to the drain. I tried to think about the last thing I remembered, a gun aimed at my head, a shot, but not at my head, at the guy holding the gun.
Wherever I was, security sucked, big time. I expected at least some alarms to be ringing or a guard. I carefully slid off the table and jumped as I realized my sneakers were gone along with my shirt and backpack. Not again. Double damn. I had to find them, but where to start looking and how long did I have before the guns came out?
Not long apparently, as I heard the sound of footsteps running towards me. I quickly looked around for a place to hide. There was absolutely nowhere that would suffice, everything was open and exposed. I could only see one exit and that's where the footsteps were coming from.
I took a deep breath and jumped back onto the table. I threw the sheet over my head and stayed as still as possible, keeping my breaths shallow so much that I know it appeared I wasn't breathing at all.
Two sets of footsteps entered the room and I heard the door lock behind them. One was walking cautiously towards me, one the more surefooted. Both were women, one younger than the other, but not by much.
The older one was at the table, reaching towards the sheet. I could see her outline through the material. I willed my body to relax and kept my eyes closed as she pulled back the sheet.
I felt her hand touch my neck as she felt for a pulse and felt her dart back as she discovered one. I tried to stay still, but she shocked me…literally, I yelped and jumped off the table, hitting the floor hard I winced from the pain.
The blonde girl had a gun pointed at my head while the dark haired woman put up her hands, trying to defuse the commotion.
"It's all right, no one is going to hurt you," she said gently, my ears perked as her accent filled them. She's British, that made things a little better. I've found that I can reason with English people better than most Americans. I've lost a lot of my own accent, but there's still a hint of it and with those familiar with it can pick up on it. I've gotten good at distinguishing my accent to fit whatever nationality I'm impersonating, so it was relatively easy to slip back in to my old accent… Behind her, the blonde girl edged towards me, gun still pointed my direction "Ashley, put it away; he's not a threat."
"The dead kid is walking around breathing and very much alive, and you say he's not a threat?"
I held up my hands, showing I was unarmed, also showing her that there were no wounds. I was not injured, no reason to think I was dead.
"I'm sorry you thought I was dead. I can assure you that I'm not. Thanks for your hospitality, but I'd really like to get out of your hair, so if I can just have my shirt and backpack and possibly my shoes, I can be on my way and it will be like we never met."
The two women exchanged a look. The blonde one lowered the gun, slipping it into a holster, but she did keep her hand on the handle just in case. The brunette walked over to another table and lifted something up. My eyes went wide as I realized it was my tee-shirt, soaked with the rain and…I gulped…my blood, a very noticeable bullet sized hole that went through the shirt front and back. Crap.
"Are you going to tell me that this does not belong to you?" the brunette asked. "I find that hard to believe since I removed it from you myself."
"Maybe?" I asked. The doors slid open; I quickly gathered my options and took my chance. I threw the sheet at the blonde distracting her for just a moment as I bolted towards the exit and freedom. I didn't get far though as something big and hairy blocked my path, I ran into said hairy obstacle and landed back on my butt.
The last thing I expected to see blocking my way was Bigfoot, but that's exactly what stood in the doorway. He glared down at me and my eyes went wide, what the hell were these people keeping here!? I've seen a lot in my lifetime, but this was a whole new one on the holy-crap-o-meter.
"Doctor?" the Bigfoot growled looking at the brunette. And it speaks…now that's the clincher, I had to get out of this mad house, but ape-man was being very effective in blocking my path to freedom. He held out his hand to help me up and I backed up, slipping on the cold tile floor. I didn't want to get near Annie Oakley, but I also didn't want to be near King Kong either.
"Sweetheart it's okay, I promise no one is going to hurt you, but you need to listen to reason," the brunette said.
"I don't have to do anything, lady, except get out of here."
"Kid, I watched you, you were shot point blank through the back, your shirt here proves that. What I don't get is how you're not only walking and talking, but doing so without a scratch on you," the blonde interrupted.
"I'm a fast healer?" I answered truthfully.
"You were dead," the blonde argued.
"Was I?" I shot back, "Prove it." I stood up slowly.
"Regardless." The brunette raised her hands putting an end to the argument. She walked over to me slowly. "My name is Dr. Helen Magnus, this is my daughter Ashley, and—"
"Let me guess, Lurch's hairy half brother?" I asked looking at King Kong. This comment seemed to amuse the three of them as they began laughing, something I didn't expect.
"In a manner of speaking," he answered.
Once again I began to wonder what kind of mad house I had been brought too and cursed myself for not making it to the storm drain.
"What is this place?" I asked "It's not a hospital, is it?"
"It's the Sanctuary," Dr. Magnus answered.
"Sanctuary?" I repeated. "Sanctuary for whom?" Then it dawned on me as I looked at Bigfoot. "Or is it what?"
"Correct on both," she replied. "I understand you are anxious to leave, and you will be allowed to do so."
"But the truth of the matter is that my daughter brought you here with a fatal wound, I pronounced you dead, and the next thing we know, you are alive and fully healed. I would like to know how and even why that is the case."
"Am I to be a science experiment then?"
"If you'd like to think of it that way, that is fine, but I'd prefer you to think of it as a doctor's examination."
"Never had one of those to be honest." I paused. "And afterwards you'll let me go?"
"If you'd like, however, in addition I am offering you a warm bed for the night and all the food you can eat. Tonight you do not need to worry about where you will sleep." She had a point there, it would be nice to sleep in an actual bed, something I hadn't done in a while. Not to mention not having to worry that I was going to get mugged or something while I slept.
"Fine…you've got a deal," I grumbled, "but first, where's my stuff?"
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To say I was stunned was an understatement. After handing me back my belongings (minus my sneakers) Dr. Magnus and Bigfoot gave me a brief tour of their so called sanctuary. Things I never believed existed and things I had never even heard of were everywhere. They even had a bloody mermaid for cryin' out loud.
This place was amazing and frightening at the same time. I also felt safer here, like I belonged, like I was free, something I hadn't felt at the other place…there I felt like an experiment, a prisoner, with no other purpose then to be experimented on.
I found myself curious; a part of me didn't want to leave, if only to understand this place. But the other part of me—I'm calling it the smarter part—wanted to get out of here as soon as possible.
I had a feeling that while these creatures may be protected here at this sanctuary, they were also prisoners, for their own good and the good of the world. I didn't want to become one of these "guests." The sooner the doc did her physical, the sooner I could get the hell out of here.
I followed Bigfoot and Dr. Magnus up through an elevator and into a normal looking section of the sanctuary, looking more like a house then a hospital. She opened one of the doors down the hall and ushered me in. The room was huge, or at least huge by my experience. I had never had a room this size or any size to myself like this and I had to turn to her to make sure this was mine.
"It's yours for as long as you'd like," she promised. I wandered in, looking around, and gently dropped my backpack on the bed. "Tomorrow you and I will order you some extra clothes and they will be yours to keep."
"I've got clothes ma'am."
She chuckled. "You have an extra pair of jeans and a very well worn T-shirt, those do not count."
"Eh, right," I muttered.
"So you haven't told us your name."
She chuckled. "No, you didn't."
"Trev," I said softly, "It's Trev."
"No last name?"
"Look. IF you're planning on using that information to locate my parents or family you're gonna be out of luck. I'm an orphan. My parents have been dead for years and I've got no other family." Quickly I looked around the room; I've always been really good at thinking on my feet, especially when it came to names. I used whatever I could find for a last name since I've never known my real one. I don't even think I have a real one to be honest. The overhead light caught my eye, light…light bulb…Edison, Thomas Edison. Play on the name a bit, "Trev Thomason."
This answer seemed to satisfy the doctor at least temporarily and she let it go, but I had a feeling she'd be digging deeper and I would have to be out of here before she dug too deep. I just hoped whatever her 'physical' meant, did not include anything like shots or being shot. I didn't want to heal and have her actually see it.
"Well Trev, my offer still stands even more so. You are more than welcome to stay here for however long you want."
"Thanks, Dr. Magnus." I glanced over at the doorway where Big Foot was still standing "Look, not that I'm scared or anything, but nothing's gonna come in here while I'm sleeping, y'know with your 'sanctuary for all' spiel."
"You have nothing to fear, honey." I reached into my backpack to feel for least my Swiss-army-knife. I'd feel better with that under my pillow tonight. But it was gone, so was my dagger. I heard Dr. Magnus clear her throat behind me "Trev, you won't find them in there."
"You…you guys took them?"
"You won't need any weapons tonight Trev."
"Right, that's why your daughter carries around two 9mms, a hand grenade, and a tazer with her?"
Dr. Magnus smiled at that and chuckled a bit.
"Fair enough. I will return them to you under the condition that you promise not to use them. They are to stay on this dresser here understood?" I thought this over and nodded. She nodded to Bigfoot who reluctantly handed over my small dagger and my pocket knife.
"Thank you." I mumbled holding both weapons tight for a moment before depositing them on the dresser as promised. She nodded her appreciation and handed me a pair of pajamas.
"These might be a tad to large on you. I will wake you at 7:30 for breakfast, you have your own bathroom and we have provided towels, soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush if you'd like to freshen up before bed." She paused. "My room is right down the hall, three doors down the left on the right hand side, if you need anything. I'm usually awake for most of the night."
"Right." I muttered, making my way over to the bathroom and ducking inside. I heard the bedroom door click close and knew I was alone.
I didn't need to "freshen" up, but I did splash some warm water on my face, just to make sure this wasn't some elaborate nightmare that I had concocted. It wouldn't be the first time, but the water assured me this was very real.
I reached into the shower and turned it, giving the impression that I was in the shower in case someone…or in this place, something, came in.
Once I was satisfied the sound of running water would deter any visitors I snuck over to the window and tried to force it open, I wasn't surprised but I was disappointed when it wouldn't budge. I glanced out the window which looked out onto a courtyard, I could see the New City lights across the river, there had to be a way out of this insane asylum.
I quietly made my way over to the door and cracked it open. At first I heard nothing in the hall, but movement caught my attention, I saw a flash of blonde and rolled my eyes, Barbie was keeping an eye on me, great.
I sighed and quietly shut the door. I was trapped, literally trapped in this loony bin for freaks, being guarded by Big Foot and Packing Trigger Happy Barbie. Why the hell did I agree to stay here? I was better off on the streets than here.
Suddenly a flash caught my attention, I vaulted over the bed and returned to the window. A downpour of epic proportions had started up again. I made a face. What a choice, house arrest or drown in the monsoon outside.
I sighed and pulled the shade down, I was better off here—at least it was warm. The steam from the shower had snaked its way into the room, I felt sleepy from it, really sleepy. Might as well actually take the damn shower and get some rest.
I just hope I could be up early, long before the rest of the house was awake and make a break for it. Then I could put this entire nightmare of laboratories and soldiers and Bigfoot far, far behind me.