IV. Radioactive Kitten Cage
I see a small bathroom attached to the hospital room and angle myself in that direction; as I fall off the bed, I grab a handful of wires and pull–they hold me back for a second and then pop off as I strike the floor. I moan as the monitors start beeping and shrieking and I drag myself along the floor toward the bathroom. I pull myself up in front of the sink and grab the handle–water starts pouring, and I splash it in my face, letting little rivers of drips and drops slide into my mouth. It hits my tongue like acid, chiseling away at the parched landscape of my mouth. It feels wonderful and my sudden thirst makes me yearn for more.
I struggle to pull myself up, straining my neck to reach the water. I stick my tongue out and feel the first droplets on my palette, and it gives me strength to push forward and open my mouth under the faucet: the water floods inside me and rushes down my throat, and at first I feel like I’m choking, but then I feel my muscles start to work again and the fugue start to lift from my mind and my eyes–I can see again, the blurry haze slipping away. I swallow and I swallow more and more and then I hear footsteps.
I strike the tap and cut the water off, then force myself back against the bathroom wall, huddled in the shadows. I can hear my heart racing, all the abnormal pounding has left with the return of my senses. If only I had known water would bring it all back to me–I’d had found something to drink a hell of a lot sooner.
I see the first nurse enter the room and rush up to Gus’s side. There’s a stain of blood on the sheets; I must’ve torn something when I pulled all the wires out, I just hope I didn’t do anything to permanently hurt him. The nurse turns to the IV rack and lifts the tube in her hands; it drips out onto the floor and I watch as she looks up at Gus and starts shaking. The drug Rebecca shot in me. The one that took my powers. It must be in the saline. That’s how they’re keeping him from escaping on his own.
The nurse pinches the end of it and says something to someone I can’t see, and then she wheels the cart up to Gus, grabs something from a nearby rack, and starts putting the IV back in.
I cringe. If I let them stick it back in, he stays on the drug longer and it’s harder to get him out–but if I reveal myself now when I don’t know who else is out there, I risk both of us getting trapped for good.
The IV isn’t in all the way yet, so I squint, holding my breath, and twiddle my fingers just enough to make the thing slip out of her hands. She’s still shaking, so she bends down again, but it’s been on the floor, so she tosses it out and grabs another.
The nurse turns away and I raise my hand, grabbing the others from the desk–they float silently into my hand, and then I rub my forefinger and thumb together and the object turns just slightly so it punctures the IV tube instead of his vein. She swears, looking at Gus, and then runs from the room.
I peak around the corner, and no one’s there, so I wave my hand through the air, shutting the hospital door and locking it. It won’t keep them out for long, but maybe long enough. I grab a cup in a plastic wrapper from a table in the room and fill it with water before I sit on the bed next to Gus and begin slowly pouring it into his mouth. I get through a second cup before I hear knocking on the door, pounding even. I shove the IV rack toward the door, twisting just so it lodges itself sideways against the door, wedged between either side of the short hallway. That’ll slow them down a bit, but not long enough.
I’m pouring the third cup of water into Gus’s mouth when he splutters and his eyes open up. He’s staring at me, blinking rapidly.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, looking over my shoulder at the door and feeling my heart beat harder inside me with every passing second. At any moment Rebecca Blakewell could arrive and end everything.
“Keep drinking,” I said, giving Gus the cup. He finishes it off and I refill it as he tries to sit up; he wobbles a bit, but he’s recovering much more quickly than I thought he would. “Can you walk?” I ask, and he nods to me. “Good, get in there and keep drinking–it’ll help. I don’t know why, but the water helps, got me?”
He nods, and as Gus starts to stand up, I walk around to the other side of bed and stare at the window: it’s our only option. I put my hands together at my chest, focus on the glass, and shove forward–the glass buckles and bursts outwards, shattering completely. I take a breath, starting to feel the comings of a headache from overexerting myself, but there isn’t time to take a break.
“How are you holding up, Gus?” I ask, glancing into the bathroom. He’s at the sink, downing another cup.
“Okay, I think,” he says.
“Start a fire. Now,” I say, coming back toward him. He turns his hand up and after a moment a spark kindles on his skin, but quickly fizzles out. “We’ve got to do better than that, my friend, keep drinking.”
Gus nods in affirmation and I can tell the color’s coming back to him. I walk around to the door and close my eyes, imagining the row of nurses that must be on the other side, still trying to get in. I clench my fists and then spread my arms out–I hear a grunt and a short series of thuds, and I smile knowing I’ve knocked them all down. I just hope it’s enough.
“I’ve got it,” Gus says, coming around with a fireball burning on his palm. “What now?”
“There,” I say and point at the doorway, stepping away. “Burn it.”
He nods, and I watch as he locks his stance, his lean muscles rippling under his hospital gown as he pushes forward and sparks fly, a stream of fire spewing off his flesh and catching on the walls, the curtain, the door itself.
“Come on,” I yell at him, and he turns toward me as I run toward the window. “Grab hold, and hold tight.” He looks at me like I’m crazy, but then the building shakes, there’s a burst of thunder, and we both look back at the door to see it’s been blown open. A second later fine grey mist fills the doorway as someone sprays a fire extinguisher into the room.
“Come on,” I say more firmly, and he jumps onto my back and then I grab onto the window, stepping up so we’re half in the room and half in the air. It’s raining, there are clouds twisting through the air above us, and there’s eight floors of emptiness separating us from the asphalt parking lot far below.
“End of the line, Elliot,” I hear Rebecca Blakewell say and for a split second I glance back to see her walk through the fading spray of the fire extinguisher in her black heels and her white lab coat. “What do you plan to do now?”
I laugh at her, and then I spring forward, jumping into the air as she screams after us.
NEXT PART: Lithium Ion