IV. Radioactive Kitten Cage
2. Lithium Ion
As I climbed in her car, Rebecca Blakewell tapped the side of my skull with her finger. I felt a sudden jolt and suddenly I couldn’t see. “It’s only temporary,” she said with a laugh and I heard the car door close.
Another door opened a moment later and she closed it before starting the car. It rumbled underneath me and I heard over its rattling the sound of sirens in the distance.
“Did you knock them all out?” I asked. She and I had been alone outside, but there were other guys still inside. The house should’ve been packed this time of night.
“They’ll wake up once we’re gone,” she said and I felt a lurch backward as she began moving. “It’s easier to win a game when there are fewer pieces in play, don’t you agree?”
“Sure,” I said, rolling my eyes; a wave of white washed across my otherwise empty vision. “And now it’s just you and me, isn’t it?”
“You catch on quickly,” she said and I felt the car turn again, but then she swerved or changed lanes or something and I got suddenly dizzy and disoriented. I wondered if she was still playing in my head.
“What are you going to do me?”
“We met in a game,” she said, and I thought back to the raccoon race. Had she planned to pick out Gus there the entire time, or was it a chance encounter? “So it’s only fitting this all ends in another, don’t you think?”
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” I said. “You told Gus about your experiments. You wanted a super who didn’t want to be super–a new subject.” She said nothing, but the car turned suddenly, throwing me to the other side. I forced myself to sit up. “But he changed his mind, didn’t he? What did he do, read the whole paper–she dies in the end, doesn’t she?”
“You’ve been doing your research,” Rebecca said. Her voice was dry and toneless. “But like you said, Elliot, it doesn’t matter what you think.”
I laughed. “So tell me what you think, Miss Blakewell”–I braced myself as she swerved again–“tell me, what’s your interest in breaking supers?”
“You think it’s just me behind this, don’t you?” She was silent a long moment as I felt a subtle shove forward as the car slowed down. “Oh, Elliot, that would be so wonderful for you–all you’d have to do is take me out, and then you’re home free, is that what you think?”
Now it was my turn to give her silence.
“Well, newsflash little boy, you’re playing with the grownups now and we’re a lot more collaborative than children. We’ve learned how to share now, haven’t we?”
She shut up suddenly and I got the impression she’d said more than she wanted to.
“So you’re as much a pawn as I am, that it?” I was grinning.
She said nothing, so I leaned against the door in case she turned suddenly again. “You’re just working for them in all of this. What’s the catch, you make the drug and they don’t use it on you? Ha! Careful who you trust.”
She slammed on the breaks and I flew forward, knocking my head against the seat in front of me. I felt a bump above my right eye and warm blood trickling down the side of my face.
“We’re here,” Rebecca said. I heard my door open and felt a sudden rush of cold air before the hands reached in and grabbed me. They hoisted me up, slapped me down on a gurney maybe; in another second I felt buckles around my arms and legs.
“Wheel him in,” Rebecca said, but now her voice was hard and commanding, as if she’d finally stepped out of her prissy mask and onto her playing field. The game was different now. We were in her court.
I felt a bump and then smooth riding under slightly warmer air. I heard a bing a few minutes later and then another, smaller bump as we rolled into what was probably an elevator.
I wished I could see. Then I could blast them aside and get away. I could grab Mag and Ylissa and then take her whole operation down and maybe, maybe even save Gus.
Though would it even matter now? If what she said was true, John wouldn’t remember either of us anymore–we would be nothing to him. And this wasn’t a fairytale. True love wouldn’t bring his memory back.
The doors opened with another ping and we began rolling again. We turned a corner and I heard doors open and swing shut behind us. We came to a stop and then I felt two fingers press into my temple: the sudden light was blinding and I recoiled, shutting my eyes and twisting as best as I could in chains. After a moment, I braved opening my eyes again, and I could see although the lights were still uncomfortably bright. I blinked a few times as my eyes adjusted.
Rebecca Blakewell pressed a button on the side of my gurney and the back rose up slowly until I was facing in front of me. She walked around, gripped my chin, and shook my face with a smile. She walked away, her jet-black hair swooshing around and brushing across my face, and came up to a small work station a few feet ahead. There were vials and needles splayed out there, but with her back to me, I couldn’t see what she was doing.
“So far our few subjects have been, for the most part, willing accomplices.” She turned around with a syringe, its tip pointed up at an angle; she pressed on the plunger and a thin stream of purple liquid shot out in an arc that splashed on the ground. She smiled. “What happens if they’re not as willing, I asked? Would the psychic will to hold onto one’s powers prevent the drug from having its full effect?” She shrugged her shoulders. “I couldn’t say, not without any human trials, could I?”
Rebecca took a few steps toward me, grinning so wide I saw her white teeth sparkling.
“The drug suppresses a number of neural routes that help a person direct their powers,” she said, “so obviously this is a genuine concern.” She sighed. “Normally, I’d ask you to sign some consent forms, but that’d defeat the purpose of the experiment, wouldn’t it?”
I hocked up a mouthful of phlegm and spat at her. She wiped it away with the back of her gloved hand and then slapped my face. “That wasn’t very nice, Elliot.”
I laughed. “You wanted nice? I thought that would defeat the purpose of the experiment, wouldn’t it?” The corner of her mouth twitched upward, but she did nothing more than lower her gaze at me, truly seething now. “What is that shit anyways?”
“Oh, this?” She chuckled, bringing the syringe closer. I pushed myself away, but she put a finger on my skull and I was paralyzed. I felt the needle pierce the flesh above above my left shoulder. I felt like screaming out in pain, but I couldn’t move, not even my tongue.
“I call it Sirium,” Rebecca said and pushed the plunger down–I felt a bubble under my flesh as it flooded into me, and then the syringe hit the floor and she was rubbing the sore spot to move it around and disburse it through my body. As she took a step away, the pressure on my skull parted and I could move again. As I rolled in my confinement, I felt tendrils of cold stinging through my veins and numbness spreading out through the muscles of my shoulders, down my back.
Rebecca Blakewell lifted a clipboard, clicked open a pen, and turned to me, standing three or four feet out of reach. “Now, Elliot, be a doll and describe to me what you’re feeling.”
I tried to spit again as the sensations coursed through me, but then they spread suddenly faster and I felt like my whole body was consumed in fire. I felt a ringing in my ears, and then a twitching deep inside my muscles, especially in my arms, like I was about to burst–like my powers were erupting inside me, trying to get out.
I clenched my teeth and howled, ripping my arms up–the buckles tore apart as I jumped forward, landing right in front of her. I shoved forward and she was blown backwards, striking the wall three feet up, spread eagle, and crashing to the floor unconscious.
I scanned the room, spotted the door, and made for it. I pushed through them just as the numbness in my back started spreading into my arms, my legs. Vague, shapeless masses began drifting in front of eyes and I swatted at them, but they wouldn’t go away. As I ran down the corridor, I lost feeling in my shoulders and then in my torso. I fell against the wall, staggering forward, and then I was gasping, the ringing overpowering.
I looked over my shoulder. She’d be after me in just a moment. I felt the weakness in my knees a second before they gave out and I pushed myself back into the wall, but it wasn’t enough as I slid to the floor, my head rolling backwards as the numbness overtook me.
CHAPTER FIVE: Gypsy Moth Fortune Cookie