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Monday, August 27, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 6]

Another five hours passed by before they heard any more news. The boy’s injuries were doing fine, but he had developed an illness that they had never seen before. It was chipping away at his health and, while the doctors were doing everything they could, it wasn’t slowing down. He regained a stable consciousness, but couldn’t say a word. The doctor came to fetch Jeremy and Tom so they could see him.

The two of them walked into the ICU, over to the boy’s bed. He looked miserable hooked up to machines and all sorts of sensors. He saw the two of them and his eyes lit up. Restraints kept the boy from moving his arm. Tom met the boy’s pleading eyes.

“Why is he restrained?” Tom asked the doctor, still looking at the underweight child in the bed.

“When we removed his necklace, he began to get violent, and we had to put him under so that we could treat him. We feared he might remove the needles or hurt himself when he woke up again, and we’re only trying to do what’s best for him.”

“But he’s not doing any of that now.”

“We’re doing everything we can so that he gets better, and if he damages the IV or machines then it would set back treatment.”

“Can he at least get a pencil and paper to write on? You said he couldn’t speak.” A weak smile appeared on the boy’s face as he tried to nod. The doctor sighed and pulled out a pen and pad from one of the desks. They placed it by the kid’s right hand, and he slowly began to write. Every letter was a slow process. The handwriting was messy since he couldn’t see what he was doing, but the message was clear.


The last word was written larger and more deliberately than the others. Jeremy and Tom looked up from the notepad to the doctor, who sighed.

“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.”

The boy couldn’t have looked happier in the state he was in. The doctor retrieved the chain and pendant from a desk drawer and gave it to Tom. The pendant’s blue light was nearly faded all away; Tom would have to cup it in his hands to see it.

“Between us, we never saw you put it on him. Got it?” the doctor instructed.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, doc,” Jeremy responded. Tom unclipped the chain, circled the boy’s neck, and reclipped it. The light inside the necklace suddenly grew more intense, and the boy gained more color in his face in seconds.

“Thanks,” Cody said, breathing a sigh and falling asleep.


[Part 5] [Part 7]

Holy bajeezus it's been awhile. 19 or 20 days? Sorry about that. Band camp was the week that this was supposed to go up, and the first week of school was busy enough to make me forget all about this for awhile. I did come up with a scene a night or two ago, though, which is gonna be tons of fun to write. There's lots of excitement coming up after these hospital scenes, I promise! I just need to find time to make sure I'm writing.

Also coming up later this year is NaNoWriMo! I'm gonna be trying my hand at it, thus this story will be put on hold for the entire length of November. Therefore, an apology in advance to all three of my readers who've ever seen this!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 5]

Cody slowly opened his eyes back up. He felt his shoulder getting wrapped up. Looking up, a guy older than him was biting his lip and concentrating hard. The guy was furrowing his brow under brown bangs and a white t-shirt. Cody’s left foot was numb, and his arm felt cold from the ice in the towel. The guy kneeling over him realized Cody woke up, and began to speak.

“Hey kid, we’re gonna get you some help, alright?”

Cody liked his voice; it was hopeful. He squinted at the overhead sun, shining directly into his eyes.

“Ice,” he said weakly.

“What? Oh yeah, sure thing, kid.”

A moment later Cody was sucking on an ice cube from the cooler. It tasted heavenly cool in his mouth. His stomach growled at him, glad to have something to work with but wanting more. He could hear the guy’s voice tell someone to wrap up a bunch more ice together for “this kid”. The world soon became a blur as he realized he was being picked up and carried down the trail. He looked up to see a different face topped with a buzzcut. Cody asked for ice again, and the first guy gave him another cube. Cody wished he had a whole gallon of water to drink down at once.

Pain brought Cody in and out of consciousness for the next few hours. He could remember getting laid down in a car, asking for ice several times, and lots of cursing. He remembered someone asking him questions that he didn’t answer. He remembered loud beeps and yelling and swerving while in the car. Then there were people dressed in all white, pushing Cody in a comfy bed down a long hall and needles getting poked into his arm.

Then he felt his necklace get taken off from around his neck. He began thrashing in the bed with all the energy he had, trying to find out where it went. He couldn’t let them have it. Nobody else could have it. He was forced back down, told to lay still until they fixed him up. He never stopped trying to get out of the bed until one more needle pushed him back into sleep.

* * *

“Now that he’s getting water and nutrients, he’ll have a better chance at making it out okay. He’s in the ICU now that we’ve pulled the bullet out of his foot, and we’re not in the clear just yet.”

“Did it get infected at all?” Tom asked.

“No. The bullet cracked his ankle, but it doesn’t look like it hit anything important otherwise. His shoulder was a clean through-and-through, nothing looks heavily damaged there either. As bad as it is, the bullets could’ve been a lot worse,” the doctor answered.

“Good for him.”

“You do know you’ll have to explain what happened here, right?”

“It’s really nothing more than that we found him on our way to the lake over by school. He was lying in the path, so Jerry and I picked him up, wrapped his arm and foot with our towels and some of our ice, and brought him here.”

“Alright, well, we’re required by law to file a report when we get a gunshot victim. I’m sure the news will be here soon, too, since you know how they like stories like this. We haven’t had to deal with something like this in a year or two.”

“Great,” Tom said, unenthused.

Jeremy had taken the car to go grab a late dinner for them both. The hospital food wasn’t worth touching, and they had been there for 10 hours the last time Tom checked. Tom managed to get in contact with Janie to let them know what happened. He was surprised to hear that her and Mary saw blood in the path, but no kid. Half of him was glad it didn’t seem like he ditched the two of them for more gaming. The other half was relieved that his and Jeremy’s story could at least be corroborated.

Tom flopped onto the tough couch in the waiting room just in time for Jeremy to walk in. A bag full of hamburgers was in one hand, a tray of four sodas in the other.

“Mason called and said that he and Ben picked up the cooler,” Jeremy said, putting the food on a side table. “Have you found anything out yet?”

“Yeah, the kid’s got better chances than earlier. They’ve been giving him food and water.” Tom sat up and grabbed a burger from the bag, unwrapping it.

“He’s awake and eating?” Jeremy began munching on some fries.

“The doctor said ‘nutrients and water’ so I’m guessing not. The bullets didn’t hit him in bad places, either. His foot is only cracked, didn’t get infected and his arm shouldn’t be too messed up either.”

“Damn. Lucky kid.”

“I dunno about lucky, but it could’ve been a lot worse, yeah. We’re also gonna have to talk to the police and news about the whole thing.”

Jeremy took a few more bites of fries before grabbing a soda to wash it down. Right before he took a drink, he paused.

“Wait, Tom. We found him in the middle of the woods by ourselves. I know neither of us have guns on campus, but isn’t that going to look bad?”

“Oh don’t worry too much. I talked to Janie and she said that her and Mary saw blood on the trail before we even left.”

“What, did they not see the kid though?”
“I guess not. From what she said the blood went into the forest like it belonged to a dying animal.”

“Well it kind of did.”

Tom gave a resigned chuckle. “I guess so, yeah.”


[Part 4] [Part 6]

Luck? I think the right term is skill. Skill at getting shot in the foot.

I still need a better name that what I've got, because this "Flickering Light" title isn't making me happy. Some writing got done while I was in Missouri last weekend, but not much (more editing than writing). I've been thinking more and more about self-publishing, too, so we'll see how that goes. Everything would be free to download for ebooks and such, since I'm a nice guy and most of what I would offer there is available here anyway. Of course, if I have to pay for a publishing service, that would suck and I wouldn't do it. At least not right now.

I also looked at last week's post and edited three small portions (1-2 words each) of it that were in dire need of changing. Two were contradictory to earlier parts of the story, which I'm glad I noticed, and one was because "war medic" sounded dumb. I should've looked that up. I've looked up plenty of stuff to go with this story. I learned about catheters yesterday and now I need to look them up in order to justify a single line in my story. I really, really want things to make sense in this story.

Except the whole, y'know, Cody using portals and having a funky necklace-thing. Those are to be revealed sooner or later! I'm sure you're just dying to find out what's going on. No, no, I'm pretty sure that's how you feel. Please keep misinforming me that this is the case.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 4]

[Warning: There's a curse word or two in here, I think]

“Jerry, put that controller away and get your swimsuit on! We’re late!”

In the doorway, Janie was waiting impatiently in her microscopic bathing suit. There was a huge welcome back party going on at the lake for the first weekend of the semester. There would be music and free barbecue, which was half the reason Jeremy and Tom were going. Janie and Mary, girls they had gotten to know through classes and clubs, were coming with them. They were hoping they’d come home with them later, too. But since they had been playing video games all morning they hadn’t gotten their swimsuits on or gotten their cooler together.

“I’m gonna go by Mary’s place and we’re going to head off ourselves then, okay?”

“Alright. Sorry, Janie.”

“Just don’t make yourselves too late.”

Tom cursed under his breath as he headed to the kitchen to find the cooler. He pulled it out from behind unpacked boxes and tossed aside the smaller boxes inside, making a mental note to unpack those later. The ice came flying out of the freezer as Tom broke it on the counter. Half of it went in the cooler, followed by four twelve-packs of sodas, and the rest of the ice.

“Hey, would you get the-Oh Christ man what is that!”

“What’s what?” Jerry was carrying a beach ball at his side, a towel on his shoulder, and his speedo around his waist.

“Man, I know you’re a swimmer and all, but this is a lake party, not a Let Everything Hang Out party.”

“Hey, maybe I wanna show off for a few of the good lookin’ ladies down there?”
“Just put on a real swimsuit for the guys, alright?”

Jeremy sighed and went back into his room to change again. Tom closed the cooler and headed into his room to find his trunks.

* * *

“Damn, maybe I put too much ice in this thing.”

They had gone about a third of the way down the trail. Tom’s arm was holding onto one side of the cooler, with Jeremy holding up the other. Knowing Jeremy’s muscles, he would still be able to go for the next leg of the walk to the lake. Tom was about to stop and ask for a rest when he spotted someone lying on the ground up ahead.

“Hey, Jerry, look. Someone’s over there.”

“Oh man. Think he’s hurt?”

“He’s lying on the ground in the middle of the day. He can’t be feeling too good.”

“C’mon, let’s put this thing down and go check it out.”

Much to Tom’s relief, they set down the cooler with a thud. He stretched his arm around as they jogged forward. Tom quickly forgot about how heavy the cooler was when they got closer. It was a young kid, probably just started high school, shirtless and torn up. Scratches were on his back and dirt covered him head to toe. Around his shoulder and his ankle were makeshift cloth bandages with deep stains.

“Holy shit, Jerry, we gotta get him to a hospital. Is he dead?”

Jeremy bent down and checked for a pulse. It was there, but weak. “He’s still alive, but barely. What’re we gonna do?”

“You’re stronger than me, carry him back to the apartment and I’ll grab my car.”

“What about the cooler? Or the party?  We should tell Janie and Mary we won’t be there.”

“Fuck ‘em. This kid needs help. We’ll grab some ice from the cooler and wrap his ankle and shoulder better with it.”

Jeremy nodded, picked up the kid and began running. Tom followed close by and found himself thankful he wouldn’t have to drive Jeremy in a speedo to the hospital. As they reached the cooler, Tom yanked his towel off of his own shoulder. He unwrapped the boy’s ankle and had to pause for a moment. It was swollen and had started turning losing color around where he had been shot. Tom swallowed, tore off his own shirt and rebound the ankle. With his towel, he made a second wrapping with ice inside to help slow the bleeding. The kid’s shoulder was doing better than his ankle, but it still needed attention - it looked as though it was done by a combat medic. While turning to grab Jeremy’s towel, the charm around the boy’s neck caught Tom’s eye. He paused for a moment, wondering how the light seemed stay inside without a source. Jeremy spoke and brought Tom back to reality.

“I don’t think he’s gonna make it, Tommy.”

Tom shook his head. “Don’t say shit like that, alright? It doesn’t help.”

Yet he couldn’t help but think the same.


[Part 3] [Part 5]

Aren't Easter Eggs delicious?

Sitting in a bedroom 500+ miles from home. One time zone off of home time. Sunflower seeds have punctured my tongue. Five Dr. Peppers down on the way. The decision to post is a confusing one, but it is made.