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Monday, September 24, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 9]

For Cody, the next few weeks were filled with mediocre food, muscle exercises with his foot and arm, and visits from official looking people in nice clothes. They told him he had a home waiting for him when he left the hospital. His new parents visited several times, bringing along another boy they had adopted that was only a couple years younger than Cody. Cody didn’t say much to any of them unless he had to. Later he got moved into a standard hospital room with nurses taking care of him. Eventually his doctor and the nurses trusted him enough to remove the restraints, and later take a wheelchair around the hospital. He would usually sit out in the warm, flower-filled courtyard to get away from the freezing and boring room he lived in until the weather started turning colder. Several months passed slowly as Cody tried to figure out a way to get back to where he belonged. Tom visited less and less, saying that school and family had gotten in the way of his free time. Eventually Cody learned his new address after yet another awkward conversation with his parents and little brother, and exchanged it with Tom’s. Cody never saw him again after that.

Finally, Cody was discharged. He could walk fairly well yet the doctors told him not to be running around. His arm felt great, as if it had never been hurt in the first place. The early morning had an icy chill of late January. His new mom and dad had bought winter clothes for him to change into. At the front lobby, Cody sat in a firm chair next to his little brother, Ian, while their parents finished up paperwork.

“How come you never talk that much?” Ian asked.

“Cause I don’t want to.”

“So...what do you like to do?”


“Yeah, like, Legos, baseball, video games, stuff like that.”

Cody stared for a minute. It was like Ian had spoken to him in a completely different language; those things were all foreign.

“Hellooo?” Ian waved his hand in front of Cody’s face.

“Oh! Um, what did you say?”
“What do you do for fun?”

“I never really got time to do anything fun. We were always moving around a lot.”
“Aww, that stinks. We’ve got an Xbox at home, and this one game that...”

Cody listened as Ian talked all about different video games that he gets to play at home. There wasn’t anything like it back in Cody’s world, but then again, any gadgets that were useless for survival got abandoned. Ian kept talking all the way to the car about how they would stay up all night playing together and how excited he was to have a big brother. Cody strode next to him, mostly paying attention while making sure his foot was still alright to put pressure on. Their parents led them to a compact car in the parking lot. Cody entered the sedan, still chilly from sitting in the parking lot. After fumbling with the seat belt, unsure of what to do with it, he clicked it in place and was driven away.

They ate lunch at the nicest eatery Cody had ever been to, although that wasn’t hard to find. Next, they went clothes shopping. He couldn’t believe the options he had, from all the different food to any kind of shirt he could think of wearing. The large town his parents took him through amazed him. He had grown up accustomed to seeing places just like it, yet abandoned and devoid of life. Seeing so many people together peacefully was a shock for Cody. Ian had asked him why he kept looking over his shoulder so much.

When his parents brought him home, Cody could’ve believe he was getting an entire room for himself. They left him alone to get settled in. He sat in the middle of his bed, slightly bouncing on it to feel how amazingly soft it was to him. He loved everything about the day.

And he hated himself for that.


[Part 8] [Part 10]

(it's probably because he doesn't have any matching clothes)

Super busy Humans vs Zombiez week is now over! Super busy candidate semester is GO! I'll probably not even post for awhile just because I don't have time to write or do other fun things. Unless, of course, I stay up all night every night. And clearly, that is not an option.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 8]

“Cody, what happened?”

Tom sat in the same chair two days later, asked once more by the doctors to try to get the boy to talk. He looked over the tighter straps around Cody’s arms and legs. A loose strap was slung around his neck to prevent him from biting off the IV in his arm or chewing at the other bands that held him to the bed. Cody looked and felt like a trapped animal, waiting for the day that he gets put down. The thankful, cheerful boy that he was had vanished.

“Why...” he began, “why did you bring me to a hospital? I thought you said you wanted to help me.”

“I do want to help you. These people are only trying to help.”

“But this is where they do really bad experiments and tests and other strange things to people! You know, try to make them grow a third leg or dissect their stomach while they’re still alive, or something.”

Tom leaned back and nearly laughed out loud at what he was hearing. The distress on Cody’s face, though, stopped him from that. Pushed any further and tears would start flowing. Instead, Tom sighed, crossed his arms, and tried to answer seriously.

“That’s not what happens at a hospital, Cody. I don’t know where you got that from.”

“But it is! I’ve seen it before! I saw really disgusting stuff that doctors did to people in hospitals!”

“Where, Cody? Where would anything like that possibly happen? It couldn’t have been in the US. They’d get reported to the FDA or something.”

“No, not there, I don’t even know what those letters mean. It’s this town that Father took my family to a year or two ago, and we watched a guy get his own liver or lung or something from inside him taken out. It was really disgusting. They kept him awake through the whole thing. Father told me that that kind of thing happened all the time, everywhere, to punish people who said bad things about the government."

“Wait, wait,” started Tom. He almost missed most of what Cody said after he mentioned he didn’t know what the US was. He ran a hand through his hair trying to soak it all in. “So you’re telling me you don’t even live in this country? Where are you from?”

"Sandrita. You know, with the big civil war. I didn't think that I was anywhere close to the border. Where did you say we are?"

"The USA. United States?"

"Never heard of it."

Tom spent the next two hours trying to figure out what was going on. According to Cody, he had seen horrifying experiments done on people in what he knew to be called ‘hospitals’. Other times he watched people get shot by soldiers for no reason other than they were trying to go about their lives in the middle of war. Cody himself had been on the run with his family when he got separated from them in a crowd. He didn’t want to say much else about his family in Sandrita other than that, so Tom didn’t press him. Cody explained that he was running through a jungle, got shot, and then fell off of a cliff, but didn’t mention anything other than that.

“Well this is all hard to believe, Cody, and I don’t know if I can. You just appeared in this world? How come you can understand everything I say?”

“I don’t know, and I don't know what this place is either. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

“Is there any way you can prove that you’re not from here?”

“No...except maybe this, but I don’t know how it would help.” Cody pulled his necklace out from under the thin gown. The blue light was cheerily shining inside the clear shell. It was the one thing that kept Tom from tossing aside Cody’s stories as make-believe. There was nothing out there just like it. All the trinkets he found that looked close had a source for the light.

“I just want to get back to Father. What’s going to happen to me now?” Cody asked.

“Well if they can’t find your dad, I’m sure that you’ll get put into foster care or an orphanage.”

“But I can live fine on my own! I was doing okay before I got here, I bet I can do okay here too.”

“Cody, that’s not how things work. Besides, it’ll be easier to get adjusted with a mom and dad to give you a home and food to eat.”

“Adjusted? I don’t want to adjust to this world. I want back in mine.”

“Well,” Tom said, frustrated, “if you want to go back to your world, then go ahead and try. But until you know how you’re going to do that, you need to get used to the way things run here. Got it?”

Miserable, Cody nodded and looked away. The low beeping of the machines and rustle of papers from the doctors were the only sounds in the room. Feeling like he broke his spirit, Tom made Cody an offer.

“Hey, tell you what. I’ll give you my address, and you give me yours when you get it. If you happen to live close to me, I’ll stop by now and then. And if you’re ever near me, you can drop by. How’s that sound?”

Cody showed a small smile. “Okay. I’ll do that.”

Standing, Tom patted the bed a couple times as reassurance and headed out of the ICU.


[Part 7] [Part 9]

Don't expect a post next week. Then again, I don't think anybody expects a post every week. I certainly don't. HvZ is coming up and I'm already super-busy. The only reason I have time to write is because I'm at work and I need to be sitting up at the front desk. It makes the time go by faster when I can't leave the place I'm sitting at. 

Also, it should be picking up a bit soon, promise! Augh.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Flickering Light [Part 7]

The police came soon afterward, and questioned the two separately until Jeremy and Tom could convince them their story was straight. They got little sleep over the night. The chairs in the hospital were too uncomfortable to find a restful way to sleep in them, the couch was too short and the armrests were too hard. Jeremy would've loved to jet out of there, but Tom insisted they stayed until they knew the boy was stable. At about eleven the next morning, the doctor on duty walked in to talk to them.

“He woke up again, and things are looking better by the hour. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he refuses to speak to us, even with a pen and paper. We tried asking him what his name is, about you two, about his home, anything, but he won’t talk. Could you help us out?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Of course.”

They walked back into the ICU and along the familiar path to the kid’s bed. There was a hospital boot around his foot and his right shoulder was dressed. The boy smiled brightly as they walked in. The necklace he wore shone faintly through his thin hospital gown. He still looked weak and tired, but it was an improvement from before. Tom brought a chair over to sit close while Jeremy stayed standing at the end of the bed.

“Hey there, kid,” Jeremy said.


“What’s your name?” Tom asked.

“Cody. Who are you? Why’d you help me?” He spoke hoarsely over the light beeping of the health monitors and cleared his throat.

“This is Jeremy, and you can call me Tom. We helped you ‘cause you needed help. What were you doing out there by yourself? Who shot you?”

“Those guys in those fancy uniforms told you to talk to me didn’t they?”

“No, the doctor did,” Jeremy said. Tom gave him a scowl.

“I don’t like them. They took my necklace away,” Cody answered. The hand from his good arm traveled to his chest and rolled the glowing light in his fingers.

“What’s so special about it? Looks like it’s just a cheap little light show,” Jeremy said.

Cody scowled. “I don’t like you either.”

“Not my problem.”

“Jeremy, shut it. Cody’s been through a lot.”

“Man, Tom, he looks like he’ll be alright now. I just wanna know what the hell happened to him, not about some dumb little thing around his neck.”

“It’s not dumb. It’s really special. It does cool stuff,” piped in Cody.

“Yeah? Like what?” answered Jeremy. Tom stood up a little too fast, pushing the chair back a few inches and into the wall separating rooms.

“I don’t know yet.” Cody trailed off, looking away from them both.

“Doesn’t sound special to me.”

“Jerry, go wait outside,” Tom said, fists clenched. Their gazes met for long moments before Jeremy gave in and stormed out of the ICU. Tom stared at him as he left, then flopped back down into the chair when he couldn’t see Jerry anymore. He let out a sigh and tried talking to Cody again.

“Sorry about that. He usually doesn’t care about anyone other than himself.”

Cody didn’t answer. He was busy feigning interest at the beeping noises and flashing lights of the sensors he was attached to. He wished that he could wake up and everything be back to the way it was. The last few weeks ran together in his mind like a long, bad dream. Cody tried to think of other things but his mind wouldn’t let him. Tom’s voice brought him back to reality.

“So do your parents know you’re around here?”

“No, they don’t,” Cody answered. “I haven’t seen them in a while.”

“Why’s that?”

“I got separated from Father and couldn’t get back to him. Then a bunch of stuff happened, and now I’m here.”

“A bunch of stuff?” Tom asked. Cody lay staring at the ceiling until Tom realized there wasn’t going to be an answer to that question.

“Well, Cody, we need to be able to talk to them so the hospital and police can get-”

“Hospital?” Cody snapped to attention with fear on his face.

“Yeah, this place where we’re at that you’re getting-”

Cody began fighting the restraints that tied him down to the hospital bed. Tom, caught off guard, tried to calm him down, but Cody kept thrashing in the bed without signs of stopping. He began yelling ‘Let me out!’ over and over, tugging at the leather around his wrists. Survivalist instincts kicked in full gear for the boy. Someone shouted in the distance and he paid no attention to the red spot growing on his upper right arm. Cody managed to loosen up one strap enough to squeeze his hand through. The feeling of tearing out the IV made him shiver as he almost was able to pull out his other arm from the restraints.

Just before both hands were free, he felt shoved back down into the white, fluffy sheets. Tom’s bewildered face was close, blocking the overhead light from view. The adrenaline couldn’t ignore the agony in his shoulder as it was being held down by strong hands. He yelled at Tom that he needed to get out when a syringe poking his shoulder slowly pulled him back into the unconscious world.


[Part 6] [Part 8]

Bam! With all the junk I'm doing, I was still able to write and edit this. I've had a busy few weeks going on, and it doesn't look like it's stopping anytime soon. In better news, it seems like I'll be able to afford a trip to Hong Kong next summer! So if I can make it through these next two semesters alive, I'll have a treat waiting for me.

Until next time, folks. Which, if I can keep a consistent schedule, will be late Monday night next week.