“Cody, what happened?”
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.”
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.”
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!”
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.”
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,” 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."
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.
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?”
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.
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.