Lab Rat part 62

Posted: March 26, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

“Okay, so let’s say I believe you. What happens next?”

“I dumped a vest loaded with cartridges on the rooftop of a building close to Auto Row. I need it back. One of them can fix all of this.” I point to my wrecked body.

“I’m not sure I believe that,” Jennifer tells me. “There is no magic panacea. There’s no way to get something from nothing.”

“Believe me. I know.” I shudder as I remember my rebirth. The shaking sets off a wave of stabbing aches and pains. I clench my jaw, and my eyes water.

“Alright, Ash. I’ll find your vest.” Dad pulls out his phone. “Show me where to look.”

I open up the navigator and find Auto Row. I pull up a building that’s about half a mile east of the destroyed car lots. “There. That rooftop looks about right.” Dad shakes his head. “What?”

“That place is crawling with cops right now. There’s no way I’m going in there and getting my ass landed in jail for nothing.”

“This isn’t nothing! I need to get that vest back and I can’t do it myself!” I feel a lump rising in the back of my throat. Real nice. I’m sure crying will get him to do what I want. I clench and unclench my fists. I look down at the injector. I swallow hard. “You wanna know how serious this is?” I spin the cartridges until I find what I want. I hit the button. The serum burns its way into my veins, and the familiar fire washes through me. My jaw clenches involuntarily. I smell smoke. The heart monitor beeps frantically. Jennifer jumps across the bed and starts checking the readouts. The motion bounces my leg, and I groan. I’m clenching my teeth so hard I taste blood. Dad grabs my left wrist and wrenches me toward him.

“Jesus, Ash, what the hell are you doing?” The monitor’s alerts fade as my pulse returns to normal. I pull my hand away from him.

“I’m showing you. I’m serious. This shit is serious, and I need help.” He’s bathed in a blue light. It’s coming from my eyes. I can’t remember what kind of particles Taryn told me these were, but I do remember almost blowing off my own head in the bathroom once upon a time. I look to the vid screen and relax my vision. My eyes take on the thousand yard stare and a torrent of bluish light crackles and pours into the screen. It immediately explodes. Shards of plastic pepper the room. I refocus, and the destructive beam of energy cuts out. I look back to my dad. He flinches. “Every one of these cartridges lets me do something unreal. I need to get them back. I need to find Doctor Allison.” I look at my hands. “All the wrong people are looking for her and it’s my fault,” I say quietly.

For a long time, no one says anything. The blue light fades from my eyes. I’m hungry. That seems like a good reason to break the silence. “Jennifer’s right. The energy comes from somewhere. I need to eat.” I look up at my dad. He meets my gaze again, and nods.

I went to Caer Galen A&S today. I fought a few of the fighters from down south. People told me I did really well. I felt like I did super crappy. I got nailed in the shoulder; my right arm isn’t really working right now.

In other news, I couldn’t make small talk with all of my fellow Scadians. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone, and any conversation I was in quickly became awkward. I did my best to stay out of my own head, but I ended up failing and retreating from the world. To my friends: I’m really sorry. It isn’t that I don’t care. More accurately, I’ve forgotten how to show it.


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