Blogs by Wade Hunter
Dark Glimmers Chapters 9&10
10/28/2006 11:39:13 PM
Alone in the Dark
There was a feeling of emptiness that lasted the span of two or three seconds-a cloudless, floating feeling that made Frank’s head feel jumbled and his vision go snow-blind with intense whiteness-then he could see once more. He expected to feel claws ripping into him or to feel his skin filling with bone melting heat, but he felt neither. He opened his eyes, and he was looking at a ceiling. He squinted his eyes, trying to focus, unsure of where he was. Then he felt the blankets covering him, recognized the patterns in the ceiling above him. He turned his head to the right, and saw the red neon of his clock radio. It read eleven forty.
Frank brought a hand up to his eyes, and tried to chase the final fluttering white dots from his vision. His felt light headed as he sat up, probably from all the excitement. When his vision focused once more, he saw a figure standing by the window at the far end of the room.
“Spinner?” he asked, still not thinking clearly. He wondered if they had both made it out of the dream okay. Spinner had been wounded, and Frank wasn’t sure just how bad it was. He recalled seeing a lot of blood staining the cloths near Spinner’s shoulder. Frank hoped that Spinner was okay. He had a good feeling that Spinner at least did make it out of the dream. It had been Spinner that showed him the switch and told him what to do. Frank didn’t know how it had worked, but when he flicked the switch he was pulled away from the charging form of the Dark Agent. That was a good thing. Frank knew as he saw the eyes of that monster flying up at them that if the Dark Agent had reached them, there would be no waking up ever again.
Frank refocused on the figure across the room, feeling a sudden apprehension about it. All he could see was a silhouette against the moonlight coming through the window, but as his mind cleared, he saw that it wasn’t Spinner at all. It was Tommy. He was running his hand over the crack in the window. He turned to Frank and the soft moonlight spilled across his face, revealing a very sad look.
“What was it Frank?” he asked, and looked back at the crack in the window. “You know. I know you do, little brother.” The statement came across as an accusation.
“It was just a bad dream,” Frank said, knowing it wasn’t the answer that is brother was seeking, but not lying about it at the same time. The air seemed thick in his room, but Frank just figured his head was still fuzzy. He watched his brother, who was moving in slow drifty movements, and he began to worry that something was wrong.
“I don’t think so,” Tommy said in a monotone voice. “Dreams can’t do this.” Tommy reached out and caressed the window once more.
Frank didn’t know what to say to his brother. He pulled back the sheets to get out of bed, and saw dark stains on his white linen. He looked down, and saw that he still had his shoes and pants from his dream on. He tried to move, but is actions were sluggish, as if he were moving through water.
“You know what you said earlier today?” Frank heard Tommy ask, but he didn’t look up at his brother. He was focused on the dirty sheets, and the dirty shoes on his feet. “I think I agree with you.” Frank looked up now, a bit confused to what his brother was referring to. “I know that you said you were just playing, but I don’t think you were.” Tommy was looking out the window, with a haunted look on his face. A sick feeling formed deep in Frank’s bowels, as he moved to get out of bed.
“Tommy come here,” Frank yelled, panic filling the words as he spoke them, but Tommy didn’t come. He didn’t even seem to hear Frank. He turned from the window. “Maybe the people of this town are right,” he said looking down at his feet then back up at his brother; his face an unreadable mask as the moonlight made shadows across his features.
Frank knew that he had to get to his brother. He could feel the need like fire in his head. Something very wrong was happening. Then shadow filled the window behind Tommy. Frank knew that his sneaking suspicions had been right. He still had the clothes on from his dreams, which meant he never actually left the dream.
“Tommy!” Frank yelled as the first black slither snuck through the crack in the window, squirming its way into the room, and expanding. “Tommy move!” Frank was screaming now, but his screams seemed unheard by his big brother. Frank tried to get across the room to him. He needed to yank him away from the window, but his muscles were like wet cement. There was a loud crack as the glass in the window splintered then shattered inward. A hand came over the top of Tommy’s left shoulder, and Frank saw the reflection of black eye glimmer behind his brothers other shoulder. The hand clamped down on Tommy, whose face remained indifferent to the danger that he was in. The hand had cuts on it and blood was spilling from those cuts, but as the hand wrapped around Tommy, Frank saw the cuts healing themselves. Tommy’s feet came off of the floor. The Dark Agent was pulling Tommy through the window out into the night. Frank knew that there was no way he would reach his brother in time.
“TOMMY WAKE UP!!!!” he yelled at the top of his lungs, hoping that the words would register in Tommy’s head, and praying that his brother would be able to wake before it was to late.
One moment the window was filled with bodies, the next it framed the star filled night. Frank scrambled to the window, afraid to look into the yard below, but when he looked the yard was empty.
Frank felt a sphere of anger at the base of his skull, like a white ball of heated lead. It was unlike anything that he had ever felt before. It snaked its way down his spine, finding its way into his bloodstream, and filled every corner of his body with a blinding rage.
His legs were moving, and his mind had turned off. He busted out of his room, and took the steps two at a time. He had no thoughts of what he was doing. His mind never considered the fact that his enemies may be laying in wait for him. He knew one thing. His big brother was in trouble. It drove him straight to the front door. He flipped the latch, and the deadbolt released with a thunk. He threw the door open, and it spit him forth like a bullet from a gun. He pushed back with his left hand, and the door slammed shut so hard that it echoed up and down the street. He cleared the three front steps in one stride, launching himself into the night.
“Where are you, you son of a bitch?!” Frank yelled as he cornered around the side of the house. His blood was boiling with the anger he felt. He was sick of others getting hurt because of him. He felt no fear at that moment. He felt nothing but the need to injure those that would injure him. He could think of nothing but returning any harm that was paid to his brother, until he rounded the back of the house and came face to face with Anna.
After the attack of the White Wolf in the dream, Spinner was lost inside of his own agony. He had no real recollection of Frank grabbing him and accenting towards the sky. He never saw the Dark Agent coming for them as they fall back to earth. He used all the energy he could spare to send the image of the switch into Frank’s mind, and tell him what to do. He wasn’t sure if it would work at the time, but Frank was very powerful in the dream. If anybody could pull it off it would be him.
Spinner stirred now, unsure of himself, unsure of were he was, or if he was dead. As he tried to sit up, his arm and shoulder screamed with pain, enlightening him that he was still very much alive. The wolf had buried its claw in him, and when he sent her flying, the jagged edges tore three deep cuts across and through the muscle of his shoulder.
He tried to lift his arm and couldn’t. He looked and there was a lot of blood. The red stain on his shirt was slowly advancing into a larger and larger ring. Not good, he told himself through the pain. Have to stop the bleeding. He sat up, and was met with a spinning avalanche of vertigo that made him want to throw up. He managed to swing his legs and sit on the side of the bed. His left arm hung limp, with blood dripping of the ends of his fingers. The drops fell on the tan carpet forming a red crown. Spinner felt as if her were going to pass out. His head spun. Darkness crept into the corners of his eyes, and pain squeezed him without malice.
The old bitch finally got you, his mind was telling him, but the thought spurred him on instead of defeating him. He hadn’t fought for all these years to go down without a fight. He couldn’t let Anna win.
Spinner focused on his heart rate, closed himself down in his head. His breathing slowed, but he was having a hard time dropping his beats per minute. There was just too much adrenaline in his blood stream to slow his heart down right now. He was able to control his pain to the point where he could see straight again, although his vision was still fuzzy as if looking through a piece of dirty glass. He could feel the blood running down his arm; each drop another piece of his life force draining from him. Gotta stop the bleeding or you’re going to die, he thought.
Spinner, searching deep inside of himself, found the strength to stand, and get moving. It wasn’t that far to the kitchen where he needed to go, but it seemed like miles in his head. His back protested as he stood. The pain in his shoulder made him forget the blow that he took to his back. It was hard work, but he found his way into the kitchen. With effort he opened the freezer with his one good arm, and pulled out the ice bucket. He got a zip lock bag from a drawer, and dumped the ice into it, missing with a few of the cubes that went racing across the linoleum floor. He closed the bag, and practically fell into one of the chairs at his kitchen table. His head was spinning again, but he fought past it. He had to fight. He couldn’t die. Not yet. He just refused to let it happen.
The ice felt like a cold kiss on his shoulder. It would help slow the bleeding by constricting the blood vessels in the muscle. The cuts were deep, and the ice wouldn‘t do it alone. He had to get some kind of pressure on the wound. Spinner was afraid that to much muscle and tendon had been severed, and that the limb would forever be useless. He had to get to a doctor, but he would never make it if he didn’t restrict the wound somehow.
Searching in the drawers next to him, he found an old ace bandage, and he began the slow, methodical job of wrapping it up over the wounded shoulder, down across his chest, and back around again. Once the bandage had some leverage, he pulled on it as hard as he could. The act sent thunderous shocks of pain throughout his body, but with every pass he managed to yank on the bandage, making it pull the wound shut. It took him close to a half an hour, but he managed to get the tunicate tied good and hard. In conjunction with the ice it did a good job of slowing if not stopping his bleeding.
When he was done, he leaned back in his chair, to exhausted to do anything but. He wondered about Frank. Did he make it out? Was he hurt in anyway? Where had he come from, and what had he down to that Dark Agent? He knew one thing for sure, the kid had saved his ass. He just hoped that he returned the favor with his little switch trick.
Darkness came to Spinner once more, and this time he was unable to ward it off. It took him in its arms, and dragged him deep into unconsciousness, deeper than any dream could ever reach him.
Tommy found himself having the oddest dream. It all seemed so real. He was standing in his brother’s room, examining the crack in the window. No damn dream caused that crack, and he wanted to know just what did cause it.
Frank was in bed when Tommy walked in, but after a few minutes he woke up. Tommy found himself asking questions to his brother, but he couldn’t hear everything that his brother was answering back to him. It was as if there was a soundproof wall in-between them that only let so many sounds sneak through it. Tommy found himself thinking about all the weird things that his brother had done and said today. Frank knew something was going on and he wasn’t telling him. That pissed Tommy off a bit, but not too much. Tommy didn’t know what he felt, actually (mad, scared, confused). He just felt strange in a way, like he was off balance because his ears hadn’t popped to equal him out. Even his own words sounded as if he were talking in a tunnel.
When Frank hopped out of bed with all his clothes on, Tommy began to wonder what the deal was. Then he saw the look of horror melt into Frank’s features, and he knew that something was very wrong. He had no idea what it may be. Perhaps Frank was fooling around again.
The window behind Tommy crashed inward, and he felt himself being pulled backwards. The pressure in his ears popped, and he could hear the glass twinkling from the frame and the footsteps of his brother running. There was no pain involved, only shock at the sudden jerk from behind, and then he was weightless.
The last thing he remembered about his brother’s room was his brother himself. He looked mortified, and as Tommy was pulled clear of the window he heard his little brother yelling at him to wake up. He was actually screaming the words, and it rattled something in Tommy. Why would his little brother be yelling at him to wake up? He was falling down, but the fall seemed to be taking a long time. He felt the hot breath on his neck, and the first inkling of fear burrowed its way into his thoughts. He heard Frank’s last words echoing in his head. Tommy wake up. Confused at what was happening, he rolled his head back to see the face of the Knocker, and the harshness of the situation sunk in. He was in big trouble. He needed to wake up.
Then something that sounded like a door slammed in his head. The noise was ear shattering, and he found himself sitting straight up in bed, breathing hard and fast from the excitement of the dream as the sound radiated through his skull. His hands went to his throat, where a massive arm had just been but wasn’t now. He took in a deep breath.
“Awake,” he whispered as if confirming that the dream was over
Just a dream, he thought, but he found himself staring up at the crack in the ceiling once more, questioning whether it had been just a dream or not. Looking around he felt very vulnerable in the dark. He reached one unsteady hand out and turned on his bedside light.
All the anger that was raging through Frank as he went speeding around the back of his house drained from him as he saw the smiling face of Anna, standing there waiting for him. Frank realized suddenly just how stupid he had been. He gave a quick glance up at his bedroom window. Then he heard the hollow laugh of the Dark Agent. He wondered if his brother was dead or not, but he got the sense that somehow Tommy was okay. Maybe Frank had reached him and woke him up. He had to hold onto that hope. The dark man wouldn’t have fought to hard to keep him. Anna and he wanted Frank, not his brother, and they had managed to get him out in the open with their tactics.
He saw the Dark Agent hop up onto the porch from deep in the shadows. Frank had a hard time looking into his eyes, and the man seemed to be loving every minute of it. “I know what you’re asking yourself right now,” he said as he came forward. He wiped one hand across his chin, as if wiping excess saliva away. The man wiped his hand on his leather pants and spoke. “That question being-is he dead?” He paused slightly in-between each word, taunting Frank with the intermittent speech.
The Dark Agent was slowly walking across the porch to the spot that Anna was standing by the house. With each step the man took, Frank took on back. They could take you at any moment, Frank thought. As the dark man spoke that dreaded question about Tommy, Frank was asking it in his head. He hoped Tommy was fine, but there was no telling if he was. The dark man may have killed him just for sport. Frank felt his knees give a little bit at the thought of his brother laying dead below his bedroom window. He struggled to keep his balance as he skirted backwards. Frank made it to the corner of the house. He was having a hard time looking at the pair of killers in front of him. The sight of them sickened him. Had they killed his brother to get to him? To his right Frank saw the light turn on in Tommy’s room, and it was like a beacon of hope for Frank’s soul.
“He got away,” Frank whispered, looking back at the pair, and the dark man shrugged.
“Its you we want anyway,” Anna hissed. The words carried the threat of death with them, and Frank wondered how the hell he was going to get out of this mess. He looked around frantically, hoping to find something that might give him the slightest edge.
“I think we’re finally have you all to ourselves,” he heard Anna say in a low pleased voice. It was followed by a high-pitched wail of a laugh as she tossed her shawl to the ground. Her hair was like long white wire on her head. “Do me a favor, boy,” she cackled. “Run from me.”
Frank didn’t hesitate. Anna’s words filled him with the terror that they were meant to, and he took off without thought of where he could go to hide. He ripped past the house, purposely turning from it, to lead the two away. They managed to get inside once tonight. That meant they could get inside a second time.
He turned down the road, heading towards the church, when he heard Anna call after him. “Here I come, little one,” she said. Here words were followed by a guttural howl that filled the night. Frank was by the church , when he heard the first sounds of his follower‘s padded feet behind him. He didn’t need to look to know that it was Anna in the form of the White Wolf behind him. He thought about running into the church. Would Anna follow him in there? She would, he thought. If he was still in their shockwave or death rattle or what ever little hell they created, then the church would hold no holy power over the evil that was Anna and her kin.
Frank wandered if Anna would dare spill blood on her own grave, and he turned at the corner of the church to head that direction. He saw a dark shape lurking in the shadows of the graveyard, though, and he knew that it was the Dark Agent, waiting for him.
He was trapped in between the two, but he didn’t dare slow down. The White Wolf was right behind him. He ran past the one room building that use to serve as the town’s church, and made the first stride into the graveyard. The Dark Agent was waiting for him with a devilish smile, twenty yards away, and the White Wolf was almost on him. He cut hard to the left just as he passed a large grave marker. He saw the White Wolf flying through the air out of the corner of his eye, and he knew that if he hadn’t turned then he would be in her jaws right now. He had surprised her by veering to the left, but now what was he going to do? She would recover and be on him again in seconds.
Frank dug down deep in his reserve and found just a little bit more adrenaline to use. He shot back towards the church, circled the opposite side of the smaller building that he had just passed, coming around to the front.
There, his mind screamed as the doors to the small brick building came into view. He had no reason to argue and no other place to go. He cut to his left, and lurched for the doors. His hand found the latch and depressed the trigger. Please be unlocked, he said in his head and he pulled on the door. It stuck slightly, but it opened. He saw the White Wolf out of the corner of his eye, clearing the corner to the building, no more than ten feet away. He threw open the door and headed for the clearing that was revealed. His ears filled with the hungry growl of Anna, and he felt a sharp pain rip across his back.
Frank fell into the old church, pulling the door as he went, but it didn‘t shut. The door hit the frame and bounced open, leaving an open path to his injured body. He felt blood running down his back and into his pants. He felt the cold distant tingling of pain reaching out across his shoulders, and he hit the floor with a thud. He looked over his shoulder, to see Anna standing in the doorway, looking into the one-roomed building with contempt. All she had to do was come and get him, and it would all be over. She held here ground. She was looking about the inside of the room from a good three feet outside the door. Her shoulders were pushed forward, and she was ducking her head low. Frank wasn’t sure but he could have sworn she was afraid to come inside the building. Frank stared back at her in disbelief, and she howled a hurt-filled, hateful howl at him. Her face became a strange mutation, part human part wolf, as she did so.
Frank felt his mind slipping as the pain from his back began o fill his entire body. He couldn’t pass out, or she would definitely come for him. Slide, his mind said. Before she overcomes what ever is holding her back. Shift the dream.
Frank let his mind slip, unconscious of where or when it may lead him, and suddenly he was bathed in a golden light. The light pulsed over him, and with each wave he felt the pain slide from his back like water off a duck. He felt strong again, rejuvenated. Then there was a horrible pushing gale that rolled him into the wall. The light was gone and the room was filled with the intense cry of a baby in pain. Rain was pounding against the roof of the building, and thunder was clapping relentlessly outside.
Frank looked up and caught the image of a young woman, lying on a table. On her blood stained chest lay the form of a newborn child. The scene blurred before he could pull more detail from it, and he was sliding once more.
“Frank wake up! Frank wake up! Are you okay?” Frank heard someone talking to him from far away, and he went in that direction. When he heard the voice again, he locked in on it. When he opened his eyes, he saw his mother and father standing over him. Tommy was lingering in the background with a worried look on his face. Frank saw Tommy look at something across the room, and followed his gaze. The window had busted out.
“Frank?” his dad said, and all the boy could do was nod his head, indicating that he was okay. He couldn’t feel any pain in his back, and he believed that he had finally come awake. “Fine,” Frank said. “I’m fine. I just had a scare from the window is all.” His dad embraced him, and his mother kissed him on the head. Frank looked at his brother, locked eyes with him, and smiled a shy grin. “Good to see you, bro,” he mouthed. He saw the knowledge in Tommy‘s face, saw the tears the boy was holding back as he nodded in agreement.
Breakfast was a series of awkward silences and empty smiles. Everyone was so unsure of the night before that no one said much about it. Frank’s dad was going to have the window replaced that day, and he was going to lodge another complaint with the sheriff’s department. Frank’s mother fussed over him a bit, but no more than she did over the last so many weeks. Tommy was sitting quietly eating his bowl of oatmeal. Occasionally Frank and he would share a glance, but Tommy kept his eyes buried in his breakfast bowl for most of the meal.
Frank himself was quiet, running over the events of the previous night in his head. He was worried about his new friend, Spinner, and he found that kind of odd. As early as yesterday afternoon, he held a measure of uncertainty hinging his trust for the man. Spinner always seemed to want to help Frank, but Frank had seen a bit of cold steeliness in his eyes, and that warranted some caution. Now he considered the man his friend. How had that happened? Frank guessed that his apprehension had left him last night some time during the dream. Probably about the time he saw the fear in the man’s eyes. That was the first time that Frank truly understood what this man had been living with for all these years. It helped him understand that the man was in deed trying to help him. There was no hidden agenda like Frank thought. Yeah the man wanted Frank to help rid him of Anna. Frank understood why now. He understood the tension and the fear that came each time you closed your eyes to rest. If that wouldn’t place some steel in your stare than nothing would.
After breakfast, Frank and Tommy headed out the front door on route to school. Tommy had his backpack pulled high on his shoulders, and Frank could tell that he had a thing or two to say on the way to school.
“Boys,” they two heard their mother call, and the turned back.
“Yeah, mom,” Tommy called.
“Find out if you’re eating at Aaron’s tonight or if you have to eat before you go.”
Tommy shrugged. “Think we’re ordering pizza.”
Their mother nodded and shook her head. “That figures,” she said sarcastically. “I’ll leave some money on the fridge for you to take. Will I see you before you go?”
Tommy looked over at Frank. “X-box till our eyes bleed,” Frank said softly with a quick grin. It felt good to him to grin like that. He hadn’t realized just how much he was looking forward to the sleepover. It would help take his mind off things, at least a little bit. Tommy flashed a wry grin to match Frank’s and turned back to his mom.
“We’re probably going to head over soon after school. If we don’t see you we’ll call.”
Mrs. Jordan waved to her boys as they turned away and headed for school. She was excited for the pair to spend the night at Aaron’s. They both needed to smile more, and she figured that a night of goofing off would do that for them.
Tommy was quiet for all of about two seconds after he had his little brother alone. “Dude,” he started, and Frank thought, oh boy here it comes. He spent most of the morning trying to figure out what he would say to Tommy about last night, because he knew that there was no way that Tommy would not say something.
“In all seriousness, what the hell happened last night?” Frank looked over at his brother, and happened to catch sight of the old church that he had taken refuge in last night. What the hell did he witness in that building? But more importantly, why was Anna afraid of it?
“Bro,” Frank started unsure of what he would follow it with. He paused for a second, with his eyes plastered on the old church, sitting there like an ancient relic beside the graveyard. He broke his gaze of the shelter, and looked into Tommy’s face. He saw a mixture of emotions there, and it made him want to reach out and pull his brother into an embrace. “There s some strange things happening in this town.”
Tommy laughed. “That, I figured out all on my own, but what happened last night. I know that you had the same dream. I could see it in your face when you woke up.” Tommy hesitated for a minute as if measuring what he would say next. “It was just like the other night…with that thing at the window.”
“It doesn’t really make sense,” Frank said. “You know how I haven’t been sleeping real well?”
Tommy laughed and said, “If we are having the same dreams-and we are having the same dreams-then I can understand why you aren’t sleeping.” Frank nodded. His brother had seen some of the madness that had begun to rule Frank’s life, and Frank was happy about that in a strange way.
“Well,” Frank said. “What do you remember about last night?”
Tommy raised his eyebrows in surprise. “ I remember being thankful that I had clean pants on when I woke up.”
“Seriously,” Frank added before his brother got off into a rant.
“I remember your room,” Tommy said. “I remember you talking, but I couldn’t hear you. I felt cold and lonely, and…I don’t know…half buried like.”
“Do you remember the window?” Frank asked. The two had just crested the top of the dip that lead to the football field.
“I remember wondering what could have caused the glass to crack. It was weird as if I was awake in the dream-if that makes any sense.”
“More than you know,” Frank said, and Tommy gave him a quizzical sideways glance.
“Anyway, I was looking at the glass then you woke up.”
“Do you remember anything after that?”
“Cha,” Tommy said. “I remember big and ugly, pulling me through the window. Nice answer to the window crack question. At first I didn’t know what was going on, but then something popped. I heard you yelling at me to wake up. I wasn’t really scared then, just confused. Then I saw what had me, and like I said-I’m just happy I didn’t shit myself out of pure fear.”
Tommy stopped, reached out and grabbed Frank by the arm. “You know all of this, though. Don’t you?” The question hung in the air like lingering gas, making Frank’s face twist. “You now all about it, and you have been trying to keep it from me haven’t you.” There was no anger in Tommy’s voice, only a dull sort of recognition, the kind of recognition when you finally get the punch line of a joke three minutes after its been told. “All those bad dreams, that rash on your chest, the episode in school, they’ve all been like that dream last night. Haven’t they?”
Frank couldn’t hide it any longer. He nodded. “You know that dream last night?”
“Yeah,” Tommy said feeling a bit of relief that he may actually get some answers.
“Multiply that by ten and that’s about where I have been over the last month. You said it in the dream. The people of this town are right.” He paused. “I can’t explain it to you. It’s all just to confusing, but yes. I have been keeping it from you.” Frank dropped his head, not wanting to see the disappointment in his brother’s eyes. He felt a hand on the back of his neck. It was Tommy’s, and it made Frank look up.
“You’ve been keeping it from me?” he said with a blank face, and Frank felt horrible.
“Yeah, man. I’m sorry. Its just that…” He trailed off not knowing what to say.
“You’ve been trying to protect me from it. Haven’t you? Since that night in your room. You didn’t tell anybody, because you were trying to protect us. Haven’t you?”
Frank felt a great weight lifted from his shoulders as he saw the love and concern in his brother’s eyes. He nodded softly in answer to Tommy’s question. His brother pulled him into his chest and hugged him in a hard embrace.
“They want me, Tommy,” he said, and began to cry. “They want me, and they aren’t going to stop. I‘ve put you in danger because of it.” It felt good to finally tell his brother, and know that his brother believed him.
“I’m scared, Tommy.”
Tommy squeezed Frank harder. “So am I, bud. So am I.”
Spinner woke in a haze. His shoulder was agony, and his back wasn’t much better. He was still in the kitchen chair, from the night before. Beside him on the table was his bag of ice, now just a bag of water. He straightened up, having the strength to do it with out too much pain.
He turned his head to look at his shoulder. Blood had soaked through the wrap, but the stain was a dark red almost black, which was good. It meant that the blood had tried. He could feel the weakness in him from his blood loss, and he made his way over to the refrigerator, hoping that he had some orange juice left. His mouth was dry, and his skin a pasty white color. His head was light and spun in long slow circles, sending him off balance every three steps, like he was weighted down on one side. The action of pulling the fridge door open made his shoulder scream with pain.
“You’re in bad shape,” he said to himself as he looked into the lighted interior of the refrigerator. He found some orange juice, and popped the carton open with his working hand. The liquid was cool and sweat as it rolled across his tongue and down his throat. At that moment he couldn’t imagine anything better in the world than that orange juice. He finished the rest of the juice, wiped his mouth on his arm, and set the cartoon on the table. He could get rid of it later. Right now he had to try and clean this wound out.
Spinner made his way for the bathroom, still stumbling every now and again as he went. How much blood had he lost? He wasn’t sure but he knew that it was more than a little. He knew that he should probably go straight to the doctor, but he had to access the damage for himself first, and then come up with an acceptable lie for the injury.
Just tell them that the White Wolf got you, he thought. He wouldn’t have to lie then. The doctor may give him an awkward glance or two but deep inside he wouldn’t question it. Spinner laughed at the idea.
In the bathroom, he found some peroxide, a washrag, and some antibacterial soap. He stood there for a moment, wondering how he wanted to attempt this. He wanted to see the wound, but he knew that putting the peroxide on would hurt like a mother f***er, and he better be sitting down for that. He sat on the toilet to unwrap his shoulder. The process was slow, and painful, as he looped the bandage over his shoulder, and slid it off of his chest, but he struggled through it. Near the end, the bandage was stuck to the wound form the tried blood. He gave it short quick tugs that sent ripples of pain down his back until it gave way and came off.
When the bandage was off, he let it fall in a mess on the white tile of the bathroom floor. He stood up, using the top of the toilet for support, and turned towards the mirror. His knees gave a bit when he saw the wound, but he caught himself, and leaned into the reflection. There where three large rips across the top of his shoulder, and a smaller fourth one beside the first three. The cuts started about three inches from the base of his neck, and they were deep. They one closest to his neck looked as if it had been dug at least an inch, maybe an inch and a half into the flesh and ripped backwards causing a large open laceration. He could see a trickle of blood beginning to form on some of the cuts again, probably from ripping that bandage off. He could also see some puss forming, and that was no good. He couldn’t afford an infection. Don’t know what poison Anna etched into you, his mind played, and it was right. He would have to clean it out good with the peroxide and soap, and then use some of the sulfur powder he had in the cabinet on it.
Spinner felt his head go light on him, and he grabbed the sink with his good hand for support. When the moment passed he tuned his back on the mirror and looked over his shoulder as best his could. Even that caused him a dose of pain. The cuts extended down the back of his shoulder about four inches, but those cuts were a lot more superficial than the gashes carved into the muscle of the shoulder.
Deciding that it would best to have some support for himself in case he passed out, Spinner did what he could to undress, and climbed into the bathtub. He placed the peroxide on the seat of the toilet, and once he was laying with his back supported in the tub, he reached over and took it. He twisted the cap off with his thumb. It rattled into the far end of the tub. Spinner hesitated a moment and then took in three deep breaths.
“Here goes nothing,” he said, and dumped some peroxide onto the wound. The liquid burned like hell, and the fizzling sound that it made added to the delusion of searing flesh. He let the first dose do its thing, nearly squeezing the open bottle of peroxide to hard as he fought against the sting from his shoulder. After a few minutes, he poured some more of the peroxide on the wound. It felt like someone was sticking a knife into his shoulders and twisting it. Spinner felt himself sliding into unconsciousness. He pulled himself back, knowing that he had to complete this task. He went on like that until the bottle of peroxide was empty. He tossed it into the far corner of the bathroom, both out of relief and disgust. He closed his eyes and this time there was no stopping it. His world went black, and his thoughts echoed around his head in distant, non-distinct shells of comprehension.
After Frank let some of the bloodshot veins in his eyes reduce, he and Tommy walked the rest of the distance to the school in silence. What had needed said had been said, and both boys felt a bit better. Tommy, although extremely worried about what he had just been told, managed to put on his game face and make Frank laugh a bit before the two departed company for their respective classrooms. Frank appreciated his brother’s efforts. It felt good to have Tommy with him. Granted, his big brother didn’t know the entire situation, but just having him know the danger that was around made Frank feel better.
As the day dragged on, Frank tried to separate himself from the world of the Chimera, but once again failed miserably. He even tried to focus on the sleep over at Aaron’s that night, but that didn’t take his mind off things either. He began to think about the stories that Tommy had told him concerning the Armstrong family and that house. Had their deaths been Anna’s first act of violence against the town, and if so why? What would make her target them? He remembered Tommy saying something in affect that Anna may have worked for the Armstrong family. That was a matter of debate, because ,supposedly, there were no records of the servant’s names, even with the town registry.
You have to go back to where it started.
Hadn’t he done that? No. He hadn’t. He witnessed an end and a beginning last night in the dream, but it wasn’t the true beginning.
What are you going to do, he asked himself, knowing full well that he would never clear his head. He decided to stop trying to fight it, and go with the flow. He spent a good part of the morning trying to come up with something that might save his ass when he needed it. His mind was tired, though, and for a long while he was unable to come up with anything.
At lunch, Frank ran into Tommy and Aaron, and the three of them talked about the different games that they would play later. It lifted Frank from his thinking for a bit, as he got excited with the other boys about the upcoming evening. Tommy asked him how he was doing before they departed, and Frank gave him a thumbs up.
In his next class, Frank went right back to what he had been doing all morning. He finally decided to focus on what he had seen the night before. He had been searching for something that he could use to his advantage, and his mind clicked. The building that he had stumbled into last night, what was the deal there? Anna didn’t want to go into that building. He remembered his fear as he ran from her, and the sharp ripping bite of her claws as she caught him just before he fell into that building. What happened then? Think, he admonished himself. The memory was a bit foggy, overshadowed by his fear for his brother, but it started to come back to him. He knew that he was in trouble, and his mind told him to slide. What had he done? He just let things flow, but where did he slide to?
Not where-when? His mind whispered to him. Did he slide backwards in time again, like he had to witness Anna’s death? That brought on a whole new serious of questions. What had the Dark Agent been talking about, the shockwave of his death rattle? He must have been alive at the point of Anna’s beating. He still had his flesh hand and not that black glimmering hand. He said he had to prepare things for Anna.
And hadn’t he called her mother?
Then the memory from Frank’s dream came rushing back to him. He slid out of one time and into another like he had earlier. He woke up in a golden light. And your wounds were gone, his mind chimed him. Had he ever thought about that? Anna had clawed him as he was heading into that building. He felt the pain as he fell, but when he woke up there was no cuts on him. Frank looked down at himself, opened his shirt. The burn rash was gone, and so were the scratches across his chest. Something had healed him in that dream.
He forced his mind to concentrate on details, and he pulled scattered images from the swamps of his memory. He had only seen it for the briefest time, but he remembered, a child crying. It was laying on the chest of a young girl, and then the image had gone as his family pulled him from the dream world.
The wheels in Frank’s mind began to churn. He didn’t know what good it would do if any, but he decided right then and there that when he fell asleep tonight, he would try and find his way back to what ever time and reality he had slipped into last night. He had a feeling that he may have found the beginning.
While locked inside his unconsciousness, Spinner was haunted by thousands of green eyes, peering at him from a pitch-black curtain of darkness. He ran, chasing through the shade of his mind, but the eyes always followed. His arm was weak, but it didn’t hurt. Every direction he turned he saw those green eyes, watching him with their ravenous stare. Every angle he took was met by a thousand new globs of glimmering green eye shine. He couldn’t escape it, and eventually he fell to his knees, raised his head to the blanked out heavens above, and screamed at the top of his lungs. The scream wasn’t intelligible. It was primal, and it embodied twenty years of pain and frustration that he had balled inside of him. He screamed until all the air in his lungs was depleted, leaving him hunched over and gasping for oxygen. His throat was dry, and his vocal cords seemed to torn from the yelling. As he kneeled there, bent over trying to fill his lungs with air once more, he heard a return howl far off in the distance to his left. Then another to the north, and one behind him. Then in a symphony of sound, there were howls coming from every direction, filling his head with one long avalanche of painful cries.
Spinner buried his head beneath his arms on the ground. The cries were worse than then the never blinking eyes, and he just wanted to be away from it all. He wanted it all to be over. He peered out from under his armpit, and saw the green eye shine sneaking ever closer, heard the howls coming from a closer range. He screamed again, trying to drown the howling from his mind, but it did no good. He had neither the lungs nor the strength to combat the noise around him. He thought he would go mad from the sound of it all as he balled himself up, but then the howls stopped. He had the briefest moment to think that his nightmare was over, but then he heard rustling, as if something were moving through underbrush. He lifted his eyes, to see nothing but blackness. A second later everything went silent. He stood, wondering what was going to happen next. Then ten feet in front of him, a pair of emerald colored eyes opened in the darkness, and an ear splitting howl filled his head.
Spinner jumped awake. The last remnant of the howl he heard seemed to echo throughout his house and die in a soft whisper. He felt heat radiating from his body, and he had hot sweat running down his face. Get moving, his body told him, but he was to exhausted to jump up. He could smell the anxiety on him. It was a heavy rotten smell, and he reached out with his foot, to turn the nozzle for the cold water on. He managed to turn it and flick the switch that routed the water from the faucet in the tub to the shower nozzle five and a half feet above it.
Cold water rained down on him, and the shock of it helped bring him out of the lingering effects of his dream and his pain. He let the cold water fall on him, until he couldn’t stand it any more, then he turned the hot water nozzle with his foot. The water evened out in temperature, and Spinner began to bath himself with his good hand.
He realized that he hadn’t even tested his hand since this all started, and he assumed that it was because of the pain. It hurt to even think about the shoulder, and his arm just hung limply at his side when he first woke up last night. He decide to try it now, to see just how much damage had been done. He tried to flex the fingers, and managed to move them in small jerky movements, but he wouldn’t be able to grab anything. He didn’t try to lift his arm, because he didn’t want to open the wound. Full of pain once more, he decided that that he had experimented enough. He took another ten minutes to wash some of the grim from his skin, then he concentrated on the cleaning the wound as best he could. He used soft delicate slides of his hand to apply and rinse away the antibacterial soap that he was using, and he began to wonder about what would happen the next time that he fell asleep.
The dream that had rocked him awake minutes before had a thick, smoky fill to it that made it hard to breath. The dream felt decayed in some way, and he didn’t like that feel. He wondered if that had actually been Anna at the end of the dream or some strange joke being played on him by his subconscious. In either case, the dream worried him. He was badly injured, and his wound would carry over to the next dream. He would heal faster in the dream due to his Chimera power, than he would in real life, but if he ran into more trouble tonight, or the next time he passed out for that matter, then he would be severely hindered.
What he needed to do was stay away from Anna and her friend, but he didn’t know if that would be possible. They seemed very focused on finding young Frank Jordan and causing him a very serious case of death. Spinner knew that he couldn’t let that happen. He had to help the child if he could, but he needed time to heal. He began to wonder what happened to Frank last night. Did he make it out? Was he hurt? He didn’t know and in his condition he wasn’t going to find out. He had to have faith that Frank made it out when he flipped that switch. Faith was about that only thing he had left.
It took some effort to get out of the tub. Spinner couldn’t believe how woozy he felt. He had to get to a doctor. The problem was he wasn’t going to be able to drive. His truck was a standard, and with only one working arm there wasn’t a chance of driving it. He considered calling an ambulance, but the expense would be more than he could afford. His ego wouldn’t allow it either. His best option would be to walk there, but in his failing strength he might not make it. Your screwed, he joked with himself as he stood naked in front of his bathroom mirror. He looked into his face. He looked old and worn, exactly like he felt.
“Don’t give up on me yet,” he said to the man staring back at him. A smile broke out across his face as he said, “We stills gotsa some works to do.” What a charade his life had been. Two different men. One that the pubic saw, and the other that no one saw. At that moment he hated it all-his life, his power, his sense of duty. How different things could have been if he had left this town behind. Who knows what might have been. Maybe he would have married, had a son about Frank’s age, but instead he was standing in the bathroom of a lonely little house, nursing a wound that he received in a dream from a wraith that he had been battling against for twenty years. His head spun, and he had to catch his balance. “Twenty years is a long time,” he whispered. “Twenty God-damned years.” He knew right then that he had to finish this thing with Anna. He had to destroy the sorry bitch, even if it meant his life, because she had become his life. If he walked away and didn’t see this thing through to the end (her’s or his) then his life would have been completely wasted. He may have spent his life on this adventure, but he did it so others could live theirs- thoughts of self-preservation be damned.
Spinner pulled on the mirror, and it swung open to reveal a medicine cabinet behind it. Sitting on the second of three shelves was a four-once, amber, glass bottle that contained sulfur antibiotic powder. He took the bottle out, and tried to twist the metal turn style lid off with his thumb. It was on to tight, and he had to resort to sitting on the toilet, and holding the amber bottle between his knees so that he could use his entire hand to pry it open. The lid turned and then popped open. Spinner set it on the porcelain sink beside him. There was a shaker top full of little holes like a saltshaker on top of the amber bottle, and Spinner began to shake the powder onto his shoulder. The yellowish powder danced onto the wound, and the heavy stank of the sulfur filled the room, making Spinner cough. When he was done with that, he screwed the lid back on the bottle, stood up, and placed it back into the cabinet behind the mirror. He dug around a bit, and found some gauze. He proceeded to rewrap the wound. It took him less time than it had the night before, but the job was still tedious and painful.
You have to get to a doctor somehow, his mind told him as shivers of pain radiated from the wound. The question was how to make it to the doctor’s office? He decided to call someone from the town’s borough office where he worked. He would have to tell them he wasn’t working today, and he may be able to get a ride from someone there to the doctor’s office. He made his way back into the kitchen and dialed the phone.
The ringing of the final school bell filled Frank with excitement. After remembering his dream earlier (and deciding on his course of action), he managed to place a lot of those types of thoughts in the back of his mind.
As he stood at his locker, placing his books in his book bag he felt a hard wrap on his arm.
“You ready for tonight, loser?” He looked around his locker to see Aaron, standing there with a stupid grin on his face. He was raising his eyebrows up and down and making a sound that sounded like windshield wipers on a dry window.
“Oh, I’m ready,” Frank said, and fainted like he was going to hit Aaron back. Aaron flinched and jumped back bit, laughing.
“I saw that,” Tommy said, wrapping his fist off Aaron’s arm twice. “That’s two for flinching. I’ll take the two, and I’ll let Frank have the pride of making Mr. Tough Guy flinch.”
Aaron smiled. “When did you get so aggressive?” he asked Frank. “You never got me to flinch before.”
Frank smiled back at him. “Maybe your just getting wimpier as the days go by.”
“Why you little scamp,” Aaron said. His jaw hung open a bit, but it was in mockery. He turned to Tommy, and acted like he was crying. “Our little boy is all grown up, Tom-ass. All grown up, he is.”
The three of them laughed, and Frank shut his locker. The walk home consisted of X-box talk, and the games the boys would play. As they passed the church, and Aaron broke off for his house, Tommy yelled “Be over in a bit.” Frank found himself looking at the old church, and wondering about later that night when he fell asleep.
“Come on,” Tommy said, smacking Frank lightly in the chest with a backhand. He took off running, and Frank followed suit. Their laughter filled the air and felt like sunshine on Frank’s soul.
Emily Peterson, a shy middle-aged woman of about forty that worked at the borough office, answered the phone when Spinner called. She had always taken to Spinner do to his eternal friendliness towards her when most people didn’t want to be bothered by her squirrelly ways. When Spinner told her that he had gotten attacked last night while out in his yard, and that he needed to go to the doctor but couldn’t drive, she immediately volunteered to come get him.
Spinner dressed himself in jeans and a tank top so that there wasn’t added pressure to his wound. Emily dropped him at the doctor’s and walked him in to make sure that he arrived safely then hurried back to work, making Spinner promise to call her and let her know what the doctor said.
When Spinner arrived at the check in window with no appointment, he received a bemused laugh from the clerk, who told him that he couldn’t get in without an appointment. Upon hearing this, Spinner removed his jacket, which he had draped over him like a cape, and displayed his bandaged shoulder. “I thinks I needs to see him now,” he said in a pained voice that was more actual than acting. The pain was killing him, and he could see where the wound was seeping and staining the bandage with a reddish yellow mark.
“Dear God,” the girl said when he showed her the bandaged wound. She ran around the desk to usher him into a back room. They were meet by a pretty, young, blond haired nurse that was half of Spinner’s size. The two woman helped him along, and took him to an exam room. When he was placed in a bed, he immediately laid back, wincing as the wound pulled at itself. “The doctor will be right in,” the young nurse said, and Spinner could see his pain reflected on her face. “Thank ya,” he said as he laid his head back, and closed his eyes. On the way into the room the walls seemed to be wavering on him, and all he wanted to do was close his eyes and forget the pain. You got this wound with your eyes closed, he thought, and the entire cascade of worries about Frank and Anna and the dark eyed man washed over him once more.
A knock came at the door, and Spinner heard the latch click before he could acknowledge it. A doctor by the name of Tony Stapleton came hurrying into the room. He gave Spinner a worried look, and closed the door. He was an older doctor, with a list of professional accomplishments under his belt. After a long career of dedication, he retired to run a small practice in a small town. He was personable and excellent at his job.
“Doc,” Spinner said in a heavy voice.
“Trent,” Doctor Stapleton replied. He was perhaps the only man in town that didn’t call the wounded man Spinner. “What the hell happened?” Doctor Stapleton asked, as he began to unwrap the bandage that Spinner had applied to the wound. Spinner had to roll on his side to allow the doctor to get the bandage off, and it caused little white butterflies to dance in front of his eyes. When Doctor Stapleton was done unwrapping the wound, he looked at it with bulging eyes. “Can you sit up?” he asked, and Spinner forced his way to a sitting position.
“Something attacked me in the yards last night. Wild dog I thinks, but I didn’t gets a good looks at it.”
The doctor was feeling around the wound, sending white hot rods of pain down Spinner’s arm and across his back.
“This doesn’t look good,” the doctor said under his breath. “What did you do to treat this?”
“Peroxide, soap, and sulfur powder,” Spinner answered, wincing.
“Well it still looks infected, and deep,” Stapleton said. Then he added “ Hopefully not to deep.”
Spinner looked over at him, worried about what the doctor may tell him. Doctor Stapleton picked up Spinners weakened hand, and watched the pain spread across Spinner’s face.
“Well that’s a good sign at least,” the doctor said. “Something is still connected up there.” He took a long silver probe from his smock pocket and ran it up Spinner’s palm. Spinner could feel the probe skirt across his skin, and he knew that it was a good sign. “Feel that?” Doctor Stapleton asked.
“Yeah, I fells it a bit,” Spinner replied.
The doctor nodded, as if to confirm Spinner’s thoughts about it being a good sign. He turned the probe over and held it up in between Spinner and he. “I’m going to poke you so that we can see just how much damage may have been caused. He prodded the pointed end of the probe into Spinner’s hand. It felt like a bee stinging him. When the probe hit him and stung at his palm, Spinner’s fingers twitched. He instinctively tried to flex his fingers inward in order to pull his palm away from the pointed instrument. When his fingers flexed, a shot of pain went up his arm..
“Easy now,” Doctor Stapleton said, and gave Spinner a jovial look.
“How bads is it doc?”
“Well,” the doctor said, moving his attention back up to Spinner’s shoulder. He began to probe at the wound gently with his fingers. “I’m afraid that you may have some muscle damage. These cuts are very deep, almost to the collarbone at one point. You should have gone to the ER right away. You know that?”
Spinner nodded mournfully. “Passed out trying to stops the bleeding.”
“Well you did a good enough job at it. You may have helped save some future motor function and some rehab time, but we really won’t know until we get in there and try to reconnect some of that muscle.” He turned from Spinner, and headed for the door. He opened it slightly and called to one of the nurses. Spinner heard him saying something but he couldn’t make it out, then the doctor pulled his head back into the room.
“Trent,” he said as he walked back over and patted Spinner lightly on the back. “I’m going to have one of the nurses take you done to a room at the end of the hall. I’m going to give you some anesthetic.”
“Anesthetic?” Spinner asked. The last thing he needed was to be put under with out the possibility of pulling himself awake.
“Just local anesthetic. In your shoulder. Then I’m going to sew you back together again. You showed better response than I thought you would when I poked your palm. If we get you stitched up, then get you some physical therapy on that arm once the shoulder heals, you’ll be as good as new-or close to it at least.
“Local?” Spinner asked.
“Yep. Three or four shots around the wound sight. We’ll let it sink in for about ten minutes then I’ll stitch you up. It may take awhile though. I’ll have to do internal and external stitches to hold the wound closed. I’ll get you set up with antibiotics, and some pain medicine, but knowing you won’t touch the pain medicine. Hope you have an hour or two to kill.”
Spinner smiled. “Yeah, doc,” he said. “I gots me a little time to kill yet.”
Tommy pulled the twenty-dollar bill off the front of the refrigerator, and waved it in the air.
“Dude we can by the jumbo special with this puppy.”
“Cool,” Frank replied, “But no mushrooms this time. I hate mushrooms.”
“Yeah, so does Aaron. How about banana peppers?” Tommy asked.
“Now your talking there, big bro,” Frank replied while licking his lips. “Let’s get our stuff and get out of here.”
The boys spent the next ten minutes rummaging through their respective rooms and collecting clothes, sleeping bags, pillows, and other things to take with them. Frank was shoving as much of this as he could in his book bag when Tommy came in.
“Hey man, you got any cash?” Tommy asked, and Frank looked incredulously at him.
“Mom gave us twenty bucks,” Frank stammered. “What do we need more money for?”
“Candy,” Tommy said, eyes wide and smiling.
“Good call,” Frank said, and went fishing in his drawer for change.
As he was knocking around, his hand hit something hard and square. He grabbed it and pulled it out of the drawer.
“What’s that?” Tommy asked as he hopped on Frank’s bed.
Frank held up the camera that he found in his drawer. Tommy’s face flushed a bit. “Is that the one from the other night?” Tommy asked, and Frank nodded in conformation. It was the camera he had taken into the graveyard, and snapped a photo of Anna’s grave from his hip. He had placed the camera in his sock drawer and forgotten all about it. The boys didn’t say anything to each other. Each of them knew the other was scared deep down inside. Then Tommy broke the stalemate.
“Do you think you got it?” Tommy asked. “I mean from the other night-do you think you got the gravestone or not?”
“Don’t know,” Frank said. He had been so scared at that point that he just snapped the lens and took off. He at least had the camera pointed in the general direction, but had he gotten the headstone in the photo? He was suddenly very curious if he had.
“We could burn it,” Tommy said. Frank looked at him unsure of what his brother meant. Tommy read the confused look on Frank’s face and went on. “Some people believe that if you take their picture you steal their soul. If you got it then we could burn the thing, and maybe all your nightmares would end. I mean you took that picture the same night that thing came to the house and cracked the window. The dreams have been worse since then right?”
“Yeah,” Frank said hesitantly, “But…”
“But what? Its worth a shot. Right?”
There is a hell of a lot more to it than all of that, Frank thought, knowing that burning a picture of Anna’s grave would in no way vanquish her evil from his dreams or this town. He hadn’t told his brother the whole deal. He just let Tommy draw some conclusions, and didn’t add to the things he got right. No, burning a picture of Anna’s grave may make him feel better, but it wouldn’t end the nightmare.
So it makes you feel better. What’s wrong with that?
Nothing was wrong with it. Hell, it would serve the bitch right to have a little amusement on her account, granted it may be a bit of demented amusement but amusement none the less.
“Well take it with us to the drug store when we buy candy and send it out for development,” Frank said in a playful voice. “We’ll teach that old hag a thing or two.”
“Yeah, boy,” Tommy said, jumping up from the bed. “We’ll burn the old witch at the stake.”
Frank cheered with his brother, but the cheer felt hollow. He might not be able to beat Anna in the dream, but he would get his shot in while he could. He looked at the camera. “Got two more pictures.”
“Cool bring it here.”
Frank took the camera over to his brother. Tommy took the camera, wrapped an arm around Frank, and extended his hand with the camera facing them.
“Say cheese, butt breath.”
The camera flashed. “One more,” Tommy said. Let’s get the last one with Aaron and us, to remember this glorious night.”
The pain had dulled to a throbbing ache. The anesthetic was slowly washing away, allowing entrance for the pain to creep back in. The doctor had finished about twenty minutes prior, and Spinner had gotten himself redressed. He was waiting patiently in another cubicle of a room for Doctor Stapleton to come back and give him any final instructions.
There was a knock on the door, and the good doctor came strolling into the room. He had a bag of bandages in his hands.
“Okay, Trent,” he said, handing Spinner the bag of bandages. “Leave the current dressing on until bedtime, then change it. Use those bandages to wrap it back up like I showed you in the other room. Here is a prescription for Tequin. It’s a broad spectrum antibiotic. I think you may have a start of an infection despite your efforts. That should kill it off. And here is a script for Vicodin ES. That is a painkiller. Like I said earlier, knowing you, you probably refuse to take any pain medicine. If you choose so-suffer then, at least I tried to ease your pain.” Doctor Stapleton laughed at this, and Spinner laughed with him.
“You knows me to well doc,” Spinner said, knowing that he wouldn’t even get the pain pill filled (not due to stubbornness about getting help for pain, but out of fear that the drug would intoxicate him- not allowing him to wake up if need be). And need will be, he thought.
“At least get the antibiotic filled for me,” Doctor Stapleton said, jabbing the papers at him. “Doctor’s orders.”
“Yes, sir,” Spinner said and took both papers. “ I thanks ya for all the good doctoring.”
Doctor Stapleton looked at him for a second. “It’s my job, Trent, and I like you.” He gave Spinner a very curious glance. “You always seem to keep things interesting around here.”
“I tries my best,” Spinner said.
“That you do. Now I expect to see you back in a week, so that I can check up on that wound. We’ll talk physical therapy then. For know keep the arm in that sling, and keep the wound clean. I put a bottle of Hibiclins in that bag. Use that to clean it once daily at least. Use soap and water the rest of the time.”
Doctor Stapleton reached out and patted Spinner on the face. “And be more careful. You’re the only one that can give me a good game of chess in this town any more. Maybe we’ll set up a game next week, when we talk.”
“Only if you wants to lose your prides again,” Spinner said. Doctor Stapleton smile, waved, and left the room.
After leaving the doctor’s office, Spinner felt right enough to walk down to the pharmacy three blocks away. He got his antibiotic prescription filled, and told them to place the pain medication on file in case he needed it. He was feeling extremely tired. His body was using up a lot of energy trying to fight off the pain in his shoulder, and he had gotten very little good rest. He bought a Mountain Dew purely for the caffeine and sugar content, picked up a box of ibuprofen, and paid for them when his prescription was ready.
While he had been waiting for his prescription, he decided to take Emily up on an offer she made to drive him home. He asked the time before he left the pharmacy. She would be getting off within the hour. He would just go into the borough building and wait. He could check in his boss while he was there and see what kind of sick time he had coming. If time permitted maybe he would snoop around the archives a bit.
As he was reaching for the door to leave the pharmacy it swung inward and in walked Aaron Connelly, followed by the Jordan brothers.
“Wow, Spinner what happened to you?” Aaron chortled, pointing at the arm that Spinner had up in a sling. Spinner gave Frank a quick glance. He could see the relief in the boy’s face, and feel it on his own brow. Frank didn’t say anything, just gave Spinner a look that read-good to see you, old chum. Spinner winked at him quickly and turned back to Aaron.
“Whys what do you thinks happened to me, son?” Spinner leaned in as if he was going to reveal a great secret that only Aaron and the other boys could hear. “The White Wolf gots me good last night.”
“That shit ain’t funny,” Aaron said, and Spinner winked at him. Aaron turned back to Tommy and Frank. “That shit really ain’t funny.”
“Maybes I tells you all about it one day,” Spinner said, straightening up.
“Cool,” Aaron said. Spinner, not wanting to linger, slipped past the boys. “See ya,” he called, looking back over his shoulder. Aaron and Tommy slid inside, but Frank held back. Spinner felt Frank’s eyes on him and turned around.
“You made it then,” Frank said.
Spinner looked down at his arm then back up to Frank. “Thanks to you, I did. I owe you, Chimera.”
Frank felt a sudden resolve form inside of him when Spinner called him that name. It solidified the feeling of determination that had been building in him all day. He had a making of a plan. All he needed was the courage to go for it.
“I’m going after her,” Frank said, but his voice wavered in the middle of the sentence as if he were unsure of its own conviction.
Spinner couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He looked up at the boy and his eyes were a brilliant glimmering mix of color.
“Tonight,” the boy said, and his glimmer turned from mixture of his three powers to a liquidly flowing dark red. It made Spinner think of blood.
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