Something Wicked This Way Comes

Friday, May 22, 2015

FREE FICTION FRIDAYS - BIRTH DAY PART FIVE


Summer's finally here! I have several projects going on this summer that I haven't been involved in before, including the NaNo Games. Hopefully I'll remember to blog about it all. In the meantime, enjoy the latest episode of Birth Day.

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BIRTH DAY #5; by Tucker McCallahan:

Flashes of memory from my encounter in the woods played on the inside of my eyelids as fire raged through my blood vessels and surrounded my organs. Sweat poured off me in thin rivulets. For the first time in my life, I wished I was able to trust blindly, to believe without evidence. Despite my desire to protect Palon, I hadn’t been able to suspend a lifetime of disbelief.

My conversion-my awakening-had come at a price.

I burned.

As I hung somewhere between human and dragon, created and Altered, my brain would not turn off. Lists of symptoms formed in my head only to be discarded and dismissed when new agonies assaulted me minutes later. Just when the pain reached the bone-melting point, something in my mind cracked wide open. It was as if my senses all possessed new volume dials. Instead of being able to adjust from one to ten, now the world could be fine-tuned from one to a million.

Every piece of medical knowledge, every theory, journal article, experimental notes, or bit of advice that I’d accumulated over the course of my entire career came into focus, sharpened to fine detail, and was properly catalogued in my mind. Joy and a fierce altruism struck me like bolts of lightning, and then the fire hit its flash point. With a scream I’m sure they heard in Old Philly, a darkness filled with fire-breathing dragons, gleaming scales, and razor-sharp teeth swallowed me whole.

*

I woke up in one of the ER beds.

All of my senses came back online at once and I sat up.

“Chief?”

I turned and jerked at the sight of the woman sitting beside my bed. Dr. Kalyani Rao was a board-certified anesthesiologist. When the hospital had been a real hospital she’d been the Director of our Pain Management Clinic. I’d always thought she was handsome woman. My new eyes saw the perfection of her smooth caramel complexion and the luster of her black hair. Her delicate black eyelashes wrapped her eyes like layers of thick lace. For a moment all I could do was stare at her, because I was gay, and I’d never looked at a woman this way.

I’d certainly never looked at Dr. Rao this way.

She was returning my scrutiny, but a frown marred her beauty. She whipped the penlight from her pocket and checked my pupillary dilation.

“Relax, Kalyani. I don’t have a concussion or any intracranial bleeding.”

“You’ve been in a chemically-induced coma.” She tucked the light back into her pocket next to a pen and withdrew a syringe full of clear liquid, which she held up before me. “And I haven’t given you anything that would bring you out of it. You shouldn’t be awake, Chief.”

Her eyes held such compassion and concern. I’d already done a complete self-physical and pronounced myself fit and healthy, though. For the first time I understood how the Altered who were brought to us by their frightened families must’ve felt.

“Some of the drugs we’re using have expired. That, combined with the fever I know I had-”

“One hundred four. Do you have any idea what you were infected with? Hank and Jake couldn’t culture anything.”

I nodded. That meant they hadn’t given me any antibiotics. Our resources were too precious and scarce. Gone were the days of using shotguns to kill flies. We only treated something if we were sure we could kill it.

“I don’t have anything communicable. We all need to meet though. I assume somebody checked my room?”

“Of course.”

“Where’s Palon?”

“Who?”

“Palon. The boy I brought back from Old Philly.”

Kalyani stood, her dark eyes shadowed. “I’ll call everybody to your room here for a short meeting.”

“Why are you ignoring my question? Did you let him leave?” Panic struck at that thought. “When?”

“Chief, you stumbled back across our border from your trip with evidence you’d caught flash from the burn. Rosy found you while he was walking the perimeter and you’ve been here ever since.”

Confusion, apprehension, and not a little bit of fear seized my heart.

“What?”

“Lie back. Your blood pressure is shooting up.”

I hadn’t even heard the sound of the monitor going off. I laid back in the bed, dazed and feeling completely sideways. Was I losing it? What was going on? The notion that this was all planned to cover the dragon’s tracks slipped through my mind. That was followed by the conclusion that madness seeking to justify and ground its existence in reality was a really special kind of crazy.

I’d always been lucky.

My next thought, and it strengthened into a full foregone conclusion immediately, was that not even my imagination could create Palon. He was too innocent, too perfect, and too pure, which meant he’d either been claimed by his previous master in the absence of my protection, or he’d run when he woke up and I wasn’t with him.

The ache in my chest was so awful I rubbed the heel of my hand over my sternum. Regardless of what had happened, I’d find Palon and make sure he was free. I had no right to claim him, but by all that was still holy, no demon that had crawled out of some Chinean gate was going to use him. I laid back in my bed and gazed at Kalyani.

“Get everyone in here. I need to talk to them.”

“Of course. Take some deep breaths. Slow your heart rate down some.”

I nodded. She rose and left the room at her usual brisk pace. I concentrated on taking lonat g, slow, deep breaths. I drew air in through my nose as I counted off ten seconds, and then blew it out, making my exhalation last just as long.

On the second cycle, I caught Palon’s scent.

He was still in the hospital.

Every part of my body came alive, including my cock, which stood up and saluted. I climbed out of bed, stopping long enough to stretch a bit and find what clothes I had left here. I tugged them on, and dashed out the door, following my nose.

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Be Well ~ Tux






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