Ethan’s teeth had been grinding into fabric for almost a half hour. He hadn’t been an easy package to deliver, and while most of his cramping and erratic jerks had been the work of an unknown force rebelling inside of him, he was glad for it. Give his kidnapper his money’s – or whatever’s – worth.
The captor had to silence him in time with a gag, and though Ethan didn’t enjoy being shut up, he realized he might’ve bitten his tongue off a number of instances from the horrific intensity without the guard. The fire ripping through his veins gave him a new appreciation for the blood he used to have. He never noticed how calming it was until it had a match thrown into it and was crackling out of control.
His confiscator was a huge man, he noticed. Ethan was using what energy he could to focus on anything other than his own body’s betrayal. He towered at least half a foot over him and made use of it; he could control Ethan’s movements with ease. The sensitivity of the teenager’s skin raised awareness to his large, rough hands; the flesh dry and cracked but healing.
Ethan screamed into the gag, startling his bearer for a moment. They had just gone through another doorway and the electricity scanned across Ethan’s flesh sent him reeling. It was as if every nerve end in his body had been pricked with a needle. The two seconds it took to get through the door felt like three days of being stabbed over and over and over again.
He collapsed into the goliath and shook with the impact of a seizure. Ethan could hear him yelling out for help as another bomb went off inside his chest and the echoing footsteps that tailed his request was gunfire to his ears. His guide had been replaced by two new pairs of hands, one small and thin – a woman - and the other nimble but strong – a younger man. His biceps were encased with fingers and apologies before they began to make him move forward again.
He couldn’t keep awake anymore. He closed his eyes and begged his own body to kill him.
“Watch it!” The young man Ethan had predicted to be dragging him shouted at the woman that was helping. He freed a hand for a moment to push up a device clamped down onto his right ear. It had begun to fall off from Ethan’s involuntary thrashing. “Just holding him like this is probably hurting like hell.”
“Psh!” The girl hissed and eyed a wall, wishing she could throw the boy right through the damn thing. “He’s lucky I noticed him first! He could’ve ruined my whole operation!” It was the blonde woman from the club, eyes less intense now than when Ethan had first laid his own over her.
“I noticed that it took you only five minutes to get what we needed after we got the kid out of there. Interesting, considering how much time you wasted there!”
“Don’t ride my ass, Bren! You think I enjoy rubbing all over those people?” She screeched, horrified to be accused of such a thing.
“Yes!” He snapped immediately.
“Well, you’re not wrong!” She said in clear contradiction and made a sudden turn too soon, hoping she could get one hit on the door frame before they tossed Ethan’s body.
“Stop that!” Bren barked in command.
They jogged Ethan into an empty room. It was a padded cell with five cameras, four in each corner and one embedded into the light fixture. All could be seen but were protected by a transparent shell. Ethan had looked around when his body came to meet comfort and was without claws digging into his flesh. He didn’t understand the sick purpose of watching him die in the pillow room, but his opinion on the wickedness of it didn’t matter. It never would. This was his burial ground.
Once they removed his gag, the blonde woman and brunette man escaped the room and sealed it shut. Ethan twitched as the door whirred and bolted. He was grateful that the air was frosty. It helped with the acidic sizzling in his muscles and partially dried the sweat glossing over his skin. Now if it could only calm his cells down and give him peace, life would be manageable.
That didn’t seem to be happening, though.
“He’s fighting it, isn’t he?”
Heels clicked against the ground as the blonde woman walked up behind ‘Bren’. Her silver bracelets jingled as she crossed her arms against her chest. As expected, five monitors, all occupied by Ethan, had the brunette parked in front of them for observation. He watched through a blue hue emitting from his wing, the aforementioned clip locked onto his ear flickering a screen like a shield across his eyes. What he was seeing was hundreds of calculations and statistics connected to Ethan’s image on the monitors. His chances, the likely results if he survived…
“Didn’t we all? Our own body rages against us… we tend to fight even against that to survive.”
“I don’t recall much,” she confessed. “You and Thoth are the only ones that do.”
“I’m not like that guy,” Bren exhaled sharply, as if he desired to be. “I only remember the colors and pain.”
“Well, we all remember the colors…” She grunted with impatience. “Where’d Thoth go?”
“Back to his office. Where else?”
“Anyway,” she sniffed, switching the side her hip stuck out. “We haven’t had one in a while. Think he’ll live?”
“It’s unlikely,” he answered based on the information in front of his eyes. “It’s under a thirty percent chance he will survive. The computer can’t seem to calculate what he might be endowed with, either.”
“Lovely. Well, hopefully we get something good if he lives. We need more field agents. I barely have free time anymore!” She dropped her arms to her sides and walked back into the room to find a chair. She pulled it over when she grabbed one and took a seat beside Bren to watch the show. “I’m hungry.”
“Damn. I ain’t got popcorn.”
Ethan would’ve been furious to hear their banter while he was drowning in his own bodily fluids. Thankfully he could not. He would’ve dribbled and cried all over them in vengeance.
Every breath was taken deep into his lungs over the course of the ten minutes that had passed since he was dumped there. It always got worse before it got better, didn’t it? He began to chant that to himself in hopes saying it enough times would make it true.
Then, thanks to whatever good karma he had accumulated over the years, he could feel the burn dissolving. It was sweeping the dust of flames off his tissues and burying it elsewhere. Wherever it was going, Ethan couldn’t feel much of it anymore. The pain, suffering, confusion… it was all draining out.
Bren dipped in closer to his monitors. “Remedy, look.”
Remedy, the blonde, turned from picking under her nails to watching Ethan breathe normally. She clicked her tongue.
“Look at that,” she said, clearly uninterested. She stood up to get into Ethan’s face, unbeknownst to him. With her sharp digits touching along the window, running down the neck she had caressed earlier that evening with more vindictiveness now, she whispered:
“Have fun, kid.”