Chapter 9

Chapter 9

A Chapter by Rocki-san

We arrived at the CCOR building only to find that something had happened while we were away. It seemed as though the whole building was busy, running back and forth between offices in a hurry. Not one of the soldiers or secretaries noticed us there or stopped to inform us.

“Excuse me,” Keno caught the arm of a young woman. “Is General Bennett in his office?”

“Yes he is,” the woman said curtly before continuing on her way.

We knocked on Bennett’s door but there was no answer within. Slowly Keno opened the door and stepped in. The General was there but it seemed as though he wouldn’t be for long. He was shuffling through papers while attaching his holster.

“What’s going on?” Logan asked just as curtly as the woman in the hall. Bennett turned to look at us with surprise as he put on his military-issued jacket.

“That was quick, I didn’t realize you boys would be back so soon,” the General said. “Just put the file on the desk and I’ll look at it later, you’re dismissed.”

“General,” Keno said with concern. “Did something happen?”

Bennett sighed with annoyance. He’d worked with us long enough to know that he wouldn’t get rid of us so easily. He motioned for us to follow him and walked briskly down the corridor.

“There’s something going down on the North side,” Bennett said and he stopped suddenly to look at us.

“Such as?” Keno asked. General Bennett sighed and turned to look away from us.

 

My lungs burned as if I were breathing in acid, my legs howled in protest and my mouth was completely dry.

“Oskar!” They were far behind me by now but they’d catch up eventually. I turned a corner and slid to a stop when I saw what was the cause of all the commotion at the CCOR building that morning.

There were several firefighters trying to stop the fire that had completely engulfed the house that had once been a happy family home. I could feel the heat of the flames from where I stood on the other side of the street. Suddenly it seemed as though I were miles upon miles away on a dark night where I’d been pulled from my bed.

“M-mom?” I muttered to myself and started towards the house before Keno caught me.

“Ozzie!” He said as he pulled me back onto the street. “There’s nothing we can do.”

“But-” I stopped, unable to finish my sentence.

“They’re,” Logan paused. “Not still in there, are they?”

“I’m going to check with the fire marshal, stay here or get lost,” Bennett said and adjusted his hat before walking over. I let Keno continue to carry my weight for a minute more while we waited for the news. I couldn’t see any of them, none of the kids, the women, neither of the brothers. They were no where in sight. Bennett nodded to the fire marshal before walking back towards us, the news didn’t look good.

“Was Colonel Stokes acting strange when you left his house?” He demanded.

“What? No, why?” Keno asked with offense.

“Arson,” Bennett said with a sigh as he took out his transmitter to get an investigation team. “A few witnesses saw the perpetrator but can’t give an accurate description. They were all inside.”

I felt my knees buckle but Keno kept me from falling. I felt ill, my stomach roiled with the dark reality that the family that we’d come to know so well were now gone. I looked up as part of the house collapsed with a loud crackle of flames and snapping wood.

All of a sudden, Kotori jumped out of the front door just as the rest of the house came tumbling down. There was soot covering his light hair, his face, and all over his clothing but he didn’t seem to mind. He had something in his arms that he was carrying with the utmost care.

I broke away from Keno and ran over to him as if I hadn’t ran all the way there. Kotori handed a badly burned Peter over to the paramedics.

“He was barely conscious when I found him,” Kotori explained as he wiped the dust away from his eyes.

“Were there any others?” The fire marshal asked and Kotori shook his head.

“Peter?” I went over to the stretcher but the boy had already passed out.

“Make yourself scarce,” Keno whispered to the Sa’harielan before moving to the boy. I didn’t have to turn to see that Kotori had already disappeared.

“We’ll go with Peter to the hospital, General,” Logan said before jumping into the ambulance with Keno and I.

 

We’d been waiting for hours in the sitting area of the Emergency Room. I laid in the hard plastic chairs, painted a gaudy orange color, not caring that it was uncomfortable. Logan refused to sit in them and resorted to pacing while Keno leaned against the white-washed wall. Not one of us looked up as Bennett walked into the room to check on the condition of the boy. The silence was like dead weight in the air, hanging heavy with tension as we waited.

I looked over to see a woman and a small girl sitting in the chairs opposite me. The girl was humming and kicking her legs excitedly, unable to sit quietly. Her mother put a hand on her shoulder to quiet her.

“Lenore, please quiet down,” her mother said. “It looks like these people are having a rough time.”

“Sorry, mommy,” Lenore slid down from her seat and ran over to where I was, blonde hair in pigtails bouncing as she ran. “Is your daddy hurt badly?”

“What?” I sat up and watched as the girl sat beside me.

“My daddy got hurt really badly,” Lenore said. “The doctor said he didn’t think that daddy was going to make it but he’s okay now. He’s coming home today!”

“That’s great,” I smiled but it was only half heartfelt.

“So, is your daddy hurt real bad?” Lenore asked, ignoring her mother who was trying to usher her away.

“It’s not my father,” I said. “Just a friend. We don’t know how he is.”

“Oh,” she said and started to follow her mother to one of the back rooms at the beckoning of the doctor that had come out. “I hope he’s okay.”

“Thanks,” I smiled.

Finally, all our waiting paid off as the same doctor who’d come out now turned to us. He was an older man, possibly fifty some-odd years old. “Hello, I am Dr. Hayek.”

“How’s the kid?” Bennett asked, not wasting any time.

“I’m sorry,” Dr. Hayek sighed. “But the boy didn’t make it, I tried.”

The three of us didn’t stick around much longer after that, it was the General’s case and he ordered us to leave which I was thankful for. My legs felt heavy as we started to leave the hospital as if they refused to move. The sky seemed darker than usual, the clouds hovering thickly over the city. I leaned against a post, giving my disobedient legs a small rest.

“I guess we should find a hotel to stay at,” Keno sighed.

“Yeah,” Logan said and looked at me. “Come on, Ozzie, let’s go.”

“Look, daddy, look!” the small girl, Lenore pulled the hand of her father, a large-built man with a military style buzz cut and a long scar along his jaw. “That’s the man who has a friend in the hospital.”

“I see,” the man picked up the small girl and held out a hand. “Lieutenant Wesley Berry, I hope this friend is alright?”

“No, he, uh, didn’t make it,” Keno said and shook the Lieutenant’s hand.

“Colonel Stokes?” Berry asked and we nodded. “I heard about that, I’m sorry for your lost.”

“Thank you,” Keno said. “Well, we should be off, it was nice meeting you.”

“You too, good luck to you!” Lieutenant Berry said before bringing his daughter back over to his wife.

 

“You’re still out here?” I looked up at Keno from my seat on the hotel’s stairs, leaning against the banister. I didn’t reply but looked back down to the ants that crawled along the stone steps. Keno sighed and took a seat next to me, looking up at the sky that still threatened a down pour as it had for the past few days.  “Have you eaten anything?”

Still I didn’t answer him and continued to mope. Keno crossed his arms as he stretched out his long legs which told me that he was not leaving me alone anytime soon.

“Has General Bennett found anything?” I asked.

“No,” Keno frowned. “He has another case too which he’s been ordered to take as a priority over the Stokes’s case.”

“What case?” I asked.

“Some kind of serial killer,” Keno said. “They’ve only found one or two bodies but the M.O. is the same and there have been many more disappearances. They’re all connected to the hospital, the emergency ward.Don’t worry, it’s not our case. The General is giving us a small break.”

“How nice of him,” I muttered and sighed to look up at the clouds. I once again found myself imagining the feel of sunlight on my face or the moon illuminating the streets.

“Where’s Logan?” Keno said and I pointed up to our room. “And Kotori?”

I shrugged, we’d expected the illegal immigrant to meet us at the nearest hotel as we had arranged but the Sa’harielan was M.I.A. We would have gone to find him but we had more things on our mind about a nice family that were no longer around.

“It’s our fault, isn’t it?”

“What?” Keno said, not expecting my proclamation.

“The Colonel, his family,” I hid my face under my hair. “It’s our fault they’re gone.”

“No,” Keno shook his head and touched my shoulder.

“Come on, Keno,” I stood up and looked down at him, ignoring is infallible patient look. “They were killed in a fire, their house blew up. The same thing happened to mom!”

“And it’s happened to many others,” Keno said as he also stood. “That doesn’t mean that the demons caused it.”

“Peter was covered in scratches, from claws,” I said. Keno sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Ozzie-”

“I’m going for a walk for some fresh air,” I muttered more to myself than him.

There weren’t many people on the street which was unusual for Headquarters, usually there were always at least ten other people with you but today I was alone but I was fine with that. The wind shifted, blowing through the empty street and sending a chill up my spine and blowing my hair every which way.

It’ll actually rain today, I thought to myself glumly as I walked with my hands in my pocket. Maybe that’s why so few people were on the street this evening. I heard a deep rumble and looked up just as the rain began to pour, soaking me immediately in the freezing water but I didn’t really seem to care.

I turned onto the next block to see that that street was also empty save for the black van parked on the side of the road near the church. I froze when I saw the gothic-style building with stained-glass windows and a high, unused bell tower. I moved over to the large stone steps and took a seat on them and let the rain wash away my sorrows.

I could’ve gone inside the church to get out of the rain but, for some reason, I just couldn’t. Even sitting on the front stairs I felt uneasy, as if I didn’t belong. None of us really believed in god, I don’t even think my mother was that religious. I wanted to believe, wanted to believe so badly that there was someone out there watching over us and protecting us but, at the end of the day, I just couldn’t be sure. Now I was sure that, if there was a god, there was no way he was paying any attention to us.

I took the time to look over the empty street again, I was only a few buildings away from the CCOR Hospital where Peter had died days before. Funny how I hadn’t seen the church as we walked by to and from the hospital. The street lights soon began to flicker on in the dim light of evening.

I stood up suddenly and went over to the street light pole where I saw a drenched flier flapping in the wind. I held the soggy corners against the pole to read what it said, temporarily forgetting the downpour pelting my head and the hope that it would wash away my grief.

It was a missing poster, though the words were barely legible now as the black ink ran down to the frayed edges. The picture was a military portrait of a lieutenant. His eyes that were held in the camera’s lens showed not only loyalty but generosity too, an all around good guy. He probably had a loving family still out there searching for him right now despite the icy rain cascading from the sky.

“Wait a second,” I murmured to myself and looked closer. I recognized him, I recognized the lean cut scar running down from his right ear along his jaw and to his chin. Lieutenant Wesley Berry, missing as of Thursday, hadn’t I seen him Thursday?

I had, he was at the hospital when we went to see Peter in his final hours. The lieutenant was just about to go home, according to his happy daughter. Where had that gone wrong?

Apparently the same way I’d gone wrong. I turned my head after seeing slight movement and was it by something hard. I found myself face first in the sodden streets with my face throbbing and swelling into a bruise. I usually wasn’t caught on surprise, but I had been distracted.

The street was still empty, as far as I could tell. I must’ve slipped on the wet cobblestones, right? I couldn’t be so down and out that someone snuck up on me, right? Wrong.

A pair of slick black loafers crossed my hazy vision, the street empty save for my attacker and the black van behind him. I knew I should’ve paid more attention to that van, especially after hearing about the new kidnapping-murder case. Crap, Keno was going to kill me.

My vision blurred as the rain continued to hit my face. What was going on? I shouldn’t be passing out, the hit wasn’t enough to knock me unconscious, was it?

The frosty rain soon was nothing but a memory, a surrealistic event. I could just barely make out the water drops as they hit the cobble stones but I couldn’t hear the sounds, couldn’t feel it on my face. I felt tired, so tired that my eyelids felt like led. Keno was going to have a fit about this. Not only was I going to be late for his stringent curfew but now I was in a real mess. So why didn’t that seem to matter?

My sight started to turn dark, the street becoming nothing but a shadow as I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder that felt like a mosquito bite. Someone lifted me from the cold street and then, slowly, I began to drift away.




© 2010 Rocki-san



Author's Note

Rocki-san
Le gasp! Curse you black creeper vans! Okay, new chapter up soon :D
As always, please let me know about errors and inconsistencies... because I really don't want those in there, haha

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Added on June 16, 2010
Last Updated on June 16, 2010
Tags: ANWA saga, sci-fi, supernatural and occult


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Rocki-san
Rocki-san

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Hey, I'm Rocki! I live on a 14-mile long island where there isn't really anything to do so I write. I'm an Anthropology major and willing to read your stories or books if requested as long as you give.. more..

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