PoE Chapter 3: Happiness is a Hospital

PoE Chapter 3: Happiness is a Hospital

A Chapter by Cole Spire

Dessa finds herself in another nightmare, one she can't seem to get out of and it only gets worse after she wakes up.


The brown Camero rumbled along the interstate, the engine working enough for decent speed and a relatively smooth ride. Chance and Dessa hadn’t spoken much since the talk they had at the rest stop, and it was how Chance wanted it. It gave him time to think and contemplate what he was doing and for what reason. He could tell himself over and over that it was because he wanted to find out if there were any others, but he knew that was a lie. He wanted to find out for himself, plain and simple. He needed to find out what happened, why it happened, and who was responsible.

He also knew that it was a very real possibility that the one responsible for the whole thing was long dead. The Nazi’s were not known for their acceptance in failures during the war or any other time in the active history of the violent party.

It was a risk he was willing to take though. He had to know just what he had become a part of.

The static of a radio station brought him out of his deep contemplation enough for him to glance down at the time and then at Dessa. The time had crawled by like molasses in January, and they hadn’t been able to find a decent radio station for the last few hours. Now, with it being late in the evening, the darkness of the night sky, the empty highway, and not a single car on the road, gave the atmosphere a hint of unending vastness and a huge feeling of seclusion. Chance saw that Dessa’s eyes were closed and her head had rolled back on the seat at an awkward angle, he could hear her soft snores even over the radio static and he smiled.

He had been so focused on Dessa that he didn’t feel his own tiredness until it was too late. He didn’t even realize his eyes had closed.

* * *


They were in the middle of nowhere, a deserted strip of airfield that no one had used in almost ten years, and yet the seclusion had been just what the two of them wanted and needed. It was a place where they could practice without drawing attention from unwanted guests, like the police, and pretty much do what ever they needed to do.

Dessa stood there blindfolded, again, with no idea where Chance had gone or how she would tag him. This was a game that she had played with him a few times before, similar to paintball; she had a gun with a single shot in it at her feet; the bullet a modified version of a paintball bullet, a knife with a dull edge that was covered in blue paint, and a weapon of her choosing. This time she went classic, a samurai sword. It was the first time she had ever used one, but it wasn’t anything different than any other sword. That was her reasoning behind the argument that occurred when she had told Chance what she wanted for the special weapon. The sword wasn’t dulled, nor painted in any way. If she managed to tag Chance with this weapon of choice, she would be hurting him for real.

After a count of two hundred, Dessa pulled the blindfold off and had to squint against the sudden blast of light that assaulted her eyes! Four flood lights had been set up all around her and each one was shining right into her eyes. The pain was intense enough to cause tears, she had to rub her eyes more than once to try and adjust to the suddenly too bright deserted airfield.

After what seemed like an hour, her eyes finally were able to adjust to the harsh light. As she looked around, she reached down and picked up the gun and the knife and placed them in strategic places that made them look invisible on her person. She looked down at the Samurai sword and frowned. The blade was huge and heavy. She had no idea how she was ever going to carry it let alone use it. One of the rules of the game was very simple; the weapon couldn’t be seen. She sighed and kicked the ground. She dropped the sword onto the ground, the metal hitting the ground echoed loudly in the dead silent night.

As she heard the echo, Dessa realized how vulnerable she was in the floodlights. It also dawned on her that her mentor was watching her every move, he was always watching.

She quickly moved out of the lights, and let her eyes adjust to the darkness once again. If she had been paying any attention, she would have seen the shadowed figure move around the other side of the flood light. He was inches from her back and she didn’t even know it! Suddenly the flood light turned back onto Dessa, and she whirled around to see nothing! But she did hear the sound of foot steps retreating away from her. He had been close, too close, for her to have even stopped him if he had chosen to attack her.

The floodlight still beamed in on her, so she simply turned the lamp back to its original position. As she moved the light she saw him, just on the outside of the lighted area, she saw his shoes. Her smile was wide as she quickly pulled the gun from out of a clumped piece of her shirt; she silently pulled the hammer back and took aim. The floodlight would hide her form; hide that she could see him with the blinding light in the pitch black night.

Dessa held her breath and fired!

She waited for a few seconds, when there was no sound of impact or a call for halt to the game, she panicked. She rushed past the lights and to where the shoes stood, vacant of their owner, to Dessa’s complete surprise. If she had been more aware, she would have noticed that the sword was missing. Dessa stomped her foot on the ground and huffed, then took out her frustrations on the shoes by kicking them hard into the darkened area of the airstrip.

Dessa dropped the gun to the ground and looked around quickly. Her eyes were more adjusted to her surroundings yet again, and it was then that it dawned on her. Chance was toying with her, he could see her better than anyone and she knew it. But did he know that she now knew? She was hoping that he didn’t. Dessa crept around the shadows looking all about, making sure to stay out of the lights, looking for any signs of movement.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw the movement; it was subtle, barely a glimmer of movement in the darkening night that surrounded her but it was definitely movement. She made her way toward the area she believed Chance stood, taking a round about course; she circled closer and closer like a shark stalking its prey. She crouched and pulled the painted knife from her boot and darted forward, swinging high for his throat!

She hit nothing but air.

“What?” She heard herself say.

Dessa spun on her heels, her eyes darting left and right! He had to be there, he just had to be! She had seen him, seen the movement, seen everything! Dessa was spooked, she knew Chance was good, but this was beyond what she had seen in the year she had been an apprentice under him. She felt a shiver trail up her spine and set the hairs on the back of her neck on end. Then she felt it; cold steel, her head turned to where the floodlights shown on empty pavement. She had dropped the sword there, she was sure of it.

“Not so hard to gut a fifteen year old girl in the middle of nowhere and leave her for the vultures," His voice was cold and made it clear that he would indeed do just that if he wanted to.

“Y-Yes sir.” Dessa said with as much determination as she could muster. She wanted to scream, to run for safety, but knew she was a fly in the middle of the spider’s web.

“It is easier to hide a weapon like this sword when your target or any other potential target cannot see you.”

Dessa cursed softly. She knew he was right, but she wouldn’t argue that point; not with the very sword she requested pressing into the muscle between her shoulder blade and her spine.

“What did you do wrong Dessa?” His voice was calm, not condescending as was the norm.

“I underestimated you," She said quietly.

“No child, you underestimated yourself," He pulled the tip of the samurai sword away and Dessa visibly relaxed.

“How can I underestimate myself?” She asked sincerely as she turned around to look upon her teacher, someone she had to admit to herself; she was starting to crush on.

“You relied on your eyes. You relied on the fact that you would be able to see me," Chance emphasized the word as well as pointed to his own black pupils. “You were so intent on letting your eyes adjust to the darkness, that you forgot to listen. In the business I am training you for; you don’t always get to see your target. You didn’t use your ears, if you had, you would have heard me setting up the lights, you would have heard me drop my shoes and run the other direction. You would have heard the metal of the sword scrape the ground as I picked it up," He finished by handing her the sword with the blade pointed to the ground.

“You were watching me the whole time… weren’t you?” She asked after a moment of silence.

“Yes, every move.”

“What would you have done differently?” Dessa asked bluntly, looking at the floodlights as if seeing her own actions played out in front of her.

“Well, if I couldn’t see you, why would I give you the advantage of seeing me?” He said as if the answer were obvious.

After a moment of thought, Dessa’s eyes lit up. “Take out the lights!” She said as she snapped her fingers. “You can’t see me and I can’t see you, equal playing field.”

“Exactly, but you have the advantage over your target. Very rarely will they be able to think rationally enough to listen. Most people will try to find a light, any light. A flashlight, light switch, even a match. The problem with that is that they become a beacon. Your eyes will see their light but not be effected enough to readjust to the light. Thiers will, thus the shadows beyond that light become that much darker.”

Dessa listened intently as she held the heavy sword. She understood the logic well enough; it was just using the concept that would take practice. She had as much time as she needed with Chance, and promised herself to be as good as him, if not better, by the end of their arrangement.

“Chance… Why were you in my house the night my parents were murdered?”

She watched the stoic assassin squirm a little as he went through the correct answer in his head, it seemed like he was going to try and spare her feelings again.

“I was checking up on my last apprentice. I just happened to be there when I saw the gang members rush out of the house.”

“But what about your rules? Coming into the house and searching for survivors breaks one of your rules. The one that you made me recite over and over; ‘A mark is a mark, no matter age, creed, religion, or race.’”

Chance grumbled a little bit but then shook his head. “I don’t know why I went in. I just know that I did and found you. Isn’t that enough to not let you sit in that house with your parents dead bodies till the police came?”

“But why me?” Dessa seemed to be a little more agitated than she meant to be.

“I don’t know," Was his flat answer.

“That’s not good enough!” She screamed. That wasn’t like her though, she never screamed. She wasn’t even that mad.

“It has to be," Chance said his face placid, expressionless.

“No! Why me!” Dessa screamed again.

Chance’s face didn’t change as he regarded her again. His arm moved back and then forward quickly, the slap hit her like a ton of bricks, her body flying forward. That can’t be right. Dessa thought, since Chance had slapped her she should have fallen backward.

Dessa’s eyes snapped open quickly, her mind finally registering that she had been dreaming. She felt the impact of her body colliding with the windshield and then flying through it, her face slamming hard into the grill of what used to be a Suburban! Her body rolled over the hood like a rag doll and then landed in the road, skidding a few feet. Dessa could feel the burn of the asphalt tearing through her cloths and her flesh. Her momentum slowed and she rolled to a stop just under a overpass sign reading “Whitefish 1 mile” then her eyes became too heavy to keep open. She heard a voice calling to her, but it was distant.

Then there was nothing.

* * *


A loud blaring noise was buzzing in his ears, and it was disturbing his sleep. It couldn’t be his alarm clock, he wasn’t even home.

The noise got louder, the sound of a car horn!

Chance was startled awake as he realized that he had dozed off. His hands tightened on the steering wheel as he saw nothing but headlights coming toward him. He jerked the wheel to the right in attempt to swerve but he was too late. The cars collided hard. The cacophony of metal crashing against metal was unbelievably loud. The noise sounded like a bomb going off right next to his ears.

Chance barely registered Dessa’s body flying through the windshield and into the street. His face smashed against the steering wheel and he felt his nose splatter across his face and knew a few teeth had been dislodged as well. That was the initial impact, it wasn’t until the cars had stopped that he realized that the windshield had splintered and caved in on him, a large jagged piece was impaled into his shoulder and that his legs were pinned between the seat and the metal frame.

Through the pain he looked out of the hole in the glass to see that the car he hit was actually a large Suburban and that the grill was no more than an inch from his current position!

Chance struggled to move his hand to the door handle, but found that the glass that was embedded into his shoulder was somehow stopping his hand from listening to his mind’s will. He grit his teeth and forced his hand to obey, and as his hand moved closer to the handle he felt the burning pressure of the glass digging deeper and deeper into his body; cutting an artery and breaking more than a few ribs. The door fell open and then fell to the ground, it’s hinges completely broken in half, and Chance tumbled out of the car. His left leg though, stayed inside the car. He hung oddly from the broken seat, his leg pinned between seat and bent metal. He saw that his shin bone was actually protruding from the skin and he nearly swooned, as if seeing it reminded his brain that his body was supposed to be feeling a lot of pain!

He pressed his right foot against the seat and pushed as hard as he could, kicking it over and over, each thump on the seat sending a new wave of pain through his leg and into his body. With a scream of agony, Chance pushed hard onto the seat, the clamps that held it in place finally giving way, sending the seat toppling sideways. Chance fell free of the car and lay there for what seemed like forever. He would have to pull the glass out himself; he could feel the creeping numbness of blood loss covering his fingers.

He cursed loudly as he grabbed the jagged shard of glass and pulled. As the glass dropped to the ground, a bright red stream of blood spurted forth and hit the fallen car door! The next spurt was smaller but still just as bright. Chance could feel each heartbeat as his life blood erupted from the open gash. After about a minute, the blood had slowed from a geyser to just a flesh wound.

Chance looked down at his shin and sighed in relief as it had moved back into place on its own accord, and was glad that he wouldn’t have to push the bone back together. He could feel his body returning to normal, the numbness all but gone, but the pain was still there. It was exhausting, but he managed to pull himself off to the side of the road and over the shoulder. No human could have survived being in the driver’s seat in that collision, and not for the first time nor the last, Chance was glad he was anything but human.

* * *


“What happened to her?”

“She was thrown from the passenger seat in the crash that was on the Two," A female’s answered the first question. Dessa could hear them, barely, it sounded as if they were talking in water. Her head was killing her and her eyes didn’t want to open. She was comfortable in the swirling blackness of unconsciousness; she didn’t want to wake up.

“And she’s still alive?!” The first exclaimed loudly, her shrill voice causing Dessa’s head to throb more, bringing her even more into a state of awareness.

“Yeah. I said the same thing. The EMT’s that brought her in said that the car she was in looked like an accordion and were surprised that she hadn’t ended up in the windshield of the suburban they hit.”

Dessa forced her eyes to close tighter; she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay asleep, the dreams she were having were pleasant. Dreaming back to when she was tagging along with Chance and training in remote places and seeing all different parts of the United States. Dessa let a contented smile pull over her lips as she thought back to those fun times, but then something odd struck her. The dreams had been altered; the memories had been altered, from what she remembered them. Of course she knew that dreams were never one hundred percent correct, but these were almost like she was reliving them, just with differences. They all seemed to be bringing up her parents and what Chance had to do with it.

She never asked Chance why he was there or how he had found her, she had just taken it as him being a good samaritan. She started to laugh to herself, but it hurt too much and stopped. Chance was never a good samaritan, for as long as she had known him, he had been a lone, withdrawn, solitary person. He never stuck his nose into places it didn’t belong.

Dessa’s eyes snapped open suddenly! The harsh hospital lights assaulting her pupils and forcing them to contract painfully. Chance never stuck his nose where it didn’t belong! She tried to sit up but found herself connected to the structure she was on. She looked around frantically and realized she was strapped to a hospital bed. Her head throbbed violently and she felt her consciousness slip slightly but she forced herself to focus, let the fog clear more before she tried to move. She saw that her movements has startled the two candy stripers that were at her bedside and they both rushed to see if she was ok.

“Ma’am! Ma’am, you are in the hospital!” She moved to try and loosen the straps to help Dessa sit up.

Dessa allowed her to help; she really didn’t have a choice being strapped down. She glanced to the left to see the monitor hooked up to her heart and saw the reason that the stripers were panicking. Her heart rate was sky rocketing! It was strange though, she didn’t feel hurt or light headed. The second girl quickly moved to her I.V. and injected it with something, almost instantly Dessa felt her mind fog over again and found it even harder to concentrate.

The two girls saw her eyes roll into the back of her head and then pass out. They looked at each other in shock; the doctors had said they would be surprised if the Jane Doe would ever wake up.

“She woke up!” The first one stated surprised.

“Thank you captain obvious," The second answered sarcastically.

“Should we get the Doctor?”

“Yeah, definitely, he’ll want to know that his supposed coma patient just woke up.”

* * *


The office building was almost completely vacant, every one having gone home for the day. Almost everyone. There was one cubical that still had someone herd at work, or at least that is what it looked like. Alpha leaned back and stretched, his shoulders cracking as he exhaled. He had been hard at work all week, almost non-stop, looking for any information he could find on the fourth and final grandchild of the “Chimera Project,” and so far he had had no luck.

His cell phone broke the silence of the floor, startling Alpha slightly. He had been expecting a call, but didn’t expect it so soon. He looked at his watch and had to rub his eyes to make sure he had seen the time right.

It was almost midnight.

The call was late the more he thought about it. How the time flies when you’re having fun. He mused to himself as he lazily reached out to his desk and flipped the cell phone open.

“Hello?” He said as he placed it to his ear.

“Sir. No report from Delta yet sir.”

“Ahh, Grendel Omega, so nice to hear your voice again," He said cheerfully.

“Yes sir, nice to hear from you too sir," The female voice on the other end of the phone replied. If Alpha didn’t know Omega as well as he did, he would think she had been blushing.

“So no reports from Delta yet?”

“No sir, Delta seems to have either been killed, or fallen off the face of the planet. The latter of course being highly unlikely.”

“Omega, have faith. Delta will come through for us as they have in the past. It has only been a few weeks," Alpha said calmly. He had full faith in Grendel Delta, just as he had faith in all of his fellow Grendels.

“Understood. I will keep you posted.”

“See that you do Omega, next time it might be better if you delivered it in person though, I hate this damned phone.”

“Understood sir," The line then went dead.

Alpha sighed to himself as he stood up. He didn’t want to be so involved in the lives of these “Chimera’s” but he had to be. As far as he was concerned, they could kill each other off and the world would be a better place without them, but his superiors wouldn’t like it too much. They had put a lot of money into making the Chimera soldiers, and they wanted to see that investment come to fruition.

Alpha ran his fingers through his short blond hair and yawned. He was used to long nights in front of a computer screen by now since he had been doing just that for the last year or so. He had received a call from a high ranking officer and initiated the “Grendels” into action. The Grendels were an elite group of soldiers, trained from birth to be the ultimate reconnaissance soldier. They were designed to “Catch and Detain” the Chimera’s at all costs.

Alpha was the third generation of Grendel, his grandfather being one of the first, and he knew what the higher ups meant by “designed” when regarding his ilk. The Grendels were rumored to be super soldiers, created during World War Two for infantry. Shock troops that would go in, take all the damage, kill all that stood against them, and then vanish. They never had names, just stations. Alpha, Beta, Cappa, Omega, Delta, and Gamma were just a few. He was lucky enough to be deemed “Alpha,” he was given the title of leader. Beta was his second in command, and Omega was one of the only female Grendels that there had ever been.

Each of his team had their own specialties, but all of them were dyed in the wool fighters. Infantry to a man, and he would stand by any of them to the death if it ever came to that. He knew that each of his team would do the same.

Alpha blinked once, then twice, when he realized that his contemplations had taken him to the coffee machine. He poured himself a cup and poured in almost enough sugar to kill a normal human. His thoughts moved to Delta. Delta was very new, just off of the treatment and right into the job. He was sure that they could get the job done, but he didn’t know if the job Delta had been placed on was too difficult for the rookie.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if my faith is misplaced, wont we?’ Alpha asked to the coffee machine. He took a sip of the coffee syrup and then cringed. He looked down at the packages he had torn open and saw that they were pink. He then looked at the coffee pot and saw that he had the last bit.

“I hate this fake sugar stuff," He said looking down at the black syrup like liquid. He then shrugged and swallowed the rest in a single gulp.

© 2008 Cole Spire

Author's Note

Cole Spire
Please point out any spelling or grammar. Your opinion is wanted.

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I finally got around to ready another chapter!! yay go me. Sorry it took me so long. Another great chapter, The car crash scene was gross. haha But described really well. I found one mistake. You wrote that the Alpha was 'herd' at work not 'hard' at work.
Well done. awesome story :)


Posted 15 Years Ago

nice. wonderful as always.

Posted 15 Years Ago

Wow. Well, the "game" was certainly something. The crash was certainly something else. This chapter in and of itself kicked righteous a*s! Me and my brother used to play a game called, Run. Basically he stood on the back porch with a 22-rifle and counted to ten and I ran. If I made a tree before he reached ten, I didn't get shot at. Hey, I learned to be a fast runner and I only got shot once, in the upper thigh, clean shot though. I didn't tell, though. I'm not a tattletale. He dug the shot out and I bandaged up my leg and wore long pants til it healed. I was about 14 or 15, I guess. I don't think that game caught on too much.

I liked this chapter a lot. Definitely full of suspense and action, definitely a thriller, keeping me on the edge of my seat for sure. Thanks for sharing this.

Posted 15 Years Ago

Though I did not start your story from the beginning, but rather with this chapter, I must say it held my attention right until the end. I checked it over for spelling and grammer, but to your credit found none. Congratulations on that note. On quite another, the only thing that I would think over is the dialogue starting at the second to last section (where dessa wakes up). A bit of it comes across as a tad forced; mechanical in a sense, which seems contrary to the kind of characters you seek to create. Quite an intersting installment, I look forward to reading the rest!

Posted 15 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on November 17, 2008


Cole Spire
Cole Spire

Holloween Town, NV

"Being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life." -Hank Moody Those are words so true that it is scarey! Aloha! My name is Cole Spire. Colstainous Spirion to be exact but mos.. more..

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