A Chapter by Idiotekque

To the slaughterhouse we go ...


Chapter Six


“Tavis.” The girl returned his smile with a cheesy grin, her weapon trained right between his eyes. “What brings you to my neighborhood?”


The girl’s weapon attracted my attention most. It was a handgun, clean and high-tech looking. There was no barrel�"instead, when she drew it, the body seemed to split in two, revealing a glowing cross-section that hummed with energy. Looks like humanity had taken some violent leaps forward in weaponry since I’d been asleep. I didn’t care to find out what sort of damage that thing could do.


Tavis sent her a tired look, not even bothering to direct her attention to the stretcher him and I were carrying. “As fun as this is�"Kathaerin�"we’re not in the mood for games right now. Please.”


There was a moment that seemed far longer than I’m sure it really was; the new girl and her armed and burly friends keeping their weapons aimed at us. Finally, she holstered her piece and laughed out loud, walking over to Tavis and giving him a bear hug. I could tell it wasn’t welcome. She squeezed him tight and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. Tavis nearly lost grip on his half of the gurney.


“Alright, follow me!” Kathaerin motioned for us to follow. “I’ll bring you to the Doc.” She looked in either direction, covering one side of her mouth before continuing in a mock hushed tone. “Between you guys and me, I think his medical license expired last week.”


Stupid jokes aside, I had wondered the same thing myself. Jane was going to die if we left her as is, but it begged consideration how great of an idea leaving her fate up to a dirty, unqualified butcher in a town full of homeless junkies was. We had no choice, but that didn’t mean I had to like it.


“Thank you.” Tavis said through gritted teeth. It was obvious that he didn’t like this Kathaerin girl very much, but there wasn’t much more he could say.


She led us through the various side streets and inner workings of Radi, not speaking a word as we made our way through the grimy locale. The place didn’t look like much, but it was fairly large as I quickly discovered. It was odd observing the fusion of new and old�"as if two rival architects had designed the mismatched town; like one was the manager of a junkyard and the other an old time rancher. All the while, the crumbled tarmac of ancient roadways made up about half of the streets, while dirt and sand covered the rest. You got both the depressing nostalgia of the old country and the revolting gunk of the big city. Wonderful.


The girl clearly knew her way around the place though. It was a bit of a maze, but she masterfully led us right to where we needed to go. Even if she was a… putayn, like Tavis had said, she cut a good chunk of time out of our journey. I could only hope it wasn’t too late for Jane as we finally made it to our destination.


The area around the doctor’s place didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Down a dark alleyway, down a dirty staircase, the girl knocked briefly on the rusty metal door before it cracked open a moment later. I couldn’t see whoever had opened the door from where I was, but whoever it was seemed to invite Kathaerin in as the door swung open. We carefully maneuvered Jane through the doorway and stepped inside. The interior wasn’t much better than outside; it wasn’t covered in filth or anything, but it seemed like everything was covered in a fine layer of dust. Had the doctor even used any of this stuff in the past decade? I had been under for untold years, and I still thought the implements looked extremely dated. My hope for Jane’s recovery was plummeting by the second.


“This is Dr. Kerning.” Kathaerin gestured to the man as we entered the room. “He’ll be uh… taking care of your friend.”


The girl’s tone sounded doubtful. I could tell it was all a game to her�"she couldn’t care less if any of us kicked the bucket�"but at the same time she seemed to be the authority on anything Radi. If the town doc was a hack, she knew it.


“Hello.” Dr. Kerning didn’t even look towards us, fiddling with the lid of a pill bottle.


“You need some help with that, chief?” Kathaerin sent him a look, reaching for the bottle.


Everyone jumped a little as he batted her hand away, working at the lid more furiously. Weren’t those bottles just supposed to be child-proof? I would’ve laughed if we weren’t relying on the guy to save Jane’s life. It was looking pretty bleak. Finally he wrenched the top off, promptly popping a small handful of pills in his mouth and swallowing. Bravo, he didn’t even need water.


“What does the good Mayor need today, dear?” He offered a commercial smile to the blonde, plucking a few prescription bottles from a shelf and dropping a pair of reading glasses from atop his forehead to the end of his small sharp nose, deftly scanning over the labels.


Kathaerin held her hands up towards him and sighed, but Tavis cut in before she could speak. “We don’t need drugs. This woman is injured�"look.”


The doctor tossed the bottles over his shoulder, shuffling over to Jane as she lay on our makeshift gurney. Someone had a severe case of ADD; either that or he was completely nuts. The man looked over her quickly, his face only inches from her body as he moved around quickly. Finally he stopped his examination�"right above her chest. I could tell Tavis was about to deck him, but Kerning scurried away and tore a dusty sheet off of an examination table.


“Over here, lay her down.” He beckoned, tapping his index finger impatiently on the cold metal surface.


The table was a relic, the metal rusted and the plastic cracked and faded, but it looked functional enough. That and Jane had more to worry about than a possible case of lockjaw. We laid the stretcher on the floor, transferring the woman to the table as quickly and as gently as we could. Dr. Kerning moved over to the table; having retrieved a pair of scissors; and hurriedly began cutting Jane’s garments away from her shoulder to reveal the damage fully.


“Uh oh.” He muttered to himself, continuing to remove the pieces of material and armor. “Oh my…”


“He isn’t much for bedside manner, is he?” Kathaerin laughed, nudging my arm as we watched him work. She shut up and slunk off to the corner when it was clear that no one was in a laughing mood.


The wound only looked worse from when we had inspected it before. The ghastly looking spider-web of dark veins and dead flesh had spread, covering her entire shoulder and falling all the way across her bicep. I didn’t see it before, but her fingernails on that side had turned dark and blue. The poison was setting in dramatically. It hadn’t moved across her chest very far, but I feared our efforts were too little too late.


“Well now, I have some great oxies to make her comfortable. Or would you rather me put the poor dear out of her misery?” He held up a large scalpel, the look on his face almost pleasant.


“You son of a�"” Tavis seethed, taking a step towards the doctor before Alyssa grabbed him from behind.


“They want her alive, Kerning.” Kathaerin sighed, slumped down in an office chair on one side of the room. “Why don’t you do something useful? For once.”


He set the scalpel down, rubbing the deep five-o-clock shadow on his chin in thought. “Inyx venom is not something I work with often. Do you know how toxic it is? The only reason this young woman is still ticking is because these children brought her to me so quickly!” His eyes moved back towards Jane, scouring over the wound again. If I wasn’t mistaken, I could actually see a spark of brilliance in the aging doctor. “How long ago was the laceration inflicted? An hour, two?”


“Try ten or eleven.” Alyssa answered, patting Tavis on the shoulder as he calmed down.


Kerning coughed, seeming to have choked on his own spit. “She’s resilient, I’ll tell you that much. I’ve seen men double her weight drop dead in half the time.” He turned his attention away from us, lost in his thoughts again. “Although I have never seen any cases around these parts…”


Suddenly he disappeared into the back room, a series of crashes and clangs echoing out as he searched around haphazardly for god knows what. After a few moments he returned with a large bottle of clear fluid and a syringe.


“Will that fix her?” Tyr’s voice came weakly from behind us.


“Well, err…” Kerning’s brow furled, carefully deciding how to reply. “No.”


He scuttled back to the table, drawing liquid from the bottle and injecting it straight into the open wound. Jane shifted on the table, moaning in pain as he dropped the plunger.


“What are you doing old man?” Tavis growled; I could see his fists balled in anger, but he kept himself in place.


“A hefty dose of penicillin might�"might�"might just combat the venom enough to allow us to remove the source of the infection. If you’ll just excuse us now…” He brought his hands to either side of the table, beginning to roll Jane into the back room.


Penicillin? What was this, the 19th century?


“Remove the source of the infection?” Alyssa butted in, sticking her boot in front of the table’s wheels to bring it to a halt. “What are you saying? Speak up!”


I could hear Kathaerin snicker from the corner of the room. I was beginning to see why Tavis didn’t like her much. If it wasn’t for the pistol on her hip, I would have wiped that stupid smirk right off her face.


“I’m sorry dear, we have to amputate. She’ll still have her left arm if all goes well, yes?” I had already guessed what Kerning said, but it didn’t take the sting off very much.


“Are you serious?” Alyssa’s tone was both angry and devastated; I couldn’t help but feel the same.


“If you want the young lady alive, yes.” He replied simply, returning the girl’s gaze. “It’s up to you.”


“Better chopped up than dead, right?” Kathaerin added, obviously not trying to be helpful.


She was being a jackass, but she had a point�"as morbid is it was. If Kerning could actually save her, whatever the cost, he was the only shot she had. What was Tavis thinking though? Part of me didn’t want to know.


Tavis marched up to the doctor, getting right in his face. “If this is what has to be done, so be it.” His tone was quiet, his voice even. “But if you mess this up? If you treat this like a game?”


He didn’t have to finish the thought�"Kerning got the hint. He might have been a crazy old b*****d, but he was sweating a little now. Tavis certainly had a way with words when he was passionate enough about something. The good doctor had better watch his a*s.


“Ahem, w-well then!” Kerning nodded, wheeling the table on towards the back room. “We’ll do our best to save her, sir. Now if you’ll excuse me.”


We? There was no one else there. This guy was off his rocker.


“Bülschett.” Tavis shook his head, firmly grasping the doctor’s shoulder from behind. “I’m going in there with her whether you like it or not.”


Kerning’s gaze darted around the room, his hands fidgeting against the table as he avoided Tavis’ eyes. I almost felt bad for the guy, but you couldn’t argue with Tavis’ logic. He might have been a doctor, but he clearly wasn’t all there. You had to be crazier than he was to trust your friend’s life to him, let alone leave them alone in the same room with the guy. Unfortunately we were hard pressed for time and options.


“Fine, fine!” The doctor threw his hands up, a flash of irritation and anger rising in his tone. “The rest of you�"out!”


His words commanded a level of authority from beneath the usual veil of insanity. I glanced towards Kathaerin, then Alyssa. They both shrugged in acceptance�"it looked like we would wait outside. I don’t think any of us wanted to see or hear what was about to happen anyways.


It was filthy, but our minds were on other things as we slumped down against the wall outside Kerning’s office. All of us except for Kathaerin, at least; she seemed to be getting antsy. I had wondered why she had stuck around anyways. Her cronies hadn’t accompanied us to Kerning’s, and she wasn’t holding us at gunpoint anymore. What was this girl’s game?


A scream from inside the office startled us. It was Jane; was she not even under anesthesia? The thought was sickening considering what she was going through. Tavis must have been livid.


“Ouchies.” Kathaerin muttered, finding the entire situation humorous.


I did my best to ignore the comment�"as did Alyssa. I could tell she hated this girl just as much as Tavis, but she certainly did a better job of concealing her emotions. As for Tyr, I couldn’t tell what was going through her mind. She looked calm, collected as she sat beside me. She had to have been upset, but she was hiding it very well. She was stronger than I thought.


“She’ll be fine.” Alyssa said, the comment more of a comfort to herself than anyone else. “Jane’s always fine.”


It was anyone’s guess as to how true that comment would be. Even heroes died�"Jane was no different than anyone in the end. She may have been strong, but she was still human, and she was going through as harrowing an experience as any. My extremities ached dully just imagining it. The sinister whir of Kerning’s bonesaw just barely reached my eardrums through the wall. I wondered if Tyr could hear it too.


We didn’t have to wait long; it had probably only been ten minutes before the door cracked open. It was a tense moment, between Alyssa, Tyr, and I, no one jumped to their feet to go back inside. I don’t think anyone was that excited to find out how well an amputation went. I certainly wasn’t.


Tavis emerged from doorway, the look on his face betraying no emotion. “It’s done.”

© 2011 Idiotekque

Author's Note

Remember that these chapters are all in first draft form. I suspect this one might have some errors.

Thanks for reading.

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Added on December 19, 2011
Last Updated on December 19, 2011



Makawao, HI

I'm 20 years old and I'm a writing student living in Hawaii. Writing is my passion, and I'm striving to break into the market doing something I really love. more..

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