Here's to the Broken Kids | Part One | Chapter Eleven
Posted February 18th, 2019 by Zelda
in a perpetual predicament
A/N: What the heck is up everyone, how's your week going?
Is this chapter sloppy? Yep, but at least it's on time and we're finally getting to the adventury parts ¯_(?)_/¯
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment down below, I'd love to know what you think will happen next!
Xena was inconsolable. She couldn’t feel her fingertips and she couldn’t stop sobbing. She wiped her tears but at that point she was just smearing the wet around. Her face felt disgusting. And something nearby reeked of chemical.
At one point a nurse had been with her but was gone now. After several failed attempts at getting anything remotely needle-related near Xena, the nurse superglued shut the slice on her arm and left her alone. The glue made the chemical smell worse. Jacob showed up a while later to hover and wait. When he wasn’t pacing he was cracking his knuckles, as if keeping still would shatter the thin veneer of control he had painted on. He got Xena’s home number from her, passed it off to a nurse, then punched it into his own phone.
No one picked up.
“Sam?” Xena asked. Tried to ask. All the air caught in her throat and choked away her words. If Jacob noticed, he didn’t show it. He crossed in front of her, white-knuckle gripping his phone. He couldn’t seem to decide whether to stay or storm out.
If he was here then Sam had to be okay, right? He wouldn’t leave his brother in danger. She hugged her knees to her chest, trying to keep herself from shivering. Her arm ached when she curled her fingers. Jacob’s phone rang, and for a brief second Xena hoped it was her parents. The hope fizzled immediately, she knew it couldn’t be them.
“Yes? Yeah… Esau— Esau shut up!”
Xena jumped at his snap, fresh tears flooded her eyes.
“Mom and dad are both here, they’re waiting… he’s in surgery… No, stay. Isaac is supposed to be there soon, you can come together.”
She listened to his side of the conversation, feeling panic’s bony hands gripping her tighter the more he said. It was getting harder to breathe.
“No, it wasn’t that. It wasn’t, E, shut up.” Jacob snapped for the second time. He ran his hand over his bare head, glanced at Xena, and stepped out of the curtained-off area. Muffling his next words, “…because he’s not Hannah.”
The hands kept getting tighter and tighter. Around her neck. Around her wrists. Around her stomach. She couldn’t tell if she was sweaty or if she’d been crying for so long that her body felt damp by default. She sniffled, the chemical reek of the room stuck to the inside of her nose like oil film over water. It stank in here, she couldn’t breathe over the stink.
She slid off the bed onto shaky legs, pulling down her sleeves. She had to get out of here, she couldn’t breathe. Hugging her waist, she stumbled past the curtain. Past Jacob who was mumbling into his phone. He covered the mouthpiece of his phone when he caught sight of Xena.
“Where are you going?”
Xena shrank into her skin, “I just—I-I need air,” her words squeaked, dry unlike the rest of her.
“There’s a bathroom down the hall.” He pointed and returned to his phone conversation.
A bathroom, yes, that would be good. It would be great. She shuffled away in the direction Jacob had indicated. The E.R. was milling with injured people and nurses with tablets tucked under their arms. A phone rang at the front desk, somewhere someone was crying and the sound made Xena want to cry more. She spotted a pair of police officers by the door. They were talking to the nurse who had sealed her cut. They were here for her, or Jacob. She had binge watched enough medical dramas to know that. The police needed victim statements. Was she a victim? She’d kicked that girl’s face in. Spurred on by a sudden and intense desire to not talk to the police and still suffocating on that horrible stench, she hurried out of the E.R.
Was she a victim? She squeezed her injured arm, as if the wound might have vanished now that it was out of sight. It stung like a string of angry bee stings. Maybe the police were here to arrest her for attacking that girl. Was it self defense? She couldn’t remember, everything after Sam getting stabbed was hazy. Was it self defense? She squeezed her arm harder, forcing a gasp through her gritted teeth. She almost didn’t notice the person in front of her in time.
“Oh ghijk,” the other person gave a jumbled squawk that melted into a laugh. Xena’s eyes skirted over a metal chain wrapped around a lean waist, a violent tattoo on a collarbone, and hair a shade of red so bright it physically hurt to look at.
“M’sorry,” Xena mumbled, shuffling to the side. Where was that bathroom? She wiped her cheeks and skimmed the hall for a sign.
“You look like you’re having a bad time.” The girl with the chain fell into step beside Xena.
“Don’t people here heal?”
Xena stopped, turning to the girl with the chain to get a better look.. The girl was lean in a cattish way, her shirt was a size too big and her lips were crooked. She stood with her hip cocked, twirling a short section of her chain, and her red eyes—red?—glinted with the kind of mirth Xena was pretty sure should be reserved for Christmas elves. “What kind of question is that?”
It was the first full sentence she’d managed to say without stammering since she’d got here. The girl with the chain shrugged haphazardly.
“Well you’re bleeding, and crying, I was curious. Have you seen my sister? I can’t find her.”
She was bleeding? Xena turned her arm over to look at it. A red patch was growing on her sleeve. It was a sliver at most, a strangely small detail for someone to notice. She would have to get more glue. Maybe she could do that herself. It couldn’t be hard to smear glue onto a cut and pinch it shut.
“Come on,” the girl with the chain butted into Xena’s internal dialogue once again. She slung an arm over Xena’s shoulders and walked her farther down the hall. “You can help me read these signs, I don’t know all your words yet.”
“I—I don’t…” The protest died on her tongue. What was she going to say? That she didn’t want to be carted away from the E.R. and Jacob and the police officers who may or may not have been there to arrest her? Of course she wanted that, all she ever wanted was to be whisked away from all her problems. This time, her problems were big enough that the universe had listened. She pursed her lips and let the girl with the chain lead her away.
They walked three corridors together. The girl with the chain pointing to words on signs and asking what they meant.
“Haematology. That’s blood stuff, I think,” Xena said.
“You’re very specific about all this,” the girl with the chain mused, evidently deciding that ‘blood stuff’ wasn’t interesting. They turned a corner to a hall that lead back to the E.R. and Xena caught a clear line of sight straight to the police officers loitering by the desk. She froze, her spine stiffening. They were talking with Jacob, he was nodding, his arms were crossed. Next to the police officers in their outfits and loaded belts, he looked just the same. No bigger, no smaller. He should have looked smaller, people always looked smaller next to authorities. Then he turned his head, and he locked eyes with her.
The girl with the chain grabbed her arm, “We found her!” All Xena heard was found. She hadn’t exactly been hiding, but as she watched Jacob point the officers in her direction, she realized that she didn’t want to be found. She spun to follow the girl with the chain.
Coming towards them from another section of the hospital was the girl with the chain, minus the chain. Twins. With hair as violent as that, Xena had to wonder how they’d missed each other before. She’d seen stop lights that dimmed in comparison. Chain girl’s twin also had a person in tow, a person who was eclipsed by the chain girl’s twin and her fiery hair.
The girl with the chain rushed to hug her twin. The air around them buzzed with chaotic energy as they collided, hugged, talked—both at the same time, or maybe they had the same voice, Xena couldn’t tell. She glanced over her shoulder at the police officers who were now making their way towards her. Her hands began to tremble. She couldn’t talk to them, she didn’t want to get arrested, she didn’t know if it was self defense. Was it self defense?
“You won’t believe who I found.”
The conversation melted into excited exclamations. Xena returned her attention back them in time to catch chain girl’s twin’s gaze sweeping her. The smile on chain girl’s twin’s face faded, and she tilted her head, the horns framing her face clattering with her sister’s horns. Xena felt something in her chest shrivel at the drop in the other girl’s mood.
“Hi,” she said, breaking off the conversation she’d been having with the girl with the chain, “I’m Jeanelle.”
The girl with the chain furrowed her brow, and cast a glance sideways at her sister, Jeanelle.. She nudged Jeanelle, “we should get out of here.”
“Khe? Yes, right.” Jeanelle nodded, flashing a smile as she tore her stare from Xena. “she agreed to come with us.”
“Is that possible?”
Xena glanced back again. The officers were almost on her. They were too close, too close. She didn’t want to talk to them. “Take me with you,” she blurted, stepping closer to the twins. She needed more time, she needed for there to be more space between her and the officers. Just a little more time that going with the twins could buy her.
“Sure,” Jeanelle agreed, reaching for Xena. Her sister’s confused grimace deepened, but before anyone could say more, Jeanelle’s fingers wrapped around Xena’s wrist. In that instant, the hospital floor dropped out from under her and she fell fast into a gaping void.
Her vision blacked out at the same moment all the air left her lungs. She couldn’t breathe. Her stomach flipped into her throat, her head exploded into a hundred thousand fractal shards and collapsed into itself. She couldn’t see. She couldn’t feel. Her limbs could have been a mile away for all she knew. Where they? She opened her eyes, she opened them again. She opened them again. There was nothing to see. What was this? What was this? What the hell was happening to her?
Was this death?
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