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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Conscious

Submitted: October 10, 2017

Reads: 508

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Submitted: October 10, 2017

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Sometimes, sometimes I wonder if we're all damned. I don't know how long it's been, how long I've been laying here. just replaying the atrocities I've been an accomplice to, over and over again. Countless nameless faces that I've been responsible for...  slaughtering. Like pigs in a pen. They couldn't put up a fight, not against the perfect fucking soldier that I was. Am. That they made me. Bile rises in his throat. He leans over the side of his bed in time to retch on the floor. There's nothing, but he’s left with the acidic taste in his mouth anyway. Enough is enough, Ruben thinks. He stiffly pulls his legs over the side of the bed, and pushes himself to get up. Every muscle in his body is sore and burning, and he can't make it off the bed the first time. Ruben’s arms shake as he pushes up the second time, but he stands. He tries to stretch his body without straining anything, but it feels like he hasn't been up in days.
Ruben shifts his gaze to the door, and tenses slightly. I don’t know what’s going to be on the other side. He tentatively steps towards the door. As he steps forward, footsteps and voices beyond the door become audible. They stop in front of the door, the lock clicks, and the door opens.A young man with ashy hair enters, gesturing something to someone behind him. He stops short seeing Ruben up and looking at them. A petite woman with a wild mane of hair slips into the room next to him.

“I’m surprised you’re up and about. Would think a bullet is enough to keep you at our mercy a little longer” The woman says, crossing her arms.

“Jack…” The man says in a warning tone. The woman, Jack, rolls her eyes but drops her arms.

“Adam, do you want me to get Harris to come look at him now that he’s awake?” She asks. He gives a small nod, and she slips out of the room again.

“Sorry about her,” He says, his head turned back to watch her go. “She’s a doctor, so uh, she’s more than a little bitter that we helped you.” He gestures to the bed for Ruben to sit down. He pulls up the chair that was in the corner of the room and sits across from Ruben. He holds out a hand to Ruben.

“I’m Adam, and that ray of sunshine who just left is Jack.” Ruben takes his hand.

“Ruben.”

“Yeah, I know. I helped bring you here.”

“What happened? I don’t-” Ruben stops abruptly, confusion in his eyes

“Understand?” He says. Ruben nods.

“Don’t you remember what happened?” he looks down at his hands, folded in his lap. “Maybe it was the treatment,” He mumbles to himself.

“No, I do. I do remember...everything. Mostly everything. The last thing I remember is-is being shot,” Adam  looks back up at me, and it feels like his dark eyes are piercing through me.

“I, I remember being shot, and, and those people” He tears up, the screams echoing in his head. He chokes them back out of shame.

“Why did you bring me here?” Ruben asks.

“Why aren’t he dead?” I should be dead.

“Don’t be thanking us quite yet. If it were up to me, you would’ve bled out in the street.” He gets up from the chair and paces the room. “You’re lucky I didn’t get a say in the matter.”

“What do you mean?” Adam shrugs at his confusion. Footsteps approach the room. Jack appears at the doorway with a box marked ‘First Aid’.

“Adam, Imara told me to give him a once over before I bring him to her.” He nods as she puts the kit down on the bed next to Ruben.

“Aren’t you a doctor?” Ruben asks. “Why aren’t you just doing everything?” She gives him a dirty look.

“Disappointed you’re not the star of the show?” She says, voice dripping with disdain.

“Besides,” She continues, “I’m still only in training, I’m not a doctor yet. I only assist on heavy duty work right now.” She pulls out bandages. “A glorified nurse.” She mutters. She pulls out a bottle marked ‘antiseptic’. “Take your shirt off and lie down. I’m just going to check your vitals and clean your wound. If you die you’re no good to us.” She says with a slight smirk. He obliges,pulling his shirt off. There’s a bandage covering where he was shot. He’s surprised to see it there, there’s not any pain so he could forget he was still injured. He lies back, and Jack carefully pulls the bandage off. He lifts his head a bit to see what’s happening. Jack’s brow is furrowed, and he sees her reach back into her supplies.

“What’s- what’s wrong?” He asks.

“Nothing.” She pulls out a pair of scissors and starts removing the stitches in his stomach.

Adam, who’s been standing behind Jack, cocks an eyebrow, then leaves the room while mumbling something under his breath. Jack finishes removing the stitches, cleans the area, and re-bandages it. Ruben props himself up on his elbows, and she starts putting her things away.

“Why am he here?” he asks her. She slows for a second, but then continues.

“I need to report to Dr. Harris” She says, not meeting his gaze. The clasps on the case click and she stands up. “Listen, the Commander is gonna be here soon,” she says, “he’ll probably answer your questions.” She shifts uncomfortably, and then leaves, shutting the door behind her. He hears the lock on door. Ruben lies back on the bed, sighing. What is happening here? He sits back up and grabs the shirt from the other side of the bed, throwing it back over his head.

A few hours pass (he thinks) before anything happens. Ruben’s lying on his side, facing the wall, when he hear the lock on the door click. He quickly pushes himself up into a sitting position. A tall woman enters with a plastic smile on her face. Jack follows in behind her, looking unsettled.

“Hi Ruben, I’m Doctor Imara Harris. How are you feeling today?” She says. He doesn’t answer.

“Well, however you’re feeling, he need you to come with me for some testing.” She turns to Jack. “Jacklyn, why don’t you show him to the medical lab, while I go get things ready.” She says, then walks out of the room. Jack makes a face like she just bit into sour fruit.

“You’ll get used to her.” She says, motioning for me to follow her.

“Is she okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. I think she’s mad at me. So, don’t worry about it too much.” She pulls him out into the hallway and he follows her through the complex to get to the medical lab. They turn a corner and go up a flight of stairs. There’s a sign on the wall at the bottom of the stairs marking it as the basement. Already at the top of the stairs, Jack pushes open the door, and waits for Ruben. He moves quite a bit slower than her. Going through the door, he can finally see what kind of building they’ve been holed up in.

“Is this the West Street hospital?” he asks.

“Yeah. What’s left anyway. The East wing’s collapsed because of a bomb you guys dropped a few months ago.” Jack starts walking down the hall, past old exam rooms. There aren’t many people walking about, but the few who are out have mixed reactions to seeing him.

“So, is this like, where you bring people who are injured?” he asks quietly, not trying to draw too much attention to myself.

“I’m not answering that.” She says, giving him a pointed look.

“Gotcha.”

Jack stops outside a room marked ‘lab’. She pulls a key out of her pocket, unlocks the door, and leads him in.

“What took so long Jack? I thought you had gotten lost!” Dr. Harris says while rifling through some papers at her desk. “Alright, I’ll take it from here, you can go now.” She adds. Jack purses her lips but obeys without comment. Dr. Harris continues looking at whatever is on her desk, and doesn’t address Ruben. He can only take it for a minute before speaking up.

“So what exactly do you need me for?” he asks, shifting uncomfortably. Harris looks up at him, smile absent from her face.

“You’re here for me to figure out- hm how do I put this? What makes a Militant like you tick. Basic testing, nothing too strenuous. Unpleasant, probably. I suppose that's the price you pay.” She sighs. “We’ll start with a basic physical. And I know Jacklyn already looked at your injury, but well,” She shrugs her shoulders with a smile. “It never hurts to check your student’s work.” She points to a curtain over by the wall.

“Bed’s over there. Disrobe, put on scrubs, I’ll be over once I’m done with this.”

 


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