Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 12 (v.1) - Chapter 12

Submitted: January 11, 2019

Reads: 17

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Submitted: January 11, 2019

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Since Adonis moved in, he claimed one of the training rooms as his own. He configured the computer to his specifications and skill level and put the targets on random timers. His aim and control had always been decent, but with daily practice, he was nearly perfect. He hit the targets ninety-nine percent of the time, and when he did miss, it was only by millimeters.

Lately, he had been working on controlling high-velocity bursts, which was still one of his weak areas. The faster he tried to drive the fireballs, the hotter and more volatile they became. His hit to miss ratio got higher the more rapidly he sent them out, and today he just seemed to be getting worse with each shot. He was on his fifth wave of targets and just about ready to give up for the day when he heard the door open behind him.

“There you are! I've been looking all over for you,” Theo declared as he came into the room, his cat following closely behind. She made a chortling noise in her throat and rubbed against Adonis' leg.

“Is something wrong?” Adonis asked, shutting down the computer. The target area dimmed, and the mechanisms whined as they powered down.

Theo shook his head, his typical genial expression in place. “No, no. Nrekeeka just wants a meeting. She asked me to find you,” he explained.

“I was just finishing up anyway. Did she say what this meeting is about?” Adonis asked as he and Theo left the training room.

“Nope, just asked me to find you so she could talk to all of us at once. Have you been hiding out down here all day?”

“I have not been hiding,” Adonis replied.

Theo slapped his forehead and slid his hand down over his face. “I didn't mean literally. You cannot possibly be so lacking in social skills.”

“I do not lack in social skills. I seriously thought—never mind what I thought. It is not important.” Adonis frowned down at the floor as they headed upstairs.

Theo smirked, rolling his eyes. Adonis was a nice enough guy, but he was too serious.

“Okay, they're here. Can we get started now? I'd like to go back to bed,” Tobi muttered when Theo and Adonis entered the library. He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands across his stomach.

“Are you feeling okay?” Theo asked as he sat down. Tobi's eyes were bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles.

Tobi nodded sluggishly. “Yeah, I'm just really tired. Can we get started?”

Theo frowned, reaching over and putting the back of his hand against Tobi's forehead. Nrekeeka tried to hide her grin as Tobi slid his eyes toward her. Theo held his hand to Tobi's head for a few seconds, his brow creased with a deep scowl. He twisted his mouth to one side.

“You've got a slight fever, but nothing some medicine couldn't take care of,” he explained.

“And I will take some once we're done here. 'Keeka, could we get started please?” Tobi grumbled.

Nodding, Nrekeeka scanned her ENP. “Based on Theo's suggestion, I've worked out a plan of action. Now, this will sound weird, but we won't be doing this until next week,” she told the others.

“Why wait so long?” Adonis asked.

“Because, and I know this sounds stupid, I want to do this on the one-year anniversary of my sister being admitted to the hospital. She'll be turning sixteen soon. It's silly, I know,” she explained.

Tobi propped his feet up on the table, tipping his chair back onto two legs. He let his head hang back, staring at the ceiling. “How 'bout Monday? It's sooner rather than later, and it gives us the weekend to get everything ready.”

“I'm not sure how much prep time we'll need, but it should be fine. What I'm thinking we'll do is go in at night, so we have more cover. Tobi will take out the cameras we marked, then Adonis will let us inside. Passcodes won't be a problem, right?”

Adonis shook his head.

“Good. Okay, after you let us onto the property, head inside and open the door for us. Together we'll head into the computer lab here,” she continued, pointing out the room on the printout of Adonis' map. “Adonis will get into their network, download the information we need and wipe the rest. I know it won't be so simple though. Tobi, Theo, and I will try and hold Robyn and his employees off.”

“I'm still not comfortable with the guns, but—” The rest of Theo's sentence was cut off as Nissy jumped onto the table and Tobi nearly toppled his chair in an effort to get away from her.

“Keep your cat away from me,” Tobi growled, righting himself and his chair.

“What? How come?” Theo asked, plucking the purring cat off of the table and setting her back on the floor.

“She freakin' attacked me the other night!”

Nrekeeka's brow creased. “Did you tease her or something? Provoke her at all?”

Tobi shook his head. “No. Why would I? She did it for no reason. Just look at these scratches!” Tobi lifted his shirt to reveal three long, deep red scratches surrounded by mottled bruising.

“Are you positive you didn't provoke her?” Nrekeeka asked with raised eyebrows.

“I didn't do squat.”

“Those are pretty deep. Are you sure my cat did this?” Theo asked, pushing himself to his feet. He put one hand on Tobi's shoulder and the other on his chest. The blue healing light radiated from his palm.

“Yes! And that is really cold,” complained Tobi.

“So I've heard.” Theo took his hand away to reveal Tobi's uninjured chest. He stood back and put his hands on his hips. “There. You big baby.”

“Thanks. Everyone can stop staring now,” Tobi grumbled, readjusting his shirt.

“Usually you love it when people stare at you,” teased Nrekeeka. “I guess we're pretty much done here. You can go back to bed now.”

“Awesome.” Getting out of his chair, Tobi swayed a little but managed to stay on his feet.

“Has he been feeling ill all day?” Theo asked Nrekeeka after Tobi left.

“Yeah. He went back to bed after breakfast and I had to wake him for our meeting,” she replied.

“I hope it's not too serious. I can't fix viruses or anything, just muscle, skin, and bones. So try not to catch whatever Tobi has, okay?” Theo said, gaze shifting from Nrekeeka to Adonis.

“I do not get sick,” stated Adonis.

“I wish I could say the same,” grumbled Nrekeeka.

“You and the rest of the planet,” Theo added, crossing his arms. “Just try not to catch Tobi's bug, okay? You'll want to be healthy when you save your sister.”

 

***

 

“Has anyone seen Tobi today?” Nrekeeka asked as they sat down for lunch the following day.

Adonis shook his head.

“He didn't come down for breakfast, either. I figured he was still sleeping. Doesn't he usually hang out in his firing range when he has nothing else to do?” Theo asked.

“I checked there,” she said with a frown. “Maybe I should see if he's still in his room.” Pushing her chair back from the table, she thanked Theo for the meal she hadn't eaten.

She was worried. Tobi's bug may have gotten worse. She didn't need someone else getting sick and going into the hospital, and she didn't want to be left alone.

Knocking on Tobi's door, Nrekeeka called his name. There was no answer. She tried again, but again no response came. Using her master code, she let herself inside. It was dark, but she could see Tobi on his bed.

“Tobi, are you awake?” she asked, turning the lamp on as she entered the room. He answered with a low moan. Perching on the side of the bed, she looked down at her friend. Dark circles framed Tobi's closed eyes and sweat coated his skin with a sickly sheen. She placed her hand on his shoulder, feeling the heat of his skin through his shirt. “Tobi? Tobi, hey!” She shook his shoulder.

His eyelids fluttered open, but only briefly. He moaned again, and his eyes opened a second time. Whatever he was sick with made his golden irises glassy, and he couldn't focus on anything.

“What's wrong?” Nrekeeka managed to say past the knot of panic in her throat.

Another moan rumbled Tobi's throat, his dry lips parted as his Adam's apple bobbed, no words coming out. His pupils dilated and shrunk, struggling to lock on to anything as his eyes slid back and forth, trying to find Nrekeeka. She put her hand on his chest and he inhaled sharply, tears glittering in his eyes. Frowning, she lifted the hem of his shirt to expose his chest. Blotches of dark red and purple covered his pectorals.

“Oh my god. Tobi, I'm going to get Theo, okay? I'll be right back, I promise,” she told him, already halfway to her feet.

Tobi let out a frantic groan, freezing Nrekeeka to the spot. She could tell he was scared, and she didn't want to leave him alone. She didn't know what to do to help him, and she couldn't just leave him like this, either. The best she could do was look at the blotches and make guesses about what was happening.

“Tobi, I'm going to try and remove your shirt, okay?” she said, working the long-sleeve shirt up his torso. It was difficult, but she eventually managed to remove the garment. When she bared his skin, a strange, sticky substance started beading on his chest. There was no wound or opening, so whatever the stuff was, it was forcing its way through his pores. Nrekeeka touched the yellowish matter cautiously and her fingers went numb instantly. She frowned, shaking and rubbing the feeling back into her hand.

Nrekeeka chewed gently on her lip and leaned over Tobi. She cupped his cheeks and kissed his sweat-slick forehead. “Tobi, I have to get Theo. I have to. I don't know what's wrong. You need his help. I can't lose you. And I can't help you unless I get Theo.”

Reluctantly, she left Tobi's side and hurried into the hall. She spotted Theo heading to the stairs and was thankful she didn't have to go searching for him. “Theo! I need your help!” She called to him.

“What's wrong?” he asked.

Nrekeeka grabbed his arm and pulled him into the bedroom. “Tobi's really sick and I don't know what's going on.”

Theo's brow knit together when he saw Tobi. “I'll take a look, but I'm not a doctor, 'Keeka,” he told her, moving around the bed. “This is a little out of my league.”

Nrekeeka stared at him with pleading eyes. Theo exhaled slowly and touched the yellowish ooze, lifting his hand to examine his fingertips. The sticky substance seemed to soak into his skin, leaving the tips of his fingers numb.

“Best guess is a numbing agent or chemical paralytic. It's probably in his bloodstream, but since I don't know anything about what it is or what caused it, I don't know how long it will last or what will fix it. I'm gonna guess it isn't permanent because the feeling in my fingers is already returning, but I can't say for sure,” Theo explained, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Does he need to go to the hospital?” Nrekeeka asked, eyes glittering with tears.

Tobi made a few panicky noises in his throat.

Gaze flicking from Tobi's chest to his face, Theo let out a heavy sigh. “I would say yes, but I know how strongly you both feel about hospitals. He's breathing on his own, and he's conscious, so maybe give it a couple of days for his body to fight it. We'll see if the chemical will work its way out of his system on its own. Keep a close eye on him and keep him hydrated, but it's the best I can offer,” he answered, scowling. “I'm not happy leaving him without proper medical attention, though.”

“Thank you, Theo. I'll stay with him and let you know if anything changes,” Nrekeeka said to him.

“I'll bring you something to eat later,” he replied, giving her shoulder a squeeze on his way out.

Blinking back tears, Nrekeeka brushed a few strands of damp hair off of Tobi's face and tried to smile at him. His skin was so hot, but he was sweating, which had to be a good thing. His body was fighting whatever was happening. She smoothed out his hair again and stood. Hurrying into the bathroom, she grabbed the jug Tobi kept beside his bathtub and filled it with cool water. Picking up two washcloths, she went back to Tobi's bedside.

Tobi moaned.

“I'm just gonna try and bring your fever down,” she answered, setting the jug on the bedside table. Sitting down beside him, she wet one cloth. Folding it neatly, she placed it on Tobi's head and wet the second cloth. Wherever the sticky fluid bubbled from his skin, she wiped it away. He attempted to follow her movements with his hazy eyes.

“Tobi...” she murmured. “You should try and sleep. If anything, it'll pass the time.” She held his gaze until his eyelids drooped and eventually closed. It wasn't long before his breathing slowed and evened out. Sighing to herself, Nrekeeka pet his hair until she was sure he was asleep.

 

***

 

Nrekeeka had been right. Sleeping had passed some time, and he even felt a little better. The burning in his chest had receded somewhat, and his headache was a little less excruciating. Unfortunately the sudden, blinding pain radiating through his chest was what had woken him up. White circles bounced in his vision, fading into colorful sparks. Though the intensity woke him, it was thankfully brief, the only remnant the tears sliding down the sides of his face and into his hair. Letting out a steadying breath, he tried to turn his head and was rewarded by the sensation of his cool, albeit damp, pillow on his cheek. He still couldn't move his arms or legs, but it was progress. He could even lift his head a little, although he may have been better off not seeing the patchy purple rash and sickly, slimy green film covering his chest.

“Tobi!” Nrekeeka gasped when she came back into his room.

“I—” he started to say, but his voice turned to liquid gurgles. He coughed, gagging on the fluid stuck in his throat.

Nrekeeka was at his side in an instant, hefting him off the pillows and propping him in a sitting position. She rubbed his back with firm strokes, his muscles tense under her hand. Scooping his garbage pail off the floor, she set it in his lap. With violent, painful heaves, Tobi emptied the meager contents of his stomach, and then some, into the pail. When he finished, he coughed until his throat was raw.

“Good thing I came back when I did,” said Nrekeeka, pushing his hair back.

With a slow nod, Tobi closed his hot, sore eyes. More tears collected in the corners of his eyes and his nose ran freely.

Nrekeeka picked up the washcloth, which had fallen onto his pillow, and wiped his face. Taking the garbage can away, she helped Tobi lie back down. Once he was comfortable, she went to wash the pail.

“I don't...don't like you having to take care of me like this,” Tobi told her in a raspy voice when she returned.

Sitting down, she held his hand. “Don't be ridiculous. I don't mind.”

“You shouldn't have to. I swear the damn...damn cat did this.” He looked up at her and the comforting smile on her face. He wanted to cry when she adjusted her position on the bed, allowing him to use her lap as a pillow.

“Just go back to sleep, okay? I'll be here when you wake up this time,” she said, putting her cool, dry hand against his cheek.

Nodding, his heavy eyelids drifted shut. Maybe this time when he woke up, he would be able to move. He knew he was already improving because the heavy numbness in his body had been replaced with the annoying prickling sensation he had when a sleeping limb was coming back to life. Sleeping through this would definitely be the best option.

 

***

 

Nrekeeka rubbed her bleary eyes, a crease tugging at her brow as she blinked at Tobi. Whistling, he came out of the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel around his hips. Water dripped from the ends of his hair.

“Good morning!” he sang.

“You...what're you...how?” she stammered, mouth agape.

“Very articulate,” he teased, rolling his eyes as he crossed the room to his dresser.

Nrekeeka gaped at him.

“I feel much better, thanks for asking,” he said, smirking over his shoulder at her.

“I—uh—sorry. You sure you're okay? You couldn't even move yesterday.”

Tobi shrugged. “I feel fine. I mean, my arms and legs are still a little tingly, and the rash is itchy as hell, but otherwise, I'm fine. I'm just glad I can move again. This is the damn cat's fault, you know. She's the reason I got sick. Not that anyone believes me,” he said, taking his clothes back into the bathroom to dress.

Nrekeeka shook her head, rolling over on Tobi's big bed. She had no idea why he was so fixated on the cat, but as long as he was better she didn't care. Besides the blotchy rash on his chest and the rasp in his voice, he seemed to be in good shape. Maybe he purged whatever was in his system when he threw up yesterday.

“Are you gonna lie there forever, Keekee?” Tobi asked, tossing his towel into his clothes hamper.

Nrekeeka's eyebrows shot up to meet her hairline. “Keekee? You haven't called me that in two years!”

He shrugged, smiling at her. “I guess I wanted to see if it still suited you.”

“Does it?”

“More or less.” Leaning over, he grabbed Nrekeeka's ankles and pulled her to the foot of the bed.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

Planting on hand on either side of her, he grinned. Her arms extended up above her head, her hair fanned out on the dark blue sheets. Her shirt had bunched up, exposing her stomach. She was adorable, and he wanted so badly to kiss her. Biting his lip, he grabbed her hands and pulled her into a sitting position.

“'Keeka, I want you to go have a nice, long, hot shower. I appreciate you staying with me, but I'm better now. Honest.”

“You sure?” she asked as she got to her feet.

“I'm just going to get something to eat. You can fuss over me all you want after you've showered. I promise I won't keel over while you aren't looking.” He crossed his arms and grinned at her.

“Okay...” She didn't look happy about being dismissed but reluctantly agreed. Tobi followed her to her room to make sure she actually went inside before he continued to the kitchen. He was grateful for her help and happy she cared so much, but he hadn't eaten in two days and he would rather stuff his face in private. He'd feel less guilty about eating half the food in the kitchen this way.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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