Binding Moonlight

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

Chapter 28 (v.1) - Chapter 28

Submitted: January 19, 2019

Reads: 10

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Submitted: January 19, 2019

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While everyone watched the sky, Tobi watched them. Nrekeeka and Shelsea stared up at the darkness, tears running down their cheeks. Sorrow filled Theo's face, accompanied by guilt at not having done more to help. Gabe's brows creased, and his mouth hung open. Max held hatred in her eyes, but Tobi didn't know if it was directed at Robyn or herself. Ekie's face remained impassive. The only person's face he couldn't see was Adonis', but he could see the drooping plastic around his wrists.

“What the hell went wrong?” Robyn demanded, typing furiously on his computer.

“Whatever happened to being the smartest man alive, Robyn?” Max mocked, voice flat.

“Shut up! What do you know about intelligence? All you have going for you is your rack! Did you think I kept you around because of your computer skills? No! You were eye candy. Nothing more.” Robyn spat, giving her a dismissive wave.

A disbelieving smirk crooked Max's mouth. “Really? Are you trying to insult me?” She scoffed at the man, but Ekie's eyes darkened with anger.

Tobi shifted his attention back to Adonis. The plastic ties sagged, thinning in key places. He tensed his arms, pulling against the restraints. With a quiet pop, the plastic snapped, but Adonis remained stationary. He waited for the perfect moment to act.

Robyn instructed Private Endris to check the launch pad for errors, even though they all knew it was not the source of the misfire. The colonel peered at the computer screen over Robyn's shoulder, eyebrows drawn together in bewilderment.

Shoulders rising and falling with a deep, steadying breath, Adonis focused. He wasn't sure if it was adrenaline or sheer force of will, but he moved quickly. Lifting both arms simultaneously, Adonis shot large blue-white fireballs at the military men. The private didn't see it coming, the ball striking him in the back. The colonel tried to speak when he saw Adonis move, but a fireball to the head silenced him. Adonis was on his feet before the men even hit the ground. He charged at Robyn, hooking an arm around the man's throat and yanking him to the ground. A surprised squeak escaped Robyn's throat, but it only took a fraction of a second for him to recover and fight back.

The pair scrabbled on the ground, shoving and kicking, trying to overpower each other. Adonis threw the first punch, landing a solid blow to the other man's jaw. Something cracked, but Robyn did not relent. He brought his knee up, driving it into Adonis' stomach and knocking him onto his side. Adonis rolled out of reach, grunting as he got to his feet. He kicked out, his boot connecting with Robyn's ribs. The scientist gasped, reaching up and grabbing Adonis' injured leg. He jammed his thumb into the wound. Adonis growled low in his throat, backhanding Robyn across the face.

Thrown off balance, Robyn stumbled backward, and Adonis tackled him. Hitting the ground again, their momentum sent them skidding a short distance on the rough, cracked concrete. They grappled with each other, sweaty, blood-slick hands slipping when they tried to pin the other to the ground. Adonis had a weight advantage, however. He managed to get on top of Robyn, kneeling on his wrists and pinning him to the ground. Grabbing a fistful of Robyn's hair, Adonis punched him in the face and knocked his glasses off. The second punch split Robyn's lip. The third would undoubtedly cause a black eye within a few hours. Adonis kept punching, breaking the skin on his knuckles long before Robyn lost consciousness.

Breathing heavily, Adonis wobbled stiffly to his feet. Robyn was out cold, his bleeding face already swelling and bruised. “Do any of you have anything we can use to restrain him?”

“I brought zips,” Theo said. “They're in my back pocket.”

Stone-faced, Adonis limped across the yard. He yanked Theo to his feet, making the teen stumble against his chest. Theo's cheeks lit up as Adonis used one hand to steady himself by gripping Theo's shirt while his other hand slid into his right back pocket.

Retrieving the zip ties, Adonis went back over to where Robyn lay, battered and bloody. Rolling the man onto his side, Adonis fastened his hands behind his back, then did the same to the other two men. Once he was sure they were secure, he came back to free the others.

“What did ya do ta the military guys?” Gabe asked, rubbing his wrists.

“Heat syncope,” answered Adonis.

“Uh, guys? What are we gonna do about the virus currently spreading through our atmosphere?” questioned Tobi, eyes darting skyward.

Helping her sister to her feet, Nrekeeka shrugged. “Best we can do is call the hospitals and let them know what's going on.”

“Will they believe us, though?” Theo wondered, placing his hands over the wound in Adonis' leg.

“They will once people start dropping like flies,” grumbled Max.

“Is, uh, falling debris gonna be a problem?” Gabe now asked, watching sparkling pieces of metal tumbling toward the ground.

“Most of it should just fall harmlessly into the fields,” answered Max, picking up Robyn's computer. She typed a few short commands. “Nrekeeka, we can't do anything else from here. People are going to start getting sick on a massive scale, so we should get Robyn and go.”

The woman nodded. “Right. Adonis and Ekie, I want you to get those men secured. Tobi, you and Theo get our weapons back. The rest of us will go ahead to the hospital and talk to someone. I thin—”

“Look out!”

Someone yanked Nrekeeka violently to the ground by her arm. She rolled a short distance before opening her eyes. Ekie was on top of her, eyes wide as he stared past her. Tobi screamed. Nrekeeka rolled over beneath Ekie, eyes searching. Her heart leaped into her throat. A large, jagged chunk of metal plummeted back to the launch site, missing Nrekeeka only to impale her sister.

Shelsea's eyes were wide, terrified and confused. Rivulets of blood streamed from the fatal injury and bubbled from the corners of her mouth. Her breath caught in her throat and her knees buckled, sending her to the ground in a heap.

Nrekeeka shoved Ekie aside, screeching her sister's name as she scrambled to her feet. Stumbling on loose pebbles, she slid across the concrete on her knees and crawled to her sister. Lifting the girl's head into her lap, she called for Theo. He was already beside her, removing the metal with shaking hands. Nrekeeka watched through her blurred vision as Theo put his hands over the opening, blood pouring through his fingers. Underneath the cold blue light, the sides of the wound began to come together, but it was too slow. Shelsea was losing too much blood.

Nrekeeka's tears rained onto Shelsea's face. “Please, please, please,” she begged, bent over the girl's prone form.

Tobi's eyes burned as the healing light faded, and Theo sat back on his heels. There was nothing more he could do. The wound was too great, and it was taking too much of his energy to heal as he fought against the remnants of Amaran Virus still in her system. There was blood everywhere. Theo's hands, his shirt, and the concrete beneath Shelsea were all splattered with red.

Nrekeeka wailed, mouth hanging open, eyes squeezed shut. Tobi forced himself to move, but his knees gave out as he reached Nrekeeka. He fell, wrapping his arms tightly around the woman. Warmth soaked into the legs of his jeans as he cradled Nrekeeka against his chest. She kept her arms around Shelsea. Tobi tried to pull her away, but she fought him, protective of Shelsea's body. Bending over the girl, Nrekeeka put her forehead against her sister's, her blonde hair falling over her face and sticking in Shelsea's blood. Her entire body quaked with each sob.

Tobi did the best he could to hold Nrekeeka. Tears burned his eyes and an unseen force squeezed his heart to the point of exploding.

Nrekeeka gasped for air, her chest and back heaving. She was close to hyperventilating.

Clenching his teeth, Tobi leaned over the girl. “It's not your fault,” he managed to choke out. His voice sounded distant. Wrong.

“She shouldn't have been here!” she yowled, squeezing her sister.

Tobi found himself unable to answer.

 

***

 

Tobi didn't know how long they sat there, but when he finally lifted his head, he heard sirens in the distance. He scrubbed the heel of his hand over his eyes and scanned the area for the others. Theo spoke on his mobile while the other four sat off to one side, keeping an eye on their captives.

Sniffling and wiping his nose on his arm, Tobi turned his attention back to Nrekeeka. She was quiet now, but tears were still rolling down her cheeks. Her hands rested on each side of Shelsea's head. Tobi gingerly entwined his fingers with hers, pulling her hands away from Shelsea. She didn't fight back, just let herself be embraced. Tobi wanted to take her home, but he knew they weren't done yet.

Red and blue lights flashed in the darkness as ambulances and police cars landed in the open area of the compound. Paramedics and officers got out of their vehicles and got to work. People wandered everywhere.

When they came to collect Shelsea's body, Tobi thought Nrekeeka would fly into a hysterical rage, fighting and clawing at anyone who came near the girl. But she just sat there, watching with a blank stare while they took pictures and collected samples.

When a paramedic came to take Nrekeeka, Tobi was the one to put up a fight. She stood there, listless, before blindly following the woman. Tobi tried to hold her, to keep her close, but two men in suits dragged him away.

“Mr. Nexarius?” one man asked, his big hand sitting heavily on Tobi's shoulder.

Tobi nodded, the movement stiff and robotic.

“My name is Sykes. I'm sorry we have to do this right away, but I'm going to need a statement from you and your friends. We can do it here, or I can take everyone down to the station,” said the man.

“It doesn't matter,” Tobi mumbled, lifting his head. The man speaking to him was large, muscular, with wide shoulders and short blond hair. His face was hard, but compassion filled his eyes.

The hand moved from Tobi's shoulder to his back, leading him away from the puddle of coagulating blood on the concrete. He took Tobi to a police car, opening the back door so he could sit. Handing him a handkerchief to wipe away some of the blood on his hands, Sykes took a step back.

“Okay,” the man began, withdrawing a small recording device from his pocket. “What happened?”

Taking a long, deep breath, Tobi balled the handkerchief up in his hands. When he opened his mouth, he was surprised at how easily the words came. It was like pouring water from a glass. The detective listened patiently, occasionally stopping him to ask questions.

Tobi spoke for half an hour before he raised his eyes from the concrete between his feet. As he told Sykes about his friends, he had a sudden desire to know how they were doing. Seeing his restlessness, the detective stopped his recorder.

“I think I've got what I need for now.”

“Thank you, sir.” Getting to his feet, Tobi extended his hand. The man gave it a firm shake and let Tobi join his friends on the other side of the compound. They sat in a line against a wall, watched by three uniformed officers.

When Max saw Tobi approaching, she sprang to her feet. She met his eyes before closing the distance between them, throwing herself at him and flinging her arms around his waist. She didn't speak, just held him. He gave in, bending over her much smaller frame to return the embrace. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to hold back a new wave of tears. He managed until she released him and they sat with the others. Tobi saw the blood stains on Theo's clothes and it was everything he could do not to lose it completely.

“They took Nrekeeka to the hospital,” Theo informed him, keeping his eyes on his hands. “They're already working on a modified cure thanks to Max. She told them there was a safeguard of sorts, and the cure could be reprogrammed.”

“It didn't make any sense to me when Robyn told me about it, but I guess someone knew what I was talking about,” mumbled Max.

Tobi nodded, biting his bottom lip. “So, uh...” he sighed, breath shuddering. “I... I don't, um...”

“Tobi, you don't have to be our leader right now,” Theo told him. “You don't have to posture for our sake.”

“Thanks.” Leaning his head back against the wall, Tobi pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes until he saw sparks.

“I don't know if this means anything coming from me, but I'm sorry I couldn't do anything to save her.”

Opening his eyes with a start, Tobi scowled. He didn't recognize the voice. He glanced down the line and saw Ekie looking back at him. The man was so silent, Tobi had forgotten he was there.

“You did what you could,” he told Ekie, and meant it. If Ekie hadn't been there, Nrekeeka would have been the one...

And if they couldn't modify the cure, she still could be.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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