Chapter 14: Answers, Part IV

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Lance nodded, thinking again. "Said something about him lasting for four minutes." He tried to push back the tightness in his throat. "My... My mom was getting really weird, too. She suddenly had to leave and she was telling me about how he drove off into a bridge and then drowned. Like... First it was just some kind of car accident and then her entire story changed."

Zidane was quiet for a long moment. "It sounds like she was sparked."


"It's my own way of saying there were words or ideas planted inside her mind. The Razalek who influenced her probably didn't care enough about the delivery, or maybe just not enough to give her much of a solid idea to go off of."

Lance remembered how weird the doctor was acting when he came into their room. Talking about how his blood type would make things tricky and how Lisa wouldn't be around for any operations.

He was completely fucking with us.

"You don't know the guy who did that?" he asked, his hand clenching the side of the counter until his fingers hurt.

"No," Zidane replied. "Even getting his face was a lot of work..."

Lance waited, expecting him to continue on. After a long moment, Zidane spoke again, his voice quietly traveling to Lance and instilling a feeling of darkness.

"Do you know what line of work your dad was in?"

Lance stared for a moment, trying to decipher the question. Then he shook his head. "N-No. I don't really know anything about him."

Zidane took a step back, sitting on the edge of the couch again, studying the floor below with dark eyes.

"It's possible that whoever did this has specific areas they go to. Like sectioning off different animals to slaughter." He looked up at Lance, a concern coming to him. "Sorry; probably not the best analogy."

"So... You're saying it's because of what my dad did for a living?"

Zidane nodded a little bit. "It's honestly just a hunch, but it'd make sense."

"I..." Lance tried to think, tried to remember some detail about his father. But nothing came up. Nothing except for small flashes of solemnness from his mother whenever he asked, and then the conversation they'd had in the hospital. Lance shook his head. "I have no idea what my dad did. I mean, I just recently found out about his hobbies..."

"Do you know his name?" Zidane asked after a small hesitation.

Lance looked up, a little confused as he told the crossbreed. Zidane nodded.

"There's an organization called MOCT," he began, "stands for Medical and Occupational Combat Training. It's a government owned thing, but I've heard his name float around over the years." He paused, seeming like he was thinking hard about something. "I've heard he was a fairly legendary sniper; broke a lot of records just during his first few months of training."

"Wait," Lance said, "hold on, so you're part of this organization, you work for the government? What?" He looked back down to the tail, once more at a loss for words. "Why... How..."

Zidane grinned. "Another long story, I guess."

Before Lance could gather a reply, the crossbreed focused on the floor, growing solemn again.

"The reason I brought that up was because of my point earlier. There's a level of... Skill usually needed to get into MOCT, and there's another level of skill needed in order to move up the ranks."

"So..." Lance put a hand to his hair, trying to fight back a sudden lightheadedness. "You're saying they picked him because he was like 'fit' enough or something?

Zidane nodded. "I'd think so. They might've had someone inside the organization to select potential hosts."

"Hosts..." Lance breathed. "So this thing is like a virus, then?"

"We could classify it that way," Zidane said. "It might be better to think of it as a parasite now, though."

Lance stifled a curse, absolute fear shocking his blood. Zidane noticed his expression and tried to grin.

"I mean, it's really nothing we can't deal with," he said, holding up a hand in defense. "There's a way around this, I'm sure of it, Lance."

"Like what?" Lance asked, feeling himself become frantic. "We-we go through walls because there's some of these not human things after us? Are you-are you gonna tell me that you're actually from fucking Hogwarts or some shit?" He tried to breathe, forcing air into his lungs and shutting his eyes until it hurt. "This... This could kill me. These..."

"Lance..." Zidane extended a hand, bringing his fingertips downward. Instantly, Lance felt the panic subside, sinking down until it didn't exist anymore. "I need you to calm down, alright? Trust me when I say I know what I'm doing with this."

"O-okay." Lance's voice was nothing but a whisper. He stared at the floor and took in a breath, repeating Zidane's words in his head. But they didn't really make sense; how could Lance trust someone he hardly knew?

With the stillness between them, the first silence that had come about in a long while, Lance felt the exhaustion finally creep up. Not just a physical one, either. His emotions were absolutely drained, the weight sinking against his brain and pulling his mind downwards into a state of absolute fatigue. He closed his eyes, focusing on the blackness.

"I need to lie down..." he muttered.

"Okay." Zidane's feet gently came back to the floor, slipping him off of the couch again. "Is there anything I could get you?"

Lance shook his head, tired eyes opening as he walked back towards the hall, feeling Zidane's concerned stare follow him.

"Just some space..." Lance replied.

"Alright." Zidane's voice was even quieter, and as Lance started down the hallway, the lights above came on. Illuminating, chasing away the darkness that had begun to creep in from the outside.

With one hand on the doorknob to a bedroom, Lance turned to look back. Zidane was gone, the bright lights of the main room replacing his presence.

Submitted: November 10, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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