Fox opened his eyes to harsh light. He flinched and closed them. He heard a voice but didn’t recognize it.
“Sorry about that, sweetie. Let’s dim those lights for you.”
She dimmed the lights, and when he opened his eyes again he saw a doctor coming in, chart clutched in one hand.
She smiled at Fox. “Good to see you awake, Mr. Kane. I’m Dr. Katrina Alaverez.”
“How long-?” Fox rasped, wincing at the pain from his throat.
“Two weeks. Your wounds were pretty serious. We were mostly worried about the gunshot wound, but we fixed it up. You’ll be good as new in no time. Luckily for you the bullet went straight through and missed everything vital. The reason we were worried about it was because of the blood loss. The other wounds, however, really worry me. Be honest with me Fox, were you abused?” she asked.
“Yes. My last foster father, Mike, was pretty abusive,” Fox said hesitantly.
“I see. I don’t know if you remember, but you and your foster family were attacked. You were the only survivor, I’m afraid, although since you were being abused I can’t say I’m sorry to see an abuser six feet under,” Katrina said.
Fox didn’t say anything as he remembered everything. He was the one that killed that asshole. He was finally free of that man. He mustered up some fake tears and let them fall.
“My foster sister. She took good care of me. She didn’t survive?” Fox asked, playing dumb.
The doctor looked at Fox sadly. “I’m so sorry love, but no. Her injuries were not only severe but she was already gone by the time EMTs arrived at the house. She’s at peace now, though.” She gently pat his blanket-clad leg.
Fox nodded, his tears real this time. He wiped his face and looked at the doctor once more.
“What’ll happen to me now?” he asked, knowing what’ll happen.
“A social worker is here about that, but they’re not to see you yet. I want you to rest, you just woke up and I’d hate for you to relapse,” Katrina said.
Fox nodded and let the doctor and nurse look him over and check his wounds. He drifted off to sleep after feeling a warm tingling sensation. He didn’t dream this time around, and that was probably due to Cyanide. He was thankful either way, sometimes all you need is blissful darkness.
Two days later, the doctor let the social worker talk to him.
“Hello, Mr. Kane. I’m Keith Manning and I need to talk to you about your future,” the man said.
“I know why you’re here,” Fox said as a matter-of-factly and a little smug.
“Well, then. Let’s begin. I know there’s a will-″ Keith started before Fox interrupted.
“The will my mother left I know of it and I have the original. It states that all her assets and the estate are mine. I’ve turned eighteen; it would be pointless to put me with another family. In fact, you can’t,” Fox said with a smirk. He had turned eighteen while in his coma. “I checked my mothers’ accounts and found she has quite the fortune. I’m set for life. So, here’s my future. Once I get out of this hospital, I’ll go back to my last foster home and pack up what’s left, then I’ll move into my Mom’s house.”
The social worker stared at Fox as if he admitted something horrible and finally said something.
“Y-you’re eighteen?” he asked.
Fox simply nodded, the smirk still upon his face.
“W-well I need proof! Otherwise, you’re a minor!” Keith exclaimed.
Fox sighed and showed the caseworker his bracelet. Hospital bracelets always have your date of birth on them. Fox one, caseworker zero.
“I-I-” Keith stammered.
“Dude, give it up. I’m eighteen and there’s nothing you can do. I’m going to be graduating high school here in a few weeks and I have a small fortune to keep me going for years, so no worries on money,” Fox said with a yawn.
Keith was about to say something when his doctor came in and dismissed the social worker saying his time was up and her patient needed rest.
“We’ll be in touch, Mr. Kane,” Keith swore.
Fox rolled his eyes and waved at the man.
Katrina came back in to check him over. He sat still long enough for her to do the exam and then started joking.
“Give it to me straight doc, am I ever going to play the piano again?” Fox asked.
“Good to see a sense of humor. Usually, my patients are whining for more drugs. As far as the piano you strike me more of a drum man,” Katrina snorted.
“Ha! I have to admit drum guys don’t get a lot of love. It’s mostly the singer and guitar guys,” Fox said with a chuckle.
“That’s because they sell their souls to the devil. The drum guys are at least honest and the bands wouldn’t be anything without them.”
There was an air of silence for a brief moment.
“How’d it go?” Katrina asked.
Fox scoffed, “As you’d expect. No disrespect or anything, Doc, but all I want to do is get out of here and move into my mom’s house.”
“No disrespect or anything was taken. You’re not my first foster kid. Sadly, I’ve taken care of many other foster kids way before you were even a thought,” she said.
“Were they all abused, too?” Fox asked.
“As much as it pains me to say, a good chunk of them were. The others were in good homes though,” Katrina said softly.
He nodded sadly, “Yeah, good homes these days are becoming harder to find. It’s easy to hide abuse if you know how.”
“Tis very sad, indeed. One day abusers of all kinds will reap what they sow,” Katrina said with hope.
“I wish,” Fox said softly looking down at his blanket-clad legs.
“They will. All right, get some rest and I’ll be back later,” Katrina said.
“Okay. When will I be discharged?”
“Let’s see what tomorrow brings, yeah?” Katrina asked with a chuckle.
Fox nodded and laid back against the pillows as the good doctor left. He had hoped to be out of there by tonight so as to avoid the social worker again, but looked like he would be staying the rest of that day. He laid back and watched TV well into the night.
He dozed off at some point and woke up early. He was determined that today he was being released, even if he had to check out AMA.
Katrina walked in with a stack of papers and a small white bag with something folded neatly in her arms.
“I come bearing gifts,” she said with a smile.
“Oh?” Fox asked.
“Since you’re doing so well and healing nicely from your wounds, I decided if you go easy for a bit and get help moving into your mother’s home, then you can leave. I brought some clothes for you to wear, well scrubs really, but it’s better than going in your underwear. I also have the antibiotics that you need to continue to take. While you were in a coma, you had a fever due to an infection which is going away, thankfully. The painkillers you should take for at least the first week but the antibiotic I want you to finish no matter how good you feel, hear me?” Katrina asked, giving Fox a pointed look.
Fox excitedly said. “Doc, you’re awesome! Where do I sign?”
Katrina chuckled. “Calm down. Just sign on these two pages,” she pointed to the papers. “Then you can go shower, just be careful and you can dress in these scrubs. We had to cut off your clothes, but your shoes are still intact and in the cabinet there.” She pointed to the cabinet in the corner of the room.
Fox nodded and signed the papers. While he signed, the doctor checked his vitals and wounds one more time and then took his IV out. He handed her the papers when he was finished. Being careful, Fox showered and dressed in the scrubs the doctor brought him. He put his shoes on and pocketed the medicines and then thanked the doctor for everything.
“It’s my job after all. Just get going before that social worker comes back,” Katrina said.
“He can’t do anything anyway. I’m eighteen now,” Fox said with a smug smile.
“No, he can’t. Legally anyway. He will try the lawyer card and find some way around it to get his way,” Katrina said. “Now go. Just be sure to take care of that wound.”
Fox nodded and thanked her again. He headed down the corridor to the elevator. When he reached the main lobby, he carefully made his way to the door while trying to blend in.
Fox spotted his social worker talking on his cell phone in the corner of the room. He panicked for a second and hid in the bathroom back down the hallway. He sighed when he saw there was no one else inside but him. He hid in the handicap stall and brought his knuckle up to his mouth and nibbled on it.
“Fuck me, he’s here already. What should I do?” Fox muttered.
"I have an idea. I can make you into a shadow; all you have to do is stick to the shadows out there. No one will see us,” Cyanide rumbled.
“Better than nothing I suppose,” Fox said with a shrug.
Cyanide growled lowly in agreement and Fox nodded then concentrated. He watched as the ink flowed inside of him and turned him completely black. Then he stepped out of the stall and blended into the shadows.
He made his way out of the hospital without being seen and continued to blend into the shadows as he made his way back to his last foster home.