Fifth Avenue - The Replacements

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Chapter Twenty Three

Hartley got a sense of de ja vu when she regained consciousness, for a split second she even saw Trix dabbing her forehead, but when she blinked she noticed it was Doc.

“Morning” he says with a weak smile, the crow’s feet at his right eye creasing as he does. She tries to get up but an odd pain pulses throughout her entire body “don’t move” he whispers “the blow from the explosion threw you into the wall, you smashed your left leg, fractured your right arm in six places, three discs in your back dislodged and your skull is cracked it’ll take a day or two to fix it” he pauses “Hartley you know that Flutter, Flicker and Shooter” Hartley gives Doc a sad look and he immediately shuts his mouth. “Okay lie back down and close your eyes” he says and she complies.

Doc lightly places his hands on her head and he closes his eyes, a white light emits from his hands and Hartley groans in pain.

To his word, Hartley was healed within two days “feeling better?” Doc asks as he cleans off his hands on a towel.

Hartley held a cup of tea in her hands “much” she answers shortly her eyes dark around the room until she saw Bullet and Shooter both looking as they did after death, neither of them said a thing but instead remained staring at her with dead eyes.

“Are you sure?” he asks stepping into her view, she looks up to him with fear in her eyes.

“I-I’m going crazy” she whispers, Doc moves to her eyesight “I see them” Hartley spoke in a scared tone.

Doc grabs Hartley’s shoulder “Hartley, what’s wrong?” he asks looking around the room.

Hartley looks around the room sadly “I see them, I see everyone” she sobs.

“Everyone?” he asks.

“B-bullet” she stutters “Shooter, Gretchen” as she says their names they appear in the room “Justin, Kit” she gulps “Flicker and Flutter” she looks around the room, tears rolling down her face.

“Hartley…” Doc wipes the tears from her face “what do they look like to you?”

She sniffles “covered in blood, torn clothes, Bullet has a lump in her neck, Justin and Kit’s chests are covered in blood, Gretchen looks ill, Flicker, Flutter and Shooter…” she pauses “as you’d expect them to look”

“Listen Hartley” he says moving her face to his “you know they aren’t, real right?” he asks and she nods.

Hartley looks down “I know” she went to start telling him about the man with the red eyes but Doc spoke first.

“We can deal with this later” he says “Hartley I know you’re just back on your feet but we need to deal with this matter as soon as possible” Doc hands her a note “you took my brother and my team, it’s time for payback, send your favourite girl, alone. Meet me where my brother sleeps at sunset” Doc reads for her.

She sighs “he wanted to meet me at the cemetery at…” Hartley trails off as she tries to find a clock in the old basement kitchen.

“Half an hour” he tells her.

“30 minutes” she repeats “let’s go” Hartley gets up and hurriedly walks to the exit “hurry up!” she yells at Doc.

They arrived 10 minutes later and stood in the cemetery carpark, “Hartley I just need you to remember” Doc says squeezing her forearm “He isn’t Justin anymore and he will never be Justin again, Justin died two years ago,” Hartley closes her watering eyes and lets out a shaky breath.

She allows a fake smile to take over her face “I got this, I really do” she nods pushing his arm away and turning towards the graveyard entryway “he’s in there then?” she asks nervously and Doc nods,

Hartley nods to herself and starts walking but Doc stops her quickly “I almost forgot” he says sheepishly handing her an odd looking rectangular object with a huge red button on the top “press that and I will be in there with you at the drop of a hat okay” he tells her and she nods slowly.

Once again Hartley turns and starts to walk to the entrance, her hair turned grey and the ground around her started to crumble away to nothing.

Standing at Kit’s grave was Justin with a hood covering his head “it’s funny” he sighs “even dead my brother can’t help but be the favourite, I mean he got to be buried with my mother and, where am I? dead in a ditch somewhere, now most likely wasted away to nothing!” he turns to face Hartley showing a bloody and beaten face. “I mean he even got his name on the gravestone, where is my name?” Justin turns to the stone and kicks it so hard it split in half.

Hartley slowly moved closer to him “you’ve come to kill me then” he asks looking up to her, even from this distance Hartley could see that Justin had one brown eye which she knew belonged to the twins and one blue eye, which belonged to Justin “I-I don’t think I can let that happen” he says pulling a bloodied knife from his hoodie pocket.

“I don’t mean to hurt you” she says “but I won’t- I just can’t leave you like this Jus-Kit” she groans “Tech, as much as I’d love to I know if I left you, you would jut kill more innocent people, you have killed enough”

Justin lets out a sad chuckle “you can try” he whispers “but you know you can’t kill me” Justin steps forward crushing a bouquet of frozen flowers beneath his feet “you can’t kill us”

Closing her eyes Hartley lets slip a few stray tears but quickly wipes them away, remembering what Doc had mentioned earlier, her eyes flicker red and her hair turns the same colour.

“Maybe I can’t” she says standing tall “but you can” Justin laughs and teleports to in front of Hartley, running his finger down her cheek.

“Was that supposed to scare me?” he asks before looking around “now don’t tell me the old man sent you here on your own?” he says looking into Hartley’s eyes “your boss really is a pathetic good for nothing coward” Justin wraps his hand around Hartley’s neck “call him in, I know he’s around here somewhere” he orders angrily but Hartley doesn’t “I said call him in!” he screamed loudly.

She chokes out an okay and pulls the device from her pocket pressing the red button repeatedly, until he finally emerged from the entrance “good” Justin says “I wouldn’t want him to miss this” he laughs.

“Give up Tech, your team has deserted you, you’re all alone now” Doc says making Justin grit his teeth in anger.

“Shut up!” he screams “You ruined everything, you took everything from me and now” he laughs madly “now I will take the only thing you have left”

Doc’s eyes widen and he runs forward to stop Justin but before he could Justin stabbed a knife into Hartley’s stomach and dropped her to the ground.

Her eyes widen and her hands fly to the knife which was poking out of her “Hartley” Doc whispers sadly, he runs up to her to try and heal her.

“Wait” she whispers standing up and raising her blood covered hands to Justin’s face looking into his eyes, she looked as if he had unfallen tears “it’s okay” she assures before closing her eyes tightly in pain.

Breathing Hartley focuses and soon she feels the energy pushing from her and into him “Just remember” she pleads.

Justin’s hand was entwined with Hartley’s as they sat on the roof staring at the great waters, the image flickers to their kiss and the warm feeling which flooded through her body.

Soon the image changed again, to one of Kit giggling with Hartley as they were surrounded by three computers “how can you not do this?” he laughs, his voice fading away into the distance.

Hartley begins to cough as blood begins to pour from her mouth but she continues to push further.

“Stop it!” Hartley laughs pushing Justin’s hand away “come on I need to concentrate” she says looking over to him. Justin had his head resting on his hand and he was looking at Hartley with a smile.

“Hey” he smiles and she rolls her eyes pushing him slightly.

“Weirdo” she laughs.

The image fades and shows Kit and Tech jumping up and down on their bed giggling loudly until Kit fell off, beginning to cry.

Tech was quick to jump down “Shhh Chrissy, it’s okay” he says rubbing his brothers back “here Chrissy have this, it makes every boo boo go away” Tech places a band-aid over his brother’s knee where it was scraped “All better now?” he asks and Kit look to his brother sniffling.

“I love you Youie” Kit smiles hugging his twin.

Justin sobs and pushes Hartley back before stumbling back, blood from her hands smudging down his face “what are you doing?” he yells his voice sounding echoed “get out of my head!” he pleads pulling at his short hair “Stop it!” Justin falls to the ground.

Doc runs to Hartley who was pale, sweating and lying on the ground as she drifted in and out on consciousness, he puts a hand over her wound but she pushes it away “What’s” she breathes “What’s happening to him?” she asks and Doc looks up.

Justin’s eyes change continuously from brown to blue, his body flickering like a telephone with a bad signal “No” he says scaredly. The power line cables fall from above and shock his body “Stop!” he screams before his body goes limp.

“What’s happening?” she cries but Doc doesn’t reply.

The small body of Tech sits up from Justin’s body appearing like a static television picture, he screams in anguish gripping his head “No stay away, I’m stronger” he cries before standing.

“I-I” he stutters “I’m in control” Doc smiles sadly.

“It’s Kit” he whispers into Hartley’s ear, weakly she pulls herself up.

“Kit” she smiles sadly and he smiles.

“You were right Hartley” Kit says “I can stop us” he gulps looking up to the sky “Thank you, for everything” Hartley holds her hand out for him but he gives her a light smile “I hope you find your brother Hartley”

“My brother?” she asks confused “No, no Kit I don’t have a…” she trails off.

Kit looks from Hartley to Doc “I thought you would’ve told her?” he asks before screaming loudly and dropping to his knees, he looks to them once again and gives a small smile before exploding into little pixels which vanish in the night.

“He’s gone” she sobs quietly but stops as she hears the light sound of wheezing “Justin” she whispers and is met with another quiet wheeze, weakly she pushes Doc away and crawls to Justin’s side “Justin?” she asks again, wiping the drying blood from is cheeks “Please just open your eyes for me, give me something, anything” she hisses gripping her stomach and pulling the blade from it allowing the blood to pour out.

She rests her head on his chest “Blue? Why are you crying?” a dry voice croaks and she looks up to see Justin looking at her “hey” he smiles and she laughs as tears pour from her eyes.

“You’re alive!” she cries wrapping her arms lightly around him “You’re alive” she repeats as she pulls away.

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