Chapter 34: Elena
“I’m going to say this again. You…are both…stupid,” Thomas says, as he exaggeratedly points two knife hands at the Ethan and I.
We both look around, embarrassed.
“We didn’t intend for it to happen, Thomas,” Ethan says making excuses.
Thomas rolls his eyes “Yeah. I suppose you just fell between her legs, right? Look, it’s done. Whatever. I gotta clean up the mess. So what exactly is the problem?”
“Well…I…I’ve been feeling really weird. There was an incident with Dante today,” I explain.
“What happened with Dante?” Thomas prods.
“Well I…I tried to…seduce him,”
Thomas narrows his eyes at me, not making the connection in his head.
“You got me up a wall here,” he says.
“It was like I didn’t have any control over it. And Dante said he felt like he was being hypnotized when he looked at me,”
Thomas places a hand under his chin, thinking.
“Definitely sounds like some crap that goes on with the infection. I still haven’t quite figured out this supernatural stuff linked to it. But it’s possible it carried over to you and…I think I’ve finally figured this thing out,”
“What is it?” Ethan asks.
“This parasite. It connects to your brain stem. It sends signals through your central nervous system in order to incite the, in your case Ethan, aggression. I hadn’t thought of this before…how could I not have thought of this before?”
“Can you get to the point already?” Ethan asks, impatient.
“I think that it also uses your nervous system as an information highway. It taps straight into your neurons to determine the character traits you have that would benefit it most and amplifies it as an offensive and defensive tactic. So in Elena’s case, considering her trained mindset from the Ravens as well as her physical beauty, it amplified her sexuality,”
“Do you really think it’s smart enough to do something like that?” I ask, hardly able to believe what I’m hearing.
“One way to find out. Lay down on the table I need to take a scan,”
I comply with Thomas’s request without question, lying down face first on the table. I turn my head to the side, catching sight of Thomas as he brings out a device that resembles a neck rest and steps over to me.
“Lie flat,” he says, guiding my face back into the open head rest.
I feel the somewhat weighty device wrap around the base of my head and neck.
“Wish you had this thing when I was being tested,” I hear Ethan comment to no reply.
“Alright, stay very still,” Thomas requests once more before I hear the sound of two clicks.
There’s a brief silence.
“That’s…not right,” He says, a troubled tone in his voice.
I lift myself on to my elbows and look at them “What’s wrong?”
“There’s no parasite here,”
“There’s no way that’s possible. I swear to you, there’s something not right,” I implore Thomas.
His face scrunches as he runs through the possibilities in his mind. His expression lights up as he finds an answer.
“I do have one theory. But I don’t think either of you are going to like it,” Thomas expresses.
Ethan and I glance at each other, both wondering the same thing.
Thomas returns to the side of the table “Elena, lie on your back and lift your shirt,”
I do as he asks, my heart beginning to pound as my mind considers what the only reason as to why he’d be checking my stomach. Thomas grabs another device and holds it over my stomach, staring at the small display on it.
He gasps at what he sees “Holy shit…Elena…if I’m calculating right…you’re two weeks pregnant with a one month embryo,”
His words cause my heart to skip a beat. My breath holds up in my lungs. I look at Ethan who’s equally as speechless as myself.
“What…do we do?” I ask, nearly choking the words out.
Thomas takes a seat, shaking his head at the capabilities the infection has as to how it passes from one host to another.
“I…don’t really see many options. My honest scientific opinion…it’d be best to terminate the pregnancy. We just don’t know what the child will develop into under the influence of the infection,”
I’ve experienced abortions in the past. A side effect of the work I used to do. Seduction as a tool of espionage is a sword with two edges. Sometimes we would come away with something extra. My training taught me to have no feelings towards it. Just another part of the job.
However…this time something begins to gnaw at me. A little voice in the back of my head is telling me that keeping it is the right thing to do.
“What if…I want to keep it?” I say in a low voice, looking from Ethan to Thomas.
Ethan looks at me with surprise whilst Thomas’s expression is that of frustration as he gives a sigh denoting as such.
“I really don’t recommend that. There’s too many variables. Even with Lauren’s assistance, I can’t guarantee your safety or the child’s. Especially given the rate at which it’s growing. That’s not even taking into consideration how it’s going to be altered physically. Elena…please…do what I suggest,” Thomas implores me.
I feel Ethan’s hand on my shoulder, prompting me to look at him.
“No matter what you decide…I support you. Don’t worry about taking how I’ll feel into consideration. I’m behind you no matter what,” He assures me, causing my eyes to well with tears.
I think for a moment, my mind solidifying a decision.
“I know this makes things harder for you, Thomas, but…I’m keeping it. My mind is made up,”
Thomas gives me another frustrated sigh.
“Fine. I see giving any more evidence will be useless in this situation so I’ll just resign myself to treating what I can. I’ll need to monitor you constantly. If even so much as a hint of something not normal happens, you need to come see me immediately. Understand?”
I nod my head.
“I’m going to need to cure the child of the infection as well. Preferably sooner rather than later. The bad news is that I haven’t even perfected my method for Ethan yet. So I guess I’ll have to expedite that as well,” Thomas explains as he rubs his forehead.
“Thank you for all of this, Thomas,” I say, showing my gratitude.
“Tell me that after this is over with,” Thomas says as he takes a seat at his desk, beginning to click away at his workstation.
Ethan and I lie in our bed. His back is rested against the wall, my head rests on his shoulder as wraps his arm around me. I move a hand up and down his chest.
“Damien has been keeping an eye on that group of creatures. They should be here very soon,” he says suddenly.
“Do you think we’re ready?” I ask.
“Almost. Just a few more things and we’ll be set,”
“Good. I have full faith everyone will be okay,”
Ethan stays silent. I can almost feel the thoughts moving in his head.
“Elena I…I don’t think you should be a part of this,”
I sit up so that I can look at him.
“I'm barely into the pregnancy, Ethan. There's no need to be protective of me just yet,”
“I’m not trying to protect you from the monsters. I’m trying to protect the others from you,” He says timidly, afraid of how I’ll react.
His words cut into me. My body slumps down in disappointment.
“You don’t trust me…” I say, my voice monotone and quiet.
Ethan sits up and places a hand on my shoulder “That’s not it at all. It’s not you I don’t trust. I know this infection, Elena. And it has a tendency to rear it’s head at the most inopportune times. I’m trying to keep everyone safe. Including you,”
“Who’s going to keep you safe? What if something happens and I’m not there to help you?”
“Hey,” Ethan stops me, placing a hand on my face “I’ll be fine. Nothing is going to stop me from coming back to you. Especially now that I have an extra reason to fight for,” He says, taking his hand from my face and placing it on my stomach.
The type of smile he gives me is unlike any one I’ve seen from him in the past. I’ve seen joy from Ethan but this…it’s as if there’s a light in his eyes that he hasn’t had in some time. It’s something that’s completely pure.
Something tells me that deep inside he may have been hoping that I wanted to keep this child. The fact that he was willing to put the desire to be a father aside in support of me earlier just further solidifies the type of man I know he is.
I smile back at him, taking his face in my hands “I love you,” I say simply as I place a kiss on forehead, then his lips.
While there’s a bright, enduring happiness; beneath I can’t help but feel an uncomfortable sadness and worry. In times like these it seems to come on like a bad after taste. In the end there’s still the looming question.
“Do you think we’re ever going to get out of here?” I ask Ethan.
I notice how taken aback he is by my sudden change in demeanor.
“Of course we will,” he responds, resolute.
“How do you know? There’s no ships. No communication beyond the short range ones, and we’re in the middle of no where,”
I notice a calm come over Ethan that I’ve never seen.
“Damien and I have been in situations along the same lines as this. Times where we were both broken, beaten, and lost. But…there’s always this one moment…it’s like the universe gives you a choice. And you either take the leap of faith it gives you or you stay in the situation you’re in. I guess thus far, we chose correctly. And when I see it this time, I have no intention of letting it slip away,”
I smile “I hope one day I can have the same hope you’re holding on to, Ethan,”
“Elena, you misunderstand. I had no hope before. My life was a series of making choices without regard for consequence. I was either going to make it or I was going to die. What I’m saying is that now I’m looking for that choice. The choice that keeps us all alive. Because now…now I have that hope. And that hope is you,”
I stifle back tears at his words. I kiss him again, letting myself fall into the way he makes me feel.
I realize I’m no longer afraid of my own mind.
All of these thoughts and feelings…they’re what makes life worth living. To no longer feel is to cease to be human. And instead, become the walking dead.
I promise myself now, I will never allow myself to become that way again.
I have Ethan. A new life grows inside of me. To rob either of them of who I truly am beneath the dead flesh of what I was transformed into is a crime I can no longer allow myself to commit.
Ethan and I come together again. This time with more passion…real passion than I have ever expressed before.