Chapter 11 - Elias
Elias woke to another day that didn’t chance much.
He got a decent way into hacking into the facilities systems, but he was taking it slow. Elias didn’t want to get caught.
He was hoping to see Enya today, but she was gone from her room when the guard came to get him, and it wasn’t her in the testing room he was brought to.
Doctor Tanaka and Dr. Li were present in the room; however, the glass wall was closed and there was no one inside.
“Are we waiting for someone?” Elias asked.
“Only you Mr. Stewart. Everyone else is already here.”
Elias looked confused as he again looked around the enclosed space. He watched in amazement as a boy around his own age appeared in the glass enclosed room.
He was about the same height but a little thinner than Elias, with short, spikey hair. The boy didn’t look happy about being there.
Elias looked back at the doctors. “Where did he come from?”
“New York, I believe,” Dr. Li said.
Elias sighed. Scientists were too literal. “As in, he wasn’t there a second ago. He just appeared.”
“He was there the whole time. That is his ability – light refraction,” Dr. Tanaka said.
“Like as, invisibility?” Elias asked, awed.
“Not quite accurate,” the doctor explained. “It’s more of a camouflage effect. He can bend light around himself as well as other objects.”
The doctor pointed back to the enclosed room.
Elias looked back and as if on cue, Cael appeared in the room.
The wall opened enough to allow Cael to leave, and the doctor said, “Please,” pointing Elias into the room.
Elias hesitated. “It’s okay. No harm will come to Mr. Dench. Your powers should only negate his, which means he won’t be able to bend light.”
Elias didn’t have much choice but felt better than no one would be getting hurt. Especially not Enya.
He walked past the wall, which slid closed after him. The boy eyed him suspiciously.
“You a prisoner too?” he asked.
“Yep,” Elias replied.
“Edward. Or Ed,” the boy said, holding out his hand.
Elias took it, and they shook. He figured the doctors could hear everything, but he asked, “If you can become invisible, how come you don’t escape?”
Edward pointed down to his ankle. “Combination ankle monitor and taser. Even if they can’t see me, they can track me, then zap me. It’s hard to stay hidden with that much juice going through you. What about you?”
“I guess I cancel powers,” Elias said with a shrug.
“Alright,” Dr. Tanaka said through an intercom. “IF you, Mr. Stewart would take Mr. Dench’s hand, and then you can proceed Mr. Dench.”
Edward looked at Elias and held out his hand. “This is so gay,” he said.
Elias rolled his eyes but took ahold of his hand.
“Ready?” Ed asked, and Elias nodded.
They just stood there.
“When you’re ready,” the doctor said.
Ed’s eyes widened. “You can see us?” he asked.
The doctors nodded. Doctor Li pushed a button and part of the wall turned reflective and the boys saw themselves.
Ed let go of Elias’ hand and disappeared.
Elias felt the other boy touch his hand and he reappeared.
“Well, I’ll be…” the boy said. Ed let go of Elias’ hand again and tried to make his disappear, but Elias remained visible.
Ed reappeared and said, “Well, I guess you do actually cancel out abilities.”
“Thank you, Mr. Dench, you may go now,” Dr. Tanaka said. “Mr. Stewart, please stay behind. We have a second test setup for you today.”
The wall opened and Edward started out. “I wish you luck,” he said to Elias.
“I wish us all luck,” Elias said back.
The door to the room slid open and Edward left. Not long after, a gurney was pushed in with a boy about Elias’ age strapped down on it.
Elias saw the boy’s eyes were closed and he wasn’t moving. He looked at the doctors and Dr. Li held his hand up, indicating that the boy have patience.
The outside door was still open, and Cael hadn’t left after bringing in the boy on the gurney.
Several minutes later, Elias watched a small, timid looking young girl walk in. She was most of a foot shorter than he was, with medium length hair the color of wheat.
Elias guessed that she was about nine, and obviously scared.
Doctor Tanaka pointed towards Elias and the boy on the gurney, and the girl moved wordlessly towards them.
Cael followed behind her, causing her to scurry forward, away from him. She was headed towards Elias, until she looked up, like she was seeing him for the first time, and froze.
Elias didn’t want to scare her anymore than she already was, so he squatted down, making himself smaller, and said, “I’m Elias. I’m being held here too. I won’t hurt you.”
She looked at him, uncertain.
“What’s your name?”
“H-Halley Brogan,” she said.
“And Halley Brogan, what special thing can you do?” he asked.
“H-heal p-people,” she forced out.
“That’s a really good thing to be able to do, Halley. Came over here, I don’t think they mean to hurt you,” he said, holding out his hand.
She slowly came forward and took his hand.
He could tell she was scared. Elias could feel her trembling as he held her hand.
He looked over at the doctors and said, “What now?”
Doctor Tanaka gestured and Elias turned to see Cael holding a scalpel. He moved to the boy and drew the instrument up the boy’s arm. A line of red followed the blade and Cael stopped after six inches.
The blood was flowing freely, and Elias said, “What the hell!” as he pulled Halley to his body, turning her head from the sight of the blood.
“Mr. Stewart, the girl can simply use her gift to heal the boy… providing you let her,” Dr. Tanaka said, nonplussed.
Still holding on to the shaking girl, Elias asked her, “How do you heal people?”
Her face was buried in his chest, but she replied to him. “B-by t-touching someone.”
“The wound, or anywhere?”
“An-anywhere,” she replied.
“Okay, we’re going to move. Just follow my lead and don’t look.”
She didn’t reply but nodded her head into him.
They weren’t far away, so he shuffled them a few feet to within arms’ reach of the boy on the gurney. “Give me your hand,” he said, putting his hand on her hip.
She unwound an arm from him and put her hand on his. He took her hand, feeling her clamminess, and put it on the boy’s hand, well away from the blood.
“There. You should be able to do what you do now that you’re touching him.”
She tried for a few seconds and then said, “Something’s wrong. I… I can’t feel the wound.”
Elias sighed. “Listen to me for a second. I think I’m the cause. Your ability is to heal. Mine seems to be to stop other people’s powers. Let go of me for a second.”
He pulled her other arm off of him, then put his hands on her cheeks. He bent down and said, “Look at me.”
She opened her eyes and looked into his. He smiled at her, and even through her fright she smiled back a little.
“Good. Now, I have to let go of you in order for you to do your thing, but I want you to look at me while you do it. Okay?”
She nodded slightly and he let go of her. Her eyes widened as her ability came back to her. Halley closed her eyes for a few seconds, then opened them again. She looked puzzled.
“What?” he asked her.
“The cut is closed, but something else it wrong with him and I can’t fix it,” she told him.
Elias turned his head to look at the doctors, who merely nodded. Doctor Li said, “Two tests completed. One last one and you’ll both be free to go.”
Elias stood and pulled Halley away from the boy on the gurney. Halley clung to his hand.
Cael moved around them, and the two kids watched him. He made a show of discarding the used scalpel and pulling out another one.
To Elias he looked menacing, but to Halley he looked downright evil and she dove against Elias, clinging to him tightly, terrified.
Cael sighed. “I’m not going to hurt her,” he said. “Let me see your arm, Elias.”
Knowing it was useless to resist, he held out his left arm, putting his other around Halley, holding on to the back of her head. He rubbed her head and said, “Shh, it will be okay.”
Cael took his arm, turning it over to the top, and flicked his finger over it.
Elias didn’t want to watch, but he couldn’t look away. He saw blood well from the cut, but surprisingly it didn’t hurt. Blood beaded up and began to run over the side of his arm when the pain finally registered.
He winced, gritting his teeth, swallowing the string of curses he wanted to let go of, but didn’t want to upset Halley anymore than she already was.
“Ms. Brogan,” Cael said, “Elias has a small cut, would you please heal him?”
Startled, Halley looked over at Elias’ outstretched arm. Their scrubs were short sleeve and one of her arms uncurled from around him, grabbing his bicep.
She focused and then frowned and said, “I can’t. Elias, I can’t!”
Halley began to cry and although it hurt, he kept calm keeping his cut arm out, and stroked her head with the other.
“Shh, calm down, it’ll be okay. It’s only a little cut, not like the other boy. It’s more like a bad scratch.”
Cael, meanwhile, had taken Elias’ outstretched arm and had done something, causing it to not only hurt more, but to also burn. He then placed a gauze pad over the wound and rolled more gauze around his arm before taping it.
Once that was done, the wall opened, and Cael and Dr. Li left the room. Doctor Tanaka said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes. When I return, you will both leave.”
Elias wanted to tell him to stuff it, but said nothing, and as soon as the doctor left, he said, “Okay, let’s get you cleaned up.
Even with her clinging to him, he bent over enough to put his uninjured arm her bottom and lifted her up.
Halley wrapped her legs around him like a toddler.
He wasn’t super strong, by any means, but she was small and light enough for him to manage to get to the restroom with. He went in and sat he on the sink.
She had calmed some, so he was able to extricate himself from her and he grabbed a handful of toilet paper and wet it. It would be softer than a paper towel.
Elias cleaned her face, using it to not only wipe away the tears, but to cool her face as well. She held her hands together between her legs as he did it.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t heal you,” she said, chin still trembling some.
“Hey,” he said putting a finger under her chin, “Don’t be sorry. You have your power and I have mine. Mine makes yours not work, so that means you can’t heal me. It’s not your fault. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s theirs.
“You gotta be strong and don’t be afraid. Do what they want you to do so you don’t get hurt. Hopefully one of us will figure out a way to get out of here, and then we will all get out of here.
“Until then, you take care of yourself and do the best to take care of anyone else who is being held, okay?”
“Okay,” Halley said with a small voice.
“That doesn’t sound like the brave girl I know you are.”
“Okay,” she said with more force.
“Good girl,” Elias said, hugging her, then lifting her up off the sink and setting her down on the floor, standing. “Come on, let’s show these people we are stronger than they are,” he said taking her hand and walking back out to the main room.
“Will I see you again?”
“I don’t know. Would you like to?” he asked.
She nodded solemnly.
“I can’t promise anything, but I’ll ask. Maybe some of us can get together to…I dunno, just hang out. I don’t see what it would hurt,” Elias said more to himself than to Halley.
Doctor Tanaka came back into the room just then. “It’s time for you to return to your room young lady,” he said to Halley.
She turned and gave Elias another hug before hurrying to the door and leaving.
The doctor looked at Elias and said, “So you know, the young fellow on the gurney doesn’t feel any pain – or anything for that matter. He’s in a state of suspended animation of sorts. We’re still trying to figure it out. This is why we used him.
“As for you,” the doctor shrugged. “We just had to be sure. The injury was small, and we will give you the opportunity to heal, as well as whatever is necessary for your recovery.”
“Yeah, next time a little warning first would be nice.”
The doctor inclined his head as if agreeing.
Elias was going to ask the doctor about his idea, but decided he wasn’t the right person to ask. “Are we done?” he asked.
“Yes, you can go,” the doctor said.
Elias walked back to his room with his escort and waited for Peg to bring his lunch. Lately they didn’t talk too much but they talked enough that he figured he could ask her.
Before she left, he said, “I have a request.”
“Oh? What is it?” she asked.
“I’d like to be able to get together with some of the other kids to just maybe hangout.”
“Huh? We’re kids. I don’t think any of us are used to isolation. We see a few adults who boss us around – same with the doctors. Some of the kids are scared. Some are angry. We need some sort of output. Games, movies, snacks, whatever. Just interactions with others our own age.
“We all know we’re in the same boat, there’s no reason to make it worse. Kids might even be more cooperative if they aren’t scared silly.”
Peg looked at Elias, looking for some hidden agenda. “You’re kept apart for a reason. Several actually. If we were to put you together, you can plan and plot. You could hurt each other. You could hurt others.”
Elias was losing his patience and said, “What exactly is a boy with no other ability but to cancel out others’ abilities, a boy who turns invisible who you track and zap and a ten-year-old who is terrified of everyone, but can heal people going to do? Even Enya, who can’t do anything unless something is done to her first. And those are only the ones I know of.
“Only you know how many other victims you have that could benefit from a little human contact with someone who might care about them.”
“I care,” Peg said quietly. “And she’s nine.”
“Halley. She’s only nine.”
“Fine, she’s nine. My mistake. And you care. Great. But you missed my point. You’re an adult. And you’re one of the enemy, so I’m sorry, but you don’t count.”
Peg stood looking at Elias for a long minute before speaking. To Elias, she looked hurt. “I see. And I agree it might be wise to let you kids interact more. But if it is approved, there will be rules and if they are broken, there will be consequences.
“Like you, I don’t want to see my kids hurt. Speaking of which, how is your arm?”
“It’s sore, but I’ll get over it. I think it traumatized Halley more than anything. You can give me pain pills, but I’m not sure there’s a pill that will help her,” Elias told her.
“I’ll talk to her. Can I tell her you’re okay?”
“Like I said, it hurts, but I’m okay. So, sure.”
“Okay. I’ll see what I can do to maybe put together a small group so you guys can do something. Some age-appropriate activities. I’ll let you know when I hear something. Is that acceptable?” Peg asked.
“All we can do it ask, so sure. But I think it will improve moral and maybe calm some of the kids down, so I hope someone approves it. Thank you.”
With a nod, Peg left the room.