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The Cellar City Chronicles

By Oru Manna All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Scifi

Chapter 13: Finally Found

Lenora gently closed and locked the door behind her after David hesitantly left the space.

Before he had left, he had given Lenora a long, hard look and said, “Call us if you need anything. Promise?”

Lenora had smiled and given him a brief hug, and promised that she would. He had given the stranger on her living room futon a measuring glance before he disappeared down the hall.

Now she was alone with him. The man who had saved her life.

And he was bleeding.

Starting out of her reverie, Lenora went to work immediately. She procured the first-aid kit from under her bed and tried to remove the coat and shirt.

She was not particularly strong, so after the first minute, Lenora had pulled the hair out of her eyes with an elastic band, and furrowed her brow at the predicament. She tried rolling him onto his side, but the futon was still in couch-mode, so movement was limited. With him on top of it, Lenora managed to awkwardly release the catch, and the back of the futon slid with a grinding moan into a bed.

The stranger’s hands clenched and released, jaw tensing and un-tensing. His eyes were moving frantically behind his eyelids.

That done, Lenora had a much easier time of peeling off the coat and shirt. By the time she was finished, the man looked decidedly uncomfortable; on his stomach, face squished to the side, arms up over his head and dangling off of the futon, and booted feet crossed at the ankle. She had rolled him on top of his coat to try and sop up some of the blood.

Now she could see the damage very clearly.

Lenora quickly prepped some hot water and a washcloth, and rummaged through the unused first aid kit for the necessary supplies. Now-a-days, first aid kits were a lot more versatile because EC’s were harder to come by. When she had taken her training, Crustack seemed to be paranoid that an ex-client of theirs would try something nasty and that at least one person should have the necessary training to patch them up.

Lenora hadn’t minded, it was all paid for by the company, and she thought it was worth knowing.

Now it was paying off.

She began the process by coating the futon in towels and sheets she hadn’t used in a while, then rolling him back in place, face down. (Which, in hindsight was moot since he’d already bled all over the place. Ah well.)

Struggling past her nausea at the sight of so much blood, Lenora used a gloved finger to prod at the wound. It seemed to have been a straight shot through some of the flesh on his side. From how he was breathing, she didn’t think it had hit anything vital – but now she had to patch up two holes.

Very gingerly, she wiped away the blood and used the first aid kit’s needle and waxed anti-septic thread to patch up the holes. Having never sewn anyone shut before, she tried to think of it as patching a doll or reattaching a button. They weren’t very effective analogies, of course, but her stitches were even if anything, and seemingly well-spaced.

Once both sides were done, Lenora climbed right onto the futon to perform this triage. She fished out the gauze and bandages, and the Anti-septic Healing Stimulant Cream. After generously applying the cream, she took at least ten minutes to tape the gauze down and then attempt to wrap the man’s middle with gauze to keep it in place.

He was heavier than she thought.

At the end of all that, Lenora took a step back and admired her work. As an afterthought, she struggled for another few minutes to roll him over and position him in a more comfortable fashion. Another afterthought was to remove the boots. The last detail was a blanket that she draped over him.

That was when it hit her and she had to make a mad dash for the bathroom to release the surge of bile and vomit.

A shower happened next, and when she felt she could walk into the next room to clean up, she shut off the warm water and pulled on her Pajamas.

Lenora padded silently to the kitchen to collect a garbage bag, and started to toss the used items she had lying around – her green shirt was ruined now, and she may as well toss the pants too. The man’s shirt was a mess, having been patched with electrical tape and duct tape several times before this particular injury, so that went too. She thought about throwing out the coat, and hesitated. Instead, she tossed it in a pile with some of the few towels she thought she might be able to save.

When her clean up was complete, she sat on the futon next to the unconscious man.

X-XIII.

Ten Thirteen? Was that some sort of gang symbol? Maybe a mob? No, that didn’t make sense; he killed dozens of both of those types just in passing. Maybe it was something personal.

“What is your name?” Lenora murmured, watching his face.

He looked so young – not at all the hardened criminal the darker part of her mind had made him out to be. He had the delicate creases of smile lines, but his brow was scarred with the ghostly remnants of frowns and worry. If she had to give him an age, she would have said maybe a year or two older than her – maybe 29? At the oldest?

Her eyes trailed down his face and to his bare chest, eyes stopping at a set of scars that marred the smooth pale expanse of his chest.

There was one on each pectoral muscle, each one about the size of her fist with strange waves ripped out of them, like a starburst or a sun. The skin at the center was smooth, almost like burned, slagged skin; but the tendrils that reached out were like gouges in his flesh – in some spots Lenora would have been able to bet bone had been visible at their crafting.

Other than those curious markings and the swath of bandage Lenora had provided, she saw nothing more. She could feel a smile spread on her face at the idea.

“You must be very careful not to get hurt all the time.” She murmured softly to him. “Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any skin left. Silly.”

Lenora’s heart warmed at the boyish face – surprisingly handsome – that was turned towards her. She knew that underneath those closed lashes were the eyes she had committed to memory all those months ago, the ones who had saved her from that place, and that horrible man…

Her heart skipped a beat, and Lenora rose from the futon in a jerky motion.

You’re crazy. You are out of your mind.

Lenora went to the kitchenette and poured herself a glass of water, shaking hands lifting the glass to her chin, where it paused. She found herself looking at him again. She was watching the gentle rise and fall of his chest, and her mind was raging within her skull.

How many people has he killed? Have they all been bad men? What will he do once he wakes up?

Lenora took a careful sip. She had seen the look in his eyes, seen him laughing as the bouncers fell to his knife. He had split a man open right in front of her eyes, and hadn’t flinched. This man was a killer, a brutal vicious creature…

A killer that killed bad men.

Lenora tried to justify her feelings. She knew this was the man who had saved her, knew him to be the one who had taken her away from the Pussycat club. Faintly in the back of her mind, she pulled out memories she would have rather forgotten.

She had been tied down at the time, and no matter how she turned her head she could still see him above her. She remembered the glinting of metal and the sharp pain that –

Lenora shook her head, taking another swallow of the cool water. She struggled against those memories and searched for the others – the ones after the pain had started.

What she found there was a blur, a smear of blood in her mind. There had been shouting and screaming, but she couldn’t remember if that was her. But something else she remembered about that night, images clearing up in her mind like fog clearing from a windshield.

Another light, blue light glinting off of metal and flying across her vision. Lenora dismissed that as the pain talking and dug deeper. What had happened?

Her hands trembled around the glass of water, and she squeezed her eyes shut.

Another presence had come in. She remembered black and red and silver, but that was all, the rest had happened too fast. Mere instants in her memory were clarified by a man’s hysterical screaming, and a vulgar stream of curse words and berating.

It hadn’t been directed at her.

She remembered wet sounds, crunching like celery sticks and splattering, something hot splashing her skin and running down her bare side. A vibrant brand in her memory, for some reason clarifying the next flashes of blood as a man in a black coat sunk a dagger into that man again, and again, and again.

She had watched it happen through half-lidded, fogging eyes.

Lenora felt the glass slip from her fingers and shatter across the floor as she recognized a blood splattered face stare down at her, a residual grin of malice hanging on the corners. His eyes had been alight with lightning and the knife dangled in his hand like the arm of a teddy bear. He had cocked his head at her in curiosity, eyes flicking over her body in distaste.

Lenora sank to her knees in sobs of remembrance as the man’s only words to her came drifting out of the mists of her backlogged nightmares. They were hummed, softly sung to her like a lullaby…madness clinging to them like unnatural growths.

One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn’t belong…”

Then Lenora’s world had gone dark with pain, and as she faded away, she felt her body pulled together and wrapped in warmth and light.

It was him. She had found him. He was a monster, a cruel, violent beast.

She had found him at last.

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