Word Count: 574
White noise filled Rayn’s head. His eyes fluttered open, taking in the unfamiliar sights that greeted him. The college’s common room swam into focus, the low buzz of voices around him and the smell of too many unwashed bodies filled the air.
“Hey buddy,” a southern accent said. Rayn blinked and looked around at the woman that had spoken. She was short, with black hair and crooked teeth, but her smile was warm enough. “How’re y’all feelin’?” The fat around her face wobbled as she talked.
“They said you might be askin’ about that. He’s safe, sweetie, don’t you be worryin’ about him.”
“I want him,” he half sat up, changing his mind as the walls bent over backwards, bouncing around like they were mounted on springs.
“Is he your boyfriend?” she lowered her voice carefully as if she had just uttered a dirty word.
Rayn stared at her for a moment like she had just said something in an alien language, before laughing. “Funny. No, he’s not. Now where is he?”
“Oh,” she almost smiled in relief, “tha’s good to hear. Now that boy is up in that lab they got here. Said there’s somethin’ special about him. Imagine if we got the cure to this plight from a gay man,” she laughed, “God would be mighty angry about that one, don’t cha think?”
“God would give less of a fuck about whether it came from a gay man than I do. Where’s the lab?” Rayn snapped. His temper was one that could usually be relied on in just about any given situation. But then this wasn’t any old situation. The religious woman sat back, shocked by his words. “Well… we don’t really know. Just that it’s somewhere in this here college. Don’t you go looking for him, they’ll only drag you back down here.”
Rayn was already on his feet, ignoring how the room felt like it was swinging from a pendulum. He staggered off. His swaying attracted a fair amount of attention – eyes turned to him, distracted from whatever they were looking at before, but he didn’t care. He didn’t care about anything more than he cared about making sure Cancer didn’t get hurt. He’d been the one that let Cancer go off on the vaccine trials – he was the one responsible for what Cancer had seen and gone through there, all for the sake of a few bucks.
“Where d’you think you’re going?” a soldier at the door asked when Rayn tried to get past them.
“I have to find Cancer, let me through,” Rayn insisted.
“Sorry, kid. No can do.”
Rayn squinted up at him, irritated. “Where’re you from, England?” the soldier nodded, “is it scary being away from home in a place full of fucking dead things trying to eat you every day? Huh? Do you just want to go home and be with your family?” The soldier shifted uncomfortably.
“Where are you going with this, kid?”
“Stop calling me kid,” he bristled, “I want to find Cancer, because he’s the only fucking family I have, and I’m not gonna let you kill him by keeping him locked up in a fucking stupid lab somewhere when I’m not there so fucking let me go!” Rayn ended his little speech shouting and hammering his fists down on the soldier’s armored chest. The soldier just sighed and mentally tried to prepare himself for a long night.