Word Count: 860
When I closed my eyes I was back in that hospital, or in the lab, with unwelcome needles in my arms and shit I don’t want pumping through me. Thick loony bin style restraints held me down as they cut a lump of my flesh free to be taken away to be tested on and abused some more. I cried out through the mouth gag they’d used to stop me biting my tongue.
“Can’t afford to spare any anaesthetic for you,” the nurse laughed letting my blood soak into the bright white bed sheets beneath me. “Things are tight these days. I’m sure you understand, right, Luca?”
“Don’t call me that,” I gasped, fighting the pain and drowsiness as she injected something new into my IV drip. “What’re you doing? You’re gonna fucking kill me,” I slurred, pleading with her to stop.
“Isn’t that the idea, sweetie? You hardly deserve a peaceful death now, do you?”
“No, please,” I begged, “what did I do to deserve any of this?”
“Oh, Luca, where could I start? How about that time, do you remember it, when you cut the brake line on the car and sent your parents to their deaths?” she tilted her head a little, curious to see my reaction.
“They were the ones that deserved it,” I shouted, straining against the cuffs pulling me tighter, down into the bed.
“Or when you bullied other kids in school just to pass the time. Or the drugs. The violence you’ve caused. Injuries you’ve inflicted on others just because you were in a bad mood. The number of other lives you’ve taken without a second thought about it? Stealing. Treating everyone around you like shit-”
“I don’t treat everyone like shit,” I protested. I didn’t treat Rayn like shit. I’d never treat him like shit.
“Yes, Rayn seems to be the exception to the rule, usually.”
“Usually?” I wanted to punch her. I would’ve done, if the cuffs weren’t so tight. I struggled angrily, but there was no point in even trying.
“Yes, usually. You’ve abandoned him before. After you murdered your parents, you ran away, fled the state, remember?” I stopped trying to get free for a moment, staring at her in shock.
“I didn’t abandon him, that wasn’t my fault,” I screamed, trying to justify what had happened to her. She just tutted and pushed another syringe into my IV drip. As it edged into my body, she melted out of sight, becoming a part of the white walls around me.
I could feel it, whatever it was, creeping up my arm. It felt itchy, burning its way into my chest and out the other side, spreading down my waist. There was nothing I could do but watch in horror as my skin started to turn grey and start to fall away, taking lumps of the flesh underneath with it. There was no stopping it, and the way my head was propped up on a stack of pillows, I had no choice but to watch my body fall apart in front of my own eyes. My nerves were overloaded, shooting my brain through with pain as they died away.
I tried so hard to get free – like it would make a difference. I wasn’t ready to die – I didn’t deserve to die. Not like this.
I jerked awake, feeling my lungs stretch as I gasped in a deep breath. My hand went straight to my side where the nurse had taken a chunk out of me, probing and expecting to find a big gaping hole. It took me a moment to realize it was just a stupid fucking dream.
“With us again?” Rayn asked, watching me sit up in the mirror. He looked tired.
“You should’ve woken me up, I would’ve driven for a bit,” I mumbled, rubbing my eyes irritably.
“It’s fine, we’re in Atlanta now anyway. We got here like, ten minutes ago.” I looked out of the window. The place looked fucking deserted. At least back in Albuquerque there were people there trying to fight for something. Here… it was completely empty. Abandoned cars, bikes, push chairs… you name it, it was in there somewhere.
“This place is a shit hole,” I grumbled, “this was a really shit idea. I said it was a shit idea. There’s nothing here.” Joe didn’t look too impressed with that, but he – wisely – chose not to say anything.
“Let’s just see what is here first, okay?” Rayn said, not wanting to give up on it so easily after having come so far.
“No, let’s just go to the fucking mountains, like I said we should in the first place,” I growled. He shot me a glare in the mirror, silently telling me to just shut up and go back to being quiet. I scowled back at him. I wasn’t used to him arguing with me. I couldn’t remember a time we’d ever really fallen out. Not wanting to make this time a first for anything, I swallowed my argument and what little pride I had left with it.
“Where d’you reckon the CDC is, then?” Joe asked.