Ryan Hansen has woken up from his coma, but what he realizes is that he has woken up inside of it! A master mind named Areyel has broken into his mind and shut it down. Now Ryan must fight alongside two friends he met along the way, Yori and Silver, against an enemy hell-bent on preventing him from waking up and revealing the truth.
Darkness, pale light, no feeling. My eyes open and a tall man wearing a white doctor’s coat walked next to the hospital bed, clipboard in hand.
"I see that you have finally awakened young man," He said, looking down at the papers clipped to the top. There was a small pause as he examined it a little closer. As he mumbled a few words I caught a couple things. I was fourteen, which was obvious. I was male, no duh
"Seems that you've had a mighty bad fall? Bad enough that you’ve suffered a second stage concussion" He spoke directly at me. It struck me hard. A concussion. His melancholy voice was sweet, but it didn’t give me any help.
"Really? Are you sure?" My voice seemed... off, maybe even unnatural. He flipped a crisp white page over the top of the board. Nodding his head, he wrote a quick scribble on the other page.
"Yes, but we need to take a couple quick tests, that is, if it's okay with you." His spectacled eyes stared right at me.
"Uh,” I was unsure about how I felt about these so called ‘tests’. “Sure, I guess”
He pulled a syringe out from a cart next to him, a sheathed needle at the tip. Quickly, he poked it into my arm and withdrew blood into the bottle. He set it back down and had his doctor’s assistant take it to wherever.
“Okay, now follow my finger with your eyes.” Moving his finger back and forth, my eyes kept pace, not at all missing its mark. “Uh huh, okay.”
He jotted down something else. “Okay, Mr. Hansen, it looks like you’re fine. I’m going to go downstairs and get you cleared, okay?”
“Yea, but where’s my Dad?” The doctor wasn’t paying very much attention. These days I always asked for my father. My head flashed as memories from my childhood flashed here and there. A wreck, two cars, one body. Body. Crying. My own crying. Blood. Wreck. Mom. She was gone, and I knew it. Died in a wreck.
My heart beat a little faster. I was only three when it happened, but I still remembered some of it. The car flipping on the highway, crashing into a car next to us. But it was so long ago, I don’t get to cry, I already experienced the pain, and I can’t let that get to me again. School was my priority now, high school, a place that the rest of my life can be affected. I asked again though, I still needed my Dad to be here, where I can see his face and hear his voice. He was my only comfort now.
“My Dad, doctor?” I t came off a little rude. The spectacles glinted in the light as he turned back to me.
“Oh, he is probably down in the lobby, I’ll see if I can get him to come up here.”
“Okay, thanks.” He had already turned the corner by the time I had gotten it out of my mouth.
Either side of the cot was walled off by dull white sheets, the front of it left open, facing a TV. The remote rested next to the bed on a foldable table. Picking it up, I fingered the top of the buttons, getting re-accustomed to the feel and pressed the power button.
The high-pitched hiss of the TV made me feel a jolt of reality, as if I had been asleep a long time, and had finally awoken. I flipped to the channels until I was watching an old re-run of Bugs Bunny.
I must have seen a whole episode before there was a silhouette of someone behind the curtain, moving swiftly towards the cot. Expecting the doctor, I was stunned when a man of maybe forty ran to my cot and took a knee.
“Kid, I know that you don’t know who I am, but you need to listen to me. You are still in a coma, you fell from your tree house, and you’ve been unconscious for days. My name is Conscious, by the way, Yori Conscious. You have to get up, and get out. If you need proof, the doctor is going to come back with another syringe, which will be already filled with a clear liquid, and then he will offer it to you as a pain killer. Tell him that you are not in pain, and he will tell you that it is to kill pain for the surgery. When you ask him what surgery that is he will look at you blankly, and then try to stab you with it. That liquid is poison, sulfine cyanide. In real life, that isn’t possible to make, but now? You’re in your brain, and here, everything is possible. Don’t let him so much as scratch you with it, just a drop and you’ll be dead within minutes. I have to go; he’ll be here in about 10 seconds. Goodbye.”
Just like he came, he was gone, silently and quickly. I didn’t immediately believe him, but something in my stomach told me to and to not question it. I counted down, and on cue, the doctor came in, a new syringe in his hand. Like he said, it was filled with a clear liquid, a worrisome problem.
“Okay, well, this here is some pain killer; I will just need your arm for a second.” He eyed me with a look that didn’t seem like it could kill. “and after you can see your Dad.”
“Well, doctor, uh, I’m not in pain.”
“Actually it’s to help with the pain in surgery today.”
“What surgery?” I’ve already started to believe the man, but this was the last thing to just be sure of his word. The doctor gave me a blank stare, a knowing stare. I immediately started to jump (Thankfully I could, even after a weeklong coma), but before I was out of the bed, he attacked, just missing the top of my shoulder. Franticly, I started to run, running from my own brain.
Pushing by all of the nurses and the other doctors, I sprinted away, finding my way to a set of stairs. I more or less grabbed the handrail and jumped down whole flights. On only the second or third, the man who had warned me was leaning back, smoking an old pipe. He looked up, more or less un-excitingly.
“Oh, hey, it’s you again, and don’t you look as alive as ever. How do you feel?” His voice echoed around the stairwell.
“Just fine, thank you.” I leaned down onto my knees, taking in deep breaths and recovering from the excitement
“Yea, your welcome, now, about your predicament, don’t go out those doors, they’re guarded. Instead, let’s make this easier.” He pulled out a small metal object from a backpack I had failed to notice, round and about the size of my palm. On the top, a red LED blinked.
“Uh… What is that?”
“Fun, that’s what it is” He smiled, pulled out a second, and ran to the door. A light, metal-on-metal klink and it was attached to the center of the doorway. Next, he ran to the doors at the top of the stairs and set another.
“C’mere kid,” He grabbed my shoulder and pulled me to the stair landing. “Now, plug your ears.”
He stuffed some sort of wax into his ears, and pulled out a (from context I knew) detonator switch. I pushed my fingers into my ears, and waited. Extending his arm dramatically, he smiled, and pushed the top of the trigger, setting off two huge blasts; which my fingers did little to silence.
“Now we move, before they send more of ‘em.” The man ran back out the doors and rushed into the next level. This looked like it was the ground level, a receptionist desk at the front of it. Two hallways jutted out on either side, windows lining the front of both.
“This way” He beckoned me to follow him into the left hall. My heart was pounding, threatening to burst out of its cage, and into the open. Just when he came out of my view, he turned back, sprinting wildly.
“Never mind! Never Mind!” Right behind him was a group of guards, pistols in hand. It didn’t take much more than that for me to listen. Although they were running fast, I was able to stay up with him and maybe even gain a little. I was proud of my title as the best sprinter in my high school class.
We didn’t get very far before we both spotted more guards at the other end.
“Screw the hallway, let’s fly.” He grunted through clenched teeth.
He shoved both of us out the windows.
“Wait, wh-?” By the time that I had even gotten those words out, he had already tugged us through the windows, leaving us like a writhing fish at the end of fishing line, dangling in the wind. But suddenly, two arms wrapped around my stomach and the brakes were thrown. I looked back up towards the sky and saw Yori hanging on to me, a parachute above him. Glints of a million glass shards surrounded us as they fell to the ground.
“Hang on; it might be a rough landing.” We glided over a well-maintained lawn, hitting the edge of the grass, harder than I had expected. We stumbled along, Yori regaining his composure quickly. Unhooking the chute from his back, we ran into the parking lot. A sports car was waiting in the middle of the lot.
“In here.” Unlocking the doors with a FOB, he climbed into the driver’s side.
“Aren’t you supposed to get into cheap crappy cars so that you don’t attract attention?” It seemed like the car’s shine could be seen for miles around.
“Not if you want to be hiding in plain sight.”
“What? How does that work?”
“Well, they don’t expect criminals to be driving off in a brand new Corvette, do they?” I now understood what he meant. “The ‘don’t attract attention to ‘yourself’ thing is so cliché and over used, it is now what law enforcement expect. This car also has a lot of tinting. By the way, don’t be worried about them tracking the car, I already shut off all of the CCTV security cameras for miles around, so we’ll be safe for a while.”
The car revved up and we slowly pulled out, watching traffic, looking for jams that could mean a police blockade. Every once in a while, we would see a cop and quickly cover our faces. Other than that though, the ride was smooth and easy going.
Travelling between side streets and the occasional alley, we ended up at a small warehouse, still big enough to fit the fifty desks and chairs inside, each one housing a desktop, a person and the occasional coffee mug.
“Welcome to BCTHC. The Brain Control, Transport, and Healing Center. Buck-Thuck for short. This is the organization of people who try to keep your brain from shutting down, as it has now. I myself am the top field agent assigned the most daunting tasks, the most difficult of trials, and the most badass of personalities.” Yori grinned at the last part. “When you fell from that tree house of yours, there was a huge override in our systems. Every one of them was absolutely fried, roasted, zilch, nada. Gone. So now that your brain is shut down, we can’t bring them back up, as they are powered by your thoughts, and you can only think when you are in the outside world. Now, you are on the inside, and you could potentially be here for quite some time.”
We both walked down the center of the desks, all of them barely lighting the dark room.
“Here they are.” A row of tall metal boxes, towered above us. “If you want I can open them up and you can look at how they work.”
There was no point to me looking, I would never be able to remember how it works, and I didn’t care to waste time.
“No, I honestly just want to go to sleep.” I may have sounded a little snooty, but I was just voicing my opinion.
“Alright, I totally understand, if you go to the back, there is a door on the far left, inside is a hallway with rows of doors. Yours is the one in the very back. I think there’s a little mini-fridge that’s got a couple snacks. Feel free to take some.”
“Who was there before?” It was a little worrisome that this could have been a room for a dead man.
“Just another agent, nothing more.”
“Just another agent?” I was a little stunned to see his unconcerned attitude so expressed.
“Yes, just another agent, we are all mostly disposable. It just makes sure that we don’t become connected. I am one of the few who make it out of their second year. Actually I’m the only one to make it more than three, or four… well make that, er, five? Six? Six.” It was kind of weird to see him like this. Not even caring that a fellow agent was dead, as a matter of fact, he was almost joking about it.
“Well, I guess that I’m just gonna go to bed.”
“Good night. Sleep tight; make sure that the homicidal maniacs don’t bite!” He thought that he was clever, and chuckled a little to himself as he closed the door and left the room.
I lay there taking in the day. I was in a coma and I was inside my own head, walking inside my own head. I hadn’t seen my parents for the day, but that wasn’t really that bad, for I had been away from them for weeks at a time.
“Hello boy.” Someone else was here, someone dangerous. The voice told me all of it. The man smoked, for the voice was very gravely, almost raspy. He was a ‘He’ for sure, the voice too deep for a female. And he was a killer, and had killed before. No clue how I knew that, but I did. And I knew that he was here for me now.
A window above the head board provided the light that he stepped into. A dresser was there in the corner, the one that had hidden him from my sight. The fridge’s low hum was the same one that had kept me from hearing his breath. And the glistening knife in his hand was the one that was going to slit my throat.
But bang. A large hole to the side of my bed was been born by fire, and the bullet that had pierced it was the same that had pierced the assassin’s heart. I swiveled my head behind, looking at a rifle hanging at someone’s waist.
“Are you okay in there? The boy I mean.” The voice wasn’t Yori’s but it seemed friendly.
“Yea, uh, I guess I’m cool.” My pale white skin glowed in the moonlight.
“Gimme a sec, I’m just going to come over there.” The picture at the hole shifted as the gun went out of my line of sight, same as the person behind it did. The door creaked open.
“Sorry it took me so long, had to make sure that I was shooting at the bad dude.” A girl of about 16 walked past the door frame. Her build was muscular, yet not bulky, skinny but not lanky, and exuded a feeling of serious danger.
“The name’s Sylvia, most people just call my Silver though. That is if I haven’t killed them yet. Which is by the way… rare.” The way that she said it was very choppy and separated. Almost as if each one was its own thought.
“What’s your name?” Her voice peeped again.
“Cool. That’s nice.” She swung around and left as abruptly as she had entered. There was still the problem that there was a body in my room.
“HANSEN!” Yori rushed in. His eyes were about the same size as dinner plates. “Hansen! Are you okay? I heard a gunshot.”
I looked at him with somewhat pitiful eyes. He didn’t know it yet, but someone just beat him to his job.
“Yea, you should be thankful that you heard gunshots and not the slice of a knife.” Even considering the circumstances, it was hard not to smile. He looked at me and furrowed his eyebrows.
“The girl next door took care of this.” I nodded to the body on the ground. Yori strolled in and took a knee next to it.
“I always knew Silver was good, but to take a shot like this from behind a wall? Damn.” He whistled. “She is a beast. Too bad she’s so young.”
“Gross Yori. We aren’t pedophiles here.” It was a little unnerving to hear him say that.
“I’m not thank you. That is why I said ‘too bad’ Ryan. Learn to open your ears.” He continued to look over the body. “From what I have gathered, you’re lucky you’re not dead. This man appears to be part of the ABAS. The Anti-Brain and Soul. If you take one thing from this, it’s that your body and your mind hate each other, and are constantly warring, trying to rid itself from the other. Sadly, during comas, the body has most of the control. And that is why we must fight, because no matter how much we hate the body, and how much the body hates us, we would cease to function without the other.”
“So why don’t you two just realize that the other is necessary, and that fighting just hurts both of you?”
“Because the body isn’t intelligent, instead it runs off of pure instinct, and to it, the brain is just more competition for nutrients and water.”
“Well, if my brain isn’t working, than why am I here?”
“You have to realize that there are three planes in this universe. First and most prominent is the soul plain, where the soul resides when the brain and body die. Second is the physical plane, where all true material is. Then there is the mental plane. This is where you are. The mental plain is where the soul stays while the body and the brain still exist. You are the soul.” It struck me as if it was a hammer going through my nose. I am my soul as it is. This is what it will feel like when I die? Will the world be this messed up? Better not be. Maybe I’m in Hell? Nah, I don’t feel that bad. Thoughts ran through my head at a million miles an hour. Than the real obvious struck me again.
“Well then, why are we standing here? Let’s get to work.” I hopped off my bed and walked out the door. I could have sworn that there was a smirk on his face as I passed him.
Out in the hall, Silver was leaning on her door texting on a phone. She was furiously tapping away at a glass screen, grumbling about how the service.
“Silver.” Yori halted and stood facing in front of her. She didn’t look up.
“Look at your superior when they talk to you.” It was more joking than anything. She tapped her collar at a small symbol. “Ah, damn, they promoted you didn’t they?”
She beamed at the recognition. “Yep. They did. What do you need?”
“Are you needed on an active operation?”
“Uh? Am I standing here? In front of you?”
“Yessss? And that means what?” He raised an eyebrow.
“If I was needed I would already be gone wouldn’t I?”
“Fine, I need you to help us.” He told her bluntly.
“Yea well, you still haven’t told me specifically what you want.”
“Help me protect Ryan, and reboot the brain.”
“And I thought that you were going to ask me about something difficult.” The grin grew. “Sure though, I’ll help. Although it seems that I already have.”
“Good, well than get your gear and let’s go. Were burnin’ brainlight.”
She swiveled and left through her door. We both continued to walk down the hallway in silence. That was, at least, until I broke it.
“So, where are we going again?” I looked at him, once again feeling that I was being towered over.
“Uh, well were going to a safe house. Obviously they know where you are, and so we need to move you. It’s that simple.”
“Wait, that is not ‘simple’. How did they know I was here, this is your headquarters!”
“Exactly, once you left, they took a not-so-wild guess that we would bring you to our only place of true presence. Our HQ.”
“Uh huh, and so, you didn’t make a single precaution against that?”
“No, any precaution we would make would only a make them come here in more force. You are a very highly valued target Ryan. A target with a reward that could bring poor families enough wealth for them not to work for the rest of their lives. But, that wealth is a fake, because if they do find you and you end up dead, than that is what they become. Your fate is ours, and be sure to remember that.”
“Remember what?” A familiar female voice intruded from the back. Silver was standing with a backpack hanging on her shoulders, a mike on her ear, and various scary-looking weapons on her belt, all of which she probably could wield effectively.
“Nothing that you don’t already know. Now, how did you get all of that on so fast?”
“I’m just that amazing.” She said giddily. “So, what are we up to?”
“We are going to transport the boy to safe house Golf, Alpha nine-nine.” Yori picked his voice up a notch when he gave the name. Silver pulled out a cell phone.
“I’m sorry, didn’t catch that last part, which one?” She spoke directly into the receiver. Than Yori pulled out his and put it to his ear.
“I SAID GOLF ALPHA NINE-NINE!” By now he was screaming. “Okay, I think that’s enough. Let’s move on.”
Simultaneously, they both threw down the phones and grinded them with their heel. I smashed my eyebrows together as if it was going to help me figure out what they were doing. Yori saw my expression and threw his head back and laughed hysterically.
“Ryan! Are you having a little problem with your bowels? ‘Cause that is what it looks like!” His immaturity wasn’t very surprising. Slowly, he let out a sigh and calmed. “We found that our phones were tapped, so we gave them some ‘information’ and destroyed them in case that they were being traced too. Still though, I can’t get over that face of yours!”
“Of course you can’t.” I rolled my eyes and let a restrained laugh out. Just a small one though. Again, Yori laughed hard, appearing to almost burst a gut.
“No, and it may be a while before I do.” His grin now stretched ear to ear. Silver popped up behind him.
“Now what do we do?” The randomness of her personality was evident in her tone.
“To the Yoribile!” I rolled my eyes at Yori’s lame attempt at ‘cool’.
The parking lot seemed larger than it had before. Heat waves rolled off of the black tar, giving the illusion of waves. Yori’s blue sports car appeared to gently rock back and forth.
“Hey? Guys? Do ya’ll see that person out there?” Silver was squinting, trying to decipher a dot that stood next to the car. Yori squinted with her.
“Wait…” he paused, squinting a little harder. “Oh crap! Everyone down!”
He grabbed my shoulders and brang me to the ground with him. Silver rolled to our left as a string of gunfire roared around us. Reaching for his sidearm, Yori stretched his finger to the trigger guard, but before he could take a shot, a second set of rounds deflected on the ground behind us. He countered with a few shots from his pistol and then pulled us up.
“Move, move, move! To the dumpsters!” I looked around for the bins and saw them a couple hundred feet out left of where I was. Sprinting, I was trying hard not to trip on random pieces of junk. I was almost there when bullets picked up sparks as they hit the metal sides of the containers. Diving behind them, I could hear the exchanging gunfire coming from the right.
Slowly, I caught my breath, huffing and sighing relief that I had made it without dying. I laid my shoulder against the warm, blue metal. My knee pressed against the pocketed ground, leaving marks in the flesh. Humid air made my shirt cling to my skin. My lungs repeatedly sucked in all the air they could and then exhaled it all out. My hand reached down to help disperse the weight of my exhausted body, yet, it wasn’t pavement it felt. My head instantly tilted down, looking down at- a rifle. How it got there, I don’t know, but I didn’t care.
I picked it up by the stock and felt its weight in my hand. My dad took me out to the range quite often, using his Winchester 30-aut-8 and his Remington .306 over-under. I had always loved the Winchester (so much that I had named it Bill), and there was a time when we took it out to a long-distance range. I had shot it out to 600 yards, and well… missed ten out of ten shots, but still, I learned the basic functions of the scope and how to estimate distances.
I pulled the bolt back and opened the chamber. A loaded round popped out of the ejection system. Not being sure to trust it to have more rounds, I loaded the same one that had come out. With a firm push, I forced the bolt forwards, completing the loading sequence.
The gun itself resembled the Winchester that I had shot with my dad, yet I knew that most bolt action rifles looked the same to the untrained eye. Attached to the top rail, was a scope of high-quality, ruby coated on the front. I checked the knobs for distance and windage. Both were set at zero, ready for my adjustments.
I peeked from the side of the dumpster, estimating the distance from me to my target. He or she (or it), was still firing at Silver and Yori, distracted from what should have been its priority target. Looking closely, he (or she or it) was about half a football field away, fifty yards. Slowly, I sneaked my head back behind the dumpster. With my thumbnail, I twisted the distance knob to 150 (the knob was made for feet), and sneaked forwards again. I lowered myself onto my stomach to get stabilized.
Resting the gun on my hand, I peered down the scope. The car was still waving back and forth in the heat, the killer hiding behind it, firing sporadic bursts. Back and forth, the figure moved, making it difficult to tell where it really was. Looking at how the waves moved, I guessed that it was at the lowest point. I set the crosshairs at right above the car, at the chest of the target.
I started increasing the pressure on the trigger as I was taught to, keeping the gun steady on the bull’s-eye. Slowly, ever so slowly, until…. The gun roared and kicked into my shoulder. The scope went wild, changing the view sporadically. I quickly found my bearings and looked at above the car. The target had fallen. I had won.
The rifle dropped out of my hands, clattering as it hit the ground. Its bolt flew back, the chamber exposing the brass of a second round. The spot of where the rifle had kicked was sore, I must’ve not shot it right. I rubbed it and stood up. Yori and Silver both appeared from behind a tree nestled in the parking lot median. Silver’s belt had lost a couple of her ‘tools’, no doubt from being thrown, shot, and or stabbed at the guy who was lying on the lot’s bottom, dead.
“Beat you to it.” I looked at her and smiled, relieved. She rolled her eyes, flipped her hair and walked out towards the car. From a ways away, she yelled out:
“That’s because I let you, silly boy.” This was about when Yori reached me.
“After you two stop bickering, let’s go and find someplace to settle a bit.” It sounded like a plan to me.
“Yea, okay.” My feet picked up their pace and jogged out to the car, Yori on my tail.
His car had survived the firefight with minor scratches and a single bullet hole, both of which were just appreciated battle scars to Yori. He turned the key and the car rumbled a happy roar. It had been given life and was about to be given more. Its ceramic coated muffler purred, and within a second screamed as gas swept into the engine.
Blue hub-capped wheels turned, pulling the car with it. The sun’s rays glinted off the pale-blue hood, changing placement as we turned into the alley, escaping from the grasp of the city.