I lay on my back in the darkness, warm for the first time in what seemed like an age. The left side of my body felt heavy, paralysed. A soft cushion nestled beneath my head and waited for the drip to fall to my face. I couldn’t move my left arm, my body unresponsive, with a panic rising I opened my eyes to the dim light and glared down at the dark hair of the head resting on my chest. My last memory flooded back. The needle stinging at my belly, legs going from underneath as she lunged.
“What the fuck?” I screamed, my voice building with every syllable as my right side reared up. Her head stirred, tilting around, bleary eyes looking back as I scrabbled to the floor. “What the fuck?” I repeated pulling up the blouse, my fingers running over the flat of my stomach, catching on the edge of the small circular plaster just above my belly button. “What the fuck?” I repeated, my eyes on hers as she dropped back to the sofa, fists rubbing at her sockets, a deep yawn pulling her mouth wide. “What have you done?” I said my voice desperate. “You’d better answer, or I’ll,” I said cutting myself off as I scoured the room.
“Wait,” she said, getting to her feet. I backed off, turning to find anything I could use to defend myself, but all I could see out of place was a red flared dress hanging on the back of the door. I lingered on the dress, our conversation pulling at my head. “Before I answer,” she said, holding her hands out as I looked back. “Tell me how you feel.”
“Feel?” I said, snapping back, the rage felt like about to vent as steam from my ears. “I’m fucking livid,” I said, my voice building. She pushed her hands out, her mouth twisting in laughter as she fought for control.
“Take a moment, let yourself wake. Calm down and tell me how your feel,” she sat back down keeping her attention my way, her eyes doughy as she tilted her head to the side with her lips a petite smile. I turned away, knowing I had to fight those eyes and took a step to the window, looked out to the horizon and the perfect blue sky. My eyes caught on the carton of cigarettes and panic pushed into my chest. Snapping my back to Toni, hers eyes were wide and hopeful.
I let the breath slowly catch in my lungs, tentative at first, taking note of all that came. As hard as I searched, the smell was benign, blank, empty, with no earthly taste drawing my attention. I let the breath build through my nose and held. My body gave no reaction, blood didn’t course like a tsunami and my heart didn’t pound out of my chest.
“I feel great,” I said, the words quiet, unsure. “What have you done? I feel like,” I said, struggling for the words. “Like,” I said again not knowing how to get it out.
“Human again?” Toni said and stood as I gave a slow nod.
“You’ve cured me?” I said with tears welling in my eyes, but I didn’t understand as she stepped towards me slowly shaking her head, her hands opening to pull me close. “I don’t understand,” I said, the tears flowing. I had her in my arms, still wanted to tear her clothes off, I wanted to taste her in my mouth, but not to pull away her flesh and didn’t feel the overwhelming need to lap at her open veins.
Her arms tightened around me, pulling closer as she spoke. Wrapping me completely.
“It’s not a cure,” she said, her voice soft, the tears obvious as she sobbed. “But it will suppress the symptoms for a while.”
I tried to pull away, I didn’t get it. Her arms held me in place.
“How do you know? How can you be sure?” There was silence and no reply came. “Please, you have to tell me or my brain will explode.”
Her arms tightened further, clamping on for dear life. Her lunge flashed in my mind as the sound of distant gunshots rang in my ears and an explosion shocked the fabric of the building.
“They’re coming,” she said.
“I don’t care whose coming, just tell me please. How do you know?”
My knees gave way as I heard the answer.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.