Fiction Relay – Part 18
And so the baton passes back to me. For those new to the Relay, or are a little foggy on what has happened so far, click here for a Summary or here to visit the homepage. I’m feeling a bit nervous here, I have to follow Hasty’s part 17. Gulp. Here goes…
Meagan’s scream was followed by the sounds of crying, of scared and angry tears. Raj tensed, his breaths shortening as he attempted to resist on her behalf. Her cries slowly flattened, their desperation lessening but still disturbing nonetheless. “Please,” she managed to beg through her distress, “I want to see my Mommy and Daddy.” The reply to her request did not reach Raj but her further appeal was clear to him. “I will be a good girl, I promise. But please don’t give me those blue sweets, they taste funny.”
Raj had heard more than he wished to, knew the taste of the pills his father had insisted he take soon after they moved here. Meagan began to cry once more, and Raj placed his fingers in his ears to block the sounds. But his ears were blocked, some sort of plugs had been inserted into them.
Light sprang suddenly into the room as a door silently opened. A tall man entered, a white-haired and white-bearded man, pacing evenly across the room to switch on a harsh strip light. Raj watched him and realised that he could hear nothing of the man’s movements. But Meagan’s subsiding cries were still finding their way to him. Directly to him, into him.
The man sat a desk across the room, watching Raj, studying him, making occasional notes on a stark white pad with a fountain pen which he dibbed into a small ink pot. Raj closed his eyes, focussed on Meagan again, and then wondered if he could find the others, find Daniel. He searched the other rooms, listened, heard nothing. And then there he was.
“Try harder,” Raj heard a voice say, a voice that Daniel was hearing, “look harder. What is in the box?” Daniel was crying, hopeless. “I don’t know,” he said, “I’m trying sir but I just don’t know.” The frustration, the failure that Daniel felt in himself, the disappointment that he could not please whoever he was with, all transferred themselves to Raj. He felt an anger burn within him as he stared at the far door, the door beyond which the other children were crying and suffering. His anger at their treatment, at his own powerlessness grew and the door began to rattle in its frame. And as his anger increased, the door flew open, its metal handle crushing a dent in the plaster wall. The bearded man watched impassively before crossing the room to Raj. The anger, and the door, stilled.
“You have nothing to worry about,” he said in a calm, southern-accented voice, “Meagan and Daniel will be safe, they are being looked after. You are all special. You have a gift Raj, the same as your father, the same as me. We can help you control your gifts, but you have to let us help you.”
Raj stayed silent, unsure if any reaction he gave might anger the man. “Your father might blame you for your mothers accident,” the man continued, “but I don’t.” He smiled warmly, laid a hand on Raj’s.
Blame? Raj thought, does he blame me? Is that why he spends so much time in the lab now? Is he keeping away from me? Am I really to blame?
A lab-coated man knocked on the door and entered, waiting for attention. The bearded man turned slowly away from Raj. “Yes?” he asked calmly.
“We have a breakthrough in room 4, Colonel,” he reported. The Colonel flicked at his small black tie with a pensive finger. “I see,” he said, “I should pay him a visit.”
The two men left the lab through the far door
Raj closed his eyes, found his way to Daniel, saw the room where he was seated at a table, a red wooden box resting in front of him. The two men entered. Raj felt Daniel’s pride as he caught the Colonel’s eye.
“I can see it now Sir,” Daniel said brightly, “I can really see it.” Daniel’s happy acceptance was more disturbing to Raj than his pain and fear. Even at his young age, he knew that they were not bringers of happiness, they were bringers of change. They were changing Daniel, they were changing him. They were changing them all.
On to CC….