Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Part 16



I was almost out of the window when I wondered where Lee was.  It was dark so given the time of year it was either very late afternoon or early evening.  It might even be night I thought.  I had no way of knowing exactly how much time I had been knocked out.  Long enough for Lee to have what probably amounted to oral surgery.  I then surmised that that was likely what the Sheriff was doing at the clinic, checking on Lee.

I pulled my leg back in and sighed.  More than likely all I was doing was heading straight into more trouble.  But Lee was a buddy ... you didn't let your buddy get chomped; figuratively or literally.

Staff was almost nonexistent on the second floor where I was.  That told me it was probably "after hours."  And they must have thought I was really zonked out since they didn't have a guard on the door or anything.  I freaked for about two seconds wondering if there were any security cameras so I rushed back up into the ceiling like a good little mousey.  I gave a brief smile remembering that "Mouse" is what Moses had called me the first few days after Sherry and I had joined his group, before he'd bothered to learn my real name.

I looked for wires and cameras and found none.  I guess they thought observation windows were sufficient.  There hadn't even been a window in the door of the room where I was held.  Someone really, really didn't know what they were doing.  I knew the sheriff was smart and the military people had to be smart - or at least some of them - and you would think the Committee people would have been somewhat smart.  But apparently they weren't working together which wasn't smart but turned out to be good for me.  I didn't relax but it made them seem less overwhelming and unbeatable.

I set off to do a serious search and my luck was in, I found Lee in a room in the opposite corner from where I had been locked up.  There were about a dozen beds in there but only about four people occupying them and all but Lee looked like they were hard asleep.  I was about to slide down inside the curtains that enclosed his bed when someone came on the ward, looked around like she wasn't trying to look around, and then headed straight for Lee's area and swooped down on him.

I stiffened thinking she was attacking him and was ready to bash her when suddenly I realized he wasn't exactly objecting to getting manhandled.  "Oh Lee.  Oh Lee," the girl was saying in this retarded breathy voice.

Oh brother.

He sounded all garbled from where I was at which told me he was either pretty goofed up with dental pain killers or his mouth was pretty wrecked ... or both.  But seems the girl wasn't having any trouble understanding him.

"Oh Lee."

< Lee>

"No, I don't know where she is at.  You know Mother doesn't tell me anything."

< Lee>

"Lee, I can't believe you'd ask me to do something like that.  Besides, it isn't safe.  Dr. Reed says that she is really, really bad off.  The answers on all of her tests were so terrible ... frankly now that I know how bad she really is I'm scared to death to think about what she could have done to you at any point you were alone with her."

< Lee making a bunch of racket.>

"Don't take it the wrong way.  Of course I feel bad for the poor girl.  Lord only knows what she had been through.  But Dr. Reed, Mother, and Major Jeffries all agree that there is no way that she could have come from the city.  It just ... well ... "

< Lee making a growling sound.>

"How can you think that?!  Mother works herself to death for the health and safety of this community.  Not that there is a lot of appreciation.  I don't know what the problem is.  Everywhere Mother went she was always afforded a great deal more courtesy than she gets here."

< Lee>

"I'm sure your father is misunderstanding the situation.  Dr. Reed suggested that he is looking for a substitute for your sister.  He called it transference of affection."

I almost transferred my booted foot to her backside.  It didn't sound like Lee was too happy either.

"Honestly Lee.  How can you say such things?  And do you know what I've risked to be with you?  It has taken me forever to talk Mother around."

< Lee>

"I'm sure Mother is giving those men a good talking to.  They obviously went beyond their instructions.  Mother has to be so careful; people can get so devoted and get a little silly in their desire to fufill her wishes."

< Lee>

"What do you mean ... cr ... criminal proceedings?" the girl trilled.  Yes I said trilled.  That's the only word that fits that stupid giggly sound that came out of her mouth.  "Lee, we are under martial law.  Your father might think he has a certain amount of authority but the truth is that it all lies someplace far above him."

< Lee>

"Oh please don't be like that.  Things are hard enough as it is.  Everything is just all turned upside down at home.  Mother is so upset about your poor friend.  She said that it could have been me wandering lost and helpless and abused.  It is why she ... well, I know it isn't very objective but it's why she is trying to help her as quickly as she is.  But you know how it was for the others Lee.  They just didn't want to let go of their delusions and they eventually ran off.  And we just don't have the resources to hunt them down.  And frankly, though please don't tell your father, I think she is doing it for you too.  She knows how I feel about you, how ... how close we've become.  She knows that girl is like a little sister to you.  But you can't say anything Lee.  Mother, because of her position, can't be seen as showing any kind of favoritism no matter how much it is deserved."

Gag me.

There was some more PDA type stuff though Lee looked like it hurt more than felt good.

"Oh Lee.  I just can't wait for us to announce our relationship so we can meet each other openly.  All of this sneaking around ... and meeting in dark places ... and ... and doing things we shouldn't ... wellllll ..."

There was a sound from out in the hallway and the girl straightened up and away from Lee like she hadn't just been about to jump his bones.  "I have to go."  And poof she snuck back out as quickly as she'd snuck in.

In through the door came a guy dressed in scrubs but carrying a sidearm so my guess is he wasn't the night nurse.  He looked around half-heartedly and then went back out.  Obviously they hadn't discovered I was gone yet but they might sooner rather than later so after checking to make sure the other patients in the rooms couldn't see me I popped off the ceiling tile and climbed down the junk that attached the bed to the wall.

When I got down I looked at Lee and his eyes were huge.  I nearly laughed.  Instead I kept a straight face and told him, "That had to be the most sickening display I've ever seen you in."

He tried to shake his head but I could tell it hurt so I stopped him.  "Look, I don't have much time and I know your mouth and head are making you feel miserable.  So, just answer me a couple of questions.  Who's the sickly sweet thang that just left?"

"Eeeeshellll."

I thought it over then said, "Michelle?  It wouldn't happen to be Michelle Hanson would it?"

He gave me a briefly surprised and then guarded look.  I nodded.  "Yeah.  I'm putting a few things together.  If I were you I'd be real careful she isn't leading you around by your ... er ... manly bits."  Even in the dark I saw him flush dark red.  "Look, that is none of my business.  I know you only ever let me hang around because your mom and dad kinda pushed you to."  He tried to say something and I shook my head.  "No.  Your mouth is too messed up to go into a long drawn out discussion.  Facts are facts.  But here's something to think over.  Major Jeffries admitted in front of your dad and Dr. Po ... er ... Dr. Riccardo that Command stopped communicating at some point in the past ... maybe a while in the past; I'm not sure of the timeline."

His face told me he was horrified by that bit of info and he tried to say something again but I held my finger up to shush him.  "I told you stop.  For one I can't understand you too well and for number two I have got to get out of here before your precious committee members disappear me like all those other so-called deranged people they've tried to help.  Run off my Aunt Fanny's fanny.  If they did run off it was because they were trying to escape.  Which is what I'm going to do."

Lee made more noise.  "Boy, you sure are hard headed.  I just came to make sure you were ok and to say I'm sorry that you got beat up over me ... again.  And ... and to say goodbye.  I'm heading straight out of here.  Like right now.  And to tell you thanks for being my friend.  Just do me a favor ... watch your back ... and your dad's.  People around here are in for a rude awakening pretty soon.  It may not be this winter but I'm betting not too long after the spring thaw things will start changing.  And that is if like you don't have a civil war before then."

I looked at him and then kissed his forehead.  It wasn't like a real first kiss but it was better than nothing.  He grabbed my arm but it wasn't with a lot of strength which added to the idea that he was kinda drugged up.  I pulled his hand off and patted it.  "Relax.  There's only two possibilities here.  I'm telling the truth that I survived the city for a year.  Everyone agrees that that is next to impossible so therefore I've developed some skills I didn't have before all this mess started.  Or two, I'm lying and I didn't spend a year in the city.  But I still had to have spent that year someplace which still means that I've got skills I didn't have before.  Either way I'm not the little kid I was when you asked me to Homecoming.  And all my family is dead or might as well be.  I'm leaving Lee ... this isn't home anymore."

Then I turned and skinnied back up into the ceiling and left.  I hated lying to Lee.  I really did.  But I wasn't sure if I could completely trust him.  Not because he would mean to hurt me but because he wouldn't want to see me get hurt.  He'd either tell his dad or let it slip to his girlfriend.  The sheriff would try and stop me for my own good and I'm sure the girlfriend would go straight to Mommy Dearest.

I was going to leave, just not as quickly as I wanted Lee to think.

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