to heaven I fall…

Somehow I don’t think Samhain would approve of me squandering my time here while Anders was still out at large.

The guards outside the bathroom door were rustling about, and all of them were too preoccupied with making sure that none of the subjects went ballistic from the controlled chaos to notice that I’d been hogging the bathroom for the past fifteen minutes. My nails, already unkempt, uncolored, and jagged at the edges, only grew more so as I scrabbled at the worn screws securing the air vent grate to the wall. If Anders hadn’t died somehow since the last time I’d seen him, he sure wasn’t currently here in this place as Giles had shown himself a lot more in the past few days.

“Ah, Argentina, right where I expected you to be.” The silky voice of that damned servant slithered into my brain, and I whipped around and almost lost my footing as Giles unlocked the bathroom door and strolled in. “Careful now. Anders is trying to make sure that you return to your family unharmed.”

Dammit. Securing my left foot on a footstool and my right on the toilet seat, I unsteadily brought myself back to rise taller than him, almost touching the ceiling with my head. “And what part of that involves giving me big honking blades for wings and then leaving me alone by myself?”

“Shhh…” He started to approach me, and in my attempt to back up, I slipped off of the footstool and struck the shower door in my tumble. A single silver wing popped out as he reached in and scooped me up in his arms while I was trying to stand back up again. No harm was done, however, as the blades simply slid off of his leathery skin. “I imagined there would be more of a fight from someone who attempted the assassination of my master.”

In spite, I half-heartedly writhed a little, then gave up as his grip tightened. We traveled a few hallways over to the surgery suite, where a crew of seven people swathed in white were anticipating our arrival by cleaning off… what was that machine supposed to be, anyways? Some unholy coupling of a plain marble table the size of a bed and a mobile hanging over with a clear surgical mask?

Giles surrendered me to one of the ghostly figures, who tossed me onto the table to avoid the blades as I spasmed again. For a few seconds as all of them simultaneously held me down and secured me to my impending doom, everything in the room was silent- the air vents stopped and everybody held their breath. But breaking the silence, Giles directed to one of the ghosts, “Master Shew wants everything from Halloween of last year to now gone. Keep her knocked out until you can implant the alibis, and then reduce the dosage to minimally conscious so that she doesn’t harm anybody during transport back home.”

“Got it, Giles. Is Miranda doing okay? Any complications?”

“He hasn’t touched the notebook since the erasure and spends a lot of time staring at his hands. Other than that, he responds normally to stimuli.”

The notebook! So it wasn’t hidden well after all… The patchwork monstrosity left the room, turning right to probably go fulfill some other twisted plan, and the ghosts made sure that the Velcro straps were tight enough before lowering the mask onto my face and securing it with more straps. If I hadn’t spent the last month sulking about and throwing a pity party, I probably could have broken through them or at least have undone them, but my fingers merely wiggled as the face of the mask fogged up.

“Set it to switch six,” one of the ghosts intoned to another, leaning over and tapping some of the buttons on the console to my right. Attempting to turn my head in that direction to glimpse what was going on rewarded me with one of the tubes from above my head sneaking into my ear. “And drag this little icon over here. See, her heart rate is increasing. You should have gone more quickly.”

Is there some equivalent of a purple pill here? Is there anything I can save? Scenes from the past few months flashed through my head, from Samhain’s murder to Miranda’s initial reaction to seeing my face to the hot flashes that had grown in my bones due to Anders’ red pill, but as a ghost pricked my arm and started pumping unknown concoctions in, the world faded around Miranda’s reluctance to admit that he had memories that he was never supposed to have…. the memories that started to empty themselves as my chest sunk and didn’t rise again.

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