Saturday, February 25, 2006
Since people don't seem to be tired of it yet? XD
Here's chapter three of my novel! And those of you who were slightly confused by the influx of characters: don't worry, there's not as many in this chapter. *grins* Hope you enjoy!
The flames gutted out the buildings around them and curled around the open windows like fingers as Loki and Lily clambered out of Blue Heaven. Lily looked around her, her eyes wide and fascinated. Loki, on the other hand, stared at the building in front of them.
"Well… what d' you know…" Loki mumbled. "I thought it was some kind of euphemism… instead of an actual, y'know… marble house."
The building was hardly a house. It loomed above the two teenagers, four stories high with columns that seemed to guard the thick, vault-like double doors. Majestic gold lettering a few feet above them proclaimed what looked like a fancy Latin saying, but by the flickering light of the fire, Loki couldn't make it out. Every inch of the building seemed to be made of white marble, and while the structures around it burned, the marble house was untouched.
"This must've cost a fortune to build," Loki breathed, eyeing the gold-trimmed stairs at his feet.
"I suppose." Eyes still fixed at the smoky sky, Lily began to climb the stairs.
"Hey hey hey, wait a minute!" Stumbling, Loki followed. "We're going in?"
"You can wait out here, if you like," Lily said. "Someone might steal your van."
"Are you insane? I'm s'pposed to keep an eye on you, remember? And besides, even if they wanted t' steal Blue Heaven, they couldn't." He rapped on the windows with a grin. "I saved up for months so I could fortify her! You couldn't break these windows if y' tried. Go ahead, throw a rock at it or something!"
"…maybe later." With a weak smile, she continued up the stairs. "This'll only take a few minutes."
Nervously, Loki hurried to keep pace with her. "Okay, okay! We'll go in! What is it you want so bad, anyway?"
Reaching the top of the stairs, Lily turned around to look at him blankly. "I was in a hurry, and I left something here. We're just going to go get it."
"Whatever you say, girly." Walking past her, Loki grunted as he pulled at the heavy door. Flushing slightly at Lily's amused look, Loki frowned. "It's just a little stuck, is all. I'll get it!"
"That's not necessary." Pulling a small, plastic card out of her sweater pocket, Lily swiped it through a small slot next to the door, which flashed from red to green. The door popped open with a click.
"…that works too…" Loki threw her a shifty look. "What is this place, anyway?"
Smiling, Lily pulled the door open. "I work here."
"Thank goodness!" Tobias beamed at the unharmed brick building in front of him. "Maybe they decided to leave this one!"
"Or they haven't gotten to it yet," Aidan grumbled as they walked up the steep road to the hospital. "Maybe they didn't feel like climbing this hill."
"Positive, Aidan! Be positive!" Tobias chastised.
"Let's just get this over with." Aidan looked around them furtively as he stepped up to the entrance.
"Aidan?" Tobias laughed. "When one is trying to be sneaky, it's probably not best to walk through the front door-"
"There's no one to hide from," Aidan said with a shrug. "All the patients were evacuated yesterday."
Tobias whistled. "Makes our job easier!"
"That's one way to look at it." Aidan pushed the door open, motioning for Tobias to follow him.
Tobias followed, looking around the darkened lobby with an almost excited air. "I've never seen one of these empty before."
"I don't think they ever are," Aidan replied wryly.
"Except now?" Tobias asked.
"Obviously. Pick up the pace, will you?" Aidan began to walk faster.
"A little paranoid, are we?" Tobias said with a sly grin.
Aidan felt he had good reason to be paranoid. The emergency lights flickered on and off at haphazard intervals, lighting one part of the long hallway and throwing another into shadows. Below them, Aidan heard the hum and felt the vibration of the old generator.
"I think I prefer the rush," Aidan muttered.
The words had barely left his lips before the sound of hurried footsteps reverberated down the hall, retreating away from them.
"…I thought you said no one would be here?" Tobias asked, raising an eyebrow.
"There… there might be a few people waiting out the fire here." Unconsciously, Aidan's voice dropped down to a whisper.
"Makes sense!" Tobias' voice seemed much louder by comparison. "What better place to go, right?"
"Be quiet," Aidan hissed. He pulled Tobias by the arm and strode down the hallway, finally stopping and gesturing to a door labeled 'Supply Closet.' "This is it."
"Do you have a key?" Tobias asked.
"Of course I do!" Yanking the keychain off his belt, Aidan sifted through the handful of keys, finally separating a small, bronze one from the rest. He jammed the key into the lock, and putting his shoulder against the door, shoved it open. "You know what to look for, right?"
"Yes sir!" Tobias purred.
"Then start looking."
"This place is huge," Loki whistled as the two of them moved through the building. "How do you not get lost in a place like this?"
"You learn your way around," Lily murmured, the heels of her boots clicking against the marble floor.
Loki couldn't see how anyone learned their way around a place like this. Each curved white hallway they'd walked down looked the same, twisting off into several other hallways that looked just like the first. There were rows of rooms, all their doors closed, and labeled with numbers in the same gold lettering as the entrance.
As they moved through long rows of marble cubicles, Loki noted that while the hard-backed metal chairs lay against the opposite wall, everything else was untouched. Papers were strewn across the desks, a pen lying on one of them dripped ink onto an unfinished sentence. Coffee cups sat at the corner of a few desks, dark rings spreading around them as the Styrofoam began to weaken. To Loki, it looked like the people working there had disappeared.
"What is it you're looking for?" Loki asked, agitated.
"Shhhh," she whispered. "We're almost there."
They wandered down the hallway in silence for a while, the only sounds coming from their footsteps. Loki was so busy looking around, taking everything in, that he almost ran into Lily when she stopped abruptly.
"What's wrong?" He followed her gaze to the door in front of them, nearly identical to the thousands of other ones they'd passed, only without a number. "'s just another door."
"…you're right." She finally turned around to look at him, smiling. "Just another door."
Pulling the card out again, she swiped it in another slot. This time, Loki felt apprehension twisting in his stomach as the light flashed from red to green, and the door clicked open.
"Hey, hey, Aidan!" Tobias waved around the stethoscope. "Hold still so I can listen to your heart!"
"That's not a toy, Mr. Locke," Aidan snapped as he perused the shelves, grabbing antibiotics that they'd probably need. "Just put it on the cart."
"So cold," Tobias said mournfully, placing it on their cart. "At least let me play with the gauze?"
"We can't waste any, you idiot!" Aidan willed his teeth to unclench, focusing instead on looking for syringes. "Does anyone in your crew have persistent health problems? Diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure?"
Tobias seemed to ponder that as he toyed with the disinfectant. "Anton has this eye-twitch?"
"Understandable." Aidan picked up the insulin, just in case. He'd almost found everything he thought they'd need when he heard a gleeful snicker behind him.
"I've never actually seen these things before!" Tobias laughed as he picked up the paddles of the defibrillator. "These are those 'CLEAR!' things, right?"
"C-Careful with that!" Aidan waved his arms frantically.
"Relax, it's not even plugged in. See?" Tobias slapped the paddles together, and jumped when a small electric shock jolted them apart, dropping them to the floor with a loud clatter. "…it's amazing what people can do with batteries these days!" he said with a nervous laugh.
"Mr. Locke, if you'd stop treating this like a playground and…" Aidan trailed off and stared at Tobias.
"What?" Tobias looked back innocently.
"…put that on the cart," Aidan said.
Tobias' eyes widened. "Have a little faith!" he said, laughing nervously. "My crew has the longevity of… something that lives very long!"
"I'm sure you do," Aidan said impatiently, "but I'm talking about the battery."
"…I like the way you think." Grinning, Tobias placed the defibrillator on the bottom shelf of the cart.
"Right, that should be everything? Let's go."
"Hold on a second," Tobias cut in. "We need painkillers."
"We have some, right there."
"Nah, something stronger." Tobias shrugged. "Can't you get us some morphine?"
"What kind of injuries are you anticipating, here?" Aidan said slowly.
"Well, always best to be prepared!"
"…that locker, right there," Aidan pointed at the gray, metal locker in the corner. "I don't have the keys, though."
"Only the personnel on duty can carry them, keeps people from forming habits."
"How annoying." Tobias frowned. "Know where they are now?"
"Not here, that's for sure, they'd never be left unattended. Someone probably took them when they evacuated."
"Don't tell me the lock's unbreakable."
"Close enough," Aidan said as he eyed the lock.
"You sure? There's gotta be something heavy enough around here… ooooh, the rioters have Molotov cocktails out there, we can use that!"
"Wonderful idea,” Aidan said sarcastically, shaking his head. “There’d be no morphine left to take. You’re a criminal, aren’t you? Pick the lock!”
“Criminal?” Tobias looked highly affronted. “First I’m a mercenary, now a criminal? I have been insulted many times in my life, Aidan Connors, but I have never… pick the lock?” He cocked his head to the side. “…didn’t think of that.”
Aidan buried his face in his hands. “You, Mr. Locke, are an idiot.”
“Probably!” Tobias chirped. “Got a hairpin?”
“Does it look like I’m wearing a hairpin?”
“You never know!” Thumbing through the rack of inventory folders, Tobias found what he was looking for: a paperclip. “Perfect!” he said, straightening it out and jamming it in the lock. “I’ll have this opened-“
An explosion blasted from the direction of the lobby, rattling the shelves and shaking the floor under them.
Loki blinked into the harsh light, stepping blindly into the hallway in front of them. The fluorescent emergency lights seemed to be burning too brightly, reflecting off the white walls and floor and making the entire hallway glow. As his eyes began to adjust, he noticed this passage had only one door, at the end.
“So… is this where they do the government experiments?” he said with a laugh.
Lily turned around to look at him blankly. “What?”
“You know… like in the movies? With aliens and brainwashing and all that?”
“…no?” Lily turned to face the door again.
Loki sighed to himself, deciding that his companion didn’t have a sense of humor. “Fine, fine… where’re we, really?”
“My boss works here.” Lily pushed the door open casually, and Loki peered over her shoulder, expecting to see something out of a science fiction movie, and was disappointed when it was a simple, spartanly furnished office, with nothing but a mahogany desk and a white leather chair, with a few file cabinets against the wall.
Lily paused at the doorway for a long moment, and then rushed in, threw open one of the desk drawers, and pulled out a dark blue notebook, which she clutched to her chest. “Okay, we’re leaving.”
“That’s it?” Loki stared at Lily in disbelief. “We came all the way here for your diary? I thought this was important-“
“It is, and I’ll show you when we’re outside, but we have to go now,” she said quickly, striding towards the door… before a hand reached out from behind the open door and pulled the notebook from her arms.
“Leaving without saying hello?” a voice purred. “You’re rude as always, Miss Connors.”