Moonrise CH40 – All Flags Fall

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[1234 words – prompts: Inspiration Monday, Terribleminds, #3WW, The Writing Reader, Sunday Scribblings 2]

Betty left the dimly lit corridor and went back through the bland looking door leading to Andy’s secret hospital room. The nurse busied herself with his painkillers and soaked bandages, replacing them with clean ones. He was half drifting to sleep; half-awake asking questions about the fire, about someone named Anne, about Joaquin, but mostly about himself. All questions Betty couldn’t answer. She was given scarce information in the heat of the moment, rushed to the hospital in the dead of night to keep new secrets away from people who desperately wanted to know them. But she was given enough to know something was amiss with the Jensen case, with Major Globe. Massey’s warning had been brief and hurried – she couldn’t trust anyone right now. The world was turning upside down, friends became foes and vice versa.

Betty shivered in her thin jacket; the weight of her service weapon pulled her down. She looked to Andy near motionless in his drug-induced haze. He’d got hurt on account of supers but he was still eager to help. Was it some shared insanity driving everyone to do crazy shit and risk their lives? Or was it a duty of care that they couldn’t turn away from? Did they just crave adrenalin?

“You know it’s funny how the world suddenly depends on a street thug, a sociopathic woman, a crazy old detective and a small time hacker,” Andy croaked from his bed. Betty sat on the edge of his bed. “You’d think that among all these people with powers there would be someone, anyone who would, I don’t know, put a cape on and fight crime and corruption. You know, the cliché. Instead, people are proving that prick right.” He tried to look at her but Betty knew his mind was muddied, thoughts ricocheting madly, pain and helplessness and adrenaline jolting his mind awake when it should be asleep, resting. Andy was committed to his emotion exchange, so she listened.

“Once you let fear in it’s pretty much over. I mean I’ve seen the bad and the ugly on the supers side and I’ve seen them on this side, our side. Am I making sense? The pills are kicking in mighty fast. Officer, can you imagine genocide based on something unsubstantial? So many lies were told but people buy them. It’s so easy once you let fear in. These days I guess it’s only common. But we’ll get an uprising. Do you think we’ll pull it off? Save the city? The world?”

Andy’s voice was hoarse now fading away as he was lulled to an unconscious sleep by the morphine that the nurse was injecting. But he did make sense. He summarized the ludicrousness of the situation. A situation that Betty now invested in the outcome.

She rested her hand on his bare arm. “I don’t know buddy. I guess we’re about to find out.” Right now she could believe just about anything.

Without a uniform she felt like a person overstepping the law wielding guns in desolate hospital wings, protecting people she barely knew prophesizing about a world ending and caped crusaders. True, she had her badge uncomfortably biting into her leg inside her pocket, but she was still incognito. So when her personal cell vibrated on the small table in Andy’s room, Betty jumped nearly pointing her gun at it. She mustered all the control she had to pick it up and leave the room to the sleeping and the injured.

“Felix, what do you want? Do you know what time it is?”

“Massey just got arrested! I’m at the station filling out a shit ton of paperwork and that agent what’s his name-”

“Batiste?” Please don’t be Batiste, Betty thought, her palms sweating.

“That’s right. He just waltzed in with Massey and announced to the entire precinct that the detective has been accused of a fucking homeland security breach! Harboring a terrorist with powers and obstructing a leading case with false evidence, that’s what he said. They’re taking him to the bureau now. Christ, I’m hiding in the fucking toilet. Betty, are you there?”

Betty felt anywhere but in the present moment. She needed time, seconds to catch her thought process skipping wildly ahead of her and Felix breathing heavily on the other side of the line. She leaned against the avocado painted. She felt sick. Her mouth was dry but then it filled with a sickly sour taste and she had to swallow it back down to force out instead a sentence.

“Yeah, yeah I’m here. Did Batiste say anything else?”

“No. It felt personal though like he was showcasing Massey, making sure we knew what will happen if we obstruct the law. We are the goddamned law! What’s happening? Massey got up in his face earlier about the Jensen case. Do you think that has anything to do with this?”

“Maybe. Possibly. Massey… wasn’t sure the FBI was handling the case properly.”

“Like they were hiding something? I won’t believe Massey did any of the things they accused him off. That’s just… oh shit, wait. Someone just came into the restroom.”

Betty’s pulse was jackhammering in her head listening to Felix’s raspy breathing.

“They’re gone. You’re not in trouble are you, Betty? You snuck those files out today and I didn’t ask why… I mean, I know you lied about the reason but–”

She cut him off, the noise in her head muddying the signal she needed to function properly. “I’m fine Felix. I might need to go low for a while. You stay safe. I have to go.”

Betty ended the conversation before his voice could catch to her and shake off her intentions. She was rebelling, planting seeds of anarchy and chaos, proving right the wrong people. But she had to go.

She pushed the door hard startling the nurse whose eyes darted to the pistol Betty didn’t realize was holding with a finger on the trigger. She went to the window and pushed the blinds wide searching the street for any signs of trouble. Her eyes didn’t find any but her gut told her otherwise. It was possible the entire hospital was crawling with FBI. It was possible they were coming this way. The nurse tried to make it to the door sensing some danger that betrayed the promise she’d made to Massey.

“No,” Betty warned her. “You stay with him and do as detective Massey said. If someone comes knocking you tell them terminally ill, you tell them contagious. Fucking say whatever medical lie you want but you don’t let them here. I’ll come back soon.”

Betty pulled the clipboard from Andy’s bed and wrote down Felix’s number. “When Mr. Kitz gets better you call this number and tell him to come here. Tell him Officer Patterson said so. Understand?”

The nurse took the clipboard reluctantly but nodded nonetheless.

Betty pushed her hair out of her face trying not to hyperventilate. She bent over Andy and took his shoulders shaking him. “Andy, wake up.” She shook him hard until his eyes fluttered open, disoriented but present. “Massey’s in trouble the kind I can’t get him out of right now. Whatever deal you two had I need in. Tell me where you told him to go.”

Andy’s thin pale lips curved into an asymmetrical smile. Andy made an effort to force his lips and mind to behave. “Whidbey Island.”

Next: To Forbidden Passengers

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. View all posts by Mark Gardner

2 responses to “Moonrise CH40 – All Flags Fall

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