Part 1: The Words Unspoken, Part 2: Secrets, Part 3: Embers, Part 4: Titanium, Part 6: Capture, Part 7: In Your Eyes, Part 8: Reflection, Part 9: Running, Part 10: The Cabin, Part 11: Macaroni and Cheese, An Open Door and a Squeaky Floor, Part 13: Interruptions, Part 14: Origin
“Princess?” I heard James shout above me as I woke up from the nightmare, or rather, the memory.
I sat up and looked around, wondering how I got here. I don’t remember falling asleep, but somehow I woke up in my bed.
“What happened?” I asked as I dug the heel of my palm into my forehead and tried to remember why my head was throbbing.
“You’ve been out for three days.” He spoke quietly as he glanced into the corner to avoid meeting my eyes.
“Three days?!” I exclaimed in shock.
He nodded slowly as he sunk into a chair and looked up to face me.
His eyes shimmered as he stared at me. His eyelashes looked wet, as though he’d been crying. I noticed that there were empty bags of trail mix, water and beer bottles around him. He hadn’t left my side much during that time it seemed.
He groaned as he rose from the chair and began walking towards me, his boots dragging on the floor.
“You’re hurt.” I whispered with concern as I saw he had bandages wrapped around his chest. They peaked out of the neck of his shirt in thick white bands.
“It’s just a scratch.” He said as he leaned down on his knees next to me and attempted a strained smile.
I reached out instinctively to touch the bandages but drew back when he flinched.
“So, who won?” I laid back a bit, trying to diffuse the tension as I leaned on the headrest, “Must’ve been some fight to beat you up this badly.”
“You don’t remember anything, do you?” He said as he stared at the ground sadly.
“No…” I said, confused and a little scared that I couldn’t remember something that was clearly important.
He sighed deeply as he stood up. Footsteps echoed in my room as he moved towards me. He stopped and pulled his foot back before bracing himself with his hands on my bed.
“Scoot over.” He said as he gently motioned for me to move.
I obliged, pushing off the covers and pulling my legs up so that I could wrap my arms around my knees.
He sat in front of me, gingerly pulling at the bottom of his shirt and slowly pulling it over his head.
My eyes wandered over the bandaging as I gasped, surprised at how extensive it was.
“Titania,” He addressed me, pausing as his eyes forcing mine to meet them. He never uses my real name, I told myself, this is bad.
“…You did this.”
My eyes widened in shock.
“I think…” His voice trailed off, “I think you need to tell me what is going on.”
The sound startled both of us. I watched as he jumped up and quickly put his shirt back on, wincing as he quickly pulled it over the bandages.
“Hello?” He said, calmly addressing the visitor at the door.
I heard murmuring as he stepped out into the hall to talk. I nervously picked at my finger nails as I tried, unsuccessfully, to listen in on their conversation.
The door knob turned suddenly and I found myself jumping in response.
“Okay,” I heard him say as he dismisses the visitor, “We will be there soon.”
He ducked as he came through the doorway and I asked, “Who was that?”
“One of the supervisors checking on you.” He replied, “They’ve let me take care of you alone for the last few days because of my medic training at…”
“The first compound.” I finished his sentence for him, remembering bits and pieces of the flashback in my dream.
“They want you to be checked out now that you are awake so that you can be cleared to work again soon.” He explained.
“Great.” I said sarcastically.
He grinned, glad to see me being my old self after three days of nothing but sleeping.
“Well,” I said, “Better just get this over with.”
He nodded in agreement as he walked by my side to the door.
“We will be talking about what happened though, later.” He stared at me, his eyes piercing through my dazed emotional state.
I hummed in agreement, not knowing exactly what I would say.
The cold table in the medical room felt like a punishment. I shivered and glanced at the floor as the doctor checked me over, making sure my lungs were functioning well and that I didn’t have any broken bones.
“What’s this?” The doctor asked, poking a sore spot on my shoulder.
“I don’t know.” I replied honestly, wishing I could see it for myself.
“Well,” He stated nonchalantly, “Looks like it’ll be a scar.”
James walked over and came to look for himself. He described it to me.
“It is a mostly healed wound, but looks like it’ll be a white scar line.” He smiled, “It doesn’t look that bad.”
“It’s a little sore.” I said as I peeled off the doctor’s gloved hand as he poked it one more time.
“Looks like you are good to go!” The doctor informed us, and I heaved a big sigh, thankful the poking was over.
The doctor hurried out as I jumped down off the table and landed awkwardly as I put my hands out to steady myself.
“I don’t know why they make those tables so high.” I grumbled to James.
He shrugged with a smug look that could only mean he is holding in a teasing comment.
“Want to take a walk?” He asked me politely as he filled the space next to me.
“Sure.” I sighed out the word, knowing that the conversation was going to be an unpleasant one.
He pushed the door open and I realized that I must have woken up in the middle of the day. The sun was already sinking in the sky as we walked into the brisk evening air.
I kept quiet as we begin to leave the compound behind us, feeling a bit dazed and disoriented from learning the time of day.
We passed the gazebo and I briefly eyed some of the dead roses that had fallen to the ground.
“So,” James started the conversation, “Wanna tell me about your twin with black wings and burning flesh that tried to kill me the other day?”
I gulped as I hear a mix of sarcasm and sadness in his voice.
“What the hell was that, Titania?” He followed up with a crack in his voice as it rose, threatening to betray his stoic composure.
“I…” I stuttered, not knowing where to begin.
We walked in silence as I considered what I would say.
“Tell me what happened.” I spoke in a broken voice, trying to buy myself time before I had to explain myself, “Then I’ll try to answer your questions.”
He told me everything. I watched his expressions and gestures as I laid back and turned to him, soaking in his pain as he recalled my skin, my wings, and my anger.
“You,” His voice was filled with grief as he spoke, “You tried to kill me.”
“I…” I spoke softly.
“And…” He mumbled as he looked away, his jaw clenching as he let the words go, “You said you hated me.”
My eyes widened with recognition of the memories that rushed through my head.
“Then as you fell,” He sniffled as he held his hands out and made gestures of me falling, “You turned normal again.”
I reached out, sorrow filling me up as he jerked away from me.
“I’m sorry.” I said shamefully, “I tried to protect you.”
Sobs threatened to break through, but I pushed them down.
“How long have you been like this?” He asked emotionally.
“Since I was four.” I admitted.
He cursed under his breath as betrayal filled his voice, “You never told me.”
“No,” I said as a tear slipped down my cheek, “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“Oh,” He spoke sharply, “It’s too late for that, Princess.”
He stood up with a sigh and declared, “I need a breather.”
I watched him, torn between wondering if I should plead with him to stay and wishing I could fix myself. He walked off into the sunset, without me.
“Some side effects.” I mumbled to myself as I broke down, hugging my knees as sobs shook my body.
He faded out of sight, the sun following just behind him. I sat alone in the darkness of my mind and the night.
“Titania.” A sickeningly wistful voice called to me and a hand wrapped around my mouth as I began to scream.
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