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When a man claims he has been balancing on the thin line between life and death, any random woman can tell you that said man has gone down with the flu 😉 I’ve been sick for a while now and slowly recovering, so my apologies for not having posted Chapter 11.
It has been the most appropriate moment though, since Chapter 10 kind of ends the arc of introducing Vincent, Jenny and Talitha. From Chapter 11 onwards, one may consider this ‘Part II: Aftermath’, where they try to deal with the events from the warehouse.
So, hoping you’ll enjoy the rest of the story as well!
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Chapter 11.1 – 12 December – Waking up
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He had read multiple times about people who’d claimed they felt like they were overrun by a truck. He always thought they were exaggerating. That is, until now.
The first thing he felt was that he was sore all over. He could hardly move his fingers, let alone his arms or legs. Wiggling a toe was just managable, he realized. Opening his eyes wasn’t, though. His eyelids seemed to be stuck with a superglue or something. And when he tried to open them, futile as it were, he also realized he had a splitting headache. One which didn’t leave after he stopped trying to get his eyes open – and he groaned.
Well, at least my voice still works, he thought bitterly.
“At least you’re alive”, somebody else replied.
He didn’t see anyone and he had such a headache that he didn’t recognize the voice. He would’ve asked who the other was – but that seemed too much effort.
“Alive. Wonderful. If it hurts this bad to be alive, I don’t look much forward to be in hell.”
Laughter. He had expected his head to burst due to the booming laugh, but the pain didn’t intensify. There was merely laughter.
“As long as you can joke around like that, I don’t have much fear for you to die on me. But I’ll leave you alone for the time being and leave your recovery up to your visitors.”
“Visitors? You’re not?”
“Not me”, the voice said.”I’m merely checking on you to see if you need an actual visit.” A pause. A hesitation. Then the voice continued.”I suppose you haven’t realized that I’m merely having a conversation with you in your head. I’ll talk to you later when you’ve had time to wrap your head around the fact that you’re in a hospital bed.”
Hospital bed? This time he struggled to see – cringed of pain – but managed to get his eyes unstuck.
“He’s awake!” someone yelled – and thisdid intensify his headache. He groaned and deduced that closing his eyes was preferable to the lights at the ceiling – too bright for his taste at the moment.
“I’m awake, don’t yell at me,” he planned to say, only to realize that there wasn’t coming out more than a gurgling, groaning sound. He swallowed – and realized his throat hurt as much as the rest of his body.
Someone put a hand behind his head and pulled him up, just enough for him to feel a cool glass hitting his lips. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was until he felt the glass – and he made movements to drink. Movements which were so awkward and haphazard that he didn’t manage anything at all except gasping for air and trying to not drown in a glass of water.
“Relax. I’ll help you drink,” a female voice told him. He relaxed and the woman helped him drink.
He felt the water hitting his tongue and the inside of his mouth, then he swallowed. It hurt, but the coolness of the water helped stop the burning he had felt ever since he swallowed the first time. His tongue was thick and lumpy, as if he hadn’t have full control over it. His mouth felt hot and sore – and his throat was barren and rough. The liquid wafting across it made it hurt less and seemed to sooth it, but it didn’t cure it.
He opened his eyes and squinted towards the ceiling. Someone had dimmed the lights for him without him asking and he was grateful for it. He looked around with his eyes when the woman put down his head and took away the glass. His vision hadn’t returned completely yet; things were still blurry and he couldn’t fix his gaze on anyone specific.
He blinked a few times, each time it was getting easier to open his eyes after shutting them, and after a few seconds he could actually distinguish people in the room with him. The woman giving him water was Nicole – who else would be nurturing him when he was on the brink of dying but his tough-yet-sweet sister? On the other side of the bed was Jenny – his girlfriend since only a short while, but his best friend longer than he can remember. She was fidgeting, unsure what to do, the complete opposite of the girl who had always dragged him by the hand towards whatever she thought interesting or amusing.
There was another girl in the room. He noticed her before he could see her. A feeling, a guess – he didn’t know exactly istanbul escort – but he felt her sitting in a chair just outside his view. He opened his mouth to speak, but his throat hadn’t recovered enough to speak yet.
Great. I can’t even ask her to come into vision. How can I even make clear what I want, what I need?
He closed his eyes for a bit, frustrated. But when he opened them, he saw a familiar face getting into his view.
“Don’t worry”, she said.”We can communicate like this despite your incapability to speak.”
She hadn’t opened her mouth to say that. And that wasn’t because his vision was still too foggy.
At first he was gaping, stunned to hear her without seeing her lips move. Then it hit him – and with that everything came rushing back at him, everything he had experienced in the past few weeks and why he was here in the hospital.
He gasped, coughed, writhed and immediately he had two pairs of hands trying to hold him down before he would do something he shouldn’t be doing – like getting up – and it took not even twenty seconds before he eased and lay down gasping for air. Nicole was already bringing the glass to his lips again and this time he was drinking with a little more dignity than the first time.
“Talitha!” he exclaimed wordlessly.”You’re Talitha!”
She nodded.”Glad to see you recognize me. Everything’s come back by now?”
He tried to nod, but only managed to dip his nose into the water from the glass. Nicole took the glass away before he drowned himself unwillingly. He sputtered and gasped for air and felt the muffy air fill his beaten lungs – and coughed – which caused even more pain in about every part of his body he had. His chest felt as if someone had broken it apart and puzzled it back together imperfectly.
“Relax, Vin”, Talitha said.”You’re battered and bruised and I have no idea how bad it is. That’s the bad news. But you live. And they claim you will recover fully with mere rest. I guess that’s the good news.”
“Jenny?” he asked anxiously.
“Alive and kicking as you can see. I made sure she doesn’t remember being kidnapped. All for the better, since it probably wasn’t a nice experience. It’s been a rough job though; I might need to straighten some wrinkels at some point.”
He blinked. And he realized that although that was a solution for now, it wouldn’t be permanently. Traumas tended to flare up and wreck your life if you didn’t deal with them. But he supposed they’d get to that later, after everything was evened out and things were calmer.
“Our … attacker?” he asked.”Will he be back?”
She physically looked away for a few moments before she returned to face him. He immediately knew she was holding back something even before she replied.”He won’t be back.”
“Dead?” he asked.
She bit her lip before she answered, but he felt her emotions before that. The man was dead. At least he wouldn’t attack them anymore. He wasn’t happy about it, but he sighed from relief – and felt the pain from his body. He grimased – and realized that that hurt too.
“Fucking hell, is there any place Ihaven’t bruised?”
“Apparently your crotch is still in perfect condition.”
He looked at her in amazement until she smiled – and then he smiled back, a smile with real amusement. And even that hurt.
He realized that both Jenny as Nicole had been talking, or looking at him, but he hadn’t heard them at all.
“My doing, sorry”, Talitha apologized.”Once I realized you could hear me, I drowned them out for you so you wouldn’t have too much ‘noise’ around you. Would you like me to undo that?”
He hesitated, realized that he would still not be able to talk to them if she did, and came up with a different solution.
“Bring them in. I can’t speak right now, but at least they will be able to hear me. First time for me to be doing a conference call this way.” He cracked a sour smile.
“You mean they …?”
“Yeah. They know. Someway or another. They probably don’t know about yours though, so unless you’d like to keep it secret…?”
“No. Most of the reason why you’re here is because of me. So if you have come clean with them, I’d better do so as well. No more secrets”, she said sincerely.
“We still have some, just not this one”, he replied.”Bring them in. I sure don’t feel like I can do it myself right now.”
“Jenny, Nicole?” Talitha said. “Vincent would like to speak to you two.”
“He can say it himself then, can’t he?” Jenny replied. “We surely don’t need you to tell us that he – oh. You mean you’ve already spoken to him?”
Vincent smiled. She always had a quick mind.
Talitha nodded. “I’m going to get you in touch now.”
Nicole hadn’t said anything. She hadn’t the experience Vincent and Talitha had, nor did she have the time like Jenny to get used to it. But she let it istanbul escort bayan come over her. There was one thing she was certain of: if Talitha was beside him when he was in the hospital, then she meant a lot to him – or he meant a lot to her. And he generally didn’t surround himself with people she disagreed with, so the fact that Talitha was here was for her reason to believe she wasn’t the bitch she had believed she was.
“Check, check”, he joked.”Can everyone hear me?”
“Oh, God, you connected us, Talitha?” Jenny asked.
“He couldn’t do it himself, so I acted like an inbetweener. And he can’t yet speak regularly, so he asked me to set this up for you two.”
“First time for me to do this with more than one conversational partner as well”, Vincent admitted.”So I could have used a little help anyway. I’m still pretty new at this, remember?”
“I think this is pretty much the first time I’ve actually had a conversation like this in the first place”, Nicole said, sounding only slightly amused.”You never managed to speak with me like this. So this is my first time experiencing this.”
Talitha looked at her with amazement.”Yet you’re not even dazed. I’m impressed for you to adapt this fast.”
Nicole smiled at her. Vincent knew she was thinking something, but it didn’t spread over the ‘line’. Her natural resistance was keeping her emotions hidden. It took him weeks of training – and still failing – and Nicole was doing it on the spot with her first try. He kind of felt cheated.
He could see that Talitha sensed it as well. Though her emotions didn’t flood over the ‘line’ either, he could see it in her face. She was not just surprised about Nicole’s ability, but it also made her suspicious about how Nicole was able to do so.
“She’s a natural,” Vincent responded.”She has a natural resistance for this kind of stuff. No idea how she is doing it – and she’s even more in the dark about it considering she has known about all of this for only a short time. So let’s get that out of the way, shall we?”
Talitha relaxed and Vincent thought it was cute how she was keeping that all out in their connection, yet showed it all in her face and gestures. Yet all of a sudden all three were looking at him.
“What the hell, Vinnie?”
“You sure don’t have that kind of ability.”
“Err … I suspect I said that out loud?” he asked sheepishly.”Yeah, blame it on the medication, I’m not thinking too straight.”
He sighed and closed his eyes for a second. All of thisdid put a strain on him.
“Well, to summarize,” he started,”this telepathy-stuff seems to be bigger than I first expected. Hear me out before you go all ape on her or me. I need to get this out and then I really need some rest. This is pretty taxing on me after all.
Talitha was being followed by someone who wanted to exploit her abilities. She enrolled here to escape that, but he found her. And about the same time he found me as well. He tried to win us over and when that didn’t work, he tried to do it by force. And by force I don’t mean physically. I’ve been beaten to a bloody pulp, but he hurt us mentally and that is a bigger beating than I dare to admit.
He was able to beat on me by actually making me believe he was hurting me physically while he wasn’t. Most of the injuries I have are because of his make-believe. Yeah, believe it or not. But when you’re gifted with telepathy you can actually injure someone by making thembelieve you injured them. I learned that the hard way.” He grimased.
“Then again, I had to learn to fight back right on the spot. Talitha helped me with that and other things, while we were trying to escape him and fight back at the same time.”
“You’re a quick learner, if anything,” Talitha smiled.”You didn’t know shit and you still managed to come out of it alive.”
“More or less alive,” Vincent corrected.”Seeing how I’m lying in this bed while you can still walk around with only a bruised ankle and arm.”
“Can we stop bickering already?” Jenny interrupted.”I think it’s pretty awesome and everything, but the fact is that there’s a mental killer on the loose praying on you two.”
Vincent closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Talitha kept quiet, since this was his show.
“Actually, he’s not. According to Talitha he’s dead. Apparently one of our attacks managed to wound him enough to … well, to die.” He felt the shock from the others, even from Nicole, seeping into their conversation.”I didn’t want to, but once you’re fighting for your life you become desperate. Especially when you’re fighting someone who has the upper hand in everything you do, you do what you can.”
“You were the only ones he was after? Or are there others he wanted to use?” Nicole asked, clearheaded as ever.
“I believe there are others, but escort istanbul Talitha can fill you in later about that. As for us, we had a little help from Kevin – I’ll let you meet him some other time. I believe even Talitha hasn’t actually met him, as he wasn’t there in person when we fought. But he helped us survive. I’ll tell you all about it later, but know that right now we don’t have to fear from this assailant anymore. He’s gone. We’re still here. And we’re a whole lot less jolly about this new gift of mine. The fewer people know about it, the better, so whatever you do, don’t tell the police about what happened. Leave that to Talitha and I. If necessary, we can communicate telepathically to ensure our stories match.”
“Wow,” Jenny said out loud. “That’s quite a story.”
“I suppose I need to thank you then,” she aimed at Talitha,”for keeping Vincent alive.”
“You should thank him for helping keeping me alive. Without him I’d have been done in a while ago. Your boyfriend is a little bit of a hero, if you ask me.”
Vincent felt the pride emaniting from Jenny and smiled.
“Anyway, that’s what I have to tell,” Vincent concluded.”There are obviously questions you want to ask me, but if you don’t mind I would prefer to reply to them another time.
Talking about time … how long have I been here?”
“About a week now. More or less.”
Shock was the emotion he felt and he couldn’t hide it for the girls.”That’s … serious. But you said that the doctors said I’d recover fully?”
“Yes,” all three replied, but only Talitha seemed to have a hesitation to it.
“Well then, time for me to do some recovery then. See ya later, girls.”
They left, silently, but with plenty of questions for him – and for the one girl who was on the scene – Talitha.
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Chapter 11.2 – Details
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Fifteen minutes after the girls left, Talitha came back in. She had ditched the other girls with an excuse, backed up with some telepathic pressure. She hadn’t liked to do it with these two, considering they were friends and family of Vincent, but she believed that giving him answers would have more priority than the bystanders. She had been surprised that influencing Nicole turned out to be hard – nearly impossible – until Jenny agreed and took Nicole with her. For Talitha it was a first to not be able to influence someone who hadn’t had any training.
She didn’t have to – communication could’ve been done telepathically from distance – but she felt that she should be there in person. He had questions for her and she didn’t think he would like the answers. So being there in person could make a little difference. If only to make things a little more natural.
She sat down on a chair next to the bed. His eyes followed her and then he closed them.
“How’re you holding up?” he asked.”From what I’ve seen, I wasn’t the only one getting pummeled. Your mental image was still one with a crutch and a broken arm. I take it that were his gifts to you?”
“Bruised ankle and a dislocated shoulder,” she summarized.”Merely a few physical annoyances which will also heal with time. You probably don’t know how that happened, but he managed to influence me by stepping wrongly – hence the ankle injury – and then swinging my arm wildly against a crate to bust my shoulder. He hasn’t really touched me, he just told me to injure myself. I’ve been patched up earlier than you and you can hardly see the minor injuries now. You’ve taken a harder beating anyway as I’ve been able to guard myself somewhat against his attacks, but you have taken the full brunt.”
“I have noticed. It feels like someone wrung me out and hung me to dry. Everything hurts, but it’s manageable. I had expected to feel worse, but I suppose that’s due to the medication.
How did we get out?”
“Jenny woke up somewhere during the fight. She kicked down a door or so to get us out. She had to drag you out herself because I wasn’t in the condition to do anything but crawl. You should thank her.
Also, right before he collapsed, it looked like he got hit by one of our baseball bats. How did you manage to dothat?”
He smiled, but this was one of the secrets he wanted to keep for the time being.
“That will be my secret for the time being, but I’m glad my joker managed to turn the tide,” he said.”Now that I’ve informed the others, I’d like to have some details. Didn’t want them before because I didn’t know how well I could conceal my feelings or thoughts. Now that we’re alone, I’d like to hear about them details.”
She sighed.”What do you want to know?”
“First of all, who was that guy? He didn’t come across as some sort of solitary figure who would want us for his own purposes. I caught some bits and pieces about an organisation, but I couldn’t make anything of it.”
“Neither do I, honestly. I only knew that I was being followed. I thought he was sent by my father or something, since he thought I was useful to him. But it does make sense if he was part of an organisation; how else would my father find a telepathic tracker? He didn’t just look it up onCraig’s List.
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