Here you are, “Cormic’s War” chapter nine. See you next week!
He wasn’t sure how he had moved so quickly, but Cormic suddenly found himself holding onto Adams by a tenuous grip; one hand around the unconscious man’s wrist and the other holding the catwalk railing with all the strength he had. His knees pressed hard against a vertical bar that seemed to offer additional support to the walkway by connecting the thin rail to the floor of the serrated walkway. A second iron rail ran the length of the space at thigh level.
His grip began to weaken. His chest and legs began to ache from the force of them against the iron and he began to hear what sounded like metal straining. The weight of both men was proving to be too much for the thin railing, and he could feel it begin to give outward.
The hum of machinery rose from the depths underneath him and for the first time he noticed the emergency lights situated throughout the shaft. Their dull green light cast eerie shadows across all the walls but at least he was able to see Adams, his eyes closed and his pale face taut and waxen.
Suddenly there was a sound like a gun shot. Cormic jumped, nearly losing his hold; what felt like a rock fell into the pit of his stomach before he was sure he had Adams securely again. He looked around, breathing hard and sweating onto Adams’ passive face below him. On his left, where the railing met the wall in a bolted support, he only saw the blank space between the railing’s end and the broken bolt in the wall.
He turned to his right, and gave himself the visual security of knowing that the other end of the rail was still bolted securely. For now.
The pain in his knee intensified and he moaned, the frustration hitting him in waves.
“Wake up Private.” He growled. “Wake up. Wake up. Wake up!” He yelled the last words, the echo working it’s way all around him.
The pain in his leg was becoming too much and the muscles in his shoulder and back screamed for him to just let go, let Adams fall and stop the fire that burned through them. Without thinking he shifted all his weight onto his surgically replaced leg, feeling the enhanced muscles engage to support both men. He slowly lifted his real leg off of the ground, and off of the metal bar that indented itself into his knee. The change was immediate. The pain subsided.
He leaned back, letting more weight rest on his leg, and allowing his lower half to take up most of the strain. Why hadn’t he done this sooner? For all the thought he put into his fake leg, all the stress and pain it had caused him, he had never thought to actually use it any differently than before. Now, he would put it to the test.
The railing gave some more. Any minute the far end would snap and the catwalk would swing down, dropping them both onto the catwalk below, some fifty yards down.
He slowly bent his leg. The muscles tightened like a spring pulled from both ends, only it felt so natural. He could have supported even more weight if he needed to, if his arms could hold it. He bent his leg more, pulling the spring so that he could feel the energy waiting to burst and release.
He counted to three.
He exploded up, using the built up force as momentum to swing Adams up and over the railing. They both felt backwards onto the catwalk, just as the other railing bolt snapped from it’s support and the walkway swung sickeningly down, slamming flat against the wall in its best attempt at throwing Cormic and Adams off before settling at an unsteady forty-five degree angle.
Cormic only just hung onto Adams, grabbing the man under his shoulders and luckily getting his own legs secure on the same bar his knee had previously been pressed against. But he wouldn’t last in this position. He could already feel the catwalk straining under him.
Adams’ eyes suddenly fluttered open and he stared up at Cormic. Gone was the hardness that he had seen in the elevator, before the soldier had seemingly tossed men around with his mind. Back was the softness of the Southern private who Cormic had first seen when he got onto the lift.
“Doctor Cormic?” Adams said softly. And to reinforce the change in his eyes, the southern accent returned to his voice, color returning to his amber skin. “Doctor Cormic, what are you doing?”
Cormic didn’t answer. He just turned towards the door on the far side.
“See the door Private? There behind you?” his voice was labored. His arms felt like they had needles trying to burst out of his skin.
Adams, whether because he was still dazed from his bout of unconsciousness or because he genuinely hadn’t noticed that he was being supported by Cormic’s trembling arms, finally jolted with understanding of the situation. And it was a testament to his training as a soldier that he didn’t just gesticulate wildly in both surprise and shock. Cormic saw the panic swim over his eyes, but it was momentary and instead of getting unhinged, he just raised his arms and grabbed hold of the rail above their heads, his feet finding their own foothold on the broken rail beneath them.
“I don’t…I don’t know what’s happening Doctor.” Adams said. His voice shook and he looked over his shoulder towards the door. “But I think we need to get to that door over there before this whole thing comes down.” Except instead of ‘over there’ it sounded like ova theh in his soft twang.
Cormic just nodded, relieved to have some of the weight literally taken from off his shoulders.
“Whenever you’re ready Private. Just, just use that mind mojo you used before in the elevator. I don’t know if this thing will hold much longer.”
Adams cocked his head to the side. “Mind mojo Doctor?” Doctah.
“Lift us, over to the door. Like you did in the elevator, and again in the shaft. I don’t know how you did it, but it happened. Make it happen again.” Cormic said more forcefully.
“All I remember is getting onto the elevator sir, and now I’m hanging here for my life. You can wait Doctor Cormic but I’m going to start making my way to the door.”
Adams edged his way towards the door, inching along the rail, hand over hand while his feet shuffled along with him. Cormic had no other option but to follow. He didn’t know what sort of game was being played here, why Adams wouldn’t just use his impossible ability of manipulating objects with his mind that he was so willing to show off before.
Then again, this Private Adams, the one without the intense glare, who spoke with a southern accent didn’t seem like the same one from before. It was as if he had been another person. And that person could move people with just a thought. This person though, the one making slow but steady progress towards the maintenance door, well, Cormic would figure him out one way or another.
They made their way to the door but it was locked. In one smooth movement, Cormic crossed in front of Adams, his face inches from Adams’ face long enough to confirm the lack of aggression and determination he had seen from the man’s eyes before. The Doctor gave the door a swift kick where the handle met the wall, sending it swinging backwards to bang loudly against the other side. He climbed out into the hallway and helped Adams do the same. Then he sat down.
“Doctor Cormic, are you ok?” Adams asked.
Cormic shot up into Adams’ body, shoving him back into the wall and grabbing at his shirt with tremoring hands.
“Am I ok? No I’m not ok. I am not ok. You’re going to tell me what the hell is going on or I’m going to snap your neck. How did you do what you did in the elevator?” Cormic growled into the soldier’s face.
Adams moved quickly, jutting his arms between Cormic’s and grabbing the Doctor’s shirt. He pivoted, placing a well trained leg behind Cormic and turning. The result was that now Cormic was the one pressed up against the wall.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I barely even remember being on the gawd damn elevator.” The man’s accent appeared to come in thick when he was angry.
Adams released his hold on Cormic and took a step back. “Sir, I don’t know what happened, ok. We were talking, and then suddenly we’re hanging from some catwalk. I mean, did I blackout? And what the hell happened to the elevator?”
Adams genuinely looked frightened and Cormic didn’t blame him. Did Adams truly not remember what he did? Could it actually have been some other part of him? The inquisitive part of Cormic’s mind began to take over and demanded answers.
“Ok. Ok Private. You did black out, only you were standing and talking like you were a man possessed. Then you…you did some things that were impossible. I saw you do them, and I still don’t know if I saw that I saw. Now if you don’t remember what that was I don’t think you need me to tell you. Just know you weren’t yourself. I think people are going to be looking for us soldier and before the Consortium deals with any of this, I need to check you out. I know you’re scared son. Shit, I am too.”
“Why am I so scared sir?” Adams asked, the same way a child asks his father about monsters under the bed.
“Because I think you know what happened. I think you do. But that doesn’t matter right now. We need to go to my clinic ok? Can we do that?” Cormic extended a shaky hand.
Adams took it.
“Yes sir, I think we can.”