Here is Cormic’s War, chapter twelve. Have a great weekend!
They were making their way back to Cormic’s apartment, seeing patrols pass in and out of hallways but doing their best not to be seen. Cormic knew they’d be sought after, one didn’t walk away from an accident like what happened on the elevator without people asking questions, but he was surprised at how quickly soldiers had been mobilized. He’d seen the cameras on the lift, figured Adams’ actions would be reported to Consortium military but the response had been nearly immediate. And if Cormic wanted any answers of his own, he’d have to keep both himself and Adams out of Consortium hands for the time being. Once he figured out what had happened, once he’d done his own investigation, then what happened to Adams wasn’t his problem. The man had exhibited signs of having both a split personality, and incredible telekinetic ability. Cormic’s professional curiosity was getting the better of him, despite a gnawing suspicion that he should instead get as far away from Cain Adams as he could. Now, while he had the chance. Instead he kept walking.
Adams paced just behind Cormic, not talking but breathing heavily, like he was holding back a sob, or scream. Cormic hoped it wasn’t the latter. The sound the soldier made on the elevator, before everything turned upside down, was still so fresh in his mind, he was holding his own breath hoping they could make it back to someplace safe before the private had another episode.
Adams hadn’t spoken since they left the elevator maintenance area. If was as if he were having a terrible dream, unsure of who or where he was and found that when he woke, the bad dream had simply continued. He could barely remember the dark catwalk yet the green emergency lights seem to glare bright in his mind’s eye. He had gotten on an elevator, blinked, and opened his eyes to a nightmare. A nightmare he had supposedly caused. It was all he could do to put one leg in front of the other, though with the doctor’s ducking and hiding behind corners as they made their way, it was a little easier to stay in the moment. They were evading something, or someone, he wasn’t sure. All he really knew was that he was tired. And the doctor was going to help him.
I was supposed to do something. The thought came to him but he couldn’t think of what it was. He could barely hold on to his own sanity let alone a wandering memory and so it passed him by.
They took a convoluted route back to Cormic’s apartment but had to wait by the small market across the large public area, still within view of the doctor’s front door. Two Gunners paced back and forth in front of it, rifles slung lazily on their shoulders. They kept dark eyes focused on anyone who passed, just the normal bodies who filed to and from offices and store fronts on the station. They were focused, but Cormic could tell from their postures that they weren’t entirely committed. Even so, it would be impossible to get inside the apartment this way.
Adams stood quietly behind Cormic, hands in his pockets.
“Shit, I knew they’d send someone but that was quick.” Cormic whispered, more to himself than Adams.
Cormic turned, seeing Adams for the first time since they started walking. He was sweating, his eyes watery.
“Never mind. You need to sit private?”
“No, uh, I’m fine. Just a headache s’all.” Adams said. His lips were wet, and a vein throbbed high on his forehead. Cormic knew it was more than just a simple headache.
“Ok. Ok. But let me know if you do, alright? Unfortunately we’ll just have to sit tight till them Gunners decide to move. Though odds are they won’t. If folks know to look for me, I can’t think of a better place to start with than my apartment or the clinic.”
People were walking by them and around them though no one gave much notice. One man said “Hi doctor!” but Cormic had just nodded slightly and let him walk away. Doctor Cormic was recognized on this station, and if he was standing around with a sickly looking Gunner, then you just let him be; he knew what he was doing.
Adams continued to sweat. The pain in his head was growing so he grit his teeth to stop his vision from blurring. Why couldn’t those Gunners by the door just leave? All he wanted was to go and sit down someplace comfortable, rest his throbbing head against a cool glass and close his eyes. Not skulk behind a corner and wait. They should just leave him alone. Just move on and let him and Cormic get into the apartment. Just leave…him…alone. Leave…leave…
It felt like he had reached into a bowl of warm water, moving his hand in slow, deliberate circles. What little disturbance there was to the water’s surface, caused ripples that cascaded outward, transforming into gentle waves that lapped at the sides. Where he moved his hand, the water went with it, but just enough that he felt the slight resistance against his palm and moved through it.
The two Gunners by Cormic’s door looked up at the same time, hearing some soundless call. Then they turned around and walked in the opposite direction of where Adams and Cormic were hiding.
“Holy…they’re leaving.” Cormic said in disbelief. He laughed a short quick laugh. “Come on, quick. Before they change their minds and come back.”
He and Adams rushed across the space between where they were standing and Cormic’s door. He palmed the lock, hoping it hadn’t been programmed not remain locked and sighed in relief when he heard the familiar click and the door opened a few inches. He shoved it the rest of the way, waited until Adams was just inside, and closed it again in one smooth motion. Cormic stood by the door, looking around the room. Everything was where he had left it, which meant broken glass and cold tea were scattered on the floor. He had forgotten about that, even though it had been, what, less than two hours since he had rushed out of the apartment. But it wasn’t that that had suddenly given him pause. Something seemed…off. But it was nothing he could fully form in his mind, and so he put it off somewhere for later. There was too much to do right now.
Adams walked purposefully to the sofa, feet crunching on the remains of Cormic’s mug with indifference. He slumped down, immediately putting his head in his palms and sighing. Cormic kept his distance and circled around him towards the kitchen cabinet over the fridge. It was where he kept the little alcohol he allowed in the apartment. And his old service pistol.
“Listen, Adams. Do you want some water? Something stronger maybe? We probably don’t have a lot of time but I figure you have to be as frazzled as I am.” Cormic grabbed the Puerto Rican rum that had collected a thin layer of grit from lack of use and shut the cabinet on the .45 that had its own thin coat of dust for the same reason.
“Yes Doctor, I think I will take you up on that…it’s just my head.” Adams looked up for a moment but then buried his head forcefully in his hands.
Cormic grabbed two glasses and poured quick shots into each. He thought about it, and poured a little more into Adams’ cup. He stepped around the counter, careful not to walk on any of the glass on the floor and handed Adams the drink, sitting next to him on the couch.
“To figuring things out, eh?” Cormic made to clink glasses but Adams just tossed his head back and downed the liquor one gulp, inhaling sharply from the sting against his throat. He stood up and paced, concentration etched on his face.
“I’m not sure what’s going on Doctor. I got this feelin’ like I need to be doing something of great importance but I can’t for the life of me remember. I try ta clear my mind and it’s like I’m wading through molasses if you get my meaning.”
Cormic nodded. “You did say you had something very important to talk to me about. On the elevator, before…the incident.”
“And that’s another thing. I don’t remember any of that. I don’t. Now, hold on a second…” he saw Cormic about to interrupt. “I’m not saying I don’t believe it happened. I don’t know why but I have a strange feeling that things went down exactly like you said they did. And before, with those soldiers in front of your door? It was like I was inside their heads for just a second, long enough for them ta hear what I was thinking. I wanted them to leave Dr. Cormic, and they up and left. Not ‘cause they wanted to mind you, but because I thought it. Loudly. If that even makes sense.” He stopped pacing.
Of course it doesn’t make sense, Cormic thought. None of this makes any sense.
“No, I think I understand. Sure.” Cormic said, standing up. “You made those soldiers move. With your thoughts. And, how exactly did you do that?” He suddenly became all too aware of his proximity to Adams and wondered if he had tried to get into Cormic’s head at any point. If that was how it even worked.
Assuming he even believed this was happening.
“I couldn’t tell you Doctor. I just, I just know that’s how it happened.” Adams punched a fist into his hand.
“Ok well, here. Let me grab my medical bag from the other room. We’ll get out of here; go someplace where I can give you a proper look over.” Cormic walked towards his room as he spoke. “Now, ultimately, I think we’ll need to bring in your superiors on this. You are their responsibility and it won’t do to keep running around like we’re criminals or something.” He grabbed the leather bag he kept his spare medical supplies in and reached for the drawer in the cabinet by his bed. He opened it and stopped. His journal. There was something wrong with his journal. He grabbed it and opened the cover, her eyes met his and he let out a breath. Her picture was still there. She was still there. Waiting for him like she always did. And again he had the feeling that something wasn’t right. But he could only dismiss it now. They had to leave.
He threw the journal into his bag. “I’ll just do a preliminary examination and we’ll get to the bottom of this, ok Private?” He didn’t hear anything from the other room. So he rushed out.
“We have visitors Shale.” Adams stood by the door, fire burning in his eyes. He was standing tall, arms ending in tight fists at his sides. His accent was gone.