24,127 / 50,000
Ahhh, once again I end my excerpt on a nice little cliffhanger.
I wish I could claim these things are planned, when they occur, but generally they just happen.
"What is it, what's wrong?" Alphonse looked concerned, and saw the various equipment, particularly the heart rate monitor, spike, as Brendan became more frantic.
The young man's free hand reached out, grasping at the air as he fought the urge to continue scratching at his arm. "I don't know," he said, fear in his voice. "Oh god, it burns!"
Brendan struggled to pull away from Alphonse's grip, wanting to swat out the nonexistant fire. He knew there was nothing there, but fear and instinct were taking over. The burning sensation spreading along his arm and into the rest of his body felt exactly like he was back in the targetting chamber.
They both looked nervous, knowing what this meant. For some reason, whatever had happened, the reaction had been delayed, possibly because Brendan had passed out for several days.
Alphonse wanted to leave, knew he should leave, and as soon as possible, but he had left his friend once before, he would stay this time. Nothing could take him away from his friend's bedside, from his final moments.
Still, he knew it would be best to do so, and let go of Brendan's arm. Following that, he pushed his chair back the barest amount, squeaking across the floor.
Brendan shook his head and pointed at the door. "You have to get out! You can't be in here when whatever happens is gonna happen. If I explode, or whatever, I don't want to take you with me!"
The only thing Alphonse could do was shake his head. He knew it was unwise, but he couldn't do it. If fate had decided that he would die that day, along with his friend, then so be it. His project was finished, and with another of his friends gone, he could not deny that a part of him was becoming increasingly open to the idea. It was as good a time as any to exit the stage of life.
Brendan hugged himself, staring at Alphonse, wishing he would stop being so stubborn, just this once, and get out. He knew Alphonse would do no such thing, though, so didn't voice his objections, and truly, his being there was a comfort.
He shifted his head on his arms, feeling oddly uncomfortable, beyond the burning within him, that is. No matter what he did though, Brendan found that he was unable to find a good position to get into.
Alphonse was already seeing why. When Brendan picked his head up and took a good look at his arms, he could see bulging bubbles rolling along his flesh. Words failed him as he watched his skin bubble, alost looking like a pot of water just starting to come to a boil.
He tried brushing off the bubbles, but all that did was send chills down his back, at the weird sensation of his roiling and pulsating skin under his touch. He was too much in shock to even notice the burning welling up with even more force deep within his gut, only able to concentrate on the lesions threatening to break at a moment's notice.
Nothing broke however, his flesh just continued to literally crawl and bubble. Alphonse reached out, the scientist in him curious, and the friend in him concerned for Brendan's welfare.
Brendan shook his head in revulsion, and his eyes desperately pleaded with his friend to get out of the room. When that failed, he voiced his cocnerns, fighting past the pain and fear, even as the cancerous growths seemed to be getting worse.
"Please, get out of here," he begged. "Leave me behind, and run, run as far away as you can, Alphonse! I don't know what's happening to me, but it's bad, and you have to go on. I don't think I could live with myself if I killed you too."
Alphonse could feel tears welling up within his eyes. Again, he shook his head. "I can't," he whispered, and sucked in a ragged breath. "I can't leave you to die. Not again. Not again, David..."
Hearing that name, Brendan understood just how deep the guilt Alphonse felt over his former colleagues death completely in that instant. He could see within his eyes a desire to die now, to not have to bear the guilt again.
Brendan couldn't have that on his conscience, or on his karmic balance sheet. If he had to get up and force Alphonse out of the room, he would.
"Get out, please! It's not your fault, neither was David. You still have work to do, now GO!"
He tried shoving the doctor, but his strength was so depleted it barely would have been able to move a paper cup, let alone a grown man. The pain and fear were not helping him any, either.
"Brendan, stop. I won't leave you. I can't leave you." The calmness in his voice echoed Brendan's at the best of times. He was sure of his place now, and his time had come, and he was ready for it.
The young man in the hospital bed could not take it any more. He could feel the anger building deep within him, muting the pain, the fire, and he even forgot that his skin was beginning to resemble a casserole in the oven.
"Damnit, old man! For once, listen to me, and GET OUT NOW!"
The flames within him leapt in intensity, and he was surprised to see a silver blast of light shot out. From him? Was that possible? It blasted out and hit Alphonse, knocking him backwards from the bedside, and lifted him off the ground. His body flew through the air and hit the door to the small room. Before he was thrown back and away from Brendan, he once again saw the colour of his eyes change, looking as if someone had dripped molten mercury into his sockets where his eyes should be.
As the door closed behind him, Alphonse struggled to get off the floor, bruised but not broken, and only saw in that brief moment before the door closed with a thud, that the room he had just been ejected from fill with a bright silver light, eminating from his friend.
Chapter Three - The Dawning of a New Day
Alphonse stared at the door he had just been hurled through by a strange blast of energy from Brendan. He was disoriented from the spill, and sore, but everything seemed intact. However, he didn't care anything about the state of his body. All Alphonse cared about, all he could focus on was that argent glow that was leaking around the edges of the doorway.
His body could be battered and broken for all he cared, and he would still be completely focused on that coruscating energy. It reminded him of all those alien abductions in television shows and movies, where all you could see amidst the darkness of the room, was the bright light outling the rectangular entryway.
It surprised him that he wasn't already on his feet and forcing his way into the room, but he couldn't take his eyes away from the glow. A voice in the back of his head - the scientist, as he thought of him in times like this - wanted desperately to be in that room, with all kinds of instrumentation to study Brendan as whatever happened, happened. It longed for this to have happened in the targetting chamber, so they could have a multitude of recording devices gathering all kinds of information on just what was transpiring.
He did manage to get onto his feet, however. His hand fell upon the door, and it would easily open with the slightest pressure, not having any sort of knob or latch on it. Alphonse hesitated though. Whatever was happening in there was completely unknown, certainly none of the previous test subjects had exhibited such an ability. For all he knew, the light was deadly. In fact, if that was the case, the door wouldn't stop his iminent demise from that eerie light.
Still, he remained on this side of the barrier, not yet willing to risk entering. He feared that Brendan would once again pick him up and throw him from the room. If things went as they did with the final moments for the other subjects, the strength of his abilities would only grow in his final moments. With that in mind, Alphonse may not be so lucky the next time, and he may even go through a wall, and not just a door.
While he stood there, waiting for some unknown signal, either from within his brain, or the room beyond the wooden door, he slid his hand along the fine grain. The door did not feel warmer than usual, but that meant nothing. It only told him that the intensity of the light made him expect it to feel warm, if not already burning away, or even in cinders around his feet.
As he waited, he thought back to as the strange light had touched him, moved him. It hadn't felt warm at all, or even cold. It was hard to tell if it felt like anything whatsoever, but then again, at the time Alphonse was not exactly in the best position to be evaluating the silver glowing blast as it tossed him around like little more than a rag doll thrown by a child in a tantrum.
Once the light around the doorjamb began to fade in intensity, reduced to a dull light rather than the shining brilliance it had been, Alphonse steadied himself, and pushed open the door. He was no longer concerned with his health, if in fact it was in danger. If there had been any threat, odds were he was already doomed.
As the wooden slab hinged back into the room, Alphonse could see the silver energy actually receeding as the force of its glare faded ever more with each passing moment. It gave the appearance of being sucked into something, pulling away from all corners of the room, and refocusing on a central point.
That central point was, of course, Brendan's body. He had fallen back upon the bed, and was laying on top of it, no longer in the sitting position he had taken.
At least, that was what Alphonse assumed. The focal point of the silvery light was still as bright as it had been at the edges of its expansion mere moments before. The silver silhouette appeared to be laying down, and not curled into a sitting ball as Brendan had been when they were talking.
The doctor remained just inside the doorway, stepping to the side to allow it to swing shut behind him, ignoring the noise it made as it swung into the hallway, back into the room, and so on, until its momentum ran out and it settled back into the frame.
He stood there and watched the receeding light pulling back towards the bed, keeping a fair distance between it and him, almost afraid it would strike again, like an angry cobra cornered and with no choice but to bite.
He slowly moved closer and closer to the bed, eager to see Brendan again. Alphonse did not know what he would see, or even if the body would still be recognizable, but despite the history of past failures, he hoped for the best, for his associate. If he had miraculously survived one unsurvivable moment, was it possible to survive another? What were the odds?
It still hurt to look directly at Brendan's unmoving body, not that he was even sure a body still remained somewhere within that shining burst of sunlight that had chosen to share a room with them.
More and more, the light faded away, and somewhere within the heart of light, Doctor McKenzie could make out the distinct outlines of a human form. He had no idea what form would lie within, once it fully faded away, but he did not care. At least Brendan's body had made it through relatively unharmed, or at least intact.
However, nothing could prepare Alphonse for what lay within that shimmering egg as the edges of it slowly creeped closer to Brendan's form, making his outline more distinct, and Alphonse soon realised that something was different about his friend. Something profound.
Finally, the light fully dimmed away to nothingness, and the form on the bed was revealed to Alphonse's eyes, and he did not know what to make of the sight before him.
What had his emitter, what had he done to his only friend?