Author’s Note: There is the F word used once, just warning you.
I felt like I had been sent through a grinder, my entire body rather sore which was strange since I had not felt pain since I was alive. But as I stretched my arms and legs the ache went away and I was able to look at my surroundings. I was in the truck? The last thing I remembered was waking up to a red ghost above me and then everything had gone black. The red ghost… had it been…? Of course it was! I felt so stupid! Except even if I had realized it then, I wouldn’t have had time to do anything. He must have knocked me out… Why would he bring me to the truck though? And park it in the middle of no where?
I saw that while the truck was turned off, the keys were still in the ignition–and the driver’s door slightly open. I rubbed my eyes then slid over to close the door and saw a bundle on the ground several yards away. At first I didn’t know what it was but when I realized, a scream ripped through the air and I was flying as fast as I could over to Serenity’s body. Words were coming out of my mouth, back and forth between both languages. Most of them I didn’t know. I reached to her faster than I thought possible and knelt down, horrified at the sight.
She was on her back, staring up at the sky as blood blossomed across her shirt, very fresh. “Sen?” I croaked out. “Sen?” I leaned in and felt as though a million angels were playing the Halleluiah chorus when she turned her eyes to me. She was still alive. “Sen!”
“Hen,” she said, a bit of blood coming out of her mouth. “…arn…”
“Shh, don’t talk,” I said, trying my damned hardest not to panic. What did I do? I tried to remember where her cell phone was but even if I called the police, I couldn’t be here when they arrived screw that, I’m staying by her side plus I had no clue where we were. I looked around, desperate for some sort of sign. I saw in the distance what looked like rocks. “Hold on a second, baby,” I said and began drifting upward. After a few feet I could see. A gravel road. There was a gravel road for about a mile before the lab. Was that the same gravel road? “Hold on, one second, please…” I did not want to leave her but if I was going to get her help, I had to. I flew even faster than I had a moment before and when I got to the gravel road and looked down, I saw a familiar hill. We were less than a mile from the lab.
I spun back around and was at her side again. “Oh, I’m going to have to move you. I’m going to get you in the truck and take you back to the lab.” Half the words I said were French, at least I thought they were. “I can’t move you. I am going to call the Reddings, okay? Stay still, darling. Don’t move.”
“You’ll see your mom soon, I promise baby.” I was in the back of the truck, shoving open her suitcase and throwing stuff everywhere. There was the phone! I grabbed it triumphantly and searched for the Redding number. I poked the send button and wanted to vomit when I heard a busy signal. I hung up and tried again. Busy. I would have to move her. Oh Watcher…
Things began to blur together as I got her to where she needed to be. I had checked under her shirt and found only blood smeared on her ribs and soaking into her bra. No wound. Internal injuries, which made me even more scared to move her but Professor Redding’s phone gave me a busy signal. I thought about driving her there in the truck but I had no clue how to drive, and I knew putting her in the truck would make every bump and turn hurt her even more. So I carried her. I gently lifted her and flew as fast as I could, at first assuring her everything would be fine and then singing to her. I sang ‘La Mer’, her favorite, and was glad I did not need to breathe. If I had been human, I would not have made it to the lab as fast as I did.
The doors were locked and we had no way of getting in. I kicked at the door and then used my elbow to jam at the keypad where a code would have to be put in along with a card swipe. The buttons turned red and I heard the gates at the entrance slam shut. I banged my elbow again and again. “HELP! PROFESSOR! DOCTOR! HELP!” I shouted at the door.
Serenity’s voice was thin as she cried out. “No… M-mom, mom…! Hen… t-tell… Mom…”
The two minutes it took felt like two centuries. I was screaming and knocking at the keypad while Sen wept in my arms, babbling nonsense about monsters and Sebastian. The doors opened and there was Professor Redding, mouth a giant O in shock. I shoved past him, nearly knocking him down. “She’s hurt, she’s hurt badly,” I said, going in and out of French. “I don’t know what happened. I was knocked unconscious in our room by a red ghost then I woke up in the truck, she has blood on her but no wounds and blood is coming out of her mouth I think it’s internal injuries and oh Reaper, you have to help her right now or I will kill you and that arrogant sister of yours!”
“F-follow me,” he said without any hesitation. We went towards the stairs and headed down, him unlocking those stupid iron bars as we went. I wanted to go faster but we couldn’t. Redding was going as fast as he could but it was hard not to get mad since it just seemed so slow. Sen had stopped talking and was now giving little whimpery breaths. “Hang on, baby,” I told her and felt relieved when we got to a lab I had never been in before, where Professor Redding indicated for me to put her down on a hospital-looking bed. I did and she barely made a sound when she was laid out.
“S-strip her,” Professor Redding said as he got his phone. I obeyed, carefully removing all of Sen’s clothes. There was not much blood at all left on her now, other than a few smudges just under her breasts and the trickle at the corner of her mouth. Her skin seemed a bit greyer than normal and she soon began shivering. Before I could say anything, Redding was heading towards the door. “M-my sister is on her w-way,” he said. “G-get her out of th-the clothes. I will b-be just a s-s-second.”
When he came back, his sister was on his heels and the medical examination began. I floated back and forth, trying to stay out of the way. I was crying, and cussing, and doing my best to comfort Sen. I heard the words ‘internal bleeding’ and something about things being shredded inside of her. I stuffed my fingers in my mouth, gnawing hard in order to keep myself silent. Watcher, no, Reaper, no, you cannot take her, you cannot take her from you, you cannot fucking take her from me it’s not fair, she’s young, our children, no, why her it’s not fair, no, Sen, Sen, my love, you can’t–
I slammed my fists against the sides of my head. My mind was going everywhere and then focused on one thing. Her inability to say the fact I was going to die. And now here I was, the thought of the D word making everything I was scramble like a tornado and explode. “You can’t, you can’t, you can’t,” I realized I was saying out loud. The Reddings were scanning her and examining her, and she was getting quieter and quieter. Then finally Doctor Redding stepped back and turned to look at me.
“NO!” I screamed before she even opened her mouth. “YOU HAVE TO SAVE HER! THIS IS YOUR FAULT! THIS IS YOUR FAULT!” I slammed my hands against her and she stumbled but didn’t fight me back. “THIS IS YOUR FAULT YOU CRAZY BITCH THIS IS YOUR FAULT SHE’S NOT DYING YOU HAVE TO SAVE HER!”
“There is nothing that can be done,” she said, barely blinking as my hands hit her again. “I am assuming D13 attacked her. Judging from the scanners, something was inserted into her without touching her skin. I have my suspicions of what happened. If this is the case, I might be able to cut her open and try to repair her organs but there is less than a one percent chance she will survive such a procedure. As it stands, there is a zero percent chance she will survive.”
Professor Redding was at my side, trying to keep me from falling but I went right though him. Less than one percent chance. Less than the chance I had of living. Someone was shrieking so loud it hurt my ears, and it took a moment to realize it was me. The doctor was leaning over Sen’s body again and the professor was kneeling next to me, tears sliding down his cheeks. “H-Henri, d-do you… w-w-want us…?”
I was rocking back and forth. “You have to save her, Redding, you have to save her, you have to save her. Reaper… she has two children… w-we were going to have more… Miracle… Chance… they can’t… they have to have their… their mother… I can’t lose her, I can’t lose her, I can’t lose her!”
“Hen…” Sen moaned out and tipped her head to one side. Her eyes weren’t focusing on me but in my general direction. “You… got… warn… Mom… Duncan… the monster… the monster… “
“Doctor Redding will fix you,” I said, still rocking, my hands in fists curled up around my neck, pressing against the back of my neck. “Doctor Redding will fix you, you’ll be fine, love, you’ll be fine, my love… you’ll be fine… you’ll be fine…”
“Dr. Rood!” A young girl, wearing a helmet, came running in and she stopped when she saw Serenity. Her face paled but she gulped and looked at the Reddings. Doctor Redding did not look pleased and Professor Redding was lurching towards her.
“Hausler, n-n-n-not now, you n-need to go back t-t-to your lab,” Professor Redding said, starting to push her out. The words were coming from another time, another planet. It all sounded muffled and dim. I was just staring at my wife, quiet pleas for her to be okay tumbling out of my lips.
“But it’s an emergency–about the emergency–Doctor! The security program was REprogramed! When I was fixing the coding I saw it was tampered with a few weeks ago and when the routine check was performed last night it tripped the new coding and took the security down. It was sabotage, Doctor Rood! D13 was let out on purpose!”
I glanced back for one quick second. Professor Redding was frozen, hand on the door. The girl was mostly in the hall now with tears going down her cheeks. Doctor Redding was staring and then after a couple seconds started to walk towards her. She just started to say ‘what’ when Serenity’s eyes flew open. “YOU HAVE TO WARN THEM!” she yelled, her body jerking up into a sitting position. Doctor Redding was back at her side, trying to get her to lay back down but Sen’s arms were everywhere as she screamed over and over. I was there, trying to hold her arms down but she was still crying. The door was shut and Professor Redding joined us in trying to keep her still as Doctor Redding injected a needle into Sen’s arm.
“Serenity, darling, you need to be still, you need to stay calm so Doctor Redding can fix you up. Baby, listen to me, stay still. Stay still. Think about going back to Miracle and Chance. And we’ll have more babies, yeah? And–and we can have more interesting names to go along with Miracle and Chance, we could–could have Destiny, or F-Fate, or… or…. Merveille, we could add French in there and you–and we–Sen… Sen?” She was limp now. I held onto her hand but it felt as though nothing was there. “Sen? SEN?!”
“Sh-she’s asleep, the m-m-medicine knocked her out s-s-so my s-sister can operate,” Professor Redding said, letting go of Sen’s other arm. I held onto Sen’s hand and put it against my lips. “S… Sister?”
“Brother, you should leave. This moment.”
“B… but… n-n-no… No!”
I looked up and saw the two of them staring at each other. Doctor Redding was not touching Sen. Not operating. “We don’t have time for arguing!” I snapped. “You need to fix her now! Why are you just staring at me? Start working! I thought–she doesn’t have time time, you need to fix her! Doctor, you have to start–you have to… to… you…” My eyes snapped towards Professor Redding who now had tears tears clinging to his eyelashes. “Professor….? Professor?”
“Brother, you should get out of here. I do not want you in here when he comes.”
“No…. no… no… no it’s not possible, it’s not possible, no! Sen! Sen!” I bent over the bed, my hands on her shoulders. Her eyes were closed and her mouth a bit slack. I put my face right near hers, waiting for her breath to come out but there was nothing. I felt things breaking down inside of me. I had nothing to begin with but what little I had began to slip away into the same darkness that once engulfed me when I was nineteen. The Reddings were arguing still and then suddenly there was silence. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a swish of cloak.
Then Professor Redding was trying to hold me back. I was screaming obscenities in French and I could not focus even enough to become unsolid. The Reaper was by my wife, black smoke rolling across the floor. My obscenities got louder and then I was diving through the professor’s hands towards the Reaper. I began begging, pleading, cussing, and trying to tell the Reaper that we had small children and I couldn’t do it on my own as I was dead, wasn’t I already dead, and how can it be fair for her to die when he had already taken me?
The Grim Reaper acted as if I was not there, as he did with every other loved one he had come across. By the time he was gone I was clawing at the urn that had what was left of my wife. Whatever I was yelling, I didn’t know. Someone was crying, not me. The professor. Doctor Redding was saying something, and then the shouting match began as I clung to the urn.
“W-w-we have to do something!”
“We cannot, she is dead. Brother, I am sorry. I told you not to remain here when the Grim Reaper showed up, I know he gives you night–“
“I d-d-d-don’t care! There h-has to be something else we c-can do! It’s our f-fault she’s dead, sister! We b-brought her here and w-we kept D13 and b-b-because of that she is DEAD and we have t-to…. do something…”
“It is not our fault. You heard Hausler. Someone–“
“I DON’T CARE! I d-d-d-don’t care if s-s-s-someone just opened up the d-door and said ‘hey g-g-go on a murderous rampage’ it is OUR f-fault and now she is DEAD and we have t-t-to do something!”
“How is this our fault? We cannot control every situation, and this is one that unfortunately got out of hand. It is regrettable, but true. I did what I could. I should have been out there searching for D13 but I did what I could for her. Her injuries were too extensive. There is no need to be angry at me.”
“No! Th-there has t-t-to be something we can d-do, we have all th-this technology! You can’t j-just… we killed her… it’s our f-f-fault. It’s my fault. It’s my fault!”
“KALEB REDDING IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Don’t you DARE blame yourself for what is an unfortunate ACCIDENT! Now listen to me. Serenity is dead. There is nothing we can do. We cannot bring someone back. We–“
“Y-es we c-c-c-can.”
“What?” My head popped up then my body followed, standing up and watching Professor Redding’s face. “What?!”
“He did not mean it,” Doctor Redding muttered angrily.
Professor Redding shook his head. “I d-did mean it. In a sort. We can use Project D.”
“The psychic stuff?” I asked, confused. “What does that have to do with–“
“N-no, we have another P-project D,” Professor Redding put in. He was wiping the tears away from his face and looking more determined by the second. “My s-sister dislikes coming up w-with titles and often reuses them. Our other P-Project D involves–spirits. We c-cannot bring Serenity back to p-proper life but we can make her a gh-ghost, like you. N-not exactly like you, but sort of a m-mix between a regular gh-ghost and you. She will b-be immortal but not need t-to return to her grave during th-the day. We have…” He looked at his watch. “…less than f-five minutes. If we d-do not get those remains in the ch-chamber within six minutes and t-twenty seconds of after the Reaper leaves, it d-does not work. Henri. Do… d-do you want to do this?”
“Brother, I do not think this is the right decision.”
I was still clutching the urn, part of me having no clue what was just said. Ghost? Sen? What? “S-sister, we sh-should give him the option! It is m-my fault… I accept it. B-but when we have this option w-we need to give it to him. We have f-four minutes. Henri?”
“We agreed when we built that thing we would never use it for personal gains, and the moment you lose a test subject you want to–“
“She is NOT a t-test subject! She is my g-great-great granddaughter!”
“A ghost?” I whispered, and he nodded. I looked down at the urn. The rest of my lifetime without her. Our children not having her. I was a ghost, would it be so bad for her to be one as well even if she wasn’t quite like me? “Yes,” I said, no longer thinking. “Yes.”
“Stop arguing and g-g-get the spirit r-r-removal chamber prepared! It t-takes a full m-minute to charge up, we have t-to be v-very quick. H-Henri, c-come on.”
I held tightly onto the urn, this feeling like a very bad dream. Sen. I could not lose her like this. I was not strong enough to go on without her. She had been my strength, my everything, for so long. The thought of any time more without her was worse than my time before I was back with her. At least then I had hope. I needed her. Miracle needed her. Chance needed her. And if this was the only way, then so be it.