Chapter 10: The Other Half of Bleeding

But he kept his eyes closed, focus tight on his foe, upon the bodies hidden behind the car.

A shrill scream told him Dranzer had found her mark. Pushing through the need for air and his stunned body, he somehow managed to get to his feet by the time she found her way back to him. With her by his side, he set off as fast as he could into the darkness of the neighbors back yard. Lights flickered on in the passing windows.

He found the back gate. He was out. He could see an alley, hear a nearby river.

Dranzer whizzed back and forth around him, unable to move slow enough to stay alongside him. He was slowing down.

He put a hand to the bottom of his ribs. A flesh wound. A graze. Bleeding like a crying nun, but a graze all the same. He should be able to move through this. He’d be fine. Dropping had been a good idea.

With a lung popping inhale, he ignored the pain and returned to a sprint. Stars burst in the corner of his view, but Dranzer didn’t have to keep lapping back to him anymore. She was just ahead, whirring, humming in the night.

And hopefully Ayah’s gray hoodie he wore would soak enough blood to keep it from dripping, as well as help Tyson’s ski-mask keep them from recognizing just who broke in. Cops and the law were still quite real, after all.

He managed to use the hoodie and river water to wash off the black Halloween paint once he neared the hospital and was certain he had shaken off any pursuers. That same river took away the black athletic tape, hoodie, and mask, because Tyson didn’t need to repeat the ding-dong-ditch scheme again. Or, rather, Kai wouldn’t let him.

Graze or not, Kai’s vision was still spinning by the time he managed to stagger into the ER room. The nurses accepted his muttered story of getting in a street fight with the expected titters and wheeled him off. No one thought twice about the beyblade and launcher in his pockets, nor did they bother to check the leather pouches on his belt that were supposed to be holding said beyblade and launcher. In the bright lights of the hospital, the glow of Tyson and Max’s souls went unnoticed, even when a nurse unhooked his belt and set it in a cubby by his bed with the rest of his belongings.

Once they stitched and bandaged him up, he played the part of injured, frightened boy and managed to get into one of the spare beds in Tyson’s and Max’s room. He just wanted to keep watch on his comatose friends. After all, they had been the reason those goons had attacked him in the first place.

It was a good thing none of his teammates were there to see this particular acting trick. Tyson would probably go into convulsions at the sight of Kai playing the traumatized, heart-sickened boy.

It worked though. They tucked him into the bed beside Tyson’s, closed the drapes on the graying dawn, and set his cubby of his beyblade, belt, and any non-bloodstained clothes at the bottom of the bedside table. He was fed, given some boss pain killer through his IV, and left to his own devices by the nurses.

Only then did he allow himself to breathe.

Shame I couldn’t grab some vodka and lemon juice on the way, he thought blithely. Not for himself. He wasn’t a fan of blurring his mental processes (induce himself to be stupid? Really?). But alcohol and lemon juice made a brilliant quick, albeit painful, fix to a sick throat. It’d clear out Ayah’s quick enough. Sneaking vodka into the hospital to give to a minor, on the other hand…

He let out a weak laugh at the thought. Break into a manor and high security secret basement, fine. Sneak vodka into the hospital and suddenly it’s Tyson trying to sneak past Gramps after avoiding Kendo practice for a week.

He stopped quickly enough on catching the still faces of his teammates. The curtains had been drawn around to block the view, but then drawn back just a bit so the ‘poor worried friend’ could check up on them from his wounded position on his bed while keeping them hidden from anyone who might pass by in the hallway. They were the famous Blade Breakers after all.

Ray should have finished his procedure by now. He was probably asleep. Ayah would be sleeping as well. Electrocution wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience.

Despite the fact that he had been up all night as well as most of the night before, he swung his legs off the bed. He shook his head in an attempt to shake off the heavy, prickling pain of his body earnestly begging for sleep. Blood loss, whatever pain killer they had given him, adrenaline drop…he’d have to make this quick.

Holding to his IV roller-pole-rack-thingy, he stood, waited for the spinning in his head to pass, and quietly eased himself out of the room.

The on duty nurse at the desk pursed her lips at the sight of him.

“I just have one more friend I need to check on,” he said, making sure to make his voice pitch just right and duck his chin so his eyes looked wider.

She sighed. “Alright, you can drop in, but no disturbing anyone. You be quiet as the grave, you hear?”

He nodded fervently and then wished he hadn’t. Blood loss was a bitch.

He told her Ayah’s name, she noticed he had been there before, frowned, but got up and led him to the end of the hall. She opened up the door as quietly as she could. But, to both their surprise, Ayah was awake and staring out the window upon the pinking dawn.

“Can I have a word with her?” he asked.

The nurse ignored him. “Honey, you’re supposed to be asleep. Having a rough time?”

Ayah looked about and nodded. Her eyes took in Kai with a solemn understanding. Some emotion he couldn’t understand glittered there, which unnerved him. He could read people. Not many things slipped passed him, and Ayah had struck him as one of those girls who wore their emotions on their shoulders and faces.

“Would you like something to help you?” asked the nurse.

Ayah blinked, hesitated, but nodded again.

“Alright, you two can talk while I go and fetch that, but then both of you are heading back to bed.” She gave Kai a stern look as though warning him not to do anything funny while she was gone before leaving. He rolled his eyes. What did she think he would do? Try to rape her with his side shot through? It would have been easier to just bring along his beyblade in a childish display of ‘I just want to show her my beyblade’ and murder her. That had been why the Abbey trained children beybladers in the first place.

Ayah watched him carefully as he limped in to her bedside.

“I got them,” he said quietly. “If I can I’ll bring you something to clean out your throat quicker, but, whenever you think you can.”

Her eyes had flitted to his side. None of the bandages could be seen, and he wore a hospital gown and pants, so how she could tell where he was injured he didn’t know. Then he remembered what she had said about hearing blood and the skin calling out across the chasm of a wound. He suddenly felt an uneasiness he hadn’t thought to feel before. Just how much did this girl hear?

In the quiet that followed, there was nothing to distract him from the angelic, doll-like figure she made sitting in her bed with her mane of gently curling white hair swathed about her. A nurse must have combed it while he was gone. The curls hugged the curves of her face, her pale arms, and gleamed like freshly minted white gold.

His uneasiness grew and he averted his eyes. Attractive females were nothing but trouble. A liability at most.

“I’ll be with Tyson and Max,” he said.

With his message delivered, he hobbled out of the room and back down the hall to his own bed. He passed the still forms of Tyson and Max, swearing to them each within him that they would awake soon. Then, after slipping out the orbs of his friends and stuffing them under his pillow, right beneath his neck, he closed his eyes and allowed the sleep to overcome him.

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