They waited for a few moments, but finally they heard Billy running about inside. He opened the door and ushered them in. He glanced around outside for a moment as Elijah and Adrian walked past him. Then he closed the door.
They were clustered in a long hallway, the walls painted a dull grey, warmed only by a large clock on the wall.
“Elijah, I would like you to meet Billy Brassington,” Adrian said, turning to both of them. They shook hands.
“It’s good to meet you,” Elijah said.
“I hope so,” Billy answered.
“Let’s get to work and find out then.”
“Right this way.”
Billy led them to the end the hall. After that it ran down a flight of dark steps. Billy didn’t take them there though. He opened a door that had a single plague reading office on it. What caught Elijah’s eye was a poster of the composer William Byrd hung on the door.
Billy led them in.
It was Byrd’s office, Elijah supposed, whoever Byrd was. It was fairly neat. The walls were covered with plaques for fencing awards, a few dusty trophies, and a continued assortment of posters. Billy led them through a door to an adjoining room.
“We’ll be in here,” he said. Elijah walked in first. It was somewhere between a lounge and a conference room, not too large, but spacious. But Elijah didn’t pay attention to much of it. Except the table set up in the middle of the room, and Billy’s medical tools beside it.
He continued in and took his backpack off. Adrian stopped in the doorway.
“Should I stay doc?” she asked Billy.
He shook his head.
“No. We’ll be fine.”
“Ok.” Adrian looked up at Elijah, and he turned around to look at her.
“I’ll see you in a bit,” she said. He nodded. She held on to his gaze for a moment longer. Neither wanted to let go, but she at last turned away. Billy closed the door.
“What’s the plan here?” Elijah asked. He dropped his backpack down on an armchair.
“Well,” Billy ruffled his hair. “I’ll numb you up, and give you a conscious sedative. Just don’t make any sudden movements or I might slice your throat.”
Elijah snorted. That’s why I’m having you do it.
It was a conscious sedative alright, but Elijah drifted into sleep on the table soon after it was injected. He was more tired than he had realized, worn out by stress and little sleep. As Billy cut his skin to get the device out, Elijah didn’t feel it or think about it. His mind fell to an old anxiety instead.
He remembered. Just like it was real, but hadn’t it happened all before?
It was evening, almost dark when he had received the call. He didn’t put on a coat, just got in the car, snow starting to fall. He drove down the driveway, jolting over chunks of ice. He never slowed down. Just drove as fast as he could towards the hospital.
It was cold. He shivered.
There were so many lights, so many noises, all pushing him away from getting in. Black police cars swarmed in front of him. He tried to shove his way through. He scrambled for his wallet. His icy fingers dropped it. He picked it up and pulled out an ID.
“I’m a student! My parents are in there!”
The hallways. There was blood on the floor when they finally led him in. It hurt to walk, didn’t it? Or was that something else?
“Elijah, I need you to prepare yourself…”
More blood. Blood on their bodies from gunshot wounds. The cop explained what happened, and Elijah heard him. Every single word he heard, all too well. He felt shaky and sunk down on the floor. He was getting hot, and everything else seemed to be getting dark.
“Are you alright?”
He shook his head. Couldn’t answer, couldn’t speak. It just kept getting darker. The last wave swept over him. All the lights went out.
Elijah opened his eyes and didn’t move.
There was a white ceiling, like the walls of the hospital. He stared up at it. He couldn’t recall anything. Just his dream, or his memory as it was truly. Everything was quiet, everything was dim.
He noticed the side of his neck was sore. He reached up and felt it. It was stitched up. It’s out. He suddenly shook with a breath of relief. Everything came back to him, and he in the present moment again. Which now was a dangerous one.
He sat up on the couch and stayed for a moment till his head stopped spinning. He heard voices in the office now, talking quietly. He got to his feet and walked over to the door. He opened it.
Billy and Adrian looked up, seated across from each other at the desk.
“How are you feeling?” Billy asked. He wiped his hands on a napkin. One of them had gone to get some takeout dinner, which was now spread between them.
“I’m alright,” Elijah answered. “Thank you, Billy.”
Billy nodded. And they never said anything else about it. Elijah walked in and sat down on the corner of the desk as he spotted a coffee marked with a sharpie Bird Boy.
“Is this mine?” he asked, turning the cup towards Adrian.
“Yeah,” she answered. The moment called for a smirk, but she didn’t seem to have it in her. Elijah took a sip.
“There’s a microwave behind me,” Billy answered. Elijah got up and walked over.
“I got you a roast beef sandwich,” Adrian said as he put the coffee in. “I figured you’d be hungry too.”
“Very. How long was I out?” Elijah looked over at Billy.
“Just a half hour.”
Silence lapsed for a while as the microwave hummed and no one spoke. Not until Elijah took the hot cup out.
“You know,” Adrian started. Elijah took a sip. “You’re going to have some trouble getting out of here.”