If I Ain’t Got You – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 — Abusing the Challenged

Dec 21, 2002 – Somewhere in the Air on a Jetliner 
“Honey, are you okay?” Marshall Banks asked as he turned to face Jamie.

“I don’t know baby,” Jamie replied as he shook his head.

“Something seems to be bothering you baby. Do you want to talk about it?” Marshall asked as he took Jamie’s hand in his own.

“I—I just never thought I would be seeing the guys again, under these circumstances,” Jamie replied with a sigh. “It seems we only see each other or get together after something bad happens. It seems bad things are the only reasons why we ever make time to see one another.”

“You guys have lives of your own now. You’re all doing your own thing,” Marshall stated as he caressed Jamie’s cheek.

“Yeah, but bad things are the only things that we have that brings us all together,” Jamie said as a tear rolled down his cheek.

“You make it sound like there aren’t any good things that happen to get you guys together baby,” Marshall said as he looked Jamie in the eyes.

“There aren’t any good things. All of them have been bad,” Jamie stated as he sighed again.

“Come on baby, what about our wedding?” Marshall asked.

“Marshall, our wedding day was a total disaster and you know it,” Jamie said as he shook his head. “Remember, after we got married, Christopher got arrested for trying to pick up a prostitute, Josh and Justin were outed and then Joey got put in jail for disturbing the peace and…”

“Okay baby,” Marshal said with a frown. “There must’ve been something good in there somewhere.”

“Nothing but bad stuff baby. Since we parted ways, it seems we only see each other when something goes wrong,” Jamie stated as more tears fell from his eyes.

“Well that means you guys need to do something good and meet up more often,” Marshall said as he pulled Jamie’s hand up to his mouth and kissed the top. “It’s going to be alright baby. I’m sure Justin’s okay.”

“I don’t know about that baby,” Jamie replied as Marshall raised his other hand to get the flight attendant’s attention.

“Do you gentleman need anything?” The young woman asked as she looked at the two men.

“Could you bring me a Cola please?” Marshall requested with a smile. “Baby, do you want something?”

“Could you bring me a Cola too please and something stiff to mix with it?” Jamie asked as the young woman nodded and then walked down the aisle, returning a moment later with the things they requested.

“Here you are gentlemen. If you need anything else, just press the ‘call’ button,” the young woman stated as she pointed at the button with a smile and then turned to leave.

“Thanks,” Marshall said as he turned his attention back to Jamie.

“How much longer will it take?” Jamie asked as he sniffled.

“We’re almost there,” Marshall replied.

“I feel that there’s something drastically wrong. I feel that Justin isn’t alright,” Jamie said as he wiped at his eyes as Marshall leaned close and kissed his mouth. “Thank you baby.”

“You’re welcomed Mr. Banks,” Marshall stated as he draped his arm around Jamie’s neck and then pulled him close.

Orlando, FL – Somewhere in Florida Hospital

“Hey kid, you lost?” A black gentleman asked as Nick walked past where he sat.

“No, I’m not lost,” Nick answered.

“Are you sure of that kid? You look like someone that has lost out on a lot of things in this world,” the man said with a frown.

“I’m find man, I just need to get the hell out of here,” Nick replied as he looked around to see where he was.

“You don’t look fine to me kid. What happened to your hands?” The man asked as he pointed at the bandages on Nick’s wrists.

“That—that’s none of your business,” Nick replied, taking on a defensive tone.

“Hey, no harm, no foul kid. I’m only trying to be nice and help you out,” the man said as he held his hand out to Nick. “I’m Marcus.”

“Sorry Marcus, but I’m trying to get out of here. How do I leave this place?” Nick asked as he looked down at Marcus.

“Why are you trying to leave here? It’s apparent that something’s ailing you. Stick around and get better first,” Marcus spoke with a soft smile.

“Fuck no, I just want to get out of here,” Nick stated as he shook his head.

“Why? This place is one of healing. You seem like you have a lot of healing to do. Come over here kid and sit down,” Marcus said as he patted the seat next to him.

“I don’t need to heal; I just need to get away so I can be by myself,” Nick said as he held his head down as the tears slid down his face.

“No kid, you need to stay here in the hospital. This place will help you, help you out a whole lot,” Marcus said as he grabbed Nick’s hand and held them in his own. “I’m an old guy kid. I spent most of my life running away from what I needed. Don’t you spend your life, running away from life itself. What you need is right here in this very hospital. Trust me kid, what you’re looking for is closer to you than what you think.”

“What I need is to get away from here and be by myself,” Nick stated as he shook his head again.

“Trust me kid. What you’re looking for is right here in this hospital. You just need to sit down and take a look at things in your life” Marcus said with a smile.

“How do you know what it is that I need? How do you know what I need is right here in this hospital?” Nick asked as he looked at the man strangely.

“You’ve been running or a long time kid. It’s time to stop running from things,” Marcus said as he rubbed Nick’s hand. “When the opportunity presents itself, you need to be open-minded and don’t be afraid of what might happen.”

“Nick, is that you?” Nick heard as he turned around to hear a voice he wished he never would hear again.

“Brian?” Nick said as he stood up to see Brian Lang, standing there watching him with a sad expression on his face.

“Oh Nick, are you okay?” Brian asked as he reached out to touch Nick’s face.

“Remember what I said to you kid. When the opportunity presents itself to you, don’t be afraid. Keep an open mind and be true to yourself,” Marcus said to Nick. “Oh and kid, that’s not the opportunity.”

“What?” Nick said as he turned to look at Marcus.

“He’s not the opportunity,” Marcus said as he pointed at Brian.

“Are you okay Nick? Who are you talking to?” Brian asked as he looked at Nick strangely.

“Marcus, he’s just a guy that I met here,” Nick said as he turned around to see that Marcus was no longer there. “That’s odd, he was just right here.”

“Are you okay?” Brian asked as he looked at Nick closely.

“I’m okay now Brian,” Nick replied as he looked into Brian’s eyes. “So, why are you here?”

“I came to see about you, after I heard what happened,” Brian replied with a frown.

“How did you know I was here?” Nick asked as he looked at Brian strangely.

“I got a call from Kevin. He blessed me out because of what you had done to yourself on the plane,” Brian stated as he turned Nick around and kissed his forehead. “Why are you hurting yourself baby?”

“Don’t call me baby,” Nick said as he pulled away from Brian.

“Why not Nick, you’re my baby, well aren’t you?” Brian asked as he looked at Nick strangely.

“No, I’m not your baby Brian. You dumped me for Layna, remember that Brian?” Nick asked as he stepped away from Brian. “Again, why are you even here?”

“I told you Nick, I came here to see about you,” Brian replied as he looked at Nick closely. “You had me worried.”

“You came here all the way from Atlanta, to see about me, because of what Kevin told you?” Nick asked as he shook his head.

“You make it sound like we’re not even friends or anything,” Brian said as he reached out to touch Nick’s arm. “You know I still love you Nick. I’m only with her to keep the public out of my business.”

“Yeah right Brian, you—you let me down. You weren’t around when I needed you to be. You left me alone for two whole months. You promised me that I would never be alone. You broke your promise to me,” Nick stated as he turned and walked away from Brian.

“Nick wait, don’t just walk away from me,” Brian said as he caught up to Nick, grabbing him by the arm, stopping him from walking. “Stop, I said don’t walk away from me.”

“Go away Brian, just leave me alone,” Nick said with a frown. “If you really loved me, you would’ve never left me and married—married her.”

“I told you why I married her,” Brian said as he turned Nick back around to face him. “I don’t love her, I love you.”

“No, you don’t love me Brian. If you loved me, you wouldn’t care what the public thinks about you,” Nick said as he pushed Brian away and then continued walking down the hall again.

“I told you not to walk away from me Nick,” Brian said as he rushed to catch up to Nick again as he grabbed him by the arm forcefully and then pulled him into the nearest room he saw. “Listen Nick…”

“Stop Brian! What’re you doing?” Nick asked as he struggled to get away from Brian.

“Shut the fuck up Nick!” Brian exclaimed through gritted teeth as he placed his hand over Nick’s mouth. “You love me; I know you do, so shut the fuck up with your petty damn whining.”

“Stop it Brian, what’re you doing?” Nick asked as he continued to struggle with Brian.

“I’m going to give you what you want. I know what you need,” Brian said as he pushed Nik down on the bed in the room and then held him down as he ground his hips against Nick’s, simulating sex.

“Stop Brian, I don’t want this,” Nick replied as he thrashed about under Brian.

“Fine then, if you don’t want it, I’ll leave,” Brian said as he moved to the side of the bed, letting Nick get up off the bed.

“Thank you,” Nick said as he moved away from the bed, heading towards the door as he turned his back to Brian.

“On second thought, I think I want some of that ass,” Brian said as he grabbed Nick by the arm quickly, slinging him around the room as he pushed him down on the bed, holding him down face first. “Shut the hell up and take it like I know you can!”

“No Brian, please… Don’t… Stop… I don’t… Please no… I don’t want this,” Nick said, crying out as he struggled more to get away from Brian as he got his zipper down and fished his manhood through the fly of his pants. “No, stop! You’re hurting me Brian!”

“I’m not hurting you. You like it like this,” Brian said as he leaned down to nip at Nick’s neck as he continued forcing himself into Nick’s ass.

“Stop Brian, please stop!” Nick screamed as Brian moved his hand around to cover his mouth.

“I’ll stop when I’m done with you,” Brian said as he continued thrusting into Nick’s body. “It won’t be much longer now, I’m almost there.”

“Brian, if you ever loved me, you’ll stop. You’re hurting me,” Nick pleaded, his voice barely audible. “Please Brian, please stop.”

“Shut up Nick, stop your damn whining and get off like you know you want to,” Brian said as he pulled his dick out of Nick’s ass and then shot his load across the hospital gown that was bunched up on Nick’s back. “Damn, that was a good load. You’re truly the best fuck I’ve ever had. You know I love your ass baby. Layna doesn’t do it like you.”

“Okay Brian,” Nick replied as he lay face down on the hospital bed as he cried while pulling his legs up to his chest, getting into the fetal position.

“What’re you doing?” Brian asked as he rubbed the side of Nick’s face with his hand. “Say something Nick. Stop with that punk ass shit. I didn’t even hurt you and you know it. Hell, we’ve been way rougher than this in the past. This was minor compared to some of the stuff we’ve done.”

“Okay Brian,” Nick replied as he rocked back and forth, still lying on the bed in the fetal position.

An Hour Later – The Hospital’s Cafeteria

“I can’t find him anywhere,” Kevin said as he sat down at the table with Janet and Aaron Canton.

“Well apparently you haven’t looked everywhere, since we still don’t see him,” Aaron sarcastically said as Janet glared at him. “Has he left the hospital.”

“I don’t think he has. He has to be here somewhere. The guards have all the exits blocked. He can’t get out of here without someone knowing about it,” Kevin said as his cell phone rang.

Kevin’s POV

“Hello,” I said into the phone, noticing Laura’s number on the display.

“Have you found him yet?” Laura asked as I looked over at Aaron and Janet.

“No, we haven’t found him yet. We’re sitting here in the cafeteria, waiting for any info the hospital security guards can give us. We haven’t heard back from them yet,” I informed her.

“Well I’m on my way down. It looks like we got here just in time. I’ll see you in a couple,” Laura said as I shook my head.

“That was Laura, she and the guards are on their way down here. She couldn’t find him either,” I said as Janet frowned as Aaron just shook his head.

“What could’ve happened to him? Is he hiding out somewhere in someone’s room?” Janet asked as she looked over at me.

“If that’s the case, he can be anywhere here in this place,” I said, thinking about all the possibilities of where he could be hiding. Hell, he could be somewhere hurt and we wouldn’t even know it because there are so many places here that he could hide.

“Why is he doing this Momma?” Aaron asked as he looked at Janet as I turned around and looked at him strangely, since I’ve never heard him call Janet ‘Momma’ before.

“I don’t know baby, but I do know that he must be hurting very badly,” Janet replied as she looked down. “I just hope he comes back and let us get him some help.”

“The doctor said he needs to speak with a therapist real soon. I don’t think he wants to live anymore,” I said as Janet covered her mouth.

“Why is this happening to my baby?” Janet asked as she sighed.

“He’s been hurt a lot Janet. Every guy that he’s given his heart to has hurt him in return,” I said as the expression on her face changed.

“So, this all centers around Brian?” Janet asked as she looked over at me.

“Yes,” was all I could say to that because I knew it was the truth. Looking across the room, away from her, I spotted Brian at that very moment, walking out of a room. What in the world is he doing here? Getting up, I walked towards the exit and then stopped. “What in the hell is he doing here?”

“Who?” Janet asked as she got up and walked over to where I was as I pushed the door open. “Kevin, where are you going?”

“I’m going to tell him to leave,” I said, walking down the hall towards Brian as Janet sighed.

Janet’s POV

“Aaron honey, why don’t you go get one of those security guys and tell them to come over quickly,” I suggested to Aaron as I walked back out into the hallway to see where Kevin had gone as I spotted him and Brian a bit away as I stopped to listen.

“What are you doing here Brian?” Kevin asked as he stepped in front of Brian.

“I came here to check on Nick,” Brian replied as he looked at Kevin strangely. “Why do you care”

“Nick doesn’t need you checking on him,” Kevin stated as he pointed his finger in Brian’s face. “How did you even know he was here anyway?”

“Alexander called and told me that you guys were here,” Brian replied as Kevin shook his head. “What’s your beef Kevin?”

“You know what my beef is Brian,” Kevin replied as he looked like he was ready to jump on him. “You need to leave here. We don’t want Nicky running into you while he’s here.”

“You don’t want him running into me?” Brian asked as he looked at Kevin strangely.

“Yeah, we don’t want him running into you in his current state of mind. You’ve caused enough problems for him already,” Kevin said as he poked a finger in Brian’s chest, pushing Brian backwards a bit. “Go away Brian, none of us want you here.”

“That’s not true. Nick wants me here,” Brian stated as he pushed Kevin backwards a bit.

“It’s your damn fault that we’re here now,” Kevin said as he covered his eyes. “How would you know what Nick wants anyway?”

“I know Nick, he still wants me,” Brian said, making a move to walk away from Kevin. “If he didn’t want me here, we wouldn’t have just made love.”

“You just what!” Kevin screamed as he grabbed Brian by his shirt and then threw him up against the wall.

Did he say he and Nick just made love? That means he knows where Nick is. Where is Nick?

“What in the hell is your problem?” Brian asked as an orderly and a security guard walked up behind them.

“What’s going on here Mr. Richards?” One of the security guys asked as he walked closer to Kevin and Brian.

“He’s what’s going on here. He just attacked me!” Brian snapped as he tried to get away from Kevin.

“He—he did something to Nick. That’s why we can’t find him!” Kevin snapped as he pointed at Brian. “Where is he Brian? Where in the hell is he? What did you do to him?”

“Where is my baby Brian?” I asked, turning the corner, so everyone could see me.

“I didn’t do anything to him, he’s right in there,” Brian replied as he pointed to the room across the hall.

“Move!” Kevin screamed as he pushed past Brian, walking into the room to see Nick lying on the bed, crying and bleeding from his backside.

“My baby!” I screamed when I saw Nick’s body lying on the bed as I moved out of the room, trying to do my best to erase that image from my mind.

“Oh man,” the security guy said as he walked into the room next to see my baby sprawled out on the bed that way and then I heard what sounded like someone vomiting.

“Oh my God!” Kevin screamed as he scooped Nick into his arms. “What did you fucking do to him Brian?”

“You monster!” I snapped, reaching for Brian as one of the security guys stepped in front of me, blocking me from hitting Brian.

“I just said I didn’t do anything to him,” Brian said as he walked into the room with another security guard. “We made love and that’s all. Like anything we do is any of your damn business anyway!”

“Nicky, Nick can you hear me?” Kevin asked as he held Nick in his arms. “Come on Nick, speak to me, are you okay?”

“It hurts, it hurts,” Nick mumbled out as Laura and Aaron walked into the room as I grabbed Aaron, covering his eyes quickly.

“God, what happened to him?” Laura asked as she moved over to Kevin and Nick.

“I don’t know,” Kevin replied as he hugged Nick to his chest as I did my best to get my breathing under control and to keep Aaron away from what was going on.

“It hurts, it hurts,” Nick mumbled again. “Oh God, it hurts.”

“You fucking monster,” I said, trying not to draw too much more attention to what was going on.

“I didn’t do anything to him,” Brian said as he moved away from where we were. “Keep these crazy people away from me.”

“You raped him!” Kevin screamed out.

“Rape rape rape,” Nick declared as he rocked back and forth in Kevin’s arms.

“I ought to kill you!” Kevin screamed as he lay Nick back down on the bed as he jumped towards Brian.

“What the hell is your problem man?” Brian asked as he jumped behind the other security guard.

“You raped him! I’m going to kill you!” Kevin screamed as two other security guys tried to hold him back.

“I didn’t rape him, he was into it, just like I was,” Brian said as he glared at Kevin.

“He’s bleeding Brian! He’s hardly speaking!” Kevin screamed as he struggled with the guards to get free so he could get to Brian. “Let me go damn it!”

“Oh God, my baby,” I said as I let go of Aaron and moved over to Nick, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling him into my arms.

“No!” Nick screamed out. “Get away from me! Get away from me! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!”

“Nick baby, it’s me, it’s me your mother,” I said, trying to hug him again.

“Stay away from me! Don’t touch me! Keep away!” He screamed out as he jumped back on the bed and then fell backwards off the other side, hitting the floor.

“Get a doctor in here for him! You need to call the police and have him arrested!” Kevin screamed out.

“How could you have done this to him Brian?” Laura asked as she grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and then smacked him across the face as he struggled to get away from her.

“I didn’t do anything to him that he didn’t want,” Brian said as two police officers walked into the room.

“Are you Brian Lang?” The police officer asked as he walked over to Brian.

“That’s him officer,” Kevin said as the security guards let him go.

“Brian Lang, you’re hereby under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…” the police officer continued, reading Brian his Miranda Rights as another police officer walked in and placed some handcuffs on him.

“I’m innocent, I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t rape him or anybody, he wanted it,” Brian stated as the police officers escorted him out of the room. “I’ll get out. The truth will be revealed!”

Dec 22, 2002 – The Intensive Care Unit – Justin’s Room

“Hello Sunshine, how do you feel today?” Christina asked as she walked into the room with a cup of coffee and a bag of donuts in hand.

“Hey Chrissy,” Justin replied as he moved his head to look at Christina. “I feel okay, but my arms and legs feel like—like mush. What actually happened to me?”

“You were in a car accident and you collided with another car,” Christina stated as she looked down, not wanting to say more than that.

“Damn, I guess dancing is out for a while,” Justin said as his mother, Donnie and some security guys walked into the room.

“Hello baby, how are you feeling?” Lynn Hart asked as she walked over to the bed and then sat down in the chair next to the bed.

“I feel like much Ma. What’re you doing here?” Justin asked as he maneuvered his head to look at her. “This isn’t that bad, I’m sure I’ll get to go home in a few days.”

“A few days…” Lynn said as she looked at Justin as Christina and Donnie shook their heads at her. “That’s right, a few days baby.”

“That’s all, a few days and I’ll be as good as new,” Justin said as he tried to sit up in bed as he winced, closed his eyes and then screamed out. “Ooooh crap! What the hell!”

“Don’t try to sit up baby, just stay put,” Lynn suggested.

“I want to get up and walk around some. I don’t want to be lying in bed all the time. I want to get up and move around,” Justin said as he tried to get up again as the pain hit him hard again, knocking the wind out of him as he stopped moving and screamed out again. “Ooooooow! Why… Why can’t I get up?”

“Baby, right now… Well… Ah… You can’t get up,” Lynn replied as the tears slowly fell from her eyes.

“What do you mean I can’t?” Justin asked, his expression changing to an angry one.

“Baby…” Lynn said as Christina and the others turned to leave the room.

“Wait, where are you guys going?” Justin asked as he shook his head as the sweat broke out on his brow.

“We’re going to stop outside for a while,” Christina said as some tears fell from her eyes.

“What’s going on around here?” Justin asked as the door closed and it was just him and Lynn left in the room. “Momma, what’s going on?”

“Baby, you can’t walk right now,” Lynn stated as she held onto his hand.

“What? What do you mean I can’t walk right now?” Justin asked as he turned his head and looked at Lynn as close as he could.

“You can’t walk right now,” Lynn said again, not really wanting to say what needed to be said.

“What! No!” Justin screamed out as he feared what his mother was about to tell him. “What do you mean I can’t walk?”

“Calm down baby, please,” Lynn said as the tears fell from her eyes. “The accident… Well the accident caused… Oh God… The accident caused a lot of damage to the nerves down your spine…”

“What! I’m paralyzed? No!” Justin screamed as the tears streamed down his face as Lynn got u and hugged him to her chest. “I can’t walk! I can’t walk!”

“Baby please,” Lynn said as she tried to calm him down as she rubbed his back.

“No Momma, no!” Justin screamed again. “How… How do you… How do you expect me to act here? I can’t walk! I can’t walk for Christ’s sake! Why me? What’s wrong with my legs? They—they look fine damn it!”

“Baby listen,” Lynn said with a sigh. “Your legs are fine; it’s the damage to the nerves along the spine that’s causing you not to walk.”

“Nerve damage! Nerve damage!” Justin screamed out. “This—this isn’t fair!”

“No baby, things in life are never fair, but you’ll get through this,” Lynn said as she rubbed his back. “The doctors don’t believe this to be a permanent condition; you just need some time to heal.”

“I don’t need time to heal! I just want… I want to die!” Justin screamed out as he pulled away from Lynn and then turned away from her as he cried. “Just leave me alone Momma.”

“No Justin, I’ll never leave you alone,” Lynn replied as she wiped at her own eyes. “I’m not going to leave you here like this, especially while you’re talking like that.”

“Please Momma, please just go,” Justin said as he sniffled and closed his eyes. “I just want to go back to sleep now.”

“You go to sleep, but I’m not going to leave you,” Lynn said as she rubbed his back as she moved back into the chair.

A Few Hours Later

“Hello Mr. Tanner, I’m Dr. Henry Warrenton, how are you feeling?” The man asked as he walked over to Justin’s bed.

“How do you think I feel? Fuck off man! Just go on and leave me the hell alone!” Justin snapped as he turned away from the man.

“Mr. Tanner, I’m not leaving here, I have to examine you,” Dr. Warrenton stated.

“I said leave me alone man!” Justin snapped again, not even looking up at the man. “There’s no reason for you to examine me. I’m nothing but a useless cripple now.”

“Stop that Justin,” Lynn said as she walked into the room and over to the bed. “You’re not a cripple. That’s not a polite word.”

“So what do you call a person like me, that can’t walk anymore?” Justin asked as he looked up at Lynn. “You call them a fucking cripple!”

“I said stop that Justin,” Lynn demanded as she looked at Justin sternly.

“Is now not a good time?” A guy in a wheelchair asked, entering the room.

“I don’ think it is JT, maybe we should try again tomorrow,” Dr. Warrenton stated with a frown.

“Well, I think I’ll introduce myself anyway, while I’m here and all,” the man said as he rolled around to where Lynn was and extended his hand. “Hi there, I’m JT Poole. I’m one of the rehabilitation therapist here in the hospital.”

“Hi, I’m Lynn Hart, I’m Justin’s mother,” Lynn replied as she shook JT’s hand.

“So, I’m guessing that’s Mr. Tanner over there,” JT said as he pointed at the person lying on the bed with their back turned to everyone.

“Yes, that’s Justin, my stubborn son,” Lynn replied as she sighed. “Justin, will you please talk with these gentlemen?”

“Just go away,” Justin said as he sniffled. “I don’t want to be bothered right now.”

“I guess we’ll try again tomorrow,” Dr. Warrenton said as he walked towards the door as Lynn and JT followed.

To Be Continued…

The Awakening – Chapter 10

Chapter 10 — Time Travel, Nah Uh — Part 1

A Different Time — Earth — A Small Town in Georgia — A Dive Bar

“Stay away from him!”  A woman screamed as she pushed another woman in front of her backwards.

“No reason to, he’s mine!”  The other woman screamed as she smiled and then placed her hands on her hips as she stood between a man and the other woman.

“You know her?”  The man asked as the other woman smiled again.

“Oh she knows me all right,” the woman replied as she raised an eye and then smiled again.

“How do you know her Jen?”  The man asked.  “She acts as if you two had…”

“That wasn’t an act!”  The other woman exclaimed as she pushed the man backwards to the floor as she grabbed the woman named Jen by the hand, pulling her close, close enough to kiss, but didn’t.

“No!  I told you to stay away from him—us!”  Jen screamed as her eyes glowed brightly.

“How dare you!  You’re choosing him over me?  You’re going to fight for him?  He’s a damn man!”  The woman screamed as she pulled the belt from around her waist, it lengthening out to become a whip as she snapped it at Jen.  “If I can’t have you, no one else will!”

“I don’t want you Protectra, it was just a phase!”  Jen yelled as she deflected the woman’s attack against her with the whip.  “I don’t want to hurt you, but I will if I have to!”

“Fine, have it your way then.  If you want him, fight for him!”  The woman screamed as she popped the whip towards the man, it wrapping around his neck, squeezing his windpipe so he couldn’t breath. “If he’s dead, he can’t do anything for you!”

“I’m not going to let you hurt him Protectra, you might as well stop this!”  Jen screamed as her eyes glowed brightly.  “Just leave here and don’t come back!”

“Not on your life bitch!”  The woman screamed as she disappeared and then reappeared again behind Jen, knocking her down to the floor as she grabbed the man again.

“Fine, have it your way!”  Jen screamed as beams of light flashed from her eyes, zapping the woman, knocking her backwards to the floor, causing her to release her grasp on the whip, freeing the man’s windpipe so he could breathe.

“Randy, are you okay?”  Jen asked as she looked over at the man as he shook his head as he coughed as she projected beams of energy from her hand at the woman, holding her down with the beam on the floor.

“I’m okay babe, that bitch tried to choke my ass out!”  The man screamed as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small toy that looked like a motorcycle as he placed it on the floor as he gestured with his hand as it grew in size to reveal that it was a real motorcycle.

“Get out of here and get to safety.  Call the others and tell them what’s happening,” Jen instructed as the woman disappeared from the floor and then appeared above Jen, falling down on top of her, knocking her down to the floor.  “This bitch here!  Get the hell off of me!”

“Do you really want me to do that Jen?”  The woman asked as she caressed Jen’s face as she leaned in close and then kissed Jen’s lips.  “You used to love this.  How can that man compare to all of this?”

“I don’t love you Protectra and I never will,” Jen stated as she moved away from the woman as everything around her went black as a mirror appeared.  “What in the hell is going on?  A mirror?  Damn it, now I remember.  I was in Limbo with JT when all of this mess happened.  The mirror brought me here and it can take me back.  When I get my hands on JT, his ass is mine!”

Sometime in December 1990 — Tempe, AZ — Stroyer Industries — A Private Laboratory

“Have there been any changes with the subject with the new additives?”  A woman asked as she walked into the room with a clipboard in her hands.  “Last report said there hadn’t been any changes since the first trial run.”

“None Dr. Hamlin, the subject seems to be immune to the different chemicals we’ve imbued her with,” one of the lab assistants spoke as the woman wrote something down on the clipboard and then shook her head.  “The last trial showed a hypothermal spike in her cellular structure, but that spike quickly resolved itself.”

“I gave you all the proper schematics to follow and so far, this project hasn’t yielded any usable results.  What’s the problem here?”  The woman asked as she walked over to one of the young men.

“Doctor we followed your directions to the letter, but we think it’s the subject, not your methods,” the young man stated as the woman shook her head.

“Fine, then find me a different subject!”  The woman screamed as she slapped the young man across the face and then slung him to the floor.  “This experiment should’ve yielded results by now!”

“We’re trying, but so far, we haven’t been able to determine why the subject is immune to the different chemicals,” another lab assistant spoke as the woman shook her head and then walked over to him.

“Find an answer to this and find it now!”  The woman screamed as she pointed her finger in the young man’s face.

“Right away doctor,” the young man said as he quickly moved away from the woman, trying to do as she asked as there as a scream and a blinding flash of light as the lab subject disappeared from the chemical bath in the center of the room.

“What in the hell!  Where did she go?”  The woman asked as she looked around.  “Where in the hell is she?  Find that girl right now!”

“Right away doctor,” another lab assistant spoke as he pressed a button on the wall as an alarm sounded.

“Attention complex, this is Dr. Efrem Zino.  There is a problem in lab zero,” the man spoke on a phone.  “Helia Stroyer has gone missing.  Keep a look out for her in the building.  Report to me at once when she has been found.”

Sometime in July 1998 — Las Vegas, NV — The Gold Nugget Casino

“Come on dice, Momma needs a new pair of shoes!”  A young woman screamed as she threw the dice on the table.

“Snake eyes!”  The crap’s table stickman excitedly announced as she used the stick to pull the dice in her direction.  “Sorry Doll, rolling like that, you don’t make the cut.”

“Oh come on, I need another roll,” the young woman said as the stickman looked at her strangely and then pushed the dice in the direction of another player.  “I have more money, I…”

“Put up or shut up Doll,” the stickman said as the boxman watched the table, making sure all bets were fairly placed on the table.

“Fine then,” the young woman said as she pushed two chips forward as the stickman used the stick to pull her bet to the pot.  “This is my only chance.”

“Let the woman set the bet again,” someone else that stood around the table said as the stickman pushed the dice to the young woman.

“Okay Doll, it’s all on you,” the stickman spoke as the young woman picked up the dice, blew on them and then closed her hand, shaking the dice as she cast them down on the table.  “Well, it looks like someone got lucky!”

“Yes!”  The young woman screamed as she jumped up and down, clapping her hands as two men walked over to the table.  “Oh yeah, that’s what Momma needs!”

“Miss, please calm down, you’re distracting other guests here,” one of the men spoke as the young woman looked at the man and then shook her head.

“Uh huh,” the young woman replied as she turned her attention back to the table as the stickman pushed the dice back towards her.  “All right, Momma needs a new car… Come on baby, Momma needs a new car.”

“Just go ahead and throw the dice,” another one of the patrons spoke as the young woman rolled the dice, coming up lucky again.  “Damn, she did it again.”

“Whooopeee!”  The young woman screamed as she clapped her hands together again while she jumped up and down.

“Miss,” one of the security men spoke as the young woman shook her head and then collected the dice and then rolled again, coming up lucky again.

“This girl is on a streak,” another patron spoke as the young woman clapped her hands again as the stickman pushed the winnings towards her.

“All right, let’s see if I can get one more,” the young woman stated as she pushed her wager to the center of the table and then picked up the dice as she blew on them again and then rolled them, coming up lucky again as one of the security guys looked at the stickman and then made a gesture with his head.  “This must be my lucky day!”

“Excuse me miss, come with us,” one of the security men spoke as he motioned with his head to someone in the corner as the young woman looked at him as another man came over to the table.

“Go with you for what?”  The young woman asked.

“So you can cash out your winnings,” the security guy spoke as the young woman looked at him strangely.

“Sorry, but I’m not ready to cash out my winnings just yet,” the young woman stated as the security guy nodded his head.

“We think you are,” the security guy replied as he motioned for the young woman to step away from the table as the stickman used the stick to pull the dice from the spot.

“Awww come on, that’s totally not fair,” another patron spoke as the young woman scooped up her chips and then walked away from the table, heading towards the cashier.

“Right this way miss,” the security guy spoke as he pointed for the woman to step up to the window for the cashier.

Almost An Hour Later — Outside the Casino

“Hi there young lady,” General Ranger spoke as he walked up to the young woman.  “My name is Mr. Ranger, what’s yours?”

“Ah hi,” the young woman spoke as she looked at General Ranger strangely.  “What is it that you want?”

“I just want a moment of your time,” General Ranger replied with a smile.

“I’m not a hooker or anything like that, so I’m not looking for any trouble,” the young woman replied, not taking her eyes off of the man.

“I’m not a john either.  I’m not looking for that sort of thing,” General Ranger spoke with a sly smile.  “Not to sound too crass, but what I’m looking for has nothing to do with what’s between your legs, but what’s in your head.”

“Excuse me,” the young woman said as she stepped back, trying to move away from General Ranger.

“There’s no excuse for your kind Ms. Randall, but I’m sure when I’m done with you, you’ll be best at serving your country,” General Ranger stated as he pressed a button as a spotlight came on, blinding the young woman as she tried to shield her eyes.  “Men, tag and bag her, now!”

“No!”  The young woman screamed as she took off running and then stopped in her tracks when she realized that military soldiers surrounded her.

“Sorry, but there will be no escaping me tonight Ms. Randall,” General Ranger stated with a sly smile.  “I’ll follow you to the ends of the Earth if I have to.  I promise you, if you make me chase you, I’ll make you hurt for every minute of the chase.  It’ll be in your best interest to just give up and come with me quietly.”

“No!”  The young woman screamed as she looked around, trying to figure out which way to go as some of the soldiers tackled her to the ground, placing some strange handcuffs on her and a device on her head.

“Perfect, let’s get the hell out of here, Vegas doesn’t agree with me and I don’t agree with it,” General Ranger stated as he and the soldiers ran through an alley and then boarded a helicopter.

Sometime in March 1996 — Staten Island, NY — Staten Island University Hospital — The Emergency Room

“Somebody, I need help!”  A young woman screamed as she rushed into the area with a baby in her arms.  “There’s something wrong with my baby!”

“What seems to be the problem?”  A nurse asked as a doctor walked over to the woman.

“What seems to be the problem here?”  A doctor asked as he looked at the young woman and then at the baby.  “What makes you think there’s a problem miss?”

“Every—every time I feed him, he—he looks as if there’s something wrong and then he sleeps… He sleeps for hours without a problem.  That’s not normal for a baby.  He doesn’t react like other babies.”

“What do you mean miss?”  The doctor asked as he looked at the young woman strangely.  “One would think a new mother would love a quiet baby, that doesn’t put up a fuss.”

“I have more than just a quiet baby.  Sometimes it seems… It seems like he’s dead,” the young woman spoke as the doctor and nurse looked at her strangely.  “Sometimes he sleeps for ten to twelve hours a day, then he wakes up and eats and then sleeps for the same amount of time again.  That’s not regular for a normal baby.”

“That sounds rather odd,” the doctor spoke as he scratched at his head.  “He sleeps ten to twelve hours a day?  Are you sure?”

“Yes I’m sure and sometimes he sleeps longer than that,” the young woman stated as she pushed the scarf back that covered her baby’s face to reveal that he was asleep.  “With all the noise I’ve made, he should’ve been fussy right now, but he’s sleeping very soundly.  I don’t think this to be normal for a baby.  What do you think Doctor?”

“How old is this baby?”  The doctor asked, looking at the young woman and then looking back at the baby.

“He’s twenty-one months old,” the young woman replied with a frown.

“Yes, that does seem rather odd,” the doctor spoke as he scratched at his head again.  “Come with me.  Nurse, I need to document this case.”

“Yes sir,” the nurse spoke as she picked up a clipboard and then followed the doctor and the young woman into an examination room.

An Hour Later

“Ma’am, it seems your son has a strange form of what I can only call, hypersomnia,” the doctor stated as the young woman looked at him strangely.

“What is that doctor?”  The young woman asked.

“It seems he has the reverse of someone not being able to sleep,” the doctor stated as he flashed his penlight into the baby’s eyes with no results.  “There is minimal retinal activity while he’s sleeping.  I guess he’s in a deep form of REM sleep.”

“What does all of this mean doctor?”  The young woman asked.

“I think there’s a different, deeper reason for your baby sleeping like this,” the doctor stated as the baby’s eyes shot open and the baby started crying, screaming at the top of his lungs.

“He—he must be hungry,” the young woman stated as she opened her purse and pulled out three baby bottles, feeding the first one to the baby as he hurriedly nursed on the bottle, finishing it off and started crying again.  “I hope I have enough.”

“Is this the routine you’ve developed with him?”  The doctor asked as the young lady nodded her head. “So he sleeps and then eats and then what happens?”

“After he finishes off the bottles, he plays for a few minutes and then he goes back to sleep,” the young woman stated as the nurse watched things transpire as she documented what was going on.

“Is there any interaction between you and your son that goes beyond him eating, sleeping and playing for a few minutes at a time?”  The doctor asked as the young woman shook her head negatively.

“No sir,” the young woman replied as she looked down.

“I think we need to keep your baby here at the hospital overnight for observation,” the doctor spoke as the young woman’s eyes widened as she looked at him and then over at the nurse.

“Doctor, I can’t…” the young woman started as the doctor interrupted her.

“I’m sorry miss, but from what I’ve observed here tonight, there’s something not right with this and I think some more testing needs to be done to get to the bottom of this matter,” the doctor stated as he walked to the door of the room.  “The nurse will assist you until I return.”

“Okay Doctor,” the young woman spoke as the doctor walked out of the room and then down the hall to a private office, where he walked over to the desk and picked up the phone, dialing a number.

“This is Dr. Miles Templeton at Staten Island University and I have something here I think you might want to see,” the doctor spoke with a sly smile on his face.  “I’m sure what I have here will help you in your research.”

Sometime in February 2002 — Myrtle Beach, SC — An Abandoned Hotel

“Hey Zee, I found us some food,” a little boy spoke as he crawled through a hole in the wall with a bag in his shirt.  “I waited for the man at the taco truck to close up and then I swiped us some dinner when he wasn’t looking.”

“No Kedan, that wasn’t a good idea, that was very dangerous of you,” a short, Latin girl spoke as she walked over to where the little boy stood.  “You could’ve gotten caught and thrown into jail for stealing.”

“But it was my turn to find food for us and I found us some.  We get to eat another day,” the little boy spoke as he opened the bag, taking the food out for the two of them.  “All I was able to get us was these fish tacos.”

“Oooh, I love fish, that’s my favorite,” the girl spoke as she accepted the food the little boy handed her.

“I know,” the little boy replied as he watched the girl eat as she licked her fingers and made strange noises, sounding more like a cat than a human girl.  “Zee, why do you sound like that?  You sound like a cat.  Are you a cat?”

“No, I’m not a cat Kedan,” the girl replied as she finished eating the meal and then looked away from the little boy.

“Then why do you sound like a kitty cat?”  The little boy asked as he finished eating his meal and looked at her strangely as he took a sip of the water and then passed the cup to her.

“I—I don’t know why I sound the way I do,” the girl replied as she took a drink of the water and then got up from where they sat.  “Thanks for the food Kedan, but I’m getting sleepy.”

“Are we sleeping here tonight or are we going to find some place down the beach?”  The little boy asked.

“We can sleep here tonight, since it’s raining out,” the girl asked as she sighed.  “I found us a comfortable spot, where we can sleep and be warm for the night.”

“Okay Zee,” the little boy said as he got up and then followed behind the girl as they walked through the ruins of the hotel as they got into another room where there was a bed.

“It’s not a fancy place, but it’ll do for the night kid,” the girl spoke as she grabbed the frayed mattress from the bed and put it on the floor in the closet and then waited for the little boy to go in.  “We can sleep in here and nobody will bother us.”

“All right Zee, that’s cool with me,” the little boy stated as they went into the closet and then laid down on the mattress.  “Goodnight Zee.”

“Goodnight Kedan,” the girl spoke as she moved around on the mattress, trying to get comfortable as her body started to shake as she screamed out as the little boy jumped up and then moved back in the closet, rummaging around through his pockets, finding a flashlight as he turned it on to see that the girl that he had walked into the closet with was now gone but there was a cat, lying where she was before.

“Zee!  Zee, where did you go?”  The little boy called out as he moved towards the door of the closet and opened it, flashing the light on the cat and then shaking his head as he rubbed at his eyes.  “Zee!”

“What happened to me?”  The cat spoke as the little boy’s eyes widened as he fell out of the closet, trying to back away quickly.

“Zee!  Zee, is that you?  You—you’re a cat!  You’re a talking cat!”  The little boy screamed as he got up off the floor and ran from the room, screaming as he flailed his arms around, slinging the flashlight to a distant corner of the room.

“Oh Deus, what’s happened to me?  I—I’m a cat!  How… I… What… I’m a cat!  How did I turn into a cat?”  The cat spoke as it stood up on it’s hind legs, looking at itself.  “What’s happening to me Deus, what’s happening to me?”

To Be Continued…