Chapter 8: Shocked and grounded
The storm, once started, gained its own agency. Building on what Mel had drawn, the storm became self sustaining. As hard as Mel tried to draw or erase her way out of it, the storm raged beyond her control.
Lightning struck all over the city, mostly hitting the CN Tower, but also plenty of other places causing fires and the kind of destruction that only a major storm could.
The giant balls of faux-alien gelatin were forgotten as soon as the first droplets melted them away.
“Do I create a dome over the city? A giant fan to blow it away?” Mel was in a guilt induced panic.
“No. Concentrate on small things that will help people. Coordinate with the others.” I said it as I started to fly up.
“What are you going to do?” Mel’s question was punctuated by a hundred blasts of lightning hitting the city.
I could hear sirens at a distance. This storm wasn’t going to give up until all its power had dissipated. I suddenly wished I had watched more weather documentaries or paid better attention in science class. “Something shockingly stupid,” was my reply and even the pun didn’t soften the worry lines on Mel’s face.
I flew up above the city in the centre of the storm and took a deep breath. When the first bolt of lightning struck me, it tickled, giving me a false sense of security. One tickled, ten itched, a hundred stung. I lost count of the strikes as every part of me started to sing with electricity.
The storm was relentless and I couldn’t keep up with the energy. I had never channeled anything like this and It hurt deeply, like my cells were screaming in pain.
When I couldn‘t handle any more, I thought of Frank and all my friends and family that I had lost. They gave me the strength to carry on. When I lost that, I concentrated all that lightning into pure heat and shot it into the storm.
I passed out. The last thing I remember was my own screaming.
I woke up tied to a bed with rubber restraints. My skin felt raw and was covered in some sort of jelly. I lay there staring at a white ceiling and institutional fluorescent light for what felt like ages but I had no way of knowing if it was. I heard the telltale beeps and other noises of an IV and heart monitor.
“Oh good. You’re awake,” A male voice said from out of my eyeline. I tried to turn and see who it was but my neck was held in some sort of brace. “No no. Don’t try to move, you seriously hurt your neck.” That didn’t sound very medical.
The man stepped into my sightline and I asked in a hoarse voice, “What happened?”
“You were hit by a lot of lightning. You broke your neck, back, legs, and most of your ribs.” That explained why it hurt to breathe. “You also have burns over 90% of your body. When you came in, you fried every piece of equipment in the hospital.”
“Sounds bad,” I croaked, feeling a little stronger.
“That’s the thing, Electric Knight, you’re going to be fine. You’re healing faster than humanly possible. You’ll be as good as new by the end of the week.”
“How—” My question was interrupted by a horrible sounding and feeling cough. “Long,” I managed to croak out.
Bringing me water and putting a straw to my lips, he answered, “You’ve been here for a month.”
I spit some water out, my surprise turning into another bout of coughing. When I finally recovered, I tried to sit up. The restraints around my chest and arms stopped me. “I need to see my friends. Why am I tied down?”
“No one could touch you and you were thrashing. We had to insulate you and ground the room.”
“Okay… Can you release me?”
“Um. I’ll go ask the doctor.”
I was left alone again. Something about him bothered me. Didn’t nurses or orderlies usually use more medical jargon? If they couldn’t touch me, how had they managed to tie the restraints?
I sneezed; like all sneezes it was sudden. It was also violent but it didn’t hurt as bad as I’d expected. It felt more like I was bruised than broken. My nose tickled and I tried to place the smell that was now assaulting my nose.
In a hospital, or any public building, I should be smelling cleaning products. But this wasn’t that, it reminded me of something.
Before I had the chance to place it, the doctor came in and he looked familiar. I couldn’t place it until he started to speak, he had a deep melodic imitation of a theatre voice. “Ah. The patient is awake. How nice to have you with us again Electric Knight.”
“Why do you keep calling me Electric Knight?” I asked.
“Your face was burned and we had no other way to identify you.”
“Can I be untied?”
The doctor made a tsking noise and said, “Until we’re sure you’re not going to electrocute the building, we’re going to keep you as you are.” I was going to object, but he didn’t give me a chance instead he continued, “Do you have any idea who created the storm or those things that attacked the city?”
If the smell and the weird voice hadn’t been enough to make me suspicious, that question raised a red flag. The police would want to know, but a doctor? He hadn’t even asked me if I was feeling okay.
“I assumed it was the Puppeteer that sent those things.” I was lying.
The doctor’s eyes bulged and he said with forced calm, “That’s not possible, these things had cameras inside. They were crude and in no way up to the standards of the Puppeteer.”
“I don’t know, these things were pretty high tech. I mean they had quadcopters and gelatin controlled by radio waves.”
The doctor turned red and shouted, “High tech for the early two-thousands maybe, but it lacks artistry, nothing like—” he cut off and then smiled. “I’m impressed, you got me monologuing. How did you know?” asked the Puppeteer pretending to be a doctor.
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial story: