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   Chapter 36

Damsel[ed] Some Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12271

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:04


Jaylin.

Let me set the record straight before some wild, fanciful ideas kick around in your heads about medical procedures and death.

Administering CPR, even the mouth-to-mouth parts, is about as romantic as cutting open a cat to give it meatball surgery. You sling the person on the ground, hum “Stayin Alive“ in the back of your head to time the compressions right (100-120 a minute), plop one hand over the other and press two inches deep in the middle of the chest, about deep enough that if you snap a rib or two, you“re doing it right.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you bring someone back from the dead.

The girl kneels beside me. "Should I call 911?"

"No." I bring my fingers to the side of Heaven“s neck. It“s a little cold. Pulseless. I start up another cycle of compressions. "Stayin“ alive, stayin“ alive, ah ah ah..." I even start to sing it under my breath, my head a little fuzzy and my brow stinging with sweat.

"Are you going to give rescue breaths?"

"No!" Another round. My arms ache. Five cycles of compressions and I“m supposed to shock Heaven. Except I don“t have an AED. Or electricity powers. I mean, sometimes I can conduct electricity, if I have the right chemicals, that is. A battery might do the trick. But sometimes still the whole process backfires and I destroy the thing, and besides, there isn“t enough time for me to go back to the van and take the battery. And I don“t trust the little superhero enough to get it for me, either. The thing might blow, and then I“ll be responsible for her death, and that“s not something I need added to my record. I don“t even like her enough to try my hand at killing her.

"You should probably give her rescue breaths."

"I won“t kiss her." My arms really cramp up now, throbbing like all the muscles there bunched up and folded in on themselves. I bite the inside of my cheek, focusing on her blank face, the dust and blood collected on her lashes.

"She“s dead. She won“t mind." The girl chews her cookie, loud crunches that sound in my ear and make me shudder. "You know, I have a theory that Prince What“s-His-Face gave Snow White CPR, and, like, everyone just thought it was a kiss."

I shoot the girl a look. She grins, her mask all a glitter despite the darkness creeping into the sky.

We“re in the scraggly parts of the forest now, on our knees in a little clearing of roots and dust clumps, surrounded on all sides by trees so tall they stretch up and into eternity. Winds blow by, goosebumps rippling on my exposed skin, blood dribbling. My head spins, my thoughts scattered, spun this way and that like they“ve been blown about. Heaven isn“t breathing. My knee hurts. I“m hungry. Is there a Howler“s nearby? Oh, man, that car crash sucked.

I can give you the sports highlights of the crash, the cliff-notes, though I“m seeing double and my memories are all jumbled up like someone hit “scramble“ on my brain. Where the edges blur, I can hear myself yelling at the superhero, and then the rest plays out like a scene from a movie I saw years ago and has faded into shaky, distant images.

Something like a horse or a cow clopped into the road and Heaven swerved so hard the tires lost traction and the car fishtailed. When she pumped the brakes she drove us into a ditch. Which wasn“t a terrible move on her part, steering the van into a ditch, I mean. The roads here are curvy and veer sharply, lined with thick groves of sycamore trees. I was going forty-five, which doesn“t sound so bad until you think of that in the context of slamming into a solid tree trunk head-on.

But, yeah, the van did a stop, drop, and roll when it hit the ditch. The airbag

side. Her hands, they shake and shake and shake until I can“t bare to watch. "I don“t care," she says, her voice so raw my throat hurts. I tilt her chin up with two fingers, telling myself to be swift. I ball my fist, knuckles trembling, and slam it where her jaw and neck connects. Heaven silences, her body stills. I wish I had some of that drug on me, the one I used on Angel to make him relax before he fell asleep. She deserves to relax.

The little superhero stares, wide-eyed, like I slapped whatever she was about to say right out of her mouth. After a whole seven seconds, she recovers. "Well, what are you going to do?" She narrows her eyes, fists pressed on her hips.

I ease one arm under Heaven“s shoulder, the other under her knees, and scoop her up. I“m getting good at that. The air is sticky, only chilly when a gust of wind blows by. It smells sweet like freshly cut grass. Earthy. I“m a city villain, heart and soul. The trees, branches droopy with early spring blossoms, feel like they“re from another story, another universe, with deer and farms and the likes. It“s crazy to think this world is only a few hours away from the city.

The superhero is all dead-weight, heavy as her legacy. Her hair is matted with blood, half of her face laced with shallow, sore-like scare. Shirt sheared in the back, tangled curls spilled over my arm, she looks like such a mess. She is a mess.

And I“m alone, pretty much. Minus the silver-clad nuisance. I squint into the distance, where the hills rise and the horizon becomes a clot of trees, green as clover. The mall at the crossroads, where kidnapped supers are brought to have their powers torn out of them, they and their powers alike bought and traded like playing cards. Where Angel is. Where Gats will be. Some rescue required for the both of them, rescue I don“t know how to perform. I chew a strand of hair. Bringing someone back to life is one thing. Saving them is another.

"I“m scared," I want to tell Heaven, but I can“t. I toss my head back, blow my bangs out of my face, and force one foot in front of the other until walking becomes easier and faking becomes easier and talking becomes easy enough. I fix the girl with another look, haughty-like, one that says I“m in charge, as untrustworthy as I may be. "We walk." She dips her head, ponytail flopping stiffly over her shoulder, trotting after me as I spring into a jog. "We walk and try not to get our asses kicked."

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