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   Chapter 15 Due Process, Anyone

Stolen Souls (boy x boy) By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12924

Updated: 2018-01-22 19:24

I don't wake up in handcuffs this time. Don't wake up in a cushy room with a soft bed and a friendly Jules chatting to himself in the bathroom.

I wake up in a cell with my hands lashed behind my back and the taste of garlic and metal in my mouth.

At first, I think I'm dead, because all I see is white. The room is sharp and white and clean. No bigger than a closet. My vision blurs in and out, making shapes out of the halo cast by the single circle light above. A pony, a cricket, a tree.

Beeps. I flip on my side. Can't move my arms. They're pinned behind me, searing pain from my shoulders all the way to wrists so heavy I fear they've been welded together with concrete. My heart throbs in the pit of my stomach, but you already could guess that. My knees, shins, ankles, they feel equally heavy. Can barely squirm. The air is sharp to my lungs, but when I try to open my mouth to draw in a deeper breath, it doesn't open. Sealed shut.

The jig is up. I had a good run. I blink a few times, tasting metal and garlic on my tongue. I squint hard at the glass pane that separates me from the wall painted a glorious eggshell beyond my cage. People in white lab coats flit by, tailcoats dragging. My head is swimming with images of the party. Could it really have been only a few hours ago? I squeeze my eyes shut, shake my head once, twice, slowly, slowly. At least my neck still moves. A win for Shiro-man. I can revise my song.

Shiro-man, Shiro-man, does whatever a Shiro can.

Falls from buildings, gets kidnapped, Mistaken for a killer, treated like crap, Oh no, is this the end for Shiro-maaaan?

Silence. Silence scratchy and thick, minus the occasional beep every ten or so seconds. I lie there on my hip, taking it all in with wide, almost glazed over eyes.

My hands are itching to draw. My feet are jittery in my boots. The taste is terribly pungent and I want to spit.

But when I try to call for someone my throat has gone pulpy and raw, and all I make is this humming sound. Like a bee. A pretty happy bee at that, and it pisses me off. But the angrier my shouts, the cheerier my humming.

I'm going batshit. Jules isn't dead; he doesn't even exist. And my mind is so broken that my imaginary crush hates me, leaves me, then dies a painful death after I fail to save him. Because that's how low my self-esteem is.

Bile rises in my throat. Gags are pretty dangerous stuff. You throw up and you'll drown it. But, luckily (or unluckily, if you're a morbid guy like me who thinks boredom is a method of torture that you just want to end one way or another), I force it down and stare blankly at the window, the only upset in my stay.

There's a door in it with a silver handle that locks on the outside. I buzz to myself, just to ease the boredom and the uncomfortable heat that's started to eat through my body like acid through sheet metal.

An hour passes. Then another.

I'm insane, I decide. Completely and utterly. Maybe dead too. Kind of panicking to myself, pretty sure I can see a vein of light inching toward me from the corner of my cell. Hopefully, if I'm not dead already, it's death come to free me from my chains and soothe me to sleep. If not, well, I've given up. Thinking hurts. My brain has become a toxic vat. The deeper I dip into it, the more of me bubbles away.

They come for me, now. I can identify them immediately because they're the only specks of color. Black boots, black trenches, black sunglasses. Sirius and Kath walk side by side, shoulders brushing and arms hooked together, like prom dates from The Matrix. I exhale. At first, I think this is another delusion. It has to be. I'm insane. And the thought of it makes me shrivel into myself in complete terror, sobs trapped in my throat, painful, buzzing garbles. Kath flicks me a raised eyebrow, lifting her glasses so they perch on the top of her

me I just settle on a nod. "Can you save him?" My mouth fills with the taste of salt and spit. The Mayor turns toward Kath and Sirius, who turn to her, too, backs rigid and heads held high like soldiers at attention. Then Kath lowers her head, a painful sigh escaping her lips.

"We should revive him."

"My son is not and will never become a vampire."

"We should still revive him, " Kath urges, leaning forward on her lace-ups. Muscles that have been tensed for hours relax. They can revive him. I don't understand what the mayor means about Jules becoming a vampire or how the process works, but that they can save him is all that matters.

I lean back on the chair and sigh, suddenly at peace. I'm okay with this, whatever they're planning for me. So long as he's safe, I can handle whatever they throw at me.

The mayor spins on her heel, eyeing me up and down, studying me like I'm a bug mushed under a microscope. Her eyes narrowed into hateful little slits, her mouth a tight line. She eyes me again, and I suddenly feel very small under her pointed gaze.

"He'll become one of those things." She motions toward me.

My stomach flip-flops, knees curling instinctively to my chest. All at once I don't feel so at peace. I want to cry, and maybe clock her.

"Yes, " Sirius says, "but if we don't revive him soon, we won't be able to revive him at all. His heart will thaw and we won't be able to shock it back. It'll decay. Any living cells will die. There's ice—"

The mayor holds her hand up. He stops. She approaches Jules on footsteps so loud I can't help but shudder. And I watch them, though I don't think I'm supposed to. Sirius and Kath turn away, murmuring to each other as the mayor touches her son on the forehead. Her eyes have welled with tears, and she's suddenly shaky. I'm not mad at her anymore for calling me a thing. I just feel pity. Jules is still as she places a gentle kiss above his eye, as she tells him she's sorry and that she never expected this to happen, that if she knew, if only she knew...

Then the mayor turns away. She glances at me once and dips her her head in a silent apology.

"Shock him then. But I can't be responsible for what happens."

Sirius nods and slips back behind the table, and gently, very gently, sets a blocky white machine beside Jules. An AED. The mayor wipes her eyes and sinks down beside me, her face jerked away from the boy on the table. She has gone pale. Veins show under her eyes as they flutter shut, a lifetime of wrinkles on display.

"My son, " she whispers, "is an abomination."

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