chapter twenty four
The hairs stood up on the back of Dr.Sanjivamurthy’s neck as her eyes followed the gleaming streak of blood down the wall to the dust on the floor, her back to the pair of Punishers silently falling past in pursuit of PBB outside her window. She went back into her Chemistry Lab and started to yell at her Juniors about their laziness in regards to states of matter.
“You will NEED this! YOU will need it, not me! And I feel like I’ve been teaching you this forever! And now-” her voice trailed off as she felt the entire building convulse. She regained her composure and began to threaten the entire class at the top of her brassy lungs.
“I’m not talking about this for me! I know this! I KNOW what this is and what to do! This is for you! YOU will be tested! I’ve been telling you Forever that YOU will be tested! And you all have sat there like bumps on logs like that DAY will never come! But you Better have grasped something! Because when it arrives- And it WILL- You better not fail! Or I will find you AFTER you fail and- you will WISH they had left nothing of you for me to punish for disappointing me-” the Doctor hissed with such violence to her high-pitched clip that it chilled everyone to the bone.
“What the Hell?!” muttered Jag, the lone Music boy making up Junior Chem Lab before Senior Physics instead of English with Harvey. His raspy voice inadvertently boomed in the room due to how terrified into silence everyone else was.
“Jas’ Balfor, do not sass me!” the Doctor trilled angrily, her accent thickening as her rage grew.
“Dr. Sanjivamurthy, WHAT did I Do?!” Jag fussed back, his chest shaking defensively with laughter.
“Do not talk back! Stop laughing! Everything is not funny!” She began to rant at a fever pitch.
Jag looked down and did all he could to keep a straight face as every goofy thing his Physics lab partner Anukai would have whispered if this had been going down an hour later flooded his inner ear, trying to make him laugh now. He held on for dear life as tears of mirth slid down his baby cheeks, grin swallowed so the one they called Vinutha would not start throwing desks again.
“And You-you know better! THAT’s why you’re here again!” The Doctor railed angrily as she marched up the row towards him. Juniors dove out the way and peeked from behind their desks, sure she was going to kill him again. She roughly grabbed the edge of his desk and breathed in like a T-rex about to strike. Everything around the two of them froze as the echoing sound of her breath bounced off Jag’s forehead. He gamely looked up. She locked eyes with him and an entire not yet lived life of his reflected across Dr. Sanjivamurthy’s glasses.
“What the-” he whispered in shock and slammed his eyes shut. The instant he did he saw Anukai drop dead to the floor in a rain of shattered glass. Jag jumped back from the vision so roughly that his chair fell backwards and crashed to the floor with him in it, smashing him into the upper reaches of a harsh-uprising Aware download seizure. The Doctor stood over the prostrate body his soul continued to fall inside of as his whole life spun out in the sky around her looming head. Her howling, Kali-like visage transformed into the alluring and compassionate beauty of Krishna’s eternally beloved Radha. Her trademark tight bun of hair unfurled and tumbled down her slight body like waves of black lambs descending mountains and fell onto him protectively, as if hugging him back from the edge the fit had deposited him on the lip of.
“Jag- you have to go-” The Doctor whispered into the abyssmal fall she had knocked her favorite student into for his own good. “You have to-get up,” She cried out empathically from the heavenscape in his mind’s eye. “ NOW!” She roared as her face twisted back up into a Kali-deathmask.
Jag came to with a rough snap of his neck, still at his lab table. He jumped up as if dodging a hit. Synapses resituated behind his eyes as he backed away from her towards the door and looked out the window in it down the third floor hall. He looked back at the Doctor and his weird, gritty laughter gurgled out of his chest one final time in her direction.
“ Thanks, Doc-” Jag muttered. She nodded and he was gone. The Doctor looked down as she released hre grip from the table. Her grayed, bony fingers had dug so heavily into it that they had scarred it.
Vinutha stood up and walked back towards the front of the lab as cowering students shook off the abrupt stasis Jag’s upload had rammed them into. Two rows from the front she paused and straightened her glasses very slowly as all kinds of waves and particles struggled for precedent across the surface of her eyes and were reflected against the glistening horn-rimmed frames that now balanced perfectly on the bridge of her nose. She mentally checked the first thing off the list that the streak of supernatural blood on her wall had carved into her soul with the utmost urgency, grinned malevolently then spun and wildly hurled two desks out of the windows just barely over the heads of her students for effect. The drama major with blond highlights strategically scattered quietly peed her pants as her lab partner’s shoulders silently shook as she huddled over her books in her lap in shock.
“Number two-”The Doctor grinned to herself then sweetly began her discourse from the beginning as if nothing was amiss. “The Mutability of the states of matter does not equal the death of it- Take for instance H20- Water is not killed by the fire placed under it, but is instead turned into what?”
She narrowed her beautiful dark eyes and gritted her teeth against falling into her diatribe again as she noticed a nervous hand raise itself in the back of the room. “Yes?”
“Steam? Vapor? Like maybe even Clouds?” A tawny-haired Photography major whispered hoarsely.
“Good enough-” Vinutha muttered and continued on. She absently slammed erasers together to punctuate her sentences in a way that kept the students so nervous that no one noticed the low-flying chalky clouds that spread out from her before they knocked the entire class out and floated up into the ancient air vents of the building.
chapter twenty five
“Where is she?” He pushed through clouds of smoke, his eyes filmy with strands of white gunk that he absently pushed away. “Where- where is she?!” He howled again hoarsely.
His voice echoed, sounded metallic in his head like a microphone on the wrong frequency. He slammed his hands over his ears and braced himself as the thick atmosphere churned around him as though attempting to push him to his knees. He knew he wasn’t underwater, but the pressure felt worse than that, like it could make him pop at any moment. Eventually steadied, he slowly began to walk again. His hand shot out to balance himself against cold clammy lumps in the landscape from time to time with no comprehension of what he was touching nor walking through able to cut through the confusing haze in his head. A smell he couldn’t stomach or place filled his lungs with each step. Legs heavy, he stumbled and fell. Exhausted, he stayed down for what seemed like an eternity. He abruptly came to as he felt something that froze him to the core.
An extremely faint one.
“What the-” he screamed.
Terrified, he leapt back up as the clouds began to lift from his mind’s eye. His head spun around violently as the truth of the mounds registered, making every clammy contact that he’d made with them boomerang skittishly back into his flesh.
Bodies. Piles and pits of them. Naked. As far as his now unscaled and horrified eyes could see.
Fields of bodies spread out towards the horizon line like the aftermath of a slaughter, but with no blood to be seen. His hand rammed to his mouth to stop from hurling, he turned and saw them just as thickly from where he somehow had blindly came. Mountains of them, as though he were deep within a valley of death.
The last shred of life refusing to unhinge within him fought back. It spoke out against his thoughts deep within his scarred over chest. “No. Not death. This is Not-” he muttered to himself. The splinter of himself flung the only indication of the undeadness of the landscape into him frantically. The reverberated sense memory of that skeevish pulse that had rung out in response to his warmth.
The valley that surrounded him was worse than death. It was like the shadow of it.
Gabryl fell to his knees and screamed until he blacked back out.