In case it hasn’t somehow been entirely obvious for the past couple months…I’ve been struggling a bit with somehow including writing into my standard routine, now that I’ve been operating as a stay at home dad. It’s been there…but barely. Of course, one part that has been there has been my blog writing…something that I’ve been consistently struggling with actually having something to say, causing me to even cut back on how much blogging I’m doing as well.
To make a boring story short, after a great deal of soul searching, something I’ve been doing a lot of in general lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging’s going to have to take a back seat for a while. I’ve loved writing here, and I’ve definitely spent more time on this absolutely pointless blog than I’m sure I should have. But my writing time is a hot commodity right now, and that means that this little side hobby has to take a back seat in order to ensure that the main hobby actually gets its day. It’s been over a month since I’ve last done anything on Agora Files Part 2…and I’ve been aching to finish that book so I can work on the multitudes of titles I’ve got in store next.
So…yeah, for now, blogging’s taking some time off. I don’t know for how long, don’t know in what capacity I’ll return to it here, if ever. But right now, I’ve got a lot going on and I need to make sure that the focus stays on the appropriate things. And blogging has never been much more than experimental writing for me…something I’ll just have to put more into my books…;-)
But, I don’t want to make today’s post as boring as all that. Instead, why don’t I share something I shared on my Facebook page a couple days ago, something which was all but completely overlooked due to the fact that Facebook doesn’t like to show people my posts…The first chapter of The Agora Files Part 2. I’m really excited about it. Hope you enjoy!
I scream out in agony after three steps and fall to the ground clutching my side. Bruno runs to me and kneels down as he places his hand reassuringly on my back.
“Hey, kid. You okay?”
“Yeah,” I grunt. “Just give me a second.”
“I think you’re going to need more than a second, Cyrus. Where are you injured?”
Where am I not injured? I think to myself. Instead of being snarky, I decide to stick with as few words as possible. “My side,” I groan, lifting my hand enough to show the blood seeping through the thick orange jumpsuit fabric.
“Whoa there, kid,” Bruno says as he jumps to his feet. “Why didn’t you tell me you were shot?”
“Not here,” I say as I fall onto my back, still holding myself together with my freshly bloodied hands. “In Cheyenne.”
“What about Cheyenne?”
“The battle. I got shot in the battle of Cheyenne.”
“What battle? Cheyenne?”
“Forget it,” I reply, frustrated that he appears more concerned about my words than the hole in my abdomen.
“You’re right, sorry,” he replies as he begins pacing and looking in every corner of the wooded area we are near as though it might contain some hospital or paramedic. “I guess the first thing we need to do is get that jumpsuit off you so we can see the wound.”
“That’d be a good start,” I agree. “It hurts too much to lift my arm. Can you help?”
“Yeah,” he nods his head wildly. “Yeah, of course I can.” He stares at me from his position next to the water.
“Now would be a good time!” I yell. The pain is excruciating, and knowing that we are just seconds away from being caught by the same people we are running from isn’t helping my patience either. The stitches have obviously ripped apart. Here’s hoping Bruno’s got some sort of field dressing skills he’s learned during some sort of weird rebel training program or something. Of course, that’s assuming he is a rebel. He could be an SP in disguise for all I know. Or worse.
Bruno rushes to my side. “Oh, yeah, sorry,” he mutters as his knees slide on the wet grass. He immediately unbuttons the top half of the bright orange prisoner’s clothes. I hadn’t been given anything to wear under the jumpsuit, so the wound comes into view immediately. He gasps in fright and jumps back.
I strain to look down at it and find it surprising how such a little hole could cause so much pain.
“What do we do now?” Bruno asks. “Do you have some sort of bandage or something in your backpack?” He runs to my pack before I can even respond.
“No, my bag’s useless,” I answer. “And I’m guessing you’ve never dealt with a wound in the wild before, huh?”
“No,” Bruno mutters. “Well, there was that one time I got a paper cut, but–”
“Great,” I frown. “Well, maybe if we can press something up against it, we can get it to clot or something.”
“We’ve gotta move,” Bruno mutters. He seems much less confident than the man who had pulled me out of the prison. “The area will be swarming with SPs, and who knows what else, any second now.”
“Unless you want to carry me all the way to Buffalo, I don’t think we have much of a choice here,” I frown.
“Cyrus,” The Geek whispers through my ear piece.
“What?” I mutter through the pain.
“I didn’t say anything, kid,” the look of fear in Bruno’s eyes grows.
“I can help you. I’ve got a list of wilderness treatment options,” The Geek continues. “Are there any pine trees around?”
“How the hell should I know? Don’t you have eyes on me?” I murmur angrily.
“Cyrus,” Bruno says slowly. “You still with me, pal?”
“Ask the guy who’s with you then,” The Geek says. “I’m sure he can tell a pine tree from others.”
“Bruno,” I say looking up. “Can you find a pine tree for me?”
“Sure, kid,” he says with a sigh of relief. “They’re all along the bank here.”
“Perfect,” The Geek chirps. “There should be something that looks like maybe a lump on the tree or something. If he pops it like a boil, there should be some sap that comes out which we can use as antiseptic.”
“Alright, so, we need pine sap. Can you do that?’ I ask Bruno.
“Sure. Be right back.”
Bruno runs off toward the tree line as I continue to cringe in pain.
“Did yourself in good this time, huh Cyrus?” The Geek says sadly.
“What are you talking about? I had no choice. I had to run. I couldn’t have just—“
“Who are you talking to?” Bruno yells back to me.
“Just get me some damned pine sap!” I yell in return.
“Now is that any way to help someone who’s trying to aid you in your escape?” a voice says from above me.
I yelp in surprise as I jump backwards away from the unexpected voice, a difficult thing to do while lying flat on your back.
“Sorry, Mr. Rhodes, I hadn’t intended to frighten you,” the woman says. Although she seems to have appeared from out of nowhere, I can see her as clear as day. A six-foot tall blond haired woman wearing a gray-colored suit with a tight knee-length skirt of the same color stands next to me on the bank of the river. She smirks as she stares down at me, her blue eyes showing brightly against her fair skin. Something about her smile makes me immediately uneasy.
I look to see if Bruno has seen her as well, beginning to fear that I have gone crazy, as he so obviously had started to believe. He’s taken the whole pine sap thing to heart and is oblivious to the arrival of this new companion.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Rhodes, I assure you I’m as real as your colored friend over there, as well as the hole in your side.”
“Who are you?” I gulp.
“A friend, Mr. Rhodes.”
“I don’t have too many friends.”
The woman laughs. “Why don’t you just call me, Miss Nile.”
“Telling me your name doesn’t make us friends.”
“Oh, but Mr. Rhodes, I believe I’m most certainly someone who can offer you more than you could ever dream of. Surely you don’t think it mere happenstance that you were freed from that prison. Better men than you have died down there.”
“Unless I find some way to get back on my feet and running, I’m pretty sure I’m going to go back there to die fairly fast.”
“That’s why I’m here, Mr. Rhodes, to aid you on your way.”
“You bring an invisible jet out here or something?”
“Unfortunately, my circumstances do not allow me to intervene nearly as directly as that. Yet, you may find this a useful tool in your healing process.”
A flash of sparkling light goes off next to me and as it subsides an aerosol can appears in its place.
“What is this?” I ask, looking incredulously at the woman, only to see that she has disappeared. “Geek? What the heck just happened?”
“No clue, Cyrus. I’ll see what I can dig up. What’d she give you?”
I pick the can up and look at it. It is white with one simple line of text on it in blue letters. “MATRIX-Heal. Spray on effected area and wait 30 seconds.”
I read it out loud for The Geek.
“Sounds too good to be true,” he says dejectedly.
“What do you mean?” I argue. “You did just see what I saw, didn’t you? She just appeared from out of thin air. If she can do that, I’m sure she’s got a ton of other crazy stuff she can do that we would never dream of.”
“Perhaps, but we know nothing about this woman. Where did she come from? Who does she work for? I can’t say I’m feeling too comfortable about any of this.”
“I just escaped from an underground prison. There’s not much comfortable about my life right now.”
“Point taken. Still, I’m not sure we should trust her.” The Geek continues to argue.
“I don’t think we have a choice. Can you look it up? MATRIX-Heal? There’s got to be some sort of info on it, right?”
“Already hitting up the normal circles for something like this. I’m not finding anything. I don’t like this, Cy.”
“Too late,” I reply. “I’ve already been motionless for too long. I don’t want to go back down to the bottom of that hole, Geek.”
I look the can over, wondering if there might be some other identifying marker that would allow The Geek to verify its use. Not like it matters. I’m as good as dead if I stay here, meaning I have to use it. Besides, why would some mystery woman appear out of thin air to give me something that will kill me? I’m pretty sure I was already doing a good enough job of killing myself as it was.
I decidedly pull off the cap and spray at the cut in my side. It instantly foams.
“AAAAAH!” I scream out loudly. The pain is immediate and intense. The entire side of my body burns and all I can think of is how badly I want to rip it off me.
“Cyrus!” I hear Bruno yelling as his footsteps near. The Geek is screaming in my ear as well. In a panic I swipe at the now-red foam, struggling to get it off me before it melts me into a puddle or whatever it’s trying to do.
“Water!” I scream at Bruno. He runs to the riverside without a second glance. I look down and see further foam developing from within the wound. Pain surges through my body as the foam continues to build. I keep swiping at it, but as fast as I can remove it, more appears.
Bruno flies back up the slight incline to my side, his hands dripping with water. He kneels carefully next to me and pours the small amount of water still in his hands onto the continually foaming area above my cut. The water spreads the foam enough to get a better look.
The cut is gone!
Where once there was a bloody mess of a hole in my side is now simply skin. Rather nice looking skin, actually.
The pain’s still there, but nowhere near as bad as it was a second ago.
“Where’s the cut?” Bruno asks.
“Holy crap!” The Geek exclaims. “It’s a Matrix healer!”
“Yeah, that was the name,” I say as I continue to cringe. Something’s still happening inside that I’m not entirely fond of.
“The name of what?” Bruno asks.
“Right, I get that was the name,” The Geek jumps in, “but I didn’t realize that someone had actually developed it. It’s only supposed to be a theory, not an actual thing.”
“So, how did I get it?”
“Get what?” Bruno asks.
“I don’t know.”
“You had better figure it out.”
“Figure what out?” Bruno yells.
“Right,” I say, realizing Bruno’s still at my side. “Let’s do the leg.”
“Do what to the leg?” Bruno asks.
“Spray that foam on it. If this stuff will actually heal me, we might as well get me back up to shape, right?”
“What foam?” Bruno asks.
“In the can there, right next to you.”
“Where did this come from?”
“Oh,” I stammer, “I guess it must have been in my bag.”
“You told me—“
“I’m obviously delirious, okay,” I cut in. “Maybe I forgot about it.”
“Okay,” Bruno says. “How does this work?”
I work on pulling up my pant leg, the pain in my side making it difficult to lean too far forward. Bruno aids me in my task, revealing the shredded meat that is my left knee cap. “Okay,” I frown, bracing for the impact. “Spray it right on there.”
“Is this what you did last time?” Bruno asks.
“And it’s supposed to hurt like that?”
“I don’t know, is it supposed to hurt like that?” I ask The Geek.
“How the hell should I know, kid?”
“Since it’s rebuilding tissue in an obscenely fast rate, I’m surprised you didn’t black out from the pain. I’m guessing this stuff is intended to be used with some severe anesthetics.”
“Great,” I frown.
“Are you talking to me, kid? Because I keep feeling like I’m missing something important here.”
“Just spray the damned stuff already!” I scream.
Bruno fumbles with the canister before finally pointing it at my knee and spraying it liberally all over the bloodied mess of an area that is my leg.
Immediately, pain courses throughout the limb and I cry out in torment as my body mends itself. Pounding the ground, as if attempting to injure the earth itself for payment of this torture, I suddenly become aware that I’ve stopped screaming. And breathing.
“You still alive, kid?” Bruno asks me.
I exhale deeply and look at him. “Water!” I grunt.
“On it,” he says as he jumps to his feet and bolts back in the direction of the river.
“You doing okay, Cy?” The Geek asks.
“Stop asking me that and just figure out who the hell that woman was.”
“She’s no one, Cy.”
“Don’t tell me that in all of your stupid resources or contacts or whatever that no one has any idea about a woman who can appear out in a cloud of magic sparkles to provide super shaving cream that makes you want to kill yourself. Check under Healing Fairy or something.”
“I’ve searched everywhere, nowhere have I found a reference matching anything to her description, or even the spray, outside of theoretical future product designs.”
“Well who came up with those theories? Maybe they have an idea?”
“Here you go, kid,” Bruno says as he reappears at my side and dumps the water on my wound. “Still talking to yourself, huh?”
“Nng, yeah,” I grunt out as the foam is washed away. The skin beneath shows and I see my leg looking as beautiful as ever, although completely hairless on the spot that had been healed.
“You think you’re good to go now, kid?”
“Give me a sec, okay?”
Now that the pain is passing, I can just make out the sound of a helicopter in the distance.
“I think a second is about all you’ve got, Cyrus,” Bruno says, his eyes still wide with fear.
“Okay,” I say, forcing every ounce of willpower into my legs to bring me to a standing position. “Let’s do this. I’m as good as I’m ever going to be.”
“You want me to carry you?” Bruno offers.
“No, we need to move fast. Let’s just hope this spray doesn’t have some sort of horrible side effects.” I walk to my bag and place the canister inside before slinging the bag onto my back.
“Wait, you’re saying you’ve never used it before?”
“Nope. There’s a first time for everything, though, right?”
“Whatever you say, kid. You ready?”
Like I said, I’m excited about it. There’s some really amazing things coming up for Cyrus, Eve, and The Geek, and I can’t wait for you all to read it.
Have fun out there!