NaStySuMo – Part 9 – The Road of Fame.

Hello everybody,

Part 9 of my web story for NaStySuMo. Three days left in August. πŸ˜‰ It won’t be done by then.

If you want to see what the Lone Wanderer (in my mind here) looks like please feel free to go to this link. It’s not my art naturally, it’s a representation of someone else’s idea of their wanderer but it’s the closest look to mine. πŸ˜‰

Enjoy!

Part 9 The Road of Fame.

The Wanderer managed to get one punch in before the Tomb Raider pulled her from Fame. The young gamer opened her eyes just in time to see Lara grab the Wanderer by her shirt collar and throw her across the room. The Wanderer reacted quickly as she rolled to her feet and pulled the automatic shotgun from her back. Before she could aim though Lara had both her pistols in her hands and aimed for The Wanderer’s head.

They were going to kill each other.

With her head faint from the pain in her shoulder and the Wanderer’s punch, Fame pushed herself up quickly and stumbled towards them.

“Stop!” She yelled as she stepped in between the two women. “Drop ye weapons! Ah said stop! Ah won’t see you two harm each other! Ye won’t! Not here!”

Lara’s features were unchanging as she kept her gaze on The Wanderer. “Step aside Fame,” she said coldly. “Get out of the way.”

The Wanderer’s eyes were livid as she looked at Lara but there were grubby marks on her face, showing that she had been crying. She was short, with dirty brown hair and dark eyes that were hidden behind old biker goggles. She brought the smell of dirt and dust and human sweat with her and her clothes were worn and dirty. She had a red bandana around her neck and a brown jacket with cargo pants. Along with the shotgun in her hands she still had two more pistols strapped to her legs and a hunting rifle to her back.

“Don’t think I won’t shoot you,” The Wanderer growled at Fame. “Get your guns out of my face bitch. My dog is dead!”

Lara made to comment but Fame gave her a pleading look and put her hand on The Wanderer’s shotgun, pushing down the barrel. The young woman resisted, but her arms started shaking as her emotions threatened to burst to the surface.

Fame saw it and met The Wanderer’s gaze, not caring if she showed the woman how scared she was. “Tell me about Dogmeat,” she said. “Please, ah have t’ know what happened.” She glanced behind her. “Lara, please.”

Looking at her, Lara closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Slowly, she dropped her arms to her side, but she kept her pistols in her hands, her attention never wavering from The Wanderer. When the guns were out of her face, The Wanderer seemed to sag inside herself and allowed Fame to pull the shotgun from her grip.

“He’s just lying there,” she said. “He’s dead Fame.”

She was struggling to remain on her feet, to keep her calm pose. Fame swallowed and blinked, clinging to The Wanderer’s shotgun. “Are ye sure?” she queried to which the Wanderer gave her a dark look and showed her the old blood on her jacket.

“You can’t stand up from a bullet in the head Fame. What did you do to him?” She looked at the Tomb Raider accusingly but Fame quickly shook her head.

“It wasn’t her,” she said, just to clear things up. “He got shot at m’work. They robbed the bank and the suspects came into the shop. It happened before ah could do anything.” Her throat tightened. “Ah didn’t even see him. I’m sorry.”

The Wanderer looked at her and abruptly took a step back so that she could sink down on Fame’s threadbare couch, her head in her hands. Lara shifted awkwardly and put her pistols away, studying Fame as she looked at the other woman in dismay.

“May I point out something?” she said. “I can’t imagine that he’s completely gone.” When the two women turned to her she continued quickly, turning her back on them so that she could go to the console and pick up the controller.

“I have watched you play your games Fame,” Lara continued as she put the controller in the young woman’s hand and directed her back to the console. “I have seen you,” she pointed at The Wanderer, “die quite a couple of times at her hand and then, all she does is reload her game and continue. And then it’s possible for her to summon both you and your dog afterwards, none the wiser.” She motioned to Fame. “Just reload the game and summon him back.”

The two others turned two very similar looks in her direction. Fame’s mouth thinned as she thought it over, tapping the controller as she thought about it. “That… might work,” she said. “But… Ah think for continuity… Ah don’t know.”

The Wanderer glared at her. “That’s the problem with you little girl,” she snapped. “You don’t know, don’t think. You just pull us out of our lives without a thought to the consequence. It’s not a game there!”

“Quiet,” Lara snapped, seeing the look on Fame’s face. “You’re not making it easier Wanderer. Fame, maybe you should sit down love, you are not well.” She pulled a chair closer.

Fame didn’t sit down immediately, her features puzzled as she tried to work something out she didn’t completely understand. Looking at The Wanderer she took a deep breath and motioned to the screen. “Ye can’t watch,” she said. “When ah load another game ye’ll leave, ah can’t summon two from the same line at the same time.”

The Wanderer stood up sharply, her face cold as she picked up her shotgun. “Then send me back and get this over with,” she snapped. “I’m not willing to wait on false hope.”

Lara gave her a look and all but pushed Fame to the chair. “You don’t know that it’s false.” She pointed out to which the Wanderer snorted. “Just send me back.”

Fame, grateful to be sitting down, nodded. “I’ll fix this,” she said slowly but the Wanderer shook her head.

“Don’t make false promises,” she said. “Now, let’s get this over with.”

To Be Continued…

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NaStySuMo – Part 8 – The Road of Fame.

I’ve read through this story and I think that it bears testament to my slightly dark outlook on life this past month. I apologize, lol, I had planned to keep it light and funny but my characters develop issues all by their lonesome. The newspaper article is a salute to Meleart’z fiction. You can find it here.

Enjoy!

Part 8

To Fame’s surprise, the doctor released her into her personal care and drove her to her apartment after her shift ended. The idea was that she would drop Fame off at home, run some errands for herself, and then return to take her back to the hospital. Fame wasn’t sure whether it was legal or allowed but she didn’t care. It would give her a few, precious moments by herself in a place she felt safe.

In theory, she could’ve summoned Lara back while she was still at the hospital, but after EPR’s questioning, she had been totally freaked out and frightened of being discovered.

On some deep, instinctive level, Fame knew that her powers had changed and that she would be considered a lot more efficient now than she was a couple of years ago. The shift hadn’t come in her own powers but rather at the development of technology and graphics in the console world. She didn’t want to get involved with EPR in any way. She really just wanted to be left alone.

The mere exertion of going to the doctor’s car had exhausted her and after explaining to the woman how to get to her apartment, she dosed off until the woman touched her leg to wake her.

“We’re here,” Dr. Walker said when Fame blinked at her. “Amy, should I come up with you?”

Unsure of what she was going to find, Fame shook her head sharply and looked at her apartment. She rented a room in the outskirts of town above a charity shop. It used to be old offices but was now rented out as oddly build, one or two room apartments. Getting out of the car, ignoring the pain in her shoulder, Fame thanked the doctor and remained on the curb until the woman pulled away. Then she turned around slowly and went round the back of the building because she had to use the fire escape to go to her apartment. It didn’t bother her normally but today, the wet metal staircase loomed in front of her, daunting. Closing her eyes, Fame steadied herself against the railing. In the sling, she turned on her PSP and waited until she felt steadying hands on her shoulder.

“Fame, where have you been?!”

The young woman opened her eyes to see Lara Croft look down on her, her dark eyes lined with worry. “You haven’t called me in days!” She continued her tirade as it started raining. “I have been beside myself! The last thing I saw when that bloody thing turned off was you slipping away into unconsciousness. And then, you just didn’t call me back! What was I supposed to think?!” She trailed off suddenly when she saw the expression on the young woman’s pale face, how she barely managed to keep from crying. The brunette seemed to sag inside herself and shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose. She still wore her black cargo pants and tank top but this time she had a jacket on as well.

“Let’s get you inside,” she said gently and put a careful arm around Fame’s back, half pushing, half guiding her up the steps. “We can talk about this after you’ve had a nice, warm cup of tea.”

Fame chocked back a laugh as she shook her head, hoping that she had remembered her apartment keys in the bag that she packed at the hospital. She had been in such a hurry to get home she didn’t bother thinking about how she was going to get inside. When they were at the top Lara took her bag from her and dug through it until she managed to procure her keys. Fame remained silent until they were inside the narrow entryway of her apartment. There, she pressed herself against the wall and, to Lara’s surprise, sank down to the floor and started crying. Unsure of what to do, the Tomb Raider sat down beside her and carefully held her until she quieted down. They remained still for several minutes when Fame finally pushed herself up, rubbing at her eyes, looking very embarrassed.

“Sorry,” she muttered, not looking at the woman. “It’s been… crazy.”

Sighing in a suffered kind of way, Lara shook her head and stood up, gently patting her on the back. “Let’s get you some tea,” she said. “The world will be a better place after that. Where have you been Fame?”

The young woman grimaced and looked around her apartment to see if things were as she had left it. Her mail had piled up by the door but for the rest everything seemed fine. It came as no surprise to her that her plants looked better than they have when she left and there were even two new tomato plants in her windowsill. Hawk always pretended to be very blasΓ© about his power but he truly loved plants. He had also pinned a newspaper article to her fridge which read:
‘Rogue London telepath kidnaps child, foils robbery in the process.’
Underneath it he wrote: ‘See, we don’t all have to be subtle to save the world.’
Fame didn’t find it very funny.

“In hospital,” she replied to Lara’s previous question. “They wouldn’t release me.”

The Tomb Raider raised an eyebrow as she put Fame’s old, battered teapot on the hob. “I’m surprised that they’ve let you out now,” she said as she watched the young woman search for her television remote. “You don’t look well Fame.”

The young woman snorted. “Ah am well enough, thank ye kindly,” she muttered. “The doctor, she’s going to come an’ get me later. Ah’ve just been temporarily released, ah have. Have ye seen me remote?”

Lara stepped out of the open plan kitchen and went to the umbrella holder by the door, fishing out Fame’s television remote and turning the set on from the passage, giving Fame a very strict look before she walked to the television and stood in front of it.

“That doesn’t sound like a normal course of action,” she pointed out. “And, this is no time for games Fame.”

The young woman glared at her and motioned to her Playstation 3. “Ah have to summon The Wanderer,” she said. “Ah got Hawk t’ turn of the system so tha’ she could go back and check up on Dogmeat. That’s why I needed to come back, to see if he’s alright.”

The flicker of worry in Lara’s eyes was so quick Fame almost missed it. With a suffered sigh, the woman stepped away from the television and went back into the kitchen where the pot was starting to boil.

“Don’t overexert yourself,” she said, not looking at Fame. “And be ready for anything. The Wanderer’s very attached to her dog.”

Fame grimaced and nodded as she turned on her system, waiting for the game to load.

She summoned The Wanderer and Dogmeat from a game called Fallout 3. It was a first person shooter, role playing game. It was set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear war environment, where The Wanderer had to leave the shelter of her home – a vault protected from the nuclear wasteland, to find her father whom had disappeared under mysterious circumstances. She was a volatile character with a lot of guns and Fame wouldn’t have summoned her at all if it wasn’t for Dogmeat. Where the canine liked Fame, its mistress and the gamer had a shaky alliance at best.

When she got the game loaded, Fame paused it immediately and took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she touched the television screen. She barely had time to open her eyes before she was suddenly knocked the floor with an anguished cry.

“You killed my dog!” The Wanderer yelled as she leapt onto Fame despite the young woman’s pained shout of protest. “He’s dead! Dogmeat’s dead!”

To Be Continued…

NaStySuMo – Part 7 – The Road of Fame.

We are in the last week of August, which will signal the end of NaStySuMo. As you all might’ve gathered, I’m just getting started with this, (laughs at self) so needless to say, it won’t be finished in 7 days. I’m going to see how far this will go and then just continue to write on it afterwards. J If it stretches into November, I’ll use NaNoWriMo to complete it. (Mental note to self… Plan NaNoWriMo… only 69 more days to go…)

On a holiday note – I went on a factory tour today (going to a friend’s workplace with her) and saw how they made/manufactured/bottled cosmetic products. I even saw how they made lipstick. Even though I’m completely against the whole cosmetic industry, I can’t deny that it was very cool. Don’t have any pictures, lol, maybe some tomorrow!

Part 7 – The Road of Fame

As with all children, Fame was tested for the Evolutionate DNA Marker the very day of her birth though it was sort of expected that she would be one. Both her parents were strong Type 3 Red Evolutionates, who did freelance work for the EPR. They were very proud of their daughter and more than a few people kept an eye on her when she grew up, searching for any signs of her powers. By the time that she was nine, she had not yet manifested anything, making her parents retest her for the marker. She had it, but it became clear that, if she had any powers, it was either still deeply buried or very weak. Although there were a few people who were disappointed, her parents weren’t among them, content to be allowed to raise their daughter with no interference from the government.

Even as a child, Fame had very poor social skills, preferring to keep to herself more than to interact with other children. When her parents bought her a Game Boy for her 10th birthday, she retreated to the world of electronic gaming and, for the first time, showed a spark of power. One day, when her parents entered her room, they found her playing with building blocks similar to those used in Tetris. Their structure was weak, and when they turned off her Game Boy, they disappeared. When they took her to be retested, it was determined that Fame could somehow ‘summon’ elements from computer games.

The ‘system’ tried very hard to incorporate Fame, to develop her powers to something that might be useful, but it became clear that her ability was limited. Game characters disintegrated at touch and Fame didn’t seem to be able to control what she could pull from the games. To her parents’ silent dismay (who had tried very hard to raise her as her own person without limitations), she was tagged among the weakest of the Evolutionates, her ability not even being deemed good enough to be used in self defence.

The law required that Fame had to be retested at sixteen, to see whether her abilities had increased or evolved somehow, but that was a difficult year for the young gamer and when she had to go for her test, she could barely pull anything from the screen. The EPR, who was responsible for the control and monitoring of Evolutionates, did what they could to integrate her into normal society and all but forgot about her.

Until now.

&&&

Fame was transferred to the general ward two days later when the doctor was satisfied with her progress. To her dismay, she was told that she would still have to remain in hospital for at least a couple more days to allow her shoulder more time to heal. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist came to see her, warning her about the signs and effects of post traumatic shock but Fame ignored her as much as she ignored the physiotherapist who came to speak to her about her shoulder’s rehabilitation. The police also came and questioned her about the robbery, but she gave them the same information that she had given the EPR, further stating that she wouldn’t feel confident in herself to be able to identify the bank robbers successfully based on their voices.

She didn’t want to be a witness.

Fame just wanted to go home and when she was capable of walking down the corridor without falling over or passing out, she all but demanded it. When her demands weren’t met, she asked for an AMA dismissal, a request that wasn’t met with enthusiasm.

“Needless to say,” Fame was saying as she glared at the nurse from her bed, clutching her PSP in a death grip. “AMA means Against Medical Advice. Of course me doctor didn’t clear it! Ah want to leave despite wha’ she says! It’s me bloody right. I’m not under arrest!”

The nurse shook her head dutifully and put on an expression that was supposedly meant to calm Fame down. “Of course,” she said soothingly as she glanced at the rest of the patients and abruptly closed the curtain around them. “That goes without saying. I am telling you though that you cannot leave now. You are not well enough to be away from medical care. Any number of complications can still occur. My suggestion would be for you to relax a little bit and wait for Dr. Walker to arrive so that she can explain to you…”

Fame growled and slipped off of the bed, pulling at her IV line but not quite ready to tear it out. “And she’ll tell me exactly the same thing as you just did,” she said. “That I am not fit to be released. Well, I tell you I feel just fine and I want to go home! I know my rights, I demand an AMA dismissal.”

The nurse’s mouth thinned as she looked at Fame, her eyes travelling to the security caller button beside her bed. Fame followed her gaze and fumed. “And, don’t think of calling security! This is not a prison. You cannot keep me here against my will!”

The curtain around them parted unexpectedly as Fame’s doctor stepped in, her air of authority immediately making Fame get back into her bed, even as she glared at the woman. She had come to really dislike Dr. Marlene Walker, feeling as if the woman herself was solely responsible for her incarceration. What vexed her even more was the she was always calm, almost friendly. Even now, as Fame was shouting down her nurse, she surveyed the scene calmly and slipped her hands into her white coat pocket.

“We’re not keeping you here against your will Amy,” she said calmly. “We’re keeping you here for your own good.” She glanced at her nurse. “I’ll handle it from here, thank you.”

The nurse smiled at her, clearly relieved, and left the cubicle, leaving Fame alone with the woman. Fame watched her leave and then turned to the doctor, biting her lip as she considered what to do further.

Dr. Walker calmly leaned against her bed and smiled. “Now, tell me Amy,” she said softly. “What’s the problem here?”

At her real name, Fame flinched and pressed herself against her cabinet, swallowing sudden tears. “Ah want t’ go home,” she said without looking at the woman. “Ah really want t’ go home. Ah need t’ see if m’dog’s there – ah need to sort out some things and see people. Ah can’t stay here any longer. Please, just… I’ll sign the AMA. But, ah want to go.” She slipped her PSP into the sling around her arm so that she could steady herself against the bed with her good arm, her tirade leaving her feeling miserable and tired, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to win a war of words with the doctor.

Dr. Walker considered her for a few seconds and sighed, motioning to Fame to sit on the bed. “Amy, you are not well enough yet,” she said simply. “I have explained to you that we need to keep monitoring you, for your own sake. Amongst all the usual trauma associated with a gunshot wound, you are also still at risk for an infection. Can’t you wait just a couple more days?”

Fame closed her eyes but shook her head determined. “No,” she said simply. “Nobody can find Dogmeat but me. If he is still here, I’m the only one who can find him.”

Dr. Walker sighed and looked at the dark curtain before she continued. “Isn’t there anybody else who can do this for you? A close family member or friend?”

Fame’s urge to cry became stronger as she shook her head. “It’s just me,” she said simply. “Please Dr. Walker even… even if it’s just temporary leave. Like an outpatient. Or something. Please, ah need to go home.”

The doctor frowned at her, debating her strong words before she sighed and picked up her chart, scanning its contents. Her features softened as she turned a page and closed the file, resting it on her lap and pinching the bridge of her nose as she did so.

“Alright Amy,” she said abruptly. “I’ll make a deal with you.”

To Be Continued…

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NaStySuMo – Part 6 – The Road of Fame

I have this meagre excuse of writing to offer to you tonight. πŸ™‚ I’ve been sick so my writing energy has all but disappeared today. But, I hope that you can enjoy it none the less! Slowly but surely, the plot moves forward. πŸ˜‰

Hopefully I’ll produce more next week.

Part 6 – The Road of Fame

Hawk showed up that evening, bringing her clothes, McVites HobNob biscuits and the charger for her PSP, an action for which Fame could’ve kissed him.

She considered Hawk to be one of her only true friends. A weak branded Evolutionate himself, he got his nickname from the bright green spiked Mohawk that he supported. She met him when she had just started working in the shop and they have been confidants ever since. Hawk had the unusual talent of being able to make green things grow. A year ago the ‘agency’ for Evolutionates had come to pick up Hawk and retest him to see if his abilities could somehow be used but, after being gone for almost a month, he returned declaring proudly that they couldn’t even use him to start a biological plague. The only thing he was good for was working in a plant nursery in Ludlow close to Hereford. He took care of the young seedlings and raised them to age where they could be sold successfully at a fraction of the time it would normally take. He even hired himself out occasionally to work in people’s gardens though nobody ever took him seriously because of his hair.

He didn’t seem too concerned with the EPR’s appearance and, knowing a little bit more about the system, tried to reassure Fame that it was only standard procedure.

“Trust me Fame,” he said as he opened up the packet of biscuits he had brought for her and popped one into his mouth before offering her one. “If they were interested in you, they would’ve taken you. You know how things work.”

Fame, who had managed to take the oxygen tube from her nose, closed her eyes and shook her head. “Ah didn’t want to ha’ to explain to them,” she said. “Ah don’t like them questioning me.”

Hawk smiled at her and tucked into her biscuit as well. “Who does?” he said. “If you didn’t want the attention Fame, you shouldn’t have sent in Lara.”

The mention of the tomb raider made Fame grimace. “Ah need ye to do me a favour,” she said. “Ah need ye to go home an’ turn off me console. Ah need the Wanderer to go an’ see if Dogmeat’s back in the game. They shot him Hawk an’ from what ah can tell, he just disappeared.”

Her friend made a considering sound and nodded just as a nurse entered the cubicle. “She asked about him,” he said. “I’ll tell her. Though… You know how they are around me.”

Fame glared at him as the nurse opened the curtain and gave Hawk a firm look. “Visiting hours are over,” she said. “You can come in again tomorrow.”

“Just go an’ see,” Fame continued a little bit more cautious now that the nurse was around. “Please Hawk. Just pass on the message and turn off the console. ’tis important.”

Patting her leg, Hawk nodded and put the biscuits next to her bed. “Will do Fame,” he said. “I’m sure he’s fine though, don’t look so worried. Remember the rule about gaming. It’s Not Real.”

Fame couldn’t muster a smile as the nurse, with a grumble in Hawk’s direction, put the oxygen line back in Fame’s nose and hooked the ends around her ears.

“You don’t understand,” she whispered as her friend and his carefree manner left. “It is to me…”

To Be Continued…

The Road of Fame Part 5 – NaStySuMo

It’s 1:25am. I am… Tired, lol. πŸ˜‰
Hope you enjoy this one! My apologies if I missed any spelling errors.

The Road of Fame Part 5

The woman looked vaguely familiar.

Fame blinked groggily and tried to place her but her recollection came up with nothing. She had wavy dark hair which was cut in a bob, framing her round, friendly face and light blue eyes. She was standing beside the bed, looking at a file when she noticed Fame looking at her.

“So,” she said – her voice pleasant. “We meet again.”

Fame swallowed, trying to work some moisture into her mouth. Her throat hurt and her nose burned from the steady flow of oxygen that was being fed through a thin, plastic tube.

“Do ah…” She had to swallow. “Know ye?”

The woman smiled and closed her file, putting it back into the holder beside the bed. “You helped me a couple of days ago in your shop. I brought in a couple of games from my nephews. You told me that nobody takes female gamers seriously.” She smiled at Fame as she moved to the monitors and read her statistics. Fame vaguely remembered something like that, but in truth the woman was just one customer in many.

Yet, she nodded dutifully and swallowed again, the dull pain in her shoulder making her uncomfortable. She watched the woman read her numbers and tolerated her taking her pulse manually. “Tell me,” the doctor queried after a while, her voice still warm. “How’s the pain?”

Fame blinked and shifted again, bringing her good arm up to pull at the oxygen line. “Fine,” she lied. “Please, when can ah go home?”

The woman raised a perfectly shaped eyebrow and gently removed Fame’s hand from the line. “Not for a few days still, I should think,” she murmured. “You were very lucky Amy.”

Fame closed her eyes and didn’t say anything. She heard the woman sigh and squeeze her hand slightly. “There are some people here who want to talk to you. I’ll see you later.”

Fame didn’t open her eyes again until she was sure that she was alone. Shifting, she mentally orientated herself, trying to establish whether or not she could just get up and leave the hospital if she pulled out the IV. She quickly established that she couldn’t because the IV wasn’t the only uncomfortable tube stuck in her and also, after only a few moments of consciousness, Fame already felt bone weary. She doubted whether she would make it to the door, let alone to the bus stop. She didn’t remember a lot of the past day or two (unsure of how long she had been unconscious) but she did remember one thing.

“Dogmeat,” she whispered, wishing that she could summon him out of thin air. “Dogmeat…”

“Amy Marsh?”

Fame opened her eyes to see a man in a gray suite standing beside her. He had dusty blond hair and a strong face, accentuated by his green eyes. There was a pin on his jacket of a hand gripping a lightning bolt.

It made Fame shudder and close her eyes again.

The man cleared his throat with an irritated sound.

“Amy Marsh,” he said again. “My name is Daniel Scott. I’m from EPR. I need to ask you a few questions about yesterday’s incident.”

Fame cringed at the word. Incident. Bureaucracy was a bitch when it came to euphemisms. She decided to keep her eyes closed, choosing not to answer in the desperate hope that they’d leave or she’d just lose consciousness. There was a patient sigh and a metallic grinding sound as the bed’s railing was lowered. Fame flinched when the bed shifted under the weight of someone sitting down. Unwittingly she opened her eyes and blinked surprised when she saw a petite, middle aged woman sitting beside her. Something about the woman’s demeanour, her sad confidence, made her wary and when her gaze shot to the woman’s wrist she found what she expected.

A bright red wrist band.

The heart monitor beeped as Fame turned her gaze back to Mr. Scott who smiled at her and folded his hands over a nondescript file he had with him.

“This is my assistant Denise Holden,” he pointed out. “As you can see – she is a Type 3 Red Class Evolutionate. The reason I point this out Ms. Marsh is that failure to co-operate with us would put you under immediate suspicion of being involved in the crime. Under section 2.4 of the EPC Act we are then allowed to – by any means necessary – question you until we have conformation of our suspicions. Or, you are proven innocent.” He smiled and motioned to the petite woman in her matching gray suite. “And that, Ms. Marsh is where Ms. Holden comes in. She is a physical Telepath or a Mind Reader if you will.” He paused, allowing her to think about what he had said.

“It makes questioning so much easier and quicker. Don’t you think?”

When he finished talking, Fame was crying – the monitors next to her bed demanding the attention of the nurses, yet nobody came to her aid.

Evolutionate business was Evolutionate business and nobody intervened until they were given leave to.

“Ah didn’t do anything,” Fame managed as she fought for words with her sore throat. “Ah was in the storeroom when they stormed into m’shop. Ah just came out an’ they shot me.” She closed her eyes and swallowed. “An’ m’dog. Ah managed to close the door and hide there. Ah can’t remember anything after tha’.”

The woman shifted, causing Fame to move uncomfortably, knowing that if she touched her she would know everything there was to know about her.

“How many suspects were there?” Denise Holden asked, speaking for the first time. Her voice was serenely calm, scaring Fame even more.

Wishing for water for her painful throat, Fame answered as quickly as she could. “Ah don’t know,” she said. “Ah think… Ah heard ’bout four voices, ah did. But ah can’t be sure.”

Mr. Scott raised an eyebrow and slowly opened up his file to make a note.

“Four you say?” he queried. “So there were definitively four in the shop?”

Fame cleared her throat and nodded slowly. “Ah heard four voices,” she confirmed. “But there could’ve been five of one didn’t speak.”

Denise gave her a curious look and abruptly reached out and poured her some water from the pitcher that was on her bedside cabinet. Fame didn’t take it from her, but gratefully took a sip when she put a straw in.

“And was there anybody else in the store with you?” She queried.

Fame shook her head and struggled to swallow her last sip; her throat once again constricting with tears. “Just m’dog,” she said as she tried to control her tears, Dogmeat’s final yelp still echoing through her memory. “But, they shot him too.”

Mr. Scott frowned slightly and looked at his notes. “This is the Australian Cattle Dog that you frequently brought to the shop with you?”

Fame nodded and for the first time Ms. Holden frowned puzzled. “There isn’t any mention in the report of a carcass,” she said. “Are you sure he died? He might’ve run out in the confusion.”

Fame blinked more tears as she shook her head. “He wouldn’t ha’ leave me,” she said as she closed her eyes, the weariness settling around her like a heavy blanket. “He never would.”

Someone touched her hand; quickly dragging her back to consciousness with a flash of panic but it was Mr. Scott who had taken her hand, not Ms. Holden.

“Your dog wasn’t there,” he said with barely contained impatience. “But, the three suspects that we have apprehended claims that someone else was. They say that they were shot at by a brunette woman in a military commando type uniform. Two were seriously wounded.” He paused and glanced at the door. “Coincidentally, they are both here with you in High Care.”

When Fame glanced at the door bewildered, Denise Holden quickly spoke up.

“Don’t worry,” she said, never shifting in her position. “They are under guard. Tell us of the woman Fame, who is she? She was in the storeroom with you.”

Fame blinked and tried to focus on Mr. Scott.

“Ah don’t know who yer talkin’ about,” she managed. “Ah was alone.”

The two fixed her with a twin unblinking stare. “According to all three witnesses, she came out of the storeroom with you and stared firing on them.” Mr. Scott pointed out. “Who is she Amy? She all but stormed out of the storeroom, firing what appeared to be a magnum yet we could find no trace of her bullets even though she put two men in hospital. CCTV didn’t’ show her leaving the shop or entering it. What was she doing with you in the storeroom Amy?”

Fame closed her eyes and shook her head, feeling distressed. “Ah don’t know,” she insisted. “Ah don’t know her! Ah can’t remember wha’ happened in the shop. It hurt so much, ah was scared. Ah don’t know what happened. Ah don’t know!” The last was a desperate cry, begging them to listen to her. Her breath now came in short, panicked gasps and her shoulder was aflame.

Mr. Scott pulled back a bit as a nurse appeared by the door, her face pitched with worry as she looked at the scene. Ms. Holden motioned to the nurse to remain where she was and turned to Fame. Putting on two thick leather gloves, she took Fame’s hand in hers and forced the young woman to look at her.

“I cannot read your mind now,” she murmured. “Do not be afraid. Tell me Fame, did you create her?”

Struggling for breath, Fame shook her head, black spots swimming before her vision as she tried to remain conscious, having given up remaining calm long ago.

“Ah can’t manifest,” she said. “M’powers are useless, ye all know this. Ah don’t have anything ye want. No explanation. Ah can’t tell ye what happened. Ah am sorry.”

Ms. Holden nodded slowly and drew back, looking up at her boss before she lightly hopped off of the bed and went to the door. Mr. Scott sighed and made a note in his file before patting Fame’s knee under the bed covers.

“Well, thank you for your help,” he said. “We’re sorry if this seemed a bit harsh Amy. Please, be still now – the police will contact you if they need any other information. This interview is done; the EPR thanks you for your cooperation.”

Fame didn’t look at them, but tried to pull herself up into a tight bundle as much as she could. When the left the room, the nurse and another person rushed into the room, trying to get her to calm down and breathe easy, but she didn’t pay them any mind.

“Dogmeat,” she whispered as she pressed her uninjured hand over her face to hide her tears. “Ah am so sorry.”

888

“Do you think we were too harsh?” Denise Holden said as she and her boss left the Hereford County Hospital, making a bee line for the parking lot, the miserable Herefordshire weather sending a shower of rain their way. “She does seem… fragile.”

Mr. Scott snorted and shook his head. “Weak,” he supplied the word. “That’s the problem with these countryside low grade Evolutionates Denise, they lack strength and discipline so they flee to the most uninhabited parts of the country just to make sure that they will never be put in a position where their strength of character will be tested. It’s good sometimes to remind them the hard way that they still answer to a higher authority, no matter what colour they wear around their wrist.”

Denise raised an eyebrow at him and sighed softly, slipping her gloves back into her pockets. “I think they come here because they just want to be left alone,” she murmured. “Especially she, our young Amy Marsh.”