by Caroline Galeotafiore
I’m rebuilding these walls that have since late broken down,
And now, they’ll stand stalwart, ten times as strong.
I’ll ignore the calls that sound for the war of this town,
And instead, I’ll fight my own battle lifelong.
My defenses may close me in, but they faithfully keep you out,
And I refuse to let you break them down anymore.
I’d rather be safe and alone than accompanied and pained with doubt.
I will no longer answer the knock at my door.
I’ve heard it’s safer on the outside, but I’m stuck in the crux,
So I surround myself with unbreakable shields.
I’ve heard it’s bound to leave your tongue tied when your thoughts are in flux,
So I silently sit as my mind reluctantly yields.
It yields to the reign of the almighty queen,
The one that beats in 4:4 time signature.
It yields to the power of the obscure and obscene,
The entities that make one most insecure.
How do you go back to the beginning when you can’t turn around?
How do you scream with no existence of sound?
How do you live when there’s no reality to life?
How do you find peace in the midst of such strife?
I’ve heard that life is lived forward, yet understood backward,
But how do you understand when you can’t look back?
I’ve heard that in the dead of the night, you can still hear the blackbird,
But how do you hear when your heart booms as it’s ruined and wracked?
by Melissa Theodorakatos
Chris paused for a few moments to gather his thoughts. He knew explaining the entire situation would be shocking to Medallia, but there was no other way around it. After a few more moments passed, he began to speak, “The entire country was under attack from some biotic form. We do not know what it is, but we think it may be some kind of alien species. The CIA had some clues that an attack was going to take place when unauthorized aircraft started entering the atmosphere out of thin air. They would vanish anytime one of our guys would get too close. It was entirely bizarre. Random areas would fall under heavy bombing, with reports of weird creatures raiding the streets and killing anything in their path.
“The CIA formed a special tasks force and started creating underground shelters in heavily populated areas around the country in case the attack took place on a large nation-wide scale. The smaller attacks were kept a secret as much as possible from the general public to avoid a rebellion. A few men from the NYPD were asked to remain at the nearest shelter for as long as the threat existed.
“I was one of the individuals that were asked to go, along with the rest of the men you will meet when we arrive. For a few days, we thought everything was going to be fine, and men were told they could leave the shelters and go home. The aircrafts were off the radar and no small attacks were seen taking place anywhere across the country, until last night that is. Around ten o’clock ships of all sizes appeared like magic above us. They came in the thousands, hovering over major cities everywhere. The US sent out aircraft to attack, but they were vaporized instantly if they got too close. A bunch of us remained at the bases in case the species returned.
“We were sure that this threat was not going away, and unfortunately we were right. News spread quickly, and the entire nation was in a panic. People were running around the streets of New York City like animals. It was a sight. When the attack hit we were ordered to stay indoors of the shelter. The attack went on ‘till 11:30, and by then, almost every single person in the city was vaporized. No traces of the bodies were found anywhere, which was unlike their previous attacks.
“How you are still alive is a miracle. Other cities were lucky, only some people were killed. Afterwards, the beings just left, and again, they disappeared from our radars. That is why we were so cautious to come for you right away. We were afraid these things could take on human life forms. It is all a matter of safety at this point; we need to save as much of the population as possible. Millions are reported dead.” Chris’ face grew solemn immediately after speaking. He was panting slightly, with a small portion of sweat accumulating on his forehead from his excitement. “And the worst part is, we have no idea what else these things are capable of.”
Medallia stared into space for a few moments. She had no idea what to even say. Nothing made sense to her, and if what he was saying to her was true, that meant everyone that she knew who lived in the city was gone. Her heart was racing again, and her stomach began to gurgle. She leaned up on her arms quickly and expelled the remainder of her dinner onto her shirt.
“Oh god, I’m sorry I upset you. Here, grab my hand you need to sit up so you don’t choke.” Chris grabbed her arm and leaned her back against the chopper’s seat. He quickly grabbed a bottle of water from the behind him and handed it to her. Richards sat in silence shaking his head in the driver’s seat.
She quickly gulped down half of the water bottle and wiped her face with the sleeves of her shirt. She felt disgusting. “I’m ok now, I just need to sit up for a while.” She looked up at him as she spoke. It was the first time she really looked at his face. She was so consumed by his story that she never noticed how bright blue his eyes were. They were entirely mesmerizing, locking her eyes with his until Chris spoke.
“Come on, I’ll lift you onto the seat. We still have a ways to go, so it is best if you are comfortable. I’ll get you a new shirt too.” He smiled at her, lifting her spirits slightly. Whether she was dreaming or not, she was glad he was there to help her through this. It was the first time all day she actually felt safe.
Chris helped her onto the seat and rummaged through the same shelf he received the blankets from earlier until he found a T-shirt. “It is really big, but at least it will get you out of that mess you are wearing now.” He handed her the shirt and turned away. “You can let me know when you are done, ok?”
She quickly changed into the new shirt, hoping the entire time that Richards would not turn around. “I’m done, thank you.”
“My pleasure, you can just throw the old one in the bag on your left,” he said pointing in the direction of the garbage bag.
She stuffed the shirt into the bag, frowning slightly. For some reason, she felt extremely sad to see it go. She felt as if throwing it away would throw away part of her past. What a silly thing to think about Medallia. Get yourself together. You have other things to worry about. She turned her head away and leaned back onto the seat. She rested her leg onto the blankets below her as Chris settled next to her. She felt her eyes slowly lower as she fell into a deep sleep.
“Medallia, wake up,” Chris said as he lightly poked at her arm, “we are at the shelter now, it’s time to get up.” Medallia’s eyes slowly opened, bombarded them with the light that poured through the windshield.
“Oh. Where are we?” she mumbled as she lifted her head and squinted to allow her eyes time to adjust.
“The shelter. We just landed. We need to get you inside and get those wounds taken care of as soon as possible. Come on, I’ll carry you.” He grabbed hold of her arm and brought it around his shoulders. He placed an arm around her back and under her knees, lowering both of them out of the chopper. Her leg began to throb, while it dangled haphazardly. She bit her lip firmly to mask her groaning.
Chris led them to a large black door and slowly lowered her body to the ground, pulling her arms onto his shoulders to balance her weight. He removed a panel off a small box located near the handle and began to press in a variety of codes. Medallia looked around to try and figure out where they were, but it was no use. It was some kind of suburban dwelling, probably right outside of the city. She looked back towards the chopper and saw Richards standing outside for a smoke. He smokes. Another reason to strongly dislike him. She was startled instantly, as a high-pitched beep emerged from the black panel. Chris quickly pulled her into his arms and headed inside a dark entrance.
“Amazing job Chris, you have entirely gone above my expectations on this assignment” a man said from the darkness. Medallia knew it was the Chief; she could recognize his raspy voice anywhere, even after their short phone call earlier. “And Medallia, you look a little pale, how is that leg doing?”
“It could be better, I have a feeling it might be getting infected. I feel a bit sick.” Her head was killing her, and her fever was getting worse. She tried to distract herself, but her thoughts were consuming her. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with a rare disease that weakens your immune system to extremely low levels. Last time she had a terrible paper cut, it took over a month to heal. Don’t think the worst. They could give you some medication, and it will speed up the process. You are not going to lose your leg. She tried to believe herself, but her thoughts came as no comfort.
“Chris, take her to the emergency center immediately, they are expecting her. If it is infected, they will need to flush out the wound before it goes any deeper. A few of the other victims with similar cuts had a foreign bacteria growing. If Medallia has this, it needs to be taken out before it attacks her blood stream.”
Chris did not even answer the Chief. He instead started to race through the upcoming corridors. They came to the end of a small hallway with a large red sign above the door. Even with her blurred vision, Medallia could see that it was the emergency center. Chris pushed through the door, flooding both of them with a great deal of noise and extremely bright lights that surrounded the hospital-like environment. Before they could move, a woman ran towards them. She was wearing a nurse’s uniform that was stained with different shades of red. Is that blood? And if it is, is it from different people? So much for sanitation.
“Chris! I was starting to get worried. Take the girl to bed number 8 and get her into the hospital gown I left by the pillow. She can leave on her underwear” She quickly turned and stormed away, giving Chris no chance to reply. He followed her directions and walked around the perimeter of the room until he found bed number 8. He walked through the curtain and gently lowered Medallia onto the bed. He helped her sit upwards so she could change.
He pulled the curtain closed around the bed and started to unlace her shoes. When he got to her right leg, he stared for a few seconds. The bandaged from the convenience store had fallen off hours before, exposing the wound to the air. He noticed it had turned a faint green color around the open flesh. He had seen this same coloring on other patients that were infected with the foreign bacteria, but he decided it was best not to alarm Medallia.
Chris continued to help Medallia with her clothing, turning to face the wall when necessary until she was fully dressed in the hospital gown. He lifted her legs onto the cot and helped her lean onto the lifeless pillow. Before he could sit, the same nurse that had greeted them pulled open the curtain, leading into the room with a large metal tray in her arms.
“Oh good, she is all dressed. Chris, take this and fill it up with the usual and clean her off as much as possible. Both doctors are busy with other victims, so he will probably won’t see her for another hour.” She placed the tray on the bed and started to walk away.
“Excuse me, Nurse Emily, she has a very bad wound that needs to be looked at immediately. There is a risk of infection, could you have a doctor view the condition first before making her wait all this time?” he said as polite as possible.
“Chris, there is an overwhelming amount of patients, which I know you are aware of. I cannot cater to one person over others who were here before her!”
“Look, not all the patients before her have gaping wounds with bacteria that could enter their blood stream, ok? I think catering is necessary in this situation.” His voice rose a bit, forcing the nurse to take a step backwards.
“Do not raise your voice to me! Remember your place here, you are simply an officer. That does not give you authority to command anyone in these facilities. I will put her file, in order, with the rest of the patients, and the doctor will see her when he sees her.” She turned and stormed out behind the curtain.
“Stupid witch,” Chris mumbled under his breath.
“If they have protocol they have to follow Chris, I have to wait like everyone else.” Medallia attempted to calm him, but she knew nothing would stop his ranting.
“You don’t understand. If any of the Lieutenants walked in here with you, a doctor would be at your side immediately. I get no respect here because I am just an officer. You need medical attention immediately.” He headed for the curtain.
“Chris, what are you doing?” she yelled, but he was gone before she could stop him.
A few minutes passed, and Medallia sat staring at the ceiling. If what Chris and the Chief said is right, I am going to lose my leg for sure. Great. I hope he can get the doctor to see me soon. God this thing throbs, and my head is spinning. Foreign bacteria. God the room is spinning. Where is this guy. Chris. Chris has nice eyes. He better come… Before she could finish her thought, she drifted into a deep sleep. Shortly after, Chris stormed into her room, violently tearing the curtain closed behind him. He stopped short, staring straight at Medallia’s eyes. His heart sank when he saw them closed.
Chris stumbled over to the bed and placed his hand over her mouth gently, feeling a slight breeze brush against his palm. A wave of relief came over him, forcing him to sink into the chair beside the cot. He sat up slightly to stretch and felt his arm brush against something cold. He turned to see the metal tray that the nurse had brought in earlier. He was so wrapped up in finding a doctor that he forgot to clean off her cuts. He prepared the tray, and filled a large sponge with antibacterial solution. He lifted her arms slowly, gently moving the sponge over the cuts. There was a great deal of mud and smudges from the fall, forcing him to repeat areas multiple times until she was clean. Medallia turned her head towards him and slowly opened your eyes. He stopped cleaning and glanced down at her slightly. “I’m sorry that I woke you. I was trying to be as gentle as possible.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m glad you are here. I felt so strange earlier and just passed out.” She rubbed her eyes with her right hand, smudging makeup down her face.
“The doctor didn’t listen to me, but there aren’t too many people before you. I figured I would get you all cleaned up now and give the doctor more time to exam your leg.” He was smiling as he moved onto her shoulders. He was able to work at a faster pace now that she was awake.
Chris continued to clean around her face, wiping away the makeup and dirt that formed around her eyes. As he hovered over her, Medallia stared straight into his eyes once more. I feel so relaxed with him. This is so strange. I haven’t felt like this around anyone since college. I guess that tends to happen when you drink every weekend to hide your sorrows, shutting out the entire world.
Her thoughts were instantly interrupted when he started to clean around her wound. She flinched, sending her leg off the table.
“I’m sorry, I was trying not to get any of the water into the cut.” He had a look of panic on his face as he gently moved her leg back in place.
“It’s all right, I was just not expecting it.” She calmed her breathing and leaned backwards on the cot. She heard a stirring outside the curtain and saw a hand extend inside. The doctor stepped through, throwing medical equipment onto the cart beside him.
“Chris, you are free to leave now,” the man said as he pointed to the curtain. “I am sure there are things you can tend to at the officer post.” He immediately turned towards Medallia before Chris could respond. “I am Dr. Breener, I am going to take care of this leg for you.”
“Ok, I’ll go back to my post like a good little boy,” Chris answered with a great deal of sarcasm in his voice. “I’ll come visit you later after they take care of you. If you need me, I am at officer post 4.” Medallia nodded at him, and he was gone.
After ten minutes passed, she was hooked up to a heart rate monitor, was being fed an IV, was on oxygen, and had blood drawn from her arms and legs. “I have given you some anesthesia, you should be asleep in a few moments.” The doctor did not even face her as he spoke.
“Wait, why are you knocking me out?” She could already feel the kick of the medication numbing her.
“It is a very simple procedure, I have to cut away some of the infection in your leg, just relax and it will …” but Medallia was asleep before he could finish his sentence.
To be continued…..
by Caroline Galeotafiore
Only the strongest kind of people can truly love the weak ones.
Only the strongest kind of wall would be able to trap them in.
What my eyes fail to see is still worth my heart believing.
What I cannot feel on the surface is merely hidden deep within.
I am the beholder of my mind,
And only I know the secrets my mind chooses to keep.
I am the beholder of my heart,
And only I can feel the void that runs miles deep.
These miles are filled with hopeless hopes
Crushed by a mountain of faithless leaps.
These miles are filled with dreamless dreams
Drowned in rivers made of tearless weeps.
Only the weakest kind of people can truly hate the strong ones.
It only takes the weakest kind of wall to be able to shut them out.
What I can feel underneath the surface gives me power to hold on.
What my eyes are able to see is still worthy of my heart’s doubt.
I am the beholder of my dreams,
And only I have watched them fade to bud-less flowers.
I am the beholder of my hopes,
And only I can feel them crash like falling towers.
It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years,
And my life adds up to just two hours.
It’s not the love in the heart, but the heart in the love,
And my heart is bathed in loveless showers.
by Melissa Theodorakatos
The ground felt extremely cold underneath the portions of her exposed back. The remnants of her alcohol induced night remain on her chest and the ground in front of her where she had fallen hours before. Scrapes and bruises were visible on her hands and arms from the cement beneath her. She quickly pushed against the ridged ground until she was kneeling upwards. She squinted her eyes from the sun and wiped the dirt away from her face that had now smeared across her cheek. She had no energy to stand and instead decided to crawl to her purse that was a few feet away from her. As she made her way across the cement, she tried to clear her mind as much as possible. Her memory was entirely blurred, leaving her with no trace of how she ended up on this fragmented sidewalk in the first place. When she finally reached her purse, she felt a sudden pain strike her entire left leg. When she looked down, she saw the huge gash that existed from her knee to the front of her ankle. The wound had collected pieces of sediments during her crawl, which contributed to the strong pain. She quickly turned onto her back to lie and laid still until the pain subsided. While she waited, she was able to rummage through what was left of her handbag.
Everything was gone except for a few candy wrappers and makeup. Nothing remained of her identity or finances, leaving her with no choice but to walk towards her apartment, if she could find it that is. When she felt her leg ease, she grabbed for the garbage pail next to her to pull herself upwards. With every last bit of energy she had left, she quickly pushed onto her legs and leaned onto the pail until she was steady. She stumbled towards the street corner to try and make out the sign. The green strip extending outward from the pole read: 1st Avenue. Across the street another read: 80th Street.
”No!” she called out loudly, startling the birds that had gathered around the garbage pail she had used as anchorage. She scanned around her, trying to find someone or something that could help her. In her mind, she knew walking was impossible; her apartment was miles away, and she had no money to even attempt to endure a subway ride in her condition. A few moments passed when she suddenly felt a knot form in her stomach. Something was terribly wrong. For the first time since she had awoken, she realized how desolate the streets around her were. This is New York City, it is never this dead. She had a feeling she was not the only one who had suffered something tragic the night before.
She walked down the avenue to try and find a clock. The bank across the street was closed, but a small disc shaped object was located above the indoor ATMs. She hurried across, ignoring even looking for the non-existent traffic, and reached the glass doors. 9:30 in the morning. She walked around to the front of the bank to view their store hours, but realized she didn’t even know what day it was. What good would it even do if I knew the day?No one is around here anyway. She continued down the avenue and came across a corner store with an opened front door. A rush of excitement ran through her entire body, leaving her unaware of any pain she felt a few moments before. Almost running, she entered the store and looked around for the owner.
”Hello? Is anyone in here?” she yelled. It remained quiet. “Excuse me! Could someone please help me?” but still nothing, only silence surrounded her. “Great! First I wake up on a cold and wet New York City street that is desolate, at 9 something in the morning, on God only knows what day of the week with an oozing leg and cuts all over my body! Then I find out I am miles away from my apartment, with only damn pigeons to ask for help! And now, the wonderful corner store is open, with no one inside!” Her shouting echoed loudly through the store and faded to silence. She stood there for a moment taking in her situation. She walked around the store till she found the first aid section and peered through the inventory. Of course, why would they have large band-aids? That would be too easy. She quickly grabbed the necessary items and sat on the ground beneath her to begin cleaning and dressing each one of her open sores. Her arms were not too hard to deal with, but her leg gave her a great hassle. Every little touch of the cleanser made her flinch enough to draw tears in her eyes. After applying the sixth and final bandage to her leg, she let out a great sigh of relief.
She dragged her body to the end of the aisle and leaned against the side panel. What am I supposed to do now? She sat thinking for a while but found herself drawn into a blank mental state. Nothing productive would form of her thoughts, no solutions entered her mind. Instead, she sat comatose on the floor of the corner store waiting for something to happen. Suddenly, a ringing sound entered the room, startling her in the process. Her mind quickly snapped back into reality, and she pulled herself onto her feet to scope out the source of the ringing. Is it a phone? I think it’s a phone. How stupid can I be? I didn’t even check to see if there was one behind the counter. Never leave me in a zombie apocalypse; I’d die five minutes after the infection began to spread. She reached the counter and saw the phone lying on the side of the register. She fumbled it in her hands for a few seconds and jammed her finger into the receive button before the other end hung up.
”Hello?” she said in an almost half whisper.
”Who is this?” a panicked male voice responded from the other line.
”M-my name Medallia Stanton. Who is this?” she answered back.
”Are you a human?” the voice growled back.
”Yes, what else could I be? Can you please tell me what is going on here?” she questioned with a confused tone. The knot in the pit of her stomach grew back again.
”Prove it!” he shouted.
”Prove it? I’m talking to you on the phone, wouldn’t that be proof enough that I am a human? Please answer me,” she questioned.
”What is your social security number?” he yelled.
”My social- what? Who is this?” she shouted. Her patience was growing thin with this man, but she knew he was the only one that could actually help her out of this situation.
”I cannot give you any further information unless I have proof that you are, in fact, a human. Respond with your social security number or I will hang up the line,” he replied with a stern and authoritative tone.
She was unsure whether or not to respond with the information he requested, but denying him would only leave her stranded yet again. What do I do now? Think Medallia, think.
”Are you still there?” the voice bellowed into the receiver.
”Yes. I’m sorry, the number is 555–55–5555,” her voice shaking with each number. Her heart was racing, and the pit of her stomach felt as a hand was squeezing its entire contents. She had the sudden urge to vomit and attempted to ease the feeling by focusing on the man’s voice on the other line.
”Give me a second while I process your information.” He was so official, she felt as if she was calling a customer service line.
She waited patiently, hearing the muffled sounds of the man clicking key after key on what sounded like a computer. Every second felt like an eternity, and the urge to vomit emerged again. She quickly moved the mouthpiece of the phone away from her face and heaved the contents of yesterday’s meal on the floor. The smell radiated around her and made her eyes water. She quickly pulled the cord around the counter and moved as far as she could from the puddle, wiping her mouth as she walked. She sat waiting at the phone hoping the man did not hear her gruesome noises.
Finally, the man spoke again. “All right Medallia, we have you in our system. You are in fact a human,” he stated with a matter-of-fact tone.
Well no kidding, I don’t get what else I could possibly be if I’m sitting here on the phone with this guy. It’s not like a cat could just walk up in here and answer the telephone.
”Ok. Can you please tell me who this is now?” her voice was more assertive this time. Between the vomiting and the diligent waiting, her patience had disintegrated entirely.
”Yes, of course. I am sorry for the delay. My name is Martin Hollinsky. I am the chief officer of security for New York City. Sonar popped up on our screens of a life form at your location, and I routed the number to try and contact you. I had to ask if you were a human because our scanners do not differentiate between human and other biotic forms. Is there anyone else there with you?” His voice was much calmer, almost relaxed, now.
”No, I am alone. There is no one on the streets or in any of the stores. I woke up on the sidewalk, and I have no idea how I got here. I have no money and no cell phone; both were taken out of my bag when I was asleep. I have no way of getting back to my apartment. I need someone to please tell me what the hell is going on here.” She began to shake again, something about the words ‘biotic forms’ made her feel uneasy. She wondered what he could possibly be talking about.
”A squad chopper is on its way to pick you up. They will bring you to my headquarters and we will talk then. For now, please remain at your current location and find something to defend yourself with in case.” His voice ended following the disconnection of the phone call.
She stood there speechless, with no way to contact the man or even find out what he meant by any of the information he had given her. Frustration filled her mind. Find something to defend myself? What am I defending against? And how long would this man like me to sit around and wait? It could be days before they send someone. Idiot. He thinks he can just hang up on me like that, well when I -
Before she could finish her thought, a large noise developed above the store. She heard a loud muffled sound followed by a man’s voice amplified by a microphone.
”Medallia Stanton, this is Lieutenant Richards from the NYPD, please exit the area with your hands above your head immediately.” His voice echoed into the store.
Reluctantly she walked out of the store, limping cautiously on her newly bandaged leg, with her hands raised firmly above her head. She looked above and saw the chopper hovering over the building, with a short ladder dangling underneath the base. A man above her tugged on the ladder, sending it closer to the ground. He started to climb down with one hand; the other was holding a gun. When he reached the ground, he pointed the pistol towards her.
”Place your arms out to your side and turn around,” his voice commanded.
She timidly turned around and waited as the man patted down her torso, feeling for a long time around her bra line. She felt extremely uncomfortable and began to flinch.
”Stay still! If you move again, I will have to arrest you!” His voice was louder than the muffled noise of the chopper in her ear. She began to feel the tears well up in her eyes again.
”I haven’t done anything wrong, why are you searching me? Martin Hollinsky said you were coming to take me to him, not to suspect me of a crime!” She began to shake as the words poured out of her mouth. She always hated cops, ever since she was arrested in high school for public defacement. The cop brutally beat her the evening she was arrested, and got away with it. Nothing her or her family said would make the judge convict him of any crime even with the dozens of bruises that were covering her body. Instead, she served a hundred hours of community service cleaning graffiti around the city.
”This is a standard procedure. If you would not like to comply, than you can stay in this deserted city for all I care!” He was getting angrier by the second. She decided it was best to stay quiet and listen. She stood still and waited as the cop searched her, remaining as still as possible. After a few moments, she felt a sharp pain radiate down back.
”What was that!” she screamed before even thinking.
”Stay still! I am extracting a DNA sample, if you move the vial will break inside your skin.” He was yelling again.
”Why didn’t you warn me!” her scream radiated the space between the large buildings around them.
He did not answer; he simply pulled the needle from her back and walked towards the ladder. She didn’t know if she should follow or not, but the pain and the fear immobilized her entirely. What seemed like hours, the man finally poked his head out of the door of the chopper.
”Climb the ladder and hurry up!” he shouted at her.
She hated this man. Even with all the wounds that were visible around her body, he offered her no help. How would he like me to climb the ladder with a leg like this? She quickly looked down and saw the blood stains appearing under the cotton swab of the band-aids.
”I cannot climb this. I have no strength in my right leg because of this wound,” lifting up her leg towards the ladder.
The man yelled something she could not make out and went back into the chopper. Another man started down the steps towards her. He was younger and seemed just as afraid of the Lieutenant as she was. When he reached the base, she saw he had no weapon pointed towards her.
”Can you move your arms ok?” he asked in a quiet and sweet voice.
”Yeah, the cuts are not that deep,” she answered
”Grab onto my shoulders ok and hold on really tight, I am going to climb the both of us up. Pretend I am giving you a piggy-back ride, ok?” he began to smirk a little as he said it.
”I am too heavy, you’ll hurt yourself or lose grip and we will both fall,” she replied.
”You? Heavy? Please, you are as thin as anything, now get on, ok?” and he turned towards the ladder before she could comply. He hoisted himself on the first step and waited for her to join him.
Leaning with her good leg on the first step, she pulled herself up onto his back and locked her hands around his neck.
”You can put your legs around me so they do not get caught on the ladder, ok?” he said in a half whisper. She locked her legs around and used every bit of strength she could to hold on. The pain was excruciating in her leg from the pressure, but she knew it was better than climbing the ladder alone.
When they reached the top, the man hoisted himself onto the chopper and gently rolled on his side so she could let go of his shoulders. Before she could pull herself onto the seat closet to her, the man had lifted her in his arms and laid her down across the floor behind the driver and began to pull the ladder into the chopper. He closed the door and gave the Lieutenant the signal to leave, causing the vehicle to jerk forward. The man stood above her, hunching downward to avoid bumping his head. He reached for some blankets in an alcove attached the ceiling and threw them haphazardly on the back seat.
”Let me put one under your head so you are comfortable ok? And another for under your knee to get some pressure off that leg.” His voice was so soothing compared to the Lieutenant’s. She nodded her head in approval.
”What is your name?” she asked him.
”Oh, how stupid of me, I’m Officer Taylor, but you can call me by my first name Christopher, or Chris for short.” After he spoke, he leaned towards her face and whispered softly “Don’t worry, I am nothing like Richards up there, no one likes him around here, but he’s one of the only one’s left that can drive a rescue chopper, so he goes out on all the rescue missions.”
She nodded again to ensure Richards would not hear them. “Where are you both taking me?”
”To the main headquarters of the NYPD. Well, technically it is not our headquarters, it’s the main survival headquarters. Any officer or medical assistant who survived the attack is now located there. It is where we search for other survivors and send out a crew to retrieve any we find. You are really lucky, no one else survived in your area. We were so shocked when we saw your life form on the radar system.” He grinned widely after speaking.
”What attack? And what do you mean no one survived?” she asked with a confused voice. Everything was starting to come together, and the knot in her stomach emerged yet again.
”I guess the Chief didn’t fill you in much did he? And I also take it you do not remember anything?” he asked.
”No and no. He hung up on me before I could say a word after he found out I was human. And I woke up on the sidewalk with no memory of what happened to me last night. All that I could find was my empty purse and vomit stains on my shirt, and of course, I cannot forget these wonderful wounds,” she said in a sarcastic tone.
Officer Taylor sat down on the ground next to Medallia and leaned slightly on the door of the chopper. He let out a great sigh and closed his eyes. “What you are going to hear will probably make you think I am crazy, but you need to believe me.”
“I will, don’t worry.” She looked up at him as his eyes slightly opened.
“Well, here goes nothing.”
To be continued….