Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
“Ah, Esk, my friend. I haven’t seen you in a few days. How have you been?” Dr. Severius asked.
Esk dragged himself into the office, half asleep from realigning the moon the night before. I wonder, Lod, where you are keeping the Council that I cannot communicate with them… Esk straightened himself up and stood squarely in front of Dr. Severius.
“I am fine,” Esk said.
“Awful rigid this morning, Esk. Anxious about something? I can write you a script for some medication if you need it. Or sleep? Sleep can get you out of sorts, too,” Severius whispered.
“Yes. I can write you scripts for anxiety and sleep both if you need them and I can pick them up at the prison pharmacy for you. No one has to know. I won’t tell anyone. An exceptional mind like yours must be able to function to do the important research we’re conducting, right?”
“What do they do?”
“The meds? They’ll calm you down and you’ll sleep better. Honestly, Esk, you look like you got hit by a truck this morning. How long has this been going on?”
Esk thought it best to cut the conversation off at this point and agreed to allow Severius to write him the prescriptions for the medications. Later, Esk would test the substances to see if Lod was secretly trying to poison him or gain control of his thoughts.
“You actually seem to care, Dr. Severius,” Esk told Lod as Lod turned his back to him, prescriptions in hand.
“I do care, Esk,” was his reply.
Esk stood there, arms at his sides and shoulders slumped. He was confused by this behavior. Either Lod had some vested interest in Esk’s psychopathy research, or he was trying to trick Esk. And what a clever name—“Severius”. I’ll bet he is putting the poisons together right now, waiting with bated breath for them to come into perfect proportion to exterminate me. Or perhaps he only wants to paralyze me. Would Lod dissect me alive? He might. I have no idea what species he is or what agenda he might have. Just then, Dr. Severius came back, pill bottles in hand. There were two small orange bottles and a syringe full of a milky white liquid. Aha! Lod is trying to trick me!
“Lod, I’m not taking those,” Esk declared.
“Lod? Who’s ‘Lod’, Esk?” Dr. Severius asked.
“You! It’s YOU! I know you’re Lod. You don’t fool me for a second. Show yourself in your true form!”
“Esk, I thought you might need the extra medication that I prescribed, and I want you to take some now. I think you’re a little agitated, and this will bring you down a bit so we can talk. It’s the only way.”
“The only way, what, Lod? The only way you’ll let me see you in your native form?”
“Yes, Esk. I think you need an injection. That’s what this syringe is for.”
“You’re trying to poison me, Lod! I know it!”
“Esk, just hold still. I’m feeling threatened and I just want to get you to calm down for me so we can talk. I think you’re having a hard time right now. It won’t affect your research or our partnership in it. Like I said, it’s just between you and me.”
Esk lunged for Severius, who deftly dodged the charge and caught him around the chest from behind. Plunging the needle into Esk’s shoulder, he pushed the substance from the syringe into Esk’s tissues, then released him. Esk stood for a moment, reeling from the physical conflict, then fell to his knees as he smelled the medication, knowing that it was traveling throughout his body. Dr. Severius helped Esk into a chair—one with arms that he would not fall out of.
“It’ll take a minute or two to get used to, Esk, but it’ll last for a while, so no worries. Just relax,” Severius said.
Esk could do nothing but relax. The medication had been a sedative antipsychotic used on unruly prisoners. Esk recognized that smell. The smell he did not recognize was the one that frightened him. Breathing deeply and trying not to lose consciousness, Esk asked Severius what he had injected him with.
“A short-acting sedative antipsychotic mixed with a long-acting antipsychotic, my friend. The sedative will last about 14 hours. The longer-acting antipsychotic should wear off in about three months. I chose a long-acting antipsychotic because I want to make sure that everything goes smoothly with our research,” Severius smiled. “I just don’t understand you.”
Esk’s armor was beginning to deteriorate. He had to get out of Lod’s presence before he reverted to his DNA form. Esk stumbled down the hallway to the men’s room and into a stall, closing and locking the door behind him. Lod did not follow him. Instead, he called out to Esk that the rest of his medication would be waiting for him on the desk in the office. After a short while, Dr. Severius walked into the bathroom and saw nothing but an abnormally bright light above one of the stalls. He called prison maintenance about the problem….
Esk felt warm and sleepy, as if in a waking dream state. He had retracted his armor and noted that he really did not care whether the humans saw him in his native form. Something is wrong. Basic directives dictate that I conceal my true form from all other species until such time as I ascertain them to be harmless. Humans are far from harmless! Where’s Lod? Lod is likely searching for me right now. I must harness all my energy to reconstitute my armor and somehow escape this trap. This glow will give me away. But there’s a toilet here…
Severius heard the flushing sound in the restroom but thought nothing of it. He puzzled over where Esk could have gone again. Esk always seemed to escape from his presence unnoticed. The psychiatrist wanted to know more about this mysterious entity, and he would go to any lengths to get the information he wanted. It occurred to him that Esk could press charges against him for assault, and rightly so. Severius decided to err on the side of caution (and an alibi), so he hurried away from the prison and went to a local barbecue to support the Boy Scouts. Surely the parents of these fine young men would vouch for his whereabouts at lunchtime on this hot, sunny Monday.
Esk was again covered in the toxic goo that humans excreted, which was especially rank, having come from the prison plumbing. He was free, though. His glow was concealed by the muck as he searched for a water source to cleanse himself with. A broken lawn sprinkler was burbling at the corner of the yard. Esk took advantage of it. A repairman came along, kneeling next to the broken sprinkler head. He donned a pair of latex rubber gloves and unceremoniously flung the stringy silver ball of goo over his shoulder into the gravel on the sizzling asphalt of the drive.
“Ugh. The things that grow here… I gotta get another job,” the sprinkler specialist mumbled to himself.
Esk rolled himself off the sticky pavement into the cool grass as soon as the man turned back to his work. Even in his DNA form, Esk felt disoriented and ill. Three months? What has Lod done to me? I can’t think. So tired. Must rest, but not here… Esk fell asleep in the sunlight. He could hear a distant rotor turning, run by a gasoline motor. What could that sound be? The noise was approaching Esk’s position. Chopped grass clippings flew from a chute to the side of a machine headed straight for Esk. He flattened himself against the ground and oozed his way into the dirt between the blades of grass. There, he met a nightcrawler that did not seem to mind that he was there. Esk rested in the cool soil with it until evening came.
Utilizing the tunnel system created by the earthworms, Esk carefully made his way off the prison grounds before extracting himself from the soil. He transformed himself with his armor and made sure that his glow was minimally noticeable. He looked bright, but not bright enough for any of the humans to notice as he staggered his way to Sam’s cabin.
“Esk, where ya’ been?” Sam greeted him. “I been lookin’ all over for ya’. Long day with the shrink at the prison?”
“Yes. One could say that.”
“Ya’ don’t look so good, buddy. Somethin’ wrong?”
Esk thought about the smell of the medication coursing through his veins, his tissues, his entire being. Dizziness overtook his eyesight and all he could hear was the tinnitus. Sam sounded far away from him. The rack of compact discs fell with him as he collapsed on the floor. Esk laid there, barely able to move, barely able to think, and not able to speak.
Sam’s truck engine roared and Esk felt nauseated as they turned the corner. The next town over had a hospital emergency department.
“Don’t you worry, Esk. We’re gonna get’cha some help. I’m drivin’ as fast as I can go. Hang on!”
The yellow dots swam before Esk’s eyes, and his armor’s integrity was waning. He put all his energy into keeping his form human since that would be who was helping him at the emergency room—humans. Esk knew that he was done for if he lost consciousness. The truck lurched to a halt. Sam’s door slammed and suddenly there was a team of medical professionals dragging Esk’s body out of the passenger seat onto a gurney. The first thing they did was draw blood. Esk had exhausted himself making enough hemoglobin to make it appear scarlet in color.
Sam paced outside the emergency department. He was wearing down a path in the pill carpet of the waiting room.
Inside the emergency department, Esk had seen enough of Sam’s body in past days to adjust his armor accordingly so that it appeared fleshy and nude. It was a great effort for him to maintain any semblance of a human being. He was given a gown to put on and told that he could keep his underwear. Esk put the gown on backwards, as most first-time visitors to the emergency room do if not instructed otherwise, and made it onto the bed provided for him. The plastic stuck to him where the paper did not come between his body and the vinyl. How can they stand having skin? It was the first lucid thought Esk had since being drugged by Lod.
“Sam Wilkins?” a nurse in dark blue scrubs and a light blue head covering asked.
“That’s me! How’s Esk? Is he okay?”
“He’s having a bad reaction to some medication. Do you know of any new medications that he might have started recently, Mr. Wilkins?”
“Esk don’t take no medications, Miss. He don’t do drugs, neither. Whatever he’s reactin’ to ain’t somethin’ he took hisself. I can guarantee ya’ that!”
“He’s not on an antipsychotic or a sedative of any kind?”
“No way! Esk don’t take any a’ that stuff. He was up at the prison with Dr. Severius t’day an’…” Sam’s voice dropped off.
“And, Mr. Wilkins?” the nurse prompted him.
“Nothin’. I got some bis’ness to ‘tend to. Take good care a’ my buddy Esk. Tell ‘im everything’s gonna be alright. I’m gonna make sure of it.” The automatic doors slid shut at Sam’s back.