The Gifted

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The Gifted

This is a sample chapter from a future "super heroic" gifted human novel series I am sometimes working on. Enjoy.

   The room was sterile white. The stark white typical of hospitals. The polished floor shined and had a faint odor of cleaning products. The slow hum of the flourescant lighting was the only sound he could hear, save for the occasional footfalls outside his door as someone walked past on the stone tiled hallway. The examination table that Sean Miller now found himself resting upon was cold and pliable, it's vinyl leather imitation fabric sticking to his clammy hands as he pushed himself up and to his feet.
    "C'mon already." he muttered under his breath. It had been at least two hours since they had taken his blood and then just left him waiting in here. There were no magazines or anything really to pass the time with, just the steady ticking of the clock on the wall. He had resorted to reading the only poster in the room about three times. A medical poster - a diagram of the lungs with captions and information pertaining to asthma and other respiratory ailments. He knew it almost by heart at this point.
    He really regretted going to the doctor's office now. There wasn't anything really wrong with him. In fact, there never had been - ever! Since he was a child he had never experienced so much as the common cold. It was just how weirded out the event had made him that sent him to seek some medical explanation. It was a typical vacation in upper state New York. His family's cabin retreat. He had been there many times fishing with his father when he was still alive. His breakup with his girlfriend had prompted him to get out of the city for a week and the cabin had always lifted his spirits. This was only the second time he had ever visited the place since his father died a few years ago. Melancholy sank in right as he arrived though. His father's things were still everywhere - a reminder of the loss he still had not gotten over yet. This would probably be the last time he would come to the cabin he told himself as he settled in for some alone time.
    Only two nights had passed when he awoke from a deep sleep in a panic. Maybe it was a stray ember from the fireplace or some other mishap but he awoke on fire. The whole cabin was ablaze and there he was in his bed roasting. He hadn't felt the heat while asleep but once awake he was aware of it. It was surprisingly tolerable, even though the sheets he was wrapped snugly in were ablaze - and so was he. He made a mad dash outside and rolled upon the dew soaked ground until the fire was out. It had to be a dream. It just had to be. A neighbor or someone seeing the blaze in the night sky must have called the fire engines and when they arrived he knew he was very much awake and unscathed. Not so much as a blister upon his entire body.
    He didn't tell the firemen about his wondrous experience. He really didn't know yet how to put it into words or even if he could believe it had happened at all. A week passed, then another and he found himself sitting in his apartment with a book of matches. He lit one and held it until it burned down to his fingers and eventually out. There was not a mark on him. The heat was akin to standing in front of an overly warm heater and the flame itself didn't scar him in the least. It freaked him out.
    That's why he had went to the doctor. That's why he was now regretting it. He must have sounded like a madman ranting about being flameproof, he thought. Maybe he was crazy. Maybe he had snapped and was living in a dreamworld of his own whimsy. He definitely shocked the doctor with his match demonstration when he repeated it in his examination room. A few calls were made and he was sent to this "specialist", where he now found himself waiting. He didn't like this new doctor that had taken his blood and now left him waiting for an eternity.
    Dr. Irving Mann was a short pale roundfaced man. His features were very porcine. He had more of a snout than a nose and big thick glasses that magnified his squinty grey eyes. He was rude and seemed to ask a hundred questions all in one breath. Sean had given them enough of his time he estimated and it was time to go. Whatever was wrong with him didn't seem fatal and he had had enough.
    He listened for a moment and hearing nothing in the hallway attempted to open the door to leave. Locked. What? Why is the door locked? He was beginning to get angry, then it hit him. What if I'm contagious? What if what's wrong with me is a precursor to something worse? A million thoughts raced through his mind.

    Another hour passed before Dr. Mann finally returned. He shuffled into the room with his clipboard and his glasses pulled down low over his nose. He stood for a minute and then addressed Sean.
    "I'm waiting on the blood analysis to wrap up. It shouldn't be too much longer. So what do you think is happening to you, Sean?" he said dryly.
    "I don't know." Sean shot back. "I came to you. Aren't you supposed to know? The cabin fire I could maybe have came to accept as dumb luck, but the matches... it's really got me scared. I want to know what the hell's wrong with me."
    "So do we, Sean."
    "You don't have a clue, do you?"
    "I've been in conference calls with some of my peers, we won't have any conclusions until we are done with the workup on your blood. It won't be long."
    "Well can't I go? Why is the door locked?"
    "We're in a very secure facility. We have some labs that are contracted out to do work for the government. It's simply protocol to keep patients sequestered in their rooms. I promise give us the time to finish your bloodwork and we can conclude this."
    Dr. Mann turned and quietly exited the room. Sean listened for it and heard the door being locked. What had he gotten himself into. Was he going to be a labrat... or a guinea pig? He regretted it all. Why did something so stupid have to happen to him. It wasn't like having this "gift", it that's what it was, would be all that bad. Maybe he had a career as a firefighter ahead of him or with his luck some carnival sideshow. He could see it now. Come one! Come all! See the fireproof man! He couldn't help but chuckle to himself at that - if only in resignation.

    Linda Grey sat at the lab table thumbing through a stack of papers. Even though she held more PHD's than half the staff combined, she still considered herself just a researcher. Her bookish features and fiery red hair matched with her slender and buxom frame hid well her calculating intellect. She had just set her reading glasses down when Dr. Mann entered the room.
    "Have you read it all?" he asked.
    "My god yes." she replied. "This is extraordinary. It's almost as if the boy's bloodcells are cancerous but are regenerating."
    "Yes. I know. His bloodcells are constantly being destroyed and recreated. It's something we've never seen before." Dr. Mann elaborated. "I would hazard a guess that his entire cellular makeup is identical. It's not that he doesn't burn at the touch of fire, it's that his body adapts to the fire and for the time he is in contact with the flame considers that the norm and maintains it. Atleast that's what I'm theorizing."
    "It is amazing." she responded. "If this is true of his entire cellular makeup, then Sean could concievably adapt himself to any environment as well as heal at an extraordinary rate. This could revolutionize cures for almost any disease. Cancer, Lukemia, Aids... you name it."
    "I'm aware of that. It would be ideal if we could do more tests or get skin or hair samples. But he's due to get picked up at any moment now."
    "Picked up?"
    "Yes, Miss Grey. Once I read the workup on his blood I made some calls. There are other people that are more equipped to deal with him. People that have been looking for someone like this for a long, long time. People that I used to work for."
    "Your old government job? You're going to make him a guinea pig for some government labcoats with no conscience?"
    "I've been asked to oversee Sean's examinations. In essence I've been rehired. Since I will be leaving, I will announce you as the new head of this medical center in a day or two. I would not leave you dwelling upon this if it did not in some way benefit us both." he proudly stated.
    "Well good for you!" she spat. "This is some men in black scenario. We will never see that boy again."
    "I assure you, Miss Grey, I will oversee the boy's wellbeing. This isn't a fascist state. This is something new. Something we need to see further. Something the people I worked for can only help in. We are unequipped to do much else but proclaim the boy healthy and let him go."
    "Maybe that's what we should do."
    "Trust me. If you're worried about getting credit for any discoveries that come out of this you will."
    "It's not that at all. He came to us. He didn't ask for this."
    "Yes and we're going to help him. One way or another."
    Dr. Mann casually collected the paperwork on the lab table and slinked out of the room. Miss Grey sat in silence for short while before finally picking up her cellphone and placing a call.
    "Yes? Klaus?" she asked when the line was answered. "Okay. Look I think I found something that can help your friend with his problem."
    She listened intently while getting up to make sure the lab room's door was locked.
    "You won't believe it. But I have no doubt it will do what he needs it to do. I'm going to smuggle some of this boy's blood out and run some more tests, but yes I'm confident this might be the cure he's been looking for." she pauses to hear the reply. "Yes I said blood. Look I'll explain tomorrow. Meet me where we had that wonderful dinner last week. Um... the italian place... Sitio's? Yeah that place. I gotta go."

    Sean had been there four hours now. His body ached. The only chair in the room was hard and stiff. The examination table was equally unforgiving. He had banged on the door once and called out not long after Dr. Mann had left him the last time, but no one responded or came. He was getting hungry now too. He was considering giving banging and yelling another shot when he heard the door unlatch. Two suited gentlemen and Dr. Mann entered.
    "Ah. Sean." Dr. Mann started. "I was really hoping that the results of your bloodwork would show us something... well... positive, and that we could let you go home. We're going to have to do some more testing. Testing that we are not capable of doing at this facility. I've arranged everything. All will be taken care of. These men will escort you to..."
    "Wait a minute!" Sean stood up. "I just want to go home."
    "You can't go home Sean. We have to see this through. What is happening to you is something I can't quite explain. We need experts. More experts."
    "You can't keep me. I'm not sick and I'm pretty sure I'm not dying. There's nothing wrong with me."
    "There is though, and we need to find out what it is. Don't make this more than it has to be. It will only be for a few days I promise you."
    Sean bit hard on his bottom lip and made a break for the door. He only had a glimpse of the hallway before the two men had him on the floor. His arm was being twisted behind his back and the weight of both men seemed to suffocate him.
    "Sean, please." Dr. Mann pleaded. "No one's going to hurt you. As a patient in my care I can keep you if it's a detriment to your safety to let you leave."
    "You are hurting me!" Sean shouted as he writhed beneath the two suited men. One man fumbled for something in his jacket pocket.
    "Calm down please, Mr. Miller." Mann asked, as if using Sean's last name would somehow make him more pliable to the circumstances.
    "Just let me go dammit! What have I done?"
    A stream of liquid sprayed across Sean's face. The man who had fumbled with his pocket had maced him. Sean shook his head unfazed. He could smell the capsaicin and other ingredients but it did not burn, it did not stun. He wasn't surpised. The two men were. They were putting something around his wrists now. Restraints. Ziptied plastic cuffs. Sean struggled for a moment but he was now bound. A moment seemed like eternity until Dr. Mann appeared before him with the syringe. Panic and fear raced throughout Sean's body but he could not move. The men still held him firm and now his hands were bound behind his back. The good doctor injected him and the world slowly slid into darkness.

    Sean awoke strapped to a gurney. His body jostled and swayed and he knew he was in the back of an ambulance or van. He raised his head as far as he could. A grated cage seperated him from the driver's compartment and aside from the man that had tried to mace him sitting on a small bench to his right and the driver he was alone.
    Sean struggled with his bindings and the man took notice.
    "Calm down." he said.
    "How long have I been out?" Sean asked groggily.
    "About an hour and a half. The doctor gave you a strong but short acting sedative." the man said dryly. "We've had to use it before. It normally lasts twice as long but I guess the doctor didn't give you the whole injection. And if you're curious, there are no side affects other than that massive headache you must be feeling right about now."
    The man grinned and checked the straps that held Sean fast. He seemed to cinch them even tighter out of some malicious joy. Sean thought for a moment. He didn't have a headache at all. He felt fine. Fine and extremely angry and anxious.
    "I'm going to sue all of you!" he spat in defiance.
    "Yeah, I'm sure you are." the man cajoled. "You don't even know who we are."
    "I'm suing Dr. Mann... I'm suing the medical center... I'm suing..." Sean was cut off as the van seemed to suddenly go off road. It seemed to bounce from side to side and just as he locked eyes with his guard and captor it capsized. The man flew over him and crashed into the driver's side wall and the gurney overturned. If not for Sean's captor cushioning the blow Sean may have broken his neck in his confined state. The man was not so lucky. As Sean focused his eyes he could see that the man stared into space blankly over his right shoulder. His head sat at an odd angle - his neck broken. His days of tightening gurney straps were at end.
    The whole crash took only a few seconds, even though to Sean it played out in slow motion. He listened for any sound from the cabin of the van and heard none. Then came a sound. A ripping of metal and the rear doors opened suddenly. The light flooding the dim inside of the rear of the van. It blinded him. All he could see was shapes. Several of them moving toward him. He felt his straps give way and a set of strong hands hoist him up and over their shoulder and then consciousness left him again.

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