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Chapter 77: Anguish
“Do you even have a permit?” Harold said.
“Yeah, I got one.” Adam said as he takes out his wallet and pulls it out, “I’ll be right back, we’re only parked one level.”
“I don’t know, man,” Harold said, “Aren’t you supposed to have someone with you when you don’t have a license?”
“I’ll be right back,” Adam dismissed, “It’s literally 5 seconds away. You guys wait here, I wanna surprise you all.” He jested.
“Ugh, I’m too tired to argue.” Harold said, “Your ticket, your problem.”
“Gee, thanks,” Adam playfully punched him before he walked off.
“Fuck, my head…” Jamal groaned.
Adam turns around the corner, digging in his jacket for his keys — he has a key for Yuri’s and Jamal’s car, always just in case. “Damn, it’s hot tonight,” He mumbled as he takes his jacket off, whipping his head as the metal jingle echoes in the car-filled structure.
“~Baby, I wanna ~I wanna dance, dance ~All night~” Adam sings lowly, “~And I wanna, I wanna get, get ~My life~” He chuckles as he locates Jamal’s car, “~And I’m gonna, I’m gonna get lost ~In the lights ~Turn up, I’m the wizard I pronounce you to-“
“Ah!” Adam jumped as he whips around to the sound of a metallic clang. He laughed as he sees some guy had dropped his crowbar, before turning back to approach Jamal’s vehicle.
“Hey there.” Says a different voice. Adam turns around, and sees a couple of people walking towards him. He spots a shorter person just tying a black bandana around their mouth.
“Um… Can I help you?” Adam asked as he looked to the up coming strangers. His eyes spot the crowbar that was dropped,
“We got something we need to talk to you about.” Said he, behind a bandana. Adam doesn’t recognize him at all, voice or otherwise.
“What’s this about?” Adam asked, as they are starting to get too close.
“Come’er, we need to talk.” The stranger said as his voice darkened, grabbing Adam’s wrist and yanking him away.
“Stop! Let go of me!” Adam puts a vice grip on the other’s wrist, and pulls it off. He shoves him back, only to be pushed from behind with harsh strength, forcing him forward.
“Ow! Fu-” Adam scraps his hands before he’s pulled up.
“Hahaha, damn, maaan~” Nick drooled as he fondled Jamal’s chest, “You fuckin haawwt. You wanna fuck me and my boyfriend~?”
“I AM yo bo, man” Jamal snickered, “You drunk as hell.”
“… You think Adam’s ok?” Harold asked, “He’s been gone for a while now. I think maybe, 10, 15 minutes?”
“Ah shit, really?” Jamal asked, “I hadn’t noticed. He prolly havin trouble backing out or something. He’s kinda clumsy in MY car.”
“Wanna go check on him?” Harold asked, “I never remember where we park. I’ll look after Nick for you.”
“Aight.” Jamal lets Nick slomp down onto the pavement, and trots forward. He enters the parking structure, picking up a noise or two. “Yo Adam! You ’round?” He called out. Jamal walks along car by car, and turned around the point, hearing some scuffling and noises. His eyes catch several people around, and looks. “Oh shit!” A couple of people is beating someone up!
Two people are holding someone by both arms, while another person takes hard swings at the person with a crowbar, with one last person holding a small bucket. The bound person grunts and irks, squirming harshly against two of the captors. He breaks free, and takes a swing at the guy on the left, only to get the side of his head banged in a quick jab to the jaw. The figure staggers before his arm is yanked back up
“Hey! What’s goin on?!”
One of the people bashes the stomach with the bar, causing the victim to lurch forward. “HEY!”
“Shit, man!” Says one of them. The beaten man yanks his right arm away, letting out a loud, muffled squeal of pain as he doubles over.
A fast swing shot onto the side of the head of the victim, before his head droops downward, limb, held up only by his left by the other holder. Jamal’s eyes widen as he recognizes the injured figure, “FUCKIN LET GO OF HIM!!!” He sprinted as he yells.
“Ah fuck, GO!” One of the assailants muttered. Another one dropped the can they were holding, thus flooding the area with bright pink paint. A wide paintbrush is dropped as they started to run off. The figure was dropped onto the pavement, motionless.
Jamal raced to the four attackers, “GET THE FUCK BACK HERE!!” He roared. One of the masked men turned around, brandishing the crowbar, and swiped at Jamal’s face. Jamal’s hand catches the bar with precision, and yanked it backward, topping the man over, and then jamming his fist to his throat!
“GLKK!” The man choked, before Jamal caught sight of another one of the bandits.
“FAAAAHHH!” Jamal yelled as he yanks the crowbar, and strikes the hook-shape into under the mask’s knees.
“MOTHERFU-” Before he could yell, Jamal strikes again at his knees, a lot, LOT harder this time!
“AAAHHHHH!” illegal bahis The man screams in pain as he topples over, clutching his knee!
Jamal whipped back down, the crowbar flying out of his hand, which quickly evolved into a fist, and clocked the man right in the jaw!
“HNNH! HNNH! HNNH!” Jamal punches him over and over, forcing his fist into that face as hard as he could, until he stopped moving. He looked over, but he can’t see the other two men anymore, “Fuck!” He pants as he gets up, one attacker squirming in agony, and the other unconscious. Jamal looks over to the third figure on the ground, next to the growing puddle of paint.
Adam doesn’t move. His head lies dormant as his clothing is battered with rips and fat streaks of pink paint, with a big, garish triangle still wet on his shirt. His jacket is gone, blood can be seen from many rips and puncture along his body. His right arm appears crooked, and several fingers are discolored, along with a dark red gash on his left knee.
“No, oh God no,” Jamal whimpered as he ran back to him, and dropped to his knees. His face half covered in blood, Adam lies there, his eyes closed and swollen, a slab of dark metal color covering the lower half of his face, pressing on pink-saturated stubble, branded with black sharpie words [FAGGOT].
“Fuck, shit, don’t do this, fuck, please don’t fuckin do this!” Jamal croaked as he tucks his arm under Adam, moving him limbly as he hastily removes the duct tape off of Adam’s mouth, sobbing as the thick, attacked tape yanks at Adam’s bruised jaws, before a small revolute of paint and saliva pours from his lips.
“SOMEONE FUCKIN HEEELLPP!” Jamal yelled out at the top of his lungs, crying out in hysteria as too many options and thoughts collide in his head all at once as he holds Adam in his arms. “SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!! HELP ME!!!” Jamal yelled out.
“What the hell’s going on?!” Comes a random stranger. A woman in looks, and covers her mouth as she sees the spectacle, “Oh my God! What happened?!”
“Please!” Jamal sobbed, wheezing in dramatic mayhem, his insides going insane, “Help me! Please!”
Merrick stands in icy horror in the hall. There he is… In a bed of the E.R. Several surgeons are standing around him, all of them covered in paper masks, hats, and robes… Just like the ones at the Agency…
“Several nights ago…” Yuri said, her eyes down-cast and half lidded as she stands adjacent to Merrick, “A report of an attack was messaged to me. I’m not even qualified to be here, but the drivers of the ambulance knew Adam is my roommate…” Her voice is weak, clearly full of emptiness, “There were nice enough to inform me and help anyway I can… But fact is I’m useless…”
“What… The fuck…” Merrick managed to say, his stomach feeling like a crashing reef, “Who… What…” His throat feels so jagged.
“I couldn’t get a full story from Jamal…” She said, still showing nothing in her tone, “Adam has been in critical care for almost 4 days… Jamal was with him in the ambulance… He almost started a fight when they wouldn’t let him into the E.R… He waited for 3 days in front of the door, he’s barely eaten, hardly even moved… I barely got him to go home an hour ago before you came back…”
“Tell me…” Merrick’s voice cracked as his eyes start to burn, “Tell me now, please…”
“The best I’ve been told is… Adam was attacked by 2 or more people…” Yuri covers her eyes as her voice starts to tremble, “Merrick, please don’t make me say it…”
“Yuri…” Merrick’s chest begins to feel tight and sharp. He needs to tell her… Merrick’s hand flinches as he attempts to figure out how to reach for her. His fingers can’t seem to figure out how to move… His whole arm in fact, seems to have turned into nothingness… His mind is unable to begin to locate any words…
“Hhh…” Yuri sighed as she bows her head. He deserves to know, even if it brings her to tears. “The attackers snuck up on… During a…” Yuri’s words seem to echo the more she goes on. “… House paint… Th-They…” Her voice trembles, “They made him… Gotten into his wounds…” The more she talks, the dizzier Merrick gets, he can’t make any sense at all.
Merrick’s insides begin to crack and shatter, looking through the window of the doors, and glimpsing a face with a pair of black and purple circles where his eyes are supposed to be, “Glllk… Hhnngh…” Suddenly, his stomach turns into a pool of glass shards. “Yu… ri…” Merrick’s throat closes up as he immediately begins to feel darkness grip his sight.
“I’m sorry, Merrick, I-I can’t… Please don’t ask me, I can’t right now…”
“Ghh!” Merrick hacked as he topples down. Yuri takes her hand from her eyes, and gasps as she sees the merman cringing on the floor.
“Oh my God!” She goes to her knees next to him, seeing him twitch horribly as his fist clenches and yanks the left side of his shirt.
“HGHH! HGHH! HGHH!” Merrick rasps repeatedly as his chest feels like illegal bahis siteleri it’s stabbing itself with invisible knives. His eyes see nothing but flaring lights converging with blaring shadows as images of Adam’s distorted body over and over again, twisting and turning into a horrible spiral.
“Merrick stay with me!” Yuri handles him firmly, checking his pulse as he writhes with sharp, internal agony, “Oh my God, someone get a trolley! He’s having an attack!!” She called out. She knows exactly what to get, but she needs to stay right here to oversee his spiraling situation. “HURRY!! And get a respirator, stat!” She yelled to the rushing medics.
“Uhggnnn… Gkk… Hhhhh…” Merrick’s whole body tenses as he feels himself unable to think, unable to breathe. Everything is going numb except that he knows he can feel himself shaking and twitching, while Yuri’s voice, along with so many others are echoing endlessly. He can also feel shoes stomping around him, countless others possibly crowding around him.
Every sound blurs out as he is rolled on his back, his eyes glazed over as a clear mask is placed over his mouth. Everything is fading…
Everything… Is nothing…
“You know, you hear about it… Once or twice… One of your… Gay friends talks about it from a gay TV show you’ve never heard about… He uh…” Harold said, blinking as he rubs an inner corner of his eye, “He fawns over how upsetting a bombshell that happens to one of the characters, and you just half listen…”
He lies there, wearing nothing but his boxershorts, his hands interlaced with each other, while his bare back feels the smooth texture of Belinda’s coiling, serpentine body. “A-And you see… something like it in the news or Facebook… And you feel some sympathy towards the victims when you see the damage…” He idly talks, listening to the rain pouring and tapping on his window. “And… You just ignore it and never pay it more thought than that, and you just forget about it, and… But… You never imagine… It would ever happen… To someone you’ve known for years… It’s just… Oh my God, you know…” He sighs as he rubs his face with his hands.
“I still do not understand it…” Belinda says sadly, her white and peach colored arms over Harold’s chest. “What could Adam have done to bring such harm to himself?” She honestly feels confused by this unfortunate turn of events, “For as long as I have known him, he has been nothing but a kind, helpful, protective human. He could never hurt anyone… Why would anyone…”
“It’s called a Hate Crime, honey…” Harold answered somberly,
“A hate crime?” She asked, “What does that mean… And how do you know?”
“There are a, TON of hate crimes everywhere with humans, Belinda. Black people, gays, Muslims, all over, human history is soaked in it. With ADAM’s case… They just wrote it all over him… This has been going on for decades — centuries, even — not just with gay people…” He strokes one of her arms, “There is a lot of people who hate a lot more people who are different for what they are… So they go out of their way to break the law and sensibility just to beat down the kind of guy they can’t stand to look at…”
“Is this because of the human god?”
“Sort of, something like that… At least in this case… The bible, and church, and all that stuff… I’ve never been religious, and that’s pretty much the only reason the gays have always been beaten down.”
“This ‘religion’… Is it not supposed to be about peace?” She asked with confound eyes, “What is peaceful, about fighting a man to the brink of death? I have always thought of Adam being allured by males to be strange, but he is one of the best humans I can ever know.”
“Nothing, Belinda… Nothing…” Harold huffs as he rubs his eyes. “God, I can only imagine how heartbroken Merrick is… I caught Yuri at the hospital a couple of days after it happened, and she was so damn terrified on what she was going to tell him…”
“I should have been there…” Belinda said, “I could have protected him…”
“We all could have…” Harold said, “Why didn’t I go with him when we were leaving… He only had a driver’s permit, he needed someone with him… I’m such a fucking idiot…” Belinda hissed in despair, her insides churning with helplessness, “Can’t you go in there an heal him?” Harold asked.
“I have tried…” She said, “I have tried going to him without being seen, but I know I am being watched everywhere. A-And…” Her voice shutters, “I do not know how to mend the kind of broken that Adam is now. I would not even know where to begin or how to heal him, even if I was a Noita…”
“Can any Noita heal him? Adam told me that he’s on good terms with Merrick’s Mom, and then that other pod Merrick goes to, they have a Noita, don’t they?”
“It would not go well, even if we do convince a Noita to help. Surrounded by humans, always being watched by human camera-eyes… And even then, I am not sure canlı bahis siteleri one could do him so much help… On the day I have heard that Adam was attacked, I immediately came to Atarah for her help…”
“She is someone who helps merfolk, far away.” Belinda continued, “She gave me a mixture of different elements and plants that she claims should be very good for Adam’s health… But I still cannot reach him…”
“Shit…” Harold sighed, “Belinda… I don-“
“Aaahhheeee!” Comes an electric scream. Both of them jump and look at the baby-moniter on the nightstand.
“Theodore!” Belinda gasped as her body immediately recedes and transforms, reverting to her human form before she quickly gets up, wearing a comfortable lace negligée.
“Mommy!! Mommyyy!” She rushed out of their bedroom and into a smaller room with several infantile toys and items around, and to a cradle.
“I am here, I am here.” Belinda hastily says as she bends over the crib, and puts her arms onto the crying toddler. Theodore cries freely as he clutched onto his mother. “Shhhh, it’s ok, it’s ok, honey, it’s alright…”
“Hey, what’s the matter, little buddy?” Harold softly asked as he walks in too, tying on a bathrobe, “What’s the problem, Theo?”
“The lightning. It is probably terrifying him.” Belinda says, “Hush, baby…” She cooed gently, carefully rocking him as their child gasped and sobbed, “We are here, you’re safe…”
*Beep… Beep… Beep…*
“Nnhhh…” Merrick groaned as he slowly wakes up to a slow beeping; there isn’t any part of his body that doesn’t feel heavy with soreness, as if he had just swam across the ocean without so much as a break. His blurry eyes make out a small white ceiling. He can feel that he is on a bed… Going by the immediate sense, he guesses he is still in the hospital… He can’t tell there is a small needle in his hand, connected to an I.V. drip. He also notices his shirt is missing, but he doesn’t care, never does.
“Merrick?? Are you awake??” Yuri’s voice asked in a worried tone, “Answer me, please.” Merrick groans as a fuzzy Asian doctor focuses into view, standing beside him with both hands on the railing of the bed.
“I… I’m awake…” Merrick barely managed to whisper; his throat feels like sandpaper. His eyes hurt. A lot. And so does his chest… He feels a deep, pounding hurt wallowing in his upper region. He can feel… And see his own heartbeat; each pound is like wide-spread ache in his body, “Yuri…” Immediately, his eyes start to flood and his voice cracks, “Yuri, what happened…”
“You fell down…” Yuri said sadly, “And you couldn’t get up, your heart just-“
“Nnno.” Merrick barely finds the strength to throw his head back and forth, “What… Happened…” Yuri takes a deep breath as see rubs her thumbs over her eyes.
“He…” Yuri bowed forward as a tear managed to drip from her eyes “He was attacked…” Her voice trembles, both in emotional struggle, and fear out of telling the one who needs to know the most, “H-He was bashed, Merrick.” Yuri sniffled as she finally confessed with a straight answer, “He’s been in a coma for 4 days, and…” She shakes her head, “We don’t even know if he’s going to make it.” She sobbed as least as she could.
Merrick’s eyes clench as his face distorts with sadness as he begins to choke. His hands go to his face as his lungs take in agonizingly sharp shutters.
“Merrick, i’M so soRRy…” Yuri cried with him. Merrick rolled onto his side as he starts to break down, his cries muffled behind his hands as his stomach turns into a poisoned pit of misery.
“I was only gone for a we-ek…” Merrick sobbed, “What happened… What happened… What did he do…” Yuri walks around, and goes to hug him. “What did he dooo?” Merrick squealed weakly as his face buries into her coat as he continues to cry, “Why him…” Merrick wept as long, painful gasps made out his voice, “Why him… What did he do…”
“I don’t know… I’m sorry…”
Jamal sits at the bar in the Waltz. Soft, trickling music twinkle in the background as his eyes keep a stone stare into his beer bottle. As much as much he wants to get shit-faced right now… It’s like anything he drinks or eats just tastes like dust or something… Half a beer, and he feels like sinking through the floor, and just disappearing.
“~Notice meeeeeee~” Sings a dainty, woman singing on stage, surrounded by pale and blue lights, “~Take my haaaa~aand~” She glistens with silver sequins and a short skirt around her chest and waist. “~Why are weeee ~Strangers wheee~een~” She takes a breath as she draws her fists to herself, “~Our love is strooooonng ~Why carry on without me?~” She sings as she holds her hand up, as if reaching forward.
Jamal sniffs before tilting his bottle up, and taking a drink. “Thought I’d find you here.” Nick says from behind. Jamal doesn’t move, not even to look. His lover sits right next to him, and scoots right beside him.
“…” Jamal sips some more tasteless alcohol. Nick’s eyes see how his hand trembles as it lets go of the bottle. He puts his arm up on his shoulder, hugging him partially. “It’s my fault…” He finally said.
“I knew you were gonna say that.” Nick said.
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