Chapter Thirty: Nootau
Storming the Castle
The knights stood guard outside the OR. Orderlies and nurses swept in and out with equipment. Edwige stood vigil by Aegeus' side.
Voices echoed in the OR as Edwige tried to concentrate on pulling on the energy to keep the wound from opening farther, and to keep what she could from bleeding out. The bullets made it hard to heal. She didn't want to do any unintentional damage.
"We need more O negative!" the medic shouted.
"Wo ist Dr. Stamenov?"
"Er ist auf dem Weg!"
"Entschuldigen Sie, bitte." A firm hand came down on Edwige's arm.
She looked up to the serious face of a nurse. A blue surgical mask already in place. Stern brown eyes judging Edwige.
"Wir müssen dich beiseite legen."
"I can't leave him. I'm a Healer. If I take my hands off, he will bleed out."
All Edwige got was a nod of acknowledgement as the nurse went to a tray and started arranging the scalpels, needles, sutures and the like. More nurses came in, setting up the blood, pushing drugs into his port, taking his blood pressure, and placing leads. An anesthesiologist came in with the surgeon, both talking rapidly.
Both doctors eyed Edwige as they got to the table.
"Healer. Wife," she said by way of explanation.
They nodded then began immediately ordering the nurses about. The room fell into a rhythm speaking of familiarity and calm. The hospital blue came out, covering her love. A part of her feared it would be the last time she saw his beautiful body—bloodied and grey. But the humans and Beings were trying to save her husband and moved with purpose, switching to English now and again to get Edwige situated where she could best help them.
The warmth in her hands as she pulled from the dark spaces gave Edwige hope everything would be all right. If Aegeus died, she wouldn't know what to do without him. She was already losing Nootau, and to lose her love? Edwige's breath caught.
The OR team paused, looking at her with sympathetic eyes.
"It's all right," she said. "Please, keep working."
They had multiple gunshots to fix after all. Her hands were keeping the worst under control until they could get Aegeus stabilized.
"Really," she said again.
They nodded and went back to work.
"I have my third to find, after all."
A bark of laughter came from the other side of the doors. A familiar one. Seemed their banshee friend kept watch over them. Maybe he'd be up for some hunting later on.
* * * * *
The guard had woken up screaming when Nootau used his guka to claim the skin share. Luckily he also passed out again. Nootau rolled him onto his side. It would hurt, but he hoped it would slow the bleeding a little. He only needed to be the man long enough to get into the lab, get Dario, and kill the bastard.
As Nootau placed the skin share the blood seemed to leap toward his skin, like it was eager to connect. He shook his head, squinting.
Oh, but it does want you. Wants everything.
The moment the skin touched his hip everything went sideways.
Pain flowed from the skin share, rippling across his body. A slime covered every inch of his chest, down his legs, up to his neck, and inside his mouth. Breathing hurt, like he was drowning. His bones cracked, joints popped, and his muscles stretched.
It was when the facial bones changed Nootau fell to the floor. "Ah!"
A sludge, thick, dark, and sticky settled over him. Screams, maybe his, echoed in Nootau's mind. Muffled by a cold wind. His voice trapped forever in a cold expanse that was once his soul.
Once Nootau stood again, pain held him tenderly, choked him. Each step thudded with an inordinate amount of weight. Words, thoughts, waded slowly through his mind. Unadulterated glee also hummed within him.
No, not within Nootau. Something with him rejoiced, but not him.
Getting dressed was cumbersome. His fingers didn't work the way he thought they should. The boots were a nightmare. Nootau checked on the guard. Still passed out.
It took a minute to open the door, but Nootau managed. Anticipation must've made it hard to grab the lever. Yes. Anticipation. That's what drove him. To have his hands around the neck of the man responsible for Ahanu's death.
The hall was nothing like the chaos downstairs. No one hurried, had weapons out, or gave Nootau a second glance. To him, each steps rang down the hall, announced who he really was.
The body moved, but in an alien way to Nootau, like a marionette dancing with each pull of the strings.
A dead man with a mask.
The door for the lab was only ten steps away. How glorious would it be to see Dario's face as his last breath came? That something rejoiced within him.
No, the skin just fits the man.
Glory in death!
Just a snap of the neck.
Another guard nodded and waved to Nootau.
A smile formed on his lips. All he had to do was reach out. Death had come to the aerospace lab.
And it's name was Nootau.
Ahanu will have his revenge.
And it will be at your hands. Your soul, walker, will blacken. It will match your heart.
Nootau pressed his hand to the scanner then pressed his head against the eye scan. The locks unclicked.
That something inside Nootau, the one calling for blood, sang. A smile formed on his lips, and a giddy chuckle escaped them.