Scene 1.7 - Chase's Workshop
At the hospital:
Standing beside the hospital bed, Kyle held the bed rail tight in his grasp to stop himself from shaking. God, she looked so pale this evening…
He'd been dead tired after his return home from the underground, but he'd only taken the time to eat and shower before returning here to kiss her goodnight. As always, there was no response from her. Only the whir and beep of the machines kept him company as he stood there.
"I'm not done fighting for you," he promised her.
A cold shiver raced down his spine as he looked at her, wondering if they would keep their promise to him. He had kept his end of the bargain and risked his life to do their bidding. Would they do the same for him in return?
"Angel," he called her name. His voice shook with pure emotion as he pensively bit the skin of his thumb. "Angela," he repeated sternly, but still there was no response.
Frustration was eating him alive as he turned his head down bitterly. There had to be something more he could do. Reaching into the pocket of his jacket, he pulled out the paper he'd shoved in there earlier. One way or another, he was going to get her help. Following up on a new lead would keep his mind occupied, if nothing else. Standing here idly was only driving him nuts.
Chase… That woman was another mystery altogether. She was certainly a wild card. Their conversation, brief as it had been, replayed itself in his mind. Her behavior had been utterly mind-boggling, yet he couldn't shake the feeling that he should attend her ridiculous seminar. There was nothing more driving him than gut instinct.
Tearing his gaze from his sister, he walked away from her bed with a very heavy heart. She was in organ failure for no discernible reason. Her health from birth had been poor at best, but it had deteriorated each year as she grew older. This year, she'd taken a steep turn for the worst. Each day she was weakening and the doctors had no reasonable explanation for her failure to thrive. Every test that they ran came back exactly the same—inconclusive… It was said that her tired body might give out any day now.
Fuck that shit!
The hospital corridors were quiet as he ambled through the halls. His mind was on Chase as he walked. There had been something so strange about the way she'd stared at him. It wasn't something he'd been aware of at the time. He'd been much too preoccupied with other things to give it much thought. She'd been so nervous to hand him the pamphlet, yet there had been some inner turmoil playing out in her mind that was driving her to do it anyway. He was still perplexed to understand the odd one-sided conversation she'd been having with herself as they spoke. Hmm…
He stepped off the elevator and made his way to the small auditorium where her presentation was set to begin. A copy of the paper he was holding had been posted on the door. Alternative Nutrition For Deadly Diseases…
Ridiculous! Utter bullshit! He shook his head in sharp criticism of the name.
He was surprised to see how many people were milling about the room when he peered inside though. Some appeared to be college students, while other were obviously her colleagues from hospital. Yet, others looked elderly or sickly in some manner. Perhaps some of the hospital's very own patients were here—looking for miraculous cures, no doubt. Then again, wasn't that why he was there himself?
Completely undecided about the entire affair, he moved off to hang in the back wings of the room. He wanted an unobstructed view where he could observe her without distraction, hearing her thoughts as well as her words.
Nearly thirty people took there seats as the lights in the room started to dim. Kyle remained stoic as he leaned up against the wall at the back of the room. Food isn't the answer for Angela… The pessimistic thought crossed his mind, knowing it was the truth.
Chase entered the room through the open door to his right. She passed right by him without realizing he was there. He thought she looked nervous. Maybe she was.
She took her place at the head of the room as the lights dimmed even further. The small podium was well lit with a view screen draped on the wall behind her. It suddenly lit up with an image of the human body surrounded in a halo of light.
"Good evening, everyone," she began with a welcome smile. "I'm Dr. Chastity Sawyer. I work as a traditional nutritionist here at the hospital, but I also run an outreach program that helps people understand the benefits of looking at food to nourish the body from within.
"Food, as we all know, is filled with vitamins and nutrients that we all need in order to survive. This seminar is not about that though. There is another aspect to nutrition that is just as important to our well-being as the facts we were taught about in school. There is growing scientific evidence to support the belief that some food can help increase the natural energy that is present in our body from the time we are born. It is depleted little by little, year by year, as we consume foods that contain no living enzymes after it's been cooked, canned and preserved for storage.
"Many people feel the depletion of life-giving energy each day and never even realize it. Symptoms range from mild disorders such as depression, anxiety and insomnia to the more debilitating illnesses that seem to develop without reason. Chronic fatigue, migraine headaches… Many unexplainable disorders can often be reversed with the addition of new foods into your diet—food teaming with life that helps re-energize your internal system. Restoration of it can lead to a feeling of well-being and—"
Kyle listened to her words, finding some of what she said resonating with him. Yet, it was not merely her presentation that held his interest. He watched her eyes move from person to person as she spoke. Whether she knew it or not, her mind was connecting with each individual on a deeper level than was natural in most humans. It riveted those who were listening to her.
Her facts may or may not have merit, he supposed. Some of it did strike a chord within him though. Angela's illness was without explanation—completely undefined by medical standards. Weakness had overtaken her for years on end, likely from the moment of her birth…
Unlike their conversation in the courtyard, Chase spoke to the audience without pause. She was looking directly at the members in attendance, so focused and self-assured. Not once did her eyes stray from them with any distraction during her speech.
"Coming around is a handout for you to take home," she concluded. "There's information on the topic I've been discussing along with links to some websites you might want to visit. I'm available here at the hospital, but I also run a private workshop out of my home. The address is printed on the third sheet, along with my phone number and email address. I'm always available for private consultations. Thank you."
The light in the room brightened and people began to rise from their seats. That was the moment her entire demeanor began to morph into something he was far more familiar seeing.
Several people approached her with questions and she greeted them each in turn as the inner workings of her mind began to take hold of her. It was a natural part of her psyche, he realized. Even as she spoke to them, she was holding a private dialog within her own mind. The thing was… It didn't sound like she was talking to herself…
Something about the way she was conversing with these people reminded him of what he might hear when talking to one of the elders. He could hear their thoughts as clear as day when they were speaking to him, but the responses they received during their personal conversations? He could not hear those words at all.
The longer he stood there watching, the more intense his curiosity became to learn more about her. He was fascinated. That was the only word that could possibly describe what he was feeling. Chase was no ordinary woman. He was sure of it. No… She was something—other…
Would he be able to feel a connection to her if he touched her? It was impossible to believe, but what if she was a hybrid like him? There were others out there. They lived their lives in complete secrecy, cautioned from a very early age to disguise themselves from others. Exposure in the human world was expressly forbidden.
At that precise moment, her attentive gaze landed on him. He felt it before he even saw it. She'd stopped speaking to the people around her, excusing herself to make her way cautiously toward him. For a moment the world seemed to stop spinning around him. He was riveted to the spot—his mind a jumble of impossible questions he wanted to ask her. But, what should he say? It was forbidden to even hint at the subject!
His eyes fell to his feet as his mouth began to open. In a moment of panic, he slammed the door to his rampant thoughts shut from the elders. They could not know what he was thinking!
Before he knew it, she was standing before him. He could see that she was apprehensive—just as she'd been earlier that morning. Still, she was there. She seemed to be taking in the sight of him, as much as he was of her.
He'd come? He was really standing there? Had he heard the entire seminar?
Licking her lips, Chase found it difficult to speak. "I thought you might not come, but I'm happy you did. I realize what I said must've sounded insensitive considering your sister—"
"How do you know about her," he frowned. "I didn't know you were treating her."
"I'm not," she stammered slightly. Chase looked down, seeking guidance to help her explain her odd behavior.
It wasn't about his sister. She knew that with certainty now. That had been her own assumption, but she'd been wrong. Perhaps the flier was meant to be some sort of an introduction between them. It was the only reasonable explanation why they'd insisted she should give it to him.
After leaving him standing outside, she'd taken some time to investigate his sister's case a little more thoroughly. She realized then how dire her situation was. She was hanging onto life by the support of machines. No treatment she could offer would do any good at all. He had to think she was insane for suggesting nutritional treatment might somehow help save his sister's life.
It was true though. Her attraction to him was in no way sane at all. She knew that now, deep down. This morning she had assumed she was being guided to introduce herself to him to deliver a message. Now she knew better. She'd taken advantage of her gift and used it to fulfill her own selfish desire to meet him.
"I just wanted to talk to you. I should have said that this morning. I just didn't know how to say it," she admitted sheepishly.
"To talk to me," he asked. His head tilted slightly to try and understand her meaning more clearly.
Chase swallowed nervously. She found it exceedingly difficult to speak with him—on any level at all, it seemed. This was so not her…
"Maybe another time," she finally shook her head. Deciding to backtrack before she made an even bigger idiot out of herself.
"Wait," Kyle reached out to take her hand then. "Just wait—"
The moment the connection began, Kyle felt a rush of pulsing energy invading his hand. It bled through his skin, traveling up his arm and firing through every nerve-ending it could reach.
Chase's mouth dropped open as she ripped her hand from his grasp. Her eyes were wide with shock as she took a sudden step back. The tiny gasp that escaped her throat had his entire being standing at attention.
"No!" She shook her head in objection. "This is—I—" her words were pasted together hastily, thoughts swirling madly in her head as she continued to back away from him. "I can't be near you," she insisted, breathing as though she'd just run for miles. Blinking rapidly, she turned to race for the door as fast as her feet would carry her.
Kyle remained where he was, held immobile in complete shock. He desperately wanted to trail after her, but he simply couldn't will his body to move. The only thing he could focus on was the foreign sensation invading his body. Desire, potent and intense, was riding him hard. He'd never experienced anything like it in his life. It had him nearly dropping to his knees, bending forward in an effort to try and stem the tide crashing over him.
Chase was literally running as she bolted for the elevator. She rapidly pushed the call button, repeating a desperate plea in her mind as she impatiently awaited it. Please don't follow me!
The doors slid open and she was quick to jump inside. The moment they sealed shut and it started moving downward, she sagged against the metal wall. She welcomed the icy feel of it against her skin.
His touch! As brief as it was, it had felt like he was drawing the life right out of her body. The connection had been such a visceral sensation. It was as if he were stealing all of the vital energy she possessed. It had been ripped right out of her chest.
Oh, she knew what had happened. She had used her gift several times in life to help the patients she treated. Those whose own energy reserves were depleted, she was able to lay hands on them to nourish them and restore their health. She'd only done so a handful of times, but she'd done so willfully, knowing exactly what she was offering them at the time. This man had taken it from her without any effort on her part at all! She hadn't done a thing to initiate the act—an act that had previously taken a great deal of meditation and only happening under the most dire of circumstances.
How had it been so easy with him? How had he done it? Or, had she done it herself?
Whatever had caused it to start, she was left shaken to the core over it. The attraction she'd felt for him felt unnatural, as if her very soul were calling out to his. What if that was what he'd been about to take from her? What if she'd been about to give it to him?
Taking a deep breath, she tried to regain her composure before the doors slid back open. This insane road trip was at an end!
No more, Mr. Whoever You Are…