The Shadow Man (from Flight)

Thanks to a quick internet search, he found his boys in the Saint Michael Medical Center morgue. They’d been taken there after someone called in a fight to the police, and the police had showed up to find two headless bodies. Someone had figured out, or been very lucky in guessing, that his boys were healers. Unless Mar had bragged about it. Sometimes his boasting got the better of him.

Eric showed up at the morgue and told them he might be able to identify the two bodies they’d brought in two nights before. Drinking buddies, he said. The nurse on duty called a doctor, and the doctor let him know that the police were going to want to talk to him if he in fact did know the deceased. Eric said that he understood, and the doctor led him down to the morgue.

Two lockers were opened, two bodies slid out. The doctor warned him that the sight was gruesome. The autopsies weren’t complete, and their heads were still detached. Eric nodded, and the doctor unzipped the body bags. Those were his boys, all right. He looked between them and summoned up a touch of crocodile tears. “Yeah, I know them. Could I have a few minutes alone?”

“Sure. I’m sorry for your loss.” The doctor touched a hand to his shoulder and walked away. Eric waited until he heard the door close. He went to Clifford first. Reliable, steady Clifford. Eric pushed the man’s head firmly onto his neck. Would two days be too long? He waited a few seconds, studying the ragged flesh, waiting for signs of healing.

Maybe it had been too long … maybe ol’ Cliff needed a bit of magic to kick start his body. Eric looked around and found a scalpel lying on a table. He went over and grabbed it, bringing it back over to the body. Eric sliced the end of his index finger and dripped the blood onto the torn flesh of Clifford’s neck. “Come on, Clifford … wake up, my boy.” Drip, drip, drip. The drops of blood fell, bright red onto the pale flesh and dried blood of Clifford’s neck.

One small piece of flesh latched on to another. Another connection was made, and another. The flesh knit itself together faster and faster. “That’s it.” Eric smiled. Clifford’s pale, cold flesh started to warm. Eric moved on to Mar. The wound on his index finger had started to close, so he sliced it open again. Holding Mar’s head against his neck with one hand, he dripped blood onto the neatly sliced hole between neck and head. This had been done with a blade, or something very sharp. Clifford’s neck had been torn and chewed as if by an animal. The two very different methods of severing the head made Eric think that there had been at least two people involved in hurting his boys. He was very eager to find out what the story was from them.

The blood from his index finger dripped onto Mar’s neck, bright red against the pale dull colors. “Wake up, Mar. Your boss is here.” It took a little longer for the flesh to respond, reaching out to bridge the gap between head and neck. Eric watched, fascinated.

A gasp behind him, a thump, and gurgled moaning. Clifford was awake. Eric turned around and looked into the panicked wide eyes of Clifford. “Quiet, or you’ll attract attention.”

Clifford calmed and nodded to show his understanding. His neck would take at least a few more second until it was healed enough to allow him to talk. Eric turned back to Mar. In a few seconds, he drew in a gasping, ragged breath and his eyes flew open. Eric made sure that he was the first thing Mar saw. “I’m here, don’t worry. Let yourself heal.”

Mar opened his mouth, trying to speak. A rough, gurgling sound came out of his throat. Eric put a finger to his lips. “Shhh.” Mar settled down.

“Boss,” Clifford said, his voice raw. “They killed us.”

“Excuse–” The voice cut off with a whimper. Eric turned to see the doctor standing in the doorway, a hand to her mouth and her face full of shock.

Eric grinned at her, showing all his teeth. “Yes, I know these gentlemen. I know them very well. Thank you for taking care of them, but we’ll be going now.”

A thunk as Clifford jumped from the slab to the ground. “Clothes?” he croaked.

“We’ll get some on the way out, to tide you over,” Eric said. He turned and offered his hand to Mar, who took it. Eric helped Mar off the slab to the floor.

“Thanks,” Mar’s voice was a bit less rough than Clifford’s

The doctor was still gaping at them, although she was now slowly backing away. “You’re … you’re dead!”

“They were, for a little while. But as you can see, they’re feeling a lot better now. Now, if you please, step out of the way and I won’t need to kill you.”

The doctor took a few more steps backward, then turned and ran.

“What do you think the chances are that she’ll call security?” Eric looked at Clifford, then Mar. “I hope the chances are in our favor. I’m in the mood for some destruction, and all I need is a reason.”

Clifford smiled. Mar tried to laugh and only choked himself. Eric patted him on the back. “Let’s get you boys some scrubs.”

The hallway was empty except for an orderly at the far end, who either had not seen or took no notice of the doctor fleeing a moment before. In the midst of pushing his laundry cart from one room to the next, he glanced up and froze. “What the hell?”

“Could you point us to the nearest closet where we could find some scrubs?” Eric asked.

The orderly blinked at him. “This … this is a joke, right?” he made a sound that attempted to be a laugh. “It’s not that funny guys, seriously.”

“It’s no joke. Just tell me where I can get something for my boys to wear, and we’ll go. I don’t have any reason to kill you, but if this takes long I’m sure I can come up with one.” The corner of Eric’s mouth turned up.

The orderly’s arm shot up as if it was on a spring and he pointed to his right. “There. Second door.”

“Thank you.” Eric inclined his head. He led his boys to the closet and opened the door. Their bare feet made slap-slap noises on the floor. Inside the closet, there were several different kinds of supplies, including a shelf with folded scrubs on it. Eric held the door open and gestured with a sweep of his arm. “You know your sizes better than I do.”

Clifford and Mar went inside and Eric let the door swing shut to give them some privacy. He crossed his arms and leaned up against the wall. The orderly was gone. Another chance for someone to go call the security guards. Things were looking so much brighter than they had on the drive up here. Eric tilted his head, catching the sound of hurrying feet coming toward them. Hmmm … at least two people.

Clifford came out, followed by Mar. Both of them were wearing blue scrubs. They looked very odd wearing them, but it was better than nothing. Eric told himself that he was going to get his boys something much nicer as soon as he could. But first, a little bit of fun.

“Someone’s coming,” Clifford said. “His voice sounded almost normal.

Just then, two guards came running around the corner. They slid to a halt. One of them hovered his hand over the butt of his gun. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but why don’t we all go talk about this before things get out of hand.”

Eric looked at his boys. “Why don’t you boys show me the new goodies you picked up?”

Clifford and Mar grinned at him. Clifford reached out a hand and Mar mirrored him. The guards at the end of the hall flew backwards, slamming into the wall.

“Very nice! Telekinesis?” Eric asked, his mouth watering at the thought of having such a power.

“No. Air,” Mar answered him. He lifted several inches off the ground, and Eric’s mouth watered even more.

The guards tried to reach for their weapons. Clifford slammed them against the wall again. “You remembered to save me a piece in the box, didn’t you?” Eric asked.

“Of course, boss. The biggest piece.” Mar dropped back to the floor and cupped his hands, summoning a purple ball of lightning. He threw it at one of the guards while Clifford advanced on them.

“And you left it somewhere safe?”

“We left it in the van.” Mar frowned. “How long were we out?”

“Two days.”

“Shit! It’s probably towed by now.”

Clifford reached the guard and used air to blast him up to the ceiling, then fling him out of sight down the other hallway. “Then we know our next stop. After we get you boys some good clothes, we’ll stop by the impound lot and get the van back. And, much more importantly, my box.” Eric started walking down the hall and Mar followed him. They met up with Clifford at the end of the hall. “I know we have important things to do, but what do you say to taking the long way out of the hospital?”

His boys grinned.

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