Annabelle Arc II: Marked for Death
Part I: Defective
Two Weeks Later
The next few weeks were rough, I was perpetually exhausted from the awful sleep schedule and all the physical exercise, which speaking of, left me half-dead every time to the point Ms. Carver the gym coach had grabbed me in a bridal carry in the middle of class and brought me to the doctor as I had avoided going…
A few days later on the weekend, I was called back to her office. I came in and the Venusian doctor invited me to sit down. I did and she looked at me for a moment with all four of her eyes, I could see the edge of her mouth move just a little as if she was trying to figure out where to begin.
“I have the result of the tests we did.” She finally said.
“Let me guess, I should lose weight?” I said bitterly. In response, I saw her cranial tentacles flatten on her head.
“I don’t see why. Although your weight is above average, your cholesterol levels are very good, same for your blood sugar. If anything losing weight would be detrimental to your health right now.”
“You’re not going to nag me about my weight?”
“No, why should I?”
“Every doctors I’ve seen have…”
“Your weight is not a significant health determinator and even if it was, the regular physical regiment of the academy may help you lose weight. But back to what I wanted to talk to you about. The tests we ran have revealed a ventricular septal defect.” She said, I sort of blinked at her for a moment until she put it in normal-people speak. “You have a hole in your heart.”
“There’s a hole in the wall dividing the right and left side of your heart which allows blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart. The oxygen-rich blood then gets pumped back to the lungs instead of out to the body, causing your heart to work harder to compensate.”
“And I’ve had that…”
“It’s a congenital defect, so it was there since birth. Since I don’t have your medical dossier I can’t tell if your doctor was aware of it. The hole is small, so it’s possible that they knew about it but opted not to operate as the hole had strong chances to close by itself.”
“So, what does that mean for me? I’m not going to be kicked out am I?”
“No, of course not. You’ll just have to go through surgery. Thankfully, it’ll be a minimally invasive routine kind of procedure. However we don’t have the facilities or expertise to perform it here.”
“What? No, I can’t leave!” I screamed, making her tilt her head.
“I know it’s scary, but you don’t have to worry, it’s a perfectly safe procedure. You’ll be in and out of the hospital within a day.” I tried to interject something, but she cut me off. “And I’m afraid I can’t let you continue without the operation, you’d be risking your health overworking your heart like that.”
I didn’t argue, what was the point? What could I tell her? That magical yakuza would find me and use their occult powers to murder me? Apparently my parents had called to inform them of my ‘difference’ as they liked to call it. She would’ve just dismissed it as another delusion of a crazy nutbag…
“I’ve called in a few favors, we can perform the operation in New York next Tuesday. In the meantime, I’m signing you off your physical classes so you don’t exert yourself.”
I nodded and just half-heartedly went through the rest of our sessions. Eight days, that was how long I had before then. When she let me go, I dragged my feet home. I went in my room and found Amber back in my room with my computer where I’d left her earlier.
She turned around and I just wrapped my arms around her, feeling the tears pour out.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” She asked before hesitantly wrapping her arms around me a little too strongly, cutting my breathing short for a moment like she often did before easing up.
“I just came back from seeing the doctor.”
“You’re not dying are you?” She said, half joking and half serious.
“I might as well be…” I sighed, letting go of her and sitting down. “I have a heart problem, it requires surgery… Off-island.”
“Is that bad?”
“If I leave, the Shigeo-Kai’s going to find me. There’s something about this place that prevents them from doing so, but the moment I’m out, I’ll be defenseless.”
“You won’t be, you’ll have me.”
“I know you mean well, but they tried to blow my heart out from half a continent away. This isn’t something you can protect me from…”
“What do we do then?”
“We need help.”
“How about that Abraxas guy you told me about?”
“Already tried, he gave me a number last time he visited but he’s not picking up. Something about the astral plane which I have no goddamn clue what it means or how long he’ll be away… And I don’t know anyone else in the Legion who might help me…”
Abraxas and I had talked about a few things the last time he’d visited, but who was or wasn’t in the know about magic’s existence in the Legion hadn’t been one of those things…
“Isn’t there someone, anyone?”
“Wait… There’s someone else. I hope she’s up to it… Wait here.”
I didn’t wait for an answer before rushing out the door and practically sprinting to the next house over before knocking on the door and then going to the next. On my third house, I was greeted by tall muscular girl with a heavily tanned skin wearing a tanktop and shorts despite the cold weather.
“Hello?” She asked with a strong hawaiian accent. “Can I help you?”
“Hi, I’m looking for a girl named Síthmaith. Does she live here?”
“She sure does. She’s in the backyard.” She nodded toward the back and stepped out of the way.
I went in and went through the house, which was just like ours except for a few details like paint colors and the living room area had carpet instead of wooden floor. I reached the backyard and found Síthmaith by the fence. To my surprise, she was elbow deep in dirt. Her cat in the meanwhile was lazily lounging in the sunlight, he raised his head to look at me and immediately Síthmaith got up and turned around.
“Hey Baby witch.” She said, taking off her gloves and putting her tools in its kit.
“Hey, I hope I’m not bothering you.”
“I was just removing some hogweed choking the asters. Gardeners did a lousy job weeding. What’s wrong, you don’t like like you’re flying it.”
“I have to leave the island and if I do that, I’m pretty sure I’m going to die. I need surgery and if I don’t get it, I won’t be able to stay here. I’m fucked either way.”
“So you be needing some help protecting yourself from those Shigeo-kai fellas?”
“Yeah, and I don’t know if they’ll blow my head off through magic or a gun. Maybe they’ll send a demon after me, fuck I don’t know…”
“Don’t need to say anymore, Malkie and I are in lass.” She said after giving her cat a look confirmatory look.
“I’m a Merlin, helping people fighting the supernatural’s what we do.”