keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 50: Hastings 150
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 49: Brown 168
Lauren was abruptly awakened by someone stuffing a cloth in her mouth. She tried to push them away, but discovered that while she was asleep her arms had been pinioned to the bed rails, and couldn’t move more than a few inches. She tried to kick, and discovered that her feet had only about a foot or so of range. She was in four-point restraints; apparently the doctor had signed the order, but instructed that it be done while she slept, without awakening her.
And her rapist had returned.
He spoke. “Let’s try this again,” he said. “You’re quite feisty, and I expect this will be a lot of fun--at least for me.”
She couldn’t speak. She made some muffled cries through what she guessed from the feel was a washcloth, and tried to push it out, but it was rather firmly inserted. She heard the rip of a piece of bandage tape, and then a hand held her forehead securely while the tape ran from cheek to cheek across her mouth.
“Can’t have you screaming for help, now, can we?”
The hands, invisible in the dark, were feeling her body, trying to determine her position, but stopping to enjoy spots along the way. She wished she could do anything, even call some light, but all her light spells, indeed all her magic, required that she speak, and sometimes that she move in particular ways.
She tried to focus her mind on her blade. If she could get it to focus, she could injure him and then hopefully cut one of the restraints on her arms so she could undo the others. It would be quite a bit of Houdini trickery, trying to fight off her attacker while untying her restraints--but it was moot anyway; she couldn’t get the blade. What else could she do?
As the hands found the waist of her jeans and undid the clasp, she remembered once interrupting the thought of a preacher. She attempted to disrupt the thought of her attacker now, even though it would only give her a moment in which she would have to think of something else. Unfortunately, she failed to do it.
She needed to see where he was. She wasn’t sure how that would help, but if she could think of some way to attack him, targeting him was essential. She remembered shifting her sensory processing strongly into one sense, and so in a moment was able to see her surroundings and her attacker dimly. It was a stark black-and-white image fed by the very slight amounts of light coming through the closed blinds and window in the door to the dim light in the hall.
Suddenly he was not touching her. He had straightened up, leaving her torso bare and exposed. He reached for his own pants, unfastened them, and dropped them to the floor.
At that moment she remembered a skill at which she had become very good, although she considered it one of her more difficult ones. God, she thought, I hope this works, because I’m running out of options. She raised a mental force wall in front of the orderly, and just in time as he leaned forward and bumped into it.
“What the--?” he exclaimed, feeling the solid nothingness in front of him.
It wouldn’t hold forever, Lauren knew, but she could see him now, and she had him at bay for the moment.
He stepped back. As he did, she dropped the shield and created a new one closer to him. He found it almost immediately.
“This is not happening,” he said, and with his next backward step she tried to move the wall again.
The psi bias was low in this world; she knew that, and it was risky trying to reuse a skill. This time it failed her. Finding his way unimpeded, he charged toward her as quickly as he could with his pants around his ankles. With only a second or two, she raised another shield right at the edge of the bed, and he collided with it, hitting it hard, and falling backward. He managed to keep his feet, stumbling back again.
“What are you? How are you doing this?”
She couldn’t answer him with the washcloth in her mouth; she wasn’t particularly interested in answering him anyway.
It was evident from his visage that he was frightened now. He moved toward the door. However, Lauren decided she was not going to let him escape. When he was near the wall, she caught him in a force bubble that sealed against the wall and the floor and was tight enough around him that he couldn’t bend.
“Help!” he shouted. “The mad woman is attacking me!”
In a moment the light came on and the door opened, and several people ran into the room. Lauren decided that this was the time to drop the shield; he would have a harder time explaining what happened without the evidence of witnesses confirming that there was some kind of invisible wall around him. He had been pressing against it, and fell to the floor when she removed it.
Her primary caregiver surveyed the scene: Lauren, pinioned to the bed at four points, pants pulled down and shirt pulled up, washcloth in her mouth with tape over it; Brack, face down on the floor with his pants around his ankles.
“Get security,” he said to one of the girls who had come in behind him. “Then call Conway.” He stepped over to the bed, and tossed a blanket over Lauren. “Sorry I can’t undo this just yet,” he said, “but I want witnesses to document this so there aren’t any arguments about what happened here--or at least, none that claim the scene is different from what it is. We will get to the bottom of this,” he said reassuringly. “Other than the obvious, are you all right? Can you breathe?”
Lauren nodded. There wasn’t much else she could do.
Brack was starting to rise, but her caregiver turned his attention that way. “No, you stay just like that until security gets here.”
“No argument. You can tell the doc what happened when he gets here. I’d like to hear the story myself, but that’s going to depend on whether Doctor Conway thinks it’s appropriate for me to know. Julie,” he said, addressing one of the other girls, “get the camera. I want pictures of this, so there’s no argument.”
Brack groaned; the caregiver rested one foot on his back.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twelve other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #291: Versers in Action. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: