Chapter

40

Kanaya Maryam is single and ready to mingle.

Alright, not really. But she’s coping admirably with the sudden departure of her beloved spouse. She’s doing her best not to think about it. That’s how you get past something. Just put it out of your mind, train your thoughts on a hopeful future, and stop dwelling on the many little micro-failures in your past that all added up to a doomed marriage. She’s looking directly ahead, chin up, taking firm, confident strides. The heels of her designer shoes click loudly on the hospital linoleum.

She grips the antidote I left for her with both hands as she scans the hall for the room number she got from the front desk. She hears Roxy’s voice before she sees the number, and follows the sound. She enters the room. There’s Jade, still as a corpse, propped up slightly in her bed as the adjacent heart monitor beeps gently. Roxy is sitting next to her in a chair, still looking every bit the slick and cool dude he’s presenting as these days. Nice.

There’s nobody else in the room. I guess he was talking to Jade? That’s very kind, but she can’t hear you, Roxy. She’ll be able to soon enough though. And when she does, you’ll probably want to be the one listening to what she has to say.

ROXY: oh hey

KANAYA: Hello

KANAYA: How Is She

ROXY: um

ROXY: sleepin

ROXY: idk

KANAYA: Yes I See

KANAYA: I Brought This

ROXY: wats that

Kanaya pops the cap off the EpiPen-style delivery mechanism for the antidote and jabs it into Jade’s arm. Her hands twitch a bit, and her body begins to stir. Her mouth opens a crack and lets out a barely audible whimper.

She opens her eyes quite wide, suddenly. Her bright green irises dart around the room, trying to solve the riddle of her present location. Roxy peers intently through his shades to get a better look. They’re Jade’s same old eyes, playful, intelligent. But they seem different somehow. These are eyes that have seen so much more than they had the last time they were open.

ROXY: jade!!!

ROXY: omg jade

ROXY: youre awake

ROXY: how u feelin?

Jade stares at Roxy. If she mistakes him for Dave, it isn’t for long. She hears the beeping next to her. Glances out the window. This is a hospital room, she understands now. Her mind races, sifting through the overwhelming amount of information that became available to her the moment her trance began. The scope of her awareness, she now understands, is truly staggering. Memories are suddenly accessible that are almost impossible to believe. Some of them are unspeakably marvelous to her. Others, deeply disturbing.

No, more than just disturbing. She lingers in the dark recesses of her consciousness. There were things she saw, things she was told... Her mouth twists into a silent snarl. She’s been angry plenty of times before. But never so angry that she stopped being cute. She’s not cute this time.

She starts breathing harder, belligerently pushing the air from her nostrils. The beeping doubles its pace. Her eyes are wild, no longer sizing up the room but calculating the true extent of the turbulent rage coursing through her body. Her brow creases sharply, and her nose wrinkles as her upper lip rises and quivers. And then it hits her. She knows exactly why she’s feeling this way.

She bolts upright from her bed, and shouts:

JADE: DIRK STRIDER HAS TO BE STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!

> ==>
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