Faces in the Mist: Part Eight

Read from the Beginning.

The hallway was as pristine and white as the reception area, and it felt to Skyla like she was walking down the corridor of someone’s mind. Possibly Doctor Leeland’s, since despite his gruff manner he was always clean and orderly. It could have been Darian’s as well, but even though they had known each other since Skyla’s Lady Training days on Earth, he was hard to read, much like the closed, sealed off doors they passed as they walked further into the Dome Hospital.

At the end of the hallway was a sliding door with a palm-print identification pad attached to the wall. Leeland slapped his palm on the pad, resting the other hand casually on his hip while he waited for the system to acknowledge his identity. The pad glowed red and then green. The same female computer voice that allowed Skyla entrance to the hospital said, “Identity confirmed. Doctor Larry Leeland.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, waving his hand impatiently at the pad as the door slid open.

Inside the cramped observation room was a computer console installed against a glass pane. On the other side of the glass lay Lady Harmony, with light blue hospital blankets tucked under her chin. Her red curly hair was splayed over her fluffed up pillow. A monitor kept track of her vitals and reported them wirelessly to the computer in the observation room. From there, it analyzed the data and displayed them on three separate screens.

Leeland flicked his middle finger and thumb against the main screen, displayed in the middle of the room above the console and just below the glass. “See this?”

Skyla pursed her lips and concentrated. On the screen was a white outline of a female body, with various red veins spreading from her chest to her extremities. There were tiny blue blinking dots concentrated near her heart, and traveling slowly to her arms and legs.

“What does it mean?” Darian asked.

“We found trace amounts of an unidentified mineral in her bloodstream,” Leeland explained.

“How did it get there?” Skyla asked.

Leeland shrugged. “Not sure. I checked for puncture wounds, thinkin’ maybe someone injected it directly. Nothin’. She mighta inhaled it, maybe, but I checked the filtration system an hour ago, and everything checks out normal. I can scan the rest of the Domers for similar traces, but that would take time.”

Skyla nodded. “Take a sample of the population, and do it.”

“Yes, your majesty,” Leeland said. “Like I said though, it would really help if I knew what happened.”

Darian and Skyla exchanged glances and eventually agreed to tell him the truth. They described Lady Harmony’s bizarre behavior in the throne room. Leeland gave them a disbelieving look when they told him how Lady Harmony rose off the ground, but didn’t comment until they were finished.

“Well, that sounds like a possession to me.”

“But that’s preposterous,” Skyla said. “No such thing exists.”

“I know,” he agreed. “I’ll have to do some research and get back to you on what could’ve caused that.”

“Is it the Moon Flash Virus?” Skyla asked suddenly.

She felt Darian stiffen beside her.

“I haven’t seen any trace of that in my career. And no one has, as far as I know, for the past seventy or eighty years,” Leeland replied.

“The vaccine doesn’t work on everyone,” Skyla said flatly.

“The odds of the vaccine not working are one in a billion.”

Skyla’s heartbeat skyrocketed and she struggled to contain harsh words. Her hands trembled. She balled them into fists and grabbed the sides of her jumper dress to stop them from shaking. She could feel Darian’s eyes on her, waiting for her to explain. But she couldn’t. The pain was as fresh now as it was then.

Leeland continued. “Anyway, your majesty, in short, I’m runnin’ every test I can think of to figure out what this mineral is, and once that’s figured out, I’ll be able to tell you more.”

Skyla moved her eyes to Lady Harmony, who was still sleeping serenely. “I want updates every two hours.”

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