Bronze Dragonfly

Thom Potter, Artist, Bard, Creator

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Shadow of the Skull

A Monster Hunter’s Int. Fan Fiction (sort of)
Thom Potter, 2020

Well, the next few days looked very strange to me. First, it took me a couple of hours and three or four ivs before I could tell them who my aunt was and her phone number. Well, it wasn’t just the dehydration. The investigator’s mind was loud and messy. And me with that one ability getting supercharged, or something. His mouth would say, what’s your mother’s name? His mind was worried, and thrashing over the argument he had with his wife that morning and his boyfriend the night before. It took a bit before I could reduce his mental output enough to let me hear his mouth. Well, that inner fight seemed to have quite an effect on that, too. What can I do? Patience?

Mi Señora, what would you have me do? Last week I heard other people’s thoughts like listening to voices through a wall. Now? Well, I figured it out without thinking about it, I’ll figure it out again. But if these minds are as scrambled as this guy’s eggs, I’ll be the first to go mad.

Ow. I woke to my tía’s mind, it is really loud, right now. And my head is pounding like metal drums. I opened my mind to see where she is; reception. She has the usual questions; what are the cops doing about all those murders? What are we paying you for? Who needs child murderers and school shooters when we have cops around? So, could I hear her if she were in Guadeloupe? Or Africa? She’s yelling at the investigator. I’ll give him creds, he’s taking it like a pro. Strange, though, he’s put his other arguments on the shelf, or something, ‘cause I don’t hear any of that. Or maybe I can’t hear it for her volume? This is going to take some getting used to.

Another woman approached the exchange. She’s different, quiet, no focused. That focus gave her mind a singular purpose, and put everything else to rest. I get that she’s from Sunburg Investments Int. and she had some questions for me. No, she won’t intrude until I’m strong enough to take it. She just wanted to make that clear while offering to pay for my recovery, full recovery. My uncle pulled up just in time to hear that part. His first question, what’s it going to cost them? Uncle Ronnie, don’t ever change.

She finally had a chance to relax while she walked up to me. While she introduced herself as Gwyn, I heard a worry at the back of her mind–she’s dying and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

I don’t know what she saw in my eyes, but she smiled and told me, everything is going to be just fine.

I woke with a start. I must have been really exhausted, or something ‘cause I don’t remember being moved.

And now I have stitches on my face and chest.

Ya know, I thought I heard chanting at the back of my mind. The words, not that I understood the language, left my bones chilled like they were under the monster’s trance. It felt like it, too. Except, my monster was shouting to a small room, and this voice shouted at a sports arena. The cut on my chest began to ache again, and I felt chilled.

Something about the monitors must have set the nurse off because she scurried in. She checked the monitors, the leads, even the iv. Everything except me, n’so? Happy, she went back to her station to read Monster Hunters Int. Ya know, she read her mind felt focused, comfortable. I could read along with her because she gave voice to the words as they passed into her mind.

Ya know, I focused on that and it focused my mind away from that other voice, and that seemed to ease my nerves a lot. Don’t you know, that’s educational, n’so? Like Qui-Gon told Anakin, my focus determines my reality.

And in listening to Owen getting trained for fighting monsters I felt inspired. Ya know, Uncle Ronnie taught boxing in the Marines, maybe he could teach me, n’so?

I don’t know what they put in them ivs but they don’t fill an empty stomach at all. Aunt Joan came with gifts of food and orange juice. The staff seemed too busy to notice until I was nearly ready for seconds. Sorry, tía, I’m sure this is the best food anyone could ask for. I just couldn’t wait to taste any of it. Could you, I don’t know, make some more?

About the time I was ready to actually say that to her the nurse chased her off.

“Wait,” I said.

They both stopped, my aunt ready to listen to what I wanted. The nurse seemed surprised at the strength of my voice.

“Could you bring me some paper and pencil? I couldn’t tell the investigator everything.”

The warmth in my aunt’s heart nearly set me on fire. The nurse just halfheartedly agreed to that being a good Idea.

Well, I guess I ought not to have eaten so much so fast. I passed out within minutes of eating what I did. The physician assistant warned me against doing that again. No, the food isn’t the problem. Just too much too soon after being that deprived for so long.

I made a note of that. If I’m going to learn to fight, I’m also going to learn to heal. Oi, how am I ever to catch up?

Ya know, I woke to the buzdro of lunch. Now, where did that word come from? I looked around the recovery room and see a man with earbuds, n’so? I listen to his music through him. While listening to Stairway to Heaven–so that’s where that came from–I realized that might be unethical or something. After all, I’m intruding on his privacy, right? Well, I was just curious and that seemed the best way to answer the questions.

Ya know, maybe, just maybe we have other issues to deal with. I mean, what kind of damage could I be doing listening in like that? Ya know, how do you apologize for that?

Aunt Joan came for a visit. You know, she brought food, and I took care to eat slowly and enjoy it. After all, wouldn’t want it to knock me out again, n’so?

She brought paper and pencil, like I’d asked. You know, she also brought me a brand new tablet, registered and ready to use.

I tried to give her a hug. The stitches in my chest and cheek had other ideas.

You know, she asked my health, I didn’t tell her how breakfast effected me, n’so? After all, I didn’t need her to worry about it, or stop with the food. You know, I bet the hospital could learn a trick or two from her about cooking.

You know, She kept up a cheerful front. Under that I could hear the fear and worry. I tried, without intruding on her thoughts, to ease her mind, n’so? Let me tell you, after years of struggling to keep ahead of that mind, letting her keep her thoughts to herself ain’t easy.

You know, I studied that tablet. It had to cost a lot. Sure, someone else is paying for the hospital, n’so, but what comes after? And her with two other kids to feed when I get home? Do I use the tablet or return it? It could buy groceries for a month.

Or, maybe I put it to use in ways that could add to the household income? Mi Señora, I could really use some useful ideas, right about now. Please? Sure, surviving that saved them worry and funeral expenses, n’so, but now? And that voice, did I keep Buck and Connie from going into that mouth? Or is there another?

You know, I tried to quiet my mind. That’s when I heard that nurse reading to herself. Damn what’s right. Hearing about Z and his fight against his monsters helped me rest last night. Tonight, I’d like to rest like that again. Maybe, just maybe I can learn to fight mine by learning with him, n’so?

My face itches. It got so bad I tore the bandage off. That’s when I panicked. The bandage had a big pool of yellowing puss with decorative florets of blood. The nurse ran in at my scream.

I showed him the bandage.

His mouth said, “You have to keep the wound clean and covered.”

His mind kept calling me a spick, dirty wetback, and wanted to know why he got stuck baby sitting the likes of me. A second track kept thrashing on him getting fired if anyone found out.

So, I offered a solution. “Give me a fresh gauze and I’ll take care of it.”

Well, it took him twenty minutes but I got it. I washed my face as I felt half tempted to let him know I’m mostly Welsh. I mean, sure, my great granddad fought the Mexican-American war and they left his regiment behind when they quit. And he found a pretty lady to settle in with and didn’t come home after that. But I’m not that ready to give away my secret.

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