9.3 Small Comfort Indeed

by Matt P.

Antigone woke up with a start, gasping as the darkness faded away from her eyes. She was shivering, and she had fallen to the floor. Her head was in Siobhan’s lap, and Scotty was straddling her to make sure that she didn’t hurt herself thrashing. Or at least that was what Antigone could figure out for how he could be straddling her without Siobhan castrating him. It also, Antigone was forced to admit with a blush, wasn’t unpleasant to have Scotty right up against her like that.

“Annie, thank God,” Siobhan breathed, and Antigone laughed a little bit as her sister leaned down to hug her face. “You were having a seizure, you fell out of the chair. I think I kept you from braining your head, but you never know; maybe you’ll stop wearing Birkenstocks.” Siobhan must have been relatively reassured, because she was joking.

“Never,” Antigone responded, and was surprised to find her voice was a croak. She smiled at her sister to make sure she knew it was playing along, before coughing. Apparently having a vision/seizure made one’s mouth dry. “I saw something,” she managed to continue as Siobhan let go and Scotty rolled off of her. She started to try to stand, but had to settle for sitting up and panting for a moment. “I…” She struggled to remember what she had seen. It was there, but sitting up had brought a headache crashing the likes of which she had never felt before. She winced, reaching up to grab her head and cradle it; it felt like there was a bomb going off behind her left eye, and her neck throbbed with pain as well. “Shit!” She cursed, gasping.

“We need to get a nurse!” Sally spoke up from the bed, reaching out next to her for the little button that would summon medical help. Antigone shook her head quickly, struggling to get up to her feet. Siobhan and Scotty reached out to put their hands under her arms and helped her to stand, before she reached out to grab a bottle of water that had been left for Sally. Chugging it helped her feel better, the headache dimming slightly and the hoarseness in her throat abating even more.

“No, we need to go right now,” Antigone insisted. She grabbed Sally by the arm and started carefully working to pull sensors off of her and the IV drip out of her; she was thankful that Morgan had shown the both of them how to remove and insert IVs during their brief and tumultuous winter as candy-stripers. She could also intubate someone, in theory, but that didn’t seem relevant to her at the moment.

“Hey!” Sally protested, clamping down a hand on her arm as the IV was removed, but not protesting beyond that. Apparently her having dreamed about the two of them meant they had some latitude to do weird and disruptive things, and Antigone had to admit having IVs yanked out randomly wasn’t fun.

“Sally, I know you don’t actually know us, but you have to trust me right now,” Antigone said seriously, reaching out to take the formerly comatose girl’s hand. Her voice was intense, and she felt like she was trying to bore in to the other girl’s soul with her eyes. “We have to get you out of this room right now, because they are coming for you right freaking now. It’s time to go, if we all want to live and not have everything go to shit. Can you trust me?” Antigone asked. Sally swallowed, awed Antigone’s sudden switch to being super intense.

“Y-yes,” she stuttered, nodding. Antigone nodded in return. “What’s g-going to happen? Are they going to take me b-back?” Her voice was unsteady but her demeanor was slowly getting more balanced. Having someone who sounded like she had a plan was apparently helping, even if Antigone was terrified bone deep.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, Sally; I’m not exactly in control of any of this, and I don’t have anything but shadows to work with. But we won’t let you get taken back, no matter what,” Antigone reassured. “Now we’re all going to get up and run like crazy, OK?” Once again, Sally nodded. Monica moved up to the bed as well, and nodded at Antigone and Sally.

“We won’t let you go back,” the taller young woman reassured. “There’s been too much terrible shit that’s happened in this hospital anyway, and this is what Antigone and Siobhan do. They pulled us out of the fire at the High School, and I trust them to pull us out again today. Come on, can you stand?” She asked, reaching out to place a hand under Sally’s arms.

“I’m a little wobbly, but there’s nothing wrong with my legs beyond what a brief coma will do to you,” Sally pointed out wryly. She slid out of the bed, and looked around. “No idea what they did with my clothing, so that will be fun, but let’s go.” Lacey moved over to help Monica with Sally, while Scotty and Siobhan stacked themselves up front by the door. That left Antigone in the middle, feeling both somewhat insulated and disconnected but also simultaneously in charge. She had the distinct feeling that they would be looking to her to decide where to go and what to do, and she swallowed against a rising burn of nausea in her throat at the thought.

“Alright, let’s go,” Antigone said, and Siobhan opened the door. They stepped out in to a normal looking hospital hallway, and for a long heartbeat Antigone thought she might have been wrong about everything. Maybe things would be alright, and she was just suffering from some form of weird but entirely treatable schizophrenia. What an odd hope, Antigone thought idly, but it was a hope nonetheless.

That hope died a moment later when the sound of gunfire erupted from down the hallway, and all of the lights in the hospital shut off. A moment later they were replaced by the soft glow of emergency lights.

“At least the fucking emergency lights work this time,” Siobhan griped, a small comfort indeed.