Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dark Redemption chapter 20: T.L.C.

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Strephon MacKenzie, a semi-immortal half-fae, has been commissioned by the Faerie Queen to investigate fae activity in the city. This investigation has been complicated by Cassandra True, a curious reporter to whom Strephon finds himself increasingly drawn...

A door opened and a woman in a nurse's uniform entered the room. She pushed a cart up to Strephon's bed with a cheery smile. "Good day, Mister MacKenzie! And how are we today?"

Strephon sat up in bed. He was in a hospital room. Had he been admitted to a hospital? "What's going on?"

"It's time for you sponge bath," the nurse replied in a soothing voice. She looked familiar. She pulled off his nightshirt, dipped a large bath sponge in a basin of water and began methodically wiping his chest. The water felt warm and pleasant.

"Cassandra," Strephon said, suddenly recognizing her. "You never told me you were a nurse."

"Shhh... Now for the legs."

Before he could stop her, Cassandra pulled back the covers, revealing Strephon's mortal half: ancient and withered legs with bony arthritic joints; wasted away after a century and a half of mortality. Without a word she gently applied the sponge to his gnarled limbs. At the touch of the delightfully warm water the pain of his stiff joints faded and his wrinkled skin grew young and smooth. He could feel his muscles regain their strength. Cassandra leaned a little closer as her sponge slid further up the inside of his leg. Despite himself, Strephon gave a happy sigh and lolled his head over to one side.

That's when he saw the bunnies.

The walls of his room had gone and they were surrounded by a wooded glade. Rabbits were cautiously stepping out of the bushes. They wore cammo trousers and carried automatic weapons but they were unmistakably rabbits.

"The rabbits are watching," he said. For some reason that bothered him more than the their paramilitary dress or their iridescent feathery wings.

"I'll take care of that." Cassandra climbed on top of the bed, on top of him, and reached up to the bed curtains hanging from the ceiling. She pulled the curtain around the bed, completely enclosing them.

"Ah. I think this has gone quite far enough."

Cassandra knelt over him, straddling his now-healthy legs. Her uniform had somehow come undone, revealing the turquoise swimsuit she had worn on the beach the previous night.

"Only your legs are crippled," she said quietly, "not your heart."

She bent down and brought her lips close to his. "You don't have to do anything you don't want to, you know."

Then she kissed him.

Strephon knew he needed to do something. He couldn't think what. As he wondered, his arms encircled Cassandra's waist and drew her body close to his. That was all that mattered.

* * * * *

Cassandra woke up.  She blinked, then rubbed her eyes.

"My, what a peculiar dream..."

NEXT:  A Foot In The Door

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