JOURNEY DOWN A HARD ROAD

Chapter 16: A Deal With a Devil

"Dr. Meyer?"

Dr. Meyer turned at the gates to the asylum and saw a brutal-looking man standing behind him. "Who are you?"

"Breughal. And I understand you've taken on a few difficult patients recently. The type you wish would just… go away?"

"What's it to you?" Dr. Meyer demanded sharply.

"Let's just say I have way of making people… disappear." He waggled a large needle he'd brought with him. "So, here's the deal. I'm a little short on stock this month. And I can't afford to off another Mahler. So… you provide me with a selection of fresh bodies, hand-picked by me, and I will take a dangerous liability off your hands."

"We have just one I'm willing to hand off to you."

Dr. Meyer didn't want a televised scandal. He was having enough problems getting free lab rats as it was.

"I want three," Breughal told him. "Surely you have a lobotomy or two that didn't go as planned?"

"We have a dozen or so of those," Dr. Meyer admitted.

"Then do we have a deal, doctor?"

Dr. Meyer smiled. He would be able to get rid of Bryce and nobody would be able to trace it back to him. "We have a deal."

"You can't be serious!" Theora exploded at Edison. "What were you thinking! Sending Breughal in to poison Bryce!"

"I've already got a team of doctors ready with the antidote at the medical center," Edison argued. "As long as we get Bryce to them within fifteen minutes of being injected they should be able to reverse the effects."

"What about the previous injections?" Murray asked. "Did you take those into account?"

"There is no other way to get him out. The doctors will know if he's alive or dead. Even a psychiatrist knows what to look for."

"Hello, Bryce," Breughal said quietly as he unhooked the machines and tubes from Bryce and carefully injected the contents of his syringe into the teen's arm.

He piled Bryce's body onto the gurney with a man and a woman, who each bore an identical scar on their foreheads, both of whom were recently deceased.

"So young," he said, shaking his head. "Such a pity."

"Where the hell is Breughal," Edison demanded as they reached the hospital. The grey van was nowhere in sight."

"He probably took Bryce to the body bank," Murray complained. "I knew we shouldn't have trusted him."

"If he did, he's going to be their next guest," Edison vowed.

"Here he is," Reg said, pointing at the grey van as it came barrelling into the parking lot.

"In a hurry," Breughal told him, dumping Bryce in an empty parking space, then driving off, just barely avoiding running the unconscious teen genius over in the process.

Edison ran to Bryce and picked him up, carrying him into the hospital with Reg, Jenny and Dom close behind.

A few moments later, with much convincing from Theora, Murray followed Theora bringing up the rear to make sure he didn't turn back.

"Edison Carter," Edison said as he entered the medical center carrying Bryce. "I called for a medical team. Case of belladonna poisoning."

The receptionist tapped in the code for the paramedic team. "Edison Carter is here with a belladonna victim."

The emergency room doors flew open seconds later. A team of doctors, one with the name tag "K. Weaving", rushed into the room.

"Put him on the gurney, Mr. Carter," Dr. Weaving said, a syringe in hand.

The minute Bryce was on the gurney, an oxygen mask was over his face and the doctor was carefully applying the injected.

"Physostigmine," he told Edison. "Used in severe cases of belladonna poisoning."

They got Bryce into a pod in the emergency room and began monitoring his vital signs while they hooked him up to an EKG to check for signs of brain death.

"Looks like we got to him in time," the doctor told Edison. "There are signs of permanent brain damage. However, there is nothing that cannot be dealt with."

"What sort of brain damage?"

"There will be some memory loss," the doctor explained. "Also transient blindness in one or both eyes, and he will experience heavy confusion during any attempt at logical reasoning."

'When you say 'transient blindness', doctor," Theora asked. "How long will his periods of blindness last?"

"There's no telling," the doctor admitted. "We had one patient who lost vision completely for a year and then regained it. Though it's usually for a month or less."

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