Chapter 18: Confrontation and Comfort

"Put that camera down," Dr. Benson said, angrily. "This is a private center where…"

"It's a private center where people are dying, Dr. Benson," Edison said. "Now you either talk to me, or I'm going to assume that you have something to do with it."

"That last death was an accident," Dr. Benson said, his voice sad but angry. How dare Carter accuse him of having anything to do with that boy's death. He had worked hard to make the Harrisburg Center a good and safe place for recovering hostage victims. Two deaths and one coma seemed like a lot. But they'd all been from entirely different causes. "The girl who died in her sleep was a delayed reaction to brain injury."

"And what about Bryce?" Edison demanded. "Why was he taken to the asylum? Why was he given belladonna?"

"Belladonna is a perfectly acceptable remedy used in the treatment of many ailments. It is sometimes used as a painkiller and a remedy for hyperkinesis."

"Neither of which he had," Edison pointed out. "And why such a large dose?"

"1.5 c.c.'s is not that high a dose."

"He was given ten times that!" Edison shouted.

Bryce blinked as the room went slowly from black to a fuzzy grey.

"I think my eyesight is returning," he said.

"That's good," Jenny told him. "Do you remember what I told you earlier?"

"I think I remember some of it. You said my name is Bryce Lynch. That I'm a genius or at least I was born one. And you said I attended the Academy of Computer Sciences at the age of ten along with you and a few other really smart kids."

"That's right."

"I don't feel like a genius," Bryce admitted. "I've been trying to think of some brain exercises to do, but I'm stumped."

"It's the belladonna," Jenny explained. "It's caused hemispheric damage to your brain. You have to relearn most of what you lost in a new way."

"Bryce," Theora said as she walked in. "How do you feel?"

"Physically? Fine."

"He seems to be handling the brain injury okay for now," Jenny told Theora.

"For now?" Bryce demanded. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's perfectly normal for a genius with a severe brain injury to feel extremely frustrated," Jenny said, her hand on Bryce's shoulder.

"Yeah. Whatever," Bryce grumbled. "You try being told you spent the first sixteen years of your life as the most brilliant person ever…"

"I never called you that," Jenny pointed out.

"Oh? Were you smarter?" Bryce asked sarcastically.

"Look that doesn't matter, I get what you're saying," Jenny smiled warmly as she hugged him. "And you're right. It is hard to be told you're really Superman when you feel as dopey as Clark Kent pretends to be."

"I'd be thrilled to feel like Clark Kent," Bryce told her. "I feel like bloody Lois Lane. I even had to be rescued. Jenny, I can't live like this. I can't be helpless for the rest of my life."

"You won't be helpless, Bryce," Jenny told him. "I won't let that happen. I'll work with you every day until we find a way to work around the problems you have now."

"And what if it goes wrong?" Bryce asked.

"Let's not think about that," Jenny said, knowing what the answer would be.

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