Black Out

by Brooder

6:50 PM


Brooder sat up quickly. He was confused, disoriented, and now, in a lot of pain. His ribs flared from the sudden movement, sending jolts of pain soaring through his body. He slowly lay back, grimacing from the pain, but not crying out.

Of all the injuries I've lived through, nothing beats broken ribs he thought to himself. He'd been shot, beaten, electrocuted, and even poisoned, but never did he feel pain like this.

Brooder took a moment to look over his current situation and what got him here. He'd been on his way home from a movie, a simple movie, when the power grid started to fluctuate. Because his car was designed to run on the city power grid, he felt the effects of the surges. And then, when the grid went completely down, his car died. Knowing that while the grid was down he was going nowhere, he tried to call back to the loft so no one would worry. He hadn't been able to reach the main telecom. While trying to call Kylie's wrist phone, he had been hit broadside by a pickup truck coming down a side street.

Now, he was sore, tired, and completely cut off from the rest of his team. Luckily, a resident of the neighborhood had taken kindness to the extreme and let a complete stranger into her house. Sandy Marshall was her name. And luckily for Brooder, she was a nurse at a local clinic. Sandy had poked his ribs for a while before declaring that they were indeed broken. Of course, he spent the entire examination in tears from the pain. Then, at the very end, he passed out.

Now, he was sitting in a recliner, grasping his ribs, and trying to figure out how he was going to get a hold of the team.

"How are you doing?" a voice from the kitchen said.

Brooder looked over to see Sandy peeking through a serving space. She had concern in her eyes. Must have seen me jump up, he thought to himself.

"I've been better," Brooder replied. "How long was I out?"

"Better part of an hour," Sandy replied. "Are you hungry?"

Brooder's stomach answered for him. He felt, as well as heard, the rumbling. Sandy must have as well.

"That's what I thought. I hope you don't mind soy sandwiches. It's all I can afford working at the clinic."

"That'll be fine, thanks," Brooder said. He had already vowed to help this woman in any way possible.

"You know," Sandy started, as she carried the tray of sandwiches into the living room, "through all of this, I still don't know your name. You fainted before I got a chance to ask you."

Brooder smiled. Fainting was the nice way to say, "passed out from excruciating amounts of pain".

"Sorry. My name is Broo.." he cut himself short. He owed this woman something. Maybe trust would be a good start.

"Broo? That's an interesting name,' Sandy said, amusement showing.

"No. That's not my name," Brooder said. "My name is Phillip. Phillip Duvall."

"Oh. Now I see. You one of those types aren't you?"

"One of what types?" Brooder asked.

"A shadowrunner," Sandy replied. "I've treated some at the clinic."

"Tell you what," Brooder said, getting serious. "We'll not talk about what I do. It'll be safer for you."

Sandy looked surprised. She had touched a sensitive subject by accident and now felt sorry for it.

"Yeah. Ok."

Sandy began to walk back toward the kitchen. Brooder knew he had been an ass and felt bad for it.

"Wait," he said. He continued when she turned around. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. You've given a lot to me. Shelter, food, hospitality. I have no right to berate you in your own house. I apologize."

Sandy smiled. It was one of those "That's right. And don't you forget it" cute smiles. Brooder blushed. There was something about this woman that he really liked.

"It's ok," she said. "Like I said. I've treated others before. I understand your concern. I'm going to get something to drink. You?"

"Water, please."

"Be right back."

Brooder watched her go back into the kitchen. There was something special about this woman, but he couldn't tell what. She was fairly normal looking, as far as a man's viewpoint went. She had brown, shoulder length, curly hair. Despite the age of cyber technology, she wore glasses over her hazel eyes. Something about the way she walked made Brooder think she was flat-footed or something along that line. Even then, he found himself thinking how attractive she really was.

Whoa there, cowboy! an inner voice said. You still need to deal with Kylie before even trying to get involved with someone.

Brooder thought about Kylie for a moment. She was attracted to him. That was obvious. But she didn't say anything to him. What was he going to do? Later, he decided.

Sandy returned with the water. They ate together, chatting about the blackout that had occurred. Brooder was surprised to learn that it appeared to be citywide. He needed to get back out there. But first, he had to give his ribs a little more time.

"Sandy," he said. "I don't mean to be rude, but do you think it'd be alright if I slept for a while longer? If you could wake me in an hour, my ribs will be good enough that I can move outside again."

"An hour!" she exclaimed. "It's going to be several days before you're able to move right."

"No it won't," Brooder returned, winking at her. "I've got a secret."

Without further explanation, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Copyright 2002 - R. James.

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