Clay was back in his room. Checking his phone confirmed that it was Friday again.
Fulbright killed me and Apollo…
He bolted out of his bed and threw open the door to his room. Apollo jumped back at the sudden noise. “Oh hi,”
Clay wrapped his friend in a hug.
“Woah… okay. Something wrong?” Apollo asked nervously.
“The launch was canceled.” Clay murmured.
“When did this happen?”
“Yesterday, I didn’t want to tell you, but I figured you’d find out eventually.”
“That’s terrible,” Apollo said. “Wish I could say something to make you feel better.”
“Oh, it’s fine really. I think the launch might be rescheduled, so there’s that.”
Apollo nodded absentmindedly, then pulled out his phone to check the time.
“Shit… I have to get to work.” He stood up and darted out of the door. “I’ll talk to you soon okay?”
Clay nodded and waited until he heard the front door close to call Director Cosmos. He used the same excuse, and the same conversation ensued.
“Oh and Director Cosmos?” Clay asked. “Please don’t tell anyone about my grandmother. I’d rather that be a private matter.”
“Of course.” Cosmos and Clay traded their goodbyes and hung up, leaving Clay alone with his thoughts.
Fulbright killed me and Apollo. That one dream I had must have actually happened too.
Noon came and went and Apollo stayed at the Agency. Clay decided to read a book without pictures this time.
He was occupied until Apollo collapsed on the couch at six.
“Hey,” Clay said. “How was work?”
“I had to clean the toilet.”
“You would not believe how disgusting a toilet can get in just a few days.”
Clay shook his head, a small smile on his face.
I definitely think I did better this time around.
. . .
Sunday came and went and to Clay’s surprise, a knock sounded on the door.
“I’ll get it!” He said immediately and ran over to the door.
Fulbright was standing outside, an oblivious look on his face. “Aw, it’s just someone trying to sell stuff.” Clay said, rolling his eyes. There was another knock.
“They sure sound persistent.” Apollo remarked.
“Hello? This is Detective Fulbright!”
Clay swore under his breath as Apollo gave him a strange look. Clay reluctantly opened the door.
“Oh hello! Is Mr. Justice home?”
“…Yes he is.”
“Can I come in?”
“Mr. Justice and I have some things we need to talk about.” Clay stepped aside and sat down next to Apollo. Fulbright seemed unfazed.
“What I need to talk to Mr. Justice about isn’t supposed to be leaked to the public. So if you’d please-”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t deliver it on a Sunday night while Apollo’s in his own home.” Fulbright frowned.
“Detective, is there any way we could talk about this tomorrow?” Apollo asked.
Fulbright pursed his lips, then turned to leave. Once he was at the door, he pulled out a lighter. Clay’s eyes widened as the lighter shifted into a gun. He jumped in front of Apollo as a shot rang out. The bullet hit Clay in the shoulder and he started screaming.
“Clay!” Apollo was at his side in an instant.
“Aw, how noble.” Fulbright said, looking down at Clay as he tried to get up. A swift kick sent him collapsing to the ground. Clay could hardly breathe.
Fulbright leveled the gun at the younger man’s head.
“No!” Apollo tackled the detective, and hit his head on the table. Clay stumbled to his feet.
C’mon! Go get help!
He ran out the door. Another shot fired and Apollo yelled in surprise. One of their neighbors came outside, an alarmed look on his face.
“Call the police!” Clay yelled. The man tried to walk towards Clay.
“Go!” Another shot rang out.
“Do-do you want to come inside?” Clay looked back at his apartment. He didn’t want to leave Apollo alone with a psychopathic murderer.
You’ll be no use dead…
“Y-yeah… thanks.” Clay stepped inside and the man disappeared around a corner.
Clay looked through the peephole, ignoring the stabbing pain in his shoulder. Fulbright was looking around and knocked on the door next to Apollo and Clay’s apartment.
“Yes… yes thank you.” The man hung up, and nervously approached Clay. “Are… you going to be okay?” He asked. Clay awkwardly rubbed his hurt arm, wincing in pain as he did so.
“I… I think so.” He said and turned back to the peephole. Fulbright was nowhere to be seen and the door he knocked on was closed. “I need to get my friend. If you see a man with blonde hair and a white suit, close the door and don’t open it okay?” The man nodded hesitantly.
“But what about you?” Clay gave him a strained smile.
“I’ll be fine.” He opened the door and peeked his head out. The coast was clear.
He dashed across the hallway and burst through the door to his apartment. Apollo was crumpled on the floor. Trying to carry his friend on his shoulder only succeeded in sending a shooting pain up his arm.
He grabbed Apollo’s arm and started dragging him across the floor. “Sorry buddy.” Clay muttered as he moved as quickly as he could to his neighbor’s door.
Once inside, the door was slammed and locked.
“Is your friend okay?” The man asked as he helped Apollo into a chair. Clay checked for a pulse.
“He’s alive,” there was a tiny wound in Apollo’s side. It seemed to be the only one.
“I’ll get the first aid kit.” The man said.
“Thank you.” Clay replied.
Apollo’s head rolled to one side as his eyes slowly opened. “Clay?” He said weakly, “F-Fulbright…” Apollo looked Clay straight in the eyes. “Why would he do that?”
Clay shook his head. “I dunno.”
The man came back with a first aid-kit and a knock sounded on the door before he could sit down.
He looked out the peephole and his face paled. “It’s the guy…” He whispered. Clay motioned for him to come back.
“Hello! My name is Detective Fulbright. I need to make sure you’re okay!”
“What do we do?!” The man whispered.
“We just have to wait until the police get here.” Clay whispered. “I’m sure he’ll have to bail by then.”
Fulbright finally stopped knocking, and footsteps could be heard walking away from the door.
“So… what’s your name?” The man asked.
“Oh, I’m Clay Terran and this is my friend Apollo.” Apollo was rifling through the first-aid kit. “How ’bout you?”
“Name’s Ness. Ness Whitman.” Apollo laughed quietly.
“Like the video game character?”
“My parents are nerds okay?!”
The three men sat in silence for a few minutes, the only sound being Apollo digging through the kit.
“Do you think it’s okay to leave?” Ness asked. Clay shook his head.
“He could be waiting for us to come out. We should just play it safe.”
“Why is that guy trying to hurt you?”
“Because he’s an asshole.” Apollo muttered. “God, what’s a guy gotta do to get some bandages?!”
“…We-We don’t know.” Clay said after a few moments of silence. “He just showed up at our apartment and tried to kill us.”
“Ah here they are!” Apollo said, triumphantly pulling out a roll of bandages. “I’m taking off my shirt to put these things on.”
“Here, let me help.” Clay took the bandages from Apollo’s hand. The two just stared at each other for a few moments.
“Well turn around! What do you think I am, a male stripper?” Clay slowly turned around.
What’s up with him?
Ness and Clay waited for the all clear. “Alright Clay, you can turn around. Ness you stay where you are.” Clay turned around and started wrapping bandages around Apollo’s mid-section.
“Are you feeling okay?” He asked. “You seem a little out of it.
“I was shot. How do you think I’m doing?” Ness started turning around. “you stay where you are!” Ness held up his hands in surrender.
It was another few minutes before the police officers and paramedics arrived. Ness looked out the peephole and opened the door.
“Hello,” he said.
“We received a report of gunshots and a wounded man?” The police officer said.
“Well there are two now.” The paramedic quickly made his way to Clay and Apollo, and began looking them over.
“Don’t touch me!” Apollo said. The paramedic sighed and turned his attention to Clay, who complied.
“This gunshot is rather small…” he remarked. “Do you know where it came from?”
“Yeah, the man who shot us pulled out a lighter and it turned into a small gun.”
“I see, if you’ll come with me we’ll get you to a hospital where they can remove the bullets.” The paramedic went to help Apollo, but his hand was batted away.
“I can help myself!” He wobbled slightly when he stood up, and Clay wrapped his good arm around across Apollo’s back. “…Thanks.”
The paramedic leaned over to Clay. “Does he usually act like this?”
Clay shook his head. “No, I have no idea why he’s acting like this.”
. . .
Turns out Apollo was acting this way due to ‘moderate brain trauma’ as the doctor had put it.
Apollo and Clay had been been scheduled to have the bullets removed the next day and were ordered to stay at the hospital until further notice.
There was a knock on the door to Clay’s room. “Come in.” Geo Terran entered the room with a relieved look on his face. He hugged his son.
“Clay, what happened?!” He asked.
“A guy tried to kill Apollo and me.”
“I don’t know, Dad.”
“How are you doing?”
“Well I was shot. There’s not much else to it.”
“I’m asking how you’re feeling emotionally.”
“Dad, I’m okay, really.” Clay forced a smile. “With a face like this, do you honestly think I’d lie to you?” Geo, figuring he wasn’t going to get much more information, decided to change the subject.
“Then what about Apollo? How’s he feeling? Is he remembering everything okay?” Clay shrugged.
“I dunno, I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him yet.” Geo looked down at his hands.
“Is there anything you need?” He asked.
“Well other than getting this piece of metal out of me, nothing really.” Clay’s father nodded slowly, and went back to being silent.
Eventually Clay found himself dozing off.
. . .
The lights in the room had been turned off and the curtains were drawn. Clay figured it was night time, and tried to go back to sleep.
But he felt eyes on him.
“Dad?” He said, looking around. “You still here?” Clay leaned on his elbow and grasped at the figure sitting in a chair next to him. “C’mon you didn’t fall asleep too did you?” The figure slumped forward and hit the ground. “Oh shit…” He turned on the lamp, hoping someone had just given him a heavy, human-sized, teddy bear.
The room was bathed in light. The first thing Clay saw was his father on the floor. “Dad?!”
The next was Fulbright standing in a corner.
“What the hell do you want?!” Clay yelled. Fulbright placed a hand over Clay’s mouth. “Mmm mmmph!” Clay tried biting at the glove, but felt a gun pressed to his head. He started clawing at the hand over his mouth.
“Bold aren’t we?” Clay finally wretched the hand away.
“Why do you want to kill me?”
“You figured out who I am.”
He’s said that before…
“No I didn’t.” Clay said. “I don’t know who you are.”
“What’s going on in here!”