Clay was back in his bed. Again. And he would have to go through the next few days. Again.
But at least I can try to beat my high-score!
That’s… morbidly fun.
He pulled open the door and was face-to-face with Apollo.
“You seem annoyed.” Apollo said.
“The launch was canceled and I need to stress eat.” He pulled out a tub of ice cream and a big spoon.
“Did you just find out?” Apollo asked.
“Yeah, pretty shitty of them. Told me I shouldn’t even bother coming in.”
“Oh, so you’re just gonna eat ice cream all day?”
Clay nodded as he scooped a big spoonful into his mouth. “I’ll work it off.”
Apollo smirked as he grabbed his briefcase. “Well try not to get diabetes.”
“I’ll punch diabetes in the face.” Clay muttered and stabbed the spoon into the carton.
Once Apollo left, Clay called Director Cosmos and told him the same old story, and carried out the same old conversation.
It had gotten to the point that the first few days were getting boring if Clay didn’t do something interesting. Like thinking about why he kept dying.
Fulbright always finds a way to sneak up on me. So I just need to figure out how to sneak up on him.
The only time he ever does something that could possibly considered illegal is right before I die, so I just need to figure out how to survive an encounter with him.
There were many plans that Clay thought of ranging from jumping the fence again, or hiding a knife. But none of them seemed better than the one Clay finally settled on.
. . .
It was a decent plan. Or at least Clay thought so.
Fulbright started visiting the apartment on Sunday. For the plan to work, Clay needed Fulbright to visit a few times to be able to report him.
So Clay and Apollo hung out away from the apartment on Sunday and Clay hopped the fence on Monday.
On Tuesday, the plan was ready to be put into action. The night before, he had contacted the police department and told the receptionist his concerns.
“I’ll transfer you to Detective Skye. She can help you.” The woman said.
“Thank you.” Clay was put on hold for a few minutes before Ema answered.
“Ema Skye speaking.”
“Hi Ms. Skye. My name is Clay Terran and recently Detective Bobby Fulbright has been visiting my apartment when I wasn’t there. He also visited my roommate’s work place and has asked about me. He has made no effort to contact me by phone or mail and I’ve been wondering if you’re aware of this.” Ema swore under her breath.
“That little worm’s supposed to be patrolling! Thanks for telling me.”
“Um, Ms. Skye?”
“Is there any way you could have an officer come over tomorrow morning and sort of keep a lookout for Fulbright.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you for your help.”
“No problem.” The two exchanged their goodbyes and Clay smirked after he hung up.
And thus the plan was set into motion.
The next morning Clay bid Apollo farewell and called Ema.
“Hey,” she said. “I’m outside your building and-”
“How’d you figure out where I live?”
“It’s a simple matter of looking up your file. Anyway, I’m on the lookout for Fulbright and if he shows up I’ll follow him. Sound good?”
“Great, I’ll call if Fulbright knocks so you’ll know if you need to intervene.”
Clay kicked back and read a book while he waited for Fulbright. It took a while, but finally there was a knock on the door. Ema’s number was dialed and the door was opened.
“Oh, hello detective.” Clay said.
“Hello, you’re Clay Terran correct?”
“I am he.”
“Do you have a moment to talk about the HAT 2 Launch?”
“What’s there to talk about? It was canceled and now I’m stuck here with nothing to do.”
“Well concerning the bomb threat that was made, I have a lead that may reveal the bomber’s identity.”
Clay raised an eyebrow. “Really? Director Cosmos said it was the same person who sabotaged the HAT 1 Launch 7 years ago. You’re saying you know who it is?”
“Yes, may I come in?”
Clay turned his head to look into the living room. “Well the apartment’s not in the best shape, is there some way we could reschedule this meeting. Maybe when you’ve told someone else on the police force about the ‘lead’ you’ve procured.”
“And how do you know I haven’t told anyone else Mr. Terran?”
“I imagine that the supposed bomber would’ve been apprehended and the launch wouldn’t still be canceled. Am I wrong?”
Fulbright reached into his back pocket and pulled out a lighter. It transformed into a gun and Clay swore under his breath.
“Why do you have a gun?!” A few moments later Ema burst through the door, her own gun drawn.
“What the hell’s goin’ on?!”
Fulbright froze and slowly turned around. “Ah, Ms. Skye.”
“Cut the shit Fulbright, I want answers.” Fulbright still had his gun pointed at Clay. “I called backup; they’ll be here any min-” The gun discharged, and a bullet hit Clay in the leg. He collapsed to the ground in a screaming heap. His right leg felt like it was on fire.
Ema pointed her gun at Fulbright. “I will shoot. Put the gun down.” He looked at Ema, the hand holding the gun unwavering. “Put. The gun. Down.” Before Fulbright could shoot, Ema fired a shot straight into his chest.
Just then more police officers barged into the apartment, their guns at the ready. Ema started barking orders, then knelt down next to Clay.
“Hey, hey, you’re okay…”
“My damn leg’s been shot! I’m not okay!”
Ema flinched. “Oh… you’re right.” She looked over to another officer. “Hey you! Yes you who else would I be pointing at! When’s the ambulance getting here?!”
“They’re on their way.”
“Well tell them to hurry up!” Ema looked over at Clay. “They’re on th-”
“I heard.” Clay tried to move his leg. “Ow… shit.” Ema helped him lean against a wall. “Can you call my roommate?”
“What’s their name?”
“Yeah, old friend of mi- oh my god that hurts!” Clay tried to apply pressure to the wound. “Do you have an ice pack?”
“Dammit. Anyway, you probably need his number.” Clay rattled it off.
“Alright, I’ll get to it.” She brought her phone to her ear. “Hey… you know a guy named Clay Terran?… No he wasn’t arrested.”
“He was shot.”
Apollo’s frantic shouting was heard.
“Sure,” Clay was handed the phone.
“What the hell happened?!”
“I was shot.”
“Wh- ugh I know that! Who shot you!?”
“Where are you!?”
“I’ll be right there!” Apollo hung up, and Clay sighed.
“Didn’t even say goodbye. So rude…”
“So he’s on his way?”
“Yup,” he handed the phone back to Ema, who slipped it into her pocket. Clay grasped at his leg, thoroughly hating everything about life.
“How slow can an ambulance be?” He muttered through grit teeth.
“I’m sure they’ll be here soon.” Ema said.
A few minutes later help arrived in the form of a tall woman. She knelt by Clay and examined his leg.
“Hm… there’s a tiny bullet… didn’t seem to hit any arteries or bone. Shouldn’t be too hard to remove.” She helped Clay up. “Can you support any weight on your leg?” A sharp pain caused Clay to swear under his breath.
“I’ll take that as a no. I’ll get a gurney.” She turned and left as Clay collapsed on the couch.
“What do you mean I can’t come in!? I live here goddammit!”
“Looks like Apollo’s here.” Ema said and pushed through the other officers.
Finally able to look around, Clay noticed two men in the same uniform as the woman, lifting Fulbright onto a gurney.
Apollo rushed towards Clay, his face full of panic.
“Are you okay?!”
“Can you walk?”
“Not really. They’re getting a gurney.” Apollo watched as Fulbright was carried away.
“Why would he try to kill you?”
“Dunno. He said he had a lead on the bomb threat, but when I started asking questions, he pulled out a gun.”
Apollo pressed an index finger into his forehead. “I wonder why he decided to talk to you about the launch…”
“Apollo, I’d love to debate the motives of a crazy guy, but right now I’m really not in the mood.”
“Oh! Uh, do you want me to get you some ice or something?” The paramedics had finally returned.
“I think they’ll fix me up.”
Apollo nodded. “Right. You’re sure you’re okay?”
“Positive.” Clay was hauled onto a gurney and transported to the hospital where his father and Apollo grilled him for information.
“Who is this guy?” Geo Terran asked.
“He’s a detective who works for the precinct.”
“Have you met him before?”
Clay hesitated. “No. Never.”
Apollo flinched and his hand went to his wrist.
Don’t bring it up… Don’t bring it up.
There was a knock on the door and a doctor strode in. Clay let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“Hello Mr. Terran.” He looked down at his clipboard. “I see you were shot in the leg.”
“We can schedule you for surgery in a couple of days. In the mean time, you’ll need to stay in bed. You may only move if it is absolutely necessary.”
“How long will I have to stay after the surgery?”
“If all goes well, we’ll keep you overnight after the surgery, then send you home in the morning. Do you have anymore questions?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Then I’ll be off.”
. . .
“Knock knock,” Ema entered the room an hour or so later. Apollo and Geo had left.
“I brought some news.”
“‘I brought some news’ who?”
“Fulbright’s been arrested, and is currently under 24 hour watch while he’s in intensive care.”
“He’s in a different hospital right?”
“So where’s your Dad? I thought he was here a while ago.”
“He and Apollo are getting food.
“Ah,” Ema leaned against the door frame.
“So… do you have any idea why Fulbright wanted to kill me?”
She shrugged. “Not a clue. He hasn’t woken up yet, and even if he did, we’d have to wait until he was in police custody before we could question him.
“Oh right. I guess that makes sense.” He was silent for a few minutes. “How long has Fulbright been a detective?”
“Longer than me that’s for sure. So I’d have to say… seven or eight years? Why?”
“I’m just curious.”
Ema tried to read Clay’s expression, but to no avail. She instead poked her head out of the room. “Looks like your Dad and Apollo are back. Guess I’ll be going now.” Clay waved as Ema slipped past Apollo and Geo and out of the room.
“Who was that?” Geo asked.
“That’s Ema. She’s the one who practically saved my life.”
“Ah, I see. Seems like a nice person.”
“From what I hear she’s a bit of a grump.”
Geo smiled. “Isn’t everyone?”
“You have a point there.”
. . .
A news reporter visited Clay the next day.
“Hello Mr. Terran. My name’s Manny Annchore. Do you have a moment to speak?”
“I’m trapped in a bed. I don’t have anything but time.”
“Excellent. I’d just like to ask you about the events that happened yesterday.”
Clay raised an eyebrow. “I haven’t even been checked out of the hospital and you want to talk to me?”
“Well… I don’t want to lose the scoop…”
“Manny- can I call you Manny?”
“Awesome. Well Manny, since you were here first, I’ll give you the scoop if you leave me alone.”
“Okay, but would it be alright if I asked you about the HAT 2 launch?”
Do I really care about the launch anymore?
“Sure, ask me anything.” For the next hour or so, Clay answered questions he had been asked numerous times before. To be honest, he was at least grateful that he was telling this to someone completely new. It added a bit of spice to the redundant events that have been the last few days of his life.
“Well here’s my card. You can contact me whenever you get the chance.” Clay nodded and placed the card on the table next to him.
The reporter left and Clay was by himself again. He looked at the wall clock.
He sighed and wished his father and Apollo would hurry up and get over here so he’d at least have someone to talk to.
About half an hour later, there was a knock on the door and Apollo’s smiling face greeted Clay.
“Hey,” he said “Sorry I was late, I had to check in at the office to make sure everything hadn’t exploded.”
“Oh it’s fine. While you were gone, this news guy was talkin’ to me.”
“Really, what about?”
“Fulbright shooting me.”
“He couldn’t wait until you were discharged?”
“That’s what I told him! He looked so sad when I said that too.”
“Yeah, then he started askin’ me about the launch, and I figured he had to go back to work with a scoop, so I humored him.”
“Sounds like a pleasant guy,” Apollo said, his voice edged with sarcasm.
“Oh, he’s actually not that bad when you get to talkin’ to him. He’s pretty nice.”
Apollo crossed his arms and looked out the window. “I would’ve kicked him to the curb to be honest.”
“That’s because you have zero people skills whatsoever.”
Apollo smirked and playfully shoved Clay. “Hey, just because I’m not Mr. Charismatic doesn’t mean I’m completely inept.”
“Aw you’re right. Instead of screaming and running away you at least back away slowly and discreetly.”
“That method is genius and you know it.”
“Sure, it’s genius at making people think you’re insane.”
. . .
The next day Clay was taken in for surgery.
“Is there any danger associated with removing a bullet?” Clay asked the nurse.
“There are very rare cases where the patient contracts lead poisoning, but that has almost never happened.” She replied.
“But it’s happened?”
“I suppose it has.”
In the operating room, a surgeon placed a mask over Clay’s face, making him feel groggy until he finally passed out.