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Caleb Holmes
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Thu Mar 31, 2005 22:37

“Gino? GINO?! Oh thank God, you’re back!”

Caleb’s eyelids fluttered, unable to breathe. It felt as if someone had been sitting on his chest, forcing the life out of him. Feebly he tried to sit up, but it was no use. Every part of him felt as if it was weighted down with lead, and he was sinking… sinking…

“Gino! Stay with me!” A masculine voice, someone smacking his face. The faux green gaze opened to see David hovering over him, searching his features worriedly. “Keep your eyes on me, damn it! I swear I’ll beat the ever loving hell out of you if you die on me!” That was sort of an ironic statement; one that he normally would have laughed at, but couldn’t get enough air to his lungs to do so. The half-grin that was offered looked ghastly upon his pale visage, hardly a comforting sight.

“Caleb…” he managed to wheeze out, trying to drag David closer. “My name… is Caleb.” He would be damned if he died without someone knowing his god damned name here! No, he couldn’t die. Lucy… the baby! God give me strength. I can’t do this alone! He could feel his eyes moisten, and his breath hitched, trying to force a sob out. Why did it have to hurt so much?

“Caleb…?” David queried, glancing to Shelly, shaking his head. “He’s hallucinating. I hope those damned medics get here soon—” This time he did manage to grab the director by his collar, dragging the man down by sheer force of gravity.

Caleb Holmes,” he whispered, something akin to stark terror in his eyes. He could see it on the edge of his vision, that creeping blackness that threatened to envelop him once more. “Remember… Caleb…” The fingers twined in David’s shirt fell limp, his arm thudding uselessly to the floor as his body began to shake wracked with pain. Lucy would be taken care of, he had seen to that, and she had people that loved her. The baby would be fine, healthy and strong. He just wanted to live to see it all.

“Caleb? Caleb!”

In the background, he could hear Shelly sobbing wildly, still clutching that infernal phone that would damn him to the end of his days. He just never thought that he’d die so young. No matter that he was in his early thirties; God, his grandfather had lived to the ripe old age of eight-seven! Why couldn’t he be like that? Suddenly there were hands grasping at him, cutting the clothing from his body, and he couldn’t protest any of it. A hand slapping his face, the smell of latex nearby… All the scents and images creating a haze in his mind.

“Agent Holmes!” It was funny that these medics wore suits, but had all the right equipment. In the real world, nothing like this was supposed to take place. “What happened?!” As if they couldn’t tell by the three hopefully-dead bodies in the theater? Before he could answer, a mask was being placed over his face, and the first breath he took was inviting and refreshing. It made him feel a bit light-headed, but it was an immense improvement over what he had felt moments before.

“Piazzo family… Found Gino.” But his words were lost in the tumble, feeling lighter than he had in ages as the theater spun dizzyingly about him, tossed onto a marginally softer surface. A hand was squeezing his, and he tried to squeeze back, giving a worried Shelly what he hoped was a smile. But before he realized it…


“Shit, he’s flat lined!” one of the medics shouted, hopping on the gurney with Caleb, straddling his legs. Any other time, this could have been a comical situation, a dozen men in business suits taking care of one man, while the rest swarmed over the playhouse, questioning and cornering witnesses.

“Bag him!” Everyone watched in horror as they ran out the door with Caleb in tow, pounding on his chest and forcing air into his lungs. One, two, three, four, five! Breathe! One, two, three, four, five! Breathe! Jostled over the carpet and out the door into an awaiting ambulance, one medic hopped off long enough to get him and the gurney inside, before continuing their efforts. One, two, three, four, five! Breathe! But it was painfully obvious to every man present that it wasn’t working.

“Paddles!” Gel applied while the machine charged up, precious seconds ticking past as time moved forward. “Charging… Clear!” Zap! The lifeless body lurched from the gurney, thudding back uselessly. “No pulse! Charging…” Tick tock, tick tock. “Clear!” Zap!

Beep-beep… beep-beep… beep-beep…

“Stabilize him before it happens again!” Sirens wailed and curses shouted all the way to Fort Hamilton army base. It wasn’t as if they were going to hole up an agent in the local hospital; not with all the knowledge he had in his head. And not in light of what had happened.

All they could do was pray.

Floating… Falling…
Sweet intoxication…
Touch me… Trust me…
Savor each sensation…

He was on stage, performing as Erik once again. He had identified with the Opera Ghost in so many ways, that it had pained him to even attempt to do another role. Perhaps that was why his Javert had always been half-assed, lacking the warmth that he had when portraying the Phantom. But now his heart filled with joy, able to tell the story of a man that had wanted so little and lost so much.

Let the dream begin…
Let your darker side give in…
To the power of the music that I write…
The power of the music of the night…

Why hadn’t he ever sung before this? Truly sang, not some idle oldies tune in the shower every morning to keep the monsters at bay. With the song coursing through his veins, a scene shift did not seem odd at all, standing there on the stage. But suddenly, he was alone. No lair, no Christine; only a mask and his trousers.

“How could you?!” Lucy accused, screaming from the audience, holding a babe wrapped in swaddling that nursed happily. “You left us to die, Caleb! You left your child!” He hadn’t seen the gaping hole in her abdomen until she rose from the seat, lower half of the child queerly missing. But it made gurgling noises, content where it was. “Abandoned what you supposedly loved!”

“Didn’t you know?” It was Rob, standing behind him. “He’s just another one of us. Can’t love anything, can’t care for anything. We train them like that, so it’s easier in the end when one of them dies. It isn’t difficult to mourn a man you never knew.” But the man paused, eyes glaring daggers at Caleb. “But like everything else, you went and fukked that up too! Worthless… useless…”

Lucy had taken up the chant. Worthless… Useless… Ben and Hugh stood there as well, but the smaller man had lost a leg at the artery, still dripping blood, while the back of Ben’s head had burst open, gore and muck trickling down the back of his neck unnoticed. Worthless… Useless… A man with dark brown hair and piercing gray eyes stood in the aisle, staring toward the stage.

“All you ever wore was a mask; you never showed anyone your true self.” Worthless… Useless… “Are you so foolish to think that they would not see behind that flimsy paper?” The face that had been molded plastic suddenly crumpled as Caleb’s hand touched it, fluttering away as ashes in the wind. “A blackened soul for all to see, for all that you’ve done…” Worthless… Useless…

“No…” he managed to whisper, furiously shaking his head. “No! No no noooo! I refuse to listen! I am not worthless! I am NOT useless! Shut up shut up shut up!!” The final shriek reverberated across the nameless stage, and one by one the gruesome images vanished, until only Lucy stood there. No babe now, no gaping wounds, only the woman he remembered falling in love with on the stage. He was wary as she stepped daintily down the aisles to meet him up there, hands brushing his cheeks. “I love you, Lucy.”

“Oh, Caleb… My dear, sweet foolish Caleb. Wake up for me…” What? Frowning, he grasped Lucy’s hands, shocked to see his own flesh become transparent. “Wake up, Caleb. Please, God in heaven, wake up!”

It was like he had been thrown against a wall.

Trying to groan and unable to, Caleb’s eyes fluttered open, curiously glancing about. His chest was on fire! He couldn’t move! Quickly panic began to seize him, alarms blaring and voices shouting. All he wanted to do was sit up! Lucy?! Where was she?! People were pushing him down into the bed, doing things he couldn’t see as wild eyes darted about. He couldn’t breathe.

“Calm down, Agent Holmes…” A soothing voice from the woman to his left, while the one to his right gave a reassuring smile. “Let the machine do its work, and we’ll be able to take the tube out. So relax, close your eyes…” Ah, the world was a haze once more, filled with fluffy clouds that floated past without a care in the world. Someone was grasping his head, tilting it back at an uncomfortable angle; tape ripped from his face, an entirely unpleasant sensation of wiggling in his throat, and it was free! He could breathe! Or not.

The first thing that happened was he was seized by a series of coughing fits, shaking his body and bringing pain. When an oxygen mask was placed over his face, they slowly began to subside, and he could rest in the bed once more. He tried to rub at his chest, only wanting to ease the ache, but the nurse stopped him. “Don’t do that, you’ll tear the stitches, Agent Holmes.” Stitches? When he was able, he managed a quick peek down the hospital gown, entirely surprised to see heavy pads and white gauze wrapped about his chest and abdomen. And his arm! Wiggling, he was pretty sure there was one around his thigh as well.

“Wha—” It was more of a croak than a word, and a nurse automatically gave him a small amount of water to sip through a straw. Instant relief coated his burning throat, his blood pressure dropping the few points as he became more relaxed and comfortable. “What happened?” A rasping whisper, for he couldn’t manage more at the moment. But none of the nurses answered, instead busying themselves with menial tasks that he knew weren’t necessary. They were avoiding his question! Already feeling stripped of his dignity and utterly humiliated by lying in this bed, he now had to suffer the indignations of these women not answering him?!

“Caleb…” It wasn’t the voice he wanted to hear! Managing to choke out a sound that nearly sounded a sob, he peered around the nurse, moving as much as they allowed. Rob! Where in the hell was Lucy?! “It’s going to be all right, Caleb. You’ll be fine.”

“I’m not dead?” he managed to croak with a lop-sided grin, though that was likely due to the amazing amount of hallucinogenic pain killers coursing through his veins via the intravenous drip shoved into his hand. “Oh God…” He was definitely feeling nauseous right about now. But so many injections were taking place, there was little hope of the man attempting to keep track. “Lucy? Lucy! Where’s Lucy?!” Oh no, he wasn’t going to have any of that hand in his face! “Where the fukk is my wife?!” So perhaps he was a bit doped up.

“Shh, Caleb… Quiet down, boy. Lucy is sleeping right now; she’s had a hard time with this.” Instantly the agent’s face fell while he lay immobile in the bed, but gave a slow nod of understanding. He wanted to see her so badly! But to his addled mind, it made sense; she was sleeping, let her sleep. “Do you remember what happened in the theater?” He saw the way Rob was trying to coax answers out, and gave the man a peeved expression.

“The theater…” Blinking away the haze that tried to settle in a stark white room, Caleb quickly shook his head. One thing he remembered clearly. “Orange string.” Even Rob looked confused for a moment, Ben and Hugh standing in the doorway. Had they been there before, or was he just noticing them? “The newspaper with the orange string… That headline, you idiot! You risked Lucy!” Too bad he couldn’t get out of the bed, because he would’ve gone down swinging. “I was playing the piano… Some Italian asked if I was Gino. The next thing I remember is gunfire.” Drawing a deep breath as the mask was exchanged for a nasal cannula, bringing a sigh of relief. Now he didn’t sound so much like Darth Vader. “I got ‘em all, Rob, and got hurt bad. But the first goon I got… He was the one that shot me in the chest before I killed him.” Oh, he was definitely happy to admit he killed that rat bastard.

“They didn’t even identify themselves? Just asked if you were Gino and then started shooting?” Caleb quickly shook his head, eyes going cross with the action as he let out a low groan. Mental note: don’t do that again.

“The guy in the middle aisle. He demanded to know where Luciana was, ‘n he wasn’t going to take no for an answer, Rob.” Frowning, he glanced down at his chest. “Can I get up yet?” Now sounding like the petulant child he had never been, Ben chuckled from the doorway, taking a seat on the opposite side of the bed from Rob. “Is Lucy awake yet?”

“All right… I’ll look into it. But it’s done for, Caleb. It’s all over. Get some rest; I’ll see if Lucy’s awake…”

Sighing, Caleb nodded, allowing his head to fall back against the pillow as Rob left the room, Hugh taking up his seat. Things looked funny; all fuzzy and blurry. A cool hand against his brow was comforting, softly singing voices a lullaby.

Thank you, God…

    • Could We Start Again, Please?Lucy Avellino, Thu Mar 31 23:37
      I've been living to see you Dying to see you but it shouldn't be like this This was unexpected, what do I do now? Could we start again, please? She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream and throw... more
      • Do Not Pass GoCaleb Holmes, Fri Apr 1 02:17
        I've heard there was a secret chord That David played, and it pleased the Lord But you don't really care for music, do you? It goes like this The fourth, the fifth The minor fall, the major lift The... more
        • Do Not Collect Da MoniesCaleb Holmes, Mon Apr 4 03:38
          Angelina Catherine Holmes… It was the name that had been driving him on for the last three weeks, in his thoughts when Lucy wasn’t his main concern, or when he hadn’t been cornered by Rob. Well, he... more
          • First StepsCaleb Holmes, Mon Apr 4 03:43
            “Caleb… Wake up Caleb…” Why was it that all he could do was sleep? Blinking the haze away from his eyes, he focused on the woman leaning over him with a mischievous expression in her eyes. It wasn’t... more
            • No Matter WhatLucy Avellino, Mon Apr 4 15:36
              [ No matter what they tell us, no matter what they do No matter what they teach us, what we believe is true No matter what they call us, however they attack No matter where they take us, we'll find... more
              • Misunderstood ManiacsCaleb Holmes, Mon Apr 4 19:22
                Lucy had agreed! Oh God, holding her in his arms against had felt like heaven, his mind filled with a blissful sensation that he hoped would never depart. Even if it hadn’t been all too proper to be... more
                • Innocent IngenuesLucy Avellino, Mon Apr 4 22:35
                  “Jesus Christ, my hands won’t stop shaking!” Lucy glanced up from adjusting the hidden zipper on her Hannibal costume, watching Erik fiddle with the front of his costume. And he was Erik. Caleb had... more
                  • Betters Homes and... Bugs?Caleb Holmes, Wed Apr 6 23:59
                    “Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation… Darkness stirs and wakes imagination… Silently the senses abandon their defenses…” Caleb hadn’t had any difficulty with the script thus far, considering ... more
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