I walked into the room as Butch finished sewing The Doctor’s wounded shoulder; he then splashed the bloody stitches with bourbon, and took a sip himself. The Doctor winced with pain, snatched the bottle from Butch, and took a few gulps then rested his head, and closed his eyes. It was Butch’s idea to head for his apartment, a clean safe place near the eastern border of the city. Mrs. Ella Malvern sat on a chair next to The Doctor; she wrapped up his wound with pieces of clean cloth. Ella was a dark skinned woman, middle aged; her face did not bare the signs of growing old. Her husband, Butch, tuned to the small table a few inches from the wounded man, and picked up the plate which contained the bullet. Everything seemed slow, as if that whole scene took place in a different dimension, or a parallel universe of some sort. I felt like I was carrying blocks of stone on my shoulders, my whole body ached, but not as much as my head. I staggered out of the room, and went back to the room where Mary laid, still unconscious.
When I pulled her out of the hole behind the charcoaled lodge, I found my colt revolver with her, with a few bullets missing. She wasn’t injured in anyway, save a few scratched here and there from descending into the hole. Butch said that she was just tired, a bit too tired for her body to handle. The Doctor added that she’d be fine in a few hours, and Ella also said the same. In pain, The Doctor asked Martin and The Painter to drive to the Ape-man’s place, pick him up, and bring him back to the apartment on 47th street, in Creekwell City. Not many words were exchanged after that, except when Butch asked Ella to bring him a pin-knife, a sewing needle, some dental floss, and a bottle of Jack –the equipment he used to fix up The Doctor’s shoulder.
I pulled a chair and sat by Mary’s bedside, gazing at her face. I took a cloth, dipped it in a bowl of water on the bedside table, got it drenched, and then used it to wipe off a few dirt covered spots on Mary’s face. At that moment, I wished this whole thing would end. I cursed myself for taking the Blue, for being part of The Doctor’s gang, and dragging Mary into this with me. I placed the wet piece of cloth back in the bowl, and sat back in my chair. I hated myself, I hated this city, I hated this life; and the only thing I loved lay limp in front of me, the only person I really cared about lay unconscious because of me, and my curiosity. I thought about how much of a failure I had been, a failed writer, and a failed son. I was a man without a goal, merely going with the flow. Thoughts like these screamed at me, suffocated me in my own godforsaken mind, and strived to murder my soul.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered as I leant forward, holding Mary’s hand “It’s my fault you’re like this now. I’m sorry, Mary.”
“Pull yourself together, boy.” Butch said from behind me.
I turned around and saw Butch standing in the doorway, with the sleeves of his shirt rolled up to his elbows, just the way he looked when I left him in the other room. He was holding something in his hand, rubbing it clean with a piece of cloth. Butch walked into the room, grabbed a chair and sat next to me, not talking for a few minutes.
“She’s a tough kid that Mary of yours,” He finally said “Someone else couldn’t have handled it. The fire, the monster, the gunshots, and being in this dark hole for hours breathing from these oxygen masks; she’s a tough broad I tell you.”
“Yeah, I know, Butch.” I said “Wait, monster? I thought she was just babbling.”
“Yeah, a monster.” He said showing the bullet from The Doctor’s shoulder, he handed it to me.
I looked at it for a moment, and was taken aback when I saw the letters ‘MR’ engraved on its tip. The letters themselves didn’t mean anything to me, but something about holding an engraved bullet, especially one that almost killed a friend made me uneasy.
“A monster by the name of Mordecai Rogers,” Butch said “That sonuvabitch.”
“The name doesn’t ring a bell.” I replied.
“Do you know that man? How can you know it’s him?”
“Oh, believe me,” Butch said “I know.”
Butch abruptly got up and went out of the room without another word. I returned my attention to sweet Mary; her face looked paler than ever. I laid my head on the bed next to Mary, and closed my eyes.
Something woke me up from my dreamless nap, I felt pressure on my hand, and knew that Mary had awoken. I looked up at her, my vision still blurry. When my sight returned to normal, I saw Mary looking down on me, with her eyes half open.
“Rise and shine, beautiful.” I whispered with glee.
“Hello, Callisto.” Mary said in a weary voice “Where am I?”
“We’re at Butch’s apartment in the city.” I replied holding her tiny hand in my own “Do you remember anything?”
“Yes, Callisto, I remember everything.”
“You don’t have to─”
“It was horrible;” she said, her face had the air of someone reciting a grotesque nightmare “This monster came into the lodge, right when The Doctor and I were sitting down stairs. His skin was inside out, it was reddish in color. He was too tall and scrawny, almost skeletal, with claw like fingers that had a miniature resemblance of a human being’s. The Doctor jumped out of his chair when he saw that thing, and I ran upstairs to get your gun. I heard a shot, and ran back down with the colt, ready to fire at any moment. I saw The Doctor on the floor holding his shoulder, with blood everywhere. I fired a few shots, but missed; he just walked out the door. The Doctor was able to get up; I helped him walk to his safe. After we took his suit case out of the safe, we staggered outside and into the hole just in time before the explosion.”
I sat with my eyes transfixed upon a point just above Mary’s shoulder, stunned in place by the events that took place at the lodge the night before. After a few minutes of silence, I snapped out of my daze and looked at Mary, telling her that everything was alright, knowing of course that she knew quite well that everything wasn’t alright, and that there was something sinister coming our way. She could see right through me. Mary pressed on my hand, and smiled, making me smile; for a minute there, I really believed everything was truly alright. We sat like that for a while, until we heard a knock on the front door, followed by the sounds of Martin, The Painter, and the Ape-man entering the apartment. Butch walked into the room, and told us that there will be a meeting at The Doctor’s room in a few minutes. I told him that maybe we could understand what the fuck was going on.