Chapter 7 - No Blood to Shed
All I could do was call his name as I watched him fall to his knees. He glanced at me, his eyes telling me to run away, before he slumped to the ground.
I ran to his side, but before I could check on him, I noticed the two remaining monsters slinking toward us. The branch he had dropped was much too heavy for me to use. I started screaming as loud as I could, begging for anyone to come save us.
After a moment, I heard heavy footsteps running toward us and a voice call out.
A group of bracers ran up, easily taking care of the monsters that had terrorized us.
'Sorry it took us so long. Are you injured?' asked a female bracer.
I shook my head at her, but then turned to look at Edgar lying on the ground.
The other bracers crowded around to check on him.
'What is this...?'
'Do we take him to a hospital, or...?'
I could only hear bits of their whispered conversation.
'We'll take the man back first,' one of the bracers told me, as they started to move Edgar.
'Um. Is he going to be okay?' I asked.
'We can't say,' the bracer said, looking away.
They carried Edgar away before I could even get a glimpse of him.
The rest of the bracers stayed behind to escort me out of the canyon.
'We're sorry you had to go through that. We'll get those orbment lights fixed as soon as possible,' the female bracer said. She told me her name was Bella.
When we finally got back the restaurant, Bella looked at me with a solemn expression on her face.
'I'd like to apologize again for not getting there sooner.' She lowered her gaze. 'But that young man protected you, didn't he?'
'Edgard's a strong person ' I said, forcing a sad smile.
After what felt like a long silence, one of the other bracers spoke up.
'His name was Edgar?' he said. 'I thought he looked familiar. He was that guy with the bag full of mushrooms.'
The bracer introduced himself to me as Boris.
'He was trying to bring a ton of mushrooms back with him, but he picked them from a restricted area, so we had to confiscate them all.'
'Yeah,' Bella said. 'He was really reluctant to give up that firefly mushroom. He said someone important to him wanted it.'
'That reminds me,' said Boris, 'I first saw him when we broke up that fight here at this restaurant, huh? He told us he was trying to protect someone.'
'I wonder if he was talking about the same person,' Bella mused. She turned to look at me.
'Huh?! A-Are you okay?'
Tears were streaming down my face.
'Oh,' she said, realizing what was going on. She hugged me. 'We'll do whatever we can to make sure he recovers.'
Even so, I couldn't stop my tears from flowing.
The next morning, I took the day off and headed to the hospital. I gave them Edgar's name at the front desk and asked for his room number.
To my surprise, they told me they couldn't find him. I asked them to check again and they eventually found a nurse who was there the day before. She told me Edgar was brought in, but was quickly moved to another location.
So, I headed straight there.
In no time, I was standing before the Epstein Foundation's Intellectual Development Research Center.
This didn't seem like the kind of place anyone would take an injured person to be treated, so why was Edgar brought here?
I steeled my courage and walked into the building.
Inside were a number of people wearing white lab coats and exchanging information on clipboards.
I was completely out of my element, but kept going anyway. I spotted a reception desk and approached the woman sitting there.
'I was told a man named Edgar was brought here,' I said.
The receptionist looked at me as though I'd grown a second head.
'They told me at the hospital that an injured man named Edgar was brought here last night,' I repeated, a little more firmly. 'Which room is he in?'
'I haven't heard of anyone like that being brought here.' She furrowed her brow at me.
'If you can't tell me where he is, can you at least let me know if he's here or not?' I told her. 'I'll wait here as long as I need to.'
'I'm sorry, miss, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave,' she said, glaring at me.
'Like I said, I'm going to wait right here until you tell me where he is,' I repeated, raising my voice a little.
My outburst caused some of the others in the lobby to stop and turn their heads. Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind me.
'You're right. He is here.'
'Of course I'm right, I--' I turned and let out a short gasp.
The voice belonged to Henry. He was wearing a wrinkled lab coat, and his long, scraggly hair was tied back in a ponytail.
'I'm so glad to see you,' I breathed a sigh of relief.
'I'll take care of things from here,' Henry said to the still-irritated receptionist.
He led me farther back into the building.
'Have you seen Edgar?' I asked, unable to hold back my anxiousness.
'Yeah,' he replied, 'but seeing him's about all you can do at the moment.'
We stopped in front of a large, sturdy door.
Henry swiped a keycard on a reader and the door slowly opened. Inside was a long, dark hallway. At the end of the hallway was a small room surrounded by thick glass walls.
As we approached, I saw him; lying on a white slab inside the glass room.
'Edgar!' I called out.
Two mechanical arms suspended from the ceiling circled his body, shooting out small bursts of sparks here and there.
'What's going on, Henry?' I asked as I watched in horror.
'They're fixing him,' he responded, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. 'His brain was especially damaged.'
'So...you replaced his body with machinery?' I asked, struggling to understand the situation.
Henry didn't respond. He stood there and calmly watched the arms circle around Edgar.
'This is just too much,' I said. 'All these machines...'
I put my hand on the glass between Edgar and me.
'He got hurt protecting me,' I said 'so if you can use my body to help him somehow, or...'
I didn't know what I should do.
'Just please,' I started to choke up, 'please bring him back to normal. I promised him I'd cook something for him, so please...'
'You won't have to worry about that.'
The voice was so cold and clinical, it took me a moment to realize it was Henry speaking. He hadn't taken his eyes off Edgar the whole time.
'Why do you think he wasn't afraid of fighting that big drunk?' he asked me. 'How could he keep running that whole time without getting tired? Why didn't he bleed a single drop of blood after those monsters clawed him? Didn't you think it was strange?'
I looked at Edgar as he lay on the slab. His tranquil expression was illuminated by the sterile white light shining down from above.
'We didn't replace his body with machinery,' Henry said, quietly. 'He was like this from the start. He sheds no tears, no blood runs through his body, and no heart beats in his chest. But he's not a normal machine. He's an artificial intelligence wearing human skin.'
Continue Reading Heartless Edgar
|⇐ Chapter 6: Things I Want To Protect||Chapter 8: Don't Let Go ⇒|