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unable to breathe.
Chapter Sixteen
Something was choking Fox. There was something in his throat. He was awakening out of a
dream where he had been drowning, suffocating. Filled with fear, panicked, and at the same time
angry, Fox grabbed at his face, only to have his hands grasped and pulled away. He tried to sit up and
was pushed back down.
 Get the fuck off me! he screamed.
 Everything is fine, Afton. You re safe. You re safe. Stop fighting. Only his mum called him
Afton, but it wasn t her voice.
Fox opened his eyes. Two women, one in a white coat, the other dressed like a nurse, looked
down at him.
 There s a tube in your nose going down your throat. If we let go of your hands, you mustn t
touch the tube. Okay? the doctor said.
Coming to full consciousness, he panted,   Kay.
The doctor leaned on the bed rail with both hands.  And there is a drip in your hand supplying
you with fluids. Do you know where you are?
 Sounds like a mental health question.
Both women smiled. The nurse said,  You are in St. Mark s. It s a private hospital just outside
 Private? I don t know who is going to pay you, Fox said.  I doubt my dad will. He tried to kill
 Don t worry. It s taken care of. Do you remember what happened to you?
The kitchen, Maputwa, drowning. Those two blokes in black who shot the place up. Eddie.
The doctor pressed a comforting hand on his shoulder.  Dr. Atherton is in surgery. They re
trying to put his leg back together. He also has a fractured cheekbone, which was repaired earlier
today. He s going to have a fair bit of metal in him by the time he s done.
 Will he&  He could hardly say the words.
 Oh, he ll live. He has serious injuries, but it s you who were in danger of dying, not him. You
were brought here in the nick of time. I m going to pull the tube out of your nose now. It will feel
strange, but don t worry; I ll do it quickly. Ready?
He wasn t ready, but she did it so fast he had no time to protest. A horrible pulling sensation
was followed by the feeling that a worm or something equally gross was slithering up his throat and
out through his nose, accompanied by an overwhelming sense of panic. He gagged and coughed,
grabbing at the doctor s hands.
 Calm down, Afton. Everything is fine.
 Don t fucking call me Afton. My name s Fox. He had no idea why he felt so angry and out of
 Fox, she said.  I ll write that on your chart. Now I m going to remove your catheter.
 What s that?
She drew down the light blanket and sheet.  It s in your penis to take the urine. It s standard
when you have surgery. As she spoke, she pulled it out. Again a slithering feeling made his stomach
muscles tighten, and the end of his cock stung.
 Are you done fucking around with me? He really should not be speaking to them like that. He
was not even conscious when they removed him from the farm, because he had no memory of anything
but bringing up water and choking.
 Yes, we re done. Someone will be in to debrief you soon. She stood up straight.  All right,
Fox. It seemed she had not taken offense at his tone, because she kept hers calm and kind.
 Debrief? Sounds like the military. Why do I need a debrief?
 Everything will be explained. She indicated a red cord attached to the wall.  That s a call
button. Pull it if you need help with anything. Don t get up without help. You re still weak.
The nurse straightened the bedding, and they both left.
For a long while he lay alone in the private room. It was really pretty with nice curtains and
proper armchairs, not his choice in design, which was far more dramatic, but it was nicer than any
hospital he had ever seen. There were flowers beside the bed. He looked over at the window. The
curtains were drawn, but the gap between them showed it was night out. Was it the same night, or had
days gone by?
Shit! Mum and the twins. Are they all right? Is she feeding them?
William Baillie s face filled his head. Fucking bastard. You told them to torture me, you
fucking bastard. You told them to do it again after I threw up.
The memory of the towel and the plastic bin bag brought panic rising up in his chest again. He
sat upright, gasping for air, but he felt so weak. His back hurt; his chest hurt.
 Shall I fetch a nurse? A slim, tallish man in a well-tailored suit watched him from the door.
 I m all right. You are a doctor?
 No. The man closed the door and pulled a chair up to the bed.  My name is Stephen Conran. I
need to talk to you about what happened.
 I m really worried about my mum and my sister and brother. Mum can t look after them
properly. She drinks.
 Someone has already been over to your home to tell Mrs. Baillie where you are. She seemed to
be coping quite well, though they did say she had been drinking. I ll send someone over there again to
check on your siblings. Don t worry about them. They ll be fine.
Another whoosh of memory came back. It was as if everything that led up to this moment had
been wiped away in the fear of his near-death experience. The towel and the bin bag were like a
rebirth of some sort. Like everything before it was a dream.  Oh, I remember now. Everything is such
a blur when you think you re going to die. You forget things because they don t seem important
anymore. All that matters is being alive and being able to breathe.
Conran nodded as if he understood completely. He had really nice eyes, a pale blue. Not the
startling blue eyes the big bloke had.  Who were those dudes who shot everyone? The young one with
the American accent and the big bloke?
 Don t worry about them. They did their job.
 But I want to give them a big kiss.
Conran gave a little laugh.  I ll pass that on.
 Can you get them to kill my dad?
After a pause, Mr. Conran said,  We don t do that sort of thing, Fox. We don t kill people on
request. It is unfortunate those men had to die, but it was the only way to get you and Dr. Atherton
safely out of there.
 I m glad they re dead. They were evil. Was it you the vicar spoke to?
 Yes, we had a long chat. He s a good man. You were right to confide in him.
 So you re MI6.
Without acknowledging the question, Mr. Conran continued,  He told me your father, Captain
Baillie, ordered you to steal Dr. Atherton s computer. Do you feel well enough to tell me about it
 All right. From the first order to lure Eddie, he told Mr. Conran everything. Several times he
had to pause while the man held a glass of water for him, allowing him to sip from a straw.  My
throat feels raw. He left out the part about the sex, but he made certain to say,  I knew I loved him,
almost from that first day. He s totally weird, he never gets jokes or anything, and he eats Pot
Noodles, but he s great. He s really great.
With a gentle smile, Mr. Conran patted his shoulder.  That s lovely. Can you continue?
The last thing Fox wanted to talk about was what happened in Eddie s house, but he did his best.
 My dad was on Skype. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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