Mia and the Mafia, Part 11
The darkness cowardly departed after a friendly beam of light poured into the room, which was a medical chamber and a prison cell at the same time. Due to her hard-and-fast pose, Mia couldn’t see the person who entered and turned the lamps on. But she knew that the visitor wasn’t Dr Byrd, as she didn’t hear his familiar, hurrying footsteps. Instead of a single shadow, the light of the lamps drew two grey shapes on Mia’s cast-tied figure. The noises they made revealed a lot about the nature of the visitors.
Curiously, Mia listened to the silent buzz of the electric wheelchair, and the slow steps of the one, who escorted the disabled companion. Though the helmet cast perfectly kept Mia’s head straight, soon she could see the guests as they crossed the border of her stiffened field of view.
The wheelchairbound visitor was Cynthia. Being blind, burnt and limbless, the girl settled in the well-padded seat, held by a wide safety belt, which ran across her chest from the right shoulder to the left part of the abdomen. Bizarrely, the multiply-disabled and quad-amputee young female with her artificial limbs seemed more mobile than the healthy Mia, who was completely contained in the rigid medical shell called full body cast.
‘Oh, what a surprise! I thought that this place was hermetically sealed!’ Mia greeted her honorary sister and the assistant. Mia’s arms, cast-frozen in an undone hug weirdly suited to the happiness she felt after the unlooked-for reunion.
‘We heard that Dr Byrd isn’t here, and one of the guards is Nick’s old friend. So, it was a good occasion for us to sneak in,’ Cynthia said.
While Cynthia’s wheelchair rolled along the room to approach her bed, Mia kept gazing at the girl, whose entire face was veiled by a skin-coloured protective mask. Besides a pair of pitch-black-lensed sunglasses, she wore the usual set of clothes, including a blue baseball cap put on the Cleopatra-styled blonde wig.
The sightless driver steered the wheelchair in the direction of the source of Mia’s sound. Just before she would collide with the bed, Nick put his arm on Cynthia’s shoulder to warn her. Getting the signal, the female’s artificial hand moved toward the control panel to halt the vehicle.
‘Please, let me introduce myself,’ Cynthia said.
‘Why? I do know very well who you are...,’ Mia fought hard to make sense of the introduction.
‘This is important. When I met you for the first time, I told you that I used to be Cynthia Taylor... this is still true but in a different sense. My name is Cynthia Williams,’ the girl said, beaming. And she raised her right artificial arm to blindly sweep in the air, trying to point at the young man standing by the side of the wheelchair. ‘Please meet my husband, Nicholas Williams.’
‘Hello, Mia,’ Nick greeted the full-body-casted patient.
Meanwhile, Cynthia’s artificial fingers fumbled with the dress over her chest to search for the necklace. Having found it, Cynthia lifted it up with an overjoyed movement to show the precious piece of jewellery to her friend: a token of marriage was hanging in the arc of the golden necklace.
‘This wedding ring is so important for me that I do not want to wear it on an unreceptive artificial ring finger. I’d like to feel it always on my body,’ Cynthia confessed, then she released the necklace, which fell back to go on clinging in front of the chest.
‘We were on honeymoon, too,’ Nick said. ‘Three weeks by the sea so that Cynthia could smell the salty air again.’
‘Yes, every day there was incredible. It was fantastic to be alive again,’ the wheelchair-bound girl said, re-feeling the heavenly holiday. ‘And we’ve moved from the St. Helen’s to live in a quiet suburb near here.’
‘He doesn’t support this marriage,’ Cynthia replied. ‘Mia, you’re my honest honorary sister. I need you to tell me the truth about a certain thing.’
Cynthia didn’t give more hint about the topic of the question. Yet, it became suddenly clear as her artificial arms slowly approached the plastic mask she wore to hide the real face.
‘My husband doesn’t like this mask. However, I always wear it when I leave home so that I don’t scare people to death... Please, tell me if it was worth to undergo so many plastic surgeries.’
Just before Mia could stop her, Cynthia removed the medical covering from the front part of her head. As a result of dozens of reconstructing surgeries done in the previous ten years, Cynthia’s look wasn’t disgustingly horrible. But it wasn’t a dear sight, either. Of course, the face, which had been seriously damaged in the fire, couldn’t be restored at all. Forming a new complexion, the scarred patchwork of the grafted skin had an unnatural look, being comparable to the lifeless mask disguising it. Despite the enormous effort of the surgeons, it was just a weird imitation of a natural human appearance.
With her blind eyes, Cynthia couldn’t perceive Mia’s body language, however, she sensed as Mia stopped breathing, strongly affected by the sight of the disfigured face of her honorary sister.
‘I terribly need to know your honest opinion. Because my brother keeps lying to me, and my husband loves me as I am,’ she explained.
‘Honey, it doesn’t necessary for you to...,’ Nick put his hand on Cynthia’s shoulder.
‘Please, Nick, I must hear it.’ Determined, she wanted to know the truth. Then she turned toward Mia. ‘Am I still so frightful? Allegedly, this is much better than it looked like a couple of years ago.’
‘It is still... quite upsetting... Well...,’ Mia stopped talking, and she closed her eyes not to see the fire-damaged face any longer. ‘I won’t lie to you. This is still awful. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, so you’d better wear the face mask.’
‘Thanks,’ Cynthia said.
Her reply was short, being hurt a bit. Next, she elevated the right artificial arm to clumsily adjust the plastic mask, and to push back the sunglasses, too, which she wore to hide the blind eyes.
‘Well, did you hear that Dr Byrd is not here, and did you just drop in to see me?’ Mia asked, feeling that Cynthia wasn’t here to talk about her happy marriage and her unsuccessful plastic surgeries.
‘We’ve found a way for you to get out of here,’ Nick replied.
The full-body-casted journalist eagerly listened to them, however, she thought about Moira, too.
‘Before you tell me how you can free me, would you mind checking this poor roommate?’
Nick nodded and walked to the other bed, which accommodated the mummy-shaped full body cast burying the poor Moira Johnson. For some moments, to fulfil Mia’s wish, Nick just studied the set of casts, which were arranged in the shape of a human body. Then he moved his arm to tap the flat surface of the enormous body cast built over the abdomen. Respecting her privacy, he didn’t touch the blanket laying over the patient’s middle parts. Instead, his finger wandered toward the only one visible opening, which was an itsy-bitsy slot on the ball-like head cast, bored for the mouth.
‘Oh, those bastards!’ Nick told them after he felt that he could reveal a horrible secret.
‘What is that?’ both the girls asked since none of them saw what he was doing exactly, as Cynthia was sightless, and Nick was out of Mia’s limited view field.
‘I’ve got a strange suspicion, and I must check it.’ Nick extended his arm. Soon, his hand touched the tight bandages encircling the head of the mummy, and finally, his index finger slowly sank into the dark mouth slot to probe the inside of the Minerva cast.
‘Has Moira died?’ Mia asked, hardly waiting for knowing the truth.
‘No.’ Nick’s reply was coloured with astonishment, while he looked at the tip of the finger, which he had just pulled out of the black hole of the feed port. He couldn’t believe what he found on his digit: a thread from a spider web. The conclusion was as crazy as stunning. ‘This full body cast is empty.’
‘Oh, holy sh*t. Carlo and Dr Byrd have built an empty FBC to freak me out!’ Mia cursed.
‘Excellent psychological warfare,’ Nick confirmed.
‘But what happened to Moira?’ Cynthia asked.
‘Who knows?’ Mia vainly attempted to shrug, but she couldn’t, due to the body-hugging DSS. ‘It’s the highest time for you to help me to leave this hell. It’s easy. Put me on a gurney, and take me away.’
‘You’re too heavy with these plaster casts,’ Nick said, hitting the weighty shell enfolding Mia’s entire body. ‘We would need four or six people at least to move you.’
‘Cut this damn cast off! I can walk away with you!’ Mia demanded since all the bones were healthy under the rigid dressings encompassing her body members.
‘Mia, we didn’t bring a cast saw. And even if we could free you, we wouldn’t be able to defeat all the guards around this place,’ Cynthia said. ‘But there’s a solution. To be honest, it was Detective Fisher’s idea.’
‘Oh, how is she?’ Mia asked about the cop, whom she had seen ages ago.
‘She develops very well. When I met her for the last time, she was in casts up to her neck, and she sat in a wheelchair, too. But now, she is said to be able to walk nicely with two crutches,’ Nick said.
‘And what is her fantastic plan?’
‘Well, it demands a huge sacrifice from you,’ Nick said.
Without a detailed explanation, he bent down to take a filled bottle out of a pocket of Cynthia’s wheelchair. Luckily, Mia’s medical integument was frozen in a good pose to see the flask, which was placed on the right side of her bed.
‘What is it?’ Mia asked after smelling the strange odour of the contained liquid.
‘You cannot be serious!’ Mia screamed, making up some details of the cop’s crazy plan.
‘What Annabelle told us was terribly rational,’ Cynthia said. ‘We are not strong enough to attack this place to free you. The Mafia wants to lock you down here until the end of the world. However, we can create a cause for them to take you away from here. This city hasn’t got a burn unit. I know it very well.’ A bitter smile appeared on Cynthia’s wrongly-rebuild face under the mask. ‘The nearest burn centre is in the neighbouring town, which, luckily, isn’t as deep-infiltrated as our sweet hometown. So, when you get there, and you’re in the clinic, tell the following password to Nurse Meyer: “Phoenix
”. Please, don’t forget it. Then Mrs Meyer will send a message to the local group of the Organised Crime Unit, and they’ll take you to a safe place.’
‘You all are crazy,’ Mia said. Her look was full of hate, directed at the hellish bottle. ‘Ah, playing with my life... this is Annabelle’s great idea. And why would I need to memorise a password?’
‘Maybe, the Mafia will get you admitted to hospital under a false identity,’ Nick explained.
‘Oh, so you paid attention to all the details.’
‘Annabelle has been working on this project for months,’ Cynthia said.
‘That’s great.’ Mia wasn’t as keen on this plan as the literal sense of her words.
‘This is the only way for us to help you.’
‘Oh, holy sh*t,’ Mia cursed, then she bit her lips. ‘There’s just a small wish...’
‘Of course, we’ll spare your face. Understandably, nobody wants to be a Creepy Monster like me,’ Cynthia said.
In the meantime, her husband opened the bottle and started to pour its content on the bedsheets and Mia’s cast-wrapped legs.
‘Tell them that the guard dropped a burning cigarette on your bed. And please, don’t forget the password: Phoenix,’ Cynthia repeated. Saying that, the blind girl turned to the left, as she smelt the effusing smoke of a lit matchstick held in Nick’s hand.
to be continuedcast <--Previous (Part 10) Next (Part 12)--> bandages