Chapter 5:

Chapter 5: Echo

Burning X

What was happening? Was it all a dream? These questions ran through my mind before I finally woke up. Where was I? It appeared to be a hotel room of some sort. Plain white walls, a huge bed I was laying in, television on and I could hear a shower running muffled behind a closed door. 

“I just had the craziest dream, green gas and a monster Riz. Definitely one of the stranger ones I’ve had” I whispered to myself as I sat up from the bed. Pain shot down my back as slowly as I got up. I ran my hands down my back and could feel bandages wrapped around my body. Looking down at my body I saw multiple bandages all over me, my back, my abdomen, my legs and my right arm down to the hand. Small fragments of memories started to come back to me, my body being flung like a doll and hitting a wall, my arm burning and pulsing. 

What happened? I don’t remember

The sound of water suddenly stopped and the bathroom door opened with a creak. A girl exited the door and stopped to look at me. 

“What? You never seen a pretty girl before?” The girl said as I sat in silence. After processing what she said a wave of anxiety rocketed up my body.

“N-No, I mean you are pretty but I’ve seen others… that doesn’t mean you’re not one of the prettiest though… w-who are y-you? I embarrassed myself as I struggled to speak,  feeling light headed and swaying ever so slightly as I spoke.

“Oh! Crap yeah! I haven’t told you who I am yet! Well we did just meet and you were knocked out for a few hours. But right, I’m Nikki! Nice to meet ya” the girl introduced herself to me stretching out her arm for a handshake. I liked her name, it was short and sweet and easy to remember. I moved my arm to receive her handshake but a pinching pain stopped me.

“Ah! Sorry my arm feels weird but hi I’m Xavier” Nikki looked at my arm as if she saw a ghost.

“Don’t worry about it, that arm of yours went through a lot” Nikki said to me quietly. I had no idea what she meant. 

“Riiiight… anyway, why am I here? And why do you sound like that?” I asked Nikki, I was curious and worried, waking up in a strangers room covered in poorly applied bandages. 

“You didn’t harvest my organs did you?!” I shouted nervously. She paused for a second and began to giggle.

“Hahaa no! Of course not. This is my hotel room I’m here on vacation, sight seeing a lil. And why did you ask that as if I sound weird? I’m American!” She crossed her arms, embarrassed. I shouldn’t have asked so rudely. 

“I thought I’d come and see London for a change of scenary, needed a break from my regular views. Ya know?” Nikki added quickly. 

“Ohh r-right” I had no reason to believe her but while listening to her I felt at ease. 

“Are you the one who bandaged me like a mummy?” I asked jokingly, both of us cracking a small smile in the process. 

“A funny guy yeah? You should be grateful, you were in bad shape dude. If I took you to the hospital they would have asked too many questions.” Her smile slowly disappeared from her cheeks as she looked at my bandages, focusing on my right arm in particular. She stepped closer to me slowly before opening her mouth again to speak.

“Oh…right, I’m… I’m sorry about your brother” She looked away, I could tell she was uncomfortable.

“What are you talking about? You know Riz? Ahhh you must be a friend from work, right? He said he had over seas colleagues-“ Nikki stopped me and carried on talking softly.

“No, Xavier. Your brother, Riz? He’s dead” Turning around to not face me, Nikki’s words shocked me, I had nothing to say.

A wave of heat rushed through my body as all the memories of the day suddenly attacked my mind. Like a swarm of wasps they pierced my thoughts with memory after memory, moment after moment. I remembered what happened, the green gas, the explosion, Riz’s transformation and how I killed my own brother.

“N-No… that was just a dream” tears began running down my face, falling to my legs wetting the bandages. I stood up from the bed and lowered my head to face the ground. 

“No! It wasn’t, it happened. I saw the whole thing. Don’t you remember? I was there while it happened.” Nikki said quietly to me.

I nodded slowly and fell to my knees. Tears splattering nearby surfaces. “You should’ve let me die, why did you save me?” 

“I couldn’t let you die, you managed to take out a partially developed mutant in a single blow. That arm of yours packs a serious punch, I’ve never seen anything like it. I had to keep you alive to find out more about it, about them, your connection in all this!” Nikki sat on the ground in front of me and looked at me with eyes of hope. 

“Mutants?” I asked, wiping the tears off my face and trying to regain composure.

“Yeah, Mutants. That’s what they’re called and that’s all I know about them. I’m hoping you can tell me some more” Nikki looked at me with a stern expression. 

“I-I don’t know anything about any of this! I don’t know what happened! We were robbing the bank and there was this green ga-“ She stopped me abruptly.

“That gas? Where did you get it from?” She asked me.

“I don’t know, our boss might’ve known but he died in the explosion. That’s all I know, none of this makes sense to me.” I spoke fast, possibly too fast to understand.

“Well we have to go find out then don’t we?” Moving closer to me she was within an uncomfortably close range. 

“NO! I’m not here to help you search! I just want to go home! I just found out I killed my brother and you want to use me for some Detective Pikachu bs?! No!” A sudden rage welled up inside of me, my bandaged right hand began to pulse and burn with pain. I fell back to the ground and held it tight. 

“That hand, if you want to know why it’s like that you’ll need my help” Nikki smirked before throwing me some clean clothes. “So get up, we got work to do!” She spoke loudly while stepping away to the counter and grabbing her bag.

I suppose if I want answers I’ll have to find them myself. 

What the hell is going on?