Charlie shifted painfully in his hospital bed, wishing he’d just been hit with a crowbar instead. That electric motherfucker’s gloves felt like a licking a battery, except all over and you woke up handcuffed to a gurney with the nurses laughing about how you’d pissed yourself. Even worse, that Detective Higgins pig was back with his twenty questions. Why hadn’t Skinnyman just shot him when they caught him?
“I told you I want my lawyer.”
“It’s been two hours, I can start questioning you again. Blame the Supreme Court. And you’ll be going away for two decades if we have you convicted of human trafficking – life if anyone died because of it. If you give me some actionable intel on your boss though, well, I’ll see to it the judge bumps it down to kidnapping.”
That got a good laugh out of him. “You want me to squeal on Skinnyman? Wow, that fedora must be too tight on your head blues brother.”
Higgins frowned and adjusted his hat. “You fear he’ll kill you? Why is this suddenly occurring to you now? You’re a henchman for a supervillain, he’ll toss you aside like a used rag the second you become a liability. I’m giving you an out.”
Charlie shook his head. Cops always thought they had it all figured out. “This is bigger than you, me or even Skinnyman. But you’ll see one day.”
“I see.” Higgins began to pace. “And I assume the abandoned chemical factory your friends captured me outside of has something to do with it?”
“I’m done talking.”
“Abandoned chemical factory.” Higgins paused and stroked his chin. “Huh. I could’ve sworn Mouse describing being placed in a similar building at one point when she first started informing for me.”
Charlie felt his gut jump into his throat. “You wouldn’t.”
“No, I wouldn’t, but I don’t control her do I? If you’re not in protective custody before a little birdy gets to her, there’s nothing I can do.”
“Fuck!” He jabbed a finger at Higgins impotently. “Fuck you man!”
Higgins shrugged. “I’ll leave you to your thoughts. If you happen to remember what’s in those warehouses though, I’ll bring you a waiver.”
Charlie turned to his side, hating himself for how pathetic and powerless he was. The whole reason he joined Skinnyman was so he’d never feel like this again. He wanted nothing more than turn the hospital into the scene of slasher movie and go free. But having low-level water powers wouldn’t get him very far, especially without a large, pre-existing source.
He noticed somebody outside his window in a black ski mask, fiddling with device. Had the boss sent someone to bust him out? The man looked directly at him and put a finger to his mouth in a shushing motion. A few seconds later he got the window loose and climbed inside.
“You guys came back for me,” Charlie said, keeping a low tone.
“Yeah, yeah.” The man moved a chair under the security camera, stood on top of it and turned the camera towards the wall. Then he stuck the chair beneath the door handle.
“Now, if you make too much noise…” He walked over to the bed before pointing a revolver at his forehead. “I’ll blow your fucking head open. Now, you’re going to tell me what I want to know about Skinnyman, capiche?”
Charlie bit back a bitter laugh. “You know you’re the second one today to tell me that. Who are you?”
“The one holding the gun here. Your boss recently lost a warehouse, the cops are crawling all over it. Where does he move his test subjects after processing?”
Charlie put his free hand up. “Listen dude, I’m just a peon. I don’t know who or what you’re looking for and I couldn’t tell you where to look.”
“Figure you’d say something like that.” The man put his gun away and walked over to Charlie’s IV drip.
“What are you doing?”
The man opened the top of the bag. He pulled a small plastic bottle from his pockets and squeezed a few drops of – something into it.
“That’s an emetic,” the man explained. “In a few minutes you’re going to start emptying your stomach contents like Regan MacNeil. A higher dosage and all that will happen twice as bad, you’ll dehydrate, then you’ll die.”
“Oh, fuck.” Charlie swallowed hard. “Alright alright, we’ve got several locations throughout Olympic City and the rest of town but you’re going to need to write this down.”
The man snatched the nurse’s notes and pen. Charlie rattled off half a dozen locations off the top of his head, going slow to make sure the crazy son of a bitch wouldn’t get any angrier. “But full disclosure? You ain’t gonna get any further than that electrokinetic with just a ski mask and revolver.”
He looked at him and nodded. “Yeah, don’t you worry about that.”
“Hey? Who are you talking to?” The patrolman that was posted outside Charlie’s door began to struggle with the handle. “The hell?”
The cop began to alert hospital security over the radio and the masked man took that as his cue to leave. As he squeezed out the window his revolver’s handle caught on the ledge, clattering to the ground. Charlie waited a few moments to see if he would come back for it. When he didn’t, he got to his feet, moving as far forward as the handcuffs would allow. Sliding down, he was able to just get a few toes on it. He brought it into his hands and fired at the cuffs.
He startled himself so much with the gunshot it felt like he kicked off World War III in his stomach. The cop managed to force the door open. Charlie clambered out the window, praying they wouldn’t be able to track him by a mile long trail of his last few meals.