Chapter 28 - Now it's Personal

32.9K 1.7K 309
                                    

 They made her take off the exoskeleton before entering the medical wing. After cursing and swearing her way through the tedious process, Codi burst into the room and sent the door banging open like a thunderclap. All eyes in the room swivelled towards her. A woman wearing a set of tight grey overalls emblazoned with a red cross on one shoulder approached.

“Can I help you, miss?” asked the nurse.

“Kye,” she blurted out before she could gather herself. “Kye Recktor, he was fighting the quarter finals. I want to see him!”

The woman regarded her irritably. “He was brought in fifteen minutes ago, and he’s in no state to see anyone. He took a pounding in that fight and needs time to rest.”

Codi’s eyes widened. “Please, I just-,”

“And you are?”

“I’m his friend.”

“He shouldn’t have any visitors right now.” Seeing the anguish on her face, however, the nurse relented slightly. “If you follow me you can wait outside until I say he can be seen. Good enough?”

“I suppose it’ll have to be,” Codi snapped. She bit her lip and the nurse let her squirm for a few seconds before turning and leading her through the medical centre. She spotted a couple of fighters from previous rounds, most of them only sporting minor injuries. One girl’s wrist was in a cast; a boy faced one of the doctors performing circular motions with his right arm. No sign of Kye though.

Then they passed through a pair of automatic sliding doors into a smaller ward filled with maybe twelve beds. One had a fighter lying on it, his leg in a sling while he conversed jokily with another individual wearing the same team tracksuit. A second set of doors waited at the far end.

“Stay here until I call you,” the nurse ordered. Reluctantly, Codi came to a halt at the doors, drumming her fingers against her sweat-soaked leggings as she waited. For what seemed like an age she paced back and forth, worry and anxiousness gnawing at her for every second of that time. Along with her anxiety came more anger. She new damn well that Varlin had set out to make a point in the fight with Kye.

At last the nurse returned. She nodded once. “He’s awake, but he shouldn’t exert himself too much. I understand that you’re worried, but take it easy.”

Without response, Codi stepped past her, through the double doors and into the ward beyond. Only four beds were present, and only one of them had an occupant. Upon seeing Kye she clapped a hand over her mouth in shock. She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting, but it hadn’t been this.

He lay propped up on the bed, a massive black eye scarring his carefree features. His upper body was swathed in bandages from chest to waist and she could see the skeletal frame of a setter locked around his entire ribcage. One arm lay elevated in a sling, encased completely in a cast, and his neck had a brace running up and down either side. Another cast covered his lower right leg and she could see fresh cuts and bruises all over him.

Upon seeing her, Kye cracked a crooked smile. “Hey, hey.”

The words came out in a pained wheeze. Codi tried to smile back as she pulled over a chair, but she just couldn’t force the fake gesture. Instead she fought down the lump in her throat and took hold of his uninjured hand.

“God…Kye-”

“Bah, you should see the other guy.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Like I just went nine rounds inside a tumble dryer full of bricks,” he chuckled, wincing at the pain it caused. “But I’ll live. How’d you do?”

The Gauntlet (The Gauntlet #1)Where stories live. Discover now