Though her mind flies from it, her body reacts. Octavia bolts off the stage. Never has she moved so fast. Nothing registers in her mind as people blur by. All her focus goes to her best friend. She arrives at Mindy's side as if teleported there.
Mindy's handler hovers protectively over her. He presses his hands between her shoulder and chest - too close to her heart for Octavia's comfort. Crimson leaks from under his hands. "She's hit!" he shouts.
Octavia pulls on the string left from Shard's bow and the loose rope falls from her wrists. She presses her hands on top of the handler's. "Mindy..." Her voice deepens with worry. The bleeding needs to be stopped. The first thing to pop into her head she acts on.
Octavia rips her shoes off and slips her tube socks off. She shoves the handler's hands off Mindy. Shock rides across the handler's face until he sees what she's doing. Using the cleaner side towards the wound, Octavia tucks a sock under Mindy and presses a sock on top to block the bleeding hole. "You're stronger than me," Octavia tells the handler. "Get the rope. Tie it around."
The handler does as she says. As the handler tightly ties the socks, Octavia glances at the scene going on mere meters away.
Shard points his gun at Ajax. Ajax continues to wrestle the other handler with the gun in his hands.
Octavia turns her attention back to Mindy. She puts her weight into keeping pressure on the wound. Her hands move out of the rope's way whenever it comes around.
"Drop it!" Octavia hears Shard shout.
"No!" Ajax says. "It's everyone's fault I'm here. I don't want to be here. Everyone will pay!"
A shot followed by a zip sends static down Octavia's spine. The bullet came close.
Another shot with a scream to follow cuts Ajax's words short.
"My foot!" Ajax screams.
"If you think that hurts, you just wait, brat!" Shard tells him. "Get him the hell out of here before I blow his head off. Get Blue Coats here now!"
Cries are muffled under Mindy's gag. She chomps hard on the cloth between her teeth. Her shining, panicked eyes sting Octavia's heart.
The handler finishes tying the impromptu bandage.
Octavia speaks softly. "It'll be okay, Mint." She comfortingly strokes Mindy's head. A blood streak follows her hand across Mindy's forehead. There's no clean place on her hands Octavia can try rubbing the streak away. Her hands are darkened with blood. She swallows hard. "They're not gonna let you die. Shard says you're too valuable, and he doesn't even know how valuable you truly are." Octavia's tone changes. "Fight, Mindy. I know you can. That bullet is a bitch just like, Gracie. Don't let it win. You're not going to let me lose two sisters, are you?"
A tiny twinkle shines in Mindy's eyes before she squeezes her eyes shut. Her breathing becomes more laborious.
Octavia turns her head toward Shard who stands at Dom's side as people in blue coats tend to his injuries.
"You're not just going to stand there and let her bleed to death, are you?" Octavia shouts at Shard. Hot tears bubble out of her eyes. "What happened to what you told me?"
Shard nods his head up to motion to look behind her. She nearly jumps at the sight of three people in pastel blue coats. Two men lay a stretcher next to Mindy and scoop her on it. A woman puts pressure on her wound. They carry her off. Octavia begins to follow them, but an arm stops her.
Mindy's handler holds Octavia back.
"What do you think you're doing?" Octavia screams. "Let me go!"
She kicks and screams like a child. The handler keeps a strong hold on her. A glance up from her struggle shows the Blue Coats taking Mindy towards double doors. Returning her focus to the struggle, Octavia sees the handlers bare hands. She will do anything to be with Mindy. She bites the man's hand.
He yelps in pain and instantaneously lets go of Octavia. Octavia dashes to Mindy. Octavia is knocked over but caught before she hits the ground. Shard hold her tighter than the handler. His hold almost hurts. And he wears the fingerless leather gloves he always wears.
"Let me go!" A sob chokes her voice. "I have to be with her! Let me be with her! Please!" Tears rain out of her eyes. She tries to hold them back but can't. "Mindy!!"
Mindy and the Blue Coats disappear behind the doors.
"Ya gotta let 'em work on her if ya want her to live," Shard says. His voice is calm. "If ya get in their way, do ya wanna face those consequences?"
Octavia stops fighting against Shard. Every heaved breath rocks her body. Tears and mucus streak her face. She looks at the blood covering her. Her knees turn to jelly. All her weight falls into Shard.
So much for not letting the Chromies see her tears. Love is a weakness, which is why Octavia chose to deeply love few. And the few are falling one by one.
Memories vividly flicker on the back of Octavia's eyelids every time she blinks. They print images of Aurora's body that were everywhere across the net and memories of her visit to Aurora in the morgue. Those images and thoughts twist in her mind to add Mindy with Aurora. Something that could become a reality any second.
Reminders of the suffocating depression Octavia has struggled to climb out of for years grip at her.
Breath catches in Octavia's throat.
Mindy has been the one to help her cope and remove the crushing shell built around her. If Mindy dies, who else will help? The psychologist Octavia saw for years offered advice on coping but offered no support like a friend. Her parents are constantly busy and turn cold whenever Aurora is mentioned, and with Mindy almost being a second daughter to them, they would not take her death well, either. Xander would become more clingy with Mindy being taken from them, too.
A pit hollows her chest. "Aurora... Now, Mindy..." Sobs garble her words.
"She's not dead. She's being taken care of," Shard says.
"Why am I cursed?" Octavia wonders out loud.
Shard sighs. "I know the feeling more than you know." He looks at Octavia's face. "Dang. That's nasty."
Octavia does her best to burrow holes in Shard's head with her eyes. Does he never know when to quit? His attitude is disgusting.
You can be just as nasty, Octavia thinks.
She glances at an arm Shard uses to hold her. She wipes her face across it.
Shard's eyes bug out at her swift motion. "You. Did. Not. Just...EWW!" He lets go of Octavia and waves the sticky, moistened arm around. "Ew! Ew! Ew!"
As Shard spins in circles with a flapping arm, Octavia walks to the doors Mindy was taken through. Part of her screams to stop so Mindy can be taken care of. Another part drives her to be with and protect her best friend. When Octavia puts her hand on the door to push it open, she feels something rub down her back. She snaps around and catches Shard rubbing his arm off on her.
"Did you just...?"
"Take your nasty cooties back." Shard takes off.
Octavia chases after him. She's not quite sure why she is or what she'll do when she gets to him but doesn't have to wonder long. She slips and hits the ground. Her arm takes the fall. Looking to see what she slipped in, her heart slams into her stomach, taking her breath with it.
Blood streaked across the pavement. Mindy's blood. So much of Mindy's blood. Enough to slide in it. Enough to coat her hands. Enough to stain Octavia's clothes.
Numbness erases emotion from Octavia. Senses turn off. Her mind drifts to somewhere empty.
This cannot be real.
YOU ARE READING
Being the daughter of the most powerful people in the country places a high societal value on Octavia. The glamour of this public-placed status wore off for her years ago as tragedy after tragedy has followed Octavia because of it. But the glamour n...