Mike*y dodged easily aside as Raph clumsily darted forward and swung his weapon. “Raph, what the hell did you do?” Mikey’s voice shook, though he tried in vain to steady it. he couldn’t even tell how many wounds Raph had inflicted upon himself through the blood that covered his body. It ran from his shoulders, down over his arms and plastron, trailing down his legs all the way to his feet, where he left starkly red footprints on the concrete floor.
“it’s okay mike. I think I figured it out,” Raph bared his teeth and lunged again.
Mike neatly sidestepped the blow.
“for some reason, she wants me. . .”
“who, Raph? There’s no one here but us guys.” Mikey tried to reason with him, as he kept his eyes glued to Raph’s sai, which swayed to and fro like a cobra getting ready to strike.
“Amy. . .”
Raph suddenly threw his head back and roared at the ceiling, “YOU HEAR ME YOU BITCH? YOU HEAR ME, AMY? YOU CAN’T HAVE MY BROTHER! YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY OF US!!” with a broken sob, he darted forward. Mikey stepped aside, but Raph anticipated the move. Sidestepping with him, Raph slashed out with his three-pronged blade.
Mikey felt a flare of pain in his arm. Despite his wound, he took advantage of Raph and his close quarters. Grabbing Raph’s weapon-wrist in one hand, he used the other to push Raph’s shoulder, neatly hooking his leg around the backs of Raph’s knees. Raph grunted and hit the floor shell-first. Mikey easily disarmed his anguished opponent.
“Mikey, are you okay?” Leo, followed closely by Donnie and splinter, dashed into the room.
“guys, Raph is.-”
“ohmygod. . .”
“Mikey, did you. . .?”
“he did it himself!”
“quickly, my sons! Get Raphael into the infirmary!”
“he’s lost too much blood, I don’t know if-“
“calm down, buddy, it’s okay. . .”
using what little strength he had left, Raph dragged himself backwards from the grasping hands of his family. They weren’t real. They were nightmare beings, posing as the ones he loved. Their hands were claws, their flesh was gray and ragged. They would sink their fingers into his flesh and drag him back there, back to the grave, back to Amy’s grave, where she would. . . “get the fuck away from me!!” he rasped, gasping for breath.
“easy, Raph, don’t you recognize us?”
“we’re not going to hurt you. . .”
Donnie and Leo approached Raph as they would a frightened, dangerous animal, speaking soft words they couldn’t be sure he’d understand. They were tensing themselves to pounce when Raph’s last formidable reserves of strength gave out. With a groan he fell limp on the floor.
His head lolled back and forth as he was gently picked up and carried to the den’s crude clinic. Raph murmured protestations as he was carried, but finally fell into deeper sleep when he was set on the cot.
For a moment the only thing anyone could do was stand silently and stare at Raph’s bloodied form, as the shock of what happened settled in their minds. Donnie was the first to break the silence. In his business-like manner, he gathered a basin, a washcloth, a needle and a spool of strong thread.
“let’s get to work, guys.” He said, prompting the others into action, “Leo, clean up Mikey’s arm, willya? Take a look and tell me how serious it is.”
Splinter, feeling rather foolish for being caught in such a prone state, wordlessly took up the basin and, after filling it with water, began to wash the blood from Raph’s body.
“don’t worry about my arm, Donnie, it’s not so- OW!”
“sorry, I’m really not much of a doctor, you know.” Muttered Leo as he inspected Mikey’s arm.
Leo looked up sharply at Mikey, but saw that his brother was giving him a lop-sided smile. “hurry it up, will you? we’ve got a more pressing matter to worry about, I think.”
“indeed.” Said splinter, handing the washcloth and basin to Donnie and assuming the needle and thread to stitch up the deeper of the wounds on Raph’s left arm and leg.
“it looks like he didn’t use too much force with a lot of these. A couple have stopped bleeding already. What’s the diagnosis on mike?”
Leo grinned, “well, he could use a bath. . .”
“it’s not that bad. More of a graze than a cut, I guess Mikey was lucky that Raph was already on the verge of collapse, otherwise it might have seriously bit into his muscle, here.”
“that’s called a tricep” murmured Donnie distractedly as he grabbed another needle and began stitching a particularly long wound on Raph’s leg. “there’s disinfectant in the first-aid box, and gauze in the cabinet. There should be some medical tape in there, too.” Donnie turned to Leo, “I trust you know what to do with them. . .” he raised a mock-skeptical eyeridge at Leo.
“make some paper-maché?” piped in Mikey.
Everyone in the room, grasping for something to relieve the tension which they all felt, chuckled, if a bit nervously.
Splinter spoke up from his position beside Raph, “please, tell us what happened, michaelangelo.”
Mikey related his early-morning encounter to his family.
“protect you?” exclaimed Leo when Mikey had finished, “how on earth could he have thought he was protecting you?”
Mikey shrugged, “I dunno, but that’s what he said.”
“well, *obviously*” said Donnie, rolling his eyes in a vexing manner, “he intended to do the same to mike, perhaps all of us, that he did to himself with the intention of making us undisireable to whoever this Amy person is, so that she wouldn’t torment any of us once she’s done with him.”
“hm. Some way to protect someone.” Muttered Leo.
“his judgement was clouded. He hadn’t slept in days, it’s obvious that he was hallucinating at the time. perhaps this ‘Amy’ person is the result of a hallucinogenic state induced by some disease or infection.”
Donnie shrugged, still hesitant to admit that he hadn’t the slightest idea of what was happening to his brother. Whatever it was, it was getting worse. After a few more minutes of stitching, Donnie and splinter finished with Raph and stood up.
“so, will he need any blood donations or anything?” asked Mikey, nervously eyeing the desk drawer where their few syringes were kept.
“I don’t think so.” Answered Donnie, stretching, “what do you think, master splinter?”
“I agree with you, donatello. However, should he remain unconscious for an extended period of time, it may be necessary to coax liquids into his bloodstream.”
“uuuuuh… what?” said Mikey and Leo at the same time.
“if he doesn’t wake up soon, we may have to put him on an I.V.”
splinter turned toward his sons, unconsciously keeping a protective hand on Raph’s shoulder, “you should all retire now. it has been an eventful morning for us all. I will stay with Raphael for now.”
Leo and Mikey needed no further bidding, and, yawning, they shuffled out. Donnie began cleaning up the area.
“donatello, I sense that you are greatly troubled by Raphael’s situation. Please, tell me.”
“well, we’re all pretty upset about it,” shrugged Donnie.
“you are also troubled by something else, though.”
Donnie gave splinter a tired smile, “ya got me, sensei.” He slumped into the stool he had occupied while stitching up Raph’s wounds, “you know. . . Raph is sick, right? I mean, something is definitely physiologically wrong with him here and. . . well, I havn’t the faintest idea of how to treat it. I mean, this is supposed to be my department, right? I’m supposed to help the family out when someone gets sick or hurt, but this. . . I feel helpless. I feel. . . useless, I guess.”
“have you entertained the notion that perhaps something else beyond his self is responsible for Raphael’s predicament?”
“like what, demon possession?” snorted Donnie, perhaps more crassly than he meant to be, “I don’t even believe in that stuff. . .” his eyes became distant and he smiled, “heh, I bet Angelo would be all over something like this. he’d probably know what to do. Vampires, demons, ghosts. . . all in that category of things I don’t put any stock in.” he fell silent and continued to stare through the cot.
Splinter looked at him thoughtfully, “do you think perhaps Angelo would know about this?”
Donnie snorted, “he’d probably think he does.” Donnie caught splinter’s curious look. “what? What is it? you don’t think. . . you don’t think he really could know, do you? I mean. . . he may be a vampire, but he’s also a flake. . .”
splinter leaned back and shrugged wordlessly.
“but. . . I mean, what would he know anyway? If I called him. . . but I couldn’t really call him, could I? He’s somewhere overseas and. . . he’s probably forgotten all about me and. . . I doubt he’d want to talk to me. what would I say to him? I can’t just be like ‘hey, how are ya? Can I pick apart your brain?’ it would just be weird. Naw, it’d definitely be a bad idea to call him.”
Splinter shrugged again.
“it’s not like he’d know anything.”
The aged rat blinked serenely.
“uh-uh. Not gonna do it.”
a hint of a smile tugged at the edge of splinter’s mouth.
“. . .”
“. . .”
“. . .”
“shit. Where’d I put his number?”
splinter shook his head fondly as Donnie walked out, muttering quietly to himself.
Donnie sat down at his desk and reached under the drawer, feeling about with his hands. they made contact with a small scrap of paper taped to the wood. He carefully peeled it away. There were no words. He didn’t need them to remember who this number would connect him to. the paper had already begun to yellow and curl at the edges from the humidity of their home in the summer. He stared at it for a few moments, remembering when he had gotten this number.
it had been a short phone call. He had answered the phone, and recognized immediately the voice that said “hello.”
“hi, donatello. If you ever need to reach me, this is the number to my satellite phone-“
he had written it on his hand, and later transferred it to the paper.
after giving him the number, the vampire had wordlessly hung up the phone. Donatello had been glad not to have to have gone on. What on earth would he have said? How did he stand? And why the hell had he even kept the number, granted he put it in a place where he wouldn’t encounter it on a regular basis?
Why was he hesitating?
He finally shook himself and stood up, walking to the phone. Taking a deep breath, he dialed. What would he say? Was angelo mad at him? He probably was. . . how couldn’t he be? He’d saved Donnie’s life, and Donnie hadn’t even thanked him for it. they’d been lovers, that much was true, for a short while. . . but where did that leave them now?”
“uhh. . .”
“anyone there? You can prank call if you want, but I gotta warn you, it’ll put a serious cramp on your phone bill. . .”
“Angelo. . . it’s, uh, it’s Donatello. . .”
there was silence on the other line. Donnie braced himself for the worst.
“DONNIE!! THE SEXY BEAST HIMSELF!! Jesus Mary Joseph, the holy family themselves, by the power invested in yours truly, I’m really speaking to the most worthy lust-puppy I’ve encountered in at least a century!! How are you? where are you? what’s going on in the Big Apple? Or, rather, the Big Apple’s waste transportation facilities. . .?”
Donnie stuttered several times, then burst out laughing, “well, I’m glad to talk to you, too.”
Angelo suddenly gasped, “Donnie, honey, baby, are you mad at me?”
Donnie leaned casually on the wall, grinning as he spoke, “what’ll you do if I say I am?”
“I’ll show up at your doorstep on my hands and knees with chocolate and a rose in between my teeth. Then I’ll take you into the bedroom, and throw you on your back and-“
“I think I get the idea. Um. . . are you mad at me?”
“no. I’m not.”
“I’m sorry I never called or anything. . .”
“don’t feel sorry. Neither did I. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about it.”
“neither was I. . .”
“soooooo. . . then what is the occasion for this call? Please let it be phone sex. . .”
“no, I’m afraid this is serious.”
“so am I, hot-stuff, so am I!”
“come on! I really have a serious problem here!”
“gee, at the sound of your voice, I just. . . I got a hand in my pants right now.”
“angelo. . .”
“just gimme twenty seconds. . .”
the voice on the other line chuckled, “okay, I’m sorry, go ahead, what’s wrong?”
Donnie took a breath and explained the situation. The other line was silent when he finished. “well? what do you think? The only thing I know is that it seems to be beyond the capacity of any of us here.”
A thoughtful “mmmm…” came from the other end. “you know, it’s strange. . . it sounds familiar. I think something like that happened a long time ago to someone, or maybe several people. I’m not sure, but it definitely sounds familiar. I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’m in Italy right now visiting my sister,”
“pardon? Your *sister*?”
“she’s another child of kali’s. she’s egyptian. Her name is Hatepshesut.”
“no way. . .”
“way. That really is her name.”
“but. . . Hatepshesut is the name of a female pharaoh who ruled in egypt during the eighteenth dynasty. . .”
“what’s your point?”
“uuuuuh. . .”
“well, why do you think they erased her name from her tomb, huh?”
“well. . .”
“look, in any case, she’s got a much sharper memory than I do. Let me run this by her and see what she says. I’ll call you back.”
“alright. Um . . . well, I guess that’s it.”
“hey, I, uh. . . I missed you.”
“I missed you too.”
“talk to you later.”
Raph groaned. His entire body felt heavy, especially his head. He opened his eyes, immediately closing them to the light that stabbed at his pupils. He slowly opened them again, allowing them to ajust to the bare lightbulb that hung from the ceiling.
“well, hello there.”
Raph sat up. she was standing at the foot of the cot, naked, her gray flesh shrunken close to her bones, her eyes the familiar blood-red, glowing from inside the darkness of her skull. Raph gripped the sheets beneath him in an effort not to lose his composure. He noticed it was quiet, the silence seemed to cut him to the core, a void in the space that was once warm with voices.
“where are my brothers? Where’s splinter?”
“don’t you remember, love? You killed them all. . .”