Content warning: Gore and Death
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Ashley’s heart was racing. She had actually almost died, and she really wasn’t sure why she didn’t. She heard the gunshot, and she saw the muzzle flash. She saw Vanessa standing over her, with tears running down her face. She wondered if she was actually fine. She shook her head. This was not the time for panic.
Ashley jumped up from the ground. She looked down at Darryl and Jones bleeding out on the ground. She rolled Jones off of Darryl.
“Vanessa,” she began dishing out orders, “disarm him, and if he tries anything, stop him. I’m not letting anyone die!”
Vanessa looked startled for a moment, but nodded, and attended to Jones.
Ashley went to take a look at Darryl. “Darryl, can you hear me?” She lifted his head, but he wasn’t responding.
She felt his jugular, and he still had a pulse. She turned her attention to his wound. This was definitely beyond her skill to fix. It was bleeding a lot, even with the knife still in the wound. She hadn’t really had formal medical training, her parents were just both doctors, so she picked up some pieces along the way. As best as she could tell, if she left this alone, Darryl would die. She wasn’t really sure if it would work well to transfer the wound to herself. Figuring out how much to transfer to not kill either of them didn’t seem like a good option. If it came to it, she would save him, but they weren’t there yet.
“Vanessa, does Jones have a pulse?”
Vanessa went in to check. “Yeah, I think so. He doesn’t look great though. What about Darryl?”
“Vanessa, I’m not sure what to do…” Ashley shook her head. “I can’t just wrap this up, and I don’t think I could take just a part of the wound and say for sure that neither of us would die. I have one other thing I could do, but I’m not sure…”
“What is it?”
“Well, the thing is, I don’t just have the power to take wounds. I also have the power to give them, so I could hypothetically put all of the wounds on one person, but they’d definitely die.”
“Put them all on Jones!” Vanessa responded quickly.
“But that would kill him for sure!”
“He tried to kill you!”
“That doesn’t mean he’s bad! You heard his story! He had to do this!”
“Look Ashley. You can have two people that will probably die, or you can have one person who definitely dies. That’s your decision here.”
“What gives me the right to say who lives or dies?” Tears began to roll down Ashley’s face.
“Your powers! That’s what says you do! Do you want Darryl to die?”
“No! Why can’t I just kill myself?!” Her heart felt like it could explode at any moment. That had to be the right answer, to take all the pain herself.
“What would your girlfriend say? What do you want me to say to her, when I have to go tell her that she’ll never see you again?”
Ashley froze. She couldn’t do that to Arte. Vanessa was right. This was the only way to go. They needed Darryl. They could never break everyone out of the prison, and get them all to safety without him. She had to do it.
“I’ll do it.” Ashley nodded. She sat down between the two bleeding men, and grabbed both of their hands. She had never attempted this before, but it had to work. She knew it would, because it had to. She took a deep breath, and pulled the knife out of Darryl.
She began to pull Darryl’s wound into herself, while also pushing it over to Jones. She began to feel a pain in her shoulder, and saw some blood beginning to come out. She looked down at her other arm, and noticed her burn was going away.
The pain began to intensify. At first it felt like she’d just been cut, but now it was deeper than that. She had never felt anything like this before. She looked over and saw that Jones wasn’t bleeding from his shoulder yet. She began to panic. Would she have to take the whole wound first?
Vanessa knelt down on the ground in front of her, and placed her hands on Ashley’s knees. “You’ve got this.” She smiled confidently.
“It- It hurts so much! I don’t know if I can do it!” She began to sob. Darryls wound had to be deep, because the pain kept going deeper.
“Yes you can! I’m right here with you. I can’t take the pain for you, but I know you’ve got this!”
The pain kept getting worse, until it eventually reached a crescendo. Ashley cried out. She couldn’t believe Darryl had just taken this.
“Ashley, look!” Vanessa pointed to Jones’s shoulder. Blood was beginning to seep out of it.
Ashley felt joy for a moment, followed by disgust. She was rejoicing over someone’s death. She wondered if this was the right move after all, and winced. It had to be, because it was her only option. This was for Arte, for Darryl, and for everyone still trapped in that prison.
Eventually the pain began to alleviate. After a few moments, Ashley was back to normal. She smiled weakly, then fell forward onto Vanessa’s lap in tears.
“You did it Ashley.” She felt her hand rest on her head.
A few moments passed, and Ashley pulled herself up. She wiped off her face, and got to her feet.
“I’m going to take care of him. Keep an eye on Darryl.” Vanessa hugged her, and turned to Jones.
Ashley looked down at Darryl, and winced as she heard a wet cutting noise. She felt like she should be feeling more, but she just felt overwhelmed and tired. She shook her head, returned her attention to Darryl, and checked again for a pulse.
Once she found he had a pulse and was breathing, she turned to Vanessa, who was now beside her.
Vanessa wrapped her arms around her, and Ashley whispered, “Thank you…”
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