It’s highly recommended to read prequel of this story “A Tough Call” here.

“Ohayōgozaimasu, Ikari Tenzen. “    

“What?” it took him a minute to regain conscious while his head throbbed against the remarkable tranquil
of the surroundings and he groaned while clutching his hair. 

“Forgive my Japanese Doc! Perhaps, you prefer Trevor these days.”

“How…who are you… how did you know…?” Trevor stuttered and rubbed his eyes hard till the cloudy layer that blurred his vision abated. 

He caught hold of the scenario and glanced at the neatly decked up figure in front of him. He wore a green ironed uniform with several medals stacked on his epaulets manifesting his devoted service. His face had a long scar commencing from his temples to his left cheek, which Trevor assumed to be a war wound. He looked somewhat around in his fifties, yet his voice and posture emanated a certain youth and vigor. He
had his eyes fixed on Trevor and waited patiently, for his moment of realization to arrive.

“How do you know my name and why…” he hissed while tried to prance at the man and was suddenly regorged to the ground with massive force “…am I in restraints, you old hog!”

“Watch it, doc.” He eyed at him with terror inflicting eyes and commanding him to sit down like a faithful pet.

“I am Lieutenant Mason Black; I serve for the reigning authority of the country. As for your queries concerning your role here, our leader is battling with a life-threatening ailment to which many of the poised and eminent physicians haven’t been able draw a cure. I believe the ailment is fatal and compromising his cognitive ability with every passing day. It is a matter of concern and utmost discretion since the update of his incompetency can fuel our rivals to motion an unprecedented attack.”

“What does it have to do with me if your leader is sick. Why would I care!”

“You would, you see. You are the descendant of Ikari clan, the possessors of medical miracle in the old folks of Japan. Now, I know better to believe in magic and miracle but I believe in science and the inheritance. With your inherited ability of medical knowledge, you might pull of something close to a miracle. And no man seems to be more fitting to the task than you. It was why in the first place you were presented the opportunity to be recruited here, under the pretense of treating the victims.”

“Since you seem to know that much you might also know my village or my clan as you call, was destroyed years ago and since then I have been born and bred in America, pursued American medicine same as every specialist. Ergo, can offer nothing more than the existing treatments.”

“Not to my knowledge! You spent 15 years before you fled form the crisis and hence have gained some insight of the traditional Japanese healing techniques and combined with modern medicine you learnt in America, you pulled quite a few miracles, I hear”

“Well, you heard wrong. Besides, I have no motivation to save a despicable human killing machine that could do nothing more that inflict terror in the pursuit of power and pelf. Kill me if you wish to but I won’t.” a sudden invigoration scented Trevor’s tone despite his weakened state.

“I thought I could convince you the easy way but, I guess I may have to motivate you enough.”

Trevor observed him suspiciously not knowing what he meant. “Motivate me?” he thought to himself. He saw the comrade deploy a hand gesture signaling the armed personnel to take the course.

Trevor utilized the moment to glance around and saw how oblivious he has been to his whereabouts. It was a dim lit area, a muddy dugout and he could see past the officer, were the iron grid barricades that marked the boundary of the cell he was kept hostage in. Tiny lanterns were hung a set distance apart and the trail stretched to a few miles away until finally halting into a curved end. His cell was being guarded by three militia armed with rifles, shot guns and few grenades hanging over their belt straps, one of them stepped out upon the officer’s command. 

Trevor’s back hurt and he comprehended a sharp ache originating from his left shoulder; as if he has been pricked there, multiple times. He slowly moved his hand to analyze and navigate the source of this twitching sting but was interrupted by faint footsteps closing in gradually. The noise would have been incomprehensible if it wasn’t for the random amplification by the sound reflecting angles of the dungeon. 

A few moments later the cracking of metal chains and restraints snapped Trevor out of his reverie and he saw the person, who stepped out before on officer’s command. Accompanied by one other personnel, they dragged a man; face covered and oozing of blood at the junction of his flesh and the metal restraints.

“Pull him up straight, here.” Said the officer in his husky voice.

He gestured a command and his subordinates seemed to comprehend with the blink of an eye; like pre-programmed instructions. They dragged a short knife with pointed edge and wavy blade, as to intensify the damage inflicted even by a short stab. Without a flinch, they stabbed the man multiple times in the gut. Barbaric enough to echo the tunnel with his screams of horror, but not objected to drain his life. Guess, the goal was only the portrayal of horrifying agony not death. 

Trevor gasped in horror and quizzed. “Who is that man? Stop! Stop!” he yelled. 

“Hold up!” said the officer.

The subordinates halted and jerked off the detainee’s mask. His vision was blurry. The upstanding figure was a mere silhouette while he narrowed his eyes to make up the details. He made futile attempts to blow off the white glares that hindered his vision. The dimly lit field added to his struggle. He focused on the built up of the man instead and synced it with his existing memories to find a match.

“Can’t recognize him Doc, huh?” 

“I can’t see his face, it’s ummm…dark.” He muttered to himself, agitated.

“One must think, you would not slip in recognizing your only family.” 

Trevor sighed in horror he thumped his back at the wall behind. It all came to him. 

The other day, when he crossed all limits of desperation to pull off something impossible. The agonizing dilemma of choosing one over other. The guilt of leaving one behind. The cunning maneuver and the shocking resurrection. 

He glanced up in horror and realized, “Stark!”

The impaling stabs were in motion again. Trevor flinched, while his fists clenched and the manacles rattled. 

“Stop! Stop them!” He yelled, as he glared at the smug officer who relished in his agony.

“That enough motivation for you, Doc?” said the officer as he raised one hand to signal his men to stop.

Trevor relaxed his tensed posture, thumped back to the ground and sat motionless, stunned and struck in the horror of Stark’s whimpering. He nodded lightly and kept his eyes fixated and thoughts wandering into nothingness. 

They dragged Stark out of his sight and the sound of lock crackled, a few moments later the tempo of descending steps also faded and all that was left was Trevor and the massive octave of his amplified emotions hitting him at the highest pitches. He glared at the spilled blood in front of his eyes and the suppressing ache of being helpless. He was writhing in anger but simultaneously flushed with vulnerability. 

His head swirled with unattended probes that have been hovering in the back, all this while. When brought into attention they ambushed his already weakened state of mind. 

How was Stark alive? Who was the guy laying there half dead who I thought was Stark? And Cheryl, what happened to her corpse? Who were these people and why was he trapped in all this? Medical miracle for a dying demon!

Every question echoed like an unending crass cacophony in his hollowed head. He clenched a handful of his hair in his fist and pulled them hard.

Stewing in his agony he didn’t realize when his heavy eyes felt heavy and shut down on their own.

Next Part: Coming soon

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