So this week I am a smidge late posting, though I had it written early, I swear! Still, I hope you enjoy the update to Benny and Yuri's story inspired by the prompt, "Did you really just say that?"
Lost Inside: Chapter 16
“How will that help him?” Benny asked.
Dr. Vancould pulled a computer out of his bag. He opened it up and then slid it sideways so everyone at the table could see it. He pulled up a video program.
“Oh, movie time?” Yuri leaned forward.
He smiled at him. “Kinda.” The doctor tapped the screen. The image of a brain began to rotate. “This is the brain of a Tiger Carthera. Yours, actually, Benny, since we have no other current scans from a Tiger.”
The video played and began to zoom in. “This is the latest technology. It shows the brain, functioning, down to the synaptic level.” Flashes took over the screen. “We can follow them, as you talk, think, move, and see where the electrical impulses travel.”
Another tap to the screen and Benny’s scan stopped. “This is Yuri’s scan.”
At first, Yuri’s brain looked like Benny’s. But as the doctor tapped through the different scans they began to see differences. The electrical impulses didn’t move the way Benny’s had or fire at all in some places. They just… stopped.
“These are places were Yuri’s brain was damaged. These places, dead spots, affect his ability to remember and process information.”
“That’s where I come in.” Millie leaned forward.
Benny looked behind them. Bashta and Cavel came in. Yuri jumped up and hugged Bashta. “Hi! I didn’t know you were going to be here, um….”
“Bashta, and you’re…?”
“Yuri.” Benny’s mate smiled. “You’re going to help me?”
“That we are.” Ellis waved the Jaguars to seats.
“Do it now!” Yuri demanded.
“Hey, mate, calm down. They’re explaining stuff to us first, remember? You wanted them to talk to you.” Benny was glad Yuri wanted to get better, but there was so much he didn’t get. He was just a damn bouncer.
“I need to understand exactly what’s going to happen with the venom.”
Yuri sat back down. “Will it hurt?”
Millie hesitated. “We don’t think so.”
Benny narrowed his eyes. “You don’t know?”
“Look, Ellis explained what he remembered of the healing ceremony he did, and Bashta told us something of the ceremonies his people had that performed miracles. I deal with science, though, with venom. Snake venom can help ignite the synapses in the brain, force connections, forge new pathways.
“We can already see some of that happening in Yuri’s brain, but not enough to heal him. He’s better now than he was, right?”
Benny nodded. He’d watched Yuri during their time apart. He could see changes in his mate, even more now that he was actually speaking and spending time with him. He was different, but not like he’d acted when he first came out of the coma.
“I can’t recreate the healing ceremonies, but there’s a marked difference in Ellis’ venom than any I’ve ever seen. I think his intent makes the difference, just like in changing our venom for a mate versus an enemy. As far as I can tell, it’s something in his pre-existing genetic code.”
“Yeah, I’m a freak.” Ellis frowned.
“Did you really just say that?” Benny shook his head. “Dav would have your ass. You’re not a freak, any more than the rest of us are freaks.”
Dr. Poinyard cleared his throat. “It’s quite understandable, how you might think that, Ellis. But you are not the only one. As far as I understand it, your twin has changed as well. The science community has postulated that the evolutionary parallels between Carthera and humans would bridge again. You appear to be that bridge. I’m sure you’re not the only one with this special ability.” He leaned forward on the table. “You know what it is like to be human and now Carthera. You cannot imagine how many people wish they could have the ability to experience that firsthand.”
“I appreciate that. It doesn’t make being different any easier.”
“Something many Carthera learn at a young age,” Cavel said. “Unfortunately.”
Yuri kept looking from person to person, frowning. “Ellis can’t mate me. I have a mate. So why’s he gonna bite me?”
Benny suppressed a growl at the thought of anyone biting Yuri but him. “He’s not going to bite you.”
“No, no way.” Ellis shook his head. “I would never do that. I gave a fresh venom sample this morning. They’ll use that, Yuri.”
“So no fangs.” Yuri grimaced. “You’re gonna stick me with another needle, aren’t you?”
“It’s a little more complicated than that. We need to inject the venom straight into your brain.” Dr. Vancould tented his fingers. “It is by far the most effective method of delivery.”
“You want to do what?” Benny flattened his ears and snarled. “You want to stick a needle in his brain?”
“Calm down, Benny. It sounds worse than it is.”
“How can it be worse?” Yuri huddled sideways in his chair, reaching for Benny. His mate needed him, so Benny did what he had to and suppressed his fear. He grabbed Yuri’s hand and let the other Tiger squeeze it as hard as he needed to.
“Let me explain.” Millie glared at Dr. Vancould. “You’ll be given some medication to make you a little sleepy. Then, we’ll shave a small patch of your hair and numb the area before we create the channel we need to insert the needle. After we numb you, you won’t feel a thing, Yuri, I promise. Your safety is our number one concern, so we wouldn’t proceed if we weren’t sure we could help you get better.”
“You promise I’ll get better?”
The doctors shared a look. “We can’t promise you’ll be one hundred percent normal, if you want to call it that, but we all agree. This could make the difference between creating healthy pathways in your brain to bring back your memories and help you heal.”
Yuri looked up at Benny. “You’ll come with me?”
“Of course.” He wasn’t leaving Yuri’s side.
“Then I want to do it. Now.”
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