We’ve switched back over to Day’s point of view for this chapter. Since the chapters don’t have numbers, I’m just notating the number for the character. This is Day’s second chapter. It’s a but of a clunky way to do it, but I’m not sure how else to keep track.
Anyway, on to the chapter. This chapter opens with Day talking about his first crime. Not just crime – a perfect crime. It started back when Day was a child and his father was still alive. His father had come home on leave, but was taken away after a routine inspection of their house turned up something suspicious. When his father comes home all beaten up with two broken arms, Day takes action. It’s really rather brilliant. He gets a ball of ice and coats it in gasoline, then lights it and slings it into the police headquarters. Once the ice melts, there is no evidence of how the fire started, so no one at all suspects that Day was behind it.
My mother used to hope that I would rise up from my humble roots. Become someone successful, or even famous.
I’m famous, all right, but I don’t think it’s what she had in mind.
I can’t wait to find out all the things Day has been up to that has given him such a reputation.
Back in the present day, Day is sitting outside the Los Angeles Central Hospital watching the main entrance. He mentions the electric lights shining from each window, noting that only government buildings or really rich people can afford such things. Day, on the other hand, definitely doesn’t look rich. His white hair has been dyed black and he is wearing black clothes with pig blood smeared on them. His goal is to get to the labs where there are blood samples and medicines. He can’t climb the walls because they are too smooth, with no hand holds or balconies or anything.
A military truck pulls up. The Captain with the troops is none other than Metias, but this name means nothing to Day. He watches other trucks come and go before staggering out and approaching the nurse, pretending to have been stabbed in a fight. The nurse is unsympathetic and has the guards check him for weapons before taking his money and pointing him towards the waiting room. Day sees Metias watching him, but neither one of them do anything. Yet. I feel like there is an implied “yet.”
After waiting in the crowded waiting room for ten minutes, Day gets up and pretends to stumble toward one of the guards, asking about the bathroom. He falls against the guard and manages to snag his ID tag away from him, which the guard does not realize. In the bathroom, Day cleans up, switches out his clothes, and pulls on his gloves and ties a black handkerchief around his face. Then he uses one of his hidden knives to get into the ventilation shaft in the ceiling. It’s not a pleasant experience.
The air in the shaft smells strange, and I’m grateful for the handkerchief around my face. I inch along as fast as I can. The shaft can’t be more than two feet wide in any direction. Each time I pull myself forward, I have to close my eyes and remind myself to breathe, that the metal walls around me are not closing in. I don’t have to go far — none of these shafts will lead to the third floor. I only need to get far enough to pop out into one of the hospital’s stairwells, away from the soldiers on the first floor. I press forward. I think of Eden’s face, of the medicine he and John and my mother will need, and of the strange red X with the line through it.
Day is willing to do whatever he can to help his family. I can understand that.
The shaft dead ends and he sees a stairwell below him. Day pops out of the shaft and starts racing up the stairs to the third floor. He uses the ID he stole to open the door, which opens into a large room with lots of doctors and soldiers, who are all very surprised to see him. Day grabs one of the doctors and holds a knife to his throat, using him as a shield against the soldiers’ guns. He also tells the doctor that he will not hurt him as long as he tells him where to get the plague cure. It’s in the refrigerators across the room.
Just one problem though. The vials in the refrigerator are empty. Day shoves the doctor towards the soldiers and then hides behind the refrigerator door, using it to protect himself from the bullets. He grabs some other medicines and then bolts. One bullet does graze him in the arm but he manages to make it to the stairway. The alarms start going off and a loud click indicates that all the doors to the stairwell have been locked so that Day can’t get out. Luckily there is a window, and Day is able to swing around hard enough to shatter it and fall outside. The fall manages to possibly crack a rib and sprain his ankle, in addition to his gunshot wound.
The soldiers are slowed down by the fact that the doors are all locked, so that gives Day a few minutes head start to try and find an escape. The thing is, the soldiers all know where he went. A group of them finds him, one of them being Metias, who draws his gone on Day and recognizes him from when he came in the hospital. Metias tries to arrest Day, but Day has other ideas.
What happens next is a blur. I see Metias tense up to fire his gun. I throw my knife at him with all my strength. Before he can fire, my knife hits him hard in the shoulder and he falls backward with a thud. I don’t wait to see him get up. I bend down and heave the manhole cover up, then lower myself down the ladder and into the blackness. I pull the sewer cover back in place.
Day’s injuries are catching up to him, and so are the soldiers. He knows they have followed him into the sewers, so he makes sure to walk through the filthy water in order to throw the dogs off his scent. He also makes many twists and turns to throw them off his trail. All he can do is head in the right direction to meet back up with Tess. After two and a half hours, Day is close to fainting from the pain and decides to try and get back up to street level. Turns out he was very close to his destination, only a few blocks away. But it’s too late. Exhausted and in pain, Day finds an alley and falls. He thinks he sees a girl coming toward him (maybe it’s Tess?) but the last thing he realizes is that his pendant, which had been hanging around his neck with the stolen hospital ID, is missing.
See you next time as we check back in with June!