A few days later, he is feeling more in control, but he isn't ready to call the doctors again. His friends often ask him how the experiments are going, but he promptly changes the subject and they quickly learn not to bring it up. He can feel the presence in his mind anticipating something, and he knows that tonight will be another hunting night, but he quickly jams those thoughts to the back of his mind as soon as they form. Instead, he concentrates on something else happening today that he has been anticipating for a long time. Today was the day for the experiments on his teleporting.
He arrives at Engineering 3, the building where most of the Powers experiments are being held and finds the room. He is greeted by a low-d raccoon morph, wearing glasses.
"You must be Terry. I'm Eric Gilbert, Andrew's assistant. I'll be monitoring the experiment from this end," he says, shaking Terry's hand. "Is everything here suitable for your needs?"
Terry looks around the room. It is a large work room, with numerous contraptions set up along the edge of the room, all pointing at one point in the room. Located at this point is a tall post with markings near the top. Terry stops at the post and carefully judges the distance to the other side of the room.
"I take it this is where you want me to teleport to?" he asks.
"And teleport from. The closer you can appear and disappear to those markings on the pole, the better."
"Hmmm, it looks fine. Is there a step ladder somewhere in there? I'd like a better view of where I'm coming to."
"Sure, it's right here." Eric says, bringing over a small ladder. Terry moves the pole slightly out of the way and climbs up, level with the markings on the pole. He looks to the chalkboards on the far wall, where he would be gliding towards when he comes out and gets an idea.
"Could you go to the chalkboard down there? Thanks," Terry asks. "OK, now, move a little to your right and draw a circle... no down a little further, that's it. Now, over that circle, as close to the top of the board you can, draw a triangle. Move to the next board on your left... a bit further. Great, I need a square near the bottom of the board there, and a pentagon near the top. Perfect. Finally, in between those four shapes, centered on the board, draw a star. Great, that's perfect."
"What are these for?" he asks, walking back to where Terry is standing on the ladder.
"Bearings. I'm going to use them to help make sure I come out in the right place." Terry explains, stepping down off of the ladder.
"Gotcha," Eric says, stepping over some of the cables stretched across the floor. "Sorry about the mess though, we weren't planning on doing the teleporting experiments until next term, so suddenly being moved up caught us a little off guard." Eric explains.
"Oh? Why were they moved up then?"
"Because the group testing someone with TK, canceled. Their subject went camping up north, and never came back."
"I see. So, where do I start from?"
"Andrew's set up your starting point in the conference center at the Ron Eydt Village. Do you know where that is?"
"Village Zoo? Sure, I do. That's where I was in my first term."
"Great, why don't you go join him, and we can get started." Eric says, starting to power up the equipment.
Terry walks to the end of the room and climbs up on a platform set up there. Before he can jump off though, he feels the platform shake and hears a muffled BOOM from the next room.
"What was that?" he asks.
"What was what? Oh, the boom. They're testing someone with a blast power next door." Eric explains.
"Blast power?" Terry asks, concerned.
Eric glances up at him and realizes what he is thinking. "Don't worry, this guy's no where near as powerful as the one who took out the side of the sugar cube last summer. His blasts are barely as powerful as firecrackers."
With a wary glance at the wall behind him, Terry leaps off of the platform and glides towards the teleport point. Reaching it, he pictures the layout of the second student village and teleports over.
He reappears near the main entrance to the central building. He enters the main building and climbs the stairs to the small convention center. There, he finds a setup similar to the one he had just left in Engineering 3, and a middie white rat-morph overseeing it.
"Hi Terry, I'm Andrew," the Rat-morph says in a voice Terry recognizes from the phone. "Eric warned me that you were on your way here. Did he tell you what we are planning?"
Terry shakes the offered hand and looks around the room, judging distances from the pole at one end to the other. "No he didn't, but I think I've got a rough idea of what's going on."
"Well, then let me explain so you have a better idea of what we need." Andrew leads Terry to the far end of the room. "Basically, all you need to do is jump off of this platform and glide over to that pole over there. As soon as you reach that point, teleport to the same point back in E 3. We'll repeat it a few times going between here and E 3, just to make sure we get all the data we need. The distances are all right here, aren't they?"
"They're a little tighter than I'm used to, but I should be able to go from here to there and back without any problem," Terry says.
"Great. Now what's so special about those points there? Well, that point, and the same one back in E 3, is the focal point of all the sensors we could think of. Right now, we're just going to check as much of the EM Spectrum we can. If you let off any type of radiation when you 'port, we'll know about it. The next time we can get you for experiments, we'll check the sound frequencies and anything else we might have forgotten. And after that, we'll start testing your ability itself, how close to the ground you can be, how much you can carry, et cetera. Any questions? No, good. We can start whenever you are ready."
The rat-morph moves to a console setup near the entrance to the room. Terry walks over to the pole and climbs onto the chair beside it. Looking back at the platform he will be taking off from, he notices a white board under the platform with the same symbols he had Eric draw back on campus.
"Did Eric tell you about that?" he asks Andrew, pointing towards the board.
"Kind've. I was watching while you were telling him to draw it and figured you'd want one at this end too." Andrew indicates a tv monitor on the desk next to him. "We've set up a video link between the two sites," he explains.
Terry nods his head in understanding and returns to the take off platform."I'm ready when you are," he calls down to Andrew.
Andrew says something inaudible in the mike on the desk. "Could you wait a minute? Eric needs to realign one of the cameras on the other end." Andrew and Terry wait for a few moments, before Andrew hears a response from Eric. "OK, Terry, everything's go."
Terry nods in the mouse's direction and jumps off of the platform. He pictures the scene he had left in Engineering 3 and, just as he feels he is at the right point, teleports. He reappears back in E 3, nearly exactly where he is aiming. He glides to the far side of the room and lands under the take off platform.
"How was that?" he calls out to Eric.
"Nearly perfect! You were actually about 10 centimeters below where you should have appeared, but that's well within our bounds. Andrew wants you to head back as soon as you're up to it."
"Is now soon enough?" Terry calls back, climbing to the top of the platform.
"Yup, go right ahead."
With that, Terry jumps off again and glides back into the forest of sensors. Upon reaching the center, he teleports back to the Conference center. He glides towards the other end of the hall and quickly realizes he has too much speed. He lifts his arms and lands more on the board than on the floor.
"Are you all right?" Andrew calls out, having witnessing the incident.
Terry picks himself up from where he had crashed and checks himself out. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just misjudged my speed and distance, that's all." he calls back.
"Well, you can take five; We need to adjust some of these detectors," Andrew says, leaving the main desk.
Terry leaves the takeoff/landing zone and looks over the numerous monitors on the desk. Though he recognizes some of the terms, most of the numbers and graphs displayed on the screens are a complete mystery to him. Leaving the desk, he sees a copy of the UW Gazette, and starts flipping through it, occasionally looking up to check Andrew's progress.
"OK, we're ready for another round," Andrew calls out to Terry after a hurried conversation with Eric.
Terry refolds the paper and climbs back onto the platform. He spends the rest of the morning teleporting between those two points, with long periods of time in between while Andrew and Eric move and change the equipment. His landings in the conference hall improve, but they are never as graceful as his normal landings. During the down time, he occasionally helps them with the equipment, but most of his time is spent waiting and waiting and waiting.
"OK, Terry, this will be the last set we do today," Andrew says, tightening a bolt on a camera tripod. "Just 4 more teleports, 2 each way, and we can get out of here."
"Great! Tell me as soon as you're ready," Terry says, climbing on to the platform.
Andrew checks with Eric and after a hurried discussion, gives Terry the signal to go. Terry wearily jumps off the platform, teleports back to E 3 and lands under the platform.
"Good thing these are the last few jumps, Terry, that last one was nearly too low." Eric shouts out.
"Well, it's not fatigue that's causing it, it's boredom. You try teleporting to the same two places over and over and over and over again!"
"I would, if I could tele--" BOOM!
Both Eric and Terry whirl around to face the wall behind Terry as a loud explosion is heard in the next room. They stare, stunned, as the wall seems to fall down on Terry in slow motion. Reflexively, Terry ducks down just as the platform, wall and part of the ceiling bury him alive.
"I don't believe it! Your blast bounced off of cellophane?!?" an incredulous voice comes out of the dust that filled the space between the rooms. "Hey! Is everyone all right over there?"
The sounds of people moving to climb through the hole in the wall snap Eric out if his stun. "No! Wait! There's someone buried in there!" he shouts out, running to the edge of the cave in.
The only light that entered the two rooms came from a hole that had been blasted through the exterior wall. People are already gathering at the entrances to the room and sirens can be heard in the distance.
"Terry! Are you in there!? Are you all right? Can you hear me?" Eric calls out, trying to see where the platform or any other sign to indicate where Terry is buried.
With a groan, Terry opens his eyes and immediately regrets it. All he can see in front of him is chunks of bricks, wires, pipes and other debris from the explosion. The little light he has comes from somewhere behind him, but it is extremely faint. Above him, he can sense a large weight over him, being held up by something he couldn't tell yet. Cautiously, he moves his arms, wings, legs and tail and discovers that they all luckily still seem to be in one piece. Faintly, he hears someone calling his name.
"I'm in here!" Terry shouts out hoarsely , winching as his voice echoes in the closed in space.
"Terry!?! Are you all right!?" Eric shouts out, carefully picking his way through the debris. From the other end, there is a norm-flash, and soon a small animal is climbing from the other end.
"I'm <Cough> fine. I don't think anything is broken; but it's a little tight in here, and dusty," Terry shouts back.
"Can you teleport out?" Eric calls out, trying to trace the voice.
"Teleport?! You know I need to be air bourne to 'port! I don't even have enough room in here to scratch my nose, let alone... Wait a sec!" Terry stops as something temporarily blocks the little light he is getting. "Something just blocked my light. Is anyone out there?"
Terry hears some chittering behind him, and his light is blocked again. "He's over here!" a new voice shouts out.
He hears more noises of people moving over him. A couple of smaller rocks fall around him before he hears Eric calling down to him. "Are you down there Terry?"
"No, I'm on a beach in Florida. Where else would I be?!?"
"Well, just sit tight. The fire department, ambulance and police are all here now. They're talking with the engineers, trying to figure out the best way to get you out."
"You mean the engineers are in charge of getting me out? I'm doomed!"
"Typical Mathie reaction," Eric shouts back, with a small, nervous laugh. "Just sit tight and they'll have you out in a jiffy."
"It's not as if I can sit much tighter," Terry mutters under his breath as Eric and the stranger move away from him. Their movements loosen some more bricks, sending them down around Terry.
I don't doubt that they'll get me out somehow, what I doubt is that they'll get me out alive! Terry thinks, eyeing his prison carefully. This is worst than a game of Pick-up sticks! If they pull the wrong bar or brick chunk too soon, this whole thing's going to come down on top of me... I need to figure out a way out of here!
He carefully examines his prison and determines that there is no way he can dig out from the inside. The few movements he does knocks loose another few bricks which fall and block the light he has been getting, leaving him in total darkness.
Great, the only way out of here is to 'port, but I can't port in this small space... What am I going to do? he thinks, despair creeping into his thoughts. Unbidden, a thought rises from the back of his mind. Of course! I can't teleport from here, but HE can... but do I really want to do this? Terry opens his eyes, and sees the exact same thing he saw when they were closed, and makes his decision. Guess I don't have any choice, he thinks.
Terry starts looking inward, into an area of his mind he rarely went to beyond the necessary trips for teleporting. In his mind, he approaches the presence and calls out. "All right, I know you're there. Show yourself!"
Looking around, he sees no sign of his animal instincts recognizing him. "Come on, show yourself! It's a matter of life and death! Our Life or death!"
Without knowing how, Terry suddenly realizes that there is something behind him. Turning, he sees the same flying lizard he had seen in the video from the sleep experiments. The lizard is standing still, staring at Terry.
"Look! I know we don't get along to well, but unless we work together, we are not going to get out of this alive!" Terry pleads with the lizard, waiting for some reaction. He gets none.
"You do know what happened to us, don't you?"
The lizard nods his head and with a flash of light, shifts to a morph form. He mimes ducking for cover as bricks and iron fall around he before shifting back to lizard form.
"Then you know that we are trapped in here unless we teleport out, right?" The lizard nods his head. "Well, then can't you teleport me err us from here?"
The lizard shakes his head no. He then proceeds to teleport himself a few feet to the left, nodding his head yes at the other end of the 'port. He then shifts to morph form and shakes his head no.
"So you can't teleport from the land in morph form? Why?" The lizard, staying in morph form, shrugs his shoulders.
"Fine, so now what do we do?" Terry asks to no one in particular, sitting down on a rock that appears out of nowhere. The dust must be getting to me, I'm talking to a lizard mime for crying out loud! he thinks.
Oh well, I guess I don't have much else to do...
The lizard moves and stands in front of Terry. He points to Terry and shifts to norm form. He then points to himself and teleports a short distance again.
"You want me to norm shift? But I don't know how!"
The lizard points behind Terry, in the direction of the main body of the presence is. Terry gets up and follows the lizard to it. Soon, a steel wall, stretching, unbroken, as far as the eye can see in all directions, appears ahead of them. The lizard leads Terry to the only marking on the wall, a small crack seemingly between two steel sheets. The lizard points to the crack.
"What's that?" Terry asks. The lizard does nothing. Intrigued, Terry approaches the crack and peers inside. He sees nothing. Reaching in cautiously, his hand encounters something that feels like Jell-o. "This is that norm-shifting barrier every talks about, isn't it?" Terry says, hope flaring up. "Now, all I need to do is push through this and...hmmm... This crack isn't big enough for me to get through!"
The lizard nods his head dejectedly. Terry pulls his hand out of the crack and stops to think. "Wait a sec, this is my mind. I can be any size I want in here!" he exclaims. Concentrating, he wills his body to shrink. The lizard shrinks along with him, and to Terry's dismay, so does the crack. Terry mentally shifts gears and tries to get bigger than the wall, but that too fails as the crack and wall grow at the same rate he does.
"Why does it keep doing that?" Terry cries out. The lizard thumps the wall and points at Terry. "This wall is my own creation, isn't it?" The lizard nods it's head. "Well, if it's my own creation, than I can just get rid of it!"
Concentrating again, he pictures the wall rusting away. Looking up, he sees sheets of rusty metal falling away, revealing a solid brick wall. Where the crack was, there is now some missing bricks. He imagines a wrecking ball smashing the brick wall, only to have all the holes filled in by thick vines. Soon the entire wall is covered with thick, thorny vines, except for a small path near the bottom. When he tries cutting the vines with a machete, a force field forms in the holes, except for a small portal where the path used to be.
"It's hopeless," Terry moans, sitting back down on the rock that obediently appears. He mentally changes the barrier back into a red brick wall. "How do you do it?" he asks the lizard in front of him. "After all, you some how get through and cause a norm shift. How do you do it?"
The lizard seems to pause and think for a moment before responding. Still in morph form, he mimes sleeping. He then shifts to norm form and mimes swimming through something.
"So the only way you can cause a shift is if I'm sleeping? <SIGH> Fat chance of that happening," Terry groans. Looking as dejected as Terry, the lizard calls up a rock of it's own and lies on it.
Below the level of his mind which is talking with the animal, Terry's mind receives a message that his left leg is cramping up. With no orders to the otherwise, his mind automatically sends a message to move it and work out the cramp. The leg moves, kicking a bar which bangs against a broken brick perched precariously on the edge of the sloping platform. The broken brick starts sliding down the platform, grabbing a few friends as it slides down.
Realizing that something is making noises near him, Terry pulls himself back to the real world. He notices broken bricks falling around his head and wonders what triggered them. He takes a breath to call out to anyone who might be over him when the last brick piece falls off the edge and nails him on the head. Well this is one way to fall asleep, is his last thought before falling into unconsciousness, taking his mental walls with him.
With the walls gone, the instincts push through the morph/norm barrier, and Terry shifts to norm form. The smaller form drops slightly to the ground and moves around groggily. Even though it had largely been shielded from the blow by Terry, the animal instincts had still felt it. His movements knock out some of the few supports left holding off the rubble over head. With a rumble, the platform starts falling into the space in a shower of debris.
Panicking, the instincts send the signal to teleport to the first place they can think of, but in the rush, they misjudge the size of the teleport field. Terry and an assortment of falling broken bricks and pieces of metal disappear, just as the space is filled in by the broken platform.
In the remains of the two work rooms, everyone is busy. Police officers are keeping back curious spectators and interviewing Eric, Andrew and the two who had been doing the experiments that caused the accident in the first place. Flying firemen and engineers survey the damage from the air, trying to determine the safest way to get down to Terry. Suddenly, without warning, the section where he was collapses downward, leaving a room stunned into silence.
"Terry! Are you all right? Terry?!" one of the engineers flying over the site calls down. He gets no response.
"Quick! We need to get him out of there!" he shouts out, landing near the cave in and starting to dig. He is quickly joined by others. Soon, with a few more cave-ins, a pit down to the floor of the building has been made, with no sign of Terry.
"Where is he? Where could he have gone?" Eric asks, standing in the cleared area.
"He must've teleported out of there," Doctor Bissonette says, stepping out of the crowd, yawning a little.
"But he said he couldn't teleport from in there," Eric calls back, recognizing the doctor. He briefly wonders what the nocturnal doctor is doing here in the middle of the day, and decides that the campus grapevine had let her know.
"Yes he can. He was my subject in some sleep experiments a few days ago, and we discovered that he could teleport from the land in norm form."
"Well, then where is he?"
"Only he knows. When we discovered this facet of his power, he didn't take it all to well, and stopped volunteering, so we didn't have time to figure out where he was going in his sleep."
"In his sleep?!?"
"He can only shift in his sleep, but that's not important now. We should try and figure out where he went and find him. He could be hurt, or worst."
"Ok, but where do we start looking? He could be anywhere!"
"Contact his family. He probably teleported someplace he is familiar with. They can start searching places near his home and that. We should alert all the police and everyone else to be on the look out for him too, especially in forested areas."
"OK, I'll go and call his parents right away," Andrew says.
"No, I'LL notify his parents," a new voice says from the back of the crowd. The crowd parts as a caribou-morph dressed in a suit walks into the room. "This is now a University matter, so I am going to handle it," Doctor Downey, president of the University continues. "Andrew, Eric, I want you two to gather your results and see if there is anyway to trace his teleports. Get help from anyone you need to, but I want results. Everyone else, please leave here and let the police finish their work." He turns to the police officer in charge. "I trust that a search of the region will be called?"
"Yes sir, we've got men out searching now. If he is anywhere in the Waterloo county region, we'll find him... Though it would be helpful if we had a picture of him in both morph and norm form. I realize he is a rare morph, but pictures help things greatly."
"I've got some pictures of him in both forms back in my office. I'll get them to you within the hour." Doctor Bissonette says, moving to leave.
"Just a second Doctor, before you go, I'd like to speak with you for a few minutes," the president says. They walk to a deserted corner of the room and talk for a few moments. They then separate and return to their offices.
Dr. Downey sits in his office, Terry's file open on his desk, debating what he is going to say. Never in all his university years, had he had a case quite like this. Finally, he picks up the phone and dials Terry's parent's number.
"Hello?" a voice answers.
"My name is Jim Downey, at the University of Waterloo. I'm looking for either Gloria or Lloyd Spafford. It is about their son, Terry."
"This is Gloria. What's wrong with Terry?" Gloria asks anxiously.
The University president prepares himself and launches into the story about what had happened. Gloria listens, speechless.
After he finishes, there is a stunned silence on the phone. He begins to wonder if the connection has been broken before Gloria speaks. "Is- Is Terry all right?"
"Right after the accident, he was fine. He was conscious and he said he didn't feel anything was broken. However, while we were figuring out how to get him out, the area he was under settled further. By the time we dug him out, he was gone."
"G-g-gone? You mean...?" Gloria is unable to finish the words. Jim immediately realizes his error in wording.
"Oh no! No, not that gone. I mean he was literally gone. There was no sign of him underneath the rubble."
Gloria breaths a sigh of relief. "Oh, you mean that gone... Well, where is he? Is he hurt?"
"We don't know. He hasn't reappeared yet. The police here are keeping their eyes open in case he appears anywhere in the area, but considering his abilities, he could appear just about anywhere. We are hoping that he went to someplace he is familiar with."
"I understand; I'll start calling around, see if he showed up anywhere."
"Thank you. If anything, anything at all changes, I'll be sure to let you know immediately."
"Thank you," Gloria says, hanging up the phone, stunned.
Not sure what exactly to do first, she automatically picks up the phone and dials.
"Good afternoon, Kent Building Supplies, Martha speaking. How can I help you?" the voice on the other end says.
"Lloyd please. Tell him it's an emergency, Martha," Gloria says quietly.
"Just a sec," Martha says, putting Gloria on hold. Less than a minute later Lloyd comes on the line.
"What's wrong?" he asks.
Gloria takes a nervous breath and explains what she had been told happened to Terry.
"I'm going to come directly home. Just stay calm. I'm sure he's fine," Lloyd says.
"Ok," a very shaken Gloria says.
"Don't worry dear, we'll find him. I'll be home shortly, I promise." Lloyd hangs up the phone and turns to the customer he had been talking to.
"Mark, could you please come over here? This man wants to exchange this fan," Lloyd calls out to a nearby worker. "I'm sorry, but I need to go now. That was my wife on the phone; she just told me our son has gone missing," Lloyd explains to the customer and Mark.
He leaves Mark and the customer and goes to find his boss. After explaining what is going on, his boss quickly gives him the rest of the afternoon off. Lloyd quickly leaves the store and drives home. Together, he and Gloria call everyone they can think of who might be able to help them, and then they sit and wait beside the phone, for any news.
The stillness of the forests is broken as a flying lizard appears out of thin air within a cloud of broken bricks and pieces of metal. The lizard tries valiantly to glide free of the cloud, but can't. The falling debris hits him and knock him to the ground. Some of the heavier pieces hit his fragile wings and arms, breaking some of the bones. With a screech of pain, the lizard loses consciousness.
Unfortunately, it is Terry who regains consciousness first in the early evening. As he slowly wakes up, his mental defenses automatically rise, pushing the instincts back into their little nook and triggering the shift back to morph form. He lets out a scream of pain as broken norm bones rub against each other as they grow into broken morph bones. Just as the shift completes, he loses consciousness again.
Later that night, he reawakens, and realizes his 'friend' is awake too. "I hope you didn't try to shift back to norm," Terry says to the lizard. It shakes its head no. "Good, now lets try and see how bad the damage is," he says, shifting his attention to what was happening around him. It is almost enough to send him back into his mind.
Around him, the debris that had taken the trip from Waterloo to here, where ever here was, is laying around the ground. For the most part, he is lying on leaf covered ground, but his right side is lying against a large, flat rock. His right wing is pinned under a good sized chunk of brick wall. The leading edge of his wing is also bent at an angle that would be impossible naturally. His right forearm shows a similar unnatural bend, with the guilty heavy steel bar lying next to it, displaced by his shift to morph.
Gritting his teeth against the pain he knows he will feel, he moves his left arm, trying to keep his right side as motionless as possible. He reaches over to his right side and moves along his wing as carefully as he can. The pain those small movements cause is nearly too much for him to bear, but finally, he reaches the brick on his wing. Gripping it as tightly as he can, he takes a breath in anticipation, and lifts it, pulling his injured wing out as soon as it is high enough. The pain caused by those movements prove to be too much, as he blacks out again, all of his limbs now free.
When he reawakens again, he sees the sun has risen. "OK, now what do I do? Stuck in the middle of no where, no signs of civilization anywhere, with a broken arm and wing and more cuts and scratches than I'd care to count. " he says aloud. He is surprised when his 'friend' appears in front of his eyes. "Great, add hallucinating to that list of problems," he adds. "Well, what do you want?" he asks the lizard.
The lizard moves away from the debris, indicating for Terry to follow.
"I take that to mean you know where we are? This is one of your hunting grounds, isn't it?" the lizard nods it's head to both. "That's great, just great. Why couldn't you have taken us to one of MY hunting grounds? Like the computer lab?" The lizard does not react.
Bracing himself for the worst, Terry carefully gets to his feet, nearly falling as his broken arm and wing move painfully. He also quickly realizes that his list was missing a twisted left ankle that quickly made itself known. After nearly falling on his first step, Terry slowly bends down and grabs the longest thing in reach, a short metal pole he recognizes from the platform. It is nearly too short for his needs, but it is sufficient. Hunched over the metal pole and trying to keep his broken arm and wing as still as possible, he starts walking in the direction his instinct's indicate.
They make slow progress through the forest. To distract his mind from the pain, and occasional hunger signals his body is sending him, he takes a closer look at the forest around him.
"You know, this forest looks a lot like the type back home. In fact, I can't shake the feeling that I know this area somehow," Terry comments. The lizard does not even react.
A few hours later, by Terry's rough judgement of the sun's movement, Terry stops and sits down on a tree stump. Faintly in the distance, he hears water falling. "Is that where we are going? To the waterfalls?" he asks. The lizard nods and motions for him to hurry.
Terry carefully gets back up and glances back at the stump he was sitting on. "Hey! Wait a sec! This tree was cut down with a chainsaw!" he exclaims. "Are there people where we're heading?" The lizard does nothing. Cheered up by the signs of human life, no matter how faint, Terry follows the lizard at a slightly faster pace.
Around 5 in the evening, by Terry's rough reckoning, they reach the bottom of a small cliff. The waterfall turns out to be a good sized stream roaring over the edge of the cliff. At the top of the cliff, a wire fence has been set up, with caution signs posted. Scattered around the bottom of the falls, are some beer bottles and beer cans, many broken or crushed. Terry looks down at the label of the closest one and recognizes the brand. Looking at the scene again, he realizes what it is.
"I know this place! It's the MicMac falls! I'm practically home!" Terry explains, just as the last of his energy gives out. With a small moan, he collapses next to the stream.
"This is certainly a nice hiking trail. It's too bad that the local Teenagers have added their usual markings on the area, though," Jasmine, a coyote morph says to her husband, Mike, a bull morph, as she stoops down to pick up an empty beer can and stuffing it in the bag she is carrying.
"At least there are people, like us, who are willing to do a little extra to help out," Mike replies. The young couple have taken the day off work and are enjoying the summer day, hiking on the trail just off of the main highway.
They soon reach the waterfalls. "Look at this mess, doesn't anyone... Oh my god! There's someone down there!" Jasmine exclaims, spying Terry near the stream.
The young couple carefully climb down the hill and slowly approach Terry. "He's hurt!" Jasmine says as she sees Terry's bent wing. She rushes up to him and takes a closer look. "He's still alive!"
Mike takes out his cell phone and dials the emergency services. "Hi, my name is Mike Taylor. I'm on the MicMac Hiking Trail, just off of route 2, near the falls. I'd like to report an injured person. It looks like he has a broken wing, maybe a broken arm. He is unconscious right now... What is he? He looks like a lizard morph, but he has wings." Mike covers the mouth piece of the phone. "Help is on the way now, but it will take a while," he explains to his wife before returning his attention to the emergency services operator.
For the next 20 minutes, Mike and Jasmine stay by Terry. Terry remains unconscious. Finally, Mike looks up in the sky and sees two bird morphs, a bald eagle and a blue jay, fly over, carrying a stretcher between them. They carefully land in the space near the stream.
The blue jay morph starts checking Terry's vital signs while the other one radios in. "This is aerial stretcher team #1. Have someone contact the Spafford's; we've found Terry."
"He's got a broken arm and wing, and a badly sprained ankle, everything else is just scratches," the Blue Jay shouts out.
The two paramedics quickly put splints on Terry's wing and arm and ease him onto the stretcher. He groans softly, but otherwise remains unconscious.
"I don't like that; he's too pale for my liking," the eagle mentions.
"Come on, we need to get him to the hospital ASAP," the Blue Jay replies, grabbing one end of the stretcher. "Thank you for your help," he says to Jasmine and Mike.
"It was no problem. Is he that missing university student that was on the news last night?" Jasmine asks.
"Yes he is. Excuse us please, we need to get him out of here," the Eagle says.
Together, the two bird morphs lift the stretcher and take off, flying over the forest towards the highway. Mike and Jasmine stare after them until they are out of sight.
"I hope he'll pull through," Jasmine comments, picking up some of the trash left by the falls.
"He will, he seems to be a fighter. After all, he somehow managed to walk from where he landed to here with those injuries. If you want to, we can stop off at the hospital on the way home."
"Yes, I think I'd like to, just to see how he's doing."
The past couple of days have been hell on Terry's family. Not knowing what had happened to him is tearing them apart inside. After two nights without sleep, Gloria and Lloyd have finally fallen into an uneasy sleep, just as the phone rings
"Hello?" Ashley answers the phone on the first ring.
"Hi Ashley, Is your mom there? Tell her I have news about Terry, " the voice says on the other end.
"Just a sec," Ashley says, putting the handset on the desk and running up the stairs to her parent's room.
"Mom, Beth's on the phone. She says she has news about Terry," Ashley tells her. This wakes both Gloria and Lloyd immediately. Gloria reaches over and picks up the phone, nearly pulling it off the bed side table in the process.
"Yes?" she asks.
"Gloria, get down to the Hospital ASAP! They've found Terry and they're bringing him in now!" Beth tells her.
"They have? How is he?"
"He has some broken bones and some other scratches, but otherwise he seems fine... Gotta go; They're just wheeling him in the doors now."
"We'll be right in, Beth. Thanks for letting us know so quickly," Gloria says hurriedly before hanging up. "Get ready to go; they've found Terry!"
Less than fifteen minutes later, after breaking all of the speed limits between their house and the hospital, they arrive. Gloria and Ashley run into the emergency room while Lloyd parks the car. They meet Beth, a cow-morph who was Gloria's friend since before the Change, in the main entrance.
"How is he? Can we see him yet?" Gloria asks anxiously.
"They just finished taking the X-rays. By the looks of it, he's got a broken wing and arm and a badly sprained ankle, but otherwise, he is fine. He's sleeping in a room right now," Beth says, as Lloyd joins them. She then leads them deeper into the hospital and up to a room on the third floor.
Gloria gasps as she sees her son lying in the hospital bed, wing arm and ankle bandaged up like a mummy and tubes and needles poked in his good arm. His family quickly surrounds the bed and stares at his sleeping figure, while Beth quietly slips out of the room. A low-d salamander morph doctor comes in behind them, with a file folder under his arm. He turns on a lighted panel on the wall and starts putting up x-rays.
"Hi Dr. Beatty, what's the prognosis?" Gloria asks, holding her son's unbroken hand.
The doctor turns to face them. "Well, he has a minor concussion, and numerous scraps and bruises, but his worst injuries are these.: The doctor points to the x-rays on the screen. "His right arm and wing are broken, his wing in two places, and his left ankle is badly sprained. These injuries seem to have been further aggravated by use and a norm shift. The ankle and the arm are easy to take care of, but the wing is another matter."
The doctor puts up some new x-rays. They all showed nearly the same thing, a thick curved line, broken in two places. "This bone is his wing bone, the only one in his wing. It's the curve of this bone which provides the lift for his flight, and the support for his wing. As you can see, this curvature has been broken. We've tried to set the bone as well as we can, but there is a good chance it will heal differently. Terry would likely need to learn to fly all over again, if he could fly at all after."
"Is there any thing we could do to prevent that from happening?"
The doctor shakes his head. "Only a healer would be able to practically guarantee that his flight would be unaffected."
"Well, contact one. We'll figure out someway to pay after, just try and fix out son," Gloria says, gripping Terry's hand even tighter.
Terry groans slightly, starting to wake up. "Ease up on the hand, mom. It's gonna be hard enough for me to type single handedly, I don't want to need to learn to type by tail too!" he mumbles, opening his eyes. He looks at his bandaged arm before looking up at the doctor. "So, Doc, how soon before I can play the piano?"
"It depends on how long it takes you to learn how," the Doctor replies, not falling into the old trap.
"How do you feel?" Gloria asks, loosening her grip slightly.
"Like I've had a building fall on me and needed to do a 10 K run right aft-" Terry stops as he notices something on the foot of his bed. "You!? What are you doing here?" he asks the winged lizard sitting on the end of his bed. His family looks where he is looking and sees nothing. "Look, I know I probably owe our life to you, but could we discuss this later, like after the hippo-morphs stop dancing Riverdance on my head?" he continues, ignoring the strange looks his family and the doctor are giving him. The lizard seems to shrug it's shoulders and disappears.
"I'll explain later, after I get it all straightened out myself," Terry says to the confused people around him. Feeling it best to change the topic, he turns to the doctor and ask, "So, what was that I heard about a healer and my wing?"
A week later, against his doctor's orders, Terry starts flying and teleporting again. The flights are only short distances, but the teleports quickly jump up to the large jump from home to the University and back. Not long after he starts flying and teleporting again, Terry is back in his classes, settling back into his normal routine.
His family has trouble accepting his miming instincts, but they didn't disbelieve him either; Ashley's vocal, but lazy, instincts are enough to convince them that it was a possibility. Soon after returning to the University, Terry decides to try and overcome his uneasiness about norm-shifting. Working with Doctor Bissonette and others in the Psychology department, he starts weakening the mental barriers he has built up over the year since the change, but it is a long slow process. Eventually, the barriers are dissolved enough for him to normshift at will, though he never masters teleporting from the ground in morph form. He does, however, master a technique which is just as good, by normshifting, teleporting and shifting back.
And as for the night hunting trips? Terry still lets the lizard go on the nocturnal trips. He never quite gets used to the thought of eating the live prey, but he tolerates the trips to keep his other half happy.