Damocles Overthrown: Chapter 2

June 28, 2015 in Damocles Overthrown, moonrise31 by moonrise31

2. Damocles envied the king of this realm, wishing to wield a power similar to that of the highest throne.

Yuri sighed, glancing at the clock on the opposite wall for a moment before returning her attention to the sounds of light splashing in the pool below.

Nine o’clock on a Tuesday evening. She watched the lone swimmer front-crawl his way from the left end of the pool to the right. I could be going home early if it weren’t for you.

On the other hand, she was getting paid for doing essentially nothing, so there was that.

She leaned forward in her lifeguard chair, arms resting on the long red float that reminded her of, for lack of a better description, a rectangular sausage. She’d been sitting in the warm and chlorinated air of the indoor pool since that morning, and fortunately hadn’t had to dive in to save some poor soul even once that day — but the blue-tinted water was starting to look pretty inviting.

The man paused somewhere in the four-meter depth of the pool, splashing in place. Yuri watched for a few seconds, amused. I haven’t seen that kind of treading water before.

He sunk down beneath the surface, then surged upward again, gasping for air as his arms continued to flail.

“Shit.”

Yuri was pretty sure there was some kind of saying about being careful what she wished for, but she’d have to remember it later. She hopped off the chair and tossed her float into the pool. “Sir! Grab onto this!” She was careful to throw the device so that it landed near him without actually hitting him, but he only continued to thrash about, the resulting frantic waves pushing the float further away.

Yuri dove into the pool.

A few strokes later, she’d reached the float. Throwing one arm around it, she kicked herself closer to the man. “Hey! I’m here to help! Please hold onto this!”

She leaned back, narrowly avoided being backhanded across the face. She nudged the float closer, but he still made no move towards it. So she took a deep breath and braced herself before diving underwater.

In retrospect, she probably should’ve grabbed a pair of goggles, but there was no time to think about that now. She opened her eyes, the chlorine stinging the tiniest bit, and managed to make out the blurry outline of the man’s torso. She swam closer, ready to wrap one arm around him and drag him to safety.

A dull pain thudded into the back of her head. She gasped on reflex, the air in her lungs escaping in a cloud of bubbles. Splotches of color flashed across her vision. Water shot up her nose, but she managed to stop gagging before more oxygen left her body. She felt a hand grab the top of her head and push down.

She threw a fist upward without thinking, the water taking away her momentum. So she settled for grabbing the foreign wrist and attempting to pull the hand off her head. She twisted, using the last of her strength to flip upside down until her feet were planted firmly on the man’s chest.

Before she could shove him away, his hand disappeared. She started to float again, and wasted no time in surging upwards. She burst to the surface, gasping for air. Her float lay half a meter away. She lunged forward, flopping over it, fingers digging into the slick red foam.

A few deep breaths later, Yuri looked around. But the man was nowhere to be seen. The room stayed silent, only interrupted by her exhales and the water dripping from her hair, trickling down her face to plop quietly back into the pool.

She slowly paddled to the edge, pulling herself wearily out of the water. She sat down, feet circling and causing lazy ripples to expand outward to where she had almost been drowned seconds before.

He was trying to drown me.

She barely had time for the horror to begin settling in before she noticed a pair of discarded goggles on her right. She frowned, picking them up, and read the red phrase painted on the surface.

Sooyoung walked into the room, skimming through the information on her clipboard. “And how are we doing, Yoona-sshi?”

“I dunno.” Yoona shrugged, glancing at her bandaged leg. “I assume you’re here to tell me that, right, Doctor?”

Sooyoung waved a hand as she moved to one of the beeping monitors that Yoona had no idea how to read. “Please, I’m just a nurse.” She spared a glance at her clipboard again. “And barely a year older than you, it seems. So you can call me ‘unnie’, okay?”

“Alright, unnie.” Yoona grinned. “So, how do I look?”

“Not bad, all things considered.” Sooyoung took some notes and then smiled at her patient. “An accident on set, was it? I have to say — it’s pretty impressive that you’re doing all of your own stunts.”

Yoona tilted her head. “I should hope so, considering I’m a stunt double.”

“Oh.” Sooyoung raised her eyebrows. “Really? With your looks? You could be the lead actress, for sure.”

Unnie. Please.” Yoona rolled her eyes. Sooyoung smiled at the other’s expression. “I’m so clumsy I don’t think I could make even a day on the set. I mean, look at this.” She pointed at her leg.

“Yes…” Sooyoung trailed off. “And how did that happen, again?”

Yoona shrugged. “Some support beam fell and I couldn’t get away in time.” She snickered. “I think Minho-oppa almost fainted at the blood.”

“Wait, Lee Minho?” Yoona nodded, a smug look crossing her face. “You should introduce me.” Sooyoung winked.

“Oh, sure.” Yoona reached for her purse on the bedside table.

“I was joking!” At the other’s smirk, Sooyoung added, “for now.” She cleared her throat. “Okay, let’s get down to business. There aren’t any broken bones, so the healing process should be rather straightforward. I’ll just tell you how to take care of it, keep it clean, and so on, and then you should be good to go. Do you have a ride home?”

“I’ll call a taxi.” Yoona shifted a little higher in the bed. “So, what should I be doing, unnie?”

Sooyoung ran through the list of care instructions, jotting down the highlights so Yoona would have a written copy to take with her. “And I’d lay off on the stunt doubling for the next couple of weeks, at least. You should come back here for a checkup before you go back to any strenuous activities. Er, not the emergency room, but the main hospital building.”

Yoona nodded. “That’s fine. I have jury duty soon anyway, so I would’ve had to take time off of work regardless.”

“Really?” Sooyoung tore out the sheet from her clipboard and handed it to the other woman. “I guess we’ll be seeing each other soon, then.” She paused, reading the red words on what she had thought was the empty sheet underneath.

Sooyoung had been walking through the hospital halls that morning, happy for a break in her usual activities. She’d been on duty since about nine o’clock the previous evening, and while she was feeling more alert than usual, not having to attend to some poor patient being admitted to the ER was always a welcome relief for various reasons.

“Hey, Sooyoung.” A man in surgeon’s scrubs had waved at her. “Do you mind checking the oxygen tank in room 210? I was going to have Jiwon do it, but her kid’s sick at daycare so she had to go pick him up.”

“No problem, Doctor Kang.” Sooyoung had immediately headed for the stairs.

The second floor had been surprisingly empty, but Sooyoung had paid it no mind as she entered room 210. Then she had grabbed the clipboard hanging on the wall and greeted the patient inside (poor kid, victim to a severe case of pneumonia), and had gone to look over the tank, checking its fullness and pressure.

The curtain flickered out of the corner of her eye. She glanced at it, picking out a dark figure hidden behind the gauzy drapes.

“Hey–”

She’d heard a click, and a glint of — of something. She hadn’t dared to consider it any further. She dashed to the child, pulling out the nose tubes and ripping out the IV (I’m so sorry,” she’d whispered at the kid’s pained yell). Then she scooped him up and ran.

Sooyoung had had barely enough time to throw open the door and dive out of the room before all of the oxygen tanks ignited.

The explosion had been mostly contained inside the room, although the door, swinging back on its hinges, had been blown out into the hallway (Sooyoung was glad she’d opted to dive to the side). She took no time dashing down to the receptionist desk in search of a stretcher and other medical equipment, the stunned child still clutched in her arms.

When security personnel finally arrived on scene, the figure behind the curtains was long gone.

The hospital director had evacuated the entire floor, and decided against taking any more patients in, although those who were already being treated in the ER would be allowed to stay instead of being transferred to a nearby hospital with the other current patients. Which is how Sooyoung found herself checking in with Im Yoona mere hours later.

Now, Sooyoung looked up, another question on the tip of her tongue.

“Oh? I guess so.” Yoona interrupted her before she got the chance to ask. “Small world, huh, unnie?”

Sooyoung pushed the memories of the second floor from hours before, and grinned back. “I can only imagine.”

Sunny glanced at the clock and sighed to herself. With the traffic on this road, she’d have to settle with being five minutes late to her meeting that morning. Not that it would matter, since the person she was meeting with would probably still be sleeping in at this point. But it was the gesture that counted.

“What’s taking so long, anyway?” she grumbled, resisting the urge to honk her horn just to take the edge off of her frustration. The line of cars ahead of her extended all the way through the next stoplight, but she couldn’t make out any police lights flashing or smoke rising, which she was pretty much expecting at this point if the line was still unmoving this far back.

“This is the last time I’m taking the ‘shortcut’ to work,” she decided.

Minutes later, the car in front of her began moving again, and once she’d passed the stoplight, the traffic thinned and she could drive up to the speed limit once more. Perfect. I might be on time to my meeting after all.

She approached the next intersection, slowing down as the light turned yellow. A large vehicle suddenly zoomed in from her left, nicking her front headlight and slamming into the car in front of her.

Sunny swore and swerved to the side, narrowly missing the curb and the pedestrians scrambling back in shock.

Is that an armored vehicle?

She barely had time to collect her thoughts before the armored car reversed and spun in a U-turn, speeding back the way it had come. The tinted windows gave nothing of the driver’s identity away, and she wasn’t even sure if she saw any license plates.

Sunny opened her car door and stepped onto the road, wincing at the smoking wreck in front of her. Oh, the irony. “Are you okay?”

The driver stumbled out with a curse, and then straightened. “Yeah. Yeah, I think so.” He suddenly lurched to the side, throwing an arm out to support himself against the hood of his now ruined car.

“I’ll call the police.” Sunny already had her phone to her ear, giving the operator her location.

Once she was sure the police and an ambulance had been dispatched, she dialed a second number. “Hey, uh, there was an accident just now, or more like a hit-and-run. So I’ll be held up for a couple of hours — not that you’re awake anyway. So…see you in the afternoon? Okay? Bye.”

She sighed and walked back to her own car, grabbing the pile of mail she’d neglected looking through that morning. She frowned at one particular envelope, opening it and suppressing a groan.

Jury duty? Great. Just great.