"... is he ... long?"
"not... shot right ... chest."
"... survive? Who... kill?"
"... hazard ... penetrate... h - his heart... four hours."
Matt awoke slowly, his perception dimming on and off. He breathed slowly through a medical mask, tubes going here and there to machines regulating his heart rate. His chest was a large machine, replacing his heart and allowing him to breathe. Blood covered his jeans and hoodie.
His long red hair was ragged, as if he had just been in a fight. His hazel eyes complemented his hair, both fitting each other well. His nose was bleeding, the blood itself trickling down his face, into his mouth, and down his chin.
His eyes fluttered open and he looked around, groggily. The doctor was talking to a young woman, both of them sitting down.
He recognized the girl as Hannah, his girlfriend. He remembered her beautiful hair that matched his, her unusual ruby eyes, and her cute little nose that he loved so much. She was wearing faded jeans and a He moaned in pain, rubbing his head.
The doctor looked at him and rushed over to him, yelling "Careful! Do not move!" He urged Matt down and pushed a few buttons on a heartbeat regulator. "Ah. There we go," He said, taking off his surgical mask.
"Wha - what happened?" Matt asked the doctor and Hannah, feeling a pain in his chest.
"You got shot," Hannah said. "Don't you remember? You were at the bank, and a robber walked in... shot you as a warning to the to the others. Hit you square in the heart," Hannah explained.
"Your survival was one of, if not the absolute greatest breakthrough in medical history. Maybe we can have future victims survive for the rest of their lives," The doctor pointed out.
"What's this about a robbery? I don't remember anything like that. I was just sleeping and then... I'm here," Matt said.
"You mean you don't remember it? The robbery at Saint Jackson's... Hm...." The old doctor walked across the room and opened a filing cabinet. He flipped through a few files, and opened one. It was likely my medical records, Matt thought to himself. The doctor continued to read the entries.
"Ah. The bullet must have scraped vital veins or cords - a chunk of your memory is gone; a small chunk, mind you," The doctor explained to Matt. "And it was absolutely vital, for your body cannot operate without it," He said cryptically.
"Does that mean that I..."
"You have few hours to live, I'm afraid," The doctor stated. "And, sadly, you may have to spend those nineteen hours in this room."
"Well, what did I ever do to deserve this? And who was the bastard that tried to murder me?" Matt said angrily, his emotions overcoming his fatigue.
"You did nothing. And that man was Rusty Flyynt, and nobody knows where he lives. We can't do anything to him, and he can't do anything else to you," Hannah said, kissing Matt's head.
"Somebody has to know where he lives!" Matt exclaimed.
"Calm down!" The doctor said. "A sudden increase in heart rate can kill you instantly."
Matt complied, laying his head back on his pillow and letting a breath go.
"Now, I must go talk to my fellow surgeons I will be back in five minutes," He said, walking out of the small room. "You two stay here." He shut the door behind him.
Hannah looked at me. "I'm sorry," She said, hugging him. "You heard the doctor, though. We have to stay."
Matt, on the other hand, had another plan. "How many stories up are we?" Matt asked Hannah.
Matt acted quickly. He removed the wires constricing him to the bed. He obviously didn't need them; he felt no different after their removal. Though one thing startled him; A screen on the machine in his chest showed the number "18: 49: 31." The last number was counting down. It looked like a time of some sort, but its purpose was unknown.
"Matt! What the hell are you doing?" Hannah asked, grabbing him by the arm.
"I'm going to find that bastard," He said, swatting her arm away. He got up, and instantly felt hazy. For a second he couldn't see, and he fell to the ground. But, he got up almost immediately. He walked over to the window and opened it.
He coukd see nearly the entire town of Forbank from this window. It was a small town, indeed. He knew he would be able to find the robber.
"What? Are you crazy? If you jump out a window, you'll kill yourself! You're about to die anyways!" She screamed.
"If you don't support me, that's fine. But this guy, if he's real like you say, could be doing things like this to other people. He could be murdering people as I speak." Matt stepped out the window and onto the ledge.
"I'm not going to let you do this!" Hannah yelled at Matt, holding onto his body. Matt shrugged her off.
"Yeah, but I am!" He said, dropping down from the ledge. He grabbed onto the eighth story window ledge, and then onto to the seventh. He kept on repeating this process, listening to his beloved protest from above. When he reached the second stor ledge, he jumped right to the ground, the fall having little impact on him. He'd been a freerunner before the accident.
Matt sprinted across the parking lot quickly, weaving through the cars and finding his way to the street. When he reached the road, he looked both ways before running across to the sidewalk. His objective was to get to the bank and ask people there about the shadowy man. He, himself knew where the bank was; it was not far north of the hospital, so he took a right on the sidewalk.
The walkway itself was rather crowded, but most people who saw Matt's injuries and metal chest stepped right out of the way. Matt realized that this would be a problem. He needed to clothes that were in good condition if he wanted to be able to ask the people at the bank anything without them overreacting.
Matt sped past a few buildings, and eventually found what he was looking for next to a closed jewelry shop.
Matt saw someone that was about his age and his figure. He walked up to him and said, "Hey, could I borrow your clothes?"
The man looked at Matt as if he were insane. No surprise there.
"Why, exactly?" He asked in a rather high - pitched voice. "You some sort of freak?"
"I don't have time for this..," Matt groaned out. He looked around - this portion of the sidewalk wasn't nearly as crowded as the rest, so he did something he would normally never do.
Matt grabbed the man, put his hand over the civilian's mouth, and dragged him into the alley next to the closed shop. He planned to rob the man of his clothing, but he had nothing to knock him out with. Matt took a good look around, and saw a trash can at the very back of the alley. He sprinted to the tin can, picked it up, and quickly slammed it onto the victim's head with enough force for a knockout, but not for a kill.
He got to work before anyone could see. He slipped off the man's black T - shirt, revealing a rather weak upper body. Matt proceeded to take opff his own shirt and replaced it with the new one. He was correct; the shirt fit well, but it was a bit big.
Looking at his jeans, he realized that nobody would notice the small trickle of blood on it. There was no reason to defile this man anymore. Matt put his shirt on the victim, and sat him up against the wall.
He ran from the alley, and returned to his path on the sidewalk. The people he ran by were less suspicious of him, now that his heart machine and injuries were hidden. The bank was but a block away, he saw.
He crossed the street and then ran to the bank. He entered, panting. The teller and the few people in the line to talk to her looked over at Matt. Matt returned a stare, running up to the desk, pushing the people in line aside.
"Do you know anything about a robbery happening here?" Matt asked the young bank teller.
"Ya'll mean tha one that happened two days ago?" She asked him, in a western accent. "The one with Rusty Flyynt?" He only shot tha one guy, and the police already dismissed the case. Nobody's ever caught him."
"I'm the one who got shot," Matt said. "I'm looking for the man. I have to get keep him from doing things like this to other people."
"Things like what?" The clueless young woman asked him.
Matt banged on his chest, which emitted a strong, metallic sound. "He shot a bullet through my heart, and I don't remember a damn thing."
The girl's jaw dropped for a second. Then, she recovered, with a saddened look on her face. "I'm sorry, honey, but you ain't gonna catch that man any time soon. Nobody knows where he lives."
Matt grunted. "I'll be on my way," He sad with a tone of defeat in his voice. He dismissed the teller, and walked out the door. He wandered for a while.
MARCH 23, 2012: 12 HOURS, 43 MINUTES, AND 32 SECONDS LEFT
As the timer on Matt's chest struck an hour, a beeping sound went off, as if it were a warning. The tone got louder every hour. Matt couldn't figure out what it signified. But, when his heart rate increased, the timer would count down faster. He knew that, whatever the timer was counting down to, it was exact, not approximate.
Three hours ago, the timer itself said there were eighteen hours left. When he was talking to the bank teller, his heartbeat increased in hopes of finding the culprit of the crime. Now, knowing that it was near impossible to find Rusty in even this small town, he occasionally exhibited bursts of rage, increasing his heart rate considerably and taking the timer down by nearly ten minutes every time. He, however, couldn't contain them.
Matt entered a pawn shop beside him. It was rather dirty, but it had a wide selection of items, ranging from food to weapons to toys. There was a cleaner man at the counter.
"'Ello!" The man said enthusiastically. "Whatcha need?"
"I'm just browsing, sir," Matt said. Matt was really looking for a weapon. He wasn't giving up his pursuit of the criminal, and he knew that, when the time came that he found him, he would need a weapon to face him.
Matt went to the far corner of the store. Hunting gear was for sale; this included a hunting knife that caught his eye. It was in bad condition, but it was also cheap, selling for $ 13.
Matt knew that he had money with him in his pockets. He reached in his pockets, and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. He took the knife, and then walked up to the reception counter.
"I'd like to buy this knife, sir," He said, giving the man the twenty dollar bill. "The change's yours."
The cashier smiled at Matt. "Thanks, mate. Have a nice day!"
Matt returned the smile. He walked out the door and took a look around. He knew that criminals were relentless, meaning he could be robbing another place as Matt thought. Though, there weren't many places he could be. THe town was small, and the number of stores and banks are limited.
Matt too a left on the sidewalk, thinking to himself quietly. He was going to need food, so he may be robbing a grocery store. Or, he may be holding up a small burger joint. If he had never been caught, he must be skilled and stealthy, Matt thought.
While Matt was walking aimlessly down the sidewalk, he saw something about two blocks away. It looked like a barricade of some sort around a grocery store! Matt sprinted to the scene quickly. Sure enough, police vehicles, the men in blue themselves, and innocent bystanders surrounded the scene.
"What's going on?" matt asked a policeman.
"Rusty Flyynt's in there. He's got four hostages and he's threatening to off their heads if he doesn't get a payment. Now, get back and mind your own business."
"Sorry, but I've got a job to do," Matt said, pushing the officer aside and jumping over the barricade.
"Hey! This store is on lockdown! Get back here!" A police officer shouted at Matt. He quickly ran to the double doors and opened them.
The store itself was in ruins on the inside. Displays were knocked over, food was on the floor, cash registers in a pile on the ruins of a kiosk - it was madness.
"I WANT THE MONEY! IF I DON'T GET TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS IN FOUR MINUTES, I TAKE A MAN'S HEAD!" A voice boomed. It must have been Rusty Flyynt, Matt thought to himself. "I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME, YOU DAMN COPS!"
Matt was pure at heart, and he wouldn't let a single hostage die. He knew, however, that if he were saw, the criminal would off his head and the hostage's. So he thought.
An idea struck him. It was cliche, he knew, but it seemed as if it were the only option.
Vents. He had to go through vents. There was always one next to the checkout. Matt sprinted to the checkout area, and, sure enough, a vent large enough for him to crawl through was there. It was heavily battered, allowing him to throw it aside with ease. He crouched, and entered the vent. Immediately, he started sweating in the stuffy space.
The vent itself tilted upwards and branched off in many directions. The voice had come from the left, so he went through the left part of the store's vent - he heard the brutish screams become louder as he went.
Suddenly, a beeping sound came from Matt's chest. He looked down his shirt to check the timer. His heart skipped a beat.
9: 59: 40. The timer had gone an extra hour and he didn't even notice. The timer itself was going twice the speed of real time - counting down two seconds for every real one.
He couldn't focus on that, though. He located an external vent and looked out it - allowing him to survey the store.
Matt was right above the marauder and his captives. Rusty stood near one of them, whom he was threatening with a machete. He repeatedly bellowed for his payment, cutting the hostage a bit more with every cry.
He knew it was now, or never - he could save the man being sliced, but it would be a great ordeal.
Matt acted on impulse and put his foot to the grate of the vent, pushing hard against it. With a screech, it gave way! The hunk of metal fell onto Rusty's head, knocking him down temporarily. But, he recovered quickly, not before Matt could jump, however. He readied his knife in the air, and knocked Rusty down once more with the impact. Rusty kicked him off, sending him flying into a glass table.
The machine on Matt's chest made s different beeping noise, and he took a look at it. Much to his surprise, thirty whole minutes had gone by with Rusty's blow to Matt.
Matt got back up, and ran at Rusty, who readied his machete in reply. They both grappled, Rusty having the upper hand. Matt landed a crack upon his skull, knocking him down. Rusty countered this by sweeping Matt off of his legs.
Matt's machine of a heart made that hour warning beeping noise again - but, it was worse this time. It made two tones, and the timer itself was reduced to 6: 43. Matt took his knife and swung it at the leg of Rusty, who narrowly dodged the slicing motion.
Matt recovered quickly. On his feet, he grabbed Rusty by the neck and drove him into the ground, narrowly dodging Rusty's machete thrust. Rusty, however, was able to slide back and get up in one swift motion. He ran again at Matt, but this time with a near unstoppable force, stabbing Matt in the arm. His chest made two more tones.
Matt was enraged, and replied to a stab with a stab. He, however, had more precision. He got Rusty right in the heart, the unstable criminal falling to the floor in an instant.
Matt presumed him dead. He looked at the hostages, who were bound to pillars. He walked over to them and began untying them. One, however, was muzzled and was trying to say something that seemed urgent. Matt took the cloth out of the woman's mouth.
"Behind you!" She screamed.
Matt looked behind him as quickly as he could.
But it wasn't quick enough.
The long, bloodstained blade was lodged into his back. Rusty had made this move with a final burst of adrenaline, he himself being dead now.
Matt's mechanical heart made another two tones. He looked down at the counter, which read 0: 10: 12, and was rapidly counting down.
Matt realized finally what the timer was for. It counted down until his death. Matt was keen to commit one final act of heroism before his expiry; he wanted to free the hostages. He had little time to untie them, and instead ripped the blade from his back and, with a swift motion, cut the rope binding the hostages to the pillar.
That rush of adrenaline from the removal of the machete had allowed him the act of cutting the hostages free, but little else. He fell to the cold, hard concrete floor. He closed his eyes for the last time, knowing he was on his way to a better place.