Chapter 5, Part 2
Mariah barely heard the radio call at 10 klicks. Her mind had been helpfully void of ideas for escaping and the clicking of the Taser in the front seat was doing an outstanding job of keeping her terrified. She barely saw the tree-covered hills surrounding the narrow road. Her ears clogged as the SUV whined up an incline. Signs warned against falling rock as they passed by sheer rock faces that towered above them.
The car slowed to take an almost invisible turnoff. Mariah was about to take the plunge out of the car when the world fell out from under her. Her stomach fell and she squeezed her eyes shut. But the car was still in contact with the road. She realized they were heading down hill, and once more picking up speed.
“Hate that hill. Catches you by surprise every time,” one guard muttered as they attained a more reasonable grade.
Mariah twisted to glance at the frightening incline the SUV had just braved and then turned back to look out at the small valley they were descending into. A road wide enough for one car twisted and turned its way to a building situated between two protective hills on the other side of the valley.
Her heart rate spiked and she hugged herself as the action would somehow give her courage. A guard turned at her movement.
“Hey, how’d you get out of those cuffs?” he demanded.
Mariah looked down to see the handcuffs laying in her lap. A Taser was shoved in her face and her hands yanked forward and cuffed again.
“Don’t try that again,” the guard growled a warning. Mariah nodded dumbly and didn’t move until the car pulled to a stop in an underground garage. She was practically pulled out of the car and given a shake as if that would help her jelly legs solidify. She and her entourage piled into an elevator and she briefly caught a glance of the Freak before the doors slid shut.
“What is this place? Where are we?” she hadn’t gotten a good glance at the building outside but it was two stories high with at least two levels underneath not including the garage. The top floor had long rooms and plenty of electrical current which suggested high powered equipment. The first floor had office shaped rooms and underneath were most likely dormitories and break rooms. The floor right above the garage had oddly symmetrical rooms about ten feet square. She wondered what those rooms were used for. “Wait. How the heck do I even know all this?” She could feel her eyes bugging out as she tried to control something like a scream. She’d always had good sense of direction in buildings but never figured out the layout without first seeing a map.
The elevator dinged and they stepped out onto the first floor. They turned down a hallway that led to the single office on the north side of the building. Again, how did she know that? Bulky men in suits wandered down the halls and the occasional white coat hurried by. “Was that what the second floor was? A research center? For what?”
Wide double doors were pushed open and they stepped into an office.
“Dr. Amelli,” the guard who had ridden shotgun spoke up. Mariah saw the man half-hidden behind the desk piled high with paper and two computer screens. His light brown hair peppered with grey was rumpled by the hand he ran through it when he saw them. His jeans and dress shirt seemed out of place in the decorated office.
“Wallace, you’re back,” he sounded pleased. “Any luck?”
Wallace pointed back at Mariah and she came under the scrutiny of Amelli’s blue eyes.
“This doesn’t look like Cassandra Adams,” he said.
“Cassie? He wants Cassie? Who are these people?”
“No, sir. This is an associate of Cassandra’s. She shared an apartment with this one, two boys, and another girl,” Wallace reported. “We saw Adams but were unable to get her. The fr…Kyle wasn’t able to contain her.”
“Unfortunate. What does she do?” Amelli studied Mariah again.
“Don’t know, sir. She was quiet on the way here. She did slip her cuffs though and we have no idea how she did it. She got them off without unlocking them.”
“Perhaps we’ll figure it out.”
Shivers ran down Mariah’s spine. Dr. Amelli looked nice. His office was filled with sports paraphernalia and framed newspaper clippings featuring his name, but he was eyeing her with a detached interest that suggested he thought she wasn’t human.
Footsteps announced more office visitors. Amelli looked past her and a cold look flashed across his face.
“Kyle,” he said. Mariah turned to see the Freak saunter into the room, closely followed by another armed guard.
“Dad,” Kyle drawled. “Wallace already tattle?”
Amelli visibly tensed at the epithet and he frowned.
“Wallace, secure her and then come back here. I want to hear exactly what happened.”
Wallace nodded and Mariah was led back to the elevators. They descended in silence to the puzzling floor above the garage. She found out what it was for. The guard shoved her in to a room, slid the door closed, and locked the door.
My apologies for the lack of post last week. I’m in the middle of a run of tests and I was kind of giant stress ball last weekend. Anyway, hope you enjoy! 🙂