Chapter 17, Part 1
“What do you want to listen to?” Mariah fiddled with the controls of the new radio.
“What?” Kyle apparently didn’t register her question. He only stared at the newest addition to the workout room.
“Come on! Music makes everything better. Including punching things,” she replied, adjusting until the upbeat notes of the most popular song broke through.
“You’re going to make me listen to…this?”
“Yep!” she pulled on her gloves and did a few warm up air-punches. “See?”
Kyle’s face told her that, no, he didn’t see. In fact he looked about ready to zap the radio.
“Don’t you dare,” she frowned. “Do you know how long I worked to get that?” Her forced innocence around the medical staff and even the security guards was getting tiring. She didn’t know how she kept getting any sort of privileges. That would change as soon as they figured out she wasn’t as powerless as she let on.
“I’m not listening to that or I might finally go crazy,” Kyle said. She rolled her eyes and searched for another station. They finally agreed to disagree and he worked her into an easy warm-up routine.
She settled in. The training was not nearly as tiring as it had been. She had even been landing a few punches recently and he wasn’t making fun of how soft they were. They broke off sparring and he tossed her a jump rope.
“Ugh,” was all she said.
“You won’t be as strong as a lot of other opponents, so your job is to become faster,” he reminded her. “I’ll tell you when you can stop.” He headed to the bag and started his own routine as she sent the rope swishing in an arc around her. Over the past week, they’d been watching guard patrols as much as possible and compared notes the two times she’d snuck over to his cell. They didn’t have much to go on yet. She skipped faster. She’d hoped it wouldn’t take long to figure out how to escape but it looked like they might be in for the long haul.
She hummed along to the song, noting how Kyle’s punches fell in rhythm with it. She smirked a little. Maybe she’d get him to admit how awesome having a radio was later.
“If you can hear this, then you’re special.”
Mariah almost screamed. Cassie?
Kyle’s arm halted midair and they stared at each other. Mason hadn’t noticed anything. They both froze for several seconds, listening to the words apparently only they could hear.
“My name is Cassie Adams. My parents were settlers on Novum and I have wings. If you’re like me, you might have run away from home.”
“What’s going on?” Mason’s voice jarred them. He frowned in confusion. Kyle was still speechless, so Mariah frantically searched for something to say. She could still hear strains of music under Cassie’s voice.
“I’ve never heard this one before!” she attempted a smile, aware that her eyes were still wide in shock. “I guess Kyle hasn’t either. So catchy.” She whipped the jump rope around, starting back up. Mason’s eye brow was still raised and he turned to Kyle.
“Yeah,” Kyle half-heartedly agreed before attacking the punching bag with new intensity. Mason leaned back, suspicion still lingering in his gaze. Mariah forced herself to look anywhere but him.
“We’re safe and they’re helping us find our sister who was kidnapped. If she’s out there then I want her to know that we’re coming for her.”
Sudden warmth blossomed in her chest. They were looking for her! Maybe more importantly they were safe. That alone almost made up for the terror of the last few months.
“That’s enough.” Kyle’s voice scared her into tripping over the jump rope. “Weights. Go,” he ordered. She wordlessly obeyed and they finished the workout in silence. Mason didn’t say anything either, but he didn’t seem as relaxed as before.
He knows something happened. Mariah tried not to think about what would happen if he decided to report it.
They were escorted to the lab after. She forced cheerfulness into her voice, wincing internally as how annoying she sounded. But she was desperate for everything to look normal. Thankfully Kyle was always quiet and a little sour, so nothing seemed off with him.
She was halfway through her monitored run when she realized that Mason wasn’t in the room with them. She nearly fell off the treadmill looking for him. When she was finally allowed to step off, she grabbed two towels and went to hand one to Kyle who had also just finished. For a few seconds they were alone in the middle of the lab.
“What was that?” she hissed.
“It’s new to me.” He shrugged.
“I’m coming over tonight,” she warned and stepped back as the guards came in to escort them away.
For a second, Mariah thought everything might be ok. Then they reached the detention level. The head security guard was there, blocking their path. Mariah suppressed a shudder. She’d seen him a few times. He had a perpetual frown and probably weighed in at almost 300 pounds of muscle. Intimidating wasn’t a strong enough word. She dragged her eyes off his bulk and noticed Mason standing in his shadow. His face was now twisted in something she thought was worry. Kyle tensed beside her.
What is going to happen?
“Got a report that said something strange went down today. Care to share?” the head security guard, Grant, asked.
“You mean the radio?” she piped up. “He clearly hasn’t heard half the songs that played. Travesty!” she raised her eyes to the ceiling.
“Must’ve heard something good then. Cameras thought so.” Grant clearly wasn’t fooled.
“I had no idea the Mikay Brothers had released a new single!” she continued almost desperately. “Do you listen to them?”
“No.” Grant sniffed. “You want to chime in, Freak?” he addressed Kyle.
“I don’t get out much. Hadn’t heard the song,” he said.
A grim smile crossed Grant’s face and he signaled to one of the guards. Too late Mariah realized they had a Taser. The man jabbed it into Kyle’s side and he was thrown against the wall with the force of the charge.
“Hey!” her voice shrilled and she took a step forward to receive the crackling Taser inches from her face.
“I wouldn’t. The charge would kill you, but it’s only a little tickle to him,” Grant said.
From the way Kyle struggled to sit up, it was more than a little tickle.
“Want to rethink that answer?” Grant asked. Kyle didn’t even have a chance to respond before the Taser kicked him back to the floor.
“Leave him alone! Nothing happened!” Mariah shouted desperately.
“Really?” Grant turned to her. “Well, I’ll give you both a little time to think about it. We don’t want to involve Amelli, do we?” He looked down at Kyle, who made no reply. “Lock ‘em up.”
Two soldiers hauled Kyle to his feet and Mariah stared at the blood that threatened to spill from his nose.
“You ok?” she shakily asked. He didn’t meet her gaze and said nothing as they were both locked back in their cells. She waited by the window, hoping he’d appear and give her some sort of assurance, but he didn’t. She hoped they’d be left alone until lights out. She was definitely sneaking over. They needed to talk.
Guys. I’m so sorry I missed 3 whole weeks of this! I feel bad. Hopefully this will sort of make up for it. 🙂 I’ll definitely try not to get so behind again.