Immune – 1

Continuation of the new series, Immune.  

Collaboration with Jsmn.

 

Jsmn:

 

After calling him as if it’s the only name in the world besides hers, finally he appeared in her sight. She was aching, in pain, in fear and the cold. “WHAT?!” he was pissed, anyone would know with his tone but what can she do? She’s freaking scared. “I-I…”
“OH MY GOD!” she slowly looked to where he was looking and as she saw what is lying beneath her, her heart almost skipped a beat. Feeling the sticky blood still warm in her hands. Her hand started trembling… she doesn’t remember anything but she knows in the depths of her consciousness, it’s the first time that she saw a dead body. Hiccups started before her tears fall, “M-M..M.-” she mumbled with partial hiccups and trembling voice. She won’t scream, that won’t do a thing but more danger.

 

 

Razor:

 

Instinct to protect even in the event of being in serious pain moved Michael to try and pull Claire away from the terrible face. As he pulled her back, he could see the slick of fresh blood that was now coating Claire in a sticky mess. This would only add to the horror of the situation. The poor girl may have been brave and ballsy up to this point, but even he was afraid of what they had landed on. “I know…I know. Shhh..shh…come on.” She couldn’t get his name out, just the repeated M’s again. But it was the smattering of tears that showed that this was just too much for her to take in. Perhaps leaving that room wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Michael’s own body was now shaking. Most likely a mix of pain and shock, but he tried his best to soothe the girl’s mind as he continued to drag her to the other wall, as far from the body as he could get her. His right shoulder was now lopsided from his left, and while he wanted nothing more than to bang his shoulder back into place, he instead tried to comfort Claire.

“It’s…just a dead body. Can’t bite you.”

 

 

Jsmn:

 

 

She’s too much in shock, that she doesn’t mind that Michael dragged her out of there. Away from that terror. She braced herself, calming the thumping heart inside her chest but the tears won’t stop. She clenched her fists on her now surely stained with blood light dress. That’s the first time she noticed why she was cold, with this light dress, anyone would freeze in this place.

“It’s…just a dead body. Can’t bite you.” She knew what he meant and knew he was right. She looked at him, sniffing. “I’m cold…” she answered, rubbing her hands together. Now she knows, he’s not a bad guy actually he’s being considerate, even when she’s nothing but rude.

 

 

Razor:

 

The bite had gone out of Claire’s voice. She like he was genuinely scared of the position that they both found themselves in. As reality started to set in, that they were now in a dark hallway with what was a dead body, and no real lighting or sign of anyone else, Michael’s mind started to come to a very dramatic conclusion of where they were and what had happened. Piecing together the fact that they had been in a barricaded room, isolated from the outside – then something had happened to warrant them being put there. Though by whom and why, remained a mystery. Both of them had wounds and injuries that aside from his now dislocated shoulder, could not be explained, or even remembered. All they knew was their own names…their first names. But was that really who they were?

Why was a dead body outside the door to the darkened room? How long had it been there? And most importantly, who locked them away?

Hearing Claire say she was cold, Michael tried to pull her closer to him. Thinking that maybe his own body heat might help warm her just enough to help her, but at the same time, he knew that they couldn’t stay in this place. They needed to get out. They needed a plan.

 

 

Jsmn:

 

 

She flinched a little when Michael held her. Now having him closer, she could smell him. Aside from sweat, there is something more like a medicine. She know somewhere inside her, how medicine and chemical smell like. There is something with their smell, that makes her want to puke. She gently pushed him away “You don’t need to go that far. But thanks anyway…” She wiped the strands of her hair and tears off her face. Now looking at Michael, “Did you fell into something earlier? or knocked over? Like a liquid medicine or something like that?” She asked with inquiring eyes

 

 

Razor:

 

Michael’s attempt to help keep Claire warm only had her react as though he was trying something on. Like…that was the last thing on his mind right now. He rolled his eyes as she pushed herself away from him, and let out a sigh. Still feeling pain in nearly every part of his body. It was his shoulder that was really doing him harm though. Until it was popped back in his socket, he was enduring pain on the scale of 11/10. With her now off him to a degree, Michael pushed himself up awkwardly to standing, and then looked at either wall, to see which looked like it could take the force of his weight, when he tried to slam his shoulder back in. While he was sizing up a run, Claire had to ask something that was so out there, that it had him stop and think for a moment.

“Did you fell into something earlier? or knocked over? Like a liquid medicine or something like that?”

“I ran into the door, holding you. The only thing I can see that I might have rolled in was the blood of the dead guy.” Maybe his sense of smell was a bit out of whack, or he was too busy trying to deal with the pain he was in. Shaking his head, he went back to focusing on the wall. The thought of hitting it in the charge was making him nervous and he couldn’t deal with Claire’s questions on top of everything. With a loud roar, he charged the wall, and you could hear the sickening crunch then pop as his shoulder was slammed back into place. The pain….he couldn’t begin to explain, but there was a sweet relief that his shoulder was back where it should be. Leaning with perspiration running off his forehead, he wheezed as the strike took a lot out of him.

Placing an opened palm on the wall, he pushed himself away from the wall, leaving behind a purplish streak of a hand print. Was this the medicine that she inquired about?

 

 

Jsmn:

 

 

“I ran into the door, holding you. The only thing I can see that I might have rolled in was the blood of the dead guy.”
“No..think care-” before she could finish her sentence, Michael started running like a wild dog, towards what she lately known to be a wall just after the collision. After hearing like a crack sound, she pushed herself up. Running towards him, grabbing his arm (unfortunately the one which was just brought back together) “Are you out of your mind?!” She exclaimed almost biting her tongue. “What are you doing! What if you lost conscious here? That can’t happen..” she stopped before she could say her next words. That she would be scared without his active presence.

 

 

Razor:

 

 

“Are you out of your mind?!”

“ACK! LET GO OF MY ARM!”

Claire had to grab a hold of Michael’s arm, the one that was attached to the shoulder he just rammed back into its socket. His voice was shrill, as he tried to get her to let go. He knew what he was doing, trying to put it back in place, and he thought that her reaction was way over the top. Siting that the last thing she needed was for him to lose consciousness. Michael stared at her, wide eyed. Surely she understood that he couldn’t walk around with his arm hanging by a thread.

“I was fixing myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve popped it.”

A look washed over Michael’s face, as he said something that you would class as a memory. How he knew that, and nothing else made him feel uncomfortable. You could see the confusion in his eyes, as he tried to make sense of it all. Wiping his hand down the side of his shirt, he then looked left and right, trying to determine which way to go. They simply couldn’t stay here. Michael knew that there had to be a way to get out of this strange building and to find help.

 

 

Jsmn:

 

 

“ACK! LET GO OF MY ARM!”
She quickly let go, quite surprised with his reaction. She looked away, when he stared at her. “I was fixing myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve popped it.” She didn’t know, how would she know. He do things just as he wanted to, and there he hurt himself by doing so, and now she’s at fault for actually caring? “You should have asked for my help. I know I can do that…At least the pain won’t be that so painful..” she muttered. When she looked back at him, she saw the purplish stains on his clothes. “Stop…don’t move…”she said with her hand halfway to the slightly scattered stains on his clothes.

 

Razor:

 

Claire probably found Michael’s way of dealing with his own problems a bit much. For example, he tried to help her for the most part from the time that they woke up in the darkened room, but she gave him so much lip that his good intentions were being stomped on. He wasn’t a bad guy, quite the opposite. Just as much in the dark as she was about everything that had happened to them before they woke up. His overreaction to her touching his arm was like a knee jerk reaction, and not meant to upset her. He listened to her apologize, if you could call it that and then she must have seen something that caught her attention. Like a total derailment from the issue with his arm.

Claire moved her hand towards his shirt, and when Michael looked down, he then noticed the purplish stain that was on his shirt. It was the exact place where he wiped his hand. This caused him to raise his hand, and then it became clear that he must have placed his hand in some sort of liquid that was not blood at all. It didn’t smell like blood, or have the same coloring.

“What the hell is this?”

He turned over his wrist to see if it was on the back of his hand as well.

“You know how I thought that this…might be some sort of hospital?” Michael started. “I think it is. Or was.”

Michael then saw a colored number sign on the wall. It was a green three. So this must be the third floor. Michael then put his soiled hand up to Claire’s face.

“What does it smell like to you?”

 

Jsmn:

 

“What the hell is this?”
That’s what she wanted to know too. It obviously doesn’t seem like blood, is it what she smelled before? Medicine? What type of medicine would that be? She thought still looking at the stains.
“You know how I thought that this…might be some sort of hospital?”
“I think it is. Or was.”
Now, with the circumstances maybe he’s right and it’s stupid of her to made fun of his theory before. Still, her attention on the stains on his clothes. Then she snapped, as he put his hand almost inches away from her face.
“What does it smell like to you?”
“God! You don’t really listen! I just told you not to move and you kept on moving…” She exclaimed, now she sounds like a mother who kept on nagging her son about not being obedient. “What do you think of me some animal?” She murmured, almost pouting. “Now, I’ll hold your hand, Okay? Try not to make me kick you if you try that reaction earlier again with me…” She said, “Understood?” she asked.

 

 

Razor:

 

Michael’s face fell when Claire sounded off at him….again. It was just like when they had been in the darkened room at the beginning of this nightmare. By offering up his hand for her to smell, he was doing so to see if she could give him a clue as to what it was he had on it. But she yelled at him, her voice like that of a nagging mother to her son. It really wasn’t very nice. In fact, Michael cringed and his shoulders lowered just a touch. She begged the question that he considered her to be some kind of animal. That was the furthest idea from his mind. “No.” He answered, looking a bit upset that she’d even suggest it. She told him point blank that she was holding his hand from here on out. Michael wasn’t a kid, but he was starting to feel like one. Should he just give in and let her take charge? For now at least, he’d concede defeat.

“Yes Ma’am”

 

Jsmn:

 

She sighed, and gently held his hand. “What if it’s poison? you have too many open wounds…and you just carelessly scattered the liquid on your hand like this” She said carefully leaned her head towards his hand. “I just met you moments ago, but you’re all I have for now, I don’t want you dying stupidly like that” She added, then started sniffing. She stopped for a moment, surprised that she clearly remembers that smell. From before, she’s not sure but knew that scent was familiar and now that she could smell it clearly, she’ knows for sure what that liquid was. “Dermabond.” she said. “It’s dermabond…” she chuckled foolishly being over cautious over nothing serious.

 

Razor:

 

“It’s derma what?”

Michael had no idea what dermabond was. But from the reaction that Claire was experiencing, it wasn’t the dangerous substance that she thought it could have been at first. The young male continued to look puzzled, but he wasn’t about to raise his hand again, since Claire was liable to go off the deep end.

“So I can’t die from it. That’s reassuring, I guess.” Michael was starting to think that the dermabond was the last thing that they really needed to worry about. He exhaled loudly, before looking down at her once again. When she mentioned that while she didn’t know him well, he was really all she had as there was no sign of anything or anyone living in the building they were in.

 

Jsmn:

 

“It’s derma what?”
“So I can’t die from it. That’s reassuring, I guess.”
“Yes you can’t. It’s Dermabond, a kind of wound closing medicine. I think you need to really, scatter that on your arms. I see some wounds there…” She said. “You see…I think I’m starting to regain a bit of my memory. I really know that scent, as in knew it. Maybe I’m a doctor’s daughter or a pharmacist’s? or maybe I was dead sick just before this happened and been in the hospital?…and was left here to die…” she said, embracing the idea that they are in a hospital building. She suddenly started to get a little depressed. She doesn’t know if she likes to even remember what she had forgotten, maybe this thing happening was her way out of her maybe sympathetic life. “Well…at least they left you too with me…I’m not completely alone” she said with a faint smile.

 

 

Razor:

 

“I knew that.” Michael made a face like he was trying to cover up the fact that he didn’t really know what dermabond was. But by the sounds of it, this purplish gunk was actually helpful. Looking at his arms now, he could see that there were cut like abrasions, and he started to slap his wet hand up and down his arm, before smacking his hands together and then rubbing it into the other arm (which was still sore). Claire might have said not to let go of her hand, but considering that he was actually wearing something helpful to him, he might as well put it to good use. As he went about his self medicating, Claire spoke about how she felt that due to knowing the smell and recognizing the ointment then maybe she was getting a little bit of her memory back. But that is the funny thing about memories. Some things like certain smells, or tastes can invoke reactions that may give you only a puzzle piece of the full picture. And when you look at just that one piece out of say…a thousand, you really can’t see what it what it all is.

As much as he didn’t want to burst her bubble, at her thoughts about their current situation, but he was starting to wonder about the whole being left here with a purpose. Like why were they left in a locked room? And how long had they been there? Were they left there to die?

Claire’s only consolation was the fact that she was not alone. The problem was she didn’t know anything about Michael, just as he didn’t even know himself. What was to say he was a good guy? What if…their memories were erased on purpose?

“Instead of guessing who you might be, or why you are here with me; perhaps we should go look and work out exactly where we are first. You may not like what you find.” Michael was trying to be realistic about where they stood.

 

Jsmn:

 

“Instead of guessing who you might be, or why you are here with me; perhaps we should go look and work out exactly where we are first. You may not like what you find.”
She knows that. Guessing won’t help, but it makes her feel less lost and scared trying to figure out…guessing who and what kind of person she is. Even if it would turn out to be wrong, it’s better than nothing. “I know that…” she answered, now feeling like she was being stupid. She worked her way to what she can tell is a window, but tried not to stray away from Michael. She thought for a moment staring, if the windows are painted, or covered somehow. She wiped it with her hand, but she still can’t see anything through the window. “What the-” she muttered and try wiping it again. “Michael come here..” she called him. “It’s the same, it’s dark outside. If it’s night there should be at least a street light out there, but I can’t see a thing.” she added.

 

 

Razor:

 

It was almost like, they would answer each other in defense. Not being totally honest to save face perhaps, or to stop from feeling stupid. They hadn’t really gotten off to the best of starts, and it was plain that some of the behaviors that each exhibited rubbed off on the other. But if they were to find out what happened, and who they really were, then they were going to have to work together, and put all differences aside. Michael was trying to roll his shoulder and get his muscles working properly, as Claire wandered over to what was a window. This was probably the furtherest distance they had been apart so far, and of course what she discovered was that the world beyond the window was pitch black. No house lights, no car lights, no street lights. Ambling over, Michael peered through the window, scrunching up his face as he tried to make out shapes in the dark. It was as though there was a massive power black out. The kind when there is a serious storm, or simple government power shedding. But given the lack of people…or signs of life, Michael was starting to get a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. Drawing back from the window he said.

“I don’t like the look of this.”

He turned to face her, his face turning pale. “What if….there is no one else out there?”

 

 

Darkness – The Hub : Part Two.

 

This is the second installment of lpstribling’s and my collaboration of “The Hub” – Darkness.

 

LP – “Lock it down!” The man standing over Rory belted out the words as he straightened up and twirled an index finger in the air, giving some signal to a larger group of people.

Everything stopped. Everything. The music, the lights, the clinking of the glasses, the dancing. The occupants of the Hub now followed some strange automatic call and moved from wherever they were to huddle around a still-frantic Jacinta and her not-so-conscious birthday boy. The only sound holding in Jacinta’s ears was the ringing from what sounded like Duster, the band she was hoping to see with Rory, yet under slightly more normal circumstances.

She watched them crowd around and a strange chill scurried down her spine, almost to the steady buzz of the fading ringing from the now non-existant music.

As she knelt over Rory they were looking down at her – all of them. She turned her head, looking at each of them in the eye, and then moving on to the next one.

“This is the girl?” The tall bearded man asked. Jacinta had seen him before in the Hub. He hadn’t been there all that long, but he wasn’t a newbie, either. He worked behind the bar and, from what she had heard from people, he was pretty good at what he did. She didn’t have any complaints. After all, she usually managed to leave the place drunk, so he must have been doing something right. But she didn’t know his name. Worst of all, she didn’t know why he was asking about her, especially now, here in the middle of the Hub with the doors locked and the sound off. What exactly was happening?

“I guess.”

Jacinta’s head snapped around to the girl who answered – a short redhead dressed in black. Her creamy white face looked all-business above two arms crossed at her front.

“I don’t really know. He said he was waiting for some girl named J. I don’ know; I’ve never seen her before.”

“You J?” The bartender’s finger dropped down to Jacinta with a stern lock.

Jacinta’s eyes fell from the bartender’s and drifted again around the room of all the Hub-goers. They were all there, all the regulars. The bartender’s staff (how many times had she seen these people there) the cocktail servers, the bussers and the band. And then there was everyone else. Everyone. The patrons, the guests, the daily drunks, and business men, the hookers and the first-timers. It was just a regular crowd. Just regular people.

Then a slow smile grew across Jacinta’s lips. “Oh ha, I get it. Right? Right? I get it. This is a joke, right?” She stood slowly as she looked around more. “Like this, all of this is a joke..Ha ha!” She clapped twice and walked around slapping a couple of shoulders and pinching cheeks. “Even you Rory, you sick fuck.” With her foot she nudged the quiet tip of one of her heels into his ribs, waiting for him to laugh. “Right? I can’t believe you fucked me like that.”

Rory’s eyes were glazed over, glaring in a vague wide loose grasp at whatever the view from the ceiling brought him. His lungs still rose and fell in a calm rhythmic repitition.

“C’mon birthday boy! it’s over. I’m done. I got it. Let’s go. No more.”

No one moved. Not an eye, not a smile, not a subtle reach for a cigarette.

The clear drinks on the bar still held their shape within the glasses they’d been given.  What happened to the Tongan bouncers?

It was frighteningly quiet.

 

“Lights,” the bartender said.

 

Everything went dark.

 

~

 

RB – Why wasn’t anyone speaking, other than the bartender and the ginger haired girl?  Surely this was some sort of stitch up.  People all playing along to make the prank seem so real.  Jacinta practically fell for it that was until Rory didn’t yell out “Surprise!”  He just lay there.  HIs eyes had this  glassy look about them.  Had he been drugged?  This wasn’t funny anymore.  “Heh..”  A nervous half hearted chuckle escaped Jacinta’s lips, but no one cracked a smile, let alone moved.  After the experience of being chased down, then having the homeless man tries to attack her; this was now the icing on the cake of what was a dreadful night out. Why wasn’t the band playing?  Why was everyone staring at her?  She had tried to get the stains out of her dress.  No, that can’t have been it.  Where was Trevor?  Why were the doors closed?

Jacinta swallowed hard as a wave of shock raced through her system.

“This isn’t funny anymore.” A light waiver in her voice as her courage all but left her.  Eyes turned to that of the bartender, but he stared at her coldly then simply said…”Lights.”  The club then fell into darkness, which made the whole situation all the more terrifying.

 

“Rory?  Please…get up.  Say…something.”  Jacinta could no longer see any of the faces of the patrons and staff.  All they were was shadows. Hovering.  Close.  Too close.  Jacinta backed up just a step and felt something or someone big in behind her.  She suspected it was a male, by the feeling of their body in behind her.  But what she hadn’t anticipated was how cold his flesh was.  There was the chilling touch of his breath on her shoulder, that made her jump in surprise.  Without warning, a large set of hands seized Jacinta by the arms, locking her in place.

“Let me go!” Jacinta screamed in protest, kicking and struggling from her captor’s grip – trying in vain to wrestle herself free.  But the harder that she struggled, the tighter the man’s fingers bore into her flesh.  All she could do was lash out and kick with her feet, one foot accidentally kicking Rory who was still on the ground.

 

“Ahaha, she is feisty.”  The Cinamon haired girl let out a twisted laugh at Jacinta’s expense, like she was actually enjoying the show that the frightened girl was putting on.  Jacinta’s hair was now partially covering her face, but she could just make the outline of the girl that spoke.  Jacinta heard her when she first found Rory on the floor.  Why was she laughing?  Jacinta had never seen her before in her life.

“You think this is funny, bitch?”  Some of Jacinta’s spark had returned as she fumed at the treatment she was receiving.  None of this made any sense.  It was supposed to be a night out to celebrate Rory’s birthday, but everyone was acting like extras from a horror movie.  Jacinta snapped her head towards the bartender and screamed “Turn on the lights!”  It was amazing what adrenalin could do. Her eyes darted towards all the shadows that were standing there, silently.

“Rory did say that I’d like you, J.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”  Jacinta hissed back.  She looked down to where Rory lay on the floor.  Had Rory been drinking and socializing with this bitch before she got there?  How did she even know who she was?

“You drugged him!?”  This was the first thing to come to mind.  It was the only reason as to why he would be on the floor like this.  Kim stepped over Rory and came to stand right in front of Jacinta, cocking her head to the right slightly.  “Maybe..” A cruel smile was forming upon her lips.  For some reason, she was easier to see in the darkness.  Why that was however was a mystery.  A slender hand, again cool to the touch graced the right side of Jacinta’s face causing her to inhale sharply.  She tried to draw her head back but it hit the man’s chest behind her.  That was enough for her to jerk forward again.

One of the bar staff handed Kim a champagne glass that was filled with a clear liquid.  She placed her finger in it and gave it a swirl before glancing up through her long eyelashes at the well restrained Jacinta.  “You can join him, you know J.”

Without warning, Kim gripped Jacinta’s jaw and tried to make her drink from the champagne glass.  Her nails cutting deep into Jacinta’s flesh. There was a burning hatred in her eyes.

“Rory!” A garbled cry coming from the poor girl who was being forced against her will.

 

~

LP-  As scattered as they were, Rory forgot his dreams as soon as his eyes blinked open. Things blurred for him. A deep heavy blur. There was consciousness and sound, and there was a mix of dreamy memories.

He remembered screaming, something with struggle. There were solid voices, stable, those which spoke of confidence and promise. They mixed with the fearful, the unsure, and the timid. Something was wrong with the second set of voices – they were unstable, although they were few. Or was it just one. He heard J’s voice. It sounded good. And he saw her too. She was running. She was running to him and it was outside. But she was running not because she wanted. She wore walking clothes, business clothes, clothes she wouldn’t use to run. And it was dark, and it was outside. Her eyes showed her to be afraid. Rory tried to look behind her in the blur of his dream, but there was a point at which his vision dropped off – low beams in the woods at midnight.

“…sure no one knows. Not one bit of what….”

 

That girl was there then. He smiled when he saw her. Something in his heart felt bad when the thought of J while he was still with her. But what she gave him was good – it felt so good. There was her color, her smile, her wit. There was the way she walked right in and moved his social borders to the side, as though they had no purpose whatsoever. It was as if she said, ‘We don’t need these here, do we?’

“…the two of them. I don’t need another Shastin brothers incident. As soon as he wakes up, I want you to…”

The cinnamon girl was there too. She smiled with her big bright teeth, clean teeth, and her laugh…her lips were just so natural and she knew it, didn’t she? She wore black, and Rory was helpless. In his warm slumber a gurgle escaped his mouth.

‘Simmen grrl.’

The sound and quick rumble of his own vocal chords brought him back into a state of fuller waking. He let the weight of his head drop to one side and saw another form there. J was sleeping in the quiet dull of a rusty yellow ceiling lamp, the wires of which were lost in the dark above it. Her body lay recumbent on a table, a white blanket covering her. ‘That’s good,’ Rory thought. ‘There’s a lot of scary things happening in this place. Sleeping’s best.’

“He’s awake.”

The incoming footsteps brought Rory closer to full consciousness.

 

“Mornin’, Sunshine.” The man’s voice was gruff; it matched his stature and color of his blurred form as Rory’s eyes made blinking struggle to give his body clarity. His stature loomed in the dim room, his head almost brushing the hanging light as he and a shorter girl crowded in on J’s resting form. The blur of Rory’s eyes eased into a slow clarity and the man’s dirty trench coat and worn boots gave him the away – a street man, someone who lived outside, survived on the concrete. And from his beard, unkempt and frayed, there was something worrisome about him, something that showed he wasn’t concerned with how others perceived him, moreso how others felt in general.

“Mmm?” J stirred as the two stopped over her.

“She’s still out for a bit. We can still get some work done, enough for starters anyway.” The large man’s form was blocking the body of the girl who spoke, but Rory recognized it without having to see her. “You sure this is the girl, though? The one you chased?”

“Yeah,” grunted the man. “‘At’s her. A real runner, too. I would have had to chase her more, but when I realized she was still headed here, I figured I’d save the energy.” He bent down to J’s face. “Probably got all your runnin’ for the week tonight, didn’ yeh?”

Rory listened and looked. The voices inside him were too scared to make a sound. He wanted to yell at J, tell her to look out and to find someway to get her out of there. Things were too scary. He wanted to get out of the scary parts of the night. They could talk about it later, but right now his dreams and things he was seeing weren’t very…where was this place? Things were wrong, but Rory didn’t quite know where.

 I hear you, he thought. I hear you when you tell me this is bad. Every one of the voices in his heard were pounding. They told him, screamed at him to do something. I know, he thought. I’m trying.

And he was trying – he was trying to move his body, but all he had to himself were his eyes, his mouth, this throat and the automatic breathing of his lungs. Yet his arms weren’t working, neither were his legs. Not his toes, his fingers or his torso. In several instances, he made a full body trial. ‘Where am I not working?’ was the thought. Nothing moved.

Frustrated, he began to sniffle. Tears formed in the ducts of his eyes, and one rolled over his cheek and dropped to the surface. He sniffled again and murmured through a pair of semi-functioning lips, “J-j-Jacin-ttaa.”

Another sniffle, and the tall man turned from J’s quiet form to face him. In the background, the girl behind was visible as well. It confirmed what he already knew.

Again, he tried to speak. “Simmen grrl.”

 

~

 

 

RB –  “Hello……Hello?”  A room without windows, without doors. The walls were like glass – black glass.  Shiny and smooth to touch.  Jacinta ran from wall to wall – pressing her hands up to the glass surface but she could only just make out her own reflection.  She was still dressed in the same clothes as the night of Rory’s birthday.  A strangled cry came from the very pit of her stomach as she continued to smack her palms to the glass walls.  There was nothing to grip onto.  No handles, no latches.  Just the cool smooth glass that formed the four walls, ceiling and floor of what was a prison.  Surely this was a dream  A dream from which Jacinta had no way of knowing how to wake.  This was one of Jacinta’s fears.  Being trapped in a  glass box with no way out.  Her heart started racing as the wave of panic started all over again.  “Why is this happening?”  The girl brought her curled fists up to the glass and beat at it repeatedly, till her hands were swollen and bruised.  The glass remained unaffected by her efforts however, and soon the girl turned and pressed her back to the glass – sliding down slowly into a crumpled heap.  Her head soon resting on her knees with her arms curling around her legs as she rocked back and forth.

The reality was far different from being trapped in a glass box.  Jacinta was laying still on an observation table beneath a rusting yellow ceiling lamp, much like the kind you would have seen in an old World war two movie,  like old war bunkers.  It was a far cry from the strobe lights of the Hub.  Whatever happened after Jacinta had been forced to drink from the champagne glass was all but a haze.  The last thing Jacinta remembered was the room spinning as she was consumed by a terrible darkness.

An assortment of coloured wires that were from several monitoring machines, were fed up and under the white blanket that covered most of her body up to her neck.  Her head was resting on a small u shaped support.  Jacinta’s face looked calm, serene almost.  How looks can be so deceiving.  Though the scruffy bearded man enjoyed seeing her like this.  Different from how she was when she was practically sprinting down the main street to get away.  Fast and in such serious footwear.  Jacinata made a sound, like she was rousing.  Perhaps it was due to the scent of his breath as he leered over her.

“Yeah, this is the one.”  A certainty in his voice when he looked over at Rory, who was now mumbling what sounded to be Jacinta’s name.  The trail of a single tear down his face indicated that he was starting to come around, and knew that his friend J was there.  It was the other name he said, that got Kim’s attention.

“Simmen grrl.”  That was what he called her.  Almost like a pet name, a nick name. It was almost cute.  His quiet sniffle brought Kim from her place at Jacinta’s side to walk over and caress the forehead of the incapacitated Rory.  “Shhhh.  You’ll only wear yourself out.   Don’t worry about J, she’s in good hands.”  A light head tilt and Kimmy assumed a more caring expression.  “You’ll thank me later.  I know you will.”  The corners of Kim’s mouth curled ever slightly as she continued to stroke the top of Rory’s head, before leaning in to plant a soft kiss on his lips.

 

“Miss Lloyd?  I thought I told you to bring me the Kenner file.”

The sheer glass walls warped and changed into that of her boss, Mister Hinkley’s office.  Jacinta had gone from being curled up near one of the glass walls, to standing in front of her boss’s desk.  She couldn’t remember why she was suddenly there, and why he was looking at her so oddly.

“Miss Lloyd?  Are you alright?”

“I…uhm.  I…”  Wide eyed, the young secretary looked at her reflection in the mirror, and she looked just as she had before she’d left the office the night of Rory’s birthday.  Why was this like experiencing a repeat of the same day?  Jacinta was completely lost.  Clueless as to what was happening.  Where were the glass walls?  Her breathing became shallow, as she fumbled with a folder that she was now clutching in her hand.  It was marked “Kenner Inc – Classified.”

“Jacinta…this is highly unprofessional.  I really did expect more from you.”  Her boss rose from his chair, and made his way slowly around his desk.  Raising his hand to button his jacket as though taking on a more formal appearance.  Jacinta was ready to hand over the file that was until the body outline of Mister Hinkley flickered.  Much like the way a television screen does with bad reception.

“Hand it over, Miss Lloyd and and then you can make a start on those presentations.”

“J-j-Jacin-ttaa.”  It was another voice and not just any voice.  It was Rory.

“Rory?”  She could not help but answer him.  Why did he sound like he was crying?  Better yet, where was he?  Jacinta clutched the file closer to her chest and took a step back from Mister Hinkley, who was now scowling at her angrily.

“Hand it over, Jacinta.” His voice had a gravel like consistency, which was nothing like how she knew him to be.  Her boss went to snatch the files, but it was at that moment his face changed to that of the man that had chased her through the streets.  That horrid man.

“Probably got all your runnin’ for the week tonight, didn’ yeh?”  The smell of his breath made her want to be sick.  The room started to swirl and break away, as a bright light shone from above.  Jacinta could feel the grip of a man’s hand upon her and though she tried to pull away, she was incapable of moving.

It was like she had no control over what was happening, but instead of going back into the glass walled room, she found herself lying flat on what must have been a table.  The steady hum of machines that blinked rapidly, along with an array of lights and stats started to come into focus.  Her eyes were opening, ever slowly.  Jacinta’s pupils changed to try and adjust to the light of the room that was directed down upon her.  There were tubes in her arms, IV’s and all across her chest and abdomen; small sensor pads that were stuck to her with a special tape.  Only when the face of the hooded man came into view did the true horror start to set in.  Had she been operated on?

“Simmen grrl.”

Jacinta turned her head towards the sound of what was Rory’s voice and what she saw made her physically sick.  It was the girl from the club and she was leaning over Rory, kissing his lips.  Was this another nightmare like in her boss’s office?  A surreal kind of dream?  Jacinta struggled within a body that simply would not obey her commands.  All she could do was turn her head.  Turn her head and watch the cruel display of Kim being affectionate to what she thought to be her man.

“J’s awake.  Just enough time for one last test.”  Again the bearded man spoke, and what he said made Jacinta’s blood run cold.  ~Test…what test?~  Kim glanced up from Rory, who was still unable to move or respond to what was happening to him. She took in the terrified look on the young girl’s face and smiled in triumph.  All she did to respond to the bearded man was nod…..and only once.

A quiet whimper was all that Jacinta could muster, as the bearded man was handed a needle from an unseen accomplice.  He forced the tip into the saline drip and started to press down to release the clear liquid that ran down the tubing and into Jacinta’s arm.  There was a sharp stinging sensation, before Jacinta’s eyes rolled into the back of her head.  If only she knew what they were doing.  Why she replayed her day before the party.  Who was this evil man and the cinnamon haired bitch?

As Jacinta once again lost consciousness, a door opened and a well dressed man in a grey suit entered the room. He looked like a banker, or lawyer.  Clean cut, perfect hair and chiseled chin.  Steel blue eyes coldly surveyed the room and then the two that were layed out on the tables.

“Good work.”  His words were curt as he closed the door behind him, only to face Kim who had stopped preening Rory’s hair.  This man in the suit.  He must have had some authority, since Kim backed away from the tables for him to inspect.

In the crook of his arm were some files, and on the one that faced outward was a snap shot, similar to a government photo.  The woman in the photo had much lighter hair, but the eyes were unmistakable.

It was Jacinta.

~