Friday, September 2, 2318
Colors flash in, out, dark, light. Warbling voices scare me, I can see them floating on the swirrling waves of air coming for me. A yellow flash and my heart pounds. Body aches as mind melts. I taste coin and bile and pink. A ringing starts from somewhere far away, escallating, growing, crawling over my skin, hammering in my head until my ears seep with pain. Faces dance subtracted from bodies pinched and stretched into demons with lashing tongues and popping eyes. I scream and scream and never think to stop.
I’ve been drugged.
There had only been a few self satisfying moments watching Tybal try to capture the blood that pored from his lip before a sharp pinch alerted my attention to my arm. Other’s had come up from behind me. Only another moment to worry before delirium spiked hot shot through me from that sharpened point. Only a breath to feel betrayed.
The visions melted away slowly replaced by a small dark room. I lay on a cot, my white clothes had been changed for soft black pants and tank top, white shoes for bare feet. I peeked under the tightly fitted clothes for a moment to confirm what I already knew; no underwear. Why, out of all the things that had happened, this bothered me more than the public scrubbing at the Dome or any other humiliation I’ve suffered in my twenty two years I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it was because, though my mind wouldn’t admit it then, I worried the work had been done by Tybal. I still flush at the thought but I’m too proud to ask. If it was him, I don’t want him to think I even care. If it wasn’t, I don’t want to acknowledge the thread of disappointment- however ridiculous- housed inside me. These are new things for me to deal with, unimportant things, girlish things, and I have too much else happening to indulge them even if I wanted to.
Which I don’t.
The air was damp, I could practically taste the moisture coating my nostrils as I breathed. I took my time sitting up, my head still swam. This room wasn’t that much larger than my single apartment but it was worlds different. One wide door sat near the end of the bed and had a small window near the top. That was the only window in the room. There wasn’t a sink or bathroom at all and the realization sent a flare to my bladder. How long had I been here? Where was “here”? I worried over my journals and my dandelion. Other than the cot and a small table near the head of the bed, the room was empty. I stood infront of the door and frowned. There were no handles on my side. I searched for a bio-pad, card key, anything but there was nothing. I tried pushing, pulling, breaking a nail on the crease trying to pry it open. Nothing worked. My bladder was screaming at me. I pulled the little table over and stood to look out the window at the top. Stupid, I should have done this before trying to escape. I shook my head trying to clear it of the last whisps of drugs.
God, what have I gotten into now?
The window was useless, the hallway outside was black as well throwing long dark shadows but giving shape to nothing else. There was nothing for it, I really had to pee. I banged on the door, a few testing pounds, and waited. Nothing. So I banged again louder and longer. Then waited. I tried again and again, each time lengthening until I ended up constantly banging and screaming for someone, anyone to let me out.
The hallway light flickered on. I quieted.
Noise sounded, I scurried off the table, placing it back where it belonged. I didn’t want to give them further reason to be angry as if my temper tantrum at the door would be that much more increased if they noticed I rearranged the furniture. Fucking drugs were making me stupid. I sat down on the bed because I didn’t know what else to do, waiting as noise turned into measured steps.
The door slid open into the wall. And two stoic men with long sticks that sparked at the end filled the doorway. They were large, muscled beyond reason with deep frowns carved into what could be handsom faces. They could have been brothers. “Come with us, miss.” The one on the right commanded. He stepped aside and walked into the hallway, I followed, number two fell in behind me.
“Where are we going?” I asked. No answer. “Where are we?” I hedged a few moments later. Nothing. Down long stretches and around tight curves, I felt as though I was in the Dome again except for the darkness. “What’s a girl gotta do to use the bathroom around here?” I asked, irriated at being ignored. “How big is this place?” We headed up a long flight of stairs. I debated stopping, refusing to continue until they answered me but my bladder was still screaming, the walking didn’t help matters there, and I wasn’t interested in finding out if they had leave to use the viscious looking prods. They led me to an unmarked door and stopped. I opened my mouth but before I could ask yet another question Number One nodded at the door. I pushed it open and nearly cried.
Nothing larger than a small closet with no place to escape to, I quickly freshened up and fell back in line between the two guards feeling a million times better. Up another flight of stairs that curved to the left. It felt as though my ears were being pushed on, up, up, up we went until they finally popped and the pressure receeded a little. I was still fiddling with my ears when we stopped for a second time. The hallway here was much wider, a thick decorated carpet lined the walk and large paintings hung inside golden frames. It was too dark to really see what they were but the one closest to me was of a naked woman riding a horse. I reached out to touch it stepping closer but a thick arm like a guillotine sliced down in my path. One side of very tall double doors opened a crack and that branch-like arm pushed me from behind toward it.
I think before the door even shut behind me I had stopped breathing. The room was vast, with walls so high they rivaled some of the city buildings, it circled around from the doorway on both sides before ending at a large glass window. It was dark outside, night, so I couldn’t see where I was, but I doubted had I been able to see, the sight wouldn’t have been as glorious as the one in the room. Shelves and shelves of books every color of the rainbow, red, brown, yellow, lined every single inch of space on every one of those rounded walls, from the carpeted floor to the domed ceiling. I raced to a shelf, traced the embossed name on the spine Treasure Island before moving to the next and the next. I lost myself for many minutes touching things I had only heard about in darkened whispers. My heart ached thinking of my father, how he would have loved this room, until a chuckle sounded behind me. I spun around, feeling stupid for letting my guard down.
“Who are you?” I asked the figure behind the large wooden desk. I hadn’t even noticed it before, how stupid I’ve been! Dark eyes crinkled at the corner as he smiled.
“Have a seat my dear, and we’ll have a little chat.” His voice was rough, aged but he didn’t look particularly old. He sat with his hands steepled before him and then I notived Tybal seated a bit behind him.
“What is he doing here?” I smiled evily at him when I saw the bright red swell to his lip. “You drugged me!”
“You punched me in the face.” He accused.
“You deserved it.”
“I saved you.”
“From what? I was going to work in the private district and your stupid note made me change my mind.” I balled my fists at my sides.
“It got you out of there didn’t it?”
“And for what? Leaving me to rot in the Dome?” We were screaming at each other, words forced through clenched teeth.
“You escaped. I knew you would, why do you think we were waiting for you?”
“I escaped. I did. You didn’t have anything to do with it. Where’s my dandelion? Where is my bag?”
“We have them, they’re safe, don’t worry.” He cocked a grin at me.
“Those are mine give them back. Now.”
“What about this?” He held up a crumpled piece of paper. I glared at it as though my gaze could catch it on fire. He moved around the desk, in front of me. “You want this back too?” I reached to snatch it from his hand but he was taller and quicker than me. I ended up stumbling forward a little, my hand braced me against his chest. Both our arms were stretched toward the high ceiling, his other wrapped around my waist, holding me tightly, pressing me against him. I remembered my clothes, how tightly they fit, what was missing beneath, my skin prickled everywhere, heat rose in my face, I realized how close our lips were now and strange feelings swirrled through me mixing with the anger. I wanted to kiss him, to punish him with my mouth. I wanted him to fight back equally. My heart pounded and the world melted away as I warred with myself over what I wanted. I looked into those sky-filled eyes wishing I was a bird to soar in them, wishing I didn’t see the same battle I felt reflected back at me.
For a second I thought he had chosen, his lips decended just a fraction. I smelled something spicy, earthy, clean that I remembered from the park as being his. I started to shift my weight to my toes, to meet him that fraction that remained before I was thrown back into the reality of the world by a clearing of throat. We separated like a bullet from a gun. The moment was gone and I felt it as acutely as though I’d lost a limb.
“Now, if we’re done playing children,” the man behind the desk said to us, “it’s time to talk. Faylinn, take a seat.” I did as he asked. He pulled a yellowed envelope from a drawer in his desk. “He asked me to give this to you when you arrived.” I took the thick package, my name had been written in a familiar script, I felt flush, swallowed tightly.
“Who?” I asked not wanting to believe.
“Why, your father, of course.”