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“Why yes, of course. But why where you in the sewers?” He goes to take my elbow to lead me inside but stops because of the filth that covers me.
“You see, I’m a sewer worker. I fix the pipes down there, and my partner had gone on a lunch break and went to get some burgers for me. I decided to just finish the job so we could leave early. It was just a simple welding job and I completely forgot about the gangs down there.” We enter the building and with extreme self-control, we make it past the guards without me acting suspicious … other than my cover. “They snuck up on me but I got away and made a run for it, knowing that if I couldn’t get up a latter that I’d be able to make it here. I had almost made it when they caught me, they stripped me of everything I had and then a man in an army like combat suit charged in. He held them off while I ran away screaming, then another showed up and told me to come here and that you’d help me, and then he went and helped his friend.”
“Oh wow.” He looked at me sympathetically. He then opened a door and walked me inside. It was a small white room, designed for resting or perhaps someone who would have reason to stay full time, such as a guard or something. There was a small bed with white sheets and a cheap wood frame with a matching wood dresser and nightstand that had a little white lamp on it. Off in the corner there was a doorway to a tiny white bathroom with white tile, shower, toilet, and a sink that had a matching wood cabinet to the bed. I immediately hated it, it reminded me of prison rooms I’d been held in, except with wood that was wood colored not white. “Here’s your shower and I’ll have someone drop some cloths and food by. Do you want me to call an ambulance or the police or something?” I knew better that to answer to rashly.
“The ambulance won’t be necessary, and I know- from the reports, the police won’t be able to help any either. But thank you for your hospitality.” I smiled a weak scared smile and he left without a word, though I swear he debated on locking the door.
As soon as the door was closed I started pacing the room in a mad circle. Some of the guards had been Kit’s, I could tell because there clothing was different and the look they gave me was more suspicious and evaluating while the regular guards’ were more just confused. I looked through and around everything, glad to see there were no camera’s or bugs, but a quick flash of worry struck through me when I realized I was trapped. I’d known it the whole time, but I just hadn’t accepted it till I was one hundred percent sure. There was no way out of the room but the door, which could be locked from both sides. Sighing shakily, I decided that I’d be able to think better in the shower and after this stench was out of my nostrils.
I went to lock the main door then groaned, they would need the door open to drop off the clothes. Frustrated I headed toward the bathroom and went to shut that door, then smashed my head against the wall. There was no bathroom door! Barely keeping from growling aloud, I distracted myself from my boiling frustration by checking the walls. Mentally I noted the weakest sounding wall … other than the main door wall. Then I washed my filthy underwear in the sink and hung it to dry on the towel hook. Finally I got in the shower, glad it was on the far side from the door. There were three or four washcloths in the sink cabinet and I still had to wash them out and reuse them.
Halfway through the shower, I heard the door open but it didn’t close for ten-fifteen minutes. Finally the door closed, but it sounded like it was pulled closed like when the person left but it didn’t latch and they later found it unlatched and closed it. Either an accident or one of Kit’s schemes. I scrubbed my nose hard, then stuck my head out of the shower and tried to get a whiff of anybody being in the room, but to my fear, I couldn’t smell anything. Exhaustion was coming over me though, as if I were a normal person and my adrenaline was starting to fail me. Yawning, I started taking huge gulps of the water, and strangely my head was starting to feel fuzzy. I decide to get out of the hot steam; I’m clean now and was just soaking.
Wrapping the towel around my waist I step out of the shower coughing; for a minute just stand there leaning against the sink, lightheaded, dazed, and feeling sluggish. Looking into the mirror at my new bruises, older cuts, and the forever ago scars that will never leave me. They cover my muscles and as I watch I see them tense and contract in ways that suggest some things wrong, but my thought process is slow and that worries me even more. I know I will need to find a way to disguise my scars and irises, and a plan starts to form.
Re-wetting my hands, I go to get some rust off the sink pipe, but only to find that it’s sparkling new. Alarm bells ring like crazy in my head; if I can’t hide my scars then I’ll be caught in no time! I look at my hands, the knuckles scared from years of fighting and frustrated wall-punching, two or three very faint scars curl up my left arm but you only know they are there by touch, and down the back of my right middle finger a scar stretches to my wrist and wraps around once and then trails down the inside of my arm fallowing, and fading with, the major tendon. This isn’t good, at least a shirt would cover the scars on my torso but not even a glove would cover the one on my right hand.
With a slight panic, I go to the other pipes for the toilet and the shower, all new, all rust-less. Swallowing tightly, I debate on tearing out the flooring or not, but then notice that there was no grit or dirt ground into the tile, it too was new. Sniffing, my nose clearing now, I could smell the newness of the furniture. It was new, it all was new, this room was set up exactly for me and I knew it! Somehow Kit had set this all up, and he’d do it again in an instant … if I escape I’ll never enter a town again. Now I could smell the fluoride that was laced through every fiber of the stuff here, it was even in the clothes they brought me! I peeked out the doorway; the clothes were left on my bed, a black tee and jeans, what I almost always wear. Examining the doorway more closely, I could see that there had been a door here but they had taken it out, reframed and repainted it. Then I noticed the tiny camera in the corner of the ceiling behind the door, that’s what had taken so long for them to close the door, they had hooked up a camera.
Great! I hissed to myself, pacing the bathroom madly. Now I’m stuck in a bathroom without a door, in just a pair of damp underwear and possibly a few towels. I could go out and lock the door but then the camera would see me and if I unplugged it they would know that it’s me. Finally all I could do was play along, keep my wrist from view, and play my role. Taking a deep breath, I wrap the towel over my hunched shoulders, and go and grab the clothes, locking the door as I go. My underwear is mostly dry now so I decide to wear that since it’s the only thing I seem to have control of at the moment. The jeans fit perfectly, and the shirt is slightly tight, obviously another physical test to pass being Jack Wolf. With a sigh I wrap the towel around my shoulders and throw the shirt on the dresser as I walk into the main room, planning to ask for a larger size.
The moment I sit on the bed exhaustion overcomes me again, but not poison induced. I figured they put hints of fluoride into the water, enough to not harm anyone in the building or town but me. Lying on my stomach, with the towel wrapped around my shoulders like a blanket, I dose but am careful not to sleep because if I sleep they will know it’s me because of my restless turbulence and knowing my luck I’d through the blanket across the room and leave my scars available for all to see! There’s a knock on the door and I know I have to open it. Unlocking the door I peek out, the man with the bald head and glasses comes in with a tray of food.
The smell instantly hit me and I almost drooled on the short man’s head. The tray contained a large cut of stake, some tasty potatoes, a large glass of iced tea, a pomegranate, and a heavy load of sedative. … Wait, wait, wait. Back up a sec. A pomegranate!?! So … let me get this straight, Kit’s willing to prove it’s me with a pomegranate!?! Does he want the world to end as we know it!?! Apparently so! Ugh, now how am I going to do this? If I eat the pomegranate and go wild they’ll know it’s me, if I avoid the pomegranate all together they’ll know it’s me, and if I save the pomegranate for later (my escape) they’ll know it’s me. Plus I don’t really care to eat something that will drug me into coma, but, again, if I don’t eat it they’ll know it’s me.
“I thought I’d bring you the food myself.” The man said, setting the tray down on my bed.
“Thanks but-,” I almost used the excuse that I wasn’t hungry but that would go against the lie I told him.
“Yes?” He looked at me expectantly, eyes narrowed in a suspicious, calculating way.
“I just wanted to ask for a larger shirt size, this one is too small.” I handed him the shirt and sit on the bed, adjusting the tray over my lap.
“Oh, yes of course. I’ll see what I can scrounge up.” But he didn’t leave, he stood there watching me, I sat there watching him with a mask of ‘what are you doing’ covering my alert hair raised fear. Slowly and warily, I pick up the fork and knife and start cutting a piece of meat off the stake. I watch him the whole time, and as I stick the piece in my mouth he nods approvingly. “It’s good isn’t it?” I nod, the piece of meat half hanging out of my mouth as I chewed against my will. “I’ll be right back with a shirt for you Mr. uh, Mr.?”
“It’s Mr. Paiter … oh, and thank you so much. I’ll be on my way once I finish this meal.”
“And have your shirt.” The man added with a colorful smile, I flashed one back, glad that the camera couldn’t see it from this angle otherwise I’d be held at gunpoint on the spot.
For a while I just stare at the food, my mouth watering but I don’t dare eat it. I know I’m showing behavior that reveals me, but I can’t help it. Finally I decide to eat the steak and then the pomegranate, to try for a balance or something. Picking up the fork and knife again, I start eating the stake. The man pokes his head in and I mutter a thanks and take the shirt. Everything’s starting to feel distant and groggy, so I quickly pull the shirt on in the bathroom noticing that he didn’t change the shirt at all, then return to the food tray. But the pomegranate’s gone. I try not to show visible distress, and sit down on the bed. Then the man shoves his intruding little face into the room again and I try not to glare my frustration out onto him.
“Aren’t you going to eat anymore Mr. Paiter?”
“No, I’m fine. I have a low metabolism so I eat a little and work a lot.”
“I can see that.” I look down, frustrated that even when slouching in the tight shirt you can still see my muscles ripple with every breath.
“Ya, I don’t think you got a larger size.”
“Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention when I dropped it off that it’s the only one I got.” We stare at each other for a long while, each of us pretending to be something we are not, and knowing the other is pretending also. “Here, I’ll drive you home if you eat the rest of that dinner.”
“Oh, no thanks I’m fine.” I stand to leave, both our voices were tight, as though through gritted teeth.
“I insist.” The man practically hissed, it was a threat.
His fingers seemed to flutter slightly towards something. I sit down, understanding. Either I eat and knock myself out, or he knocks me out with his weapon which is obviously a gun. I wait for him to leave to make my escape, despite everything. He doesn’t move. Slowly, I pick up the utensils again, watching him as he nods approvingly as I start eating again. The man doesn’t leave till I’ve eaten to the point where I can barely lift the fork to my mouth. Once out the door he locks it, and I just lay down, unable to do anything else. With my head on my pillow, I see the pomegranate. It had rolled under the nightstand as though I had accidentally bumped it and it had rolled there. But it was too late now, Kit knew which sedative would actually knock me out, and it was getting increasingly hard to not close my eyes. Darkness washed over me but not before one last thought flashed through my head: Kit, you know not to corner me; you know not to play this game. My going to hunt you down you- and when I do it ain’t gonna be pretty.