They just kept on popping up, one after the other. They were coded. The messages consisted of boxes, circles, lines. I thought my computer had just crashed due to the copious amount of storage it held. But then again, why would there be coded messages? Was there a meaning to it?
I grabbed my phone and switched it on, revealing a picture of me and my dog Ruby sitting on a rock. Her big ears perked up high and a dopey grin graced her face. I had a big smile on my face as well.
If only I was that happy now.
I searched online for keys to codes, looking for anything that had similar shapes to the ones that filled my computer screen, nothing. I turned back around and tuned into the screen, messages were popping up much faster than they did before. The light from the constant notifications were casting a light hue atop the dark window panes. I started to become frustrated, with my inability to stop this or figure it. Turning off my phone, I decided to get some sleep, hoping that this would be resolved in the morning and I would be able to get some writing done.
I woke up to the sound of loud banging on my door. Groggily I pulled myself out of bed and opened it. The sight infront of me was not something I was expecting. Two large men in nicely pressed suits started to speak.
“Ms. Santos ?”
“ Yes, that’s me”, I replied grumpily, rubbing my tired eyes, “What’s going on?”
I was confused as to what was happening. Why were these two strange men asking for my name?
“You need to come with us” ,they demanded, one of them clenching their fists like they were in a hurry and my hesitation was slowing down their process.
“Why?” I asked confused looking to one of the men. He had sharp features and a hint of stubble coated his chin. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a badge. It read in bold letters ‘FBI’, the sun glistened on the golden surface. Taking in a large intake of breath I complied, not wanting to mess with the authorities. The two men walked me down the front steps. One in front of me and one behind. I entered the large black SUV with tinted windows and looked at my disheveled state. I still had pajamas on and my dark brown hair was in a messy bun. My reflection was casted in the windows and showed the tiredness in my face.
The car pulled into a large gray building and parked around back. I was lead in through the doors and down a looming hallway. A door labeled INVESTIGATION ROOM 2 was opened and I was ordered to enter and sit down. A woman in a white blouse and black pencil skirt sat across the table from me.
“ Hello Ms. Santos, I’m Agent Moreau. I’m here to ask you a few question today”.
I forced a smile, still confused as to what was happening. I nodded my head in response and said hello.
“So Clara?”, “what do you do for a living?” a coffee stain tinted her white collar brown.
“Oh, I’m a writer”. I wondered what type of answers she wanted and why my career was important.
The next hour and a half, I was asked multiple questions regarding my personal and social life. The questions drawled on and still no answer as to why I was stuck in this room. I complied with the women until she asked me a surprising question.
“Soo Clara, what do you know about Lukas Grant?” She leaned forward and clasped her hands together. Her red nail polish had started to chip. I racked my brain and tried to think if I knew such a name. It sounded familiar. Lukas Grant. Luukas Graant, but I just couldn't put a face to it.
The questioning had ended, and I was let out of the stuffy room. My legs sore as I started to get up. I was loaded into a blacked out suburban and returned home. Baffled by the events of the day, I searched Lukas Grant on my phone. Results came up with Computer Technician and that he worked at C Line Industry. I thought back to the coded messages on my computer screen. Did this Lukas guy have anything to do with it, and why was the FBI asking me about him?
I decided to type an email and ask him a few things. The email consisted of questions about who he was, did he work with codes, and finally did he ever have any run ins with the FBI. I knew the chances of him replying were slim but I signed it with my name Clara Santos and sent it.
The next morning, I woke up and checked my phone, A notification for an email had popped up, I was shocked and checked it right away. The email read, “I know who you are. 2:30pm @ Busta Beans”. My eyes widened, who was this man, how did he know me and why was he telling me to meet him at my favorite coffee place? I knew I shouldn't have, but next thing I knew I was driving down the road on the way to the cafe.
I walked in blind, not knowing what he looked like. I stood off to the corner and scanned the little coffee shop. The aromatic smells of coffee filled my nose. The pasties glow from being baked and the sound of chatter filled my ears. The little shop was cold and caused goosebumps to form on my arms. A mug hung from a cup rack, the light swaying adding a hypnotic feel to this whole scenario. A bell dinged behind me and a warm rush of air covered me. A man in his early twenties walked by me, his buttoned up shirt and large glasses made him look like a regular here. He stopped about three feet in front of me and turned around.
“Clara?” His eyes stared deep into mine.
“That’s me”, concern furrowed my brow.
“Come sit and I’ll tell you everything”. He started to walk, turning his head every two seconds or so to check that I was still following him. We sat down at a two seater by the window, his table was scattered with newspapers. I caught sight of one. ‘Mysterious hacker shuts down company’s electricity’.
I bombarded him with questions about how he knew me. He said he was a big fan of my writing and that he had a run in with the FBI when he hacked into a cooking website, filling it with pictures of political propaganda. As he talked, I realized? that this was just a game to him. Using people as if they were useless opponents he could play with anytime he wanted to.
After an hour of talking I finally had all the answers. He had found my writing online one day and had been a fan since. He said he hacked my computer because he wanted an excuse to meet me. I was ready to go and get away from this man.
I excused myself and left the small coffee shop. I arrived home a few minutes later and decided to take a nap. I needed to clear my head and sleep would do just that.
I woke up to sound of a car horn. It rang through my ears and made me get up. I walked to my kitchen, the floor making my feet cold. A yellow sticky note stuck to the table caught my attention. I took a closer look and cursive writing was sprawled on top of it. “I have a surprise for you, but I don't think you'll like it” signed LG. My heart rate sped up and I looked out the window. A red SUV sped away from my house and down the street.
My head spun, not being able to understand what just happened. The note was signed LG. I racked my brain for whose initials those were until it hit me. Lukas Grant.
Another car sped in front of my house. As if I was having Deja Vu, a black Suburban stopped in front of my house and two men in pressed suits walked towards my door. I started to shake and my breaths became shorter. Walking to the door I swung it open and gulped.
“ ‘Scuse me Miss. but you have to come with us” said a man with a crooked nose.
I couldn't let them take me. I knew that Lucas had something to do with this, and whatever it was, it was bad. Without me thinking I screamed no and try to shut my door. The man's hand planted firmly on the wooden surface and pushed it open. He grabbed my arm and started to pull me.
“You're making this worse for yourself!” he yelled over my yelps. I struggled to get out of his grasp. The other man came up behind me and tried to pin my arms behind my back. Mrs. Lory from across the street came out of her house and looked at me. Judgement and confusion covered her face. I don't care at that moment about what was happening. All I needed to do was get away. The man's grip became harder on my wrists. I struggled once more and my knee gave in. The ground became closer to my face as I started to fall. I hit the pavement with a hard thud. The blue skies and green trees faded to black.
I was woken up to the sound of a large metal door being slammed closed. My eyes fluttered open, the fluorescent lights making my head pound. My vision was blurry at first but my eyes soon adjusted. I sat up from the hard surface that was underneath me and realized where I was. Long silver poles stretched from the floor to the ceiling all around me and a man in a blue uniform walked towards me.
“Ahh you're up. Heard you had a pretty nasty fall” he had a coffee in his hand. The steam rose up from the top of it. I stayed silent, not believing where I was.
“Anywayyy, you'll be out of here in a few hours, then we'll get to the important stuff.”
I asked why I was in a prison cell and what I did to get myself In here. He was about to answer when the phone rang. He turned? around and picked it up.
“ A Lukas Grant is on the line and wants to talk.”
He opened the bars and handed me the phone.
“Having fun?” His cocky tone made my blood boil.
“What the hell did you do?” My jaw clenched.
“ You know I can't tell you that”. “Well I have to go, just wanted to see if you were ok and sounds? like you are, goodbye”. The line went dead and I dropped the phone. It hit the cement floor with a bang. I knew I had to do something about this and that I wasn't going to let him get away with this.
I sucked in a breath and it made my back crack. I shook my head.
“ Oh Lukas Grant, you have no idea who you've messed with”.