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The Mind War
My eyes flew open. Above me, darkness occupied and below me, my legs were numbed to the core. How could this have happened? How did Andrews fool the Humarians and everyone else around him?
I pushed up forcing myself to try to get out of this confined space. I coughed as dust flew around. How long had I been in here?
A thin strip of light shined through bringing me warmth in a world full of light.
I took a deep breath thinking of what could possibly happen to me. The Karzmians had taken me. Where was I right now? How could I contact Ieashmak? What would happen to them now that I was gone?
I thought of Athena. Her beautiful smile lingered in my mind. I was not going to be a pawn of the Karzmians! Andrews might have given up when it was his turn, but I was not going to!
I once again pushed up on the door above me. My will was stronger than this! I felt the brush of the air and knew I was doing it.
My muscles ached of exhaustion and I was starting to see floaters. I was beginning to think I was about to pass out from being so weak. My breath was gone a long time ago and I needed to rest. Too bad, I wasn’t going to. The world depended on the choices I made.
I cleared my throat and summoned more energy. The Karzmians would not win!
Soon the cover flew from sight and I could rest. My muscles yearned for rest and I gave it to them watching the ceiling and taking in my surroundings.
A white tiled ceiling loomed over me not giving me much space. Around me sat cargo. Boxes and boxes of cargo. I took a deep breath then sat up.
I had been in a safe oddly enough. A small enough safe locked me in. Luckily, for me it hadn’t been locked. The black safe had barely reached my feet keeping me secure and very uncomfortable.
The question plagued me once again. Where were the Karzmians taking me?
I got out of the safe searching for anyone to come attack me. There was no one in sight. This was odd enough. I inched towards the door being aware of my surroundings. Everything counted in this small room. If I made one wrong step, I could be put back in that safe perhaps without waking up this time.
I sucked in the air. This made breathing easier. That safe didn’t have much air in it.
The walls were freezing as I pushed up against them. I had just seen a camera on the top left corner of the room. I had to hide before they stormed in again.
Maybe I was becoming paranoid. Maybe the stress of becoming so much more than a stack kid had finally gotten to me.
As soon as the camera turned, I dashed to the side. I had to get to the door before it turned again.
My hand finally grasped the door and as soon as it did, hope was restored. The paranoia retreated a bit.
This was a small feat. I still had to get through so much more, but anything would make me triumphant right now.
I pulled the door back feeling the pressure of air slam into my face. The door popped open and I thought I had finally gotten away when an alarm sounded. I cursed softly. This had been my doing, I should have thought of that before I opened the door willy-nilly.
They had left an alarm trigger plate to the door! If I had thought of these consequences before maybe, I could’ve saved myself some room to get away. I could’ve planned something.
I scanned the sight. I was in a long stretching hall that lead to three doors. A window showed the outside. I ran to it.
My heart stopped. I couldn’t believe I had thought it was going to be that easy. As I peered through the window, I had no idea where we were. It was alien to me. A bright white sky shined over me, which wasn’t alien. It was below the sky that scared me. Bright brown yellow material laid out before me. It looked gritty or like tiny specks of rocks which scared me more. Whatever the foreign material was I needed to get out of this place.
The door flew open behind me shooting out men dressed in white from head to toe. I had never seen a white mask before. White that burned my eyes. I must have been locked away in that safe for quite a while.
Four of them sprinted toward me. I bit down on my lip; I had to make a decision, quick. I ran to the nearest door and stormed through it.
“Darren don’t go anywhere!” The man snapped from behind me.
How did he know me? I turned for a split second enough for the revelation. The man pulled his mask off, crushing my heart. Mr. Dexon?
What was he doing here?
“Darren I know what this looks like,” he started.
“You’re helping them!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t hold back the hurt of betrayal in my voice. The man had basically raised me.
He nodded. He held my gaze with tranquility. This made the hairs on my arm stand up. I wasn’t sure if I should listen or not.
“Darren, they will help us,” he said.
I shook my head. I was surprised at how much this hurt me.
I looked to the door I was about to grab then back to Mr. Dexon. I didn’t even know where I was. Was it possible that I needed to just calm down and forget?
“Darren, I protected you,” he protested to my panic.
I frowned. He was siding with the Karzmians and he protected me? How did that work? The Karzmians wanted to kill me, or at least I thought they did. Andrews had told me that they were going to, but why bring me in a safe then?
“If I hadn’t told Andrews about you, you would be in the system right now,” he said.
The System, the detention center for misbehaving kids, the place where tortured souls lurked.
This was a shocker. I felt my jaw drop.
“You did this to me, you sold me out!” I snapped.
After all the things, I had been through due to my intelligence, after all the torture my sisters had endured, and it was because of him! He sold me out to Collins and the president and then the alien race, Karzmians! He put me through everything bad that happened to my life! I could’ve still been at my house in the Stacks!
He realized his mistake as he stammered.
“Darren… d-don’t run,” he said.
Yeah ‘cause I was going to wait for the Karzmians to take over the world!
“You meant a lot to me Mr. Dexon, you really did, but now you’re dead to me!” I yelled pulling the door handle.
I thought I had been smart, but as I opened the door, I knew I had waited too long. A man holding a gun stepped forward as I opened the door nailing me in the shoulder with some kind of bullet. The electricity coursed through my body nearly driving me to painful whimpers.
I flew back with the momentum of the bullet landing in front of Mr. Dexon. Yay for me! Just ‘cause I wanted to always be in Mr. Dexon’s grasp right now!
“I’m sorry to hear that, but you won’t be dead to me,” he said.
I felt my eyes getting heavier. Of course, the bullet stimulated the receptors responsible for sleeping, tranquilizer. They didn’t want me dead they just wanted me kept in a safe!
My throat felt like it was closing up and drying all at the same time. I was gone as Mr. Dexon picked me up staring down at me.
“I’ll see you in a few days,” he said. His voice was unusually deep now. What a failure, I had only managed escaping for about ten minutes.
I opened my eyes expecting to find Darren laying on the bed next to me looking peaceful or at least less worried than he was awake, but no one was there.
I looked around the gigantic room expecting to find him leaning against the wall or looking out the window.
The dark red curtains were pulled to the side as if someone had been there and the desk had been opened, but again no one was there.
I got out of bed feeling the cushy carpet beneath me. The fabric against my feet formed underneath them. It almost felt like walking on marshmallows.
“Darren!” I exclaimed.
He must’ve gone to his office not able to fall asleep here.
I grabbed my robe that Darren had given me and flung the door open. Just as I did, I came face to face with Agent Collins. He would know where Darren was. I’m sure he was just coming to wake me up.
He pushed me aside looking around the room. When he was done looking around his face came back with badly hidden worry.
“Where’s Darren?” He questioned me.
Alarms went off all over my head. Here I thought he was coming to wake me up. If he didn’t know where Darren was then where was he?
I came up with the only conclusion I could come up with, Agent Collins must have been messing with me. He must have been welcoming me to the place in his own strange way. The panic that had wrestled itself into my head quickly disappeared.
“I thought you knew,” I said.
His eyes widened.
“Then my fears have come true!” He cried.
Okay he really needed to let me know where he was. This wasn’t cool anymore, inviting or not.
“Stop messing around and tell me where he is,” I said.
I waited for him to start laughing or to at least smile a bit, but nothing changed. He was genuinely worried. I sucked in air.
“What’s going on?” I questioned him.
He frowned. Maybe he wasn’t kidding.
“Follow me,” he said.
The office was torn apart. Paper and a pen laid on the desk with scribbled down numbers. The desk chair was thrown to the side and in the middle of the room was a huge dent. Something had definitely gone up last night.
On the paper were the numbers, 40°28'43.07 and 93°28'36.42.
This puzzled Agent Collins and I both. I stared into his eyes. He must’ve been thinking the same thing I was.
“There was a struggle, but before it started Darren figured something out,” Agent Collins said.
I nodded. Darren was a genius; he had to be woken up with the thoughts of rescuing his land, his people.
The bad thing about Darren being a genius was that no one could figure out what the heck his numbers meant. It would take another genius to figure this out and maybe not even then. He was the world’s best genius. The genius that mattered to save this world; to defeat the Karzmians. Perhaps Agent Collins knew.
“What do those numbers mean?” I asked.
He shrugged. It was a mystery to us non-geniuses.
“So what happened to Darren?” I asked.
He sighed. It was visible that he was clueless, it didn’t take a genius to figure that out.
“You see this dent?” He asked me.
I nodded. It was the shape of a rectangle. Whatever was there was heavy.
“I believe that Darren had run into the intruder and here he was thrown,” He said pointing to the side of the desk where everything laid on the floor.
Darren had been pretty neat about his things so this was very unusual. Something was definitely up. Agent Collins was right, there had to be an intruder.
“What made this dent?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“I spent the whole morning trying to figure this out; I just hoped he came back to bed.” He said.
His thinking did not make sense to me. Why wouldn’t you set off alarms or come to look earlier? I guess when you want to believe in something you just brush the worries off. I’d done this myself thinking of Darren in his quest.
“They took him so let’s find him!” I exclaimed.
“I wish it was that easy, but I’ve already sent agents off searching for him.” He said.
I guess he did think, but why no alarm?
“And no alarm?” I asked him.
“If we set off the alarm it would alert everyone in all of the sections!” He exclaimed.
I shook my head. We needed all the help we could get.
“That would start a panic!” He hollered.
I flung up my arms.
“That’s what we need; if we start a panic everyone will look for Darren!” I snapped.
His face grew silent. Apparently, he hadn’t thought of this.
“You need to alert everyone now!” I snapped.
He nodded. I guess he was just the figurehead of the agents because he certainly wasn’t the smartest.
“I’m going to find Johnny and Ieashmak,” I told him.
He nodded running off. I almost collapsed with panic. How would we stop the Karzmians without Darren?
My legs were bound together cutting into my circulation. I’d only just figured this out waking a few moments ago, but it felt as though it had been hours. They really didn’t want me loose again.
The anger overwhelmed me once I caught sight of Mr. Dexon. The man had ruined my life and he thought he could just talk to me and everything would be rainbows and sunshine!
Mr. Dexon sat five feet away reading some kind of book. It was odd. Not Mr. Dexon, but the book. The only place where you could actually find a book was the Old Nation. Was that what he was doing there at the Stacks? Did he just come out of there?
“We don’t have to stay silent,” He said peering over the book.
I glared at him still a little drowsy. My brain still couldn’t quite process everything yet. Whatever they shot me with really did its job.
“You’ll get over it once we get to our destination,” he said.
Hmm, this was something that surprised me. Were they taking me to the Karzmians?
“Where’s that?” I asked.
He smiled. He must have felt successful not that he had finally managed to get me to talk.
“Glad your voice is still there; you’re going to need it,” he said.
It was official; he was just trying to mess with me.
I turned around. There wasn’t anything for me in Mr. Dexon. If he wouldn’t tell me some useful information I wouldn’t talk.
“You’re fifteen you know that the silent treatment doesn’t work,” he grinned.
Why was he trying so hard to get me to talk to him?
“You’re like thirty; you know that grinning through everything won’t work!” I snapped.
He nodded and set the book down.
“You’re right so let’s talk,” he said.
Finally, I could process my surroundings.
I looked around the room. Mr. Dexon was sitting on a bench. Shelves of books and packages surrounded the room. A desk sat in the corner. I laid on a bed and a camera pointed at me from the left corner of the room.
“Fine then tell me what you were doing in the Old Nation?” I interrogated him.
A flash of surprise flickered over his face, but he hid it well. Smart man.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said
Typical line of a liar.
Was it me or had I heard that line before?
“There’s no use in hiding it; your face has already told me you were,” I said.
He sighed. He knew he was busted.
“I guess you’re right, but that doesn’t mean I have to tell you,” he said.
I shook my head. I wouldn’t take that as an answer.
“I will find it out one way or another,” I said.
He stood up stretching. Apparently, he was tired. I could’ve told you by his face too, but Mr. Dexon always had the look of being exhausted. It was as if it was a permanent feature of his.
“You will find in time that the answers will not always come to you as it has been portrayed,” he said.
Why a riddle? That also seemed to be his way of messing with me.
“In time you’ll find that I don’t give up,” I said trying to match his wisdom with sarcasm.
A flash came from a small cylinder covered light I’d missed behind me. Mr. Dexon rushed over to me grabbing ahold of my shirt.
“We need to get out of here now!” He exclaimed.
There was definitely something up. The door flung open. We were jerked sharply against the wall.
Mr. Dexon smacked his head hard on the wall enough to hear a whack and he disappeared from sight. I landed on the floor seconds after Mr. Dexon smacked his head. Wherever we were, it was tilting feeling as though we were going to crash to the ground.
A sharp pain jarred my head and I looked around finally gaining my senses. Mr. Dexon laid motionless on the ground.
I stood up from the floor, dizzy and unaware of everything else. My body shook with pain, but I knew if I stayed there, I would probably end up dead and I couldn’t give up on the world yet. Good thing Mr. Dexon had cut the rope before he opened the door.
I took a deep breath and sucked in a painful breath that knocked the wind out of me. It kind of defeated its purpose.
Dust covered the hallway. People had been knocked all around. They all laid on the floor all over.
I looked to Mr. Dexon whom still laid on the floor. I couldn’t leave him there. I knew he worked for the enemy and he even ruined my life, but he had been there for me. He claimed that he protected me and that was enough for me. The man had raised me more than my parents. He still had a place in my heart as much as I wanted to deny.
Losing all sense in my head, I lifted Mr. Dexon onto my shoulders. I felt his stomach going up and down so I knew he was breathing. I couldn’t believe I was doing this, but I pushed the next door open and looked around just getting past my last destination. Now everything was foreign.
The halls outstretched in front of me and I knew it was time to get going. For all I knew Andrews could be waiting for me beyond those doors informing me that this was all a test. Another sick joke of my torturer.
I cut through the next door with more determination, but after hitting my head on the hard tiled floor I was weak and Mr. Dexon wasn’t light. I coughed letting the mucus drip from my lips. Odd that was.
I was blinded with light flooding into my eyes, which gave me more hope. Maybe I could make it out of here. My back was killing me. Pins were being stabbed through my back through my bones as they gave way, but I was almost there.
The next door was so close. So close as I flung the door open feeling the warmth and then the impact came. I was thrown from my feet. We must’ve crashed. It was a disaster. I smashed my head on the ground. The impact made me lose all my senses. The pain clung to my body. I laid on the surface, not able to lift my head.
From the heat, I could tell I had just barely made it from the crash. I had no idea where Mr. Dexon had been whipped to, but as soon as we made impact he was ripped from my grip and my mission was postponed.
I wasn’t made to withstand that kind of beating so I found myself laying on a strange surface as the Earth blackened.
This was a disaster! Darren gone? What would happen to us? What would Agent Collins do? I’d seen what he did first hand and I still didn’t trust him. For all we knew he kidnapped Darren and was sending everyone else on a goose chase.
I looked over at Athena. She sat on the bed with a face full of frustration. I put my hand over hers.
“We’ll find him,” I said.
She forced a smile, but with the tears trickling down, it looked ridiculous. Even when she was hurting the most, she tried to be strong.
“Johnny, I know you’re trying to help, but leave me alone,” she said.
I sighed. I knew this was coming. This was just what Athena did. She denied her feelings until they spurted out.
“Fine, but I’m going to find Janet; she deserves to know what has happened to her brother,” I said.
She nodded tilting her head and pushing her hands into her face. She knew it was time to let it all go.
I walked out of the gigantic room. It was a wonder why Darren hadn’t stayed there all day. It was beautiful and even bigger than my room in Opportunity.
Once I walked into Janet’s room, I felt as though I were Death itself. Lizzy bounced around the room with such joy and Janet sat on her colorless bed with a book in her lap. I didn’t want to ruin anything, not again.
I cleared my throat disturbing the peace. Janet looked up with her eyes beaming. It was a shame I had to incinerate them.
“Janet, I need you to come with me for a few minutes.” I said.
She looked to Lizzy whom now was glancing up at me.
“Lizzy, stay here and don’t open the door,” She told Lizzy.
Lizzy nodded. I sighed opening the door. This was going to be fun.
“He’s gone!” She exclaimed.
Her eyes already filled with the shimmering tears.
“They lost him late last night,” I replied.
This was the first time I had actually seen Janet like this. Her muscles tensed and her face formed a glare. She was ready to shoot someone. Instead of shooting someone, she dashed to the closest wall slamming her fist into the cement.
It was obvious that the tears were from frustration.
“How could they lose the most important person on Earth?” She snapped.
I understood her anger. This is what had coursed through my mind as well.
“I don’t know,” I said.
She turned to me with anger. I held my hands up.
“I promise I don’t know anything else!” I wailed.
Her face didn’t change a bit.
“Have you talked to Ieashmak?” She asked me.
I shook my head, but relaxed. She was finally calming down.
I scanned the area. No agents ran through the halls as they did before Darren was gone. It was as Athena said. Everyone left this morning leaving this place like a ghost town.
“I’ll do that now,” I said.
“Keep me updated; I’ve got to tell Lizzy that she’s lost him again,” She said grumpily.
I understood completely. She rushed to the other end of the hall leaving me alone once again.
I rushed to the area of the ship. Oh how I was terrified! What if Ieashmak got so mad that he killed me?
I coughed feeling the dust coat my throat. This dust tasted different somehow. It was also thicker as though I was swallowing dirt. It had to be the mysterious material that had been beneath me.
I opened my eyes finding that indeed it was the same odd colored substance. I laid on the substance with my face planting itself into it. Strangely enough, the substance formed around it. It also seemed somewhat cozy. It was different than I had originally thought. It was soft, as soft as a pillow.
I pushed myself up searching the vicinity. The only thing within site was this material that stretched out for miles and miles. Nothing to mark life could be seen. Nothing that would indicate someone had lived here.
I looked back. I had been in some kind of hovercraft. It was like our vehicles, but much bigger. It was clear that this had become wreckage.
I started to stand up but found myself too weak. I didn’t know how long I had been out, but this was bad. Heat rushed in adding to the sweat that already caked my skin was not a good sign, neither was my head throbbing. There was no way I was getting out of here without help.
Maybe if I climbed aboard the wreckage I could find some sort of radio or communication device. This wasn’t my best plan, but it would have to do.
I crawled about five feet in agony fearing the worst.
I glanced down at my leg. The bone twisted in an inhuman way. I wailed. Every move I made sent my body on fire.
I had to make it to the wreckage. It laid just a few more feet ahead. I had to get there for my survival.
I pulled my leg in feeling the bone twisting as it smashed into the rough ground. Knowing what I had to do I tore my shirt apart then brought it to my leg. This was going to hurt.
I twisted the bone to a normal position until my tongue bled then wrapped the shirt around the indicated break. The snapping and grinding as I used all of my possible torque nearly made me pass out. After finishing up the job, I allowed myself to collapse.
I could just pass out right here and give up. I could turn my back on the world and just rest for once. I could just lie down and die.
I pushed myself up once again turning to my surroundings. This was hopeless. No one knew where I was. Even if I could contact them, I wouldn’t be able to tell them where I was. This was a wreck.
The sun blazed on my face drying my skin by the second. I knew that I had to do something.
Just as I was thinking that all hope was lost, a shadow appeared over me. For all I knew, it could’ve been a mirage or maybe another survivor from the wreckage. There was no way to be sure that they would help me.
My mind was already fogging. I had exhausted myself, it was time to relax. I didn’t care if the world flew into chaos. I couldn’t keep myself up anymore.
“You not must up give yet.”
I had no idea what those words meant, but those would be the last one’s I would hear before I passed out. The darkness overwhelmed me like so many times before.
I woke up to the sound of clanging shredding my ears.
My eyes snapped open terrifying me. There I stood in dark moss green goop that held me in against my will. I had never seen anything like it before. The goop was very strong; I figured that out as I tried prying it off me. The only detail I could pick up was that.I was sealed in some kind of cylinder. Luckily, I could see through.
I peered down. My heart lurched. What was going on? Was this what the Karzmians had planned for me?
Everything was off me except for my shorts and a gaping hole formed in my chest. Right where the symbol that had been scorched into my skin had been. The hole was filled with wires connecting to the back of my head. I looked straight ahead. Nothing could’ve prepared me for this.
There in front of me stood a Karzmian. It’s gigantic head tilted just as I had seen in my dream.
“You now up are.”
This terrified me as it had the first time maybe even more so with the hole in my chest.
I tried to open my mouth, but my jaw was held in place by some force.
“You released to want be.”
I nodded. This was certainly freaking me out, but even if I didn’t trust the Karzmians I wanted to desperately get out of here.
The Karzmian slid over to me touching the glass in front of me. The glass illuminated gold then warmed me to the core.
“Pure heart you are.”
It then slid over to the side yanking on some kind of lever. As soon as the lever radiated back in place the goop sucked out of the tube leaving me in the cylinder almost naked.
The wires still stuck out of my chest and head. Was it going to leave me like this?
Soon the door flew open and the Karzmian’s dark glowing hands reached out at me. I swallowed hard. The fear overwhelmed me. This was a Karzmian.
Its hands plunged through my chest and gripped the wires, but not without pain. With every wire that ripped through my chest, I wailed in agony. It felt as though it was ripping my skin off me. Once its hands pulled free, I watched in awe.
Right where the wires had been the hole closed up reattaching itself. There on my chest was the scar of imprisonment. No wires or hole.
I looked at the Karzmian in surprise. This had to be…
“Karashak?” I questioned it.
The Karzmian bowed. Hmm. How weird.
“Karashak am I.”
Suddenly Karashak turned me around pulling the wire out of my head. I bit down on my tongue. My throat was raw enough.
“Come must you.”
I took a step forward falling into Karashak. The Karzmian looked so much like us humans. The only difference was the humongous heads they had. Karashak even had blue eyes with pupils and everything. Karashak smiled. His teeth were pointed like the Humarians.
“You walk unable to yet.”
I nodded. I wasn’t sure if I trusted Karashak, but he was my guide right now. He was taking care of me.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
Karashak looked back at me sternly.
“Just me follow must.”
I followed him like he said. There wasn’t much of anything else I could do. It was either listen to the “person” that saved me or possibly die.