Chapter 5, Part 1
Mariah woke up in the back seat of an SUV. Her hands were cuffed in front of her and a buckle was digging into her back. At first she thought she had been arrested but the memories of the fire filtered quickly back. She sat up with a jolt and almost threw up as dizziness overwhelmed her.
“Hey, don’t try anything funny,” a voice warned. Her eyes finally focused in on the owner- an enormous muscle bound guy in black fatigues, complete with bullet proof vest and guns. Mariah shrank back into the seat, too scared to even contemplate jumping out of the car. It was moving at a high speed through unfamiliar territory and she be lost the second she hit the pavement.
“Where are we going?” she mustered a whisper.
“Somewhere you actually belong,” was the reply. She didn’t like the sound of that.
“Who are you?” she managed again.
“None of your business.”
Actually it was, since she was cuffed in their back seat.
“Give me your arm.”
“No way.” Danger finally made her more alert. Her arm was grabbed anyway by Muscles and he waved the Taser threateningly. Another man in the seat reached back and injected her arm with something. Seconds later, she went limp.
“Just a high powered muscle relaxer. Don’t know what your freak powers are, so just being careful,” was the explanation.
Mariah flopped back into the seat and tried to focus on not drooling as every muscle in her body was slowly inhibited.
They finally stopped at some backroads gas station to refuel in the early morning. Mariah leaned against the heavily tinted window and watched as men piled out. All were wearing the same black uniforms except for one who stood out in jeans and a t-shirt. She looked harder at this anomaly. He had bright red hair peeping out from under his faded ball cap. The Freak, she realized. Although from the way the men reacted to his presence, he seemed as much a prisoner as she was.
Once both cars were filled, guards were rearranged and the caravan started up again. Mariah felt the injection wearing off, but remained slumped over in an effort to make them think otherwise. Every time one of the soldiers glanced back at her, her heart rate spiked. She was sure they could hear it. She wished Cassie was there. Cassie was always so calm and knew what to do. Sam and Caleb would have been great to have along but she wanted someone to protect her, and Cassie was that person.
In between the guard checks, she began to experiment with pushing her elbow through the car. It took another hour before she finally had any success. The relaxant must have finally worn off. It wouldn’t take much to escape through the side of the car, assuming she could survive landing on the road at 70 miles per hour and be conscious enough to run away from two carloads of steroid infused guards. Maybe they’d let her stop for a bathroom break and she could sneak out the back. Another look at the guards convinced her that wasn’t a good idea either. After one encounter with the high powered Taser and seeing the handguns that were the logical backup solution to electrical current, she really didn’t want to risk their wrath.
She really really felt like crying but figured that wouldn’t go over so well. She wished they would at least play some music instead of driving in absolute silence. The static of a communications radio nearly caused her to jump through the roof. Whoever was riding shotgun answered and she tried to make out what both sides were saying.
“50 klicks away. Over.”
“What’s a klick? I bet Caleb would know.”
“How many did you retrieve? Ov..Static.”
“Just one. But we got a few I.D.s for Amelli. Over.”
“Static…Good. I’ll let him know…How’s the freak? Over.”
“You’ll have to be more specific. We have two of them now. Over.” Laughter followed this comment and she could hear return laughter over the radio.
“Radio in at 10 klicks. Over.”
“Roger that. Out.”
“What am I going to do?” With miles passing by every minute, she was running out of time.