Chapter 7, Part 1
Mariah unrolled herself from the stiff ball she had curled into hours before. Upon being locked in the cell, exhaustion outweighed her terror so she laid down on the bed bolted in the corner and had fallen asleep. She sat up against the wall and pulled her knees to her chest, automatically assuming a defensive position.
Her new room was about ten feet square. The bed was in one corner, and opposite was a sink coupled with a toilet that slid back into the wall when not in use. A desk and a chair completed the layout. The wall facing the corridor got her attention. The door took up a portion of the wall. It was clear bulletproof glass lined with several metal bars. There was a window that ran from the door to the edge of the wall. The bottom sill was about waist height and approximately four feet high, constructed of the same thick glass as the door and riddled with small holes that allowed conversation between the worlds on opposite sides of the glass.
She shivered from the bed, still freaked out by her precise knowledge of the building materials and dimensions of the room. She dared to stand up and explore. She tiptoed to the window and peeked out. A digital clock hung high on the wall further down the hall and she could just make out the numbers. 7:13 P.M. She must have slept for a while.
She turned away and went to the sink. A plastic cup had been placed beside the sink handles. She drained two cups of water and promptly discovered that she was starving. She hadn’t seen any guards yet, so she hoped someone would think to bring her food since it didn’t look like she could run out and get any. She’d also complain about the toilet. No way was she using that with a huge window in the vicinity.
Mariah walked around the cell, trying to loosen up her stiff joints. There was no mirror thankfully so she couldn’t see how terrible she must look. Her jeans and top were stained by smoke from the fire Sam had caused when their apartment was attacked. Plus riding in a car for forever long after being kidnapped hadn’t done her any favors either. Her makeup was mixed in with oil from her face and her hair was bordering on disgustingly greasy. She wanted a shower and new clothes almost as much as she wanted a burrito from the little Mexican restaurant by their apartment.
She wandered back to the window. Ten minutes had passed according to the clock. She still hadn’t seen a guard. Her fingers tapped against her palms. Did she dare? She slid over to the door and reached out a hand, preparing to slide through the glass to freedom.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you,” someone warned. Too late as her hand made contact and electrical current threw her to the floor. She lay dazed for a few minutes, aware of painful tingling in her hand. It finally abated and she peeled herself off the floor.
Mariah shakily eyed the door. What kind of psychos wire a door with electricity?
“Told you not to touch that,” the muffled voice said again. Whoever is was sounded bored and not like they cared she had just been electrocuted. She edged away from the door and towards the window and saw the Freak in the cell opposite her.
“You really think the door would just open?” he asked, a sardonic smile flitting across his face.
“I…” she couldn’t tell him why she had tried. “What are you doing down here?” she asked instead.
He held up his hand and sparks crackled around his fingers.
“Daddy dearest and his thugs don’t think I’m safe for human contact. Obviously you’re not either. This could be fun. I’ve never had a neighbor.”
“Is that what all these cells are for? People like us?”
“You mean freaks?” he asked bitterly.
Mariah tucked her hands under her arms, guiltily wishing she hadn’t just called him that in her mind. The thing was, she’d never thought of herself as a freak. Just different.
“I don’t think we’re freaks,” she ventured.
“Just hang around, kid. You’ll change your mind.” He shoved away from the wall and disappeared further into his cell.
“I’m not a freak,” she whispered rebelliously to herself before plopping down on the bed. Some courage was returning now that nothing had tried to zap her in the last few minutes and there was still an absence of guards. She hopped up from the bed and went to the window again.
“Hey!” she called. She couldn’t help it if she’d always been the social one. The holes in the window allowed for some conversation, even if it was a bit muffled.
The Freak appeared again, a frown on his face. “What?”
“What’s your name?”
He just stared at her.
“I’m Mariah,” she offered.
“Kyle,” he finally returned.
“So, um, Kyle, do we get food around here?”
He still stared at her like she was crazy. “Yeah. You missed dinner. But Mason’s on duty tonight. He can get you something.”
“Cool.” She glanced up and down the hall. Kyle noticed.
“They come through once every hour to check up on us. There’s cameras in the halls. We’re not going anywhere unless you can walk through walls.”
Mariah forced a laugh. “Thatwouldbecrazy!Whenwillhecomeby?” she hurriedly veered from the topic.
“At a quarter ‘till. You’re not going to try and talk until then, are you?”
Mariah rolled her eyes. “No.”
He disappeared from view again and left her to pace aimlessly and wait for Mason to show up.