Chapter 9, Part 1
The lights flicked on at precisely 7 am. Mariah grumbled and pulled her blankets over her head to block them out. Why on earth had Cassie turned the lights on? She never did. Then her unfortunate reality hit her. She slowly sat up and looked around the blank walls of her cell.
Her stomach yelled in outrage and she glanced down at the crumpled remains of the protein bar wrapper on the floor. Hopefully she hadn’t missed breakfast. She couldn’t stomach another one of those.
Mariah slid out from under the blankets and tiptoed to the window. No guards in sight. There was no movement in the cell opposite her either. Kyle had made it abundantly clear last night that he could care less about her, so she wasn’t sure why she was looking for him. Maybe it was because he was like her. She was obviously less grumpy, but still stuck in a terrifying position.
She sat back on the bed. It seemed a lot of what went on around here was sitting around and waiting for guards to come and tell you what to do. She laced her ankle-high boots up over her jeans and straightened her shirt. Next she tried to comb her hair with her fingers with little success. Her mouth tasted gross. Maybe she could ask for a toothbrush later. It’s not like she could hurt anyone with it. She couldn’t hurt anyone period. She was about as skinny as new sixteen year olds came. Abby could probably pick her up.
Even though there wasn’t much to see in the cell, she explored again after a quick drink from the sink faucet. The door she steered well away from, fingers tingling in remembrance of the electric charge wired through it. She was about to crawl under the bed when the door opened with a faint hiss. She whirled around to see a disinterested guard with a tray of food. She skittishly approached and took it with a mumbled “thanks” before he stepped out and locked the door again.
The food didn’t look so bad; toast, bacon, and eggs. Prison breakfast would be better than breakfast at home. I guess people who can afford to kidnap teenagers can afford bacon for breakfast.
As soon as she finished, the guard came back, this time with a partner.
“Come on, kid,” the guard gestured.
“Where are you taking me?” she backed into a corner.
“Boss wants to see you.” They came up and grabbed her before she could make another move. They passed Kyle’s cell and she could see a tight frown on his face. Well that can’t mean anything good. Her arms started shaking in the guards’ hands. By the time they made it to the elevator, she had gotten some control over her body. The ride to the first floor was silent. She briefly entertained the idea of running once the doors opened, but one of the soldiers rested a hand on his Taser as if he could hear her thoughts. The sight made breathing a little difficult as her mind helpfully conjured up the memory of getting hit with high voltage the first time.
The doors swept open with a cheerful ding! and Mariah was escorted down the hall towards Amelli’s office. She caught quite a few stares and wondered if she was the only other “freak” besides Kyle these people had seen.
Dr. Amelli was dressed more formally today in slacks and a button up. Mariah was invited to sit and she gave a better imitation of collapsing into the chair across from him.
Any sassy remarks she might have prepared in her head came out as a terrified squeak.
“Just recently sixteen, I see. Happy birthday,” Amelli continued as if he hadn’t heard the noise.
“What do you want me for?” she finally managed to blurt.
“The short and simply version is that I think you are dangerous. I’m trying to stop you and those things that control you.”
“Control me?” Mariah couldn’t remember ever being controlled by anything.
“Maybe they haven’t contacted you yet, but they will. What’s the point of infecting the settlers on Novum if they weren’t planning on breeding an army?”
Mariah squeaked again. This guy is insane! What’s he even talking about?
“We won’t hurt you as long as you promise to cooperate.”
Mariah understood that. She’d cooperate.
“Good. Take her to the lab. I want a full workup done immediately.” Amelli turned back to his paperwork, signaling and end to the bizarre interview. Mariah exited the room with her escort, her limbs turning back to a shaking mess.
He said they wouldn’t hurt me as long as I cooperate, she tried to reassure herself over and over. But ever since the day she’d discovered she was different, the thought of being taken to a lab had filled her with fear. What if they discovered what she could do? Then she wouldn’t be able to escape. She’d never see her family again.