The Willow Society

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Chapter 61

Chapter 61

Izzy was floating, like a dust mote in a ray of sunshine. She sighed and a current of air caught her, pushed her forward, deeper inside herself. She still saw, heard, and felt; but something like a wall of glass hovered between her conscious self and her body. It was like she was in the point between a vivid dream and being fully awake, the point when you could see your room clearly around you, but your arms were made of stone, your legs leaded. Something like a force, like a presence, pushing down upon you, holding you still though you wished to thrash. You kept telling yourself it was only a dream, if only you could wake up, just wake up!

But this wasn't a dream. Izzy knew it. Alexander had gulled her and used the wiper on her. She heard the agent's command and her brain went all fuzzy. Her body moved, outside of her control. It was truly the oddest sensation she had ever felt, like puppet's string had been attached to her limbs and she was being pulled, ever so skillfully by the ventriloquist.

“Izzy! Help me! Throw me the gun! NOW!“ Alexander's words reverberated through Izzy's mind, light bouncing off mirrors down a shaft, an echo which slowly faded. The the strings pulled her arm and she saw the gun flying to Alexander. Inside her own mind she screamed defiance but the sound of her cries battered against the imaginary glass wall separating her from herself. Izzy was powerless.

“Lou! Winston!“ Izzy cried out within herself. The words bounced helplessly against the glass wall. Her friends walked forward out of the control room, looking at her angrily. Guilt was overwhelming, a wave threatening to capsize her, but it stopped at that imaginary glass wall. The feeling did not touch the part which was Izzy but not responding to her own thoughts.

Alexander used the wiper on me! She's CONTROLLING me!

Alexander's command to move pulled her strings again, Izzy felt herself walking out of the room behind her friends. She raged. She threw herself at that imaginary division, that glassy wall. Growling a growl no one could hear and screaming silence, Izzy threw herself against the wall, again and again, as she strode behind her friends. For all her rage, nothing happened. As she watched between raging throes, Alexander, flanked now by two similar looking guards, had Winston and Lou thrown into a room which looked like a holding cell, or someone's idea of one. Unexpectedly the glass wall vibrated. It was a tiny thing, barely registering to Izzy but it was enough she stopped raging and pushed against it gently. Nothing again.

Screaming inside her head in frustration, Izzy crashed herself, or what she thought of as herself, into the barrier as hard as she could, despite the fact that she was coming to think it was all in her imagination, for all the effect she seemed to be having. The wall flexed. Only a little. She raged. Again it flexed, more this time. If she had had teeth, wherever she was, if this were real, she would have been grinding them. Snarling, she threw herself against the wall again and again and again. It flexed more each time. As much as it flexed, it didn't seem like it would break. She watched between throes as Alexander handed over the wiper to one of the empty-expression guards, who put it in his jacket and darted off. Izzy couldn't tell her head to turn, so she was stuck looking in the same direction. Alexander sat down in front of a bank of monitors, much smaller than the bank from the control room, proceeded to stare, machine-like, watching them in turn, saying nothing and doing nothing, just watching. The woman left Izzy standing there, paralyzed, forgotten. The only indication Alexander had given of her presence was to tell her, just before the woman sat down at the monitors: “Stand there! Don't move until I tell you.“ And that's exactly what Izzy had felt herself do.

Izzy snarled at the thought, determined. Continued throwing herself at the glass wall. Finally, unexpectedly, happily, somehow, it shattered.

It felt like she was made of water and starting from somewhere behind her ears, was poured, fast as lighting, back into herself. Sighing with the pleasure of being back in control, Izzy flexed her hands and slowly turned her head. There was a door, reinforced and made of metal which led to the room where her friends were.

I have to get them out!

Looking around in the other direction, with her eyes only, careful not to move her head and give away that she had somehow slipped the wiper's control, she saw Alexander, staring like an automaton at the monitors before her. One lone security guard, his back to the room, stood just outside the doorway they entered.

What can I do?

The only advantage she could see was they didn't know she was no longer under their control. Whatever she did, Alexander would hear. The guard as well and Izzy would be done. Despair crept around inside her. She was iced by it, unable to move, too scared to act. Confused and feeling alone, ridiculous and small.

The sound of a radio beeped.

Izzy saw the guard putting a two-way radio to his ear and then to his mouth. Seconds later he trotted off, not bothering to look back or tell Alexander anything. Are they all implanted? How does it work? Is it possible to fight back against the implant, like I did? Izzy vaguely remembered Myth saying something bout how long effects from the wiper could be expected to last, they weren't permanent, she remembered that much. She couldn't be certain of much else. Perhaps she would have broken it eventually, regardless, but the wiper's control could be broken. Maybe that means the implant can as well.

Alexander's robotic-moving head-turned. Izzy wiggled her leg and Alexander didn't notice, or didn't give any sign she had. Izzy really had no idea what to do. Only she had to do something, she could not just stand there frozen. Waiting, afraid. She took a slow, measured, hesitant step to one side. Izzy stopped, anxiously looking to see if Alexander had noticed. She had not. Izzy took another step, looked, then another. She managed to make it almost within a foot of the other woman before Alexander became aware of her.

Not wanting to waste the surprise, Izzy snarled and threw herself, with as much force as she could summon, at Alexander. Only the mildest look of shock on Alexander's face, deadened as it was, showed before Izzy slammed into her, knocking her off the rolling chair and carried both of them to the ground.

The fight didn't last long. Izzy didn't have training, and deplored fighting. Alexander had beaten Lou, and Lou was the toughest girl, maybe even the toughest person Izzy had ever known. She could give Katherine a run for her evil. Still, Izzy swung with all the ferocity she could muster, threw all of her anger at the capture of her friends, all the rage at the diffidence of her parents. All her underlying disappointment at her lost sister, her torment of being unable to get close to people, Izzy channeled all of it into her blows.

Shockingly, even to herself, she landed a few blows, getting an especially good shot at Alexander's eye which very quickly caused swelling and began closing up. But that was the best Izzy gave. Alexander managed after less than a half dozen of Izzy's feeble, attempted blows to grab the teenager's arms at the wrist. Using her legs, Alexander flipped Izzy over and pinned the smaller girl to the floor. Alexander pressed her knees to Izzy's shoulders and though Izzy gnashed her teeth and screamed at the woman, thrashed trying to break free, it did not work. Once Alexander had her balance, with Izzy tightly pinned, she reared back and punched Izzy full force to the side of the head.

Everything went dark.

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