Chapter 2: Home: First Night
He felt someone stroking his hair, still damp from the rain, he assumed. It took him a moment to realize that he was in bed, in his room. Yet the voice sounded different in here.
He knew the voice, knew the syrupy sound now singing when things weren't so…swell. Whenever his mother used that tone, it was meant to make the listener feel sorry, feel guilty, usually for something she had done, but of course it was the listener's fault. The last thing he wanted to do was open his eyes.
"Simon. Sit up and drink this." He felt a teacup and saucer being pressed into his hands. "It will make you feel better."
He laughed silently to himself. As if a cup of tea, with a spoonful of sugar, could make the bitterness go down, he thought. Such stupidity, he thought as he lay still.
The hand left his face now and clasped a shoulder, pulling him to an upright position. "Drink," she said. He had half a mind to ignore her request, half a mind to dump the cup and contents onto the floor just to annoy her.
Fingernails dug into his flesh, as if his mother had sensed his thoughts. "Stop this childishness this instant, Simon Sean Tam!"
Wincing in pain, Simon complied, looking into the eyes of Regan Tam. A moderately regal woman, she believed in giving her children everything possible. Everything but herself and her time, Simon lamented. Had that played a part in River's decision to leave for the Academy, he wondered?
"Drink," she said, putting the cup to his lips.
He did as he was told, wrinkling his nose at the smell of the flowery brew overpowering him. At least it was sweetened with honey and not sugar, he thought as he emptied the cup, and then handed it back to his mother.
Placing his hands on her shoulders to steady himself, Simon swung his legs toward the floor. "I have to go, Mom." He noticed that his socks and shoes were gone. "I have to-."
"No, you don't," Regan said. "You can't. You won't."
This time, Simon laughed out loud, a bit of sadness added. "I have to find River, Mom. Please, let me-."
Ignoring her, he stood up, finally registering his surroundings. The shutters and closet doors were closed and the pictures he had hanging on the walls were gone.
Instead of answering, Regan Tam injected her son with a syringe she took from her pocket. Son and mother locked eyes until the younger one lost the battle with the contents of the needle, his eyelids falling just as fast as the rest of him back onto the bed.
He tried to focus on his body's responses to determine what drug it was. Just when he thought he had it, other questions entered his mind – Where did his mother get it from? Did it come from his bag? If so, what did he usually carry in there, then? What was the dosage? What was he up against? How long would it last?
The last thing he heard was, "I'm sorry, son. It's for your own good."
He didn't know how much time passed when he finally woke up. No one was in the now barren room with him, so that was a mixed blessing. Problem was that he did not know where his parents were. He went to the door only to find it locked. Walking to his closet, Simon found it empty of all of his clothes and shoes. Going to the window, not only were the shutters closed, but secured. He wasn't aware of a lock on them before.
His bedroom door opened, and in the doorway stood his father.
"It's for your own good," Gabriel said.
Simon imagined what his father looked like at that moment. This was someone who was supposed to protect him, support him, Simon thought. Instead, his father was a prison guard, an obstacle to deal with, to push past. After all, Simon still had to get to River.
"Why don't you believe me?" Simon asked softly. "Why won't you help me free her?"
"I've called the hospital and informed your supervisor that you were in need of extended rest."
Simon shook his head. "That's not what I need, Dad."
"I'm sorry it's come this."
Gabriel's voice grew cold. "Don't you dare talk to me that way, young man."
"What? I'm no longer your son, either?" Simon chuckled. "What am I then, Dad?"
"You're in need of saving from yourself."
Simon walked back to his bed and began picking at the threads of the duvet cover. If he did this right, he could run past his father, run down the stairs, out the door and-.
"Benat," his father called.
Change of plans, Simon thought. His heart pounded in his chest, out of fear, anxiety and anger. He couldn't stay here; he wouldn't.
The taller man stood behind Gabriel, holding out two articles of clothing, one gray, and the other dark blue. They were probably thinner than the clothes Simon had on already, he supposed.
"Put them on, Simon."
Simon remained where he was, staring at his bare feet. It was one thing to wake up to a bare room, but to be given a 'uniform' seemed so…absurd.
"Either you put them on on your own, or I'll have Benat help you. Your choice."
Still pulling at the threads, Simon said, "I have choices now? Wow. I can't contain my excitement."
"Would you rather I dress you, then?"
Simon smiled. "What, am I two?"
Out of the corner of his eye, Simon watched as Gabriel grabbed the clothes from Benat then walk purposefully towards him. Typical, Simon thought, that his father would see this as an inconvenient chore. So, the least Simon could do was make it difficult, he supposed.
As soon as his father was in arm's reach, Simon swung his fist at him. His father fell easily enough, but now Simon was concerned about Benat. While he had the advantage of having more room to move in compared to the car, he had no idea on how to bring the 'Goliath' down.
Without thinking, Simon grabbed the duvet and flung it over Benat's head. He surprised the other man and himself in that he did get it over the man's head. Grabbing the corners, Simon pulled downward hard with all of his might, bringing the driver to the floor, just long enough for Simon to run past both men.
His feet pounding down the lacquered wood stairs, he tried to ignore his heart pounding in time in his ears. He could get to the door, he could get to the gate, he could get to the gap in the back, he could-.
Wish he was dead, he thought, as Benat slammed him into the heavy front doors, the handle pressed against his ribs, his wrist now twisted high above and behind his back. There was no way to defend himself from Benat's fist as they hammered into his ribs repeatedly.
Somewhere in the middle of the chaos, Simon thought he felt a needle prick him. The last thing he heard was his father yelling in his ear and his mother screaming.