Helena - Chapter 1
The world swam back into focus as
she blinked her eyes with uncertainty. Blurred lines and shapes rippled and
become whole again to reveal the room around her. Stark white ceilings fitted
with harsh fluorescent lights made her eyes sting and water as her vision
regained. She could feel an unyielding thumping at the back of her head which
had the promising to be a world class migraine, the insides of her skull
echoing the relentless throbs of pain. Her mouth felt as-though she had been
chewing sandpaper for the best part of the day, upon sensing this her throat
instantly called out for water, she'd never felt so thirsty, well maybe once.
On attempting to sit up she realised, she couldn't move, her arms were
restrained with thick leather straps and unable to see her feet she could only
assume the same. Looking around again, she focussed on trying to figure out
where she was. The bare white ceiling, the walls were that shade of clinical
pale green colour she associated with hospitals and she felt a sense of unease.
A faint beeping came from somewhere over her shoulder, with some difficulty she
turned her head to see the grey monitor behind her, the electronic line
fluctuating with the rhythmic beating of her heart.
What did she remember last? She was sure she had made it back to the apartment, she'd fed Barclay as he meowed and twisted between her legs. She’d gone into the living room and then, well nothing. Had she blacked out she wondered? Had the neighbours heard? Had she been taken to hospital? But no, that wouldn't explain the restraints. The bleeps began to increase as réalisation crashed down like waves around her. It had been so long, she was sure she was off the radar, she'd been careful, lived a sheltered life. Cautious steps, never putting herself out there. An unassuming job, no bank accounts, a fake name, not even friends. But here she was, back within the depths of the Department.
A dull ache spread inside her, but that wasn't from her fear of the situation, she actually ached inside. It felt like she'd eaten too much of the fried pork from the Golden Dragon but this was different, she felt bloated but not full. A heavy feeling like she'd swallowed iron bars not Chinese food. Her head continued to ache, a sharp pain throbbed from behind her left knee and with her stomach her body pulsed with pain, every cell of her crying out in agony. She tried to call out, scream for help but her dry throat splinted with her efforts and she could barely muster a whimper. Her throat sounded like a mix of gravel and ice chips and that’s how it felt too. Dry but wet at the same time.
From somewhere behind her she heard a door open, two pairs of footsteps entered the room, she may have left her old life behind but her senses were still as sharp as ever, except not back at home. How could she have gotten so complacent? She'd foolishly let her guard down. She mentally scorned herself. She hadn't seen the slight scuff marks on her door where it had been forced open, she hadn't seen the figure dressed in black, hidden in the shadows as she passed the kitchen, Not heard the soft tread of boots as she opened the cat food. She'd not heard the whoosh of air as the baton came down on the back of her head adding white spots to her vision before everything had gone dark and the needle was forced into her neck. The thin hypodermic piercing her skin and blacking out everything.
Their faces came into view, the women, all angles, sharp cheekbones, hair pulled back tight, jet black, reflecting the artificial light. The woman turned her face to stare down at her.
'You decided to wake up then?'
Her voice ran cold which oddly contrasted with the smile on her thin lips which didn't reach her eyes. She had huntsman eyes, sharp focussed and deadly, they shone bright like dark oceans, grey and full of danger beneath the surface. She could see that straight away that they gleamed with malice and delight. Like a child with a new toy and this scared her.
'Now, now Andrea, she's our…'
The male paused searching for the right word and unable to find it continued
'…guest, no need to torment her'.
His face seemed at such odds to hers, round, plump, almost pleasant. Thin small lines emulated from his soft brown eyes which showed warmth, wisps of grey hair coloured his temples and the thinning hair at his brow showed he was much older. He looked like a teacher, she could almost see the tweed jacket. He looked all wrong in the white coat, but she knew the Department, what tricks they would use, sending these two in. Good cop bad cop so to speak.
She tried to open her mouth, speak, offer some sort of retaliation but she couldn't force the words out, she wanted to scream, to shout, call them every name under the sun but the words wouldn't form.
'Don't worry dear' the icy voice called with an air of impatience.
'We've learned a few new tricks since your last visit, no screaming for you deary.’
The speechless woman simply looked back, what did she mean, learned a few tricks but before she had time to wonder on it Andrea was continuing on.
‘Oh how time flies, what has it been now Helena, eight, nine years, oh my I do believe it has been ten years? I was almost still a young lady myself here when you left us, might I say how well you have aged, well you know what I mean' her cold tones offered sarcastically cutting right through the bound woman,
'Andrea' snapped the male voice again, 'there is no need'
The sharpness in his voice took Helena back, it didn't correlate with his appearance, and he had the look and body language that appeared to her that he didn't agree with what was going on, the restraints, the drugs, which she had now come to associated with the dry mouth and headache.
'Now Helena, I really do apologise for all this' he gestured to the restraints.
Andrea tutted behind him.
'But I am a slave to the rules, and everything is done for a reason, surely you can see that, you know what we do, why we must do this'
He sounded like he was pleading to her, trying to beg her forgiveness.
'After all, it's for the greater good, think of the data, the applications all this could provide, a better world' she could hear his words but saw that even he didn’t seem to believe them.
Helena thrashed out, not exactly at him, but at her situation. There was something about him, his name badge read Dr Marcus Braithwaite, he seemed like he was there out of force too. He didn't seem to belong to the bright lights and clinical surroundings.
She couldn't believe they had gotten her, she'd spent nearly 10 years on the run, hiding. Those first few laying low out in the country, pretending to be a camper, pitching up her stolen tent at site after site. She'd only moved back to the city two years ago, she'd even managed to convince herself she could live a normal life. It wasn't exactly the career of a life time but making sandwiches for the bankers and traders was enough for her. And now she was back at the Department, back in their manipulative hands.
'Smile dearie, you should be happy' offered Andrea, a little more cheer In her voice, well as close to cheer as Helena thought she was capable of, but her tone unnerved her.
'Oh don't look too alarmed, after all, you have been chosen, the Directors have spent a lot of time and effort not to mention money trying to find you dearie,'
Marcus began fussing around her, checking the monitor, and mumbling to himself
'Vitals seem fine, blood pressure little high, to be expected of course'
'They weren't even sure it was you at all at first, you do seem to have that pesky habit of the unreadable DNA, it was not until they sent Jones out, oh you remember him don't you' Andrea teased seeing Helena's eyes widen.
'Jones waited all day for you to get home, I must admit, he did manage to take you quite easily I expected more from you, you're supposed to have heightened sense are you not? Perhaps you've become soft? Maybe we made a mistake in bringing you back?' her face twisted into a grotesque smile. She was enjoying taunting the helpless woman.
'Ms Westwood, once more and I'll ask you be removed, she doesn't need any extra provocation, I need to keep her vitals regulated'
'Quite right, I do apologise Dr Braithwaite' and she took up her face set into the cold icy expression again.
'It was Jones anyway who recognised you, we've been following you for a few weeks now', don't worry we're not totally barbaric, we did send your cat to a rehoming centre' and a slight flicker of regret flashed across her face again but Marcus was busy over on the other side of the room.
Leaning over to whisper in Helena's ear, and purely for show as Andrea knew how sharp the restrained woman's hearing was. 'I suggested shooting the thing, and feeding it to you, I do know how your kind likes fresh meat'
This time Helena pulled at her restraints and felt it give, her hand wrapped around the other woman's throat, it gave her satisfaction seeing the shock and disbelief in Andrea’s eyes. She had been so sure that Helena couldn't escape. As Andrea frantically clasped at her throat trying to prise the hard hand from around her wind pipe, an alarm flared up filling the clinical room with red lights. Andrea could see the pulsing light reflecting off Helena's maniacal eyes, the determination, the conviction and then they slide out of focus, Helena's hand began to loosen and she gasped for air. Helena sunk back into the bed, Marcus standing behind her with the needle still in his hand.
'What did I say Andrea' he barked at her
However Andrea wasn’t listening to him, still had one more thing she wanted to say. She leaned over the now semi-conscious Helena, face full of hate.
'But we found you again, dearie' the last word full of spite, her voice croaked from the pressure to her larynx.
'And this time you won't escape, you have something that we need, and we intend to get it back, once your job is done'
Helena looked up at her struggling to keep focus, the other woman's face so close to hers, and she could smell Andrea’s breath, sweet and deadly. The red light bouncing of her cold grey eyes as she stared into the glazed green ones of the now subdued woman.
'Oh yes you do have an important job, you see I can't kill you now, as much as I would love to, oh I would so love to put my gun against that pretty little blond head dearie and boom.’ She whispered the last word almost as if she felt it added more drama to the already dramatic situation. ,’but I digress' she continued.
Andreas hand moved and Helena tried to back up but the drugs had started to work their magic. Her body had gone limp. Her vision was starting to go. Like someone was painting out her field of sight and the blackness began to spread over her eyes creeping in from the edges.
'You see' Andrea said and she rested her hand on Helena's stomach ' we have put something in here that we are going to need back in nine months'