It was cold, too cold… and dark. Her eyes fought against the darkness, adjusting and readjusting but still seeing nothing. Though she couldn’t see it, every breath she took steamed in the air. A jittery shiver settled as she pushed herself up from the damp ground, her hands mushed into the muddy grass.
Last she remembered might have been falling asleep. The grounded thundered slightly. Her head snapped to the right, then to the left… she could hear movement surround her. Fear settled. Where was she?
Her teeth chattered as she braced herself, arms around her chest, hands brushing her upper arms. This didn’t warm her. She shivered more. There was a click like the kind a gun makes when its cocked.
The clouds slightly parted and the thin light of the dim crescent moon broke through for a moment long enough for her eyes to see. She was surrounded by armed men in army dingy khaki, helmeted, muddy faced, barely sane military men.
Her reddened nose watered. The cold air icing into her lungs with an aching burn that made her breathless with slight gasp. Her eyes finally adjusted she saw the frozen figures ready to fire at her move… Nightmare… she thought and shut her eyes.
Squeezed them closed, “Wake up,” she whispered.
A loud roaring sound thundered in the near distance. It grew louder and louder. She kept her eyes shut. A flood of light hit her and the wind stormed all around her. The wind stormed. The tall grass rustled against each other in hushed whispers.
A hard hand grabbed her by the left upper arm. Another grabbed her right. The forceful hands forced her up, tugging her at either side as if to rip her in half. She tried to pull away.
“Let me go.” She screamed to no avail. Not that they heard her scream that was drowned out by the gulping sound of bombs dropping that pounded in her ears leaving a near painful ring. The earth shuddered under her feet.
The cold. The brutal cold forced her back to a weakened shiver. The frozen soldiers said nothing. They just dragged her along the grass that grew taller and taller the further they walked. The flood light from a distant tower guided them back to where they had come from.
There was an opening in a wire chain link fence where another soldier stood, unmoving. Gun pressed against his chest, loaded and ready to aim and fire. She couldn’t even see him breathing. Without a blink his eyes stayed forward. He was tall with a huge fur coat that made his skinny head stick out like a weasel in a hole. Chap lipped, nose reddened, he just stood there frozen while they dragged her through the hole in the fence.
Trudging through the mud, their boots made slouching sucking sounds. It had just rained. There were lights in the distance, peaking through the windows of a monstrous building that was surrounded by various clusters of smaller buildings. Finally, their feet hit some concrete. They forced her to her feet. A metal door squeaked open on it rusty hinges, a moment later it cluttered shut behind them.
There was only one light in this room. A small office light over a clean wooden desk. A seemingly over-sized man sat in a chair behind the desk, elbows leaning on to the desk, grey haired head bowed, the ornaments that decorated his army green blazer reflected when his chest moved to take a breath. The only other chair in the room vacantly stood in the middle, scanty and near its death. Every step they took echoed through the room sending frightened shuddered through its fabric.
With a light shuffle they dumped her onto the chair, that felt to be in pain under her light weight. No one spoke. As if they knew what the other thought. As if orders where transmitted directly to their brains. They bound her hands behind her back like she was danger to them. If she were would she not have done something by now.
“Who are you?” The big man in the chair lifted his head as his voice roared through the room, making the echo vanish into the dark corners of the dim room. He had a huge grey moustache stuck between a huge blackhead riddled nose and a thin lip-less mouth. His eyebrows sprouted in various directions making odd shadows on his face under the lone light.
“Lucy Johnson,” she swallowed deep, like a scorned child.
“We have no Johnsons’ here. Who sent you?” the loud voice boomed again, his fist slammed the table and remained clinched like an angered ape would.
“where is here,” Lucy dared ask, “How am I even here? What is this place?” his eyebrows pulled together, if it wasn’t for the mountains of wrinkles between them they would have tangled in each other.
“Who are you!?” he belted out again.
“I am an Oxford University student, bachelor’s in engineering class of 2023,” confused truthful word vomit spilt out of her. The only way to define herself in the confusing moment. Frightened and still cold.
“Ha! You. A mere child… a girl at that,” he laughed coldly, “engineering?!” he stood up, walked around the desk and leaned his butt on the edge of the desk. With his arms folded across his chest he leaned in towards her. He was still a meter or so away from her. In a softer voice he said, “Little girl this isn’t a joke.” A chill scratched at her insides at the look in his ashy blue eyes, “2023,” he pulled back, “I don’t think they will let women into oxford even then. It would be such a waste.”
Lucy huffed, rolled her eyes, insulted and too furious to know how to respond. Her blood boiled in her seat. “what do you mean, even then?”
“I ask the questions,” He shut her down instantly, “What do you mean 2023?”
“I will be graduating next year, 2023. We are currently in 2022.”
“We aren’t its January 20, 1917,” he couldn’t have been serious, but he was.
“Seriously 1917,” she could feel a mini panic attack coming, “is this some weird initiation into a secret engineering club or a prank on the scholarship kid. Ha ha you totally got me guys time to come out of the shadows. I have to admire your commitment to this,” she yelled out, “you hired actors and everything.” Lucy looked around, her smile gradually fading, “Stupid rich bastards,” she hissed and grumbled out.
“Dear child,” the big nosed military man shook his head with a twinkle of pity in his blood shot eyes, his pupil unsteadily bouncing around in the ocean of his grey blue iris, “Who sent you?” His pupils steadied in a second of fury.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Lucy murmured beginning to fear that it was real. Too detailed to be a dream. Too detailed for those idiots with deep pocketed families to put together for her humiliation. She squeezed her eyes shut and whispered, “Wake up.”
“Walliams!” the moustache shuddered at the loud roar. One of the men with lose fitting stained uniforms, who shivered at the door, weapon in hand quick marched towards Lucy’s interrogator. His young dirty faced stature glared upward, eyes fixed in the distance. Walliams arms remained rigid at his sides. He couldn’t have been 19 years old.
“Yes, Sir!” the boy soldier mustered a salute.
“Boy, go check if they are missing anyone. This one here might be one of those that have a few loose screws,” the grouchy old military man studied her in agonizingly long silence. The cold air remained stagnant outside as if it feared him as well. “Bernard!” He yelled suddenly.
Lucy winced and slightly jumped in her seat, startled by the yell landing hard on the metal object in her right back pocket. If she could only reach it she could free herself.
“Yes sir,” another guard from the door responded in a deep terrifying voice. Bernard was bigger than Williams, not fatter but just bigger, brute. A scar marked the right side of his in a purplish red haphazardly jiggered line from the corner of his eye to the corner of his mouth. Hobbit sized feet pounded the floor as he made his way to the General. He had a clown like waddle that wasn’t helped by his trousers that were just a bit too short or his elastic worn socks that were tiredly sulking at his ankles.
“Stand guard while I get the necessary parties involved,” The General marched out. Bernard respectfully maintained his salute with a rigid stance that lasted until the General was out.
“Untie me,” Lucy ordered. Bernard chuckled, a cold kind chuckle that reminded Lucy of Stephen King’s IT. His seemingly heavy boots kloggled the wooden floor in the dim lit room as she watched him growing terrified by the soulless aura he projected. He crouched in from of her, such that his face was level with hers. His smile faded in a blink replaced by a cold loathsome frown that drew squiggly lines on his chin, exaggerated by his full lips it nearly touched his angular jaw end to end. The blank glare of his cold stagnant black eyes ran a chill down her spine.
A monstrosity of a hand fell over her mouth and gripped tight as her panicked breath struggled against the fleshy skin between his thumb and index finger. A smirk lit his face briefly. The purpled grey scar twitched. Lucy’s eyes followed it up to his hollowed black eyes that glared in the middle of an unnatural white and nearly nonexistent brows. He pushed her against the back of the chair.
Fury and fear boiled in her reddened face as her eyes watered. His free thick-skinned hand assaulted her breast with a forceful grip. Fury boiled, fear pointless. A tear or two wet his fingers that cut circulation to part of her face. The Brut lifted slightly from his crouch to push the chair on its two hind legs. Watching her coldly. Her legs were free she remembered.
A solid, shin thrusted kick landed in the soft between his legs. The pocket knife in her back pocket was freed from her back pocket as the chair fragilely returned to all fours. Bernard fell to his knees his eyes bouncing in his still bloodless eyes. Frantically she opened the blade behind her back hoping he would take longer to recover.
He returned gripping her shoulders with his massive clawless paws, aimed to do more damage in whatever time he had. The rope was too thick. He towered over her. He could have seen.
The door opened… her numbed cold hands dropped the knife. Walliams stood at the gap, a cold wind behind him sneaking into the room. “She is a spy,” he said pointing at the knife.
“I am not,” she said struggling to break the rope she had managed to cut slightly.
“the knife she was planning to attack you,” he cleared the door. The general returned… the two instantly stood at salute, until he gave a nod and they eased. “There are no known escapees Sir,” Walliams reported.
“So, you we going to attack my officer, were you?” his mouth squiggled in disgust, “Fucking Spy!” he yelled sending lone rockets of spit sprinkling to the floor.
“I was,” She glared at them all. Fury boiling, “your perverted asshole of an officer assaulted me, so I was to act accordingly and slit his throat.” She went dark quick, not that she would actually ever do it, but it felt nice to say.
“Who sent you!?” the Brut had backed up. The general hovered over her.
“No one!” She screamed back.
“Great, then no one will come looking.” Heavy thundering rain began pounding the metal roof drowning out every other sound in the room
“This can’t be real,” she sighed out. He picked the knife up behind her and cut the rope, “Take her in!”
The General returned to his desk, pocketing her knife on his way there. The Brut grabbed her by her arm and half dragged her out, with Walliams weakly following. It was all dark except for a few weak lights over doors. Stumbling through some cold damp corridors she could feel her arm begin to bruise under the Brut’s callous grip. Through a narrow doorway which she nearly slammed into.
“Is this the one… The general said,” a slightly dainty acting middle-aged man standing behind a fenced off counter said.
“We need to check her in. Moodley. She is a spy,” the Brut said in a thundering deep voice.
“What is she wearing?” a pair of deep pocked skinny jeans and a slightly low cut aged T shirt of a rock band her father once loved, “How inappropriate…” He looked at her shamefully as if insulted. “Are you sure that’s she just didn’t slip from the asylum? Have you asked Bean?”
“No one has reported one missing,” Walliams butted in, eyes blinking furiously.
“Belongings,” Moodley slid a metal bin rusted on its corners through a hole in the fence just above the counter. They all froze hesitant. “Come on. I don’t have all night. Empty your pockets first.”
“Take it all off. Put it in the bin,” Bernard the Brut, ordered harshly. Car keys in her front left pocket, cellphone in her right. It was all still there.
“No,” She tugged her arm from the Brut in an effort to get out but she only succeeded in worsening her arm’s bruising.
“Well, I will leave you two to it. I need to get some tea,” though he meant whiskey with a dash of tea. Moodley lived off alcohol, he had seen too much of life not to. His constant drunken haze blurred out the sights that still haunted him. He ghostly walked out the back, vanishing between the shelves filled with oddities and abandoned goods.
Without another word, the Brut ripped her shirt and dumped it into the bin. She screamed and fought to avail. He pinned her on the floor as Walliams undid the laces on her black and white high top converse sneakers and pulled them off. The Brut undid her bra and pulled it off her. Walliams embarrassedly pulled her pants off of her with quite the effort. Her phone and keys fell out. The Brut undid her watch and dumped it in the bin with the other belongings.
Left bare they pulled her up to her feet and dragged her to the next room, Slammed her against a dripping humid wall. Walliams left the room. The Brut didn’t. before she could turn the force of a hose slapped water onto her flesh. Who knew water could sting and that the cold could burn? She screamed as a cold shiver buried itself within her.