Chapter 70 - Saved?
Even if Kale wanted to do anything, there were no windows in the bathroom; no chance at escape. After using the toilet he peered into the mirror, staring into his own orange eyes, light red marks lined the edges of his eyes. What little hope he still clung onto was beginning to fade fast. Tears he thought he didn’t have finally poured out, making up for lost time. The sight of his dirtied face shook him.
How long was he going to be forced to stay here? Forever? When would his parents come to the rescue? Would they ever? Kale slapped his face, and ran his fingers across it.
“Hey kid! You almost done?” Arlo’s voice muffled through the door.
Kale made a whimper and proceeded to open the door. Fern and Iven were talking amongst each other in the large room, still in a deep heated discussion. Kale stopped while following Arlo and stared at the door that led out of the dirty hideout.
“Don’t even think about it, come on. Let’s get you back down here.” Arlo pointed his thumb towards the door to Kale’s prison.
Kale dropped his head and slid his feet across the dusty floorboards, following the man who was much larger than himself. He had no choice but to obey, he didn’t want to even think of the consequences if he defied them.
“Don’t worry, we’ll bring you food and drinks regularly, we don’t want you dying on us. Also we’ll bring a change of clothes. Everything will be swell.” Arlo continued down the creaking steps and unlocked the door.
Kale just glared at Arlo and sunk back into his cell, the door closed and latched behind him as he walked through. The cats all meowed and ran up to him, rubbing against his legs. He fell to the floor and sprawled his arms out and laid, hugging them as best he could while a few more tears sunk deep within their fur.
Arlo returned to the main floor of the church, everything was quiet; there was no more bickering amongst the holy room. Despite being a religious building, he didn’t even practice Nimalism, and well, neither did the others. They only used the religion as an excuse to justify everything they did even further.
Oren came into the room with a determined expression. “Change of plans.”
“What do you mean?” Iven stood up and turned to face him, light reflected into the room from the colorful stained glass windows.
“Well, upon returning from my meeting with all the other sectional leaders of our operation, it seems our method of dealing with subjects is the least efficient.” He itched his chin. “From today forward we will treat our subjects with the utmost care. The subjects from the other bases basically worship their researchers as gods. It’s what we need as well, total obedience.”
“Good luck with that, we’ve already traumatized the new boy,” Arlo said.
“No worries, not all hope is lost. He’s just a child, we have opportunities to come up with reasons as to why we’ve treated him so harshly, and you always have such a soft spot for the subjects, don’t you Arlo? It wouldn’t be impossible for us to all have a change of heart because of you,” Oren mocked.
Fern spoke up, “What do you propose we do to explain everything then? And how are we going to change things going forward?”
“It seems the other divisions have been telling the children that their neighborhoods were contaminated with some made up chemical, and kids are so stupid that they will believe anything!” Oren laughed. “We just say we have a measuring device that measures the amount of radiation from the chemical on the bodies of people and that the kids were in an emergency state so we took them in, even if we were aggressive it was to save their lives!”
“You think the boy will believe that? You do know we have chained him up like a prisoner,” Arlo said.
“Yes, well, we can say that the chemical reacts to humans in a way that makes them aggressive and the chains were for our own safety, the more often we have to handle him physically, the easier the chance of it spreading to us. And now for the best part, we can tell him the injections we have been giving him are for healing him!” A giant grin cracked against Oren’s face. “He’ll have no idea!”
“And what about his parents? I’m sure he will be upset we didn’t try to save them.” Arlo stepped towards Oren, thinking his plan was foolish.
“I’ve already set up matters to make this seem more legitimate. You’ll see. As I said, kids will believe anything. Especially if you start to treat them better than their parents ever could. I’ve made arrangements to send this boy over to Station Harbinger’s new sector. It’s set up as if it were a school, and they will learn things there too. Great things.”
Arlo sighed. “For once I can’t say I’m against this idea if it helps the well being of the children.”
Iven ran up to Oren. “W-wait a minute boss! What’s gonna happen to this place then? Are we going to have to join up with the men at Station Harbinger to proceed with our studies?”
Arlo was surprised that Iven seemed flustered with Oren’s decision, he’d never seen this happen before. He must really love this old beaten up church.
“Oh come on, Iven. It won’t be that bad, plus the mold in the basement isn’t healthy with our subjects anyway. It’s about time we moved on to a better hideout. It’s not like you can never visit here again, anyway,” Oren clasped his hands on Iven’s shoulders.
“Yes, sir, I suppose you are correct. Sorry, for the outburst.” Iven’s gaze was firm, he accepted the outcome. “Are we going to take all the cats to Lyros then? I can’t imagine that Station Harbinger wants their animal subjects mingling with the human subjects there.”
Oren smirked. “Exactly, we’ll bring them there and let Lars handle the cats once again. But, I was able to make an arrangement for letting the boy bring at least one of the cats. I explained what we planned on doing, and they were intrigued as well.”
“So, when are we transferring?” Iven asked.
“In a month or so.”
“Hey kid, can you give me your name? Sorry we never asked for it before, but we were in a hurry making sure you were safe, and that we would be okay around you.” Oren stood before Kale. “I want to tell you why you are here. I can help you find your parents too.”
“What? What are you talking about? My parents?” Kale’s eyes grew wide. “My name is Kale Beont. What do you mean by that?”
Oren sifted through a paper, looking as if deep in thought. “Okay, it seems there are a few Beonts from Montria, could you tell me your parents’ names.”
“Dale and Marcia.”
“Ah, yes, yes, here they are.” Oren lifted his eyes from the pages and looked at Kale. “Don’t be alarmed with this information, but they have been taken by our company too.”
“W-what? What do you mean?!”
His parents were in a similar situation?
“There was a chemical spill in your neighborhood, I’m glad I found you when I did. Who knows what would have happened to you! The cats I had collected in my trunk were all contaminated from the chemicals too, I thought maybe we could cleanse all of you and set you free when you are cured.”
Kale looked over at the large group of cats. “Are… we okay?”
“Yes, well you are going to be okay. It’s best for me to continue giving you injections every day like the one I gave you today. The first one was a major success! You will be on your way to recovery someday hopefully soon!”
“Where are my parents? Can’t I see them?”
“Yes, you will be able to see them in time, but adults react to this chemical worse than children. It makes humans aggressive, that’s why we chained you up earlier as well, but we decided since you were given the first dose of medicine we won’t do that to you anymore. Sorry for hurting you so much.”
Kale’s face lightened a bit. “My parents, they’ll be okay, right?!”
“Yes, it seems the tests are going well.”
“That’s good… and what about all these cats?” Kale asked.
“Actually, that was another thing I came to talk to you about. I don’t have enough medicine to help out all the cats, so I am going to need for you to choose four cats that you would like to save.”
Kale’s face dropped. “Only four of them will live?”
“The four you choose will definitely survive, but there may be others that live full lives too. Do you have an idea of the cats you want to save yet?”
“I don’t know… I haven’t even been around them for a full day...”
“Which ones do you think you would like to keep forever?”
Kale pondered for a moment, then pointed at a gray one, a white one, a black one with one green and one blue eye, and an orange one with black spots.