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Broken Chains - 1st draft

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Part Two

When Liz regained consciousness, she found herself lying on a plain white plastic mattress in a white painted room. The whiff of a synthetic odour woke her senses. Sitting up, she rubbed her arms, but it wasn’t from a chill. The room felt warm, even though there was nowhere for the heat to come in. She was about to call out when the cell door opened.

A woman in her late twenties walked in.

Liz thought the woman’s smile was as fake as her tan.

“You’ve got yourself in a bit of a mess haven’t you?”

Liz stared back at the woman.

The grey pleated trouser suit had to be designer and the high heeled, black leather shoes she wore added to the woman’s already superior height. Not enjoying the feeling of being looked down upon, Liz stood up. Her neck still ached from the blow but she held her head up and faced the woman.

“Now, what is this all about?” The woman sang out and placed an arm around Liz’s shoulder.

Liz shrugged it off.

The woman’s friendly attitude suddenly changed.

“Let’s go. People want to talk to you.”

Liz obediently followed the woman out of the room. Three security guards stood outside the door waiting to escort her. She’d learned her lesson and wasn’t about to make the same mistake again.

Even though the walk was a short one, Liz made she had a good look around the place, taking in the metal and glass décor of the corridors and the numerous silver elevator doors. As they didn’t come across another person, she assumed she was in a secured part of the building away from where the real work went on.

The woman led her to a plain grey door at the end of the corridor. As she opened the door, two suited men stood up from their seats.

The room was small and square, sparse of décor and furniture. A grey coloured table sat in the centre of the room, the contents of her bag lay scattered on the top. A hand signalled for Liz to sit on the last of the three chairs. The woman nodded to one of the men and then left the room.

A small monitor at the side of the room caught her attention. It was quickly switched off, but not before Liz saw her white cell on the screen. They had been watching and recording her, no doubt they still were.

“Miss Finley, my name is Mr Smith, and this is Mr Jones.”

Mr Jones nodded his head to Liz.

He wasn’t exactly the Tom she’d imagined, but he had a pleasant look to him. Serious in a seductive way, and he dressed to match. In a dark blue suit and polished black laced shoes, he looked smart but comfortable. Smith, on the other hand, was a fat rounded man with a balding head and scorn on his face.

Jones picked up Liz’s note pad from the table and flicked through the pages absently.

“This makes interesting reading,” he said, and then smiled.

Liz didn’t think there was anything false about his smile. She felt warmth radiate from it.

“They’re only notes,” she answered.

“Argh, so she does speak.” Jones laughed.

Smith took a beige folder from the table and started to read from it.

“Elizabeth Finley, known better as Liz. Born in 1/2/1974. Single, with no current boyfriend.”

Liz swallowed hard.

“Mother deceased, father living somewhere in Greece.”

“Shouldn’t be too hard to track him down,” Jones interrupted.

Smith nodded and then continued. “Income 12.000 per annul. 6.500 in savings at Barclay’s bank. Oh, and you’re allergic to peanuts.”

He closed the file and threw it onto the table.

“Anything else you’d like to add, Miss Finley?” He folded his arms and glared at her.

“Call me Liz. No, I’m sure you know more about me than I do.”

“Who are you working for?” Smith asked.

“You know who, it’s in the file?”

“Cut the crap, Liz.” Smith slammed his fist down on the table.

She shifted in her chair. “I’m a singer in bars and clubs around town. The Golden Hawk in Bridge View Lane is my regular spot.”

“Okay, let’s start from the beginning,” Smith said. “Why were you watching the headquarters of MI5?”

Liz kept silent while she thought of how to answer.

“Goddamit,” Smith yelled. “You sat in Time Out coffee house, for over forty minutes, watching the front of the building and taking notes. Why?”

The good cop, bad cop scenario was certainly playing out like the TV programs, only no one was going to shout ‘cut, that’s a wrap,’ she worried.

“Research,” she whispered.

“Research for what?” Jones asked.

“For a book, I’m writing. I’m an author, well trying to be.”

Jones picked up the notebook again.

“You see a lot,” he said, lifting his eyes off the page to look at her.

“Too much,” Smith added.

“Is it a crime to stare out of a window?”

“Depends what you’re staring at,” Smith answered.

“Look, this is stupid; do you really feel I’m a threat to national security? You’re wasting your time.”

“You seem to know a lot about what we do, who we are,” Smith continued.

“Well, your names are certainly not Mr Jones and Mr Smith,” Liz retorted.

Jones laughed.

“I watch a lot of TV, so yes, I have an idea about what goes on in here.”

“Excuse my manners, Liz. Would you like a drink?” Jones asked.

“Yes. Thank you. Some water, bottled with a sealed cap.”

Jones grinned and shook his head before standing up and leaving the room.

“These are very vivid descriptions of people coming out of the building. A couple of them are Intelligence Officers, agents.”

“I didn’t know that,” Liz answered.

“But you had an idea, didn’t you. I believe you knew exactly who you were looking for, who you were keeping under surveillance.”

“No, you’ve got it all wrong,” Liz yelled. “I’m no one you need to concern yourself with.”

“Miss Finley, we take all potential threats seriously, for all we know you could be a terrorist.”

Liz shook her head.

“Why were you watching MI5 headquarters?” he repeated.

“Research.”

“Yes, research for your book. You said that. What’s your book about?”

“Probably about a writer that sits opposite MI5 headquarters, taking notes, researching her next novel, when she’s suddenly kidnapped and interrogated.”

Smith unbuttoned and took off his jacket. Liz got the impression that they were in for a long afternoon.

He calmly sat back down. “Who were you talking to on the phone?”

“I’m sure you already know that,” Liz retorted.

“Stop playing with us, Liz. You’re just digging yourself further in the hole you’re already in.”

“I haven’t done anything wrong. I was sitting in the café thinking about my book, taking notes and writing down ideas. The phone call was from my neighbour, George Brown.”

Jones came back into the room and handed Liz a chilled small bottle of water.

“One water, chemical-free.” He laughed. “Did you really think we’d drug your drink?”

“You’re too paranoid,” Smith said.

“Am I,” Liz answered, staring at them both before unscrewing the cap of the bottle.

Her throat parched and sore, she sipped the cool water gratefully. While her hand rubbed at the front of her neck and then travel to the ache at the back.

Jones watched every movement carefully. “Would you like some ice for that?” he asked.

“No. I’m okay.”

“Why did you attack our two guards?” Smith asked.

“I freaked out when I saw the handcuffs. I was coming in quietly, so there was no need to restrain me.”

“A security measure. Since the attacks, security has been heightened,” Smith announced.

Liz nodded her head.

“Who trained you to fight?” he continued.

“No one trained me. I took self-defence classes.”

“From what I saw, it was more than self-defence,” Jones said. “Your movements flowed; you knew exactly what you were doing. It was hardly an inexperienced show. So, shall we try again? Where did you learn martial arts?”

“Jeez, I work in a bar, okay; I have to take care of myself. You can’t imagine the jerks we get in there. Drunks that think I’m free property.”

“I’m assuming they have security,” Smith asked.

“I can take care of myself.”

“Yes, we saw that,” Jones said.

The two men whispered to one another and then stood up. Jones leaned in towards Liz.

“Take this time to sort your story out. It’s not looking good for you, Liz. You’re going to have to do a better job at convincing me of your innocence.”

“I am innocent,” she yelled.

Smith and Jones left Liz alone in the room.

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