Chapter 14: Her Doctor
The grey lifeless walls of Preventative Care were starting to get real boring. I also needed to pee pretty badly. It sucked they left the cuffs on my wrists, extra tight. They also made sure the cuffs were chained to the wall behind me, down low. Otherwise if they were up any higher I could potentially find a way to use my hair to free myself.
When I had been escorted in and restrained by a young female guard, she explained that my former spy profession made me a high flight risk. All extra cautions had to be taken to insure I did not escape.
And now, I was soon to be examined. At least that’s what I was told five hours ago. There was a digital clock on the wall and with the seconds ticking by it was driving me crazy.
I honestly feel like I am about to lose my mind in my cramped grey and lifeless cell. That’s about the same time I hear a rattle of a cog turning in the doors. My eyes focus on the gap slowly appearing between the cement wall and metal door. It heaves along the floor as the female guard from before enters from the outside.
Her squinty eyes focus on me as she stalks into my small square space, right up to my standing figure.
“Sorry for the delay,” she apologizes, quietly, flicking her brown hair behind her shoulders as she explains, “The main assessor fell ill and we had to call in a replacement, assessments resumed a few hours ago after Doctor Charles came in to take over duties for introducing newcomers. He will see you now,” her eyes search mine for a moment, bright with knowledge.
As she explains, she fetches a key from her belt and scoots behind me to undo the chains attached to my cuffs. My wrists are still forcibly left restrained behind my back as she shows me forward and leads me from behind with a hand on the small of my back.
“Welcome to the PC Complex Miss O’Brien,” she states.
“Formalities aside and not to be rude, but I really need to pee, where –” I begin to ask but I don’t get very far when she interrupts quickly.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have time to wait for the detainees to take their time relieving themselves just to slow down my job to move on this initial process. I’m sure you can wait to use the restrooms after I’ve moved you into the main processing chamber,” she explains dryly like she’s told every other prisoner before me the same thing.
“…fine,” I grumble, it’s not like I could change what was happening to me right now. As she leads me out of my cell, we enter cold white corridors reeking with the smell of antiseptic.
Yes, this prison labelled for Preventative Care felt like it was more of a hospital and I still didn’t understand exactly why. After a few minutes of winding down endless amounts of plain corridors, I also feel like this place is a never-ending maze.
“It’s the only safe place,” she speaks, out of the blue and I look over my shoulder to see her watching me. I just raise an eyebrow, waiting for her to explain, “Nowhere else issafe. This place is secure.”
“Ah,” I’m thoroughly confused about what she’s said as we turn down one more empty corridor. At the end, we are heading towards a glass door where I witness a large room with multiple pacing prisoners. All I can do is gulp, “So you think the safest place is where all the potential Misfits are?” I ask, under my breath, curious but also disbelieving.
Not that I felt seriously threatened, but I didn’t understand what she was trying to say.
“Not concerning that. You’ll all see one day,” she replies quietly and I barely hear her.
As we get closer, a bulky bald man also dressed in a guard’s uniform, lumbers up to the glass door and opens it, his eyes on my escort. Her grip tightens on my cuffs at the sight of him.
“You’re behind schedule!” he growls as he holds the door open for her to drop me off.
“I’m moving as quickly as I can,” she snaps back and he chooses not to blink or falter on his scolding.
“Kate, don’t bullshit with me,” as he speaks, she releases me from the cuffs, “I know you took an early lunch break and that put you behind schedule –” I’ve only taken a few steps into the communal room, free of any grip before the door slams shut.
Over my shoulder the two continue to converse outside in the corridor. The bald man yells at Kate but it’s muffled to the point I can’t hear what is being said. She eventually turns and as she does I notice her guard’s jacket sleeve rise a tad up her arm, exposing a red band around her wrist, glowing and beeping as she darts off down the corridor.
I then turn and take in the large simple room. Some communal tables and lots of pacing detainees. It seemed many had been restrained also, as most were rubbing sore wrists or shaking out stiff limbs.
I head past everyone to the restrooms to relieve myself. Once I’m back out with everyone else, I slowly walk over to take a seat after being made to stand for so long. I slump into the blunt plastic chair with a sigh as my thoughts turn darker. It quickly settles in that no rescue attempt has been made or will be made.
STRIKE had fallen off following a couple of miles trailing the police car and that was the end of that.
Then when I arrived, I didn’t expect the outside to look the way it did. It was represented like a typical university building; which soon became a complete and utter contrast to the interior design. Inside was filled with a theme I liked to think of as ‘control’.
Cool colours, if any besides grey, no art and security rounding up the detainees.
Now I at least had some colour to witness; the hair, tattoos and varying tints of skin from the fellow prisoners in the room. I watch with narrowed eyes at the papers they are holding as they scratch their heads, pacing and wondering.
I don’t get to think about it too long because at the end of the hall, a single wide door slides open, revealing a tall figure with a dark head of curly very long hair… and… was that purple eyes?
“Alyssa O’Brien,” he calls out my name and my heart skips a beat in unexpected anticipation.
It couldn’t be him! But…
….the similarities were so close , even the voice! However, Dale didn’t have long hair. He had a dark brown styled mess, much shorter.
Perhaps the five hours in that small cell, chained up, really did drive me mad.
Now I was officially having delusions about the Lord of the Underworld.
“Yes, that’s me,” I get to my feet and hurry closer towards him, curious to see this doctor in close proximity. The other prisoners watch me with disdain or empathy as I pass them by. However, my eyes are focused solely on the doctor.
“My name is Doctor Charles,” he introduces himself, smiling and taking a step back to allow me to enter the small office. I bite my lip as his – definitely – purple eyes, follow me into the room, not blinking once. I scoot right over into a free chair and turn to face him as he approaches his desk but does not sit.
I look up with a searching, curious, hopeful gaze.
I swear the similarities were crazy even more so this close to him –
“Make yourself comfortable,” he murmurs, finally sliding down into his own plump leather seat behind his desk.
“I am,” I answer, quietly, “Trust me. I’m far more comfortable now compared to being cuffed and chained to a wall for five long hours,” I assess his reaction, my hands clasped over my knee which is bent over my other leg, very lady like.
He smirks before leaning back into his chair, more at ease.
“Is being restrained displeasing to you?” he asks, amused. Not only that but it was drawled in the exact tone and with the exact voice of Dale. My suspicions raise their ugly head.
“Have we met before?” I ask, quietly. I do not break his gaze, hoping for a hint that my hunch was right. Unless, of course, the disgusting antiseptic smell was so strong in this place, it was encouraging my delusions.
“So… on record you have some tough finger nails, toe nails and also a sharp head of hair, am I correct?” he asks, his eyes dropping to my ripped-up jeans in suggestion that it was related to my Gift.
“Correct,” I answer, also noting his complete avoidance of my own question.
“You were a spy?” he asks.
“So you were of some asset to the Five Reds, no doubt? Until you rebelled,” he states with an amused sparkle in his gaze.
“I assume so,” I answer quickly, hoping I soon find out what this interrogation was leading to.
“Patience, Alyssa,” he blinks slowly as he instantly scolds me without even looking at me while rubbing his chin and glancing at his computer.
“I just want to know why I’m here,” I growl. And why you look and sound so damn similar... and why the fuck I care so much.
“Well... I would usually give you the choice of which department you’d like to be rehabilitated in, but I already know where you’d fit in perfectly, Miss O’Brien,” he reaches into a draw and takes out a small plastic package while giving me a once over, “Your Gift is of some interest to our small research facility at this Preventative Care centre.”
He hands the uniform over the desk and I take it with a hesitant hand. All the while my eyes now focus on his hair line. Hoping to see the tell-tale signs of a wig. His voice was just too identical to Dale’s! I couldn’t let it go.
“Oh?” I ask, dropping the package into my lap, I continue to assess him.
“Assisting the planet, Alyssa, through experimentation trials. If you agree to help us, we will teach you the extent of your limits and the importance of your life. The testing is only done in correlation to your Gift from the apocalypse –”
“But, wait a second. What type of tests?” I blurt out, wanting to panic but deciding to get some answers first before I do. This didn’t sound so good.
“Do tests worry you? Our tests show your difference to what we call the ‘human average’. It simply gives us an idea of how far your cells have transformed. By whatever means necessary.”
“What type of tests?” I ask again, “I want specifics, Doctor, please.”
“Lab trials. I won’t lie. They are not only mental tests and scenarios that will push you to your mental limits but also to your physical limits; without harming you of course… at least not too much,” as he finishes explaining I am simply sitting, gaping at his words. Um, no thank you! I’m about to express that exact statement but he continues to speak before I can have my say.
“Myself and the whole of the PC staff appreciate your willingness and co-operation, Miss O’Brien,” I watch as he types into a computer and I find myself leaning forward, gripping the edge of the desk. My nails accidentally scratch the metal so I quickly let go, “I look forward to seeing you very soon. You will be escorted back to your cell with your new uniform, until we are ready to take you in for experimentation,” he then presses one final button on the key board and lifts his mocking, purple eyes. Just as my mouth pops open again to speak, he raises a hand to shut me up, “That will be all, kitten. Get up.”
I stand up.
I’m holding my uniform close and my mouth is opening and closing, wanting to say so much but failing to find the right words. Kitten? Why in the seven hells did this doctor call me kitten – of all terms?
“Out,” he repeats and I quickly move out the door, shaking my head to myself while feeling extremely confused.
As I exit, I see the bulky guard from before. He spots me holding the small packaged uniform.
“This way, girl,” he snaps, coming forward to put a hand on the small of my back to shove me forward, “Lab experiments go back to their cells immediately.”
“Restrained?” I ask, trembling as I open the door and he trails close behind me. It intimidates me to walk faster than normal, but he of course, manages to keep pace.
“First you’re putting on that uniform then you’ll be restrained. I read your profile, girly. Wanna-be spy with super tough nails and hair? Hilarious. Not only hilarious because you thought you could be a spy, but you then thought you could then turn into a wanna-be gangster? Pathetic. You’ve ruined your chance at having a normal life now. Despicable scum like you deserve to be locked up in here forever for being so self-absorbed. Not to mention, rebelling against the government is equivalent to wanting to destroy a planet already near beyond repair. Like I said, scum,” I choose not to answer his attack on me.
I simply avoid eye contact and keep walking. I try briefly to think of ways to escape right now, but I honestly feel if I try anything funny this guy will just pounce on me to teach me a lesson.
Eventually we reach my cell and he unlocks the door, waiting for me to step inside with a cruel smile.
“I hope the uniform fits well,” he drawls with sarcasm while also being smug about his choice of words. He then slams the door shut, unexpectedly giving me some privacy.
I rip off the plastic and inside I carefully handle the uniform. A moment later something drops out. On the floor is a swipe card. I drop down and pick it up, gaze scanning over the white plastic, black swipe bar and the words written on with a permanent marker.
‘Dress up and leave. Back door. Master key.’
My heart beat kicks up a notch and I shake out the uniform. With widening eyes I notice it’s inside out. I quickly fix it, and it changes from a green uniform to a dark blue guard outfit.
Out of nowhere I hear a few loud rings from a phone on the other side of the cell door and I nearly jump a mile into the air. However, after a bit of swearing and frustration, the bulky guard stomps quickly down the corridor.
I wait a few minutes, standing stock still, expecting to hear his foot falls return.
But he’s gone.
Now I don’t hesitate. Instead of stripping I just put the guard uniform over my white top and jeans. I then find a small grey slot in the door for the Master key. I heave it open.
Struggling to control my nervous breathing, I stick my head out the door. I look up and down the corridor with trembling hands and a jittery gaze. However, I know if I stay any longer, my situation wasn’t going to improve. I was still majorly confused but even through my bewilderment I knew what my number one goal was.
I try to walk normally as I follow signs towards an exit. A few doors open and close and ‘fellow’ guards barely glance at me. Or if they do, they don’t glance twice. A few more turns has my heart in my throat the whole way.
I feel like any second my cover will be exposed.
Instead, I finally see a huge red lit exit sign above a fire exit and a back door. To top it off, no one is around.
I grab the handle, push into the door and exit the building into the back of a car park.
Again, no one is around as my eyes instantly focus on the black car parked right outside the exit door.
But where were the others –?
“Did I scare you in there, kitten?” I nearly jump out of my skin for the thousandth time in the last few mins as I do a 180 on my heel to see Dale leaning against the red brick wall just next to the fire exit. My eyes slowly trail down to the long curly wig in his hand.
I knew it! But…
“One wig and a fake name,” I whisper, “And you get away with all that?”
“No,” he answers simply, “One wig, a real name, connections, education, networking and a good friend… and I get away with all that,” as he finishes drawling arrogantly and watching me unblinkingly, lightening crackles through the air above us.
My eyes snap up and I see little rays and strikes of electricity running around near the building’s gutter, striking the cameras. A few foot falls later and I watch as Serge, hands in pockets, comes waltzing around the corner building, smirking confidently when he witnesses my shocked expression.
“Let’s get this dumbfounded doll back to where she belongs,” Serge heads straight for the driver’s side while Dale finally leans off the wall and slowly stalks past me. He doesn’t touch me as he slides close by. No physical contact combined with such close proximity… urgh.
It sends a shiver down my spine as I turn on my heel once more to now witness Serge comfortably in the driver’s seat and Dale opening the back door for me.
He throws in the wig and stands back, waiting for me to approach.
“Don’t keep me waiting,” he warns, quietly. I feel it is more to see me squirm than from him actually caring whether or not I hurry up right this second.
I find my feet moving as I slide past him and into the back of STRIKE without another word.
I do so because, frankly, whatever happened was convoluted... but somehow genius.
And now, stupidly, I felt even more drawn towards Dale! He was incredibly mysterious and I was intrigued by the way he planned as well as the way he executed said plans.
The very way he thought was starting to drag me in deeper.
Into what, I was yet too naïve to know.