The Aftermath

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Chapter 2

Conan quickly explained so Sonya would stop her senseless screaming. "It's like a pair of built in sunglasses. Whenever I'm exposed to light that hurts my eyes, they become covered with a tented film for protection."

Sonya stopped shortly after his words left his mouth. He braced himself just in case she was getting ready to shout again, but it never came.

"You should've told me!" she said to him. "Then I would've been ready for it and you wouldn't have scared me to death."

At that exact moment three security guards poured out of the front door.

"Is everything ok? We heard a scream." An older guard asked. He had grey hair and one side of his mouth was slanted downward from a scar.

"Everything's…" Conan went to say, 'fine', but things were far from fine as Malachi appeared. His short black hair glistened in the sun along with the buttons upon his dark grey blouse that he wore so well with black pants. Though there was no tie, he was dressed extremely formal.

"There is no situation here is there?" His deep voice vibrated from his chest, sounding slightly annoyed and angry. Sonya's attention was held immediately by his seemingly one of-a-kind vocal cords. This couldn't be Conan's father. He didn't appear old enough.

Once more the knot had returned in her throat as his gaze met hers. He then glanced back at Conan with his equally pitch black eyes. Conan held the same expression on his countenance as a frightened dog with his tail tucked between his legs.

"Sorry for startling you," he managed.

Malachi looked away for a moment. Disappointment was written all over his face. "Everything is fine here. You may leave us now." he spoke, as his black eyes fell upon Sonya. In this case, his attention was on the only being he wanted to remain. The guards obeyed, leaving his sight. He then turned to Conan for a brief moment to clarify his self. The boy got the hint instantly.

Seeing Conan leave was like losing a best friend to Sonya. Furthermore, she felt awful, because it was as if he was in trouble. She didn't mean to scream, she had just been startled. Conan was funny and made her feel comfortable, but now she was going to be alone with Malachi who seemed cruel. Would he be as down to Earth as Conan? Or was he extremely harsh? He didn't seem so forgiving this far.

He held his arm out to her. "Walk with me." It was sudden and she reached for his arm hesitantly. She felt so much pressure in his silence, knowing that he was waiting for her to ask questions. But there were so many, her mind couldn't process all her crazy, hyperactive thoughts. Her mind was currently like a pinball machine.

"So, you're genetically modified too?"

His lips tightened revealing his radiant smile and began to laugh lightly to himself. Out of all the things… "Yes, Alice."

"Alice?" she asked. That wasn't her name.

"Have you read Alice in Wonderland?" he asked her. She shook her head yes. It is a story about a 7 year old girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a land of fictional adventure. "Well, you remind me of her; except this isn't Wonderland and science fiction is your new reality." He watched as her face twisted with vexation. He went on, "I have technologies and medicines unknown to mankind, technologies and medicines that would cause pandemonium if ever made accessible to the public."

"Why are you telling me this?" she asked. If he had access to such things, the mansion was a target, and now so was she. Sonya stopped walking and released his arm. In the back of her mind lingered a growing sense of discomfort.

He made a slight grimace, "You're already here, my AB positive guest." He said with a rather pragmatic outlook, referring to her blood type. To think, he had given her medical attention without her consent. She wanted to sue him, but she knew she wouldn't get far. She peered at him with a slightly disgusted expression. He had tucked his hands behind his back and stood a towering six feet six. "Besides, I don't know what I would gain by lying to you, other than your distrust towards me. I would rather tell you the truth and perhaps erase it all later. And while I'm being frank with you, I find it insulting that you hold me in contempt after all of the procedures required to maintain your life! I am not a wasteful person, in fact I am quite resourceful. So, tell me, why were you in my cabin?"

She was overwhelmed by his haughty nature. He was very full of himself, pushy, and authoritative. "As I told Conan, it was just a coincidence," she said with the shrug of her shoulders. "I used it as a club house as a child and like going there when I'm sad."

"Sure," he said with the twitch of his left brow as if he were agitated with her. "How old are you anyway?" he asked.

"Sixteen, still in high school. Just a normal kid!" she explained.

He sighed in frustration and placed his hand against his forehead. "Do you remember anything about your attackers?"

"They wore all black with ski masks, but no real defining factors."

He stared at her for a long moment.

She nervously ran her fingers through her brown curly hair, which felt the same length as it did yesterday. Then she observed her hands, which the nails appeared to be the same length. She simply could not believe all of this. Sonya then took a moment to take in the sights around her. She was thankful that she was still alive and able to view such a lovely place as these mansion's grounds. Too bad she couldn't have been here on better terms.

She looked down at her shoeless feet. The grass felt wonderful between her toes. "The only real distinguishing detail I can remember was the pistol one of them used to hit me with. It had a symbol on the side of it. A red hour glass. That's all I really know."

"Fine, that's enough. Come on, I'll take you back in," he replied agitatedly and offered her his arm again.

"Look, I'm sorry I can't be more help," she apologized rejecting it.

"I'm sorry too," he replied. "You can never get to go back home."

"What?" she asked in slight panic.

"Like I said, Alice, this isn't Wonderland. You can cry like a child if you want to, but it won't change anything," he told her coldly, seeing the tears well in her eyes.

She stared back at him as if he were a heartless monster. Even Malachi had incredibly dark ringed, blue eyes as they stood in the shade. His maintained youthfulness must have been a product of his advanced technologies. She continued to study his face, every bit of his features. His nose had a slight bump to it just below the bridge. His features were sharp and precise to perfection with an angled jaw and high cheek bones.

She swiped tears from her eyes. "I've been kidnapped," she sobbed.

"No, you've been adopted. This is your new permanent residence and while you're under my roof, what I say goes. Understand, Alice?"

"My name is Sonya!" she told him with tears pouring over her cheeks. She'd never get to see her brother again. She stood frozen for a long while. Even after he had disappeared back into the mansion, she still stood in shell shock.

"Sonya," she felt Conan nudge her arm. She was too lost in thought to see where he had come from. "Are you okay?"

"No, Conan," she sobbed. "I'm not okay. This is not okay…"

He drew her into a hug. "I'm so sorry."

Malachi stood at the end of the table. His icy eyes had fallen upon Sonya and Conan. "It's a good sign to see you here," he smirked.

She simply kept her eyes on the table.

Seconds seemed to pass like hours. Her face was splotchy and her eyes were red. He could tell she had been crying. His eyes stayed locked on her until Fay had walked in through the double doors behind her.

"Good evening Fay."

Shortly after, another man walked around her to greet him. He was followed by a woman with long black hair.

"Grant, Bianca," he replied, "This is Alice," he gestured towards the girl.

"Sonya," she corrected him.

Grant ignored the introduction.

As for Bianca, she raised a stiff brow. "So we meet again…"

Sonya's face turned bright red.

"You could cut the tension in the air with a butter knife around here," Conan snickered, trying to make the awkward situation better.

"Definitely," she agreed.

It was very odd. As if Conan's calmness had been contagious. She sat down next to him and allowed her mind to find peace. "I hope you didn't get in too much trouble about what happened earlier," she whispered to Conan on that note.

He snickered once more. His spirit was uplifting. "Trouble? For what? He was just upset I scared you like that, but obviously it didn't corrupt you that much," he rolled his eyes. "I don't know about you, but I'm starving," he said. Sonya knew the feeling as the aroma of food from the kitchen wavered around the room. "Look, I'll do my best to make you feel at home," he assured her. "My dad may seem like a jerk, but I promise you're in good hands."

"Thanks Conan."

"I'm just being a friend."

She smiled, letting him know it was much appreciated. With the way Conan acted, she wondered if he character was a reflection of his father or not.

Finally everyone was seated. Malachi sat at the head of the table, Conan and Sonya to his left, Grant, Bianca, and Fay to his right. Sonya kept her head bowed sheepishly and whispered a question faintly to Conan, "Is Bianca Fay's mother?"

Everyone grew quiet at the table and she feared they had all overheard. Fay replied spitefully, "Oh no. She's just a paid prostitute." The table was ghostly quiet. "Oh, I'm sorry, was that too much?" Fay asked. "She doesn't get paid at all."

"And you can be excused from the table," Malachi told her, putting his hand against his forehead.

Later that night, the air had cooled and stars danced in the sky. He glanced at her. She sat in the grass, close to the steps, listening to his every word. "You noticed how Malachi and Grant never really spoke out loud?"

"Oh don't tell me they read minds," she frowned, finding that that was ridiculous and if they could she would be humiliated.

"Sonya," he chuckled, "No. We don't read minds. Everyone knows that's impossible. Instead we talk in tones only we can pick up because we have very sensitive ears. Like dog whistles…"

Sonya raised one brow at the young boy in front of her. "Were you all talking about me?"

"No. We're like any normal family, just arguing amongst ourselves." Conan shrugged and leaned back on the grass. He put his hands behind his head and inspected the stars. He could see much farther than her with his modified eyes. "Oh yeah," he said on an unrelated note. "Here is your room key, so you can lock your door at night if it makes you feel better." He handed her a necklace which had a plain metal square with the number four etched upon it. "There's a tiny magnet in it. If you hold it next to the button near your door, a red light will flash when its locked and a green light when you unlock it."

She took it carefully from his grasp and put it around her neck. The Cains slept in the lower level of the mansion. She wondered what their quarters looked like. She had gained so much knowledge today about her surroundings. She felt very relieved and extremely tired. Today had worn her out. In her room she noticed her closet had been stocked with more dresses. At least she had clothes to wear. There were towels in the cabinets now. Shampoos and soaps were under the sink as if she were at a hotel. There was even a packaged toothbrush, and some toothpaste, and a nightgown on the sink counter.

Though she had a gigantic bathtub; more like a hot tub, she took a quick shower instead. She almost fell asleep getting dressed. Her mind had gone when her head hit the pillow.

Sonya sat up. The cold black floor beneath her left her freezing. Where was she? She could see her breath in the icy cold air as she wrapped her arms around herself as she stood up. The room was completely black except for the light she stood in.

"Get up! Follow him!"

Sonya sat up in the safety of her bed. Her heart was racing and goose bumps ran up and down her spine. She quickly jumped out of bed and ran to the balcony doors to shut them. It prevented the cold night's breeze from entering her room. She sighed and climbed back into bed, but could not find rest. Her heart beat fast in her chest. Impulsively, she grabbed her robe off the rack and headed to the basement as if it were calling her name. At the end of the stairwell before the basement, she paused before continuing on. In the basement she felt a distinct drop in temperature. It had probably been there last time, but she had been too frightened to even speak then.

The basement was faintly lit and both men had their backs to her. She could see now what she had failed to the last time she was down there. It wasn't a basement at all, rather a laboratory. Odd machinery and technologies were spread about her with blinking lights and odd noises. Ducking behind a counter, she hoped to eavesdrop on their conversation. Grant's shadow passed over the wall behind her.

"What is it?" Malachi asked his brother.

Grant didn't reply, or maybe he did in his undetectable tones.

"You're testing my patience, Grant! You're already let this get out of control! This is your fault! FIX IT!" Malachi grabbed his brother by the front of his collar. His anger filled Sonya with fear.

She also felt frustrated, for she was only able to hear Malachi's half of the conversation. It was quiet for a long while. She sat holding her breath to calm her frantic heart, but that only made it beat harder. Could either of them hear it?

"Enough! She's just a child. No tracking devices! Nothing! I gave her a full body scan. All the tests came back negative," Malachi released him.

It was quiet again.

Sonya watched in horror as Grant began to walk back towards the stairwell. She had to move a little further behind the counter to avoid being seen, but unfortunately her robe had gotten caught on the handle of a drawer. It fell out with a loud crash of items, its contents dumped onto the floor.

His hands were already around her throat, hauling her off the floor with one hand. Where had he come from? How did he reach her so fast? He stared at her with cruel blue eyes that began to swirl with grey as if he had cataracts.

Sonya's face was turning bright red. Fear shook her as his malevolent glare pierced her thoughts. She understood very well what he was referring to and that she had fallen right into his trap.

"Put her down Grant." Malachi's voice was clear and full of authority.

He continued his glare. It was as if he was peering into her soul, making his mark in her mind. Just then Sonya realized she wasn't the one shaking. He was.

"Grant!" Malachi warned.

Finally he dropped her and stepped back with a look of disgust at the very sight of her, as if she were a wild animal with a disease, or maybe it was the sight of Malachi running to her side. In a fit of rage, he swept the back of his hand across the lab counter, spilling everything onto the floor.

Sonya coughed violently to catch her breath. Malachi observed her neck which red prints covered her skin, surely to bruise. "If you ever grab her like that again you'll have me to deal with." he looked up at Grant with fury in his eyes. "Do you understand?"

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