Chapter Twenty One
My phone would not stop ringing. Someone clearly wanted to speak to me. Is it Grace? I wondered, not wanting to shift my focus from Tobias too much. I assumed she was probably just worried about me but by the fourth separate phone call it seemed serious.
Eventually I felt the different vibration of a message being received. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “My phone will not stop ringing, do you mind if I check it?” I asked, interrupting Tobias during another speech about how he wanted to restore balance to the world.
“Not at all,” he replied.
I pulled the phone from my pocket and glanced down.
“4 missed calls: Rex. 1 new text message: Rex,” read the alert on the screen. Probably another fight with Rufus. I thought as I loaded up the message.
I was wrong. So wrong.
“Emmie, whatever you are doing, wherever you are you have to stop right now. They know you are disguised. They know it’s you!” The message was very clear.
There was no hiding any more.
As that thought entered my mind I felt the tight grip of a hand around my throat grabbing me. The hand belonged to Tobias who now stood tall at my side as I sat struggling for freedom in the chair.
“Hello. Emmie,” he said, the truth revealed for all to see.
He released his grasp and I gasped for air. I instinctively held my face with my hands as my breathing returned to normal. As I did so, steam started to emerge from my face. “What has he done to me?” I panicked, as the steam engulfed me.
I could feel a transformation under my hands. My hair began to tingle and the skin on my face felt like it was burning.
“Well now. What is this?” asked Tobias, confusing me further. I daren’t pull my hands away to see what had happened but Tobias grabbed my hands and forced them away.
“Now that is interesting,” he walked over to his desk and retrieved a silver pair of rimmed glasses holding them in front of me. From the reflection I could see that my face had returned to normal and my hair had gone back to its natural blonde colour. Jessica Young was no more and I no longer had a disguise to exit the city. This was bad.
“I knew today would be filled with serendipity but I didn’t imagine it would be quite so lucrative,” he didn’t take his eyes off me, his fist poised for another attack.
“Why did you kill Will?” I asked, hoping that if I was to die here today I’d at least have answers.
“Will? Oh you mean Will Keyes, the inventor of the DualCam? Yes, I was sad to hear what happened to him. He was a real asset to the team but sometimes you have to let people go,” he said.
“Let people go? You killed him! Your people cut him until he almost bled to death and then tortured him until he died!” I shouted.
“..and yet here you are Emmie,” he interrupted. “A miracle of science. By all rights you should be dead and yet you survived. You are very special Emmie and soon you will be thanking me for helping you realise your true potential.”
“My what?” I screamed “You killed my brother to help me? How does that help me! He’s the only person left who cared for me and now I have nothing! Nothing!”
“You have me. I will look after you now and one day you and I will change this world.”
I looked at Tobias. The mad man who had already changed my world forever. I had my answers and they cut just as deeply as any knife. My brother had lost his life and for what? So some crazy scientist could keep me as a pet? Lock me up like the animals in the basement?
I wondered if the man downstairs had also suffered the same loss. If he had lost a brother or sister, simply so Tobias could use him for some mysterious end. Now he was trapped in a cage and who knew what types of twisted experiments he was being subjected to. There’s no way I wanted that fate for me. No way I could trust someone who had destroyed everything I had left.
“I will never work for you. You are sick!” I shouted back at him.
“You will. You’re unique now. A bright white snowflake in a world filled with grey. I would never hurt you.”
“You hurt me more than anyone ever has!” the words propelled from my mouth, filled with rage. “I won’t be your next puppet for you to dance around the stage at a press conference.”
His tone changed, it was far more serious now. “Emmie, I’m not a man who begs. You see the power I have, the money, the influence. Do you think I achieved this by begging? I have asked you to stay and to be a part of this but be warned that I am not afraid to take what I want.”
“You will never take me!”
The room fell silent. I looked around for any means of escape. The door behind me had a keycard lock that was glowing a dark red. I was trapped in this room with a man who either wanted to kill me or torture me.
“Very well. I can see I’ll have to use force,” said Tobias, as he made his next move.
Grace had entered a small walkway which allowed her to walk underneath the first floor of the building. It appeared to be a maintenance tunnel that ran under every floor in the tower and was just high enough for her to crawl through it on her knees.
As she looked around her she could see a ladder that would take her up to different floors but there was no elevator. She estimated it would take her around twenty minutes to climb to the top of the tower. Far too long to help Emmie any time soon.
Whatever was happening to Emmie on the top floor, she was on her own for now.
Tobias retrieved a key from his pocket and walked over to a large mahogany cabinet. He opened it and started to rummage around, clearly looking for something important.
I thought about standing up and escaping but the door looked locked and he turned back at me every few seconds to check I was still there.
“Ah here it is,” said Tobias as he pulled a large frayed cable from out of the cabinet. It was a very thick black cable similar to the ones I had seen connected to Frazier.
“I wanted you to choose to stay Emmie but now I see there is no other way. This cable will keep you in place, whilst I decide what to do with you,” he said.
He walked towards me, pulling the cable tightly so he could use it as a makeshift rope. As he reached me, I stood up from my chair and retrieved the gun I had kept under my shirt all this time.
He walked backwards, shocked that I had firepower. “Well aren’t you full of surprises,” he said. “You are getting more and more interesting every moment. First you disguise yourself, and then you have a concealed weapon. What else are you hiding?”
“Don’t push me and you won’t find out,” I said. “Now open the door and let me leave.”
“Do you really think you can escape? This may be a house of science but we aren’t without security. There are guards on every floor and cameras everywhere. Even if you escape this building I know who you are now. I will hunt you down. You will be a part of this.”
“Never!” As I walked towards him, he pushed the table into my stomach, knocking everything onto the floor. The forward force of the impact forced me to pull the trigger. A bullet fired towards Tobias and hit him in the chest.
The bullet bounced off his chest and fell to the floor, compressed by the impact. It had caused a hole in his orange tie but hadn’t gone any further than that.
“That’s the great thing about Science, with the right amount of time and money it can do anything,” said Tobias as he opened his shirt, to reveal a thin transparent layer wrapped around his torso. “It’s a bullet proof membrane. Just another way we’re saving soldiers’ lives and there’s a lot more you could see Emmie. Now give me the gun.”
I tucked my gun back inside the top of my trousers. It was useless on Tobias but I may still need it.
“I said, give me the gun!” roared Tobias. He seemed a man used to having things go his way.
“Sir?” came a voice over the intercom. “We heard a loud bang? Is everything ok?”
Tobias looked at me. “Well is it Emmie? Is everything ok?”
I considered my options. The door was still locked. Tobias was practically un-killable and he had the upper hand in every possible way. Yet my answer was still “No.”
There was one trump card I had left. Something Tobias didn’t know. I stood up on my feet and walked towards the door.
“What are you hoping to do Emmie? You are trapped! It won’t open,” he said.
I opened my hand to reveal an item I had concealed. When he had knocked everything on the floor earlier, the folder March had given me had fallen open to reveal a keycard.
Spotting the keycard in my hand Tobias shouted “I need help now!” to his colleague on the intercom.
I held the keycard against the lock, keeping both eyes on Tobias. The lock sprang to life, freeing me from his prison.
“How did you get that?” remarked Tobias.
I didn’t want to implicate March. Whatever his motivations he had clearly provided me with an escape route and for that I was thankful. I simply turned my feet and ran out of the door.
Tobias dashed after me, shouting “If you want to honour your brother the only way is to stay. If you leave you will never have the answers you seek and his death was in vain.”
I kept running until I reached the walkway, my feet barely noticed the cold feeling of steel this time.
“Sir, we are sending someone to you in the elevator now,” said the voice over the intercom.
“Good,” replied Tobias. “So Emmie, there is nowhere to run, can you stop this now and come back to my office?”
The walkway was suspended high up in the air. I had no way of surviving a fall. Next to Tobias’ office was another door. A staircase? I wondered. Sensing I had no other option and hoping that the key March had given me would do the job I ran at Tobias aiming to slip past him in surprise.
It didn’t work.
He swung his arm towards me with perfect timing, knocking me back towards the narrow pillar that ran through the length of the tower. My back rested on the top of the pillar and my feet started to slip on the walkway.
I looked at Tobias and the quickly rising elevator and knew there was no other option. I’d rather die than be experimented on for the rest of time.
I let my feet lose their grip and fell backwards down into the pillar. My body began its descent towards the base of the tower and the end of my life.
I had answers. That would have to be enough.