Chapter Twenty Six
The ladder took us down to below ground level and after we’d unhooked ourselves we took in our surroundings. We were enclosed in a wide grey maintenance tunnel and a bright ray of light shone towards us illuminating a pathway on my right hand side.
I crept forward towards it and could see that the light was emerging from a large room above the pathway with a curved sheet of hard glass separating us from the room. The glass was transparent and looking through it I could see guards circling around. It looked like the main lobby of the building and I dared not move forward too much in case of being spotted.
“Where now?” I asked Grace.
“Hang on. I’ll ask my contact,” she replied.
“We once filmed a movie at TethTech so I know someone who has schematics for the entire building. Hopefully they can find a way for us to get to the basement without being seen.”
Her contact continued to be very useful and I was reminded that when this was over I would have some serious questions for Grace. There’s no chance a movie studio would be given schematics for a building as secure as this. She picked up her phone and spoke quietly so as not to be detected.
“Jill?” asked Grace.
“Hi Grace. What’s up? How is Emmie?” replied Jill.
“She’s fine. We’re both in the tower.”
“You what? We specifically told you not to go in…”
“.. if I didn’t go in she’d be dead right now!” interrupted Grace. “Now listen, we know that Tobias killed Will. If we don’t make it out of here alive you have to stop him.”
“You know we can’t do that without Emmie. She has to survive, whatever happens.”
“What about me?”
“You know Emmie is the top priority. If she dies it’s all over.”
Grace paused for a moment. She didn’t like being told her life was worthless.
“Fine,” replied Grace, unhappy but trying to think about the bigger picture for a moment. “We need your help.”
Within two minutes Grace had a full schematic of the building. Rather than proceeding through the well-lit walkway for fear of being caught we instead went through a dark passageway and used our phones to illuminate the way. We worked our way through twisted walkways and snuck under three floors until we reached a hole that led down into the basement.
We looked down and could see that the hole led to a ladder that would take us down. I climbed down it first and jumped off the last few rungs.
As I landed my feet made a loud ‘thudding’ noise and the room erupted to the sound of the animals. Dogs barked fiercely, a monkey screeched and it was clear they saw us as intruders.
The room was still quite dark, mainly lit by floodlights that swung in the air above each cage. It was just enough light to make out the faces of each animal and to see their distress. The conditions in the room were terrible. The floor was covered in dirt and the cages themselves were enclosed in rusted metal bars. It was a stark contrast to the pristine nature of the rest of the building and it was clear the contents of this room were far less important than the rest of the building.
In one of the cages a small dog lay on the floor. She wasn’t sleeping but she seemed to have no energy as if she had given up. Her fur had started to fall away around her neck and back and in the centre of these areas were round red dots that looked like they were from injections.
“Poor girl,” said Grace. “Perhaps they were trying to save her?”
“Look around. Does this seem like a room full of happy animals?” I said. “If you want help you go to a vet, you don’t bring an animal to a place like this.”
I looked at the dog’s eyes. Two big adorable eyes that just wanted to be loved. All of the animals were trapped into cages, around twenty of them.
“It’s really you!” exclaimed Grace, as she ran over to a corner cage.
A man lay on the floor. At the back of his head his hair has been shaved and he too had round red circular dots where he had been injected with a mixture of needles.
He heard Grace’s voice instantly and turned around. “Grace!” he said, as a smile filled his face.
Not wanting to wait another second longer they kissed through the bars. Their arms tried to reach each other but they could not.
“I’ll save you,” said Grace.
“How sweet,” said a voice from behind us. We turned around to see General Kull. The man we had seen die that morning. He was back to life but worst of all his orange eyes were back too.
He pulled Grace’s hair, causing her to scream out in pain and he dragged her away from the cell.
“No!” shouted Gabe.
I still had my gun and seven bullets to play with. I raised it upwards but hesitated for a second. Would this kill him? And kill Frazier, his twin? They were probably just following orders and didn’t deserve to die and yet if I did nothing they would hurt Grace. I moved my target away from his head and shot at his torso hoping for a non-lethal shot.
I heard the ‘thud’ as the bullet impacted on his body but it did not proceed any further. It simply bounced to the floor in the same way it had done with Tobias. His skin was bulletproof as well. I spotted some exposed skin on his neck that didn’t seem to have the reflective bulletproof gel and I took my second shot.
This time it made an impact. The bullet went right through his neck puncturing his wind pipe. Yet he did not gasp for air. It was as if he didn’t need to breathe. The shot would have killed any other man very quickly, yet he stood tall as if the world around him hadn’t changed one bit.
He threw Grace to the floor as Gabe screamed for him to stop. She hit the hard concrete and a cracking sound came from her back. She struggled to lift herself up again, her body reeling from the impact and a look of sheer pain all over her face. The animals barked and roared in a frenzy. Are they enjoying this? I hoped not.
The General had no interest in me. Despite my gun he didn’t see me as a threat or even an inconvenience. It was as if I wasn’t even there or I was firing rainbows at him.
He leant down, pushed Grace down on to her back with one arm held on her neck keeping her down. He then lay down on top of her entire body, pushed his face towards hers and whispered “There’s no camera’s in here. I could do whatever I want and your boyfriend and girlfriend over there will see the whole thing. Best of all they won’t be able to do anything to stop me.”
It horrified me that this voice was that of Frazier. That he was controlling everything that happened now. As he stroked Grace’s hair and she struggled to get away I learnt the truth about the man and his motivations.
The ability to do anything he wanted through another body had clearly changed him. No responsibility, just easy pleasure and immortality. He was starting to become corrupted and I knew at that moment that there was no way anyone with orange eyes could ever act in a normal way.
If Tobias truly wanted to use this technology to build an army, it wouldn’t be one built on morals and peace. It would be one built on seizing power and dominating opponents. That wasn’t what our world needed.
He started to run his hand over her chest and I made one last attempt to take him down. I stood behind him and fired a bullet through the base of his skull. The bullet buried its way through his skull in milliseconds and emerged through the other side taking half of his jaw bone with it. Blood splattered back onto me and on to Grace and he finally fell down onto the floor.
“He’s not dead,” said Gabe. “I’ve seen this before. We shot an orange eyed man through the head and he survived.”
“What?” I asked. “You’ve seen people like this before?” Whilst I already knew there were more, it didn’t make any sense that Gabe could know. Movie producers don’t tend to get attacked by orange eyed monsters.
“I’ll explain everything when we get out of here but just trust me, he is not dead.”
“No but he will be,” a mysterious voice came from the walkway above us. I looked up to see March climbing down the ladder above us. He tossed a key at my feet and pointed to the cage that held Gabe. “Free him.”
Whoever March was, he had a habit of being at the right place at the right time. From the moment he greeted me in the lobby of TethTech he’d been able to help me see an orange eyed man, get an interview with Tobias, helped me escape from Tobias’ grasp and now he’d saved Gabe as well.
For a man who had earlier seemed like the number one fan of Tobias Zen, he clearly held a lot of secrets and some vested interest in me. For whatever reason he wanted to see me succeed but with what I had no idea.
March dropped down from the ladder with a thud. Unlike our earlier entrance this did not lead to noises from the animals. They did however come to the front of their cages, as he walked past them patting each of them on the head. They seemed fond of him. He reached the cage of the sick dog, who even managed a small burst of energy to reach the front of the cage for a tickle under her chin. “Hello Pixie,” said March as he stroked the dog.
Meanwhile I had released Gabe from his prison. He thanked me and dashed over to Grace, who still lay on the floor, she looked in severe pain from her back injury. She held one hand to her back and the other reached out to touch Gabe’s face.
“Gabe?” she asked weakly. “Is that you?”
“It’s me. Grace I’m so, so, sorry this happened to you. I never should have recruited you,” he replied.
“It was worth it to meet you,” her eyes closed as her arms became weak and fell to the floor.
Before Gabe could react, the orange eyed man awoke and went straight for him. He was startled but ready. He grabbed the orange eyed man’s arm and twisted it until he could hear a cracking sound. Despite what should have caused severe pain, the orange eyed man carried on undeterred.
His arm hung down from him bent backwards. He could no longer move it but he didn’t seem to care. With his other fist he grabbed at Gabe again but he was far less effective with his left hand. Once again Gabe grabbed his fist and twisted it back, breaking his other arm. His days juggling on stage were over.
The orange eyed man stood there with two broken arms a bullet hole in his neck and a disconnected jaw. He looked like something out of a horror film.
“What do I have to do to stop you?!” screamed Gabe.
His question was answered by March, who walked over to the man and pressed a button on a small black box. As the signal from the box was emitted, the orange eyed man tried to reach his neck with his broken arms. The shock of my first gunshot hit him first as he tried to frantically refill his lungs with air. Before he had a chance, the bullet hole in his head registered with his brain and he collapsed on the floor. His eyes had returned to a brown colour.
The Tether was severed and he felt the full impact of his injuries. In an upstairs room Frazier began to spasm uncontrollably. Doctors dashed to his side but it was no use. He too had felt the impact of the gunshots. He felt his arms break and felt his body be punctured by two gunshots. His eyes closed for the last time.
In the basement we couldn’t believe our eyes. “Is he dead?” I asked.
“Yes, I turned off the machine that was allowing Frazier to control his twin. The link has been severed and both he and his twin have died,” replied March.
I wanted to be sick. I’d never killed anyone before and now I had the blood of two people on my hands. No amount of police training could prepare me for taking a life. It just felt so wrong.
March saw the tears start to form in my eyes and he tried to comfort me. “It was a case of life and death Emmie. Without you Grace would have been abused or be dead right now. You’ve proven you don’t have to be a victim any more. You can control your own fate.”
His words seemed in direct contrast to those of Tobias, who seemed to think he owned me and that he controlled my life. When Tobias killed Will he had tried to take control of my life. Now March was giving me the tools to regain that control.
I couldn’t look at the dead body on the floor any more. There was so much blood and even though his eyes had changed back to brown, they lacked life and they were almost more horrific than the orange eyes had been. I tried to focus my attention on Grace. “How is she?” I asked.
“Not good. She has severely damaged her spine. There is no way she is walking out of here,” replied Gabe.
“Actually there is one other way out of here,” said March. “But I need your help.