Chapter Fifty Three
When Grace awoke she found herself in a padded room. She was tied to the wall in chains with Gabe next to her. She nudged him to wake him up.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“Hell if I know. You just woke me up!” replied Gabe.
“At least I don’t have to hear you snoring anymore.”
The room was small. It had a broken bed on one side and the rest of the room was just white padded walls.
“Are we in a mental institution?” asked Grace. “I’m not crazy am I? Was this all just some messed up dream?” she joked.
“You are crazy but that’s not why we are here. We were knocked out by a two large men. My legs are sore underneath so they must have dragged us here.”
The door opened and in walked Vlad, his belt of knives dangling from his hip. “Hello pets,” he said.
“Where is Emmie!?” shouted Grace.
“She’s safe. I’ve been removing all the lies you put in her head,” said Vlad. “Like how you told her I killed a billion people.”
“That’s right,” he replied. “This body is just a vessel but I’m the one controlling him. He hates it when I take control but he is the best person I know for inflicting pain and a man like that can come in handy.”
“You’re sick! You killed all those people and you are causing more pain now. Why can’t you accept what you did?”
“What I did?!” shouted Tobias through Vlad. He grabbed the broken bed and threw it out of the room in rage. “They did this to me! I wanted none of this.”
“It was your team! Your team was the one who stopped the Siege. That’s what you told everyone.”
“Lies,” he replied. “Yes my body stopped the Siege but it wasn’t something I asked for. When it was all over they made me into a hero, knowing if I told the world the truth it would destroy me as well.”
“Who?” said Grace.
Vlad leant in closer and opened his mouth ready to speak. “Oh you know them very well. It was…”
Seeing an opportunity Gabe reached forward and grabbed a large knife from Vlad’s belt. He swiped upwards, cutting through the belt of knives, sending them clattering to the floor. He finished his motion by jamming the knife into Vlad’s neck who tumbled backwards in shock.
“This is our chance!” Gabe grabbed the sharpest knife he could see and cut through his chains at the most rusted part. He tossed the knife to Grace and shouted “Quickly.”
Vlad found his footing and looked ahead to see Gabe running at him with a large curled knife. He had just enough time to say “My scythe,” before the knife was hooked around his neck and Gabe pulled him to the floor.
Vlad didn’t move. A deep cut ran along his neck and the injuries he had caused to himself earlier had now been ripped open.
Gabe looked at Vlad’s body waiting for it to move. “Is he dead?” he wondered out loud. Before he got an answer Gabe was kicked backwards by the man’s twin.
Grace, now free of her chains, ran over to the taller twin with a cleaver. She swiped at his head but he darted backwards. She aimed for his arm but he pulled it away. He was fast, ridiculously fast.
“It won’t work,” said the twin. “This body understands time better than you ever will.”
Grace continued to swing the knife towards him and he dodged every shot. It was as if he knew exactly what Grace was going to do. She swiped towards his head and he ducked and dove towards her. Grace hit the ground on her back, bringing back the pain she had felt at TethTech.
“No,” shouted Gabe.
She started to rise to her feet but the twin put his foot on her to push her back to the floor. Gabe grabbed at the twin but he moved away. It gave Grace a chance to get up and she bounced onto her feet. She wasn’t going to be defeated by her back again.
She whispered a plan to Gabe as the twin looked on. “I know exactly what you’ll do,” the twin said.
Gabe dashed at the twin and drove a knife towards his eye. The twin let the knife almost touch his eyeball before he backed away.
It gave Grace the opportunity she had waited for. She sat by Vlad and pulled the scythe into his throat. “Stop!” she shouted. “If you don’t let us go then I will kill your brother.”
“I’ll survive,” said the twin. “I’m connected to a greater power now.”
“Not forever. As soon as you stop being linked to that power you’ll die. Do you want to be controlled for the rest of your life?”
The twin tried to think about this as Tobias wrestled to keep control of his thoughts. He’d been under Tobias’ control for so long that he’d started to learn how to fight back. He had learnt how to feel human again.
His eyes flickered from orange to green.
“No,” shouted Tobias, struggling to keep control of the twin whilst fighting The Deck on the upstairs levels. His nose began to bleed. He was feeling the pressure of controlling so many people.
“You need to stop,” said the shadowy figure next to Tobias. “You can’t do this to yourself.”
Tobias let out a gasp and the twin felt his freedom return to him. “1012 days, 12 hours, 53 minutes. That’s how long he has controlled me,” he said. “My name is Gunto and I have been Tobias’ servant for far too long. If you let my brother go then I will release you from this room. But next time we see each other he will be in control of me again and next time I won’t be beaten.”
“What about Emmie?” asked Grace. “Is she here?”
“I’m afraid not,” replied Gunto. “You need to go direct to the source. She is on her way there now.”
Gunto grabbed Gabe’s phone from his pocket and pulled up a map. He marked an area with an X. “This is the place. You have to hurry, I know what Tobias wants and it will threaten everyone,” As he finished the sentence he felt an intense pressure in his head. He dropped to the floor holding his head with his hands and screaming.
“We have to go,” said Gabe dropping the knife and running for the exit. “Come on,” he shouted to Grace who looked on as Gunto writhed in pain.
Gabe pushed the elevator button and it opened instantly. “Grace! It’s not safe here.”
“But he was going to tell us everything,” she replied. She looked back and saw Gunto’s face. A mass of veins was now pulsing on the surface of his face and over the back of his head. His eyes flickered back and forth to orange.
Tobias continued to pull the life away from Gunto. “You are no longer useful,” he said. His voice echoed out from Gunto.
In between the thrashing Gunto could only utter a few words: “46 years … 10 months … 21 days …. 3 hours …. 8 minutes … 12 seconds … of life.”
“Grace!” shouted Gabe.
Gunto tried to crawl towards Grace but he was forced away from her. The force sent him backwards so hard that his spine ruptured and he collapsed onto the floor. His eyed returned to normal and in his last breath he uttered “Never, enough, time.”
As Gunto died his brother could only watch. Tobias had a simple message for Vlad, which he sent directly to his brain. “Your brother is dead. If I release control of you now then you will die. You are mine forever,” Vlad knew it was true. The freedom he had been promised was now gone. He would always be Tobias’ slave.
Vlad stopped fighting Tobias’ influence and gave away the one thing he had always craved. Control.
As Grace ran to the elevator Gabe watched as Vlad chased after her. “Faster!” he shouted.
Grace didn’t look back. She just pushed on. “Press the button,” she shouted.
Gabe knew not to argue. He pressed the button for the ground floor and the doors started to close. Vlad removed a knife from his belt and took aim.
As the doors were about to close Grace turned to her side and slipped inside. A knife followed her through and hit the back wall narrowly missing her. As it clattered to the floor the doors shut and Grace let out a sigh of relief.
“Jill,” said Gabe speaking into his phone.
She answered instantly. “Yep.”
“Can you put an elevator out of service?” he asked.
“Sure can. It’s probably connected to a central control room. I’ll just hack through there and…”
“Great,” he interrupted. “I’m sending you the serial number now,” he hung up.
Jill rolled her eyes. She was tempted to stop the elevator before they reached the top, to get payback for their rudeness but she resisted the urge.
When they had reached the ground floor Jill sent the elevator down so it was stuck between floors and sent a signal so that it would stop there.
As she finished her phone vibrated. She checked the message on the screen and packed a bag. There was somewhere else she needed to be.