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Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
Again, a day off, but oh well at least you get a new chap. Thanks again for reviews, it is much appreciated
Each character is written by a different author (well almost, some writers add on a second later in the story), so to help you readers keep it all straight, each character has a different color.
Writer / Character
Jacci - Mr Cox
KatieQ - Miss Parker
Manoline - Broots, Emily
Tinanaz - Jarod, Sam
TLM - Sydney
Whashaza - Lyle, Alex
Check end notes for when the next chapter is scheduled to arrive
Cox had absolutely no desire to converse with Jarod, knowing he was not going to get anything useful out of him at this rate. He also had much to organise and now very little time to do it in.
Retiring to his office, watching the feed to Jarod's cell absently, he arranged his papers and made the calls he needed to. The reason for the urgency meant that it was less likely that anybody could organise any kind of rescue attempt.
When the preliminary bloodwork was handed to him, he threw it in his briefcase without even looking at it. There would be plenty of time during the flight to catch up on all the reports. The complete analysis could be emailed to him later.
It was finally time to go, and he was not sorry to see the back of this place with its incompetency, bickering and feuds, which of course, only assisted the Pretender.
Jarod sat in the hard wooden chair and glared at the sweeper in with him. The mean man had hit him earlier when Jarod had tried to get up from the chair. He stuck his tongue out at the man when he wasn't looking, but that didn't made him feel any better.
"Wanna go outside; don't like it here." He mumbled rebelliously. "Want the outside and the sun and some ice cream and no more mean mens."
"Shut up before I hit you again," the sweeper glared back at Jarod. "Some genius, can't even figure out when to keep your mouth shut."
"Want Sydney, you mean poopy-head. Don't like you, want Sydney."
"Yeah, well I don't like you either and shut up before I shut your mouth for you."
Jarod's attention was diverted from the sweeper by the cell door opening and Sam walking in with a couple of other sweepers.
"Time to go, Rat."
"NO! Don't want to go with you. Want Sydney! SYDNEY!!!!," he screamed through the open door.
Sam motioned to the sweepers with him and they grabbed Jarod by his straight-jacketed arms and pulled him to his feet.
"You can either walk or be dragged, doesn't matter to me." Sam told Jarod, almost gleefully. "Either way, you are going."
"NOOOOO!!! SYDNEY!!!!" Jarod started struggling but the sweepers had the advantage and they propelled Jarod out of the cell and down to the garage. Cox was waiting by the car and that scared Jarod almost as much as Lyle with his needles did.
Cox waited as the struggling and noisy Jarod was being hauled along and he knew that this was going to be a very long trip. He would have him sedated as soon as he knew it was safe to do so. "Get him in," he snapped the order at the phalanx of sweepers. He didn't trust Sam to do this job alone, or properly, hence there was a suitbable escort this time.
The adult, Centre-wary part of Jarod’s brain started screaming when he saw the open car door, the sweepers and Cox. The terror in the adult part transmitted itself to the child controlling the body and Jarod started fighting to get away as only a young child could. He almost broke free a couple of times, but was finally forced into the car.
"This is becoming rather tiresome Jarod, why don't you just relax?" Cox asked, slipping into the front seat of the car, satisfied as Jarod was sandwiched snugly between two sweepers. as they took off for the short drive to the airstrip, the first niggling of doubt about permanent damage struck.
Jarod’s response to Cox’s question was to kick the back of the other man’s seat. He knew that he was a bad man and bad man only liked to hurt him. He decided that he just wouldn’t talk to the man, maybe that would make him go away.
"Ah," Cox sighed with pleasure as he finally laspsed into silence. "That is much better," he announced to the occupants of the care in a satisfied tone, belying the unease he was beginning to feel. Too much about this was too easy. Where was Sydney crying and pleading for his project? Not to mention Parker. Lyle would have the good sense to lay low, but Parker never ever did.
Jarod glared at the back of Cox’s head for as long as he could before the silence got to be too much for him. “Want Sydney,” he told Cox. “Don’t wanna go bye-bye with you. Want Sydney. Or my mommy.” His lower lip started quivering as he tried to picture his mother’s face.
Cox threw a long sufferign look at the sweeper to shut him up. he needed to look at the bloodwork reports, and quickly so he could be safely sedated. 10 hours of this and Cox would kill Jarod himself.
Jarod gave a cry when the sweeper hit him in the ribs and told him to shut up. He was tired of the meanies telling him to be quiet and he was tired of getting hit all the time. Then his stomach growled and that took his attention away from the pain of being hit again.
Cox smiled in satisfaction as the silence descended and shook his head in disgust before turning his attentioin back to his mental checklest. everythign always was in the details, that was something someone like Lyle would never be able to understand.
Jarod started getting antsy in the backseat. The ride was taking forever and he was really getting hungry. Then something outside the side window caught his attention and he scooted forward to the edge of the seat. “Oh, look. An airplane.”
"Oh, you really are a genius," Cox scoffed as they entered the airfield, pleased to see nothing untoward.
“I wanna drive the airplane,” Jarod told Cox firmly. “Wanna go bye bye and not see you no more.”
"You will be going bye bye alright," Cox sneered, his patience at an end. It was just as bad as dealing with the terrible twins.
"You gotta stay here, you and the mean mens. Dont want you on my airplane."
"It is MY airplane Jarod, and as I have already explained to you, what you want is of absolutely no consequence any longer."
"NO! My airplane. You bad, you stay here. No bad mens on my airplane. Mine mine mine."
Cox got out without bothering to respond, leaving the sweepers to deal with the infantile pretender. He moved over to inspect the plane, that the right security precautions had been taken, that the pilot was the pilot he had chosen, and not some possilbe plant.
Jarod fought against the sweepers tight grips. He didn’t want to get on the shiny black plane with them or with the mean man who had been talking to him, but he couldn’t break free from the hands pulling him. He tried to sit down on the stairs leading into the plane, but he was facing the wrong way. He finally just started pushing backwards from the stairs, fighting the upward pull with all his might.
Broots stopped for a second to allow his blisters to rest in his efforts to get as far away from the direction Alex and his car had headed in as humanly possible. After walking for what he assumed to be an hour the clip in his pant pocket was long forgotten, along with the joy of being released. Instead he was angry. He had never been a big fan of walking, the events of the last few hours painfully reminding him why.
Standing didn't appear to make his blisters hurt any less than moving around, instead it only made him notice the pain more so he started to walk again. Getting dumped in the woods was getting old, real fast. It had gotten nippy too, and since he was no longer in the nice, warm car pointing a gun at two strangers, he couldn't simply get a jacket from the back.
Damn that Emily for taking his uncharged cellphone without a signal.
Just as the thought stroke his mind he spotted a phone booth in the distance. For a moment he thought it might be a mirage, but since he really didn't want to call anyone, he just knew he had to call Miss Parker if he wanted to stay alive and employed, he could rather confidently assume it was an actual phone and not just his mind playing tricks on him.
He stuck his hand in his left back pocket, and surely enough between old fuzz and what he could only assume to be a tick tack, he found a quarter. He didn't even want to think about who some of the previous users of the phone had been, but seeing as this was on the way to some sort of Centre-driven airport he didn't doubt for a second that was something there was a well organized list of, in case he'd ever want to look it up.
By the time he had dug through all the muck to reveal the shiny coin he was standing next to the rusty phone. Broots dialed the familiar number, mentally preparing himself for what was to come.
“Hi” Broots said simply, twiddling the phone cord between his fingers before he let it go as he realized how unexplainable sticky his fingers have gotten.
"Broots, you moron! Where the hell are you?" Parker asked, successfully masking the relief in her voice.
“About an hour from the cabin. You know, where you left me for dead.” He said, pouting evident in his voice as he bent down to the ground in an attempt to brush off some of the sticky substance. Unfortunately for him there was no grass where he was standing, only dirt. So instead of removing the stickiness, he added a thick coat of filth, sort of like the “feather” part of “tare and feather”.
"Oh grow a set would you Broots. What did a big scary raccoon jump out of a tree and scare you?"
“If you replace the ‘raccoon’ with Alex, the not-so-dead pretender and Emily, Jarod’s very armed and down right scary sister, then yeah.”
"What?" Parker asked, not believing her ears. Only Broots could find himself in this kind of mess.
"Remember the extra car outside the cabin? Yeah, that belonged to Alex who had taken it upon himself to abduct Emily, Jarod’s sister, who in return knocked out, or drugged or strangled Alex, lord only knows what that girl will do if she puts her mind to it." As he was retelling the events of the last few days, as coherently as he could, he got closer to that long needed mental breakdown than he had been in a long time, "And after you dumped me in the woods she decided to kidnap me to catch up with Jarod, but then the key broke and we had to go back to get Alex, who she somehow got to cooperate because they both want Jarod. I tell you, she’s got one of those little genes floating around somewhere in there, because that’s just not normal. Then I was handed the gun and the clip fell out. What is that for anyway?" he continued, not even considering stopping for a response half-rant. "But then someone, I don’t know who, called Alex and told him Jarod is going to Africa, so then he hotwired Sydney’s car and started driving to the airport and then they kicked me out of the car, with the gun. And she ate all my funions.” Broots stopped, Partially because he couldn't think of anything else, partially because of lack of oxygen.
"Alex?" Parker asked for clarification, not even bothering to chide her tech for his useless rant.
“Yeah…” Broots said quietly while looking over his shoulder, just to make sure the man wasn't standing directly behind him.
"Relax Broots, middle of nowhere is saharan Africa. Just use one of those handy thumbs to get yourself a ride back to civility. So you are telling me that Jarod's idiot sister has joined forces with the world's most dangerous madman and they are racing to the airport that I myself only just find out was the desired destination for our prize catch of the day?"
“Yeah, or I think so. But I can’t hitchhike when there are no cars to get a ride with. And I’ve got blisters. Big blisters.”
"You are a big boy Broots, figure it out." Parker said as she terminated the call.
As if Sydney weren't already stressed enough, Miss Parker's phone call had confirmed the severity of Jarod's current situation. He hadn't known what to do to help Jarod without simply making things worse for him. So he'd gone to his office, knowing good and well there were no answers there. Knowing he was a coward.
Just as he was about to head for Miss Parker's office, Sydney heard a clattering behind him. He turned around and realized he wasn't completely alone here. Two childish blue eyes stared at him from behind the ventilation grate in the wall.
"Angelo," Sydney breathed in slight awe. The curious man had a way of appearing when least expected. "Is something wrong?"
"Jarod," he responded simply.
With a swift quick, the vent cover clattered to the ground and Angelo popped out like an eager chimpanzee. Sydney took a step back, mildly startled but remaining as stoic as possible. Angelo stepped close to him and gently pressed something into the psychiatrist's hands.
"For Jarod," Angelo reiterated.
Sydney looked at it and then to Angelo, completely astonished. "Oh Angelo, are you sure this is right?"
"Sydney must! For Jarod."
"Yes," Sydney repeated slowly. "For Jarod."
He knew Angelo was right, and soon Sydney was on the phone with Miss Parker to find out just where Jarod was.
Emily finished the final piece of the sandwich, thankful to finally have gotten rid of that disgusting funion taste. She threw the packaging in a garbage tin before picking up the small syringe again, looking to see if there was anything she might have missed. Alex had instructed her to add a few drops of the drug she'd pick-pocketed from him only hours earlier to anything the passengers might decide to put in their mouth. As a result she had to open every box, jar, bottle and packet in the entire pantry in a way that left it looking completely untouched. Luckily for Emily that was a skill she'd learned years earlier as a child rifling through the kitchen drawers in search of cookies and other tasteful treats. But by the looks of things she was finally done with the tedious work.
When he first explained the details behind the idea she had been a little skeptical. Remembering her own experiences with Alex' concoctions had made her worried that the passengers would fall asleep so quickly that the slow eaters next to them would get suspicious. First he had claimed everything would be just fine since the drugs weren't going directly into their bloodstream, unlike the process with the syringe. But after taking a second look at the limited amount they had to work with and the enormous amounts of food in the pantry, he agreed to water it down a bit. After all, overtaking trained marksmen would probably be easier if they were all equally groggy than if they ran out of drugs half way through the pantry leaving some sleeping and some wide awake...and armed.
She still had no idea what to do once Alex and herself were the only conscious people on the plane. She knew he would turn on her the second that happened, she just didn't know how to stop it. After all, having to go along with his plan because it was the only chance she had was not the same thing as actually believing he would stick to that plan. And from what she'd picket up from Alex' conversation with whoever a few minutes earlier Jarod would be in no condition to help her. She decided not to think too much about what they might have done to him, she would just have to deal with it as it happened. But at least she knew something, she was on her own. Which was why she had made sure to fill a syringe with the drug in its concentrated state and pilfer a sharp vegetable knife from the pantry when Alex wasn't looking. But she knew that wouldn't be enough. Even Alex wouldn't fall for the same trick twice in one day.
Emily took another look at herself in the aluminum tee container. A newly ironed navy blue stewardess uniform, complete with a silk scarf and pantyhose had replaced her ripped and bloody clothes. As she straightened the C emblem on her jacket the sense that something just wasn't right became that much stronger. From getting around the airport security to entering the plane and accessing the food and this little outfit; It had all been too easy. Which left her concluding with at least one of the following: Either someone high up in the Centre were pushing for a quick flight to the extent that it had weakened their security, or Alex' friend had done more than provide a location. Because an hour of planning and a pretender gene shouldn't be enough to find the weak links in their security chain.
She pushed the thought aside for now and began arranging the final pieces of her outfit. She straightened her hair and pulled it back in a tight bun before putting on a pair of dark rimmed glasses and a red wig, she didn't even want to think about where Alex got that from. After looking at herself once more in the conveniently placed tee container she could at least come to one conclusion: She looked absolutely ridiculous.
The sounds of someone approaching from outside snapped her from her musings. She had just enough time to scurry to a corner and cover herself in a blanket in hopes of whoever it was being at least partially blind or in the search of their contacts. Then the door opened, light pouring in to the windowless room.
Alex listened closely as Cox interrogated the pilot on estimated arrival times and the weather. He grinned to himself when he thought of what Cox would do when he woke up to find himself not in Africa but somewhere of the west coast of the states. A few minutes later Cox left and he moved silently out of his hiding place and made his way to the cockpit.
After having taken care of the pilot, he hid the body in storage place located in between the pilots’ chairs. It was a tight fit, but he managed to close the trap door. Wiping his hands, he checked the area just outside the cockpit before making his way quickly down the aisle to the storage room set aside just before the main cabin of the airplane.
A moment later he opened the door and smirked when he saw Emily trying to shrink away underneath a rug she had pulled over herself. He rolled his eyes, wondering again why he hadn’t already gotten rid of her permanently. He took a deep breath, reminding himself that he needed her for now to control Jarod.
“Oh, get out of there. Did you get everything ready, as I told you too?” he asked impatiently, watching as she struggled to extract herself from her self-cocooned wrap.
”Yeah” she began folding the blanket delicately, acting as if her pitiful attempt at a hiding hadn’t just happened. She never wanted to see his face again, but that didn’t keep her from being relieved it was only her psychopathic torturer that had walked through the door. She tugged on the tight fitting outfit then looked up, “Where were you?”
“Busy, darling. We should be in the air in less than 30 minutes, so I suggest you start by at least trying to play your part.”
“Which is?” She prodded, doing her best to untangle her fingers from the brightly colored wig.
“Oh, for crying out…” Alex threw his hands in the air as Emily retreated before him. In exasperation he said, “You are dressed as a stewardess, are you not? So that would imply that you’d be the one that serves the food and drink?”
“Well gee; I didn’t know I was supposed to be psychic as well. Believe it or not but you’re not the most predictable person I know Alex, and that says something. Now stewardess uniform can mean ‘serve people food and drink’ or it can mean ‘distract the pilot by doing a strip tease’, there’s just no way for me to know that is there?!” She was overreacting and she knew it, that didn’t mean he deserved it any less.
“You done ranting?” Alex asked quietly as he gave her one of his death stares. She averted her eyes and he allowed a small smirk, knowing that he was still in control. “I’ll be in the cockpit. You, start serving the sweepers.”
“Wait! If I just walk in there, they’ll recognize me. Or Jarod will. And with the state he’s in who knows what he might say and do,” all of a sudden she felt as if she was on the verge of a full blown panic attack. That damn Mr. Broots had infected her with his nervousness, she just knew it. “Or what if the real stewardess walks out?”
“You are the real stewardess, sweetheart. And Jarod has been sedated. He’s away in la-la land so you don’t have to worry one little hair of your pretty little head about him. He’s my responsibility now, in any case. I suggest you start to grow a backbone and do your part, or we can part ways now and you’ll never see your brother again?” Alex stated, crossing his arms and tilting his head, waiting for her answer he knew she’d give.
Her left hand fiddled with the sedation filled syringe hidden securely in her pocket, she would have done it if it wasn’t for the fact that she needed him. For now. Compliantly she picked up a tray before turning her head towards him, “Lets just hope your little plan works.”
She opened the door leading into rows of empty seats before reaching the blue curtain where they were all seated behind. Balancing the tray on her one arm she opened the curtain with the other in a very stewardess-like way, fake smile and all, before she bent down to the first passenger, “Coffee or tea?”
Broots was sitting on a little rock he'd found nearby the woods, moping. It was an unusually soft for a rock which was good because that was it, he wasn't walking one step further. He had more blisters than he had feet. And because of that his shoes no longer fit so he'd taken them off.
Even for the Centre this was unusually secluded. It was really amazing how isolated they managed to put things like an airport while still keeping it close enough to civilization's to be convenient. But then again it was their field of expertise. It didn't get much more secluded in an area as surrounded by major metropolitans as Delaware.
He was still angry at Miss Parker for just hanging up at him like that. Although it really wasn't that much out of the usual. Being dumped in the woods fifty meters away from a serial killer only to end up kidapped by said serial killer on the other hand. He kicked the dirt defiantly only to regret that decision seconds later when the pain set in.
But wait...that was more than blister-pain, he looked down.
"OH nononono!" He screamed as he discovered the hundreds of ants nibbling on his little toes. Instantly he began running further into the woods, away from the ants and the road, in nothing but his socks while brushing ferociously to try to get the thousands of ants off.
Five minutes of manic brushing later he was walking back to the road to get his shoes. As he got closer to the road he heard something. It sounded like a vehicle only angrier. Seconds later he saw Miss Parker's car whooshing by. He tried desperately to wave and what could only be described as 'squawk' to get her attention, but to no use.
She disappeared into the horizon and he was, once again, left alone in the woods. Well, not completely alone, he thought and flicked another ant off his sock.