The Telepath

Where the frack was I?

I pushed myself up on my knees, wiping my mouth while trying to figure out how I’d gotten from a fire escape into a tiny clear cubicle. I looked behind me, no, make that a box. Looking up, I blew out a breath, wrong again, a cube.

I jolted up to look all around me. My gear was gone. Getting to my feet, I paused to notice my boots are gone too. Still shaking from throwing up, I stepped around the puddle of spew and went to the wall, running my hands along it, feeling for a door or seam.

A noise startled me and I froze as I watched a red light travel down the side of the wall. It went to the floor, then moved back up, slowly. I wasn’t sure, but I think I was just scanned. For what, I didn’t know, but I was now at an eight on my freak out scale—or FOS as I liked to refer to it. If I reached ten, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

I went closer to the wall and cupped my hands around my eyes, pressing my face against it. I was hoping it was a two-way mirror or—something. I couldn’t see anything. Okay, I could do this. I huffed out a few fast breaths, it was clear, no bars, no cement walls, I may not be able to see out, but it gave the illusion of space.

My heart started beating out a staccato rhythm. Maybe that big scary guy was one of the abductors. If so, why did he have a girl with him, and why did the girl get so mad because I shot her Rafael? Rafael, really? Who named their kid that? A few hundred years ago, maybe. Didn’t his mother like him?

I realized I was breathing like I had just run a mile and knew I had to slow down or my behavior would change without my noticing. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Don’t freak out until you know the facts. You are not locked up. You are not there again. You will never be there again. Reassured, I turned and put my back against the wall and slid down. I’d just sit here and focus on my breathing for a few minutes.

Grabbing my shins, I pulled my legs tight into me, then froze. I ran my hands down my legs to my ankles. Pish! My knives were gone. How? Did I pass out? Is that how I got here?

The reflection on the far wall changed and suddenly there was someone standing on the other side. He had long black hair and didn’t look friendly. From my vantage point on the floor, he looked like a giant.

I stood up slowly, then realized he was just as big as he appeared when I was sitting. His eyes were grey, not green or blue, but grey, and right now they were assessing me, very thoroughly. Crossing his arms over his large chest, he turned his head and spoke to someone. I couldn’t see anyone else. I also couldn’t hear him.

Turning, I looked all around. Actually, I couldn’t hear any thoughts either. I put my hands against the sides of my head. Complete silence. That was rare. I wonder what these walls were made of, and if I could get some of it and make my own bigger cube—if I ever got out of here.

Taking a deep breath, I dropped my hands and blew it out slowly. When I turned around the man looked concerned. I stepped over to be right in front of him. Did I want to try reason? Other than abnormally large and scary looking, he appeared fairly intelligent.

“Hello?” I said quietly.

His grey eyes connected with mine.

“Good. You can hear me.” I motioned around me. “I’m not sure where I am, but I believe there has been some sort of error, mostly on my part.” He didn’t move a muscle. “I may have shot the wrong man by mistake.” I rolled my eyes, “okay, I meant to hit him, I never miss my target—” I realized that babbling wasn’t going to buy me any favors. “I-I thought he was someone else that intended harm,” I waved my hand around, “or to abduct these clueless twits that probably didn’t have a whole brain cell among them.”

I took a deep breath and tried to tone down the hostility. I smiled, not sure what else to say. “So-so if I could have my gear,” I looked down, “and my boots back, I’ll get gone.” I nodded. “I was on my way out of this insane city before I spotted those disgusting men scoping out the aforementioned idiots.” I took a quick breath, “I was just trying to stop more women from vanishing.” I shrugged, not sure what else I could add to plead my case. He hadn’t moved, his expression hadn’t changed. “You should play poker,” I blurted out before I could stop my mouth, “you have the face for it.”

He turned to look at something, then shook his head. A woman, the same size as me, came into view. She had short black hair and there was something familiar about her. The giant looked unhappy as she walked by him to the wall and did something there.

“What’s your name?” She asked.

I looked all around for the speaker but didn’t see anything. “Kara.” I gave her a weak smile.

“Cara…”

I shook my head. “Kar-a, like a car.”

She gave me a patient look. “Kara, where are you from?”

I frowned, that was not a question I expected. “Planet earth?” I huffed out a breath. “The same city I was trying to leave. Okay, I’m not originally from there—actually I don’t know where I’m from originally, but I’ve been in that decaying city for the last few years.” I needed to shut up. I didn’t spend a lot of time around people, for obvious reasons and tended to ramble when I was. That, and I was really trying not to freak out from being contained in a clear cube.

She nodded, then turned to the man and said something I couldn’t hear. They both turned to look at something out of my view.

Another man came into view. He had pale blond hair and a goatee. He was also as large as all the other men I’d seen. The one with the black hair moved out of view, then that red light was moving down the wall again.

I watched it for a second, then turned to see him come back in. The three of them were looking at a tablet.

“Did I pass?” I asked sarcastically, then regretted it. My mouth and brain needed to work together if I was ever going to get out of here.

The woman moved to the corner again. “We’re just making sure it’s safe to move you out of there, Kara.”

I frowned. “Why wouldn’t it be safe?” I moved up to a nine on my FOS. “What’s wrong? What did your scan say?” Had all the experimental drugs and therapy they’d tried done permanent damage? My heart felt like it had moved into my throat.

Reaching for the button, she nodded to the men. “Nothing bad. You’re fine. You’re completely human though, so that’s a concern.”

I stood there for a second, not even sure if I heard her correctly. I looked from her to the men, then back. “Whew,” I pretended to wipe my brow, “and here I was worried I wasn’t completely human.”

The blond smirked and looked at the dark-haired man for a moment before moving over to the button. “How many men?” He asked.

“How many men what?” I looked to the others like they could tell me. “How many men does it take to screw in a light bulb?” No one moved. “I don’t know what you’re asking.” I reached into my pocket and they all gave me a hard look. “Relax.” I pulled out the hair tie with two fingers and held it up for them to see, “just pulling my hair back.” I motioned to the floor behind me where I had thrown up. “Feeling a little soiled at the moment.” I made fast work of a loose bun and then crossed my arms over my chest.

“How many disgusting men did you see stalking those women?” The blond asked in a calm tone.

“Oh.” I glared at him, why hadn’t he just said that? “Eight.”

“How did you know they were after those women?” He raised one eyebrow at me.

“Because I…” I almost said heard their thoughts, which never ended well when you told people that. “I overheard them.” I had to play it cool. If I could fool doctors that stared at me for hours on end, for years I could fool some complete strangers into thinking I was perfectly normal.

“So why didn’t you yell or call the police?” He crossed his arms over his chest.

I moved just my eyes from him to the other two and then back again. “Clearly you’re not from the city. Call the cops and say what?” I snorted, “you think they give a pish? Nothing would have happened.” I motioned up and down my body, “Do I look big to you? Yelling would have just added me to their to-do list.”

The woman gave me an understanding look. I still couldn’t figure out why she looked familiar.

I lifted my hands. “Look, I’m sorry I shot Rafael. He just appeared at the wrong time and was running right for those girls.”

“How do you know my brother’s name?”

Ugh. His brother. Just great.

He looked almost as scary as the dark haired one now.

“Uh, the girl that dropped down onto the fire escape with the big scary dude said you shot my Rafael.” I tried to look concerned, but honestly, I was at a nine point eight right now and it wasn’t looking like I was going to go back down on my FOS anytime soon. “I’m sorry. Is he all right? I aimed for his tush, lots of meaty tissue, nothing important to worry about—”

He looked like he wanted to grin but cocked his head to the side instead. He turned and started talking to the other two, waving a hand around. The woman was nodding, so I really hoped this talk was in favor of releasing me. She turned and walked out of my view.

I sighed and crossed my arms over my stomach, tying to think calming thoughts, which all things considered was never going to help, but I didn’t want to start ranting like a lunatic. I turned to pace and saw the spew in the middle of the very tiny space. “Um, I really hate to put you out, but could I at least get housekeeping in here?” I looked behind me to see the blond man was paying attention. “Or, bring me a mop and pail, maybe some air freshener?”

The woman came back and handed the blond man something. He went back to the corner. There was a noise and his hand appeared through a small window. “Put this on.”

I looked at it. It looked like a Fitbit monitor. I glanced at the woman to see as she raised her arm and was wearing one that was similar. Hesitantly, I stepped over and took it out of his hand. If it got me out of here, I’d dance a jig, however pretty that wouldn’t be.

He pulled his hand back and the small window was gone. I couldn’t even tell where it had been. Looking at the device, I turned it over, then put it around my wrist. Why I needed to wear a Fitbit, I didn’t know. Maybe they wanted to monitor my vitals. Vitals that would sound like a heavy metal band right now. I did it up, then wanted to undo it when the thought of it being some sort of lie detector thing crossed my mind. I don’t normally lie, I just don’t always share all the facts. I held up my arm to show it was on.

“Step out from your door and through the door across from it.” The blond said.

There was a whoosh noise and a door opened in the wall I’d been leaning on. I went over and stepped out. Two large men were on either side. Running was out of the question. I did as instructed, and the door whooshed closed behind me. I was now in a slightly larger, by that I mean maybe a foot larger than the last cube. This one had a bed and in a little cubby hole in the corner a toilet. “Oh, this is much better.” I said, not even attempting to hide the sarcasm in my voice.

I turned to see them looking through a wall at me. “So I guess leaving has been taken off the table?”

The blond gave me a quick look. “That’s up to Rafael and Victor.”

Oh good. The man I’d shot in the butt had some say in whether I got out. “Victor?” I was hoping he was a reasonable person.

He nodded. “I believe you met him on the fire escape.”

I was going to be living in a cube for the rest of my life.

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