“Agent E.” The man holds a walkie-talkie to his mouth. It crackles with static, filling the dark street with noise. The man quickly adjusts the volume, and holds it up to his ear.
“I’m here, boss,” a low voice says, on the other end.
“Is your team in place?” The man steps around the pool of light a street lamp creates, and ducks behind a tree.
“We’re in position and awaiting your instruction, sir,”
“Begin stage one, then report to me.”
“Yes sir.” The walkie-talkie fills with static once more, the man smiles, and melts into the blackness.
I don’t know what woke me up, the thunk, or the sound of footsteps downstairs, but I’m huddled by the door to my bedroom, holding my old baseball bat and probably looking like a freak because of my bedhead. Sitting there for so long has given my legs cramps, and I’m starting to think that maybe it was all my imagination until I feel a hand on my shoulder. My eyes are locked on the door, which hasn’t opened, and I’m too terrified to scream, so I jump up, my legs screaming in protest, and swing my bat through the darkness. Oh crap, I wish my parents were here, not off on some stupid vacation.
“Next time you swing, try to keep the bat in control.” A low man’s voice tells me. This time, I do scream.
“If you scream it gives away your location and makes it much easier for us to do this.” Something hits the backs of my knees, and I go flying forwards into a solid shape. Strong arms wrap so tightly around me it’s hard to breath, let alone escape. The thing holding me begins to walk carefully across my room, still crushing me between its arms.
As I gasp for air, all I can think is, what will happen to Mochi if I die? It’s stupid to be worried about my cat at a time like this, but what if these guys do kill me? My parents won’t be back for another week, and it’s not like I have any friends that will call me, since we just moved in. I take as deep a breath as the arms holding me will allow, and say,
“Who are you and how did you get into my house without triggering the alarm system?” Even to me my voice sounds nervous and shaky. The voice speaks again.
“My name is Emanuel, and the big guy holding you is Clyde.” Clyde grunts and I feel his grip on me tighten. I rack my brain for something, anything to convince them to let me go.
“If I were a criminal who kidnapped people, I wouldn’t go around telling them my name.”
Emanuel laughs, “There is no way you are going to escape so what does it matter if I tell you my name or not?”
“Why are you here?” I say. I cringe, why would I ask that? I know the answer; they’re here to kidnap me. It’s not like they’re going to say “We were thirsty so we came inside for some water.” For a second I forget that I’m being kidnapped, and let out a small laugh. I think I’m starting to lose it. But that laugh startles Clyde, and his grip on me loosens. My hyper - attentive brain jumps into action and I jerk my arms out of Clyde’s grasp. I elbow him as hard as I can in the jaw, and he drops me, moaning. I take a few steps in the direction of my bedroom door, but before I can get very far, I trip over something hard and round, and fall to the floor yelping. My baseball bat, I dropped it when Clyde grabbed me. I grab the bat and jump up.
“I have a weapon, so stay away!” I yell, holding my “weapon” out in front of me.
“Very good, Lillia Porcella.”
“Tell me how you got into my house.” I hear Emanuel sigh, and when he speaks he sounds tired.
“It was very simple to disable your security system, all we needed was a pipe cleaner and some chewing gum, and it took less then thirty seconds. After that we simply climbed up the drainpipe, and while you were guarding the door, we slipped in through your window that you conveniently left unlocked for us. Now here we are.”
The way Lillia handled herself with Clyde was not too shabby, but she does need to work on not betraying her feelings. With all of my training I can sense the feelings of my opponents. Not to brag or anything, but I’m probably the best person on my team. I’ve been at the training center longest, and I’m the only one with my own badge that gets me into places that only trainers can go. I think I’m going to be promoted soon, if I complete this mission.
“Clyde take her out to the car, I’ll call the cleanup crew.” Clyde grunts and pulls a blindfold and gag out of one of his many pockets. I nod and he ties the girl up. I turn my back and pull out my phone, as I hear Clyde drag Lillia downstairs.
“Jerry? We’re done.”
Clyde’s hands are sweaty as he ties the gag and blindfold around my head. It’s gross but definitely not my biggest problem. I feel him pick me up and throw me over his shoulder. My head bounces as we go down the stairs, and I feel the rush of fresh air on my face as the front door opens. I try to scream through the gag, hoping one of the neighbors has a window open, but the cloth stuffed into my mouth absorbs all of my shouts.
I hear a car door open, and am dropped into a small tight space. It must be the car’s trunk. I hear two more doors open, and then the car shakes slightly as Clyde gets in. Emanuel is speaking softly to Clyde, and as the car lurches backwards I hear the rumbling of engines in the distance. I feel a flicker of hope in my chest, until I hear Emanuel say,
“Here’s the cleanup crew, let’s get out of here.”
I climb into the truck, and whisper to Clyde, “Is the girl in the trunk?” He grunts, and I put the car into reverse. We need to get back to the training center; we’re already behind schedule because we didn’t expect Lillia to fight back so well. I reach under my seat for the portable police light, and we take off.
As the car bumps along, I try to keep my eyes open but I keep nodding off. We’ve been driving for about an hour, and I’m exhausted. I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, so a wiggle around and try to get comfortable, then let my eyes flutter closed.
I wake with a jerk as the car pulls to a stop. For a minute I forget where I am, and try to sit up and stretch.
“Ow!” I yell as I hit my head on the trunk roof, except it sounds more like “Mpf!” because of my gag. I realize that I can see. My blindfold must have come off during the trip. All of a sudden the events of earlier come rushing back to me, and I feel tears threatening to spill.
I hear footsteps outside, and quickly rub my eyes. The trunk pops open and I see Clyde’s great big head smiling down at me. His grin quickly slips when he sees my red eyes.
“Why girly crying?” His big oafish face looks so concerned I feel the need to reassure him, until I remember that he kidnapped me. I ignore him and sniff quietly. I feel him lift me out of the trunk, but I keep my head turned away.
I look around. It’s still dark, but I don’t know if it’s early morning or late at night. I can make out a big building up ahead, and Clyde seems to be walking towards it. I keep quiet as we walk, gravel crunching under Clyde’s giant feet, and the sound of footsteps ahead filling the silence. I close my eyes and start to nod off, until Clyde trips and almost drops me.
We are almost at the front doors of the big building, and I can see there are guards patrolling the building. Those must have been the footsteps I heard earlier.
They let Clyde and me through without a word, and I gasp as we step in. The inside looks almost futuristic. Everything is a bright, harsh white that hurts my eyes after so many hours in the dark. The ceiling is glowing, and light comes from glowing blue bars running the perimeter of the room.
We walk down some steps and over to a big window that looks into another bright room. Clyde puts me down, and I stare in awe through the glass. Unlike the room we are in now, which is empty except for a few dried up looking potted plants, this one is teeming with life. The walls and floor are still bright white, but there are people running back and forth, dodging machines and tables filled with more people on computers. I can hear the buzz of voices, and whirring of machinery from the other side of the glass, so it must be super loud in there.
As the people rush by the window, they don’t give us a second glance, but I stare. Most of them look about my age, and they’re all dressed in black. I notice with a start, as a group of them walk past talking in loud, excited voices, that they’re all carrying guns. Some have them stuck into a holster (black of course) around their waists, while others have them out and are cleaning them.
“Come,” Clyde says, inclining his head towards a door I hadn’t noticed before. He steps almost silently over and tugs the door open. It reveals a long hallway with doors lining it. At the end I can see a big, heavy looking one that has a sign on it saying Enter at your own risk. I step slowly onto the white floor. Whoever built this place sure did love white. I jump as the door slams behind me, and scurry over to where Clyde is turning the knob on the door with the sign.
“Are you sure it’s safe to go in there?” I gulp. He just smiles and pushes the door open with ease. A puff of steam floats out of the open doorway, and Clyde disappears inside. I step in behind him, and stop to stare. This room isn’t at all like the others I’ve seen. Instead of being bright, and inviting, it’s dark, with metal shelves lining the room. I step farther in, and almost trip over an empty vial.
“Sorry about the mess,” says a voice behind me. I scream and jump to the side, knocking over a small table filled with jars of multi - colored liquids, which spill all over the floor, creating a purple smoke that billows around the room.
“Sir, I brought you the girl like you asked.” Clyde seems to have dropped the sweet but dumb guy act, and can now form entire sentences. I turn to glare at the man.
“Whatever you want with me, I don’t care. When my parents come home and I’m not there they’ll come looking, and then you’ll all get arrested.”
“Oh dear,” the man sighs “Maybe you should go talk to the people in charge of this whole operation.” He turns and steps back into the hall. Clyde follows him, and I don’t want to spend a minute in here alone, so I go too.
The hall is bright against my eyes, and I stand there blinking for a second. When my eyes are adjusted, I see Clyde and the man waiting outside the first door on the other end of the hallway. I walk over, and they open the door, waiting for me to go in. I do, and they close it behind me.
This room is white all over, and is much smaller than the last, with only a desk and a few chairs filling it. Two people, a man and a woman, are bent over a long piece of paper, arguing quietly. They lift their heads as I step in, and I gasp.
“Mom and dad?”