The Locket and the BeaconA Chapter by Bella Catten
Adri persuades Sadie to let Alex share his side of the story.
I poured myself a bowl of cereal and was sitting down to eat it when I noticed Damien staring at me with an idiotic grin plastered on his face. My spoon halted in midair as I stared back.
"Okay, what is it?" I laughed, but Damien only shook his head, still smiling.
"Nothing." he told me. "Finish your cereal." Slightly suspicious, I quickly finished my breakfast and dumped the dishes in the sink. At this point, only Kate, Ella, and Auriela (actually, Maxine today) remained in the room, the older girls teaching the younger how to play poker. The rest of them had wandered away, to do who knows what else, probably to do weirdo guy stuff I didn't understand.
I turned and faced Damien, who returned my gaze Cheshire Cat style.
"I'm done." I informed him. "Now spill it." I watched as he produced a tiny brown box from behind his back and offered it to me. I eyed him, not sure what he was getting at, and took the package. Removing the lid, I gaped at its contents.
Inside, nestled in a piece of fabric, was the most beautiful locket I had ever seen. It was heart shaped and golden, with the edges adorned with a tiny, bright green vine.
"It's perfect." I breathed, handling the jewelry like glass.
"I got one of the kids to make it, back at the facility." Damien told me, looking pleased at my state of marvel. "Blow on it."
"Blow gently on it, like this." he took the necklace from me, brought it up to his face, and blew gently on the surface. I focused on the pendant as miniature pink flowers sprouted from the vine, blooming right before my eyes. Touching it ever so carefully, I discovered the flowers literally sprouted from the locket, becoming three-dimensional, pin head sized, glass flowers. Damien exhaled again on the necklace, and the blossoms grew backwards, disappearing into the locket.
"Now kiss it." he ordered me, and I did this without being asked twice, eager for some more of the magic. Lightly pressing my lips against the cool metal, I then pulled it away and watched, spellbound, as tiny purple blossoms emerged. A second kiss, and the flowerets retracted back into the enchanting lavalliere. Damien removed the locket from my grasp, and fastened the clasp around my neck. I looked down at it, then back up at Damien.
"Thank you." I managed, and he smirked at me.
"Is that all?" he asked teasingly, and I shook off my wonder.
"No." I told him truthfully, and kissed him on the mouth. This kiss was different, longer, and I poured everything I could into that single kiss. When we finally parted, Damien swayed a little, and pretended to put on a pout.
"Thanks for showing me up in gift-giving." he tried to keep a straight face, but cracked a grin in the end.
"Come on, let's go." I laughed. "We need more to eat."
"I heard the grocery store just got a new shipment." Damien informed me. "They won't notice a few missing items." I frowned slightly, disliking the idea of stealing, but knowing there wasn't another option.
"Go." I told him. "Take these three with you." Kate, Ella, and Maxine jumped eagerly at the opportunity, happy to have an excuse to get out of their chores. "Peter, Jeremy, and Dexter will help me do the jobs, and Sadie has to take care of Alex."
"Okay, I'll see you in a while." Damien told me, sticking the now empty brown box that had carried my present in his pocket. The girls hurriedly pulled on their shoes, then followed him out of the door. When they were gone, I snuck another look at my gorgeous neck ornament, then busied myself with cleaning the kitchen. I assigned tasks to the three boys who were stuck with me, and started up with my own jobs. From time to time, when Alex was asleep, Sadie was able to come out and help, but had to rush back every time the kid woke up, although I wasn't sure why.
When lunchtime rolled around, everyone took a break and ate. I finished early and decided to go check on Sadie, who hadn't showed up for food.
I opened to the door, only to find Sadie asleep on her chair in the corner, and Alex trying to silently wiggle out of some sort of restraint that kept him from leaving the bed. Staring at him, I tried to suppress a snicker, but it came out just the same. Alex spotted me, then glared.
"You think it's funny?" he growled. "I've been trying to get to you all morning, but every time I started to call, she just stuck a needle in my arm! Then she fell asleep herself, so I'm trying to be quiet so I don't get sedated again."
"Maybe she wants you to stay there for a reason." I suggested. "How about you wait to talk to me tomorrow?"
"There's no time, damn it!" Alex snapped. Sadie stirred in her sleep, then sat up, blinking away her weariness. Seeing Alex's escape in progress, she jumped up and marched over to him.
"Good Lord, Alex, can't you just stay there?!" Sadie begged despairingly. "If you get too excited or go walking around, you could get really sick!"
"And you all could die!" Alex shot back, still trying to weasel out of the trap.
"Really, I don't like doing this, but I will if you refuse to let your body rest!" Sadie filled a large needle with a clear liquid, and pinned poor Alex's arm to the bed. Just as she was about to insert the shot, I stopped her.
"Wait, can't he just tell us what's going on?" I asked. "Provided he stays calm and relaxed." I added, and Sadie hesitated, but reluctantly put the shot away.
"You have five minutes." she said shortly, packed up, and left, closing the door behind her. I pulled up Sadie's vacant chair, and sat down, facing Alex. He tried to sit up and face me, but failed.
"Will you please let me out?" he pleaded.
"No." I retorted. "You have five minutes to tell me everything I need to know, so you'd better get started."
"Where?" A hint of exasperation crept into his voice.
"How about: where is the rest of your team?" I started.
"Dead. Maybe captured."
"How? Please, enlighten me. Who are the soldiers? What's with the 'wavy X'? How did you escape?" I fired questions, and waited for answers. Alex took a deep breath, and began his story.
"We got in our car, back at the building, and drove away, just like you. The car runs out of gas eventually, then we get out and walk. Finally, we reach a huge abandoned warehouse, in awful shape. We spend cold and hungry days there for three weeks, and a girl, Priscilla, dies in her sleep from the cold."
"I'm sorry." I say quietly.
"She was lucky." Alex corrects me. "A week after her death, we all return to our warehouse with scavenged food, as usual, but this time, we were attacked by soldiers in black. They were obviously minions of whatever union were keeping us captive way back when. Whoever was in charge of them had ordered them to retrieve whoever they could, but their boss had no idea who was alive and who wasn't. The soldiers knew that."
"They shot Cody, Teddy, and Ursula. After that, they took the rest of us in a big truck, with two guards in the back with us. One guard took out some sort of scanner, and waved it in front of our heads. When it was my turn, I dodged it to try and make it difficult. The guard just laughs, coldly, and tells me it doesn't hurt, but he can show me pain. He then tells me they're only seeing if we have tracking devices. Apparently, when they brought us in for testing, they implant tracking devices in some select minds. Not all of us, just a few, but enough to locate one person that leads them to the rest of their group. We call them TDs for short."
"Does this device protect the minds of the owners?" I asked, alarmed. I remembered Peter's mind was blocked off.
"Yeah." Alex looked at me funny. "How did you know?"
"Just a guess." I fought to keep a calm front.
"Yeah, they create some sort of barrier that keeps any mind probes out. Originally, they were just used as protection, but a year ago, they discovered the implants only need slight modifications to double as a tracking device. They took four subjects and tried the new devices out. The first one, put in a boy called......um..."
"Peter?" I prompted, hopeful.
"That's it!" Alex confirmed. "Anyway, the first one didn't work. All it did was protect the mind, and actually produced quite a bit of pain. It took three more tests to perfect it, but they did eventually, and randomly scattered the implants among the subjects." The relief that Peter wasn't a giant beacon was huge for me, and I sighed, then became suspicious.
"And this guard in the truck just told you all of this?" I questioned doubtfully.
"Yes." Alex replied. "And I wondered why, but every time I asked a question, he answered without hesitation, keeping on a gruesome smile. Finally, he asks me a question. 'Are you finished?' he asks, and I nod, quite happy with my knowledge. Then he whips out a gun, shoots me, and tosses me out of the moving car."
© 2012 Bella Catten
Added on February 3, 2012
Last Updated on May 14, 2012
AboutMy name is Bella Catten. I am fifteen years old, and love writing books, although I am terrible at finishing them. My goal is to finish at least ONE book, and maybe get it published. I live.. more..