Chapter 10A Chapter by Rylan Leif
Tim was in the room when I had come in with Shyloh in my arms. I told everyone what had happened in the arena and Tim decided to stay with us and tend to Shyloh. He made her as comfortable as he could in her cot and brought in some cloths that were doused in warm water to put on her forehead.
“These should help so she doesn’t have much of a headache when she wakes up.” He said in a kind voice. I was thankful that Tim was around; he acted like a father figure which was more than I could say for my dad. Well both my parents actually.
When Shyloh and I turned twelve and we could stay home alone we basically had to fend for ourselves. Sure, my parents came to all of our events; like all of my soccer games and every single one of Shyloh’s dance competitions but, once we were home everyone retreated to their own corners of the house. Shyloh would join me sometimes just to watch TV and stuff while mom and dad worked late every night. They seemed to still be very much in love with each other, they would spend every moment at home together and they’d go on weekend getaways to Banff and sometimes to Las Vegas but they didn’t pay much attention to us.
I remember whenever one of us got sick we wouldn’t tell mom or dad and we’d both stay at home so that one could take care of the other. Our parents would always tell us to “tough it out because education was the most important thing”. Even when it came to cooking, everyone had to make their own. Mom’s excuse for that was that we couldn’t all agree on the same thing to eat, but that was just because she hated cooking and dad was no different.
However, I did hope that if we ever got out of Cere-Tech alive, maybe things would change. I’d like to think that our parents missed us and were worried but there was a small sliver of doubt in my mind that kept saying “they probably haven’t noticed that you two are missing yet”.
“Tim you have to be the sweetest man I’ve ever met. I hope that doesn’t come off sounding weird though.” I said.
He laughed, “No of course not! I appreciate the compliment. I just like taking care of you kids because I don’t agree with how you’re treated around here. I have kids of my own you know.”
“Yeah I know. I bet you’re a pretty good dad.”
He laughed again, “Well I’d like to think so. I’m not around too much because of the late hours I have to work here and I can’t talk to my kids about my work so I feel a little detached. But it just makes me over-compensate in other areas. I like to let my kids do all the talking and I just do my best to give them a good home and a good life. I don’t want them to ever have to go hungry ever again.” He was tearing up a little but he brushed them away before he started blubbering around like a sentimental fool.
“I’m sure your kids appreciate it.” I said putting my hand on his shoulder.
“Thank you.” He said, smiling.
“Yeah, if I could’ve had a good dad like you, I never would have run away from home.” Trix said from across the room.
“Oh you guys, stop. You’re going to make me cry like a big old fool.” He replied.
“Haven’t you ever wanted to just expose these monsters or smuggle kids like us out of here?” I asked, trying to see if I could formulate Tim into our escape plans.
His voice lowered, “Yes. I’ve thought about it. But I could never do it because Cere-Tech would hunt down my family and kill them.”
I was stunned. “How could they do that? Are you sure?”
He nodded and looked around as if someone were to hear him from outside the room, “It’s in our contract. They can come after us if we expose them or do something to mess with their progress.”
“Why would you sign something like that?” I asked.
“Money.” He said rubbing his index and middle finger against his thumb, “I need the salary that this place gives so that I can protect my kids from poverty. I don’t want them to have to live on the street.”
“Well I can’t blame you for that.” I said.
“Thanks.” He said patting a cloth on Shyloh’s cheek.
“How many people are in the surveillance booth where you work?” I asked.
“It’s just me and one of those soldiers. They give me the willies.” He replied, shivering.
“Does he listen in too?”
“No, just me. He basically just stares at the screens and doesn’t make a sound.”
“Okay good, because I wanted to ask you something serious. If I may?” Tim turned his body to face me, his face darkening a little.
“Shoot.” He said.
“If we were to come up with a plan,” I gulped nervously, “to escape. Would you be willing to help us as long as it didn’t somehow incriminate you or endanger your family?”
He relaxed and pondered for a moment. The seconds creeped by and for a moment I thought that he might bolt from the room and raise the alarms. As the waves of panic started to rise, Tim obliterated them with a few words, “If you could figure out all the angles and tell me then I’d be able to let you know for sure.”
I exhaled with relief, “Well once we figure them out I can let you know.”
“Very good.” He said placing the cloth back on Shyloh’s forehead. “Well I have to get back to work. Somebody’s got to run this place.” He laughed.
“Thank you.” I said.
“Of course.” He replied. Then he left.
I sat on next to Shyloh on her bed and wringed some of the water out of the cloth. It dripped down her cheek and she shifted a little.
“Are you back to the land of the conscious?” Trix asked.
Shyloh’s eyes opened slowly and she blinked a few times, readjusting to the light. “Yeah.” She said quietly, “But I wish I was still unconscious so I wouldn’t have to look at this guy’s face.”
“Oh ha-ha, very funny Shyloh. If it weren’t for me Dr. Priya probably would’ve killed you after the stunt you pulled.” I retorted.
“Well it was worth it.”
“How so? You only took out one guy and apparently there are reserves of replacements for the Blues. Killing one was useless.” I was a little angry at her. I had hoped that she did in fact lose control of Draak and that it was all an accident but she actually did order him to attack.
“I was conducting a test Sylas. It wasn’t just in a blind homicidal rage.” She replied with a smile.
“Go on.” I urged.
“The Blue that was standing there didn’t react to the attack at all. He just stood still until Dr. Priya barked an order at him. That could work in our favour. If she’s incapacitated then the Blues won’t attack us at all.”
“Your sister raises a very good point Sylas.” Reese interjected. “The soldiers only interact with the people in power. They take orders and talk only to head scientists like myself, Dr. Priya and I think there’s only two others now. Although I don’t know who they are.”
“Well they don’t take orders from you now. They just make rude comments.” Trix said.
“Another good point.” Reese answered.
“So if we somehow immobilize all the order-givers, we could potentially just walk out of here?” Shyloh asked, sitting up in her bed.
“In theory yes. But I’m sure some of the other scientists would try to stop us and once we got out of here they’d come after us. We’d have to kill them and dispose of this entire lab.” Reese made it sound totally impossible.
“So we’re boned then?” Trix said.
“I think you might be right Trix.” Reese replied.
“There has to be some way to get out of here!” Shyloh screamed, “We can’t just bend over and take it! I’m not dying in here!”
“It’s not getting out that’s the problem Shyloh. It’s staying out. You can’t forget that this place is run by monsters and corrupted government men. We’d have to destroy the lab and then run the risk of being hunted down by people from the other facilities around the world.” Reese said.
“There are more Cere-Tech labs?” I exclaimed.
“Unfortunately.” Reese answered glumly. “There’s one in every major city around the world and hundreds more littered across desolate spaces between cities. They’re everywhere. Cere-Tech employs close to a million people and that’s not counting those who are on the government pay-roll.”
“So that’s it then. We are stuck.” I said, defeated. Cere-Tech had beat us. Even if we were to get out, I wasn’t going to go through life running scared or hiding from the world. I’d rather die. It’s not like we could run to our parents and tell them what happened, they’d think we were crazy too and we’d end up in the nut house just like Reese and her friends. No matter how you looked at it, we were screwed.
“Well there is one option.” Trix said. All of our heads snapped towards her, anxious to find out what we could do to escape this place.
“What is it Trix?” Shyloh begged.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” I couldn’t believe that those words left Trix’s mouth. She was the optimistic one who hated everything about Cere-Tech and then she turns around and wants to join the ranks?
“Are you serious Trix? Think about what these people did to all of us! They uprooted our lives, kidnapped us, and killed innocent scientists and your brother!” I exclaimed.
“Exactly.” She muttered flatly. “My brother is the main reason why I’m saying we should join them. They’ve killed countless people and they do awful things here, yet they still get away with it without consequence. We have to understand that we can’t beat them and no one is going to stand up against them. I don’t want to end up like my brother.”
“So you’re going to join up with the evil Nazis and help them continue to get away with horrible atrocities?” I spat. “That’s spineless and sick.”
“Think about it Sylas. If we join them and live long enough, we might even be able to bring them down from the inside.” Trix had genuine hope in her eyes.
“How would we do that Trix?” I asked.
“I don’t know. But at least joining up would give us time to figure that out!” She cried. She was desperate and hysterical; unleashing the emotions that all of us felt inside: fear, sadness, anger, desperation; the will to survive.
“Sylas, she’s right.” Shyloh said softly. “This is the only way we can survive long enough to make another move against Cere-Tech.”
“I agree.” Reese said, reaching her arm around Trix to console her.
“I guess. But we still have another problem. No one invited us to join up. How are we going to make them take us?” I hated being the ‘Debbie Downer’ but we had to think logically. There wasn’t much we could do to convince the Beast and her associates to keep us around.
“We’ll just call out Dr. Priya. We’ll tell her that we know that we have an expiry date and that we’re willing to leave our old lives behind so that we can join the winning team. If we are convincing enough she might just consider it. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind having her old partner back, right Reese?” Shyloh looked to her for support.
“Yes. This could actually be much easier than we thought. If I approach Priya with my offer to rejoin Cere-Tech, I might be able to negotiate the terms in which the three of you could remain here as permanent test subjects and aides to the scientists.” Reese eyes were alight with excitement. “This could work!”
“Perfect. So next time we go in for tests we’ll let her know that you want to talk with her.” Shyloh said.
“Well now that we’ve organized our plan to stay alive,” Trix started, “where the hell is our dinner! I’m starving and I’m really craving for some sweat-tasting potatoes!” She started laughing and we all couldn’t help but join in. It was easy to enjoy yourself once you’ve figured out how to avoid death.
Just as my stomach started grumbling again, the Blues came in with our trays of colourful and sweat-tasting goodness. They didn’t linger for too long after they took one look at Shyloh and their eyes widened a little in fear. It seemed like they did have some human emotions. They probably wanted to avoid a confrontation with Shyloh. I’m sure they would’ve heard about their little buddy getting torn to shreds.
Once they left everyone dived into their food without a word. I gulped mine down with incredible haste. The slop had never tasted so good.Dr. Priya didn’t come back to see us that night so we spent the evening playing various card games and joking around with each other. Things were finally starting to feel like they were picking up now that the ever-looming shadow of death was no longer clinging to our minds. I daresay that I may have even enjoyed myself that night in my little twenty foot square room where I could lose myself in some good old ‘Bullshit’!
© 2012 Rylan Leif
A Grand Unraveling
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