Author's Note:And we're back, again. Things in this story should start to pick up now. The next chapter should have some action. I miss action. I love writing it. The last few stories I wrote were very light on the action, in fact barely any at all. I started on this site writing stories with gun fights and explosions and all that crazy stuff. This story is my attempt to get back to it. You'll see what I mean very soon. I want to apologize for the long delays between postings. i have no one to blame but myself. Things have calmed down a bit but I'm still struggling with the whole bills and money situation here. So I haven't really been in the mood to write things sadly :(.
When the world came back, it was dark.
Its one thing to wake up with a bright light assaulting your eyes but when there’s darkness, its a panic. I stopped myself from thrashing about like an idiot though. Not that I didn’t want too but I quickly remembered my situation. Or rather, was quickly reminded of it when I tried moving my hands. They were still zip-tied behind my back, the vile plastic band currently cutting into my flesh. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm myself and think things through. The previous events started to slowly come back to me. My head was still a little foggy but it was starting to pass. The drug was starting to pass.
They drugged me.
Then they kidnapped me.
Dr. Kramer. Douglas. Grant.
They were all in on it. Probably that damn nurse too. The only question was who and why. I guess that was really two questions. There were a lot more too. Like why did they really want me? Grace had tried to warn me, she told me about them taking others. Did that mean other teenagers or did she mean other people like me? Were their other people out there who had their genders changed? Or was it something more. Maybe it had something to do with that blue flash. I knew it was already making some people sick. Maybe the ones immune to it were being carted off to somewhere. It made sense except of course for the drugging and the guns. Those told me that something else was going on, something sinister.
My train of thought was interrupted when I heard a car door shut.
I’d been concentrating so much on the internal, that I ignored the external. What had they said before I blacked out? Something about a car and a rally? If I had to guess I’d say after I passed out, they carried me to their car and drove me someplace. The fact that I could no longer feel the vehicle moving meant we were probably already at our destination.
I felt someone sit next to me.
“Remove the hood.”
A moment later, the darkness disappeared.
The light was blinding. I snapped my eyes shut almost immediately. I took a moment before I opened them again, blinking as I did so. When things came into focus, I took stock of my surroundings. I was in the back of an SUV, the upholstery was made of leather, it had that new car smell. Looking toward a window, I saw the glass was tinted black. So clearly not a car you would pick up at a rental place.
“I’d like to apologize, Miss Pierce.” said a voice.
The man sitting next to me.
I turned to face him, everything still a bit blurry.
I saw a vague outline of him, enough to see some features. I blinked some more and more of him came into focus.
Thin, wearing a charcoal gray suit. No tie though. Hands covered in black gloves. Most of his face though was obscured by the brim of his white hat. It looked really out of place, the hat. It was the only thing that I could actually concentrate on. The only thing of him face that I did notice was how pale he was. Like a man who stayed indoors all the time.
“You kidnapped me” I snapped.
He shook his head. “A misunderstanding. My men overreacted to the situation. They’re trained to deal with enemy combatants, not stubborn little girls. For that, I’d like to apologize again.”
He had a polite tone but I wasn’t buying it. There was something about him that told me he was full of shit. Maybe it was his tone. Or maybe it was something else. I definitely didn’t like the way he called me “little girl”, it was condescending. Then there was the way he was sitting. He was definitely trying not to look at me.
“Then why drug me?”
“For your own protection, of course.”
Ok, now I was pissed. I was drugged and kidnapped, for what, to protect me?
What a load of bullshit!
“Calm down,” he said, gently touching my arm. “And allow me to explain.”
There was something about his touch.
Even though I was wearing my hoodie, I could feel his hand. It was ice cold. Like death. I’d never touched anyone who was cold like that. One of my cousins on my Dad’s side always had cold hands. It was some kind of circulation problem. He took medication for it or whatever. Even he had hands warmer than this guy.
His freezing touch calmed me though.I started to relax.
He nodded. “Good girl, now we can talk like civil beings.”
I repeated my question, with less anger this time.
He sighed. “Like I said before, you misinterpret the situation. It was not a kidnapping, it was a rescue.”
He nodded. “From the hospital, from yourself.”
“Why do I need rescuing?”
“The world is changing, Miss Pierce. It has changed a great deal already.” He finally turned to face me and raised his head. Yeah, definitely pale, almost albino. It wasn't his skin that shocked me though, it was his eyes. They were the palest blue I'd ever seen, almost white.
It was creepy.
He smiled. “How much of the world events has that precious nurse been telling you?”
How did he know that?
He touched my arm again. “Do you know about the Blue Flash?”
I numbly nodded.
“Good,” he said, removing his hand. “Allow me to enlighten you some more.” He shifted in his seat, turning his whole body to face me. He took a deep breath. “When the Flash happened, something happened to the world. Specifically to those exposed to it.”
I nodded. “They got sick.”
“Yes, many of them did but not all of them.”
“Yes like you and so many others your age. It would appear that young people are immune to whatever sickness the world was exposed too. Everyone under the age of twenty-five to be precise. It's baffling and unheard of. The governments of the world are scrambling to make heads and tails of it all. Anyone not sick is being kept in quarantine, some of them being experimented on, even dissected.”
I cringed at that part.
Were they killing them?
He nodded. “So you see, when I say I was rescuing you, I meant it. Its a dangerous place for young people like you.”
“What’s so special about me?”
“Yes, special, a brilliant word to use,” he said, smiling. “You are quite special now, Miss Pierce. Downright extraordinary even. You might not see it yet or know it but you soon will. It's the reason I came to rescue and help you. Something happened to you Miss Pierce, something that you can’t explain, isn’t that right?”
I shook my head. He smirked and leaned forward.
When he spoke, it was in a whisper:
“Colonel Pierce only has one daughter.”
So he knew.
He leaned back, a smug look on his face now.
“Do you know what happened?” I asked, mesmerized. “Why I changed I mean?”
“The Flash happened.”
I started to shake my head then stopped.
My mind drifted back to the night on the hill. I was almost to the bottom of it when I saw that brilliant blue light.
I passed out and woke up in the hospital, like this.
The light changed me?
He was nodding. “You’re not the only one. Some changes were minor, some more severe. There have been at least twenty seven reported cases of gender change.”
I’m not alone?
He touched my arm again. “I can help you, Miss Pierce. Let me help you. There is so much that we can discover together. Not just why you changed either but other things as well.”
He nodded. “Your gender is not the only thing about you that’s different.”
“What do you mean?”
Before he could respond though, someone rapped on the glass of his door. Sighing, he rolled down the window. I quickly caught sight of a soldier, dressed from head to toe in black tactical gear. Definitely not one from the base. There was something menacing about that gear, off-putting. If this man---this White Hat---truly wanted to help me, then why such a heavily armed and sinister looking escort?
“What is it?” he asked his soldier.
“We need you outside for a moment.”
He sighed then nodded.
Turning to me, he sighed again. “I’ll be right back my dear.”
He patted me on the knee, opened the door and stepped out of the vehicle.
Leaving me alone once again.
Alone with my thoughts.
I had a few.
First and foremost, I couldn’t help but go over in my head what he just told me. I knew some of it, of course, thanks to Grace but the rest was a little suspect. So the flash changed me, I kinda figured that out by myself. The flash making me different, I think he was full of it. It was a means to explain away his kidnapping of me. He was convinced the Flash made me and probably the others, different. So he would say or do anything to justify his crazy. I mean there was nothing different about me, save for the gender change of course. I definitely wasn’t “special”. The scary thing about all of this was his insistence that I was different in other ways too. History told me there were many people like him---deranged, nut jobs---and they’d do anything to prove it.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out this White Hat was one of them.
“Rescuing” me and wanting to “help” me, were code words for his insanity.
I needed to get away.
The door opened and he was back.
Before the door closed again, I caught the tail end of a one way exchange. One of the soldiers was talking into his mic, something about "How close and how many?". I didn't catch the rest because the door was shut right after.
“I apologize for that,” he said, slipping back into the seat next to me. “Pressing business that required my attention.”
I stared at the door, wondering what all that was about. Then quickly snapped my attention back to him. This guy was a bully, not like Robby though. This man was an intellectual scumbag, one who thought he was the smartest man in the room. A condescending, "superior to everyone" type bully. There was a different way to deal with him. I needed to convince this guy I was his friend for as long as possible. I was scared what he might do if he thought otherwise.
“You said I was changed in other ways?”
“Of course, you all were.”
I nodded. “What kind of ways?”
“We won’t know for certain until I get you back to my compound.”
And there it was. All that talk of helping and rescuing me. He wanted to lock me up too. He was probably going to run the same experiments, maybe even some dissections too. He was no different than the people he was supposedly rescuing me from. He just hid it better. Behind flowery words, polite smiles and charm. Least he forgets he also had psycho goons, heavily armed blackguards and an evil, sinister base he was going to cart me off too. No, he definitely didn’t want to help me. He wanted to test me, to break me then to ultimately control me.
“Yes, its a safe haven for people like you.”
“There’s more people like me there?”
“Did you rescue them too?”
I tried not to stress the word “rescue” but I’m afraid I did.
His eyes narrowed but the smile didn’t leave his face.
“You need to understand something, Miss Pierce, not everyone who changed is like you. Some of them are very dangerous. Not just to themselves but to others as well. So they needed to be persuaded to join me. ,It was unfortunate but it had to be done. My men thought you might be one of those individuals as well but I convinced them otherwise. I told them you’d cooperate.”
Which translates to “Do as I say and you won’t get hurt.”
I could definitely see where this was going.
“You want me to go with you willingly?”
He smiled. “You are as smart as all those AP classes you take.”
I nodded. “And if I refuse?”
His smile finally vanished. “That would be most unfortunate.”
There was a coldness to his voice when he spoke.
The true White Hat finally revealing himself.
Ok moment of truth time.
I could tell this guy to go “fuck himself” and feel a world of pain. Or I could play “Miss Nice girl” and go along for now. Both options sucked but they were the only two present. The third, of course, would be to escape. Looking around, I knew that wasn’t an option. I was outnumbered, outgunned and currently tied up in a locked SUV. No, there was no escaping. So I could go with him as a guest or as a prisoner.
Neither were all that promising.
“Then its a good thing I’m the cooperating type,” I said, flashing a false smile.
He smiled back, patting my knee.
“I knew you would be, Miss Pierce.”
What the hell did I just get myself into?
Mr. White Hat gave my knee another reassuring squeeze before knocking on the window. A second later, the door was opened.
“I predict a bright and prosperous future for both of us, Miss Pierce.”
I flashed a fake smile again.
He nodded then stepped out of the SUV.
A moment later the door shut.
I only had a few seconds to take a deep, “I’m fucked” breath before the door opened again. It wasn’t White Hat this time though, it was Grant. The soldier was dressed in one of those black tactical suits, he was also wearing a nasty scowl. Clearly, he was still holding a grudge after our “date” in the bathroom. Keeping his eyes on me, he climbed into the SUV, taking the spot White Hat vacated. I took stock of him, trying to judge if I could make another bolt for it. Not likely. He was wearing a tactical vest, more than likely kevlar as well. There was a combat knife and a 9mm too. He wasn’t trying to hide them this time either. He wanted me to know he was armed. There was something else too, something he definitely wanted me to see.
In his hand, a cattle prod.
I didn’t have to imagine what that was for.
The threat was clear:
No funny business.
I smiled my fake smile again. “Here for Round 2.”
Ok, so it wasn’t the smartest thing to say but I needed to prove to this prick that I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me. He and his boss might have been in charge of this situation but I wasn’t going to bow down and play nice.
“Just try it,” he said, holding up the prod and pressing the trigger.
An arc of electricity emitted from the end.
“Whatever gets you off.”
He made a motion to stick me with it but was stopped by Douglas from the front:
“Grant, lay off, the boss wants her unharmed.”
He glared at me.
I smirked again.
Oh yeah, this was going to be fun time.
It took about ten minutes before our little convoy started moving.
Two more SUVs showed up before we started on our way. The soldier boys had a nice conversation before we started on the road too. I couldn’t make out what they were saying because they had their conversations outside but I could tell they weren’t happy. Especially Grant. He was arguing with another soldier, a younger one, not dressed in all that gear. He was dressed like a civvie, buttoned-down shirt, gray cargo pants. He had a shaved head, a squared away military cut. If I had to guess, I’d say Marine. He had that Jarhead look about him, the same one that Freddy and his squadmates had.
When the argument was finally over, the Jarhead joined us in the SUV too. Grant didn’t look too happy but apparently, Jarhead was higher up on the totem pole. He smiled when he sat down next to me. Unlike the others though, his smile was actually genuine. He had kind eyes too, not at all like the others. I couldn’t help but wonder what a guy like him was doing with a bunch of goons like them. I smiled back, hoping that maybe a little-shared kindness might go a long way.
He didn’t actually speak to me until we were on the road.
I shrugged. “I’m as good as can be expected.”
“Pretty scary stuff, huh?”
“Scarier every minute.”
I might have “volunteered” to go along with them but we all knew the truth. I was a prisoner here. These men weren’t going to let me go and if I tried to escape, there was no doubt that they’d definitely try to shoot me. So as pleasant as we all pretended to be, we really knew what was going on.
The Jarhead didn’t respond to my fear.
Good, maybe he was questioning things too.
He didn’t try talking to me anymore.
Instead, I spent my time looking out the window. Before I hadn’t gotten the chance but now that I could, I realized that we were far from the city. In fact, it was nothing but forest on either side of the road. Which told me one thing, we were going away from the city. We’d probably been going away from it for hours now. I had no idea how long I’d been drugged for but it was clear it’d been for a few hours. It was starting to get dark outside now. If we were going in the direction I thought, it would be a few hours before we got to any civilization too.
So I was alone out here.
A quick thought came to mind.
“I have to pee.”
“Oh no, I’m not falling for that one again.”
“You want me to piss all over the seat?”
“I don’t care.”
“Grant” snapped the Jarhead. “The Major said make her comfortable. She’s not our prisoner. Order them to pull over so she can relieve herself.”
Grant said it through it gritted teeth. Yeah, he definitely wasn't a fan of our new Marine companion.
A moment later, Grant was barking an order into a throat mic.
I smiled at Jarhead.
The convoy came to a slow stop.
I did as I was told and my zip ties were cut. Damn. I brought them forward, rubbing my wrists. They were practically numb. I could tell my Marine escort was displeased. He shot Grant a dirty look but only got a smug one in return.
“I’ll take her.”
Grant held up the prod.
“No, stay here, maintain a perimeter.”
The Jarhead unlocked the door, getting out first. Then he turned and held out his hand, meant for me to take it. I was unused to being treated like this. I reluctantly took his hand and he helped me out of the SUV. The first thing I noticed when I stepped outside was that it was cold. It was funny though because I wasn’t cold. I knew it was though because I could see my breath. It had snowed too. Looking around, I realized it had snowed a lot. Not unusual for November sure but with the chill in the air and the snow on the ground, it sure didn’t feel like a November night.
I shook my head. “When did it snow?”
“Last week sometime I think.”
I nodded then shook my head.
That didn’t make any sense. Last week, it was chilly but there was no sign of snow. I’d seen the weather reports too. There was no snow on the radar. There was something wrong about the way everything looked too. Not just the snow. The darkening sky had that dreary gray look to it and all the leaves were off the trees. Definitely not Autumn.
Something occurred to me then.
“It's not November is it?”
The Jarhead gave me a strange look. “It's January.”
Son of a bitch.
They lied to me.
Grace said I’d been unconscious for a week. A lie. Two months, I'd been unconscious for two whole months! Oh God, my parents must be flipping out. Why would Grace lie like that? Why would any of them lie like that? It made no sense. If I’d been in a coma for two months or so, there should have been no way that I could get up and walk like that. Even now, I should have still been in the hospital. But here I was, up walking and talking.
"January, you're sure?"
He laughed. "Pretty positive."
He must have seen the look on my face because he asked: "Are you ok?"
I nodded. "I guess being in the hospital for so long made me lose track of time."
It was a lie. He continued to give me an odd look before nodding. He knew I was lying but I'm glad he didn't press it.
A moment later, he shivered. He gave me a once over, another odd look.
“You sure you’re not cold?”
He couldn't to stare. It was pretty off-putting. An awkwardness began to form until he finally snapped out of it.
“Well c’mon then,” he said, pointing to the tree line on the other side of the road. “We’ll find someplace secluded for you.”
We started walking across the road.
We got about three feet when the SUV next to us exploded.
Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF
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