Shockingly cold water snapped Holly awake with a sputtering cough and throbbing head.
“She’s awake,” said a man’s voice, inches from her face, insulting her nostrils with the distinct smell of sugared-rotten teeth.
Groaning, Holly, tried to open her eyes, but found the pain in her head worsened. Her arms were pulled tight behind her and she realized she was up against a pole, tied with what felt like rope that zigzagged around her so that she was awkwardly standing.
Distant memories flooded in again. Had she been in this situation before? Or was it a trick of her brain, recording memories while she was unconscious and making her feel a false sense of dé·jà vu? Even if the latter was true, the similarity was calming somehow, like if she survived once, she will again. Instinctively, she lowered her head down and squeezed her eyes tighter. It would be better for her to not see anyone.
Her brainchip kept signaling an error message, ‘Warning, your connection is lost, please relocate.’ This told Holly they were likely underground, away from any crystals, which meant they were probably farther east than she’d ever been. It also meant this was a planned act and she was a deliberate target, not just some random act of violence . Unless sugar-teeth was a serial-psychopath, but she doubted a sugar junky would have the focus to be a serious killer.
Without her signal, no one would know where she was and she couldn’t even dose herself with Ativan.
“You are going to do something for me,” a second male voice said. “You are going to get me back my daughter, my baby girl.” It was meant to sound threatening and Holly could hear an edge of fear and grief in its quality, which meant the threat was real.
The voice came beside her ear so she could feel his breath down her neck. “The Creator stole my baby and I can’t save her. He’s too dangerous.” He grabbed the back of her hair and Holly cried as he forced her head up. “Look what he did to me.” When Holly kept her eyes closed, he yelled, “Look!” and poked his thumbs into her eyelids in an upward sweep until they were forced open.
Holly cried out, she couldn’t help it, couldn’t stop herself. This man in front of her was the most hideous person she had ever seen. The edge to his voice had been age. He was at least eighty years old and every crevice, every wrinkle, showed a hard life that had accumulated to system-wide disease. His skin was jaundiced, his eyes red, and he kept wiping blood that was sporadically dripping from his nose and eyes. She threw up. Whether from pain, trauma or repulsion, she didn’t know, but her stomach turned in that moment and she couldn’t stop the forward thrust and felt the heated liquid fall down her chin and clothes.
He turned away from her. “I was thirty-five years old when he came here. Now look at me. Too old to care for my baby. But I will live long enough to end him and see my baby live. You will do what I ask. You have no choice.” He turned to look at Holly. Holly watched, trying to understand his words, but not making any sense of it. “You are going to shut him down. I’ve inserted a virus into your brainchip. It will become active in one of two ways. The first is, I activate it and kill you and everyone on your interconnection.”
Holly thought about the ramifications of this. Clara would become infected and some schoolmates she barely talked to anymore. Possibly, any genetic relations might too, if the virus went after blood interconnections as well. Not that she knew them. That was about it. He had overestimated her social circle. Oh, and she would die too. That was something to think about. Especially if the Creator had really taken this man’s baby and turned him into this monster. She wasn’t sure how that was possible, but then again, the Creator was a man of possibilities.
“The second is, you go back to the tower and act like we never met. When the Author begins her recording, the virus will be transmitted to her. That’s all you have to do. You have until sunset before I activate it. So it’ll be either you or her. I suggest you pass it off before its time. Once that is done, the Creator will become infected and I will be able to find my baby. Any questions?”
Holly thought for a moment. None of this really made sense. It was easier just to shake her head, no.
“Fine.” He said. You’ll be taken back to the tower. You have five hours before sunrise. I suggest you clean yourself up before anyone sees you like this.”
A cloth from behind was placed over her mouth and nose. She wrestled at first, but quickly found her lids getting heavier and heavier. The ugly man was watching her, but it was the Creator’s angelic face that filled her swirling vision as she passed out.
PART 16 Coming Soon!!
Videos to be postponed until I get my computer back (I’m still using a loaner and video quality is terrible!).