Chapter 22: UnspeakableIt was nearly sundown when the guards drove us back into the building like cattle. We had spent the rest of the day arguing over the plan with Wade and Lin leading the charge of course, but somehow I knew our lighthearted banter would become something real. Something that we would have to actually do if we were to get out of this place. Eager as we were it wouldn’t be an easy feat. As I laid in bed I tried to make sense of it all. Was that code the key to our exit or was it a key to our deaths?
“This is going be a vacation in hell,” Wade growled as me, Matt, and Madison trailed after the ill-tempered southern down the hall.
“Wade! Give it a rest!” Madison moaned.
“And what if we get stuck out there in the ocean? Ever think about that?” he continued. “I bet Omar would agree. Hey Omar!”
I then spotted the man they called Omar. My brother and Madison had mentioned the name in passing, but I had never laid eyes on him to my knowledge. As I watched him get closer rolling a wheelchair-bound woman I realized the woman was Grace. The woman I had saved in the infirmary. She spotted me and Matthew almost immediately. Her eyes grew wide looking bewildered at the sight of us, but then she smiled warmly lifting up from her chair.
“Nathan? And your brother I assume?” she said walking over slowly to us.
“Yes. My brother Matthew. How are you, Ms. Grace?”
“I’ve been better, but I’m alive at least thanks to you,” she said hugging me. She then gazed up at Matt grinning and took hold his hand in hers. “It’s lovely to meet you, Matthew.”
“So you’re Nathan? Matthew’s brother? Well, I’ll be damned.” Omar beamed joining us. “Your brother saved my wife. Grace said he killed one of those monsters with his bare hands!”
I blushed, “It was nothing. I just did what I needed to do.”
“Oh, man don’t be so humble! You’re a regular hero.”
“Yeah. You heard him. You’re a regular hero,” Matt smirked. He then ruffled my hair playfully and whispered, “Good job.”
I couldn’t tell if he was being sincere or a smartass, but there was something genuine about his gesture. He did have his moments. Moments that seemed few and far between now with everything we’ve been through, but some semblance of the old Matt was still in there. If there was one thing good about this prison we landed ourselves in it was that I was seeing more of him now lately. Even before the dead, I thought I had lost the guy I grew up with to work and stresses of life, but when the dead rose I thought I had lost him forever to someone more darker. As I watch him laugh and talk with ease with our new friends I was filled with some hope.
“Ok ok enough. Remember us kids have a curfew now. Get to bed,” Madison jested pointing to us.
Matt rolled his eyes, “Like you ever listen to rules anyway.”
With that humorous note, everyone decided it was time to disperse. Matthew and Madison, on the other hand, continued to exchange playful banter. Neither ready to leave from the looks of it. Feeling like a third wheel suddenly I decided to head back to my room then. Feelings of jealousy and annoyance plaguing me. As I turned the corner heading for my room I saw Lin. She was wearing a brown leather jacket peeking out from a room. A scrawny boy peeked out from behind her.
She gasped pulling me into the room. She then fumed, “You almost blew my cover dipshit!”
“What cover?” I asked as a guard strolled by.
She exhaled and stood up. Her brother quickly followed and began grabbing clothes from a rack nearby. It was then I took a really good look at the room we were in. It looked like a laundry room or some type of storage room. Racks of clothes and laundry hampers surrounded us while a few shelves rested in the middle of the room. Shelves littered with various normal items.
“I’m sorry, but what are you doing?” I asked genuinely confused by the situation.
“Don’t you ever shut up?” she groaned turning around to me. “There’s been a change of plans. I’m leaving. After curfew, we’re out of here.”
The boy then spoke flashing a grin covered with braces, “Who’s he? Hi!”
I chuckled, “It’s Nathan, but you can call me Nate if you want.” I then turn to Lin looming over me, “Matt told me you had a brother. So that’s him.”
“Yeah. He’s 19 and a pain in the ass.”
“Well, most younger brothers are. I’m sure Matt would agree anyway”, I said smiling slightly. “ So you’re leaving tonight? Why now?” I mean what about your father? He’s in the infirmary right?” I paused, “Oh wait is he…? Did he…?”
“No! My father hasn’t died! He’s just too ill to come with us,” she sighed. “But this isn’t about him. This is solely for the welfare of my brother who I promised to protect. What they’re doing here is….unspeakable.”
“They drugged me,” Tao blurted out. “I mean it’s fuzzy, but I remember being in Mrs. Stone’s office and then I was in some strange room and then back in our room in bed. It was weird.”
“And this wasn’t just a dream?” I implied trying not to sound cynical.
He suddenly looked insulted whining, “No man. I swear! It was real!”
“No. Describe to me what you remember. Maybe we can make sense of it,” I said.
“We don’t have time for that!” Lin shrieked shooting me a dirty look.
Thankfully Tao ignored his big sister and sat down next to me on a crate. He looked dead into my eyes with a serious expression. “From the beginning to the end with all the important stuff. I’ll try to be quick.”
“Munchies? You smoked pot before this?” I said eyeing him suspiciously.
Lin injected, “I know how it sounds, but that idiot is telling the truth. Trust me.”
“So like I was saying I drank some cola and started feeling sleepy. Then I was out like a light. I think I woke up once they strapped me down in the creepy ass chair,” he said scratching his head.
“Are you high now?” I asked trying to remain open-minded.
“No! I told you it wasn’t no dream or hallucination. I woke up briefly and I was sitting in some type of chair. It had straps and shit. I tried moving, but I didn’t have the strength. Then I saw boss lady and the Sarge dude talking. Couldn’t make out much as it felt like my head was underwater, but it looked like they were arguing.”
“Doctor P was there. He saw me awake and started panicking. He called for a nurse and she stuck me with a big ass needle. All I remember after that is waking up in bed.”
“Naw. Chill dude. When I woke up Doctor P was standing over me. Said some bullshit about how I fainted. I looked down at my arm and saw some needle marks. Asked him about it and he got real nervous sprouting off about needing to take some test", he said. “But I started to remember stuff. Scary stuff.”
“You sure you weren’t….”
“I remember the room and all the gurneys. Bodies under sheets. A furnace with bloody shit around it. It was something out of a horror movie, man. I also remember hearing boss lady and Sarge saying something about experimenting. They seemed really unhappy. I think something messed up or something.”
I could feel the blood drain from my face as he spoke. That room had been etched in my brain ever since the other night. Was that room not only a morgue but a lab for experimenting on people? Were those bodies failed experiments? Was this kid really telling me the truth?
“Ah, so you’ve seen it too? Did they try experimenting on you too?"
"What? No. Did Lin put you up to this?"
She gasped, "You really are stupid as you look. What would I get out of putting this pothead up to anything? And with such an insane story? Really?”
“Hey. I’m right here you know!”
“Speaking of that. How the heck you get pot in here?”
“Shhhh! Quiet. Both of you. I think someone’s coming,” she said stooping down again. She grabbed me pulling me behind a laundry hamper and her brother followed suit hiding with us. As she predicted, two people entered the room closing the door behind them.
“Dr. P and Sarge?! Wonder what they’re up to?” Tao quietly marveled leading to another of Lin’s dirty looks.
The doctor and Stone were definitely up to something. The Sargent paced backed and forth while Pinto looked terrified. When the Sargent finally stopped, he lunged forward grabbing the doctor angrily glaring daggers in his eyes.
“Aaron. We’re running out of time,” he said letting the petrified doctor go.
“I just told you. There’s nothing more than I can do. You just going have to accept…”
“Accept what? My son dying? Negative. You’re going to find a cure and you’re going to do it now. Understand me?”
The doctor gulped and then he whispered, “He can’t get better. No matter how many experiments we conduct. No matter what we do. He’s not going to..”
“SHUP UP! SHUT UP!” Stone roared grabbing a gun from his back pocket. He pointed it at the doctor’s head. “I swear if you don’t cure my son, I’m going shoot you right between the eyes. Now, do we understand each other?”
The doctor began shaking and whimpering, “Yes. Yes.”
“How about the escapees? You test them?”
“Nothing? Well, we’ll dispose of them tomorrow. These people are getting more and more ungrateful! Aren’t they?”
The intercom then blared: CURFEW COMMENCING! NO NON-PERSONAL SHALL NOT BE OUT OF THEIR SLEEPING QUARTERS AT THIS TIME! IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY PLEASE USE THE EMERGENCY BUTTON. THANK YOU!
“Well, it’s curfew. Shit. Hopefully, no one heard our little pep talk. Let’s get back before someone notices us missing huh?” Stone finally smiled patting the doctor on the back.They then hurried out the room leaving the three of us stunned in silence.
Tao then finally stammered, “I…I told you I was telling the truth!”
No poll for this. A new poll will be posted next chapter for Audrey and co. I think the next few chapters will be some of my fav and the most intense, so stay tuned.