There was a little town near the privately owned estates and there I found out a bit more. I had driven straight through, though it didn’t take long, and got a room at an inn for the night. I talked to the receptionist there and found out more.
The estates were owned by a family that had lived there for ages, handed down through the generations. It was rumored to be some sort of science facility though there was no proof. And there was also a rumor that the place was being funded by the military.
That got my attention. Science facility? Military? Wasn’t that exactly the rumors that happened to the place where Luna and Kellen once worked? But I couldn’t think much about that since the receptionist went on to say a large part of the grounds were open for the public, apparently there were a lot of old riding trails that the science facility left open.
I went to the edge of the estates but saw nothing. No fence, no military people standing guard. Nothing but woods. I checked the map with the circles and figured out where the smallest circle was compared to where I was. Not too far but…. it would take forever on foot. And I couldn’t see any roads leading to the main house. How did they get there? Maybe it was abandoned?
I talked to the receptionist again and she was very friendly and helpful. “Well, the people that always go out there usually use helicopters,” she said.
Helicopter. “I don’t suppose I could rent one,” I said, half-jokingly.
She laughed, as I figured she would. “Course ya can’t, silly!” My shoulders sagged and I thanked her, ready to head to my room to make a plan. I had taken five steps when she said, “But you could always get a horse, there’s a riding trail that goes right up to the main house.”
“You’re not eating… you should eat.”
“Why don’t you make me?” I asked, looking up from my cereal.
Doug narrowed his eyes then stood up and for a moment I thought he was going to force the food down my throat. “Sebastian, I give and I give! I want us to be happy!”
I shrank back, staring at him. “That’s why you kidnapped and are forcing me to stay here against my will and–” I stopped, as feelings of longing and want washed over me. I pressed my hands against the table, taking in a few deeps breaths, trying to fight the lust. “And you do this,” I managed to get out.
He stared at me for a moment then turned away. “Do the dishes,” he snapped.
I gathered the dishes and went over to the sink, dumping out my cereal and then washing the bowls and spoons. It was Friday morning. I still had a full day before Professor Whatever helped me escape. Except now I was a bit worried since something was up with Doug. The previous night he had just gone to sleep, ignoring me completely. Not that I was complaining. But him acting differently worried me.
“Doctor Rood wants to come in tomorrow,” Doug said from somewhere behind me.
“Tomorrow?” I jerked slightly in surprise, sloshing a bit of soapy water onto the floor. “As in… Saturday?” Panic bubbled up inside of me.
Doug took a few, sauntering steps closer. “Yes. As in Saturday. What are you so worried about?”
“I’m not… worried…”
His hands lashed out and he grabbed my shirt, twisting the fabric around his fingers and yanking me close. I let out a yelp of fear. “It’s useless to lie to be, Sebastian. I can sense your feelings. I know you’re panicking, so I know you are lying. Why are you lying to me? Why are you worried?”
“She scares me,” I replied, honestly. Not the entire truth but enough of the truth to hopefully convince him. He just narrowed his eyes even more, searching my face. “What? Doesn’t she scare you?”
He just stared into my eyes for a moment and then shoved me away. “Get in the bedroom,” he said darkly.
I walked towards the door then hesitated. “Doug, you claim to love me.”
“I do love you,” he said, coming up behind me and putting his hands on my shoulders.
I closed my eyes tightly, part of me wanting to push him away, the other part of me wanting to pull him closer. “So why me?” I asked, shivering. “There’s something, obviously. You coming back after… ten years… kidnapping me. Obsessed with me. Why?”
His lips were against the back of my neck and then he turned me around, eyes boring holes into my eyes. “I may have told you lies during the time we were together but one thing I did not lie about. About how I loved you from the start. That night on the beach…” He ran a finger down my cheek. “When I kissed you, I felt something.” His hand dropped away from my face and then he stepped back, staring at the wall behind me.
“All my life before that, I’ve just… felt what other people felt. Raised for ten years in a lab. Nobody but… those… people watching me.” His fingers curled up into fists and he narrowed his eyes. “Nobody but other people like me around. Then getting separated from even that, being put in this house.”
He looked around the room, eyes flashing with even more anger. “Ten years old and they put me here because I have ‘anger management issues’! I was ten!” He gave a yell and hit a lamp, sending it flying to the floor. I winced when it crashed when winced again when he spun around to glower at me. “Then I really had nobody, nobody but those scientists bringing me food and doing tests on me. Then once a month, Doctor Rood coming in and lording over me like some sort of god.” He hit another lamp and it crashed into the wall.
“Then why did you bring me here if you hate them so much?” I whispered.
“Because they can help focus my power,” he said, shrugging one shoulder. “And I need power to keep you.”
“Because I made you feel something over fifteen years ago,” I said flatly.
“You still make me feel it,” he said, coming towards me again and cupping my face in his hands. “I look at you and I see the world. I kiss you, and it’s… the most I’ve ever felt real. But you just keep disobeying me, Sebastian! Why do you keep pushing me away and disobeying me and–and–questioning how I feel about you?!”
“Did you feel real when you cheated on me?” I asked, glaring at him as he held onto my arms. “Did they make you feel real–“
He hit me, hard. That shut me up and I gave up trying. What did any of it matter? I just hoped the Professor Rood showed up before the Doctor Rood did.
I woke up in the morning with a plan of action. I had gone to the stables the evening before–unable to rent a horse due to the fact it was late in the day. But I took some pamphlets with information, staying up late and reading them. Making the plan to go and rescue my husband.
I did know that he was there, he had to be. It was all too coincidental. Science facility plus the fact Douglas wasn’t ‘human’? It was too much for me. I knew Sebastian was there.
I got dressed and went to the stables. I would be unable to rent a horse since they had guides to go with the tourists. There was no way they’d let me go off the trail. So there was only one thing to do, to get to that red circle.
“Hi,” I said when I got there. “I’d like to buy a horse. Heard you were the best in the area.”
I don’t know what I was thinking–there had to be some other way. But what other way was there? Sebastian needed me. Every moment spent in the company of that–vile–creature was a moment too much.
I had a vague idea of how to ride. Growing up in Appaloosa Plains had at least given me that much. But I wasn’t an expert, so I just did my best. The horse seemed intelligent enough and didn’t seem bothered by my failings as a rider.
I wanted to just run the entire way. Gallup. But that would wear the horse out quickly, so I stuck to a semi-fast walking pace. How long till I got there? Too long, but quicker than any other way since I couldn’t get a helicopter anytime soon.
Sebastian, I’m coming, I thought, adrenaline surging through my body. I know you’re there. I had faith that he was there for some reason. That Douglas had brought him here for some reason. That he was still alive.
I clutched the reigns tightly. I had a long ride ahead of me and it didn’t take long until the worries started pulling at me. Not just that something might have happened, but all the worries that still haunted me from years past. I knew why. I was once again in a sort of helpless position while the man I loved was being hurt.
The images of Sebastian with bruises all of him, crying, insisting he loved Doug. Swearing he’d lie to the cops if I told. Me unable to do anything.
No! I thought, gripping the reigns so hard that my knuckles went white. Not this time. I will save you this time, Sebastian. I promise.
I was drifting in and out of the sleep that Doug put on me, when a slamming door woke me up. Someone was shouting something and I just got out of bed when Doctor Rood came storming in, her eyes like emeralds. Hard, cold.
Doug was out of bed in a flash, barreling towards her and I was waiting for him to hit her, but she got there first. There was something silver that glinted in her hands and as soon as it touched Doug, he went down.
She tucked the pen–yes, it was a pen–back in her pocket. “You. I need to talk to you,” she said, stepping over Doug’s body. I backed up, halfway expecting her to do something to me with that pen. “You have children.”
“That is none of your business,” I said, knowing my hands were shaking.
“With him?” She indicated Doug who was getting up off the floor. “You have produced children with him?”
“Yeah, we have kids,” Doug groaned out. “But as Sebastian said, it’s none of your business.” She rolled her eyes and pulled the pen out again, knocking him down to the floor. I jumped slightly, gulping as she looked at me once more.
“How many are there? Have they shown any extraordinary abilities? Never mind that, I will see for myself. What are there names? Addresses?”
“I am not telling you anything about my children!” I snarled, lurching forward, ready to attack. I was scared of her but just the thought of this terrifying woman going anywhere near any of my children made my blood boil over.
The pen was out, and I was on the floor, on top of Doug. “Very well,” she said, leaning over me as she tucked the pen back in her pocket. “I will find out for myself.” She turned to leave and I lifted my head, ready to shout at her but someone shouted at her first.
“You go anywhere n-near those ch-children and you w-will regret it!” Professor Rood stood in the doorway, blocking his sister from leaving.