Doctor Rood stood stock still, staring at her twin. I struggled to get up off the floor, a bit surprised at seeing the fierce look in Benjamin’s eyes.
“Excuse me?” Doctor Rood asked.
Benjamin straightened his shoulders. “You heard m-me. You g-go anywhere near his chi-children and you will reg-gret it.”
She just stared at him. “Brother,” she said very slowly. “I believe you are drunk.”
“I am n-not drunk! You know I don’t d-drink!” he exclaimed. “You heard what I s-said and I stand by it.” He stepped forward, looking anxious now. “Sister, please. His children, j-just leave them alone.”
“Benjamin,” she said stiffly, resting her hands on his arms. “I suggest you go back to the main house right now. I do not know what’s gotten into you.”
“No!” He smacked her hands away. I was up, but Doug was still on the ground, though fully recovered. I knew he was waiting for the moment to go for that pen in her pocket.
“Benjamin!” she said, sounding slightly more ruffled now. “You–“
“Leave his children alone!” he shouted. Doctor Rood reeled back, eyes wide. I couldn’t see the Professor’s face, but I could tell he was surprised at himself. But he recovered quickly. “You w-will not go anywhere n-near his children, Beverly. If you do, you will regret it.”
Now she recovered, her face going all blank again. Doug was slowly getting up off the floor. “And what,” the Doctor said icily, “do you propose to do to make me regret it?”
Whatever it was, I doubted we’d find out since it was then Doug made his move. He grabbed for the pen and I stumbled back, considering just grabbing Professor Rood and making a run for it. But Beverly was far too quick and she got the pen jammed against his neck very quickly and he more than just crashed down to the ground, he was knocked completely out.
“Perhaps we should just lock him up. His aggression is getting worse,” she said, looking angry once more. “And you!” She looked back up at her brother. “How dare you tell me what to do!”
“I dare b-because unlike you I c-care about those children!” Benjamin snapped back. “They are p-part of us, sister! And y-you want to d-drag them here and–and experiment on th-them like you d-did him?” He waved his hand at the unconscious Doug. “He’s not the only one sh-showing signs of m-mental breakdown! Half of them are already there! And you w-want to put another ch-child through that?! Well, I am NOT g-going to let you! This ends HERE and NOW!”
The slap she gave him practically echoed and then she was on top of him, arms flailing as she tried hitting him. And they were by the door, so I couldn’t sidle past them. “HOW DARE YOU?! HOW DARE YOU?! YOU’RE ON MY SIDE! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE WITH ME ON EVERYTHING!”
Benjamin shoved her back, gripping her arms, preventing her from lashing out. “Not this,” he said firmly. “N-not anymore. Not with ch-children. No more, Jay!! NO MORE!”
He was shaking her as he said this but she yanked away, almost tripping over Doug. I saw the side of her face and could see the shock and anger and bewilderment in her eyes. But she recovered, though slowly. “You want to shut down this experiment. Look how far we’ve gotten, Kay!” She indicated Doug at her feet. “He can control emotions. Once we figure out how 4-13 can control his–” Now she indicated me. “–emotions then we’ll be a step closer!”
She grabbed his hands, squeezing tight. “We have to,” she breathed out. “Abilities like this, you know they have to have them! Their brains are so much more developed than human brains… If we crack this, we’ll be closer. Kay, you can’t back out on me now–not when we’re this close to figuring things out!”
Professor Rood look like he was wavering for a moment then he began shaking his head. “I w-won’t allow you t-to do anything with his kids!”
She stared at him then turned to stare at me, then turned back to stare at him. Her hands were shaking but not with nerves, but with rage. “How can you do this to me? Just–” She sucked in air and then slowly let it out. “Fine. Fine. No children. Only adults. I will leave those… brats alone. But we will continue with our research and continue with the research with him.” Once again, she indicated me.
He stared at me now and I bit my lip. Was he still going to help me escape? Slowly, hoping he’d understand, I nodded towards the door. Asking him if he was still going to help me escape, at least I hoped that is what it looked liked.
He continued staring at me and then nodded. “I w-will continue w-with any agreement inv-volving S-Sebastian,” he said slowly, wording things so he answered me without letting her now. “But,” he added, looking at her again, “no children. And nothing t-tonight,” he added again, trying not to look at me. “L-leave him here t-tonight.”
“No children,” she agreed. “And not tonight. Let’s get back to the main house and we will talk more about your little digression. As for you, Sebastian.” She looked at me, eyes narrowed. “I will be here in the morning and we will begin your examination tomorrow. Come on,” she said, holding onto Benjamin–or Kay– and dragging him towards the door.
Doug was still unconscious when they left and I went over his body, going to the door. What if he couldn’t bring me the horse and map? What if she took me to the main house before that happened? What if I was kept locked up in the main house? There’d probably be an even less chance of escaping from there than here.
Forget that. I went over to the door and started yanking at the doorknob. Locked, but I didn’t care anymore. I grabbed a chair from the dining table and began hitting it against the door until the chair fell to pieces. Then I just began ramming the door with my shoulder till it hurt too much to keep going.
I fell back and stared at the door. It wasn’t made of wood, it was metal. Also, no hinges. No lock. The lock must be on the outside… So how would Doug get out…? I went back to his body and felt in his pockets. There was a little key-chain with a… thing that was about an inch long. A button on it.
I spun around and hurried back to the door, pressing the button. There was a blipping sound and I grabbed the knob, trying to push it open. It stayed firmly shut. I pressed the button again and once more there was a blip. But the door remained locked. I couldn’t get it open… Why can’t I open it?
Frustrated, I threw the key-chain and began hitting the door again till I slid to the floor, breaking down in tears.
“I’ve always loved him,” I said to the horse as we took a reluctant break. The horse–Ducky, I remembered–lipped at the grass. “I kept making stupid mistakes, though. Bad timing.” I rubbed my forehead, feeling even worse. “It’s all my fault, you know. If I had been a bit braver and confessed everything to him in the first place, Doug would never have gotten his claws into him.”
The horse looked up at me and whinnied. I looked up as well and smiled. “I’ve always blamed myself. I can’t help it.” I stood up and went over, stroking Ducky’s mane. “I should have gone to the police.” I buried my face in Ducky’s mane. “I should have just ripped his stony heart out of his chest.”
Ducky reached back and began lipping at my arm. I put my arms around her head, hugging her. “I’m glad you understand.” She whinnied again and hoofed the ground. Did she really understand me? It was hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t anymore.
What is real is Sebastian needs me. I’m so close. I checked the map again and then checked the time. Maybe another two hours, maybe less if we hurried. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure. But I needed to go on.
“Sorry girl,” I said, getting on the saddle again. “Let’s go!”
Doug stumbled into the main room, looking very disoriented. He rubbed his head and then staggered over to me, peering at the broken pieces of chair. “Tried to get out, eh?”
I stood up, not feeling like answering that question. Doug just watched me, waiting. When I didn’t say anything, he reached over and grabbed my wrist. “You’ll never escape me, Sebastian. Understand?”
“How come the key-chain won’t work for me?” I asked, deciding not to deny the escape attempt. He’d be able to tell if I was lying about it anyway.
Doug reached into his pocket and when he realized it was empty, he squeezed my wrist even tighter. “Where is it, my darling? Where’s the key? Unless you want to stay here until she comes for you.”
I indicated where I threw it and he let go to retrieve it. “Why won’t it work for me? Might as well tell me, since I won’t ever escape this place.”
He looked at the button then back up at me. “I never said you won’t escape this place. I just said you’d never escape me. And it won’t work for you since it’s attuned to me, or something like that. My fingerprint, I guess. The Roods gave it to me so I don’t know.”
He went into the bedroom and I heard several thumps and scrapes. I slowly went over to the door to look in. He was throwing clothes onto the bed. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting us out of here,” he replied, not even looking at me as he opened another drawer. “Doctor Rood is going to keep you from me and I am not going to let that happen. You’re mine. Nobody else. So we’re leaving and going away, far away. Egypt, maybe.”
I stiffened, thinking of Benjamin with the horse. “Leave… here?”
“Yes!” he exclaimed, throwing the clothes into a suitcase. “Before she takes you away from me. I’m not letting it happen. As soon as we’re packed, we’re going.”
I hugged myself, feeling nervous. He has to be able to rescue me, Benjamin does. And if I’m not here… if Doug takes me away from here, will I ever escape? Maybe… maybe when we’re near civilization I can hit his head or something.
“And you can forget about attacking me,” he said, whirling around to glare at me. “And running. I’ll be filling you with so many emotions, you’ll be a babbling wreck. Until we get to Egypt and I lock you up.”
I’ll still be able to escape, I thought desperately as he whisked past me to pack some food.
“You won’t be able to escape,” he said, as if reading my mind which he sort of could. He left the food so he could come over and touch my arm. I right away felt filled with what he threatened. Despair, fear, misery–everything swirled around so violently that all I could do was sink down onto the floor and cry.
I’m not going to be able to escape. He’s going to get me to Egypt… and that will be the end. I looked up through teary eyes at Doug messing around in the kitchen. “I’ll–get–away… somehow…” I gasped out and then was hit by a wave of lust.
“No. You won’t,” he replied calmly. “Now then.” He came over and yanked me to my feet, shoving the handles of the food bag in my hand. “Let’s go. And disappear forever.”