The colonel had a firm grasp on Cody’s pendant, keeping the kid rooted in place for fear of breaking the chain that held it around his neck. Their faces were uncomfortably close for Cody, who tried to turn his head away in disgust.
“About time I got this necklace!” growled the colonel. “I’m gonna take you, your family, and make you all wish you had died with your miserable mother!”
With those last words, Cody jolted awake. Even with opened eyes, everything around him was pitch black minus the soft blue glow from his necklace. His head was resting on a firm pillow and a thin blanket covered him on top of the mattress he lay on. After catching his breath (and his composure), he stayed quiet and listened. Muffled voices carried over from his left, but he couldn’t make out any of the words that were being said.
Feeling around with his hands, his right was blocked by a rough wall while a stiff carpet lined the floor. Cody sat up and cautiously placed his bare feet on the ground. The dim blue of his necklace lit up underneath his shirt, but didn’t reveal much else other than empty air. A coldness started to spread through his body as he realized that he wasn’t wearing the clothes he escaped in. The sound of talking had disappeared as he stood up. He froze in place, listening. Whatever he was now wearing felt paper thin. Soon, Cody wrapped his arms around himself and tried keeping himself warm.
A thin strip of light appeared in front of him and grew to show a doorway leading to an outer hallway. A figure flipped on a switch and a light bulb flicked on above. Cody whined and covered his strained eyes, unaccustomed to the brightness.
“Good to see you’re awake. Sit down, Cody, and we can talk.”
When his sight finally adjusted, Cody looked around the room. The walls were a dull, blank gray. The only furniture was the bed, a pair of chairs, and a small dresser. The look of the room went hand in hand with the cold temperature. Cody’s eyes landed on a man probably in his mid twenties, clad in a white lab coat. His glasses slid down his nose just enough where he had to tilt his head back to talk. The man scratched his head with a pencil as he sat down in one of the chairs, preparing to write on the clipboard in his other hand. Cody stayed standing.
“What happened? Where am I?” he asked defiantly.
“Please, take a seat. I’ll explain everything to you, but only as long as you answer my questions too. Since I already know your name, it’s only fair I tell you mine. My name is Julian Storm, but you can call me Dr. Julian. Now, I just w-”
Cody promptly bolted towards the door. Julian watched him exit, sighing. The man pulled out a small voice transmitter from one of his coat pockets and spoke into it, annoyed.
“Guards, double check that the control zone is locked. The new kid’s already trying to get out of here.”
Unaware that he wasn’t being chased, Cody took a turn out of the room and bolted down a hallway. The place was as dull as the bedroom, with white concrete walls and fluorescent lights greeting him from all around. There were several other doors, but they remained closed and Cody paid no thought in opening them. A glance behind him confirmed that he was alone. He slowed to a walk to catch his breath.
At the end of the corridor was a steel, windowed door. Thin metal bars were embedded with the glass, showing another plain hallway turning immediately. Cody grabbed the door handle and tried to open it. When it wouldn’t turn, he yanked harder, trying to shake the door open. It didn’t budge.
“Sorry kid, better luck next time. Though with the security systems in place, you’ll need all the luck you can get,” Julian said from behind him. “So how about we head back to your room and have a little chat? I’m sure you’re wondering what this is all about, and if you answer my questions then I’ll answer yours. It’s that simple.”
Cody tried feebly to open the door again, then turned around to face the doctor with a vacant look. He blankly stared ahead, slowly becoming aware of the aches from his earlier injuries, as Julian led the way back to the room. The hallway was shorter than Cody remembered it, but it remained just as boring. A light flickered on and off behind him, causing him to twitch in surprise. Dr. Julian chuckled.
“Don’t be so scared, kid, it’s not going to be that bad here, not as bad at it looks. We don't put much money into this area since the guys over at accounting are stingy. So we kept the color of concrete. This side of the...well, this side is mostly for people that can’t be in the general public. But at least you’re not in the T-Block.”
They returned to the bleak, windowless room. Julian closed the door behind them, considering calling the guard to lock it but decided against it. Cody sat on the bed, bouncing slightly on the firm mattress. He tried rubbing his shoulder to make it feel better without any luck.
“How it works around here,” Dr. Julian began, “is that the more you talk, the more privileges we give you. If this goes well, we’ll give you an extra couple sets of clothes. You could get a warmer blanket, a nicer bed, even some toys or games. Sounds good, right?”
“So you’re saying that I’m like your little puppy that you’re trying to train?” Cody rotated his left foot as it protested against him. The gash down his leg looked worse than it felt, having scabbed over since he jumped out of the car.
“You’re pretty smart for your age. I heard you gave our field agents a tough time, too. Not the job I’d want, and for good reason. You people aren’t the only things they have to deal with, but that’s besides the point that-”
“You people? Who else is here?”
“In due time, Cody. We’ve got a few, more important things to talk about. Like that necklace, it’s very interesting, and it looks good on you. Where did you get it?”
Getting right to the point, thought Cody, shivering once again. He pulled the blanket around him trying to keep warm, but it did little to help. The words of his father passed through his mind, along with the promise he made first getting the necklace. Cody was only 11, but he remembered it as one of the few times his father’s usually amiable expression turned into stern seriousness.
“You have to keep this safe, and always around your neck, no matter what. If you’re not wearing it, you’ll get very sick. There are some very bad people who will ask about it and maybe even try to take it. They’ll be nice and they’ll be mean just to get it from you. You have to do whatever it takes to keep it safe. Whatever it takes.”
Cody waited for his father to laugh, to say it was just a game, but his father’s face showed no change in emotion. With a silent nod, Cody laid his eyes on the token in his father’s outstretched hand. Cody’s small hand reached out to touch it, but it was interrupted.
“Promise me, son. You have to promise me that you will do whatever it takes so that nobody ever takes it from you.”
Cody swallowed once. “I promise.”
“Good.” His father unraveled the chain on which held the necklace. He leaned forward and wrapped the chain around his son, clicking it into place. “I’ll give you a few spare chains in case that one breaks. If someone starts asking a lot of suspicious questions about it, just don’t answer them. If the pendant shatters...” Cody’s father faltered, but only for a second. “If it breaks, let me know right away.”
“What happens then? Does the necklace do anything special other than make me sick?”
“It does, but I can’t tell you, not right now. When you’re old enough, I’ll tell you everything. That’s my promise to you. But for now, you need to keep it safe.”
A few years later, in the excessively clean, white room, Cody wrapped his shirt collar around the necklace, twisting it in his fingers. He bit his lip, not sure what to say. Instead of speaking, Cody stared at the man, hoping he would just do all the talking. It had generally worked for most of the officials that tried to get any information. The doctor sat with one leg across the other for several moments, observing Cody from behind his glasses. Understanding that he wasn’t getting a response, he sighed and wrote a short note on his clipboard.
“Alright, this is how things are going to work here, Cody. You’re not buying any of this, and I respect that, but respect isn’t going to get me anywhere. What I need to know is everything that’s in your little head, where you came from, what you’re doing here, how you got here, what that thing is, the works. If you don’t, then every day for the rest of your life you’ll be living in this small, cold hell of a cell doing who knows what. It’s gonna suck, unless you start talking. Then we’ll give you some real clothes, maybe give you control over room temperature, snag a few things for you to do while you’re in here. Say anything that gets me noticed from higher levels, and you might even get to see your dad.”
Cody’s eyes lit up, and he bit into his lip a little too hard. He winced,and the doctor gave another little chuckle. Shivering, underneath the thin blanket, Cody struggled. There was no way out without breaking his father’s promise. There wasn’t a way to run this time.
Conrad held an ice pack up against his head and leaned his chair back on the hind legs. He squinted at the pain on his forehead as cold drops fell down past his face and onto his ripped shirt. The man he sat in front of had to be close in age, nearly mid forties, though time wasn’t nearly as cruel to Conrad as it was to his interrogator. A small number of gray hairs lined the man’s balding head where Conrad’s was full of brown hair. Lighting a cigarette, the man took a drag and set it down in a dirty ashtray off to the side, away from the few papers he had brought in with him. He breathed out smoke all over the sheets, reading them with every intention of making Conrad sit and wait for as long as possible.
Uninterested in the papers, Conrad glanced around the room for the thousandth time. A small trashcan sat in the corner next to gray walls. Two large panes of dark glass, probably one-way-mirrors, covered a majority of the side walls. The man sat in the way of the only exit, a heavy, solid metal door. With a gruff cough, the interrogator cleared his throat and began talking.
“Didn’t want to come quietly, did you? Your son must take after you.” His voice sounded like a bear had learned how to speak English.
Conrad laughed. “Good to know. He and I haven’t exactly had good experiences with people trying to chase us, capture us, kill us, you know the drill. You haven’t had to kill too many people, have you? I really don’t like leaving that kind of trail behind me.”
“That’s not much of your business, really, mister...?”
“Just call me Conrad.”
The man pulled a pen out of his pocket. “We need your full name, Conrad.”
“Conrad Farr. F-A-R-R.”
“Thank you. So why do you think you’re here right now?”
“Because I can’t fight off several men with guns no matter how much I think I can.”
The interrogator gave an appreciative smile and shifted through a few of his papers. He took another pull on his cigarette, scooting in his seat closer to Conrad. “You said you’ve had some bad experiences with people wanting to murder you. Would you care to explain?”
“I’d love to, but I simply can’t. The more I say...well, the worse my position gets. I’ve already got several people willing to kill me, and I don’t want to add you or your organization to that list.”
“Then tell me why your necklace glows, or why you have to wear it.”
“I can’t do that.”
“You have to give us something.”
Conrad sat forward in his chair and removed the dripping ice, revealing a large red bruise where one of the men pistol whipped him. Letting it drop to the table, Conrad rubbed the spot on his forehead. The interrogator gave a mildly annoyed look and shifted his papers away from the puddle of water that was growing on the table.
“I can give you anything that won’t make you kill my son or myself. For example, I really enjoy homemade ice cream, I can carry a pitch when I whistle, I once set an entire forest on fire on complete accident-”
“I don’t want to hear that shit,” the man growled back. “We need important things, like where you’re from.”
“Well let’s just say there’s a 100% chance we weren’t born in the same city or country or even continent.”
“100% chance, huh? So you’re saying you weren’t born here on Earth?”
“Oh, I was for sure. I was born in New York, actually, but not the same New York in this America.”
The interrogator gave Conrad a puzzled look. Conrad’s face only showed a mild amusement. After a quiet moment passed, the door opened and a conservatively dressed lady in glasses walked in. The interrogator turned and listened intently as she softly whispered something into his ear. The previous puzzled look the interrogator had turned into a curled smile as he took a few papers out of her hands. As she left, the man read through the papers and kept the smile on his face.
It was Conrad’s turn to be confused. He tried to catch sight of what was on the papers this time, but the interrogator held them upright and unreadable. As he rubbed the spot on his forehead, the man put the papers on the table face down and spoke.
“Well, Mr. Farr, it seems as though your son has started talking to us. Got anything you’d want to say to give us reason for us to keep you around?”
Conrad swallowed, unable to read the amused expression the man was showing.
[Part 15][Part 17]
i mean, i see the interrogator as having a really nice smile for being so aged
Oh holy crud, I've posted the next part in this story! I, uh, don't know how long this will last, though. I lost all my free time when winter break was over, and I took down the FB page since I wasn't posting for so long. Now I'm a month into summer and thought I'd at least show where these guys ended up.
As for now, I'm probably going to stop releasing this story here online until it's fully complete. I'll be working on it when I can. I've finished editing my NaNoWriMo story, about to look for people to look over it. I've got a document of 14 characters for one story that I'm looking forward to starting. Then there's all my real life responsibilities, which can get pretty annoying. Sitting here at Chick-Fil-A has been great on my writing efforts on the days that I'm not working for my brother, though. And it gets nice and quiet around here after the lunch rush.
For the last announcement, I'm opening up a new blog just before heading off to Hong Kong as a travel blog! I don't know what to expect to put there, so you probably have even less of an idea! My best guess right now involves pictures and stupid jokes. Maybe even something funny every now and again. Stay tuned, all two of you who read this!
And with that, I leave you with this.