Today started off… exciting. Those who know me will tell you I don’t LIKE exciting. It always involves a lot of extraneous work and wasteful haste (see what I did there?) Anyway, with this and that, I didn’t get to finish and proof this installment of Twicebound until around 11 o’clock. Having hurried home and buckled down to work, here’s your weekly…
Chapter 3 – part 1
Eddie stared up at the ceiling. The cell was well furnished, considering it’s purpose, but he was restless. When he’d been moved from the holding room into the cell, he’d been scared, but after half a day of it, boredom had overcome the fear. He’d inspected the door, the ceiling, even the drain in the corner, but as far as he could tell, there wasn’t a weak spot anywhere.
There was a lurking suspicion in the back of his mind that kept whispering that there wasn’t any point in getting out anyway, since there were guards in the corridor outside. He’d very carefully ignored it, concentrating on the adage about crossing bridges when he got to them. Not that he expected to find any bridges, though, so maybe it didn’t apply.
There weren’t any windows or mirrors in the room, so he couldn’t duplicate his trick with the one-way glass. He couldn’t even see through crack under the door; it was blocked by a spring-loaded flap in the jamb. They didn’t want him to see anything he wasn’t supposed to, that much was obvious.
It never occurred to Eddie to wonder who “they” were. Beyond getting out and getting away, he hadn’t done much thinking. Vančura had puzzled him with all the talk of time and the experiments, but Eddie didn’t want to know any more. He had a feeling finding out anything else would mean getting deeper into the mess and that was the one thing he didn’t want to be.
He hadn’t seen Vančura since they left the examination room, but he’d have bet the man was as perfectly calm as he had been on the bus. Ice-cold, the big guy was, but at least he seemed to know what he was doing. Eddie frowned at the thought. Heck, the man seemed to know what everyone else was doing, too. Vančura sounded crazy, with going back in time and all that, but the story was beginning to sound more and more believable. It sure explained how he’d known the army guy was about to go into the examination room back there.
A heavy thump on the door drew his attention.
“You in there. Get back from the door.”
Eddie, from his place on the bed, eyed the camera in the ceiling contemptously. He knew they were watching him, so why did they bother telling him to get away from the door? After a moment, it swung open and a uniformed man stepped in. He was gripping a stun-baton, but he didn’t look too concerned. Eddie didn’t blame him; there had been guards in every corridor he’d seen and defense squads stationed in several places between the cells and the examination room. If anyone caused trouble, the whole place would come down on his head.
The guard gestured him out of the room. Absently, Eddie headed out, letting the guy guide him down the hallway. The memory of the heavily armed squads had piqued his curiosity and he was turning an idea over in his mind. The place was basically a concrete fortress and had plenty of men inside. Even if it was a government facility, why did it need that much firepower? It was in the middle of a city, not out in the middle of nowhere, or on the edge of enemy territory. Did the US even have enemies, Eddie wondered? The kind that would actually launch an attack, anyway?
He didn’t know. Maybe there were a lot of guys like Vančura in the place. That would make anybody nervous enough to want an army to guard the cells. The man looked like he could yank a door off its hinges if he got mad enough.
Eddie shook his head, trying to banish that line of thinking. It was getting too close to being curious about the place and he didn’t want that. He just wanted out, nothing else. Curious was a word that usually got accompanied by the words “dead” or “missing”. The guard’s hand tightened on his arm and he realized the abrupt head shake had made the guy nervous, so he grinned affably.
“Just tryin’ to clear m’head.”
The man studied him for a second, then nodded.
A set of double doors slid open automatically in front of them. Half-way through, Eddie stopped short, his eyes wide. The guard stopped an instant sooner, already expecting his prisoner to grind to a halt. He’d seen it a dozen times.
“Somethin’ else, isn’t it? Startles me every time and I’m in here two, three times a day.”
He nudged Eddie and the two of them headed out across the floor. Eddie let the man push him on course, keeping his eyes on the tremendous machine in the center of the room. As they passed it, he got a glimpse of the bottom; the metal and plastic of the frame ended four stories below his feet.
“What d’heck is dat?”
The guard rolled his eyes and pulled at Eddie’s arm, heading for an elevator on the other side of the room.
“That’s the STAd. Everybody just calls it the knothole.”
End Chapter 3 – Part 1
Go to Chapter 3 – Part 2
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