Kel came awake suddenly, heart pounding, and hauled herself to her feet, the words that had woken her still echoing in her head.
“I just want to tell you something.”
She swayed, eyes wide, shuddering.
She was alone in the room.
Of course she was alone in the room. This was her prison cell.
But those words had been as clear as a direct whisper in her ear, ripping her out of sleep just as she was about to go under – and not for the first time.
She sat, slowly lowering herself back on the bed, her legs trembling as if she’d been sick and was getting up for the first time in a couple of days.
She dug her fingers deep into her hair, and tugged.
A heavy metal door slammed, and footsteps echoed down the hall, coming towards her cell. She froze, rabbit still.
“What you doing tonight?” Harvey’s voice echoed down the passage. Kel rose and walked to the door, pressed herself against it to hear better.
“Party. You?” Morris always spoke softly, and Kel just made it out.
“Yeah, same. Halloween always cracks me up.” Harvey chuckled, clinking the coins in his pocket. They were almost level with her door, but Kel stayed were she was, listening, even though they would probably open up. Check on her.
She was fast enough to be at her desk with a book if they did. Faster than they knew.
Morris made a sound in the back of his throat. “Seeing all those people in fancy dress… They’d mess their pants if they knew how real the monsters are.”
They were both silent a moment, as if contemplating it themselves.
She strained to hear if they were going to keep walking, and then realized they’d been quiet too long.
She launched herself across the room, contorting her body as she flew so she landed sitting down on the wide window sill, her back against one side of the wall, her feet propped against the other. She lifted the book off her desk five meters away, opening it to the bookmark as it sailed across to her into her waiting hands.
The door slammed open.
She turned her head towards it slowly, as if savoring a particularly riveting sentence, and only reluctantly giving them her attention.
“Good evening, gentlemen.”
Harvey did not respond. He never did. He thought it intimidated her, but in truth, she wasn’t that scared of him.
Morris, now. He made her nervous.
The doc was in his own league.
“Afternoon, you mean.” Morris stepped in behind Harvey. Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
Kel gave both their watches a gentle nudge forward. “Evening, afternoon, whatever.”
Harvey looked down at his wrist and his eyes widened. “Shit. It’s later than I thought.”
Morris looked at his own watch. Looked up at her.
Kel stared innocently back. She’d never changed their watch times before. Morris might suspect, but he had nothing to go on, yet.
Hopefully when he worked out what she’d done, it would be too much bother to come back and call her on it.
Harvey made a quick surveillance of her room, while Morris kept his gaze on her. It was what they always did. One to look around, one to make sure she didn’t try any funny business. Only, Morris wanted her to try some funny business. He probably dreamed about it.
As always, she watched the way he held his syringe gun, his finger gliding up and down the smooth silver casing. She felt his hunger to use it like a palpable odor rising off his skin, hot and sour.
He noticed her looking and gave her a smile that dropped an icy rock into the pit of her stomach.
Harvey had finished up and his hand was on the door when the shouting started.
A fight in the corridor, coming closer.
Kel started to rise, but one look from Morris and she sunk back down on the sill.
Harvey peered out into the passage.
They must be almost at her cell, given the volume of the screaming and struggling. Two orderlies, by the sound of things, one really angry patient.
Scratch that. There weren’t any patients here. One really angry inmate.
She silently cheered him on. Hoped he was throwing as many punches as he was getting.
And then the fight was suddenly in her room.
Harvey leaped back as a writhing mass of male fell through her door. It was Evans and Longmore, two of her least-favorite, and someone she’d never seen before.
Of course she hadn’t seen him before. She hadn’t seen anyone. Anyone like her, that is.
This one was big. Tall. His face twisted with effort as he fought the two orderlies, the muscles in his arms bunching as he wrestled and punched.
To give him a hand, Kel spun the heavy melamine cup off her washbasin and slammed it into Longmore’s head. She kept most of her focus on Morris as she did it, but he didn’t notice in the chaos.
Really, she should give Doc Greenway more credit. He might be the devil incarnate, but when she’d come here, she could just about move a spoon across a table.
Without taking her eyes off Morris, hands tightly clasped in front of her, she tipped the light-weight wire wastebasket under her desk over and rolled it across the floor. When it was close enough, she jammed it over Evans’ head.
The fighting man, her compatriot, looked up, straight at her, as she did it. A shock ran through her, like she’d closed her hand around a live wire. And for a moment, she could hear nothing.
His eyes were very dark, but blue, she thought, not brown.
Longmore punched him in the face, breaking the connection, and Kel’s head jerked up, heart hammering at the thought of losing track of Morris for even one second.
But it was okay.
He’d actually turned away from her, syringe gun at the ready, trying to find a gap. He was eager as a dog at a rabbit hole.
Kel wondered what the dose in that thing was. More than was needed to take one man down, she’d guess.
She didn’t know if she’d live to regret it, but Kel jinked the gun just to the right as he did, and instead of getting her fighting man in the face, he caught Evans in the arm.
“Shit.” Morris pulled back, panicked, as Evans went limp. Biting her lip, Kel waited for his arm to drop to his side, nice and loose, his finger still on the trigger, and then jinked it again. Straight into his leg.
“Wha…” Morris spun to her, eyes wide, the rage and hatred in them making her press back against the window. He took one step, and fell. Like a tree going down.
His head made a nice sharp crack as it hit the leg of her desk and she winced, despite herself.
Harvey was still by the door, his focus completely on the fight, his one leg back a bit, as if looking for the opportunity to put the boot in.
And the noise had died down to almost nothing, with Evans and Morris out of the game. Longmore and her fighter were grunting and swearing as they grappled and twisted on her floor.
What was good was no one seemed to have radioed it in yet. They liked a bit of physical ‘correction’ now and again, did the lads.
Just to make sure, Kel slid all their radio buttons to off.
She had no objects handy that would make a significant dent in Harvey’s skull. There was still the cup, and at the thought of it, she lifted it up and smacked Longmore in the head with it again. But it was just nuisance value.
Everything else was bolted down or too light.
And then suddenly, the game changed.
Longmore slumped to the ground. Still and limp as Evans. And her comrade in arms rolled to his feet, staggering a little when he got upright.
He looked like he was going to go down the same way as Morris had, and at last, Kel saw the syringe gun sticking out of his leg. Longmore must have got it in seconds before he had his lights punched out. Probably how her tall, blue-eyed friend had gotten the final jump on him.
He reached down and yanked the syringe out, turning to look at her, just as Morris had. But his eyes were very different. Just as full of emotion, but this one, she couldn’t read.
He threw the gun at Harvey, as if he knew what she could do, and obligingly, she turned it, sharp end pointing the right way, and drove it straight into Harvey’s neck. She made the trigger depress, and Harvey simply fell sideways and rolled forward a little, so he was more or less face down.
Kel jumped down off the sill, scrambling back a little as her fighter lurched towards her.
He looked like he wanted to say something, but he was going down, and they both knew it. Just as he toppled, Kel created a safety net, caught him in mid-air, and using his own momentum, propelled him onto her bed.
He hit it hard and bounced.
And suddenly, she was in complete silence.
With five unconscious men around her.