It wasn’t long before we were on the street that led to the library. The zombies had multiplied in numbers behind us. I pointed towards the huge white building that glowed in the moonlight. Mark nodded his head and positioned himself in his seat.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Getting you to the library.” He said with a grim smile.
“Oh no…” Before I knew it, Mark had put the whole car into a death defying tail spin. I grabbed on to the support handles above the car window and held on tightly. The car came to a screeching stop with my side facing the tall stairs that led up to the library. For a second I couldn’t move. Mark opened my door for me and pushed me out.
“Hurry up! We don’t have all night!” he yelled out as he exited his side of the car as well. At first I wanted to strangle him for pushing me but then I realized that if he hadn’t had pushed me I probably would have stayed frozen with fear in his car. I grabbed hold of reality and took the stairs by three. I reached the door in no time and, just as Mark said, it was locked. I looked back and saw Mark holding off a great number of the zombies. I had to think of something. Not even someone as old and strong as Mark could stand his ground against all them forever.
I began kicking the door with all my might. The door wasn’t budging. I rubbed my temples in thought. I couldn’t figure out how to open the doors.
“Anytime now!” Mark growled.
Then it hit me.
I reached for the small garden shovels fastened on my belt and headed straight for the door. I jammed the shovel into the small slit in between the doors. I wiggled it in further and hammered it in until it was stuck. Then I pushed it in an upward position. I could hear the lock almost coming loose. I stood back and kicked the shovel upward. The shovel flew out of the slit as the door slowly opened. “YES!” I shouted feeling proud of my actions. Mark was by my side in less than a second trying to catch his breath.
“It’s about damn time!” He grabbed my arm and shoved me inside the library. The zombies were making their way up the stairs as Mark closed the door. He quickly ran over to the shelf beside the door and pushed it in front of it as if the shelf didn’t way but five pounds. Afterwards Mark and I walked further into the library with the zombies muffled bangs on the door echoing through the giant dark building that looked more like a mummy’s tomb.
I found a switch towards the back of the library and turned it on. Luckily, the switch was actually the main switch that turned on all of the lights in the building. We both looked around and confirmed that the library was empty. At least the main floor was. The library was a huge building with four sections leading up to the main office. I only knew that because the blueprint map of the place was placed beside the main light switch.
“Alright, now what do we do?” Mark asked as he sat at the information desk.
“I need to find another weapon.” I said looking around the main floor for anything.
“What happened to your weed eater?”
“I left it in the car.” I said mentally hitting myself in the head. Mark chuckled.
“Wow, and you’re supposed to be the best assassin The Ambient has seen in years?” He asked.
“He is.” The voice still brought chills to my spine. Without looking back I knew exactly who it was. “Hello Sydney, long time no see.”
In a flash I turned around and threw the small shovel at Catherine’s face. She caught it by the handle right before the sharp part was buried into her forehead. “Now Sydney, we didn’t teach you to be rude to your elders.”
“What the hell do you want?” Mark growled as he came to stand in front of me. A devious smile came across Catherine’s face as she dropped the small projectile and looked at him.
“It’s funny you should ask that Vampire. The thing that I want is you.” All of a sudden Mark’s whole body jerked and stood frozen. I could hear him gasping for air as he stood motionless.
“Mark?!” I walked around and saw that his veins were popping out of his body. I tried to grab his face but was knocked back by an unseen force. I flew into a nearby bookshelf and crashed into it. As the books fell around me I looked back up at Catherine and realized the reason of the behavior. “Myrtle.” The old witch was standing a great distance behind Catherine holding her hands out towards Mark. A pleasing smile was on her face as she stared at Mark who was now trembling in a crouched position on the floor. “What the hell are you doing to him?!”
“It’s called torture, Sydney.” Myrtle said with her scratchy voice. “You should know all about this seeing that it’s the reason why your best friends aren’t with you now.”
I grit my teeth in anger. “How dare you talk about them, you old bitch!”
“What a potty mouth you have.” Catherine said with that same annoying smile. “Well, that’ll all be fixed in a short time.”
“What are you talking about?”
Catherine walked over and stood a few feet from me. “Sydney…I’m going to kill you.” She said in a calm voice. “Of course you already knew that but the thing you should be worried about is how I’m going to kill you.”
Mark let out a painful scream that made me feel the pain he was going through. I did my best to maintain a serious look towards Catherine. I knew how she got to people. She tears people apart with fear. As long as I didn’t show any I might be able to figure out what she was planning to do to me. If I figured that out, then I might be able to stop her. “Is that supposed to make me scared?”
Catherine’s smile went into a straight emotionless line. Her eyelids lowered a bit behind her glasses as she looked down at me.
“Cause if it is then I’m sorry to tell you this but you’ve lost your touch.” I put on an evil smile to seal the deal. I stood and crossed my arms over my chest. “So tell me, Catherine, how exactly are you going to kill me?”
At that moment I wished I could have taken a photo of how she looked. Her face went into an awful scowl as she charged towards me. She grabbed me by the throat and threw me against the bookshelf behind me. He fingers were placed right inside my jugular and she squeezed hard. My windpipe was closing tightly as I choked for air. Catherine leaned in close to my face and whispered to me. “You….disappoint me so much, Sydney. Why couldn’t you have realized that all I wanted for you was the best?”
“You…took away….everything….from me.” I choked.
“I gave you a better life!” She screamed. “Far more glorious than the one you would have had if I hadn’t had found you in that alley.”
“I….had….a….life.” She was beginning to squeeze harder now. I could feel myself blacking out. Catherine glared at me with fury.
“Your life was demolished before you were even born.” She hissed. Her fingers released my throat and I fell to the ground gasping for air. “I don’t get it. I just don’t get it!” Catherine yelled as she walked away. “You know nothing of your previous life before The Ambient, yet you still try to find out what it was like? Haven’t you ever heard of letting the past go?”
“Of course I have.” I replied finally catching my breath. “But that saying is only for people who have a past to let go.”
“So you’re saying you’d kill yourself over trying to find your past?” She asked curiously. I looked straight into her green eyes and smiled.
“Who said anything about me killing myself?” Catherine gave a pleasing smile.
“You are strong….weak minded but strong. It really is a shame that this is going to be where you take your last breath.”
“You know you’ve been doing all this talking and you still haven’t told me how you expect to kill me.” I said as I stood back up. Catherine chuckled and extended her hands.
“Of course, I’m so forgetful. Allow me to enlighten you on where you are.” She said with a pleasing smile. “You see I know you more than any of the children I’ve trained in The Ambient, Sydney. You’re smart, athletic, cunning, a bit of a smart ass, and very interesting. The most dominant feature of you, though, is your ability to think on your feet. I knew that if I released the zombies into the city that you and the vampire would plan to escape. I also knew that if I placed road blocks on either exit of the city that you would turn back and try to find shelter within the city. That’s when the second part of my plan came into play. I knew I would be taking a gamble by setting up this library for my trap. At first I thought you would go to the Hospital.”
“What trap?” I asked curiously. Her smile became grim.
“You’re not in a normal library, Sydney. You’re in my game.” She said calmly.
“A bit of a funhouse really. I’m sure by now you’ve taken noticed on how many floors there are in this building including this one? Each floor has its own little task that you must get by in order to move to the next level.”
“What is this, Sonic the Hedgehog?” I asked not impressed by this little plan.
“Not even close.” Catherine replied diligently. “If you make to the top floor, I will proceed to kill you.”
“Wait a minute. So you want me to risk my life for a goal that ultimately takes away my life anyway? This game sucks.” I said crossing my arms over my chest once again.
“That’s not entirely the goal. You see, on each of the floors there is someone you care about with all your heart. If you complete the tasks, you set these people free.”
I immediately thought about Sarah and Demetrius. Did she somehow bring them back to life and was now keeping them hostage on the floors above? It was taking all my strength to not run up the stairs behind me to see for myself.
“Since I’m such a nice person, I’ll already give you a hint on whom the last and final person you will be trying to save.” She looked at Mark’s continuously trembling body and tilted her head. “If you make it to the final floor than I will let him go free. If not, then he dies along with everyone else.”
“I’m guessing if I refuse this little game you’re going to kill everybody, including Mark?”
“That and let your brothers and sisters take you apart slowly.” She said with a pleased smile. “So, do we have a deal?”
I looked over at Mark and once again felt his pain. If I was going to be doing this for anybody than it might as well be him. I looked back at Catherine and smiled with pride.