Selma slipped into the bathroom and kicked opened each stall. Content that the bathroom was deserted she took the maintenance ‘closed for service’ sign from under one of the sinks and attached it to the outside door.
Selma pulled on the chain around her neck checking the watch that hung on it. She pressed it to her lips.
“I’m sorry Will. They’ll kill me if I stay.” Selma whispered.
Liam materialized behind her the moment she touched the watch. He watched Selma curiously with his hands in his pockets blinking in and out of existence like a flickering light bulb, he didn’t want her to see him watching.
Selma smiled wistfully before she hurriedly replaced the watch; there wasn’t time to for sentiments. There never really was. The boy tilted his head at her and disappeared when she turned toward him. Selma frowned she thought she felt someone standing behind her.
Selma unzipped her bag and laid out some of her escape tools for what she hoped was the last time. She quietly hummed a song as she tied up her long copper hair. From her collection of escape tools she chose a tiny screwdriver she had taken from her aunt on her last visit home.
Selma stepped on the trashcan as she unscrewed the lock on the bathroom window. She pulled out the secure looking grate prying it off and tossed her bag out the moment the small window was open. Selma smiled as she heard a thud and guessed it landed on the shelter that held the Center’s back-up generator. She tossed the grate on top of her bag.
Selma then dropped back into the bathroom and quickly stashed her escape tools; the screwdriver, a set of lock picks and a security key card behind the sink, just in case she needed a second or third chance at escape.
Using the trashcan and the hand dryer as footholds Selma lifted her self out the small window. She noticed the shoe prints she left on the dryer but decided that no one would notice it until it was too late.
Selma carefully lowered herself onto the generator. She patted the building goodbye, replaced the grate, grabbed her bag and leaped off the shelter landing gracefully on her feet in the building’s shade.
Selma stayed in there for a moment longer gathering herself before she peaked around the edge.
The bright sun burned her tired eyes as she assessed the distance between the shelter and the cut she’d made in the fence. She’d been awake for a long time now, inhumanly long and she was tired of feeling tired all the time.
The fear that she wouldn’t wake up again was getting harder and harder to remember. She could feel time slipping away. Her tired eyes begged to stay closed with every blink.
The tick-tick-tick of her watch was the only thing that reminded her; this was her only chance to be free. She would not let them put her under and she would not let them kill her. She would fight and she would run.
Selma sprinted across the grassy yard pulling down her baseball hat over her blood shot eyes. She kept running, slipping through the cut in the chain link fence and past the thin wooded area that surrounded the Center until she found the dirt path.
Selma ran with a smile on her face letting her skin soak in the warm sunlight. She hopped over a log and giggled nervously as she splashed into puddle. She half expected someone to step out from behind a tree and scold her. Selma smiled when nothing happened. She stepped out of the puddle and began to run again.
In just a few hours her nurse would finish her shift at the Center and get her out of the city with a new identity, new home and new life.
A small voice in the back of Selma’s mind whispered that infected people had no lives and that they were never safe no matter where or how far they ran. Selma squashed the thought and kept on running.
“Hello Will. How are you feeling to day?” Nurse Jenny said as the large heavy door closed behind her. She frowned at the bare white walls, the glaring bright lights and the swivelling black camera. This wasn’t a hospital room it was a prison cell. Jenny walked forward to the figure sitting on the only furniture in the room, the bed.
“I was just with Selma. It’s been a while since you’ve seen her, almost four months I would guess.” Jenny said sitting down beside Will who looked straight ahead in a daze. As far the Center knew he’d been like that for months.
Jenny sighed glancing at the camera. “Oh dear it looks like you’ve got something on your face.” Jenny said reaching into her purse. Instead of taking out a Kleenex Jenny pulled out a necklace Will once gave her as a present.
“Seriously? You call me now? How am I supposed to work if I have to keep pulled back to you?” Liam complained the moment he appeared. It took a moment for him to notice Will.
“NO.” He said crossing his arm, “No way, I’m not going back.” He hissed at Jenny.
“I need to talk to him.” Jenny said once the camera shut down. Liam had that effect on security cameras.
“What about?” Liam asked scowling.
“He needs to be ready for when she goes to your world. If she doesn’t make it or if they don’t meet up the deals off and then you’d have to go back forever.”
“I get it.” He sighs “I hate this par—” His words are cut off as he disappears into a bright light.
“Let go of me. Ugggh.” Will yelled jumping back away from the light. He took a moment to steady himself as he examined his new surroundings.
“The Center.” He said relaxing before he turned to Jenny and smiled “Hey Jenny Benny. What do I owe this wonderful vacation?”
Jenny smiled back and simply said. “It’s time.”
“You mean Selma’s coming?” He said standing up he smiled wide. If Jenny didn’t know better she would of bet he’d break into a dance like he had when he was younger. Thankfully he resisted the urge if he felt it.
“Not yet, but we’re close.” Jenny said smiling at Will.
Will suddenly stopped smiling. “There something wrong isn’t there?” He said watching Jenny carefully.
“No problem. She just needs to fall asleep so we can do our magic. You know remove the hypnotic suggestion.” Jenny said quietly.
“You want her to fall asleep! How are you going to do that I mean without her seeing Liam and without the center getting their hands on her?” He said suspiciously. He subconsciously touched the pink scar that stretched from his right hand to his collarbone.
“Liam can be very sneaky.” Jenny hinted.
“I wouldn’t rely on his powers. They’re not as good as you think.” Will said sceptically sitting down again.
Jenny pursed her lips “That’s what this is for.” Jenny said holding out a bright yellow pill.
“Is that the back up plan?” Will said unimpressed
“Yup, by the time Selma will notice the sedative she’ll already be asleep.” Jenny said nodding.
“She won’t need a sedative, she’ll fall asleep in two hours trust me.” She continued.
“I wouldn’t count on it, she’s stronger then that. You’d better have one heck of a full proof back-up-back-up plan” Will said frowning. “Even then it might not work.”
“Will, I think you’re overestimating Selma.”
“I’m not Jenny. I know her better than anyone.” Will said staring off into space. Jenny waited a moment for him to finish but whatever made Will himself was gone. Which meant Liam was back, somewhere.
Selma’s leg twitched begging her to speed up, but she couldn’t not in this neighbourhood, someone would notice her running, especially when the police got involved.
Selma stopped at a bus stop fighting the instinct to keep moving and sat down. Selma waited for what seemed to be forever before the bus pulled up at a painfully slow crawl. Sitting at the back corner of the bus she fingered her watch necklace thinking about the one person she would miss when she’d run away.
Selma took the bus to a more crowded part of town, a part where she could blend in. She wandered for a few blocks to make sure she didn’t have a tail but she couldn’t shake the feeling she was being watched.
Liam put on his hat and pulled up his hood as he stepped onto the road in front of Selma. He bumped into her and held out his hand to steady her.
“Careful there, Miss.” He said in an artificially deep voice.
“Sorry!” Selma said stepping around him.
Liam raised his hand to lower his hat further down his face, “You might find yourself sleeping at the center.”
Selma had taken a few steps before she realized what Liam had said, she spun around but he was gone. Selma shook her head; was he real or a hallucination her sleep deprived mind created?
Selma made it half way into a public library before she felt her knees buckle. She looked down as though the tiled floor could tell her why.
“No.” She whispered they’d gotten to her. She reasoned that who ever it was who’d bumped her had probably injected her somehow.
Selma ran into the library’s bathroom and washed her pale face. Already her hands were shaking and the world was falling out of focus. She had refused the food the Center had given her knowing it would be drugged and now her refusal to eat would be her down fall.