Braldt Chelsea tossed and turned in bed, then suddenly woke up gasping for breath. He looked around, finding he was back in the same elegantly furnished room with the telephone on the nearby nightstand next to the window that overlooked the secured grounds below.
"So this nightmare's real!" Braldt thought and slumped against the headboard, holding his head in his hands. He wanted to scream, but he knew there was no point. With only a few hours of clarity before getting forcibly injected with 'medicine' that made him forget, molded into an emotionless order-taking zombie at the whims of his loose-cannon caretaker, Braldt immediately searched the nightstand and found his journal with carefully coded notes that would jog his memory.
Thumbing through the small pages, Braldt felt at a loss when he saw what appeared to be scrambled words - then it all began to make sense when he realized they were acronyms in another language. He used to speak Russian - though it was so long ago…
Returning with Mother each evening…
Breakfast with Sister…
Free time afternoon until dusk…
Driving Reginald daily until…
The schedule seemed set, yet also not too rigid and Braldt pondered his escape. He knew there was a large gap in the afternoons where anything could happen. That was his only gap in memory. Then he realized it was most likely used for assignments in which they medicated him for.
Escape seemed impossible, especially with Marta's various 'business meetings' where he had to drop her off and pick her up, sometimes having to protect her from others that wanted to dispose of her and take what money she made. Braldt groaned and tossed the journal aside. If this wasn't Hell…
The telephone suddenly rang, startling Braldt. He picked up the receiver, immediately hearing Marta calling for him.
"Please meet me on the terrace," she said over the line. Braldt grunted and slammed the receiver back in the cradle. Even if he refused, it would only start all over again.
Slipping out of bed, Braldt grabbed for a bathrobe draped over the chair across the room and pulled into it as he padded out into the hall. Stepping out onto a side entrance that led to a small patio, Braldt spotted the young woman with long dark hair wearing a pale green bathrobe with gold leave stitching on the sleeves curled in a deck chair out on the terrace, overlooking the immaculately manicured grounds below. Several guards stood at ready on patrol armed with machine guns, barely blending in with the dark surroundings.
"What is it you want with me?" Braldt demanded.
"Help me run away," Marta murmured, glancing up at him with fearful violet eyes. "I can't stand being here…"
"What makes you think I can help you?"
"Don't you hate always being used for someone else's benefit? Always ordered around and punished for merely thinking on your own?" Braldt's face flushed pale scarlet. "I don't want to be thrown away when my use runs out. That's what happened to Cousin Nikki… I really liked her."
"What happens when your use runs out?" Braldt asked, slowly growing intrigued.
"You simply disappear… Then a new cousin joins the Family." Braldt nodded.
"I see…" He left the patio and Marta quickly unfolded herself from her chair and ran up to him, touching him gently by the arm.
"Where are you going?" she asked. "Please don't leave!"
"I need time to think while I still can…" Braldt shook loose her grip. "Let me try to put something together." She let go and Braldt returned to his room.
He sat on the edge of his bed, staring at the journal that lay near the telephone. He wasn't sure if Marta was putting him on, or if she was able to think clearly for a moment's notice like he had. Braldt picked up the phone once it rang, only to clench his teeth in disgust when Reginald asked about his well-being.
"How is Cousin Paul today?" he asked brightly. "Would he mind taking me out for a drive today? I want some ice cream for Mother." Braldt gripped the phone in hand as he ground his teeth, the muscles in his face working as he controlled the urge to jam the phone through the wall.
"Yes, Cousin Reginald," he said through gritted teeth. "I'd love to drive you about today."
"Excellent! I'll see you downstairs soon!"
Braldt wanted to kill him as he ripped the phone out the wall.
He wanted to kill Reginald as he stood under the scalding hot water in the private shower.
Braldt thought of numerous scenarios he could potentially find himself and Reginald in and of the many ways he could get rid of the crazy bastard as he browsed his closets and found something decent to wear.
He knew it was nothing but a passing daydream as he came downstairs with a false smile pasted on and greeted Reginald in the parlor who wore a dark gray suit with matching fedora and boots and sat in the large chair near the front entrance, twirling his pistol idly with one finger.
"My, that was fast," Reginald said. "You couldn't wait to see me, right?" He peeled out of his chair and sauntered over to Braldt. "You love me, don't you?" Braldt stiffened when Reginald grabbed him by the waist and pulled him closer. "You're so strong and can take everything I dish out on you… I like that a lot!" Braldt looked away when Reginald leaned in, stroking the head of the gun down his chest. "What is it that makes you so tough?" Draping an arm over Braldt's shoulder, Reginald leaned in, looking up at him with an empty disturbed look in his eyes as he cracked a malicious grin. "Would you like to tell me sometime?" Braldt glared at him as Reginald slipped the gun into the waistband of his slacks. "No? Pity then…" Reginald pulled away and headed for the large double doors, opening them wide.
Braldt withdrew the gun and immediately pulled its safety then pointed it at Reginald's back as he strolled about grounds. It would be so easy to just put one in the back of his head… but without knowing how many were in the pistol - if any at all - he'd be open season for the guards patrolling outside and that would be the end.
Braldt sighed as he released the safety and tucked the gun away, then followed Reginald outdoors. Maybe Reginald already knew how he felt and wanted to toy with his emotions. Maybe he knew he wanted to escape and just wanted to give him the false sense of security, with the absurd notion thinking it was possible.
Braldt clenched his hands, shaking in rage. Nevertheless, that troubled man knew what he was doing and Braldt was back where he started, with escape futile…