Thirty seconds. That was all it took to change Kali's entire life.
Kali sat in an uncomfortable chair across from a police detective. The room that she had been taken to was more of a closet than a room. The detective hadn't even looked up when she had been roughly shoved into the chair. Her hands were handcuffed behind her, and her shoulders ached from the awkward position. After what seemed like an eternity, the detective sighed and glanced up from the array of papers strewn across his desk.
\"Kaylin Traxe, correct?\" He asked. Kali nodded. \"There are some very serious allegations against you, Miss Traxe. You are being transferred to a high security location. But before you leave, I would like to warn you. Anything you do or say can and will be used against you. So I would be careful if I were you.\"
Kali stared blankly at the man before her. Serious allegations? Top security location? What the hell was he talking about? She had done nothing wrong! Before she could protest, though, two men barged in the room and pulled a bag over her head. A weird smell emanated from the cloth over her face, and her eyes began to slowly close, despite Kali's efforts to keep them open. The last thing she heard before the blackness swallowed her up was a man saying calmly, \"Don't worry, detective. She will be safe with us.\"
Kali stifled a groan as her eyes fluttered open. Her head felt like someone was smashing a hammer against it over and over again. She noticed the sound of an engine revving. Slowly she sat up, wincing as her stiff, aching arms and legs stretched. At least they took off the hood and handcuffs, she thought. Kali glanced at her surroundings. She had been lying on the metal grating of the back of a van. One of the men had folded up a jacket to rest her head on. On one side of the van there were a bunch of lockers, all locked. On the other side, where Kali was lying, there were a bunch of electronic instruments. The glow from the various computer screens was the only light. The van lurched suddenly, throwing Kali against the wall. She was unable to stop the moan that escaped her lips. She heard a man's voice say, \"She's awake.\"
\"Pull over. I'll make sure she doesn't try any funny business\" another man replied. The van halted, and Kali heard a door slam. A few moments later, the back door swung open and a dark figure jumped inside and slammed the door behind him. Once again the van began to move, but it seemed to Kali that they were going much faster this time. Kali jumped at the sound of a voice. \"How are you feeling? I'm very sorry about all the rough treatment. By the way, my name is Chase.\"
\"My name is Kaylin, but everyone calls me Kali. You probably already knew that. Can you tell me what the hell is going on?\"
\"I wish I could. All I was told was to keep you safe during the transportation.Why, I don't know. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to why you are considered to be in extreme danger and why everything about you is highly confidential?\"
\"I'm in danger? From whom? Is this a joke? I'm getting kinda pissed here.\" Kali turned angrily away from Chase.
Chase sat in silence, not knowing what to say. Something didn't feel right about this girl. She was such a young girl, and he could tell she was pretty despite the layer of grime from the van floor covering her clothing and face. He hoped his superiors had a good explanation for this one. Chase felt the van slow and come to a stop. Kali didn't seem to notice. She faced away from Chase, and he could tell she was still angry from the defiant set of her shoulders. The back of the van opened to reveal Max, Chase's best friend and partner.
\"Chase, Boss says to bring her in and put her in interrogation room D. Then we have to report to him, after which we can relax before he debriefs us on our next job.\" Chase nodded and looked over at Kali. She was staring at Max. Women usually did, because of his movie star good looks and lean, lithe figure. Chase sighed and stood up. He unhooked the handcuffs from his belt loop and knelt next to Kali. She glared up at him, and his breath caught when he saw her face clearly for the first time. Her blonde hair was snarled, but he could tell that when it was brushed out it would be soft and wavy. Her face was shaped like a heart, and her nose was turned up just a bit at the end. And her eyes, oh god her eyes, were an emerald green softened by her tears. Her lips were full and soft, almost begging to be kissed. He had been wrong when he thought she was pretty; she was beautiful.
\"You better not put those handcuffs back on me.\" Kali demanded. She showed him her wrists, and Chase grimaced when he saw the raw, bleeding skin. He clipped the handcuffs to his belt and instead tied a bit of rope around her upper arm and then tied the other end around his own wrist. She gave only a curt nod in thanks. He nodded in return and then nudged her towards the door.
\"It's time to go\" he said gruffly. Kali took a lurching step towards the door, swayed, and fell. Instinctively, Chase reached out and caught her before she hit the ground. Kali's eyes were glazed over with a haze of pain. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out. Chase pulled her closer to his ear and could just barely make out her voice.
\"What did you do to me? My head is killing me!.\" A moan of pain issued from her mouth, and then her eyelids fluttered shut. Chase gingerly settled her soft, light weight into a firmer position in his arms and jumped down from the van.
\"She fainted? Wow, I've never seen a more hardened, danger-seeking, top secret criminal in my life!\" Max laughed and sauntered toward the ominous building in front of them. Chase hated this place. It always gave him the creeps. It inspired fear in many hearts, but it was awe-inspiring as well. It looked like a fortress with the impenetrable gray walls. The front gate had two towers situated on either side. Each tower held a guard. The gate itself was made of steel at least three feet wide. Four guards stood outside the gate on little platforms. This is not a place to mess with, Chase thought. One of the guards spoke up.
Max flashed the badge Boss had given them before the mission started. \"That's my partner. The name of the girl is Kaylin Traxe.\"
\"Very well. You may proceed.\" The guard stepped aside and opened a small door. Chase followed Max through into a small, dark passageway. They continued on until they came to a large metal door. Max knocked and a little slit in the door suddenly slid open. As quickly as it had been opened it slammed shut again. Max shrugged and knocked again. This time the door creaked open to reveal a short, fat man. Without a word, the man spun around and marched away. Max and Chase watched him until he turned around, glared at them, and beckoned them forward. Max shrugged again and followed.The little man led them into a large, well-lit area. \"The interrogation room you want is across the hall from this room.\" He pivoted on his heel and disappeared back the way we had come.
\"What a warm welcome we received, huh, Chase. There better at least be hot showers here 'cuz that's all I'm interested in. Can you handle the girl? If you can then I'm gonna go find Boss and get me some food.\"
\"Yeah sure buddy. I can handle her. You go ahead. Tell Boss I'll talk to him tonight. Catch you later\" Chase replied. Max slapped him on the shoulder and walked off. Trey adjusted Kali in his arms and set off across the cavernous room. He reached an archway that led into a short hallway that ended in dead ends in both directions. Four doors lined the far side of the hallway, rooms A though D. Chase went to the right and stopped in front of the last door. Interrogation Room D was inscribed on the plaque above the door. He gently shifted Kali so that he could reach out and turn the doorknob. He pushed against the door with his foot in order to open it wider. The room was pitch black and smelled musty with disuse. Chase fumbled along the wall until he found a light switch. When he flipped the switch, a bare bulb flickered to life in the middle of a sparsely furnished room. The only furniture was a beat up wooden table and two scratched and bent metal folding chairs. The walls were made of stone just like the rest of the building, and water dripped down them from the ceiling. A layer of dust covered the furniture and concrete floor.
\"This must be a mistake. This room hasn't been used in years!\" Chase exclaimed. A gravelly voice behind Chase made him whirl around \"It was no mistake, Mr. Gray. Let's shut the door and I will explain.\" The man shut the door and went over to brush off the two chairs.\"Please, have a seat and I will explain everything while we wait for Miss Traxe to wake up.\" Chase sat and settled Kali more securely in his lap. \"Would you like me to have another chair brought for the lady?\"
\"No. I'm perfectly comfortable\" Chase replied. He narrowed his eyes at the man. Something about this whole thing didn't feel right.
\"Suit yourself. First off, let me tell you my name. I am Ryan Sheppard, the agent on this most unusual case. This girl did a very heroic thing last week. She saved the lives of twelve people. The reason she was brought here was for her protection, and so that we could get the story of what she saw. All we know is that there were terrorists with a bomb, she somehow found out, and was able to stop them. Now those terrorists are after her, and we assume they mean to murder her because she knows too much. She was brought here under the pretense that she was a terrorist because it was the only way to keep the real terrorists from attacking while she was being brought here. This room has no cameras or any other technology that could be hacked into, which is why we chose to use it. That is all we know until Miss Traxe awakens and tells us rest of the story. Does that answer some of your questions, Gray?\"
\"One more thing. Why was she not informed of this plan? She's scared out of her mind! Not to mention that she thinks her entire life is ruined and that she is a highly dangerous criminal although she has no idea what she did wrong.\"
\"Ah yes. I forgot that part. She was not told because if something happened and she got caught, we did not want the terrorists to know we were on to them.\"
Chase wasn't sure he liked the idea that they had knowingly let her suffer. But there was nothing he could do about it now. A slight pressure on his chest made him look down. Kali had placed her small hand on his chest and her eyes slowly opened. She looked up at him with sleepy, blurry eyes.
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