Jamelia awoke with a start, and bashed his head off a metal bar when he sat upright. There was a giant bang that made his bones vibrate, and suddenly he started swinging to and fro. Jamelia clapped his little yellow hands to his ears and looked around. He appeared to be in a small birdcage that was dangling several feet off the floor, but he still couldn't see what was causing the racket. The drone continued, beating and beating and beating, each bang making the cage jolt and causing it to sway even more. Then the shockwaves stopped, and Jamelia dared to take his hands away from his ears. There was a ringing in his head, and he could barely hear himself when he called out. "What happened? Why am I in here?!" He swivelled his head around and peered through the bars. Computers, desks of papers, shelves with colourful chemical jars...Good greif! I'm in Duji Maluji's lab! he thought. He remembered the previous night; the flash, the door, the hands grabbing him, the chilling cackle...
"Good noon!" called a low, metallic voice that somehow managed to slice through the ringing in Jamelia's ears. "I knew it'd be the noon chime. Ah, you'll get used to it though." Jamelia saw Maluji was looking up at him from his desk. The bell! Jamelia realised. That was the noise!
"I do apologize for this, but unfortunately I can't let you go," continued the doctor. He didn't sound very sympathetic, but then again, maybe Jamelia wasn't hearing him properly. The mask on Maluji's face was hiding his expression, so it was impossible for Jamelia to tell what the engineer's tone was.
"Why can't you let me go?" Jamelia shouted. He didn't mean to shout, but he was trying to hear himself and shouting was the only way to do that through the awful racket in Jamelia's ears.
"Because of what you witnessed," the mad man replied. "I can't have you going around and spoiling the surprise, could I?"
"Then why don't you zap me with your thing?" Jamelia yelled. He then regretted it, for he didn't want to put such dark ideas into the already insane person's head.
"Well, to be perfectly honest, I like the company," Maluji replied, turning away from the servant and continuing with his infernal machine. "It has been a while since I had a real, pleasant, friendly conversation with somebody," muttered Maluji, and Jamelia could barely comprehend it. "Most people argue with me, or I argue with them. Nobody knows just how lonely I can be sometimes."
Jamelia, who was still feeling rather dazed, felt a strange pang inside him. It felt like guilt, but wasn't as hurtful...did he...did he pity this man? The idea seemed preposterous at first, but then Jamelia began to understand; Duji Maluji needed a friend.
"Dr. Maluji...I'll be your friend..." he said softly.
At first it seemed like Duji Maluji didn't hear him, but then he threw a rug over the cage and left Jamelia in total darkness. Maybe Jamelia was wrong, maybe Maluji was just a nutter.
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