The Torus Project

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 27 (v.1)

Submitted: February 15, 2011

Reads: 45

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Submitted: February 15, 2011



Chapter 27
10:23 p.m., Monday
Amber tapped the window to get Brian’s attention. He came back in front of the glass, which stood about waist-high to them both and rose above their heads. Amber noticed he held a medium-sized garden stone of concrete mixed with pebble-sized rocks, the kind used for walkways through the grass. He motioned for her to stand back, which she did, getting on the bed again. If she had been more coherent and energetic, she might have tried the same tactic, though in reverse.
The glass shattered with a loud crash, sending hundreds of fragments, along with the chunk of rock, cascading into the room.
“Quick! Where are your shoes?” he said.
Amber couldn’t help but gasp at the sudden display. She motioned toward the closet. Brian had taken off his shirt and poked the remaining dangerous glass fragments away. He hopped in and opened the closet, getting Amber’s tennis shoes. He then reached the bed and picked her up, not willing to wait while she put them on.
“He’s coming!” Amber screamed as soon as she heard the door’s lock click.
Brian didn’t wait for whoever was coming, though; he steadily walked to and out the window with his prize. But, soon enough, he heard a familiar voice coming from the room within.
“Well, you little bastard!” Kevill said. “They have police in this town, you know!”
Brian jogged with his added weight all the way to the middle of Kevill’s front lawn, barely out of the porch light’s rays. “Hurry! Put on your shoes!” Amber did, though looking a little awkward in both pajamas and tennis attire. Brian looked at her between scans around the house. He couldn’t fully describe it, but she was beautiful, even without the fancy makeup and hair done just right. He took in her face, scared, tired, and felt something he had not felt in years.
“Ready?” he whispered.
“Right,” she said, and, with his assistance, they steadily proceeded to Brian’s parked car down the road.
“We’ve got to get you safely to my house, and maybe Jackie or Carol will be nice enough to put you up for the night before we can think of what to do in the morning,” he said as they got closer to the main street.
“Okay,” she gasped. “He’s going to come after me, you know. I don’t think he was kidding about the police.”
“Oh, I don’t know if he’ll call them,” Brian replied. “Kidnapping is worse than breaking and entering in my book.”
Amber, having trouble moving faster than a quick walk, breathed hard in exertion from the chemicals and procedures being conducted inside of her. “But . . . but they still have control, Brian. They can pretty much turn me off, if they want. I won’t be able to talk about any kidnapping in that state.
“And . . . and, sadly, Andrew was and would be my legal guardian in such a state.”
“Even though you’re over twenty-one?”
“Yeah, if I’m incapacitated. He’s my only legal relative, Brian, though I hate to admit it. Signed him when my dad died.”
A car sped down the street toward them, its beams on high.“Down!” Brian yelled, pushing Amber behind a row of bushes close to the road. He followed, practically smothering her.
The car, a silver Volvo, skidded to a halt not ten meters away from the escaping couple. Daka got out, slammed the door, and said in an even and threatening tone, “Come out. I see you there. Mista Minor . . . give up, or you will regret it.” Brian cursed and whispered to Amber. “Here are my keys. Run down the road a ways and get in the car. Lock it. I’ll be there in a minute.”
“No, Brian! I . . . I can’t leave you here. You don’t know about him. He’s dangerous!”
“I’ll be fine. Just run!”
At that, they both stood up from their crouching positions, Amber starting away from Daka, Brian moving around the bushes and coming toward the muscular African. The car’s headlights still shone on the scene and gave Daka, who stood in front of the vehicle, a menacing silhouette. Brian saw him rubbing a fisted hand into the palm of the other. 
“I have been waiting for the opportunity, Mista Minor,” he said. “She won’t get far. Not in her condition.” Daka took a step forward, crunching the gravel underneath his sandal. Brian shot a look back to check on Amber. She had made her way almost out of light range. He then took a deep breath and charged, hoping to catch his opponent off guard. A bull rush wasn’t normal military tactics, he knew, but they had also taught him, if worse came to worse, to go into combat with full energy, full strength. He thought now was as good as any.
But Daka was fast, faster than he had thought. During Brian’s rush to cover the five or so meters between them, the African stepped to his right and took Brian’s initial thrust, grabbing his younger foe’s collar and catapulting him across the hood of the car and into the windshield, which held. Daka laughed and slapped his hands together in one, loud motion.
The action only angered Brian, though. He wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Grunting with adrenaline, he rolled off to the car’s driver’s side and opened the door as if to get in.
“I think not!” said Daka, who calmly ran toward his foe, arms outstretched.
Just as the African was about to reach the door, Brian slammed it again, took a roll to his side, away from the car, and quickly regained his feet.
He soon saw the maneuver had barely fazed the man, who stopped, turned, and stared down Brian again. Okay, he’s enjoying this, for heaven’s sake!
“Come to Daka,” he said, this time motioning with his hands as a boxer taunting his opponent. Brian backed up a step . . . and ran.
Not because he was a coward. Brian felt he could fight the man and would have fought him if he had to. But he now felt he didn’t have to. Amber should have made it to the car by now, he thought, so he took off in her direction without looking back.
Daka let out a low growl, but Brian didn’t hear him giving chase. Now navigating only by the moonlight, Brian had made it about halfway to his own car when he did hear Daka’s vehicle fast approaching him from down the road. He looked over his shoulder and saw the headlights coming. He knew he would not make it in time.
A night owl cried in the distance. A breeze picked up, hitting the trees in the moonlight. Time. Brian felt time stand still. He waited. And in that brief few seconds, Brian felt a purpose pass through his body. For so long, he had felt empty inside, a kind of meaningless. He knew he had responsibilities to Wilson. He had surely felt those responsibilities in the Air Force, maintaining the planes so that they were perfect to fly. But since his wife’s death, since leaving the military, Brian knew he had been wandering in a way. School gave him some substance, but grades and knowledge weren’t enough.
In those few seconds as he watched Daka’s car barreling toward him, Brian actually felt a moment of peace. He now felt a calling, and at this moment, with Amber drugged and weak behind him, he knew he had to fight—not only for his life, but for hers, and for Wilson’s and for those people who Dr. Kevill was bending to his will. Thoughts of grabbing Amber and Wilson and taking off to Nebraska to escape it all vanished. He had to keep those things that meant so much to him, and that meant holding his ground. Here and now.
The car, which could have been going over 40 kilometers an hour, still headed straight at the waiting Brian, its beams almost blinding him. But he waited. He stood his ground, a void shrouding his body and his thoughts. It may have been the craziest thing he had ever done, but he calmly counted in his head . . . three . . . two, planning to jump at the last moment. But he didn’t have to. The car swerved some twenty meters in front of him, barely missing his feet by centimeters.
Evidently, Daka had expected Brian to jump out of the way, but he hadn’t. Thus, the older man had to turn the wheel frantically to avoid hitting Brian, and the car, now out of control, headed toward the opposite side of the street and a row of trees off the road. Daka swerved again to right himself, but the car’s speed had taken the African into a tailspin, with the back end going off the road and into a ditch. Tires spinning, he tried to accelerate himself out but soon gave up.
I didn’t move an inch! Brian, heart pounding, saw the car loose control and stop. He didn’t wait to see if Daka was all right, though. He turned and took off at a run toward his waiting car behind him. And in the darkness, he heard Daka’s car door slam, footsteps in pursuit coming at him.
He soon saw his own car and quickened his pace, but Amber’s shape was not to be seen. What? Where is she?
Daka closed on him. He didn’t have much time. He reached the car, looked in the front and back seats, and saw nothing. Nothing! He looked around the area, thinking maybe she had fallen in her weakness and couldn’t get back up. But nothing. Too dark. Too quiet.
“Looking for someone?” a familiar voice rang out of the forest to Brian’s right, the side of the street closest to Kevill’s house. He turned and barely saw the shape of Kevill, and another shape, this one in a heap at the professor’s feet.
A chill went up Brian’s back. “Kevill!”
“Oh, not addressing me in proper fashion anymore, I see.” 
Brian started to rush toward the doctor but was slammed from behind by a running Daka. The impact took the air out of him, and he soon found himself pinned by the muscular man against the rough ground on the road’s shoulder.
“It’s not nice to steal, you know,” said Kevill, who had taken steps toward Brian and Daka. Brian, straining to raise his neck for a glimpse of Amber, noticed the dark heap at Kevill’s feet did not move. He flashed back to a similar glimpse at Wilson when he was face down in his own parking lot after running from the police.
“What have you done to her?” He tasted blood in his mouth from a cut lip.
“Oh, just a little shot to help her sleep.” Kevill’s face looked sinister in the moonlight. He smiled thinly and clasped his hands together in front as he looked down on Brian.
“You better not hurt her!”
“I don’t think you are in any position to tell me what to do, Mister Minor.” Kevill took another step toward Brian and now loomed over him so that the younger man could only hear his voice and look at Kevill’s tennis-shoed feet. “Oh, Mister Minor. What are we going to do with you? From star student to star pain, huh? If I let you go, you’ll come back. If I keep you, though . . .”
Brian heard Kevill doing something out of his sight. “Maybe, Daka, it is time to have Mister Minor join our elite club. Let’s bring him to the house, shall we?” Kevill tossed Daka his belt to tie Brian’s hands together.
The African reached up to catch the belt, and just as he did, a car came down the road, from the direction of Kevill’s driveway. It slowed down beside the trio, and Brian heard a young voice, probably a college student, say, “You guys all right? I saw the car off the road down there—”
Kevill interrupted. “Quite all right. Just had a little accident, that’s all. We’re . . . exchanging information.”
But Brian took the distraction as he cue. With one of Daka’s hands now loose upon his back, he lifted up with all his strength, turned, and found the room to hit Daka across the face with his free hand. The action hardly moved the African (his head snapped back for an instant before returning), but it was enough for Brian to push the man off of him and get to his feet.
He saw the car that had approached. A young couple sat in the front seat, now looking surprised and a little scared at Brian’s movements.
“These men are trying to rob me and my girlfriend!” he gasped, leaning against the trunk of his own car, and pointing to Amber’s lifeless body a little off the road. Blood ran down his chin from cuts on his lip and nose. “We need help!”
The man and woman exchanged glances. Not seeing any weapons helped them in their decision to stay parked a moment more, with one pulling out a cell. “I’m calling the cops!” she said. “You guys better leave them alone!”
“Whoa there, my friend,” said Kevill, who had whipped out his charismatic grin. “This man is crazy! He’s just trying to get out of hitting us back there!”
“What’s wrong with his girlfriend?” said the student, who had punched in some numbers on her cell and handed it over to her boyfriend.
“Oh, her?” Kevill said, motioning to Daka to stand back for a moment. “She evidently was injured in the accident. I was just trying to help her. I’m a doctor, you see.”
“Right.” The student saw the distress on Brian’s face. “Can she walk?”
“I . . . I don’t know,” Brian replied. He walked past Kevill and reached Amber. She was indeed knocked out, so he carried her toward the street.
Kevill had to back away. “I wouldn’t do that, my friend. She may be severely injured.”
Brian ignored him and brought her to his car, opened the door, and put her in the front seat.
The student who now had the cell phone yelled out. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but the police are coming.”
The other student said, “Is she all right?” Amber being in pajamas had surely made the scene all the more weird.
Brian shot a look at Daka then at Kevill before replying. Are they actually buying it? Are we really going to get away? “I think so. She must have fainted from the shock.”
“You won’t get away with this,” said Kevill, who turned and started walking back down the street. Brian saw Daka give him a nasty look before following.
“Thanks, guys,” he said to the fellow students. “Those are some bad dudes.”  He walked over to get into his car.
“Aren’t you going to wait for the police?” the man said.
“I think we’ll be okay now . . . thanks to you. After I see that my girlfriend is okay, I’ll go down to the station and report them.”
“Do you want our number or something as a witness?”
“Uhm . . . no, no that’s all right. I think you guys have done enough. Thanks again.” And Brian closed his door, turning away from the couple, who belatedly sped away, checking on Amber more closely in the car’s internal lights.
Her face was flushed, her breathing hard and regular. Brian didn’t notice any bruises or marks, so he felt that indeed Kevill must have shot her up with something instead of knocking her out in other ways.
He stroked her cheek once then started his car, thinking that Kevill and Daka might not give up so soon. Taking a deep breath, he drove away in the opposite direction of Daka’s car and made a roundabout way back to Carol’s place. 
Brian called Carol on his way and found out Jackie was also there, now off work and helping to look after Wil. Carol soon put her on the phone, audio only.
“You found her? At Doctor Kevill’s?”
“Yes. They didn’t give her up so easily, but, with a little luck, I got her out of there.”
“Is she okay?”
“Drugged up but otherwise fine, I think.” Brian reached over and touched Amber’s slouching body in the passenger seat. Being buckled up helped to keep her from falling over.
“Oh, that’s good, Brian. You don’t know how much I’ve been worrying about this whole thing. It’s all Carol and I have been talking about tonight.”
“Wil all right?”
“Oh, he’s fine. I think he’s getting a little sleepy, though. We played some games, and now he’s just vegging in front of the TV on the floor here.”
“Okay. I’ll be there in a few minutes. Can either of you put Amber up for the night? I don’t know how safe it would be at my place.”
“Sure. I can do that,” Jackie said. “Where are you and Wil going to stay?”
“I think we’ll be okay back home. I just don’t want to put Amber in any more danger. That’s all.”
“Are you sure? If they come after her, what about Wil?”
Brian nodded in agreement. “Well, hell, maybe we should all sleep over tonight while I put things in order in my head. I’ll need to go get some old sleeping bags I have at the apartment first. See you in few.”
“Okay, Bri. Be careful.”
Kevill sat at his kitchen table, gloomy, irritable. 
“You want me to get her back?” said Daka, who had stayed after he and Kevill had quickly brought his car out of the ditch and into the driveway before the police were to arrive. The African was tense and irritable as well. Loosing his prey after coming so close was not to his liking.
“No, no. Minor may have gotten her body back, but we still have her mind.” He turned his attention to his cell and looked into the face of Dr. Uhland. “Josh, you say Minor came and left his apartment alone?”
“Yes, sir.”
“And where’s Amber?”
“Got her in a new location . . . not her apartment or Mister Minor’s. Looks like another apartment complex.”
“Okay, okay. No problem. Continue with her programming. She’ll come around willingly soon enough.” Kevill wiped his face, which looked tired. “Daka? What stopped you?”
“Why did you first act like you were going to run him down then veer off?”
Daka fingered the small burn scar on his right cheek. “Scare tactics, Doctor Kevill. I thought he would injure himself trying to get away.”
“Didn’t, did he?” Kevill frowned, knowing that Daka had been close to killing Brian Minor that night.
“Get some rest. I have a little mission for you tomorrow.”“Sir?”
“Time to bring another esteemed individual into the fold. Meet me at the lab, both of you, in the morning.”
Josh clicked off, and Daka left, leaving Kevill alone with his thoughts. After a few minutes, Madalene entered the kitchen. She still wore a nightgown, though her face and hair had been prepared for sleeping.
“Do you want to tell me what happened?” she said, her makeup-less face still beautiful, clean, healthy, though looking rather worried at the moment.
“I think that’s evident enough,” Kevill snapped. “Our bird has flown the coop.”
“Yes.” Madalene poured some tea from the refrigerator. “And what are you going to do about it?”
From staring at the table, Kevill looked up through his hands. “Nothing.”
“Nothing? But they can cause you trouble, no?”
“No, not really.” He got up. “Help me clean up the bedroom, will you?”
“Andrew?” Madalene stood her ground.
Kevill turned back to face Madalene, raising his eyebrows.“Are you all right?” she said, rolling her “R”s.
“Never better, my sweet. Never better. A little outdoor activity did me good, I think.” He approached her and ran a hand through her hair. “Don’t worry, Madie. All is well. The plan is going strong. Stronger every day!”
“I hope you are right.”
“Yep. Right. Now let’s go tidy up our guest bedroom before too many bugs find new homes in there.” He took her hand and led her across the house.
Kevill wouldn’t allow himself any thoughts of doubt. For the past year, he had driven himself to succeed, to get what he wanted. To those around him and, especially, to himself he had the utmost confidence. But something about facing Brian Minor this night had sent a lingering idea in his head, an idea, that, if allowed to grow, would prove an infection of its own, a catalyst for failure.
Kevill wouldn’t allow himself to doubt, but tonight, one had come on its own accord, the universe fluctuating right there in his very midst.

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