After what had probably been a few hours, I sat curled on the window ledge, with the mangled chair at my feet.
I stared out the impenetrable window at the lush forest that I would most likely never be allowed to get any closer to, and fought the overwhelming feeling of depression that threatened to consume me.
As much as I hated to admit it, I couldn't deny that I had absolutely no reason to reject what Wescott told me. It all made sense.
I'd been adopted, just like he said, as a baby. I don't know how many times I'd heard the story.
After years of trying for a baby, my parents learned they weren't able to have any kids of their own, so they decided to try adoption. They waited for so long to even get approved since my dad had alot of health problems and agencies were reluctant to agree.
Finally they were approved by one agency, but then had to wait for another few years, without even a hint of a promise for a baby.
They thought it was a little odd that everything happened so quickly after that. Not to mention, away from any conventional office. But they were so happy to finally have their child, they didn't question it.
I'd always just accepted their 'miraculous' story as one of those things that just happened. After all, what other possible reason would there be for two loving potential parents to receive the child they craved for so long?
And I had seen my birth certificate. It looked authentic and the DMV accepted it.
I never questioned the absurdity of it all before.
Now, I had to admit, Wescott's story explained everything. It explained why, despite my dad's health problems, they got a baby, at all. Why it never happened through the countless agencies that they'd hounded for so long, but then one day a baby fell in their laps through some smaller agency they didn't remember applying with.
If my guess was right, they were only 'approved', in the first place, to placate them. I'm sure there was probably some indicator on their account that said in no uncertain terms, they weren't actually going to get a child. Let alone a completely healthy baby.
There was no miraculous intervention in my placement with my parents. Just a twisted scientist who knew that my parents were desperate enough not to care to dig too deeply into the situation.
I also grudgingly had to admit, even if his motives were selfish and even if what he was doing was completely wrong on so many levels, he'd given my parents the best gift anyone ever had. The one thing they wanted most.
He'd made them happy by giving them the child they craved. Even if he planned on ripping it away again twenty-seven years later...
I couldn't help wonder, though, what took so long?
My thoughts were interrupted when I heard the door open, behind me. I didn't bother to look at who it was. I guessed it was probably Wescott back, like he said he would be.
There was silence for a few seconds before he spoke.
"Well, really, Abi," he scolded. "I'd hoped you would be more mature than this." I didn't know or care if he was talking about the chair or the mess I'd made of the food.
I didn't turn to look at him and I didn't respond. I continued to stare out the window, hoping he would just go away and leave me alone.
I knew he wouldn't, though.
I sighed when I heard him move closer and stop a few feet away from me.
"Is that all out of your system now?" he asked.
"Sorry, no," I said. "I sort of got used to freedom. Old habits and all that. Guess it's a glitch in my perfect design."
"You're hardly chained to the wall," he said dryly.
"Right," I mumbled. Like being locked in a room was much better.
"This doesn't have to be nearly as unpleasant as you're making it," he said. "You can have or do just about anything you would like. You can have any book, movie, or specific gadget you might want. We have a pool, a jacuzzi, a weight room, allotted time for you to be outside and get some sun. You can have a pet if you'd like. And if there's something we don't have like...I don't know, a rock climbing wall or something, we can get it. All you have to do is ask."
I looked at him. "Sure, I can have anything," I said. "Anything but maybe a phone or a ride home."
"You can dress this place up as much as you want," I said. "But in the end, it will still just be a fancy prison. And I'm guessing that all those wonderful things I'm allowed," I put extra emphasis on the word. "To do will be heavily monitored as part of your research and to ensure that I don't go anywhere, right?"
He watched me for a minute before choosing to ignore me. "There's paper in the desk," he said. "You can make a list if you think of anything."
I shook my head in disgust and glared at him.
"And you'll find the book you were reading, on the shelf, amongst others that I thought you might like," he continued.
I glanced at the book shelf, involuntarily. There had to be a couple hundred volumes stacked on the shelves. My desire to escape reality and explore them warred with my aversion to complying with Wescott on any level.
"Plenty of time for reading later," he said, regaining my attention. "For now, you are needed elsewhere for some tests." He watched me expectantly, apparently thinking I was going to jump at the opportunity.
I continued to scowl at him and had no intention of moving.
He sighed. "I suppose everything is going to have to be the hard way, with you, for a while?"
"Glad we're understanding each other," I said, sarcastically. "I told you I wasn't helping you, so this is a waste of your time."
"Luckily that battle of wills can wait a while," he said with a raised eyebrow. "Right now it'll just be blood tests and things."
I stared at him, coldly. "Well, I'm still not volunteering."
He pursed his lips and was quiet for a minute.
"Have it your way, then," he said before he turned and went back to the door.
For a second I stupidly thought I'd won and he was leaving me alone. I knew better when he stopped and called Adrian.
When the door opened this time, three beefy guys filed in the room. They all had on black pants and black shirts with a little logo in the corner that said, Bender Pharmaceuticals. I recognized at least one of them as being one of my abductors.
I shot up off the window ledge, kicked the chair away, and watched them with narrowed eyes. I was glad that I felt like myself again. I'd be able to fight back this time. And getting a little payback wouldn't suck.
They looked between me and Wescott, not moving.
"Sir?" Ninja #1 asked, glancing at the little remote that was in Wescott's hand.
He raised an eyebrow. "I hardly think the situation is that dire," Wescott said. "You are simply to escort her to the laboratory."
The same guy looked back at me resolutely and took a step in my direction.
I crouched into a defensive stance, making him glance back at Wescott.
"Subdue but don't hurt her," he said before he looked at me again. "You can still make this easy, Abi," he said. "I promise, you won't win this little contest."
I raised my chin defiantly and didn't answer.
"Alright, then," he said with a gleam in his eye that told me he was hoping for that response. He wanted to see how I would do against his lackeys. It was one of his stupid tests.
I scowled, realizing I was playing right along with what he wanted. I certainly wasn't backing down, though.
Wescott nodded and they all came at me. Ninja #1, followed by the other two who looked confident and fairly unconcerned about me posing any threat to the three of them.
Why was it that guys like this always expected me to be an easy target?
Too bad for them, I guess.
I dropped the first one with a sweeping kick that he didn't see coming. I was back on my feet, almost immediately and the other two stopped and glanced nervously at each other, apparently realizing they'd underestimated me.
They didn't wait long. They took a second to assess me before charging together.
I was a little disappointed when they came at me wide open for such easy hits and I was able to deflect them without any real effort. Was this the best Wescott could find? Were these really the buffoons that kidnapped me?
The first one recovered and made a grab at my arm. I easily avoided his grasp and sent him reeling back with a kick to the chest only to have the other two close in on me again.
The second guy got the same kick to the chest that I gave the first one. The other one, the one I recognized, got a well deserved punch to the face. I smiled sadistically when I felt his nose break under my fist.
While he held onto his nose, the other two charged again, getting a little smarter about their moves. They were fast, but I was faster and they were never able to get close enough to grab hold of me.
I'd never admit it to Wescott, of course, but this actually felt good. I'd never had a real test like this before. It was always in the controlled setting of a tournament or sparring practice, where the worst thing that happened if I lost was getting a few bumps or bruises and having to deal with the gloating of the winner. It was never so vital that I win. Never quite the rush of adrenaline.
We went on like that for a few minutes after the one with the broken nose, rejoined them. He wasn't fighting so great anymore. Not that he'd been fantastic before, but now he was more hesitant - afraid I might go for his face again, I think.
They all looked for a weakness in my defenses and I blocked their moves easily.
I got sick of the stupid little dance we were doing, after a while, though. They weren't getting anywhere and neither was I.
I also knew my endurance had it's limit and I was rapidly approaching it. It might have been easy for me to anticipate what they were going to do and block them, but I was fighting three guys. They didn't have to expend nearly as much energy as I did.
Picking up the pace, I fought a little more aggressively and managed to drop two of them, saving the injured one for last.
Using a few fancy maneuvers, I positioned myself behind him, with his head in my hands so that all I would have to do is apply a little force to snap his neck.
The other guys got up and froze when they realized what I was ready to do.
I looked at Wescott, breathing hard. "You know I could do it," I warned. "Tell them to back off and let me go."
He stared back at me, not seeming the least bit worried. I was really starting to hate that about him.
"Release the guard," he ordered.
"I'll do it, I swear." I tightened my hold.
"No, you won't," Wescott said calmly.
I glared at him, "You don't know-"
"You're not a murderer, Abi," he said.
I didn't move for a minute and neither did he. He was right, I wasn't a murderer. But did this really count?
"I'm not exactly the same person I was yesterday," I said. "Maybe I've changed."
"The great humanitarian that you are?" He smiled. "I don't think so. If I'm not mistaken, you don't even like to kill rodents. You, who volunteered at animal shelters, nursing homes, and various children's programs over the years? I really don't think you've changed quite that much." He tilted his head.
"Yeah, well I might just be that desperate now."
"I doubt that," he said.
I stared at him, not even sure, myself, for a minute.
"Alright fine," he sighed. "Do what you must and get it over with. But that isn't going to get you anywhere. You'll still be headed for the lab. I'll just have to find a replacement."
Was he serious? He didn't even care if I killed this guy?
The look of horror on my face must have been enough question for him.
"These men know that their job may be dangerous," he explained. "There are no guarantees."
From the look in his eye, I knew he meant it. He really wouldn't care.
"Here are your options, Abi," Wescott said. "You can release Danny and be escorted to the lab or you can follow through with your little plan, become a murderer, and still be escorted down to the lab. The second option would be quite inconvenient, I'll grant you, but the end result will still be the same."
I glanced away, starting to feel hopeless. It wouldn't make any difference. I'd thought a hostage might give me a little leverage, but I was wrong. Wescott was too cold, too uncaring. He'd probably do it himself if he saw the need.
"And I don't want to have to use this again."
I looked up to see him indicate the little black remote in his hand.
"What's it going to be, Abi?"
What choice did I even have? I couldn't murder anyone and he knew it.
I dropped my hold and stepped away from the guard, seconds before the other two pounced on my arms and held me tight.
I probably could have freed myself, but there wasn't much point, right now. I was outnumbered and while I'd be able to hold them off for a while longer, it wouldn't be forever. Besides that, Wescott did have that stupid remote.
No, I'd wait for a better opportunity. At least I knew that whatever they had planned for me wouldn't do me any harm. At least not physically. Wescott couldn't risk it.
I'd be their calm little lab rat, for now. Let them think they had me under control.
This way I'd be able to get a good look around and plan my escape better. In all honesty, even if I was able to get away from them just now, I had no idea what awaited me outside the door, how to get out of the building, or even where to go once I did.
No, I could wait.
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