I spent the next week, working relentlessly on strengthening my arms and perfecting my plan in my head.
I figured with another week of exercise, I'd be able to pull myself up through the ceiling without a problem.
Potentially, my problems would start after I got up there. I wasn't sure where the vent would lead me. I saw several places, outside, that could be possibilities - all unsettlingly high. Not that the height bothered me, so much, but the uncertainty did.
I already decided my escape would have to be at night, when the guards were most likely pretty lax. How exciting could watching me sleep be? Especially since everything was dark on the screen.
Also, I didn't know if there were guards outside, at night. I was hoping that Wescott was cocky enough to think he didn't need them, but I couldn't be sure.
And then of course, when I finally did get away, I'd have to figure out how to stay that way. I didn't know where I was or where to go, I didn't have any money or food or anything else helpful. I didn't know anyone that I'd be able to ask for help. I was supposed to be dead, so going to the police wasn't exactly wise. There would probably be a story on the news and my mom would be notified. And, by default, so would Wescott.
And then there was my mom. That was the real problem in all of this - I couldn't be sure Wescott wouldn't hurt her if I escaped. Especially if I failed in my attempt.
I tried not to worry about it, though. I wouldn't fail and Wescott was only using my mom as motivation. He couldn't motivate me if I wasn't here.
I pushed those thoughts out of my head and focused on the stupid task that Wescott had me working on for the day. I'd been distracted all last week, thinking about my escape, and it showed in my work. I knew Wescott was getting annoyed and I worried he might try to 'motivate' me, to get me to meet his expectations.
He came and stood over me as I worked.
I ignored him and kept working for a minute, but then I gave in and looked up. I'd never worked well with an audience.
"What?" I asked, annoyed.
"You aren't performing well, Abi." A slight threat colored his voice.
I sighed. "Well maybe I need a break." I'd been working on assembling and disassembling these stupid things for too long.
He raised an eyebrow. "Maybe you need a little motivation."
I stared at him for a minute, doubtful. His threat was getting old.
"And what motivation would that be?" I asked. "I'm not sure if you've realized it, but you can only kill my mother one time." Not that I wanted that to happen, but I knew he wouldn't waste that resource on me simply being unfocused.
"So if I'm not doing as well, because I'm burned out doing this stupid work day after day, and you use that, what then? What's to make me want to do anything for you after that?" I asked. "I think you're full of it."
He watched me for a few seconds. "Your mother's not the only motivation I'm willing to use," he said.
"Meaning what?" I challenged. "I don't have any close friends and no one else I care about enough for you to use." I was more thankful than ever that I'd always been a loner.
"No one at all?" he asked in a tone that said he didn't agree. "Perhaps no one you love quite like your mother. I'll give you that. But there is an endless supply of people in this world," he said. "For instance, all those darling children you volunteered with over the years, or others like them."
I just watched him warily, wondering what he was getting at.
"It would be a shame for some unfortunate accident to befall them, don't you think?" he asked. "And for you to have to see it and know it was your fault." He shook his head and tisked in mock sympathy.
I just glared at him.
"Or perhaps other people you've known over the years," he mused. "Some old school friends, perhaps? Former co-workers? Or maybe our very own Mark, who you seem so fond of. Oh, I know you don't have quite the loyalty to any of them as you do to your mother, but I also know you would hate for anything to happen to any of them on your account."
I clenched my jaw, my resolve for escape growing stronger.
"Do not push me, Abi," he said. "I assure you, I can come up with plenty of motivation for you."
He watched me for another minute before he said, "Now, try again and I'd better see some improvement."
My hands balled into fists and I had to force myself to do what he said. I couldn't act as if I had a plan. For now, I had to play the cooperative little inmate so he wouldn't suspect anything.
Let him think he had me under his thumb, for now. In a week, I'd show him he didn't.
"Why are we going this way?" I asked the guard who escorted me from where I'd been working. We turned the corner, going back to my room, rather than outside, like usual.
"Your free time's been canceled today," the guard said.
"Why?" I asked. I didn't care so much. I was a prisoner either way, but I didn't like spontaneous changes.
"You'll be informed once you're back in your room," was all he said.
I rolled my eyes and huffed in irritation. Did this idiot not know anything or was he just trying to be obnoxious?
I got back to my room and found my dinner waiting. Which wasn't unusual, but the time was. I normally didn't eat for another two hours or so.
The really unusual thing was the shimmering, gold dress hanging on the hook on the wall and the high heeled matching shoes underneath it.
I was about ask the guard what was going on, but by the time I turned around, he was gone.
Before I could even think of what to do next, Adrian's voice came through the speaker.
"You are to eat your dinner and then get dressed in the outfit selected for you," he said.
I crossed my arms and glared at the speaker.
"Well, what if I don't feel like eating right now?" I asked, annoyed.
"Either you eat now, or you don't eat," he said.
I shrugged, walked over to the bed and flopped down on it.
"You are to be dressed within the hour," Adrian said.
"Am I going to the prom?" I asked sarcastically. I'd never been the kind of girl to wear dresses and I had no intention of putting that one on. Especially not knowing what it was for.
Adrian didn't answer me and I continued to lie on the bed for the next forty minutes until the door opened and Wescott walked in, looking unhappy.
After glancing at him initially, I looked at the ceiling and attempted to ignore him.
"You were instructed to eat and get dressed?" he asked.
"I was," I said, not bothering to look at him.
"Then why haven't you done either one?" he asked, irritated.
I shrugged. "Didn't feel like it."
"It wasn't optional," he said. "It's too late for you to eat now, but I'll give you ten minutes to get yourself dressed."
"And if I don't?" I challenged, sitting up and looking at him.
"If you don't," he said. "You'll be overpowered and someone else will do it for you. Which, I'm sure, will be very unpleasant."
He turned to leave the room.
"I don't like surprises," I said, annoyed. "I want to know what's going on."
He paused and looked back at me. "Fine," he said. "I'll tell you what you want to know, after you're dressed."
Wescott continued out of the room and the door closed behind him.
I frowned at the door for a minute before I got up to put on the ridiculous dress. I honestly wasn't in the mood for a power struggle right now. Besides I didn't doubt that he was serious about having people dress me. And judging by the way he said 'overpowered', I doubted they would be females.
No thank you. I'd had to endure more than Danny's crude behavior, since I'd been here and I didn't want to give those perverts any leverage.
I could wait a week to fight. That's when it would really count. For now I'd go along with whatever stupid plans Wescott had for me.
I'd be able to get some information from him this way, too.
I wasn't planning on sticking around past this week, but I was still curious about what they could possibly be planning on. I mean, it had only been a month and they'd tested nearly everything about me. What more could there possibly be? I couldn't be assembling and disassembling things for much longer.
I suppose there could be something coming up for my memory and reaction time, but really another month or two would be more than enough time for that. There had to be alot more in Wescott's plans, otherwise why bother faking my death? He could have kidnapped me and had me suddenly reappear if this was really all he wanted.
But I couldn't think of anything that I would be needed for, for longer than maybe a year if they were really dragging it out.
Heck, I might even voluntarily have come back from time to time if he'd offered to let me go back home and live a normal life.
Well ok, probably not voluntarily, but he obviously had the resources to make me come back. There was no reason he should need to keep me here forever.
And sure, he wasn't exactly a saint, but I could admit, he wasn't unnecessarily cruel. His cruelty all had a purpose in his mind.
So why keep me here and make me miserable unless it was completely necessary?
I had no idea why it would be necessary, but I was suddenly very glad I had an escape plan.
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