Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 23)

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Across the threshold was a study in nightmares. Bodies lay strewn about, broken dolls left to lay where they had fallen.  Sightless eyes welcomed us to the chaos. The Caleb part of me felt horrified, and froze me where I stood. The L 157 part of me calmly stepped over the corpse of someone she knew and took stock of the situation. We crossed the room and checked for any sign of life. There was none.

Seven bodies. Neither the doctor nor Genevieve. A scrap of paper lay on the floor by an outstretched arm. I reached down to pick it up. It was crumpled and torn, possibly during the struggle that had taken place here prior to our arrival.  Basel. No address, no other words. I knew because L 157 knew that was a town in Switzerland on the border with Germany. Were we about to cross the border into Germany?

No sooner had these thoughts crossed my mind than L 157 or Julie, went about the room collecting weapons, silently regarded those slain with either a sigh or a grunt. Not all the bodies were ours. That came as a relief. It was possible either the doctor or Genevieve had survived and run to Basel. Or both. I pocketed the few weapons, and we turned to leave.

Outside, the eerie nothingness of silence gave way to slamming car doors and stampeding feet. I reached out and pushed on a section of wall nearest the mirror that hung on the far wall, causing it to swing outward. We stepped in and closed it with a soft click, just before the stampeding feet made it into the room we just left.

The bio nanites calmed me as I made my way through the darkened passage, unblinking as the shouts were accompanied at times with bullets firing into the plaster walls. Caleb would have snapped then, more than enough horror to experience in one night. But, I, strengthened now by three, took it as a given that the Senator and his men would never give up their quest to get what they came for. A few of the bullets passed close by me in the dark, and on I crept led by instinct not of my own, to the end of the passage, where we turned right and then climbed a ladder up.

There was a hatch above me in the dark. The Caleb part of me hesitated to reach up and grasp the mechanism needed to turn and unlock the door. I shook my head to rid myself of any lingering fear and reached up. The round lock was about the size of a standard steering wheel for a semi truck, and it was stuck tight. Located about two and a half feet above my head, I had to reach up and pull left with both arms while steadying myself on the ladder, perhaps fifteen or twenty feet above the floor in the darkened passage. New sounds made their way down the passageway as the men found the hidden door.

PART 24

Exploits of a Midnight Traveler (Part 14)

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My hysterical laughter filled the air, but there was no amusement behind it. “Don’t worry? I’ve been taken to an unfamiliar location against my will, and I’ve just realized that my dead girlfriend may have used me!” I snarled.

“Perhaps we should wait until the doctor arrives. Maybe it’ll give him time to calm down. Back away, Genevieve. There’s no need to cause him further injury. I have no doubt he’ll put up a struggle,” Not-Exactly-Lila said through a scowl.

So, younger Ms. Cold-Smile has a name.

Genevieve directed her pout at me as she said, “No fun.” We stared at each other as that pout turned into a mischievous grin. “I promise to be good. I’ll wear gloves during the inspection.” She approached me with more caution, extending her arms like she expected a hug. With each step she took forward, I took one backward. It felt like a dance that siblings would perform while opposed in a tickle war. “It’s just a quick examination of your crevices. When you bend over, it’ll only take a minute. I won’t hurt you, Caleb,” she purred.

“There will be no need for that!”

I followed the source of the voice to see an older man, possibly in his sixties, stepping out of a dark blue van. As he got closer, I saw that his face was plagued with scars. The most prominent being the ring-shaped seemingly burnt flesh near the corner of his left eye. When he reached me, he held out a hand. I mustered the strength to give him a firm shake. As he stepped back, he looked over my body. Pointing to my legs, he said, “That’ll have to come off, son. You can’t wear that during the x-ray.” I nodded in agreement. At that, the doctor motioned for me to follow him.

I took in the sight of where we were heading. I hadn’t noticed this building before. It looked like a large, tan block, void of any windows from what I could see.

He kept the door open for me. I thanked him as I entered. The sound of the door shutting echoed through the room. “Ah, I’m getting old,” the doctor chuckled. “I rarely remember to turn on the lights before letting go of that bloody door.” A few clicks later, the place was lit. It looked like an emptied warehouse. “This way. We must keep moving…” I brought my attention back to him. His mouth was open, an unspoken word hanging from his tongue was awaiting my help in its discovery.

Then, it dawned on me. “Caleb. My name’s Caleb.”

He shot me a friendly smile, eyes crinkling at the corners, emphasizing his scar. “Right. Well, right this way.”

He led me to a small room near the back. At the center was something resembling the patient’s bed in a family physician’s office. At least, I think that’s what they’re called. Above it was some sort of machinery. Was this supposed to be the x-ray?

My apprehension must’ve been slathered across my face, because the doctor said, “It may not be one of those state-of-the-art machines you’re used to seeing, but it works. Now, your jeans, son.”

The words crawled out of my mouth before I could stop them. “You don’t look like a doctor.”

He froze mid-stride, and turned around to look me in the eyes. “I’ll have you know, I am a certified doctor. Looks can be deceiving, boy. You already know that, don’t you? That woman out there may look just like your Lila. However, she isn’t. She is, in fact, far deadlier than you can imagine. You get in her way, and she won’t give you the chance of a last dying breath. Now, pants off.” As he continued his way to the control panel, I witnessed him injecting a clear, colorless liquid into his arm.

I swallowed. Once again, my throat felt as if an invisible force was rubbing sandpaper on its walls. Lila, what the hell did you get into? The sense of betrayal began to creep its way up again, but I pushed it away. I couldn’t keep allowing my emotions to control my actions.

I obeyed his orders and laid down.

PART 15