Friday, August 27, 2010

Day Twenty-Six

Day 26: 27 Aug 2010

True to his word, the tall, muscular guy in the black suit sent someone twice a day to walk me to a bathroom. The quality of the meals still sucked, though.

On those rare trips outside my cell, I picked up a few pieces of information. First, these guys were Russian. I heard a couple of them talking (didn't see them, though), and I've heard the language before. Jared took it in high school, so I know what it sounds like. I took French -- which I've never used and am convinced I never will.

Second, we were still in Las Vegas. There was only one window I ever passed, but through it, I could see the lights of the Strip. They were off in the distance, but the laser thingy on top of the Luxor makes a hell of an impression.

Third, Cassie was here. I caught a glimpse of her as we passed by another cell -- one of the Russians had cracked her door to talk to her. OK, yell at her. But I saw her, and I think she saw me.

Apart from those trips to the bathroom -- a mere fifty feet or so down the hall -- nothing. They kept me in my cell, and no one but the short guy with the tazer -- my official bathroom escort -- came by to see me even once. He did bring me a crappy military-surplus cot and a pillow I'm pretty sure they made from rocks, though, so at least there was that. I was just about to use said horrid cot and try to sleep for a couple of hours when the short guy poked his head in.


That was the first word he'd ever said to me.

"Uh, hey yourself," I said.

"You need toilet? Before sleep?" he asked, nodding. His English was pretty terrible, and heavily accented.

I didn't need toilet before sleep, but I nodded anyway.

"Yeah. Thanks."

It was just good to be out of the cell for a few minutes, even if the concrete hallway outside was almost as gray and depressing. I followed him down the hall, washed my hands a couple of times, and debated how long I could stay in the bathroom before he knocked.

He didn't knock. But someone did -- and it sounded like they used an Patriot missile to do the knocking. The floor shook. The lights flickered, then went off. And outside, I could hear people screaming, only to have their screams cut off seconds later.

I certainly didn't want to leave the bathroom now, but after a minute or so -- seemed longer -- it was finally quiet out there. I opened the door and poked my head out.

The place had emergency lighting, and it had kicked in. It was just bright enough to see. But as soon as I saw the short guy slumped against the wall, his head split open and the wall covered in blood, I wished it wasn't.

I looked down the hall and saw more of the men in suits -- a lot of them -- all very dead and littering the concrete hallway. The blood was running along the floor like a pipe had burst somewhere. I didn't want to go into the hallway, but this was my chance. This was my time to escape.

Cassie's cell. If she's alive, grab her and get the fuck out, I thought. I stepped into the hall. I hadn't taken three steps before someone grabbed my shoulder and spun me around. It was Jared, wearing sunglasses in the dark.

"Jared!" I said. I couldn't think of what to say next.

He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out for a second. I heard a low, wailing drone start, and when the words finally came, they weren't in Jared's voice. Not even anything close to it. "I told you to stop looking!" the words came in a rasping, screeching monotone -- like a thousand screams frozen at their crescendo. Screams of death and rage, taken to their highest volume, then modulated down into a low, moaning impression of a human voice.

Jared let go of me then, and moved to Cassie's cell door. He ripped it open, and I saw the concrete around the lock turn to powder.

"Take him and get him out of Las Vegas."

The same voice, the same frozen scream turned into a recording.

Cassie stood. She stared at Jared for a second, then nodded once, moving towards me. She kept as far away from Jared as the space would let her.

"Let's go, Travis," she said softly, putting her hand on my arm.

"No fucking way. Jared, what's --"

Jared didn't look at me. He stood there, frozen, his back to us. He didn't even acknowledge that I spoke. I moved toward him, and in a flash, he was gone. He didn't disappear -- just moved so fast he might as well have.

"Come on," Cassie whispered again. "We need to go. Now. I'm sure the police will be here soon."

I let Cassie drag me outside, where we found a black Lexus idling with the keys in it. She took the wheel, and drove slowly away from the curb.

I looked at the dashboard clock -- midnight.

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