Andromeda felt a mixture of terror, confusion, and excitement as the mystery man held the gun against his head. He felt his body tremble and all he could do was stare wide-eyed at the staff member who was collapsed on the ground, thick blood spreading from her head.
“Turn around!” he commanded.
Ann slowly turned. He heard shuffling sounds and then felt the gun press against his back. Ann’s eyes flickered upwards but there were no cameras on this side of the library. No one was going to come and help him.
“You’re the young master of this place” It wasn’t a question.
“Yes…Yes I am”
“I know, I didn’t think I’d be able to get to you this easily.” he muttered. “Okay, now let’s leave”
“Walk out of the library.”
Ann nodded whilst looking ahead, obediently he walked out of that aisle and headed towards the exit. His breathing was heavy, his heart was thundering and cold sweat trickled down his neck.
Closer to the exit of the library there were more cameras and he could see the red light flickering underneath them. So they were working but there was no alarm bells. He couldn’t help but feel frustrated. ‘Can’t they see I’m in danger, can’t they tell something isn’t right’ he thought.
As they left the library and entered the wide marble corridor, Ann hesitated, he didn’t know what he was supposed to do past this point.
There were some people that passed them but for some reason they didn’t seem to be able to see them. One worker Ann recognised who seemed to head straight towards them, walked right past the next second, even though Ann had been staring desperately into his eyes. It was as if he’d become invisible. He couldn’t comprehend what was happening, and as he felt the cold metal of that gun pressed against his back his legs trembled. He begged for someone in his heart to, ‘please notice me!’
Despite how scared he was, the man seemed to be having the time of his life, even merrily humming to himself as he ‘encouraged’ Ann to move forward. He was humming some nonsensical abysmal tune that forced Ann to glance up at him.
Noticing this he flashed Ann a brilliant smile, “Now let’s go to your bedroom. There are no cameras there, right?” Although he phrased it as a question from the look in his eyes Ann could tell it was rhetorical and he already knew that.
Ann gulped regardless and murmured. “Yes there are no cameras there.”
He didn’t respond, instead nudging Ann with the gun and so Ann began leading him down the corridor towards his bedroom. The journey was likely short but in Ann’s mind at that time it took too long. Every second extended into an hour, every step he took was uncertain and terrified. Every worker that passed him, he stared at them, begging for them to pay attention to him, to help him. No one did.
When they arrived Ann’s sweaty hands fumbled with the silver handles on the white oak doors. Open…open…open Ann panicked when he pulled them and it didn’t budge. Then he heard that man’s childish laughter again as his hand went past Ann and pushed the doors, Ann blanched as they swung inwardly open.
Then felt hands push him into the room. Andromeda lost his balance and found himself sprawled on the floor only to look up and see that man close the doors behind them.
With a dangerous stranger whose intentions remained unknown, Ann was now alone with him in his room, or at least that was what he thought. Until he heard, “So this is the kid. He’s cute.”
Ann turned around sharply, startled, to see a lady sitting on the edge of his bed. She had silky black wavy long hair, one of those stunning Caucasian faces with a gorgeous pixie nose, plump lips, and seemingly smooth skin. Her one flaw was the jagged scar that began on the left side of her lip, ran up the side of her cheek and cut across her left eye.
She was dressed in black, wearing large leather combat boots, black jeans, and a leather jacket. This was the first time he’d seen anyone wear so much black rather than bright tropical clothing. Additionally it was summer, the weather was on average 30 degrees on the island. She should have been stifling hot, but she appeared unaffected.
“That was faster than I thought, how did you get him so quickly?” her voice was raspy.
“He came to me” bluntly said the Man.
“Wow really?! After months of scoping out this place, monitoring the security and finally infiltrating and he came to you. That’s so boring!!! I got Michael to bring the bazooka and everything!I even called out a favour from Gary, my flipping ex so I could get some stage 5 explosion spells, and you’re telling me it was for nothing!!??? And what about this.” she brandished two heavy looking metal objects, Ann later learned they were AK-45’s, and waved them in the air, “I was waiting for you to mess up, then I was gonna completely total this shit hole.”
The man smiled wryly “I never mess up.”
The woman laughed “Well we only have a 30 minute window to get out of here.”
“You’re wrong , make that 10 minutes, I killed a worker earlier.”
“Damn. Then we should leave now!” she exclaimed as she walked up to Andromeda, her combat boots clicking on the floor.
Ann stood up at that point, maybe it was because of shock and confusion that he’d been so obedient before, but by this point Andromeda had gotten to his senses enough to start running to the bathroom. There was a panic button in there.
Yet as he turned around he felt the firm hands of the man gripping his shoulder and the prick of a needle in his neck. Ann wondered if that was how his Mother felt every time Jamie restrained her. The world became hazy and dark.
He could only hear a crackling sound and the words “We’ve secured the item.”
That was how he left his cage of nearly 18 years.
When he woke up it was dark.
It was stiflingly hot. Ann’s eyes seemed to be covered by some type of cloth. His mouth was stuffed with something that forced it wide open and blocked any sounds from escaping. His hands and feet were tied up by a strong plastic material. He was in the fetal position.
‘vrooom…vrooom…vrooom’ were the sounds he heard.
Ann’s mind was groggy at first but when he slowly began to recall all that had happened, terror began to consume him. Although he knew most of the stories told by the books in the library or by his Mother were lies, he still remembered them. He had never stepped through those black iron gates, nor had he ever interacted with people other than the hired staff. So even though he felt that he knew what the outside world was like because of Amanda’s books, he still greatly feared it. Perhaps he was really entering a world of death, despair and endless war and his Mother had been right. In addition being taken like this made his fear even worse.
He writhed and squirmed a bit, but he didn’t scream, he wanted help but simultaneously he didn’t want to be found. What if the people that came to help him were even worse than that man and woman, what if something even scarier got him. Those thoughts filled his mind.
He wanted to go home. He wanted his Mother, dammit he even wanted Lisa. He wanted someone he knew. Any excitement he’d ever entertained at the idea of coming outside was replaced with stark fear. This state of panic continued for an unknown amount of time until he heard the ‘vroom vroom’ sound stop. Then a few minutes later there was a creak and he felt myself being lifted up.
“Christ this bag is so heavy” Someone moaned, it wasn’t a voice he recognised, neither that man or the woman.
“Stop your moaning Michael or I’ll hit you.” That was definitely the voice of the combat boots lady.
“Christ Val, why would you hit me! I’m only saying.”
“You’ve been moaning since we got here goddamnit! Oh it’s so hot! Ewww a Mosquito bit me! Blah blah blah! So just shut the hell up!”
“Holy! Ray! Are you gonna let her talk to me like that? It’s not like I asked to be here! You and her were the ones begging me to be apart of your team. Don’t you think this treatment is a bit out of order?!”
Ann felt his blood freeze as I heard the icy voice of the man he met in the library, “Why don’t you both shut up! You can relax and continue your petty argument once we’re on the cruise ship and halfway to Jamaica. This is a big job. If you don’t wanna work together then both of you can walk now. I promise to spend your share of the pay well.”
“Christ Ray, don’t have to get all sensitive, on your period are you? Geez I’m sorry. You hear that Val, I said I’m sorry! See Ray we’re the best of friends now! haha gosh you guys are such kill joys.”
The one called Michael continued his nervous chatter. Ann could hear him clearly because he was holding him and with every step Michael took the bag Ann was in would swing and hit his side. It was sweltering hot and in that bag Ann couldn’t breathe, he felt so restricted, sweaty, and light headed.
The walking continued and then he heard the splashing sound of water and the calling of birds, he believed they were seagulls. Ann felt a strange excitement because he was certain they were near the ocean. A place that he had only heard about. To him the ocean seemed like a paradise from a dream.
Ann heard Ray talking to someone, there were snippets of “We’re the VIP’s, the ones that don’t need their luggage checked.…Yh here’s your tip”
“Come this way”
Then there was more walking and after a few minutes Ann felt pain down his back as he was dumped on the floor.
“What the hell are you doing! Don’t just throw him on the floor!” Val screamed.
“Oops’ shrugged Michael, ‘I forgot the item was a person.”
“You’re a freaking idiot!!! We need to bring him alive and unharmed you absolute twat”
“I already told you I don’t respond to rude language like that, Missy”
“You American tosser”
“You British Tramp”
As they argued Ann felt himself being lifted again and placed on a soft surface. Then there was the sound of a zipper being pulled up, then he felt firm hands pull the blindfold around his eyes.
It was bright and momentarily Andromeda was blinded.
When his eyes adjusted he was staring into the handsome face of the man he now knew to be Ray.
He took the gag out from Ann’s mouth and smiled.
“You must be pretty resistant to low grade potions even though you’ve never cultivated, you’re already awake.” he muttered, there was a hint of shock in his eyes.
Behind him those two were still yelling at each other. An irritable look passed between his brows and he pulled out a gun from somewhere. it had a silencer on it, and he shot at the floor between their feet . They immediately quietened down.
He then turned back at Ann, again smiling that sweet almost innocent smile.
“You must be thirsty.”
As Ann’s hands and feet were tied, Michael was the one elected to give him a drink. He put a plastic bottle of water to his lips and tipped it rather clumsily. Ann quickly tried gulping it down but he ultimately ended up coughing and spluttering.
“Whoa, hold up there buddy, the water ain’t gonna disappear!” exclaimed an exasperated Michael, whom snatched the bottle away from Ann and then proceeded to slap his back. Only after his heavy hand come down for the fifth time could Ann breathe easy again.
“Ahh geez why are you such a messy cat!” moaned Michael like a child. A rather big-muscular child. He was wearing khaki shorts that exposed his firm and hairy legs which were lacerated with scars of all shape and size. Like an animal he had his hairy chest on display, wearing no shirt, similar to his legs there were a variety of scars on his chest but majority of them were hidden in his forest of hair. His mountain of a head had a wilderness of hair as well, like he was imitating some feral child, unkempt and wild. Because he obviously needed more hair, to add to that he had a scruffy beard and moustache to match.
On his feet he wore rather large brown Moncler Peak Scarpa boots which were now wet with the water Andromeda had spewed out. “Christ you got water all over my shoes! Do you know how much these freaking cost y’a brat!” snapped Michael. He raised his fist to hit Andromeda but then…
“I dare you.” intercepted Ray, his voice so sharp he might as well have been wielding a sword. Michael went visibly pale and lowered his fist.
Then ‘euurrghhhhhhh’ was the sound Ann’s stomach made.
“…” Everyone paused.
“Go get some food for him.” Ordered Ray who was sitting at a desk, a black laptop in front of him. Michael didn’t utter a sound of protest and quickly walked off.
They were inside a type of cabin, at least that was what it looked like on the inside. Ann thought it was rather small. The floor boards were made of some brown oak. There was a single desk, bed and a door that led to an even smaller bathroom. On the wall was a porthole shaped window where he could see the blue sky. There was an unsettling rocking sensation that made him feel deeply disturbed, he realised later that the rocking sensation was the feeling of the waves underneath the boat.
He was sitting on the edge of the bed, Ray was at the desk, Val had left the room shortly after her argument with Michael and now that Michael had left to get some food, Ann was left all alone with Ray.
At this point he was still confused, the shock of all these events were piling up on him, and he felt overwhelming fear. He then remembered his favourite character Will Burrow from the novel ‘Tunnels’, one of the first books that Amanda had gifted him with. He tried to be strong like Will had been. Despite being faced with such impossible circumstances and characters, Will had never truly given up, and Ann decided that he wasn’t going to either.
So he sat a little straighter, he attempted to order his askew kimono and stared at Ray determinedly. With a rather loud exhalation he boldly asked, “Your name is Ray correct?”
Without his head turning Ray’s soulless deep brown eyes swivelled to Ann, causing Ann to stutter “I-i-i–i me-me-mean that is-s-s-s what they called you.”
“My name is Ray.” he replied bluntly, then he smirked “I’m surprised that’s the first thing you ask in this type of situation.”
“Well obviously I also want to know where you’re taking me, why you’re doing this…and…and o-t-h-er t-t-t-t-hings” his tongue got tied as he saw Ray stand up. He pulled his chair right next to Ann and sat down opposite him.
“I’ll answer some of your questions.” his deep voice like thunder, “I am also quite curious about you.”
Ann could only blink and stare at him blankly. In the books he’d read, in the library and even the books that Amanda gave him, Kidnappers were never this compliant.
“So what do you want to know first.”
Ann gulped, “Where are we going?”