Doug woke slowly, there was a dull ache somewhere around his shoulder blades, but he was too sleepy to take much notice. He tried to shift himself into a more comfortable position, but it didn’t seem to alleviate the slow, steady burn. He shivered slightly, it was starting to get cold, mostly at his hands and feet. He tried to pull the blanket closer, but nothing happened. He opened his eyes blearily, the room was still dark, his brain still struggling to wake. He wasn’t lying down, he was sitting upright. He looked down at himself, he was tied to a chair. Light flared, blinding him, Doug winced and shut his eyes, something was thrust against his lips, “Drink.” What ever the liquid was it was hot, he tried to keep his mouth closed, but he didn’t last too long. A burning gulp went down his throat, when the cup was removed it took him a second to place the taste. Coffee?
The warmth started to spread through him, waking him a little.
“Wha?” His mouth wasn’t responding correctly, slurring his words.
“Christ. I didn’t think you put him under this deep.”
“Yeah well, I’m not used to doing it. Could be worse and he’s coming around now, right?” The last part sounded anxious.
“Yeah, he’s waking up. However slowly.”
The cup was forced against his lips again, “Take a drink, it’ll help.” Already feeling better after the first mouthful, Doug took another. The cup was taken away again.
“Just remain calm, ok? Don’t try an struggle. It won’t do you any good.”
Doug’s brain was starting to make sense of what was going on. He had been taken somewhere, again. Who ever took him was much less pleasant about it this time. He started to shiver again, something warm and heavy was placed over him.
“How long is this supposed to last?”
“Not this long. It’s probably cos he’s just human, not throwing it off as fast.”
“Well, we know for next time I guess.”
The ropes loosened slightly, Doug started to heave himself upwards, but the ropes tightened instantly.
“Look, stay still ok, I’m moving them around so you’ll be more comfortable. Don’t want you losing a hand or something.”
The ropes loosened again, they writhed around his body, his hands and feet started to tingle.
“Seriously though, don’t struggle. They’ll tighten if you do, they might even kill you and we don’t want that, do we?”
Doug shook his head. His eyes were starting to adjust to the light, though his vision was slightly blurry. Two men stood in front of him, one was wringing his hands, the other looked slightly annoyed. They were both tall, one had skin that was grey and mottled, the other had a green tinge. The grey one looked like he was strong, though a bit stupid, his forehead protruded heavily over his eyes, his nose was thick and long, his teeth were an off yellow. The other one, the one wringing his hands, seemed almost delicate, his skin shimmered slightly in the light, his eyes and hair were also green, though his hair was several different shades blending together. His fingers were thin and nimble looking.
“How’s he doing?”
The green one moved closer and squatted down, staring into Doug’s eyes.
“He’s still pretty calm, luckily they were screwing around with his moods, so he should be fairly relaxed, all things considered.”
“Is he gonna have any withdrawals?”
The green one squinted a little, “No, I don’t think so.”
Doug was finding it hard to keep track of what they were saying, the mans green eyes were mesmerising. The green one blinked and stood, Doug shook his head slightly.
“What ever they were doing it won’t be fun for him when he leaves. All those emotions will come flooding up. If they’re not careful it won’t end well.”
“How’ll he fair here?”
“Huh? Oh, I think he’ll be fine if he stays in the city. They were probably gonna quarantine him when he left anyway, so they’d catch that stuff pretty quickly.”
“Hang on for a bit longer. You’ll be right as rain in no time.”
Doug fell silent, waiting, the grey one was right, he was starting to feel better. The burning ache in his shoulders was starting to recede now that he was sitting properly in the chair. He felt stronger, warmer and his brain was starting to function.
“Are you the same people that tried to kidnap me before?”
“Yes and no. Same group, different people. There isn’t much you need to know except that, unfortunately for you, you’re valuable and we plan to use that. If you behave and don’t make a fuss you won’t come to harm. That would defeat the whole purpose.”
“And if you don’t get what you want?”
“Well, that’s not for us to say, is it? The boss’ll figure something out.”
Doug didn’t say anything, if they didn’t get what they wanted he knew they’d most likely kill him, if they didn’t they’d be weakened in future attempts at getting what ever they were after.
“So basically I just sit here until you do what ever it is you want?”
“Basically. Just sit back and relax. It’ll be over soon.”
“What was it you were saying earlier? About my mood?”
The green one stepped closer, “They were screwing with it. Probably trying to keep you calm, make you a little insulated from your emotions, suppress the fear and paranoia a little, that kind of stuff, but it’ll probably rebound when you leave, hit you all at once. It might screw you up a little.”
“Thanks for the warning.”
The green one smiled, “Well, forewarned and all that. It was probably Max’s idea. He’s into that kind of stuff, he likes control.”
“He seemed pretty relaxed to me.”
“Yeah, but usually people like him are good at hiding that stuff. He’s warm and charming one minute, cold and calculating the next. He’s taken in a lot of people. Don’t feel bad about it.”
They lapsed into silence again. Doug looked around the room, it was well furnished and looked quite comfortable, like a room in an old English manor, everything looked expensive and fancy. They were probably in someone’s house, the room itself was big, so the house probably was too, that was good, if he got out of this he could give them some clue as to where he was held. There probably weren’t that many large houses around the city. The room shifted, growing wider, Doug watched as a chair appeared from nowhere, followed by a dresser up against a wall. Over the next hour the room became smaller, larger again, and shifted through several designs including a sleek modern design and country farmhouse. A short while after it began to shift Doug developed a headache that wouldn’t seem to go away.
“Could I get some water or something? I’m not feeling all that great.”
“Yeah, hang on.”
The green one turned to a cabinet that hadn’t been there five minutes ago and took out a bottle of water and a few bottles of soft drink. He opened the water and held it took Doug’s lips, Doug took a few sips. The grey one grabbed a bottle of coke and drained it in a few seconds before burping. The green one opened his own bottle and sipped it slowly.
“What the hell is taking so long? This should have been over by now.”
“Just relax. They’re probably still talking. You know how long this stuff can take.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m getting bored. Should have a TV in here, or at least brought a book or something.”
The green one shrugged, “Next time ask the boss to put something in.”
“Could you loosen this a little? Or maybe tie me to something else? I’m getting really stiff sitting here.”
“Sorry, no can do. Don’t want you trying to escape. Not that I don’t trust you, I’d just prefer not having to beat the crap out of you.”
There was a faint knock at the door, The grey one moved to answer it, “Finally.”
He opened the door but there was no one there. Doug felt a soft draft blowing in, then something dark moved in the corner of his eye.
The grey one slammed the door as his hand shot out, suddenly there was a woman there, dangling. He held her by her throat, she was young, maybe seventeen, her eyes were wide and bright with fear. “Sorry love, it doesn’t really work in here.” Her whole body seemed to flicker, going grey and almost black before going back to normal. Her hands scratched at the fist of the grey one, The green one stood back, fretting. There was a flash of silver as the girl slashed at the grey ones hand, “Motherfu-” His grip slackened enough for her to wriggle free, she dropped to the ground, coughing, and almost instantly was crouching, knife held in front of her. The grey one was bleeding heavily, though his blood seemed thick and granulated.
She launched herself at the grey one, knife slashing out again, he was ready for her, bringing his fist around and hitting her hard in the midsection, she flew backwards and slammed into a wall, she fell to the ground and, gasping, got to her feet, this time she approached warily, trying to circle around him to get towards the door. So far she hadn’t gone near the green one, Doug wasn’t sure if that was because he was the more dangerous of the two, or the girl was certain she could deal with him easily.
She tried to dart around the grey one to get to the door, but his hand wrapped around her long, blonde hair, pulling her back, she turned and sliced through the hunk of hair he held, but it was too late, his other hand was moving to grab her and shove her back. Something thin and sinuous snaked up from the floor, gripping her ankle, she tried to move but she was stuck firmly, she bent to slash at it and as she did so the grey one moved forward. The girl, expecting the move drove the knife into the grey ones stomach, all the way to the handle, before pulling out and stabbing again, she moved to do it a third time when the grey one reached out and grabbed her arm, in one quick move he snapped it, the blade fell from her fingers as she cried out. Her other hand grabbed for the knife, the grey one was slightly faster, bringing his foot down on it just as her fingers wrapped around the handle, crushing her hand, she screamed in pain, before she could move the grey one punched her in the face, there was sickening crunch and she lay still. The grey one was panting heavily, the green one moved closer and helped him to a seat, Doug couldn’t hear what the green one was muttering, after a few minutes the grey one stood again, his wounds apparently healed, the green one was breathing heavily, and stayed sitting.
The grey one looked at the girl, then spat on her. She was still breathing, though it was shallow, she looked incredibly pale, her eyes dark and shadowed. Doug noticed she was still attached to the ground by what ever had grabbed her, it appeared to be wood.
The grey one turned to Doug, “Don’t go feeling sorry for the bitch. She knew what she signed up for. Killed plenty too I’d say. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she killed you too.”
“Who was she?”
“She might work for Max. She might be a freelancer. Don’t know, don’t care, we’ll find out soon enough.”
He picked her up and sat her onto a chair, the wood seemed to dissolve as the grey one picked her up, he sat her onto a chair then started to tie her up the knots looked tight and uncomfortable, already Doug could see her hands turning red.
“Once she wakes up we’ll find out what she was here for”
“Are you going to kill her?”
“Well, that’s entirely up to her, isn’t it?”