The story so far:
After an hour of circling around what she assumed was an interrogation table, she decided to bottle her remaining nervous energy instead of pacing it away. Her words elicited no response, regardless of how loudly she screamed them – so she conserved her voice. And her strength – banging on the locked steel door was pointless. The grey cinder block walls held no mirror, but she assumed there was a hidden camera somewhere, the video stream monitored by monsters and murderers and -- why the hell was she here?
A reunion? This was all for a gathering of friends that hadn’t seen each other in some twenty-odd years? Some childhood friend tracked her down specifically to recruit her for another meeting of the Mollies?
Good God. The Mollies. Step sisters and/or cousins, they shared the same father after he married a pair of sisters – their moms. Molly number one inherited the same disease that killed her mother; the tumors were supposed to claim her before her first birthday. Some said the new start with the other sister was a rebound marriage to dull the pain of the grieving process; others said Mr. Foxman was into the latter wife (figuratively and literally) while her sister was pregnant. A shotgun wedding followed two months after the funeral, and because Molly was a family name, Mr. Higgith gave it to sister number two. Then Molly One’s tumors vanished. Overnight. The poor daughters’ family tree didn’t branch much beyond a trunk.
Molly Two found and friended Gail on Facebook and invited her to a reunion in Dallas. And that was that. An invite, a plane ticket, and a tragedy of errors led her to this cell.
No toilet. No sink. No bed. An overhead light bulb with pull-string. Two folding chairs, one on each side of this steel table. No deck of cards to play solitaire, as Mr. Black Eyes had left her alone over an hour ago. You’re safe here, he promised. Yeah. Safe. This room was about as comforting as a coffin, and she worried it might serve the same purpose.
She felt pressure in her bladder, but she’d seen enough action movies to know no one ever sleeps or pees unless they wet themselves.
It wasn’t like she voluntarily came to this – wherever it was. Confusion deflected her willpower, or was that one of her “protector’s” tricks? She tried to absorb what he was telling her. Something about a council, a chosen bloodline, razor wraiths… She wanted to remember more, but it was all a blur, as her memory couldn’t extract the vision of her assailant at the airport and how fragile he seemed as his skull crunched. Jesus, where were the authorities? Surely the airport cameras recorded what had happened!
Yes, cameras! Gail stood and traced her index finger along the lines of mortar. Where was it? Where were they watching her from? Who – or what – the hell were they, anyway? Surely this was too elaborate a hoax for the Mollies to be involved in. As much as she wanted to believe otherwise, this was no nightmare. That knife was real. And the blood. And those teeth!
A faint hissing permeated the room, and she panicked. Was this how Holocaust Jews felt when they were promised a shower? She couldn’t sense any gas, but the hissing intensified. Gail hurled a folding chair at the door; it ricocheted against a wall and clattered harmlessly on the floor. She lurched over the table to retrieve the other one, but lost her balance and tumbled, splitting her chin on the edge of the table. She spit blood – had she bit her tongue too? – and wailed obscenities until the nearest wall resembled a study by Jackson Pollock.
Her lungs churned until she collapsed onto her belly, physically and emotionally empty. She vomited twice, then dry heaved until her shivering body ached.
As she convulsed, a mechanism loudly cranked and the steel door opened. Six pairs of boots entered. Cowboy boots. Welcome to Texas.