"No, no let go of me. I keep telling you that I don't know anything. If its money you want I don't have any but my parents do. They'll pay whatever you want."
Maribeth crouched behind an old blue storage container, eyes wide. How were they going to get out of this? She bit her lip, tasting blood.
"I said stop." Amelia wrenched her arm from a male technician; the same technician from the previous evening.
"She's a feisty one, Patrick."
"We concern ourselves with intellect," Patrick snorted. "She fails in that department. It is why we let her go in the first place."
"What are you talking about?" Amelia sobbed. "I've never seen you people before. There I am in my front yard catching butterflies with my little girl when your goons pop out of a van, throw a bag over my head and drive me away. All I can hear is her wailing in my ears."
"Your kid will be fine," Patrick snarled.
"Mandy is only three. Thank goodness my husband was home. I just pray to God she went back inside the house."
"She did," the female technician said.
"Jackie, please, we've got work to do," Patrick scolded.
Jackie's face went stern. "Are we going to administer the serum?"
"No, I don't want to waste it."
Amelia began to struggle again but her captors were too strong.
"Then what do we do with her?" Jackie tightened her grip on Amelia's wrist.
"Strap her down to the table next to Professor …" Patrick's words stuck in his throat. "Oh, God."
Jackie turned and looked over her shoulder. "She's gone. Where did she go?"
"Who?" Amelia felt panic rise in her throat. "Did you kidnap someone else? Did she get away?" She felt a glimmer of hope.
"Get to the Security Team quick. Let them know Brookhaven is missing. She must be found ASAP." Patrick threw both his arms around Amelia's waist. "Go now, Jackie. Go, go, go. I'll take care of this problem."
Jackie slipped out the side door and hurried down the long hallway.
"Brookhaven?" Amelia's brow furrowed.
"Yes, Maribeth Brookhaven." The name rushed from Patrick's lips. "Your birth mother."
"But what does she have to do with, well, whatever this is? Where exactly am I?"
Patrick took a syringe from the pocket of his smock and plunged the needle into the side of Amelia's neck.
"What are you? Why did you?" Lines of drool creeped down the young woman's chin and she collapsed to the floor.
"Don't worry, Subject Amelia. That's just a strong sedative. As I said, I wouldn't waste the serum on the likes of you. You're not worth it. You are way too average."
An ear-splitting siren sounded throughout the facility. "Lock down! Lock down!" a recorded message announced. "Stay in place for safety! Lock down! Lock down! This is not a drill! Repeat, this is not a drill!"
Patrick Arden looked down at Amelia's crumpled body and fled from the room.
Maribeth counted in her head. One Mississippi. Two Mississippis. Three Mississippis. She took a deep breath and then scooted from her hiding place. "They say they're interested in intellect but they must not be very smart," She smoothed down her hair. "They say they've been tracking me, you think it would be easier for them to find me."
She walked over to her daughter and looked at her as she lay helpless on the floor. Amelia had looked so much better the first time she had seen her. She wondered what the girl had looked like on her first birthday with cake on her face and in her hair. She wondered what the girl had looked like on her first day of kindergarten. She wondered what the girl had looked like all dressed up for her Prom.
Maribeth knew if she hadn't given Amelia up for adoption she would have been there for all these things and beyond. She would have been there for her daughter's wedding. She would have been there when her granddaughter was born.
Granddaughter? Oh wow. She was a grandmother. Just days earlier she had accepted the fact that she was a mother. Now she realized she was a grandmother. A sad excitement flowed through her. She had missed it all. She was still missing it all.
She heard stomping footfalls and a cacophony of voices in the hallway.
No, she told herself. She wouldn't allow anything to happen to Amelia. Amelia was a young mother with her whole life ahead of her. She needed to live it.
Maribeth grabbed her daughter by the ankles and dragged her body across the cool tile floor, behind a row of bookshelves. "Amelia, Amelia, wake up." She tapped her fingers across the woman's flushed cheeks. "Please, honey, wake up. I need you. We need each other."
He pressed his body against the glass and covered his ears.
"Too loud. Too loud. Too loud," he groaned.
The siren continued its grating noise. Ree-Ree-Ree-Ree.
The man began to perspire heavily. His long sandy-blonde hair, pulled back into a ponytail, became damp. He stood to his feet and banged his forehead against the now smudged glass.
"Now, Silas," Patrick Arden clucked his tongue. "You know better than that. You don't want to hurt yourself, do you?"
Silas cocked his head from side to side as sweat droplets landed on his naked chest. He wore no clothing save a pair of tattered, faded green shorts; 'Arden Laboratories' was stamped along the left leg.
"You and your sister really do look so much alike," Patrick said.
"Sister?" Silas placed the palms of his large hands against the cubicle glass, seeking connection with his friend and keeper.
"Yes, your sister Amelia. Do you remember, Silas? Do you remember the day I spoke to her on the telephone, pretending to be you?" Patrick laughed.
Silas laughed too and nodded his head.
"My grandfather would be so proud of me. He was so proud of everything he accomplished for the laboratory, starting it with nothing but his name and a few beakers and test tubes."
Silas sat back on his haunches and scratched under his right arm pit."
"Dr. Tuesin would be proud as well. I know he would praise me to no end for seeing this experiment through."
"Daddy?" Silas clapped his hands together, wildness in his eyes.
"Yes, Silas, your Daddy. Too bad you killed him. He could have done so much more for you."
The half-naked man placed his hands over his face and began to cry.
"Try to get some rest, Silas," Patrick urged. "I'll see what I can do about getting that siren turned off. It is annoying, isn't it?"
As the technician disappeared down the long hall, Silas stood, corrected his posture and walked to a corner desk. He pulled a child's coloring book from its middle drawer. Rummaging beneath construction paper, glue and storybooks he found the Crayon box, 64-count. He knew the Crayons were in the top drawer. The box itself was now filled with bright green capsules.
"Little do you know, Patrick, dear, I've not been taking these capsules for almost six months now. I know things. I know you are the one who killed my father. I know my mother and sister are here and I know I don't want to kill either of them. I know I will find them and that they will assist me in murdering you, Patrick Arden. We will shut down Arden Laboratories and that's a promise."