Chapter Twenty-Two ~Travis~

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A few minutes earlier...

Because of the long run of hours Sanders and I just pulled, which began when we were called to the hospital to question Leroy, we're not expected back at the compound until tomorrow. I came here under the guise of wanting to get a head start on the shitload of paperwork we're expected to complete once a runaway is apprehended. Needing somewhere quiet to sit and get it all done, I just happened to set up shop inside one of the many rooms throughout the compound that offers live video feed of the facility. My focus stays on one feed in particular, the one directed on Maddie's cell.

Despite Brad's assurances of her safety, I needed to see her, and make sure she's okay. Well, as okay as can be expected. Given the current situation, I need to trust Brad and Jim, but with the bullshit that just transpired, I'm not stupid enough to do so blindly. Sanders tried to convince me to stay back at base with him, saying that I needed to take a breather and give myself some time and space to regroup. But my nerves are frayed, and I felt too on edge to just sit there, especially when I could be here.

I just needed to be near her again. Being close to her soothes me in a way I hadn't realized it always had, until I lost her. But isn't that one of the cruelest lessons in life? We're usually too stupid or blind to realize what we had right in front of us, until it's gone. Thank God life does us a kindness by providing second chances sometimes, and in time I intend to make right every wrong I did Maddie when I failed to let her know how much she means to me.

I'm pulled from my thoughts when I see the back of a Hunter moving towards Maddie's cell. Wait, is that Jenkins? What the fuck is he doing? I checked the status board in the Hunter's office when I got here, and it showed he already questioned Maddie and Alex upon arrival. There's no valid reason for him to be waking her up and pulling her from her cell right now. The board also noted that hospital personnel will be visiting her every six to eight hours to administer meds due to flu-like symptoms. Obviously she needs the rest, and that fucking asshole knows better.

He must've yelled something, because she looks like he just startled her out of sleep. I'm gonna kill that prick. I've been itching to beat that scumbag's ass. I've never seen him in action, but I've heard plenty of stories about how he treats apprehended runaways. He gets off on intimidating and scaring already frightened girls.

How completely terrifying it must be for them, to be caught and forced into a life they were so fearful of, that they felt their only option was to run away from the only life they've ever known. As much as I've hated living life without Maddie, I respect her so much for being brave enough to make the choice she did. I will always understand her decision to run. I just wish she would've asked me to come...because for me, there is nothing to question when Maddie is the answer.

Maddie just got out of bed and she's stretching. She and Jenkins are talking back and forth. I wish these fucking feeds came with sound. Now she's walking out of the cell and Jenkins shuts it, leaving Alex alone inside. I need to see where he's taking her. I take in a deep breath, trying to calm myself and slow the adrenaline I can feel pulsing through my body, my fingers repeatedly pulling into fists.

They're walking down the hall, and I shift focus to the monitor showing the feed from the hallway. Just as I thought, he stops in front of one of the interrogation rooms. Opening the door, Maddie walks in and takes a seat. Jenkins closes the door, leaving her inside and heads further down the hallway.

He stops when he gets to the bathroom. Perfect. He needs to relieve himself, and as full of shit as that asshole is, it should buy me enough time to get to the surveillance office of the interrogation room before he gets back.

I exit the room and haul ass to the stairway. I can clear the stairs faster than the elevator. Taking the steps two by two, I make it down to the bottom floor in no time. I turn the knob slowly, trying to soften the click as it opens. Peeking through the small crack I've made, I see that all is clear. I rush out the door and walk swiftly down the hallway. Surprisingly, no one is around. I make it to the surveillance room door and quickly shut myself inside.

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