Chapter Thirty-Six

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Hannah knocked on the door harder than she intended.

"Come in," said a cheerful, male voice from the other side.

She glanced down the corridor; to the door Edward had just entered. The very thought of him made her flesh crawl. At that precise moment she knew she hated him and the strength of that emotion scared her more than his veiled threats. But what did he know, and more importantly, what was he going to do with that knowledge? A wave of tiredness swamped her. The endless secrets and revelations seemed to be merging into one, weighing her down. She felt like she was drowning.

"Come in." The voice sounded a little less friendly.

Hannah looked at the door of Room Three for the last time and then entered Room Two.

"Hannah, welcome, it's very nice to meet you. My name is Professor Clairbourne." A grey haired man in a white coat offered her a pudgy hand and she reluctantly took hold of it. He limply shook it, but didn't let go. He slowly traced his thumb over her the fleshy part above her thumb. A shiver ran down her back and she tugged her hand away, fighting the urge to wipe it down her jeans. She looked up and he smiled revealing a set of brilliantly white, straight teeth. Small dots of sweat beaded just under his receding hair line.

"Please come and sit down."

The Professor walked over to a cream leather couch, sat and patted the cushion next to his. Hannah looked at the seat and slowly walked over and sat on the sofa as far away from the man as she possibly could.

"Hannah, I will be conducting your SPR review today. Normally one of my team would carry out the review, however General Briggs has asked me personally to conduct yours and I am honoured to do so. Do you have any questions before we begin?"

Hannah shook her head in response.

"Hannah, you seem nervous. Please try to relax." The Professor reached over and squeezed her knee. She flinched. The smile on his face never altered, but something dark flashed across his eyes.

"Would you like these?" Hannah asked, offering the Professor the clip board of papers she had signed earlier.

The Professor removed his hand from Hannah's knee and accepted the paperwork.

"Please come this way," he said, stood up and walked over to another doorway on the side of the room. Hannah followed him into a smaller room, half the size of his office and realised that it must adjoin the one Edward was now in. The windowless room had a faint odour of cleaning products. To her right was a large rectangular box, big enough for her to lie down. In front of her, was a tall glass cubicle with a seat and helmet- like contraption with probes hanging off it. To her left, Hannah saw another door and a trolley bed, topped with a grey- plastic coated mattress. Her eyes fixed on the metal stirrups attached at the end and she backed towards the door.

"I, I... I have to go, I can't...."

"I'm sorry Hannah, but you signed the consent forms and therefore I am legally obliged and permitted to carry out these tests. If it's the internal examination you are concerned about, please don't be. I have a female nurse who will do those tests. I won't be present in the room."

The thought that he wouldn't be going near her in that way was a relief, but not enough to stop panic taking hold.

"I always start with the behaviour-based screenings first. We get a better reading before any physical tests are conducted. But first, Hannah I would like you to remove your clothing behind the green screen and put on that gown," he said pointing to the corner of the room.

Hannah walked behind the screen and frantically looked around her, trying to spy a camera or something suspicious. Not being able to find anything, she stripped over and pulled the gown over her head. Satisfied she was 'decent', she left the privacy of the screen and walked back into the centre of the room.

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