Captain Jack Harkness processed my release, and I was allowed to change into better clothing. We weren't allowed anything with zippers or sharp edges, so it had been a long while since I'd seen my favorite jacket. It was old and ripping on one shoulder, but I still fit comfortably in the fake-leather polyester material.
Jack led me to a large van. It looked very much like a kidnapper's van with its black walls and tinted windows, but the name TORCHWOOD was painted expertly into the sides with a matte black colour. The captain opened the passenger side door for me, nodding with a smile. I only gave a small "Thanks," and a nod as I sat in the seat.
I could see computers and screens in the back seats. High-tech devices and scanners beeped silently. Jack clicked his seatbelt into place before pulling the heavy van into drive.
We drove for several miles down Cardiff until we were just on the edge of the city. I could see water splashing up on the side of the dock to my every side. We were in a small parking lot now, just on the edge of the coast. There were only a couple other cars around us. Jack parked his van, and began to climb out. I followed hesitantly.
Jack sauntered down across the dock, only checking once to see if I had followed. He was heading towards a short building- it looked like a tiny fisherman's shop. It was behind everything else, and nobody mingled around like they did in the plaza several feet away. I reluctantly followed, questioning where the man was bringing me.
"After you," Jack nodded dramatically as he opened the door to what looked like a fishing house. I stood carefully in front of the door, and I swallowed harshly. It was dark inside, and there was no way for me to know what was inside. I dug my nails into my palms from inside my pockets.
"What's in there?"
"Call it an office," Jack gave me that smirk that I now knew had to be his trademark. "Go on."
With a deep breath, I stepped inside the short building, and Jack followed. It wasn't entirely dark, but there was a very dim light over a rather empty room. There was only a desk and a dark computer monitor.
Movement caught my eye. A man with a kind-looking face stood behind the desk. He wore a fancy suit with a purple shirt, and his hands were crossed in front of his belt buckle. He gave me a small nod. "Welcome back, Captain."
"Ianto," Jack gave the man a grin and a nod.
With the flickering lights and the giant gears on the wall and the creepy mysterious men, I felt like I was in a haunted house. I had never been in one in real life, but I knew stories of how they were back in Aveyron. My heart felt like it would break my ribcage, and my hands were sweating and shaking in my pockets. I shrunk back as Jack turned to me again, and he motioned towards a large tile of stone on the wall. It shifted over silently, and I felt as if I would throw up.
"Come on," Jack sauntered on in through the metallic hallway.
I tripped over my own feet as I tried to follow the man. I looked back to see the door close behind us again. I stared forward to see only Jack and an endless bending hallway.
"Where are we going?"
"You ask a lot of questions," Jack commented in an amused voice. "Why not just come along for the ride?"
Oh, I was definitely going to throw up.
I pulled tightly on the collar of my jacket. My hands retreated instantly back to their pockets, and I took a shaky breath through my mouth. I could still see nothing but Jack and silver walls.
"You're going to die."
Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank!
"He can turn and kill you anytime he wants."
I swallowed harshly. My head began pounding. I tried to tune out everything, but it was like the voices were stapling my brain to my skull. I blinked harshly as my heart thumped harder. My breath caught in my throat.
"They'll tear you open. Make you bleed out."
Clank! Clank! Clank!
It was like hammers on metal. I couldn't tell if it was real or in my head. My eyes were beginning to feel like they were being battered from the inside by a baseball bat. "Cap-Captain Harkness... How much... How much further?" I could only do so much to stop my voice cracking.
"We're almost there," the man reassured. "Remember, Jack's just fine!"
"He'll rip you to shreds. You'll be nothing but bloody pieces. Right here on this clean floor."
Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank!
We ended at a dead end. I held my breath instantly, but the wall began to move. Another automatic door pulled back, and I saw an enormous new room.
"Welcome to Torchwood," Jack said casually.
The ceiling was hundreds of feet high. I could see an open roof in the middle, showing off the rust-coloured sky as the sun was beginning to set. There were black metal poles in every corner and all over the floor, holding up the ceiling. There were wires and computers and grated floors and an infirmary. It was too much to handle.
A yellow bird flew several feet over me. I jumped, shrinking down.
"That's just Myfanwy."
I jumped again. That voice was definitely real. The man with the kind face and expensive suit was behind me now. He gave me a gentle smile.
"Myfanwy," he repeated. "The pterodactyl."
"There really is a pterodactyl here?" I nearly choked on my own spit.
"I haven't seen a day that Jack Harkness lies," the man gave me another gentle smile. "Ianto Jones."
Ianto stuck his pale hand out in an invitation to shake mine. I hesitated again before shaking his hand. "Adelpha."
"Adelpha," Jack's voice echoed loudly as he shouted across the giant room. "Come on!"
I gave a shaky curt node before turning away from Ianto. As I followed Jack up a small set of metal stairs, I could see more people. They were lined up, the huge desks filled with computers and wires and devices and little trinkets. A woman with glasses and dark hair typed away quickly, her desk closest to me. Next to her was a desk with a brunet man who read through thick packets of paper with his feet propped on his desk. And next to his desk, a woman with skin paler than mine and nearly-black hair who typed slowly on a keyboard.
"All right," Jack called. As if that was their cue, the workers turned their heads. The two women turned entirely in the chairs, and the man in the middle simply stared up from his pages.
"Adelpha," Jack began almost professionally. He pointed to each person. "Toshiko Sato. Doctor Owen Harper. Gwen Cooper. This is Torchwood."
"It's very nice to meet you," the first woman, Toshiko Sato, nodded her head gently. "Jack has told us all about you.
I couldn't decide what Jack had to tell them. Perhaps that he was going to bring an insane sixteen year-old girl to his work because she had seen aliens.
"Thank you," I managed to stammer out. "Very nice to meet you, also."
"Everybody back to work," Jack called. He began to stalk off across the floor towards a glass-walled office. "Adelpha, with me."
As I carefully stepped across the grated floor, the black-haired woman, Gwen, stopped me. She put a hand on my arm. She stared at me with a kind smile. "I promise he's not usually this scary," she reassured. She had a thick Welsh accent. "He just likes to put on a face for new people."
I swallowed harshly, watching the captain whip into his brightly-lit office. I only offered a nod in response.
Gwen nodded back as I stared at the glass walls. "Then get in there, go see what he has to say," she encouraged.
YOU ARE READING
Perspicacious: having a ready insight into and understanding of things. Being a mental hospital resident is difficult enough on its own. When aliens start to invade sixteen year-old Adelpha's hospital, she's told that it's only her schizophrenia fo...