Sonora couldn't help the tears when Blake said, "Well, Sunny, I don't see what else we can do here. Let's try to meet with Ian's father. He should be here soon." He patted her shoulder. "It's ok. We won't stop until we find him."
She nodded sure if she tried to speak only sobs would come. Instead, she swallowed her tears and followed Blake toward the exit. As they passed the restrooms, she felt a need and glanced at her grandfather. "Hey Grandpa, I'm going to hit the restrooms. Go on out to the car, if you want."
"Okay, meet ya out there."
Sonora's gaze trailed down the long hallway painted with colorful cartoon sea creatures and huge water bubbles that made their way to the ceiling. Her favorite had always been the family of pink seahorses swimming right beside the women's restroom door. It still drew her eye, and she tapped on them as she passed.
At the mirror, Sonora fluffed her hair and rubbed the tears from her eyes. She glanced around the room and frowned. She drew the map out that she had tucked away in her purse and ran her finger around the drawn building. Something wasn't right.
Sonora came out to the hallway and examined it again. A blue octopus with large, round eyes happily bounced on waves near the men's restroom, and a couple of dolphins faced her from the turn in the hallway. On her left should be an outside wall. She examined it closer. It was covered by a massive, painted whale, a light blue face with a bright, white mouth and eyes, but it gradually faded away to almost black on its tail.
My eyes have always been drawn to all the color and completely ignored the black. Is that the purpose?
There in the darker part of the whale was a door, one she had never noticed before, and one she had definitely never gone through. A glance at the ceiling showed no cameras, and a quick look to the right and left revealed no one in the area.
After huffing out a quick breath, Sonora reached out and turned the black door knob. The door swung open, and she stepped through it, quickly closing the door behind her. Inside, it was almost pitch black. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and tapped it for a flashlight.
Her heart sank when all she saw brooms and mops — a cleaning closet. But on a second look, the supplies seemed to clean, some brand-new. She ran a hand over them. They were dusty. This is staged. Why? Why would someone fake a closet?
Sonora turned her flashlight off. Standing there in the darkness, she caught a glimpse of a thin ribbon of light where it shouldn't be, along the floor of the back wall. Turning her light back on, she reexamined the wall, running her hand all around it. Her heart sped up. The wall didn't feel right.
She scanned the wall but found no knob, so she pushed on it. There was a slight movement. Sonora held her breath as she pushed it harder. She felt a pop. The door moved. She stilled, ready for someone to question what she was doing. She put her ear to the door to see if she could hear anything. There was nothing. She gasped out the breath she held.
She grabbed the edge of the door, then stopped. I should get Grandpa. Quickly, she tried to call him but got no answer, and grit her teeth. He's always letting the thing die on him. I'm right here. I can't just leave. I'll just take a peek, Ian could be right on the other side of this door.
Sonora slowly pulled the door open enough to look around it. She saw dark offices lining an empty hallway. Disappointed, she looked down at her map again. Have I just stumbled onto an administrative area? But the map didn't show that.
The place seemed vacant, and Sonora became bolder. She stepped into the empty hallway. Her soft steps gave a faint echo.
Offices and more offices to either side of her, all deserted. Some of the dark rooms held shadowy furniture, but it was thrown in in a haphazard fashion. Chairs stacked on chairs, or even desks, a few old audio/video carts in the mix.
Sonora walked up and peered into the closest dark office. It held a number of glass cases. Most were empty, but a few still contained dusty artifacts. Are they Atlantian?
Sonora stared back at the door she'd come through, then pushed it closed. No one is here. I'm at least looking around.
She twisted her body right and left, deciding where to go, before her eyes fell on a small sign attached to the wall. Painted in white against black lettering the word 'Labs' and an arrow pointing right.
Sonora took a large breath and squared her shoulders. She turned right.
A/N: Thank you for reading! Please press the little star if you enjoyed the chapter. :)
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Sea Bound (A Sanctuary's Aggression Novel)Science Fiction
#159 on Scifi Hot List. A Golden Pen, Pen and Ink, and Rose Award Winner. In this sci-fi fantasy, Sonora yearns for more than life has given her until the day a shadow becomes a guide to a world she could never have imagined. A new world that offers...