Preparing for Impact (3)

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     The woman folded her hands. "Try to remember for me anyway. I saw the tape. You bumped into a man... And then what?" 

     Aeress felt crowded. "I didn't know. I swear. I had to pee, and I hadn't realized he was in my way. I think he would have left me alone if I didn't feel his gun. Then all hell broke loose. He began to shoot, and his people did too." 

     "What do you mean by his people?" 

     Aeress shrugged, wishing she could hide her face. "The bad guys, I think. They looked mean like him." 

     "So after the shooting, what happened then?" Her features were slowly softening, and this granted her comfort. 

     Aeress felt that familiar fear invading her mind. "He grabbed me, dragged me across the floor," she lifted her elbows to show the blood stains, "and used me as a shield. The coward." she swallowed. "All I could focus on was his hand in my hair and the gun in his hand. He tried to take me, I knew he wanted to leave with me-" 

     "Why?" She leaned forward in interest. 

     Her lips trembled. "I think that whatever plan he was trying to accomplish before I bumped into him was ruined. And I think he wanted to make me pay for it. I knew he was going to kill me," her voice cracked as she recalled the cruel male, "but not before he made me beg for it." 

     Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "How could you know this in so little time?" 

     Aeress smiled softly. "I have always had a gift for reading people, their character. It's just something I have been able to do." 

     "Continue with the story." 

     "I didn't want to die, or at least I would die on my own terms. So I grabbed a shard of glass," she sniffled, "and I stabbed him. We wrestled for the gun," she could still feel his blood dripping on her lips, "and I shot him."

     "Where?" 

     Aeress shrugged. "Maybe the neck. Somewhere important. I think I killed him." The last part was whispered. 

    "Aeress, tell me the truth, do you have any idea what happened last night? Did you know any of the men."

     Aeress shook her head. "I just want Shaya. I want to go home. I won't say a word to the authorities. Just please, I want to go home." 

     Her features took up a curious expression. "You tried to escape when we were helping you. Why? That's a little sketchy, right?" 

     It was Aeress's turn to scoff. "This isn't a regular hospital. You aren't part of the U.S. government. This place isn't normal. This place is sketchy."

     The woman then full-on smiled. She muttered the word 'humans' to herself. 

     "See!" Aeress exclaimed, "earlier that doctor lady referred to me as a 'human'. People do not just casually call each other 'human'! That is so sketchy. I'm not crazy, I am just tired. I've answered your questions, now let me go home!" 

     Nina was laughing. "How intriguing." She examined Aeress. "I have not met someone so observant before. I am sorry, Aeress, truly I am, but it is not as simple as that. You are a Scented. Now it is our obligation to have you informed for your own safety. And we owe you." 

    Aeress was so desperate for this all to be a hallucination. "Why?" 

     "You saved our Premier from the plan which you did foil. We cannot ignore that." 

     "You can," Aeress begged, "just let me go!" Were her words falling upon deaf ears? 

     Nina did appear sympathetic. "We would be leaving you to die if we simply let you go. It is not our way. We do not leave the scented without defense. And you, my dear, are defenseless." 

      Aeress slumped back in defeat. "This is kidnapping. I don't want to be here. This is against my free will." 

     Nina sent a friendly smile. "Listen, once we are sure you are well, you are free to leave whenever you wish. That I can promise." 

    Aeress felt a little better, even though it was still kidnapping. "I don't want to die, and if it means I have to go along with whatever insanity is going on, I will. Just please, do you know if my friend Shaya Michael is alive. Please just tell me that?" 

     "Oh, she is just fine. Her blonde companion took her to safety once all hell broke loose. We sent our people to speak with her this morning and she believes you are in the custody with the FBI for your own protection. We promise that you will be able to speak with her later." Aeress had no idea who the hell 'we' was. 

     She swallowed and hoped her talent would not fail her as she believed everything Nina said. "So what now?" 

     "Now, we will have you transferred to a placed more suitable for the scented. I should warn you that there will be a ceremony in celebration of your heroism. You saved our Premier. There is no higher honor." 

     "What is a Premier?" 

     Nina smiled brightly. "Trust me, after a nice long shower, everything will not be so confusing. Now, let's get you out of those dreadful handcuffs. I hardly thought them necessary, but after the stunt you pulled, security questioned if it was safe to have you unrestrained." She laughed by the end. 

     She rubbed her wrists when they were undone. "Are you the bad guys?" She found herself asking. 

     Nina laughed again. "That depends, Aeress." 

     "On what?"

     She shrugged. "On what you consider good and what you consider bad. What do I think personally? My kind can be found somewhere in the middle." Aeress didn't miss her strange wording. 

     "Should that reassure me?" 

     "As I have seen from you, you are not a trusting person, and therefore not easily reassured. So does my opinion really matter, will it make you feel better?" 

     Aeress held herself as she came to a slow stand. She watched Nina open the door. There were countless guards waiting. "Probably not," She eyed their guns and shivered. Whatever happened next would surely be more strange. "But a girl can dream."

     "Then I'll give you another opinion, Aeress."

     "Please do share, Nina."

     "Right now, you think yourself in a nightmare, but who knows. I think this may turn out to be a dream is disguise." 

     "Yeah," Aeress dryly responded as she eyed the guns once more, "I can already feel myself floating in dreamland." 

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