Taylor’s heart was already racing when he came to. He could barely make out the shadows around him, and there was something moving barely inches from his face.
He tried to stay as still as possible until he could figure out where he was. He could hear the steady hum of a truck on the road and it didn’t take long to figure out that he was in it. The catch was… he was in the bed.
When he rolled over onto his back he heard metal on metal, but at the same time realised his hands were tied. Awkwardly trying not to roll on top of them he began to discern something around his mouth and that the metal sound he’d heard belonged to heavy chains around his ankles.
His heartrate only increasing, he looked to his right. Jesse was in the same position but still out cold. He didn’t remember passing out and he didn’t remember Jesse going down. He remembered Jesse giving them a run for their money. He remembered being cornered and not being able to make it back to the front door of the house. He must have gone down first but he couldn’t remember how.
He closed his eyes as he tried not to panic. Not being able to remember what happened meant that he couldn’t remember if Natalie and the kids had been left alone. Knowing some of the details of what had happened to Chelsea Musgrove, he was desperately trying not to entertain the notion. But the thoughts were there all the same.
Before he could start to hyperventilate because of them, he heard Jesse move and his eyes shot across to him. It wasn’t long before Jesse figured out his predicament and locked eyes with Taylor. Taylor didn’t find the look at all reassuring.
Jesse rolled onto his side as he tried to see down to his ankles. Taylor heard the chains moving just like his own had. They were anchored to the front of the truck bed and one strong tug from Jesse proved that they wouldn’t be dislodged.
Unfortunately the loud clatter the movement had made caused the driver of the truck to brake.
Taylor’s brow furrowed as he closed his eyes again, just praying this wasn’t going to end with the two of them being buried somewhere in the desert. They certainly had no way to fight back at this point.
He took deep breaths while Jesse remained frozen, listening as the truck pulled off onto gravel. They continued to drive a little while longer before the truck came to a halt and they heard both doors open. Taylor could feel himself shaking as they heard heavy boots walking down either side, before the cover was very suddenly lifted from over them.
Taylor squinted, expecting light, but he only saw stars in the night sky. Jesse immediately tried to sit up before the man closest to him grabbed him by the hair and slammed his head back into the truck. Taylor let out a muffled exclamation as Jesse just groaned. He didn’t dare try to sit up himself.
His eyes darted between the two, wondering what they were going to do. He could see the one over Jesse’s side messing with something out of his view, but nothing was said and whatever it was made no noise.
After a quick look to his accomplice, the man reached over to hold a dark cloth over Jesse’s nose and mouth. Instantly panicking Taylor tried to push himself back, before feeling a rough hand grab him by the shoulder. Jesse attempted to struggle but when the man held the back of his head fast it wasn’t long before he passed out again. Once Jesse had collapsed the man locked eyes with Taylor, sending his own wide in fright.
He was held in place by the man that held his shoulder as the other advanced, putting more chemical onto the cloth before covering his face too.
Taylor tried not to breathe it in, but he quickly ran out of breath and didn’t have a choice.
Carey jolted when he woke up, immediately feeling a pounding headache. As he groaned and put his hands to his head to counter the pain two things became apparent.
One, there were shackles on his wrists. Two, Mark was right beside him.
“Are you okay?” his brother was asking, though he could barely hear him.
“Headache,” was all he could get out.
He felt Mark rub his shoulder before hearing what sounded like heavy footsteps. He looked up to see a man – dressed like the ones who’d been at the apartment, but who he didn’t recognise – walk by with barely a smirk in his direction. Then Carey realised he was on the ground. The metallic, moving ground…
“Where are we?” his eyes began to dart around the space.
“Don’t know,” Mark replied, sitting back against the metal wall, “but I think we’ve been out for a long time.”
Carey soon realised Mark was wearing the same shackles, which were also on their ankles. It became obvious that they wouldn’t be able to stand if they ever wanted to. The chains weren’t long enough.
Mark was also missing his shirt. Instead, there was a large white bandage on his left shoulder.
“Is your arm okay?” he grunted out.
“Yeah they patched me up,” Mark looked down at it, “gladly, I was not awake for it. But now I’m fucking cold.”
Carey looked to the right to where three more men were standing about ten yards away. Whatever they were in, it was big. Then it clicked.
“Mark are we in a-“
“No,” Mark cut him off, “we are not in a plane. I swear.”
“Oh God we’re in a plane!” Carey’s eyes squeezed shut and he covered his head, “I’m gonna be sick.”
“We’re not in a plane! Think of it as a submarine. Or a land-borne blimp or something.”
“Neither of those are better,” Carey muttered, refusing to open his eyes again.
“Then pretend we’re in the back of a really big truck. Come on, we don’t have time for this shit.”
“Oh I’m so sorry my rational phobias are putting a damper on your day,” Carey looked up with a scowl.
“That’s better,” Mark mused.
Carey grit his teeth but took Mark’s lead and decided to try and stay distracted.
“What have you worked out?” he asked, figuring Mark had been awake longer.
“That we’re not alone.”
“What?” Carey frowned.
Mark nodded toward the opposite side of the cabin. There were a number of large tarpaulins draped over conspicuous mounds, and it didn’t take him long to figure out there were two more set aside by them.
“Holy shit,” he breathed, “what is this?”
“No one’s talking American,” Mark eyed the men to the right, “but this has to be government. They’re armed to the teeth and we’re not exactly going anywhere.”
Carey took the moment to study the chains. They were anchored behind them to the side wall. The cuffs were locked with both padlocks and zip ties and his heart sank when he realised Mark was right. These people had been meticulous.
“Watch out,” Mark suddenly sat up straighter making Carey look to the right again.
Two of the men were making their way over. Seeing bottles in their hands he assumed they’d keep walking by, but when they stopped his heart almost did too.
“Напиток,” one of them ordered, holding a bottle toward Carey.
Carey shot Mark a worried glance.
“I think they want you to drink it,” Mark suggested, before flinching as the other man held one out to him too.
He took his before Carey did.
“НАПИТОК!” the first ordered, getting impatient.
Carey took the bottle, watching as Mark took the cap from his. He quickly smelled it before downing a little.
“It’s just water,” he confirmed for Carey’s benefit.
Carey sighed in relief before doing as he’d been told. The men talked amongst themselves as they watched them, but the twins couldn’t make anything out.
“What do you think is going on?” Carey asked just above his breath between gulps.
“I think it’s no coincidence,” Mark replied, “and I think I have an idea of who else is here.”
“But why? Do you think Morris is behind this? Is this a Russo thing?”
“I don’t know,” Mark’s eyes were wandering, “but if it were Russo I think we’d be dead already.”
He flinched back as one of the men stomped his boot. The sound created a loud echo and it had gotten the desired effect – Mark shut up. The man leant over to retrieve the bottle from him as Carey rushed to drink more of his before the same thing happened.
“These guys are getting on my nerves,” Mark said between his teeth as they laughed over them.
“Feel free to take them down anytime,” Carey snapped back as his bottle was taken, before gritting his own teeth as they hit some minor turbulence.
“Care,” Mark caught his attention again just in time for him to recover.
His own back straightened when he saw the needles the men were fitting into the injectors.
“Looks like they only woke us up to hydrate us,” Mark muttered, his eye in the same place.
“Tell us where we’re going,” Carey looked the man that stood over him in the eye, “what do you want with us?! Where are you taking us?!”
He raised his hands to deflect it but suddenly two of them were on top of him. One took hold of the chains that held his wrists pulling them downward while the one holding the needle grabbed him by the hair. Mark couldn’t help as the drugs were administered to the side of his neck.
Backing off the moment it was done, Carey held the wound with a grimace before they went for Mark as well.
“Seriously guys, how hard is it to answer a few ques- OW!” Mark yelped as the same thing happened to him.
“This is not good,” Carey stated the obvious as the men walked away chuckling to themselves.
He was already starting to feel dizzy.
“Here’s hoping next time we wake up we’ll get a few more puzzle pieces,” Mark was looking to the left, resisting the urge to pull aside the next tarpaulin.
He wasn’t sure he wanted to know what – or who – was under there. But he debated that his arm was currently strong enough to do it anyhow.
Carey was the first to go down, falling back against the wall. Seeing what had happened, Mark curled in on himself so he wouldn’t do the same. His last view was of the tarp being thrown over his brother again.
The next person awake was Alex. The first thing he registered was a pounding headache, and the second was that he wasn’t wearing his glasses.
He didn’t bother trying to sit up. It was when he pulled his arms into his chest to hug himself that he felt the shackles on his wrists.
He soon heard footsteps coming toward him and he looked up to only see a blur.
“Вставай!” he felt a boot kick at his leg.
He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the man.
“Сядь!” he tried again, a little more scorn in his tone.
“I don’t know what you’re saying,” Alex’s voice came out small.
“Sit up,” a thick accent ordered, the tone suddenly more accepting.
Alex debated staying down, but knew they eventually wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. So he forced himself up into a sit before leaning back against the metal wall.
He frowned as he made out something being held in front of him, before gingerly reaching for it. He could feel that it was a drink bottle and his eyes were already getting a little clearer.
He couldn’t deny that he was thirsty so he had a quick drink hoping it would help the headache.
“Это один слабый,” he heard them start to talk over him.
“Это не имеет значения.”
After he’d had a second drink he felt the bottle being taken away. He wanted to ask where he was and where he was going, but he also just didn’t care anymore.
He didn’t have anything to go back to.
The needle to the neck took him by surprise because he couldn’t see it coming. He didn’t have time to panic before he felt it taking effect.
Resisting the urge to ask what was happening, he just hoped he could sleep a lot longer than the first time it had happened.