The Retribution of Mara Dyer

Author: P Hana

Page 12

   

“Did you see a date stamp on that video?” Stella asked, looking at both of us. Jamie shook his head. “Mara?”

I hadn’t. I was still staring at the screen. It had been Noah’s voice. He was alive. And he was here.

“Okay,” Stella said. She pressed the power button, but nothing happened. “I don’t think we can turn it on or off from here, which means someone somewhere else is doing it.”

“So let’s figure out where somewhere else is,” Jamie said.

That was where Noah would be. Everything in me knew it.

“Jude said there was a map.” I looked around us, at the mess of papers and files and notebooks, and then remembered the scrolls.

I pointed at them. “Guys, some help?” We began unrolling one after another. There were maps and charts, as I’d suspected, but we didn’t find what we were looking for until we were almost out of scrolls.

“Let’s spread it out over there,” I said, tipping my head toward the desk. Stella stacked notebooks over the corners to hold it open.

We were looking at detailed architectural plans of the Horizons Residential Treatment Center.

Except it wasn’t just a treatment center. It was a compound. The treatment center was just the part we could see. Beneath it, below ground, was a sprawling, windowless structure, segmented off into different areas that together comprised the “Testing Facility.”

“Holy shit,” Jamie whispered.

Stella examined the map and explained what we were looking at. “So I think we’re underground again, in the lowest level of the testing facility. See there?” She pointed to some small shapes within the larger shape. “It looks like these little rooms might be where they were keeping us. You found Jamie on level 2.” She traced her finger to an area labeled KITCHEN, not far from where Jamie said we’d entered Kells’s office—the decoy office.

“Level 3 is where we are now—not too far from where we started, actually. And we’re still on No Name Island, it looks like.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Where else would we be?”

She ran her finger across a long line that ran the length of what seemed to be a tunnel. “There are three other structures. On a completely different island.”

I peered over her shoulder and read the labels: MAINTENANCE, CONTAINMENT, STORAGE.

“That’s a power line, I think. And there,” she said, squinting at the blueprints, “that’s the power grid. It’s in the maintenance area. That’s where Kells is, probably.”

And Noah, too.

“One way in, one way out,” Jamie said, pointing at the tunnel. It wasn’t far from where we were now, but we’d have to go back up to the fake office to get there. I was already moving toward the ladder.

“Mara, wait—” Stella started.

“For what?” I called out over my shoulder.

“What are we going to do, just walk in there?” Jamie asked.

“Yes?”

Stella made a face. “Shouldn’t we, like, have a plan or something?”

I stopped. “It doesn’t matter what we plan. Kells knows we’re coming. She’s probably watching us right now.”

I looked behind me and scanned the room for a camera. Stella followed my gaze, then stopped and pointed at a tiny little reflective globe suspended from the ceiling, in the far right corner of the room. I stared at it for a moment, then raised my hand and gave it the finger.

“I thought you were going to give it the District Twelve salute,” Jamie said.

Stella snorted. “Look, maybe we should at least get a weapon?”

I lifted the hem of the hospital gown and withdrew the scalpel from my underwear. “Got one.”

“You’re kind of limited with that, no?”

Wayne hadn’t thought so.

“She wouldn’t have left anything here that we could use against her,” I said.

Stella held up our files. “She left these.” A few papers fluttered to the ground. She bent over, and went very quiet. “Mara,” she said as she picked them up. “I think these are yours.”

I took them from Stella. They were drawings, some resembling people with limbs missing, others that looked like faces, with the eyes scribbled over and blacked out. As I stared, the lines on the paper began to move, arranging themselves in a way that suggested my face. I looked away.

“She probably left them here on purpose.” So I would see them. So they would upset me. “Look, you don’t have to come with,” I said, my voice low. “In fact, you probably shouldn’t.” I crumpled the drawings up and threw them at the wastebasket. I missed.

Jamie and Stella exchanged a look before Jamie rolled his eyes. “Of course we’re coming with you,” he said, as Stella tucked a few files and notebooks under her arm. I offered him a small smile before climbing up the ladder.

“This doesn’t look like the plans,” Jamie said.

“It doesn’t look like anything.”

We tried to follow what Stella remembered of the blueprints, guided only by harsh auxiliary lights, which made the curving, winding, subterranean structure of the place even more disorienting. None of us could pinpoint exactly when the power had been cut off. The air felt dead and stale as we moved through it.

“I feel like any second there could be a thousand guns pointed at our heads,” Stella said.

“There could be.” I felt my way through the darkness. Our footsteps echoed on the metal walkway. “Well, probably not a thousand.”

Eventually, the walkway parted in a fork. We could go left, right, or down a small set of stairs. I decided down. When we reached the landing, we stood opposite a metal wall; a door had been cut into it, with rounded corners and a biohazard symbol in the center. CONTAINMENT, the plans had read. Nowhere to go but in.

“Nope,” Jamie said, shaking his head. “Nope.”

I pressed my ear to the door.

“Is she here yet?”

I sprang back when I heard those words. Noah spoke them. He was behind this door. I reached for the handle, but Jamie stopped me.

“Mara,” he said slowly. “Do you know what that symbol means?”

“Yes.”

“Then would you kindly share why you’re ignoring it?”

“Noah’s in there. I just heard him.”

Jamie looked skeptical.

“Listen,” I told him. He pressed his ear to the door too.

“Roth’s here as well, sounds like.”

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