I tried, to no avail. Everything inside my brain forced my legs to try, but without any food for the past seven days, I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t stand up.
“Get UP!” he said with more force. My body shook from the bass in the voice of Barnes’ henchman, the one who’d given me my daily dosages of water for the past week. I tried to stand. Still, to no avail. Too weak.
I knew it was my time to face the music, since my bug buddy had told me that someone was coming for me. I knew it was time for me to make sense of the words he’d told me throughout the week. Time to put the words together into a sentence that could save my life. Except, without any food in my system, with only water as the nourishment that kept me alive, I couldn’t get up.
He should’ve known I wanted to cooperate. He should’ve known that I knew it was time for me to put the words “father” and “kill” and “soon” into context. Figure out what it all meant. But all he saw was me sitting there, not moving. Not following instructions. And after one last command to get up, he hit me upside the head with his gun. I fell to the ground.
I couldn’t speak, my voice rendered mute from the lack of speaking over the past few days. All of the communication between my bug buddy and me was done telepathically. After the blow to the head, I tried to call him. Tried to let my bug buddy know that I needed him to come save me. Or at least to tell the thug that I was trying to cooperate, yet couldn’t.
He didn’t hear me. Maybe the blow to my head knocked our connection loose. Maybe he was too frightened to show himself with Barnes’ boy in the room. I closed my eyes tightly, summoning up all my remaining strength, hoping and praying that my bug buddy would come to my rescue.
The henchman wasn’t having it. He probably thought I was ignoring him. That I wasn’t trying to comply. He left the room, only to come back with a tag-team partner. “Let’s grab him and take him upstairs. Don’t hurt him, though. We need him in good condition for when everything goes down.”
The partner laughed while grabbing me by the shoulder and yanking me to my feet. I immediately collapsed under my own weight, the two of them catching me in mid-tumble and yanking me out of the room.
All that ran through my mind were the words “father,” “kill,” and “soon.” That’s all I had as a reminder of my bug buddy, who didn’t hear my call for help.
They carried me down a hallway to some stairs. All the while I was praying and remembering the words. All the while I chanted them under my breath.
We headed up the stairs, each one counting as a word, “father,” “kill” and “soon” chanted three times a piece. Then we were upstairs and faced with a bright light. I adjusted my eyes and swallowed hard, only to be faced with the last person I ever wanted to see again. I tried to look away, shutting my eyes tightly. Trying to make the image go away.
Behind the reflection of myself in a mirror, past the sorry condition that seven days with no food had caused, I saw, in the same condition as myself, one of the very people I’d tried to escape not too long ago. Behind me, and back into my life was my sister.
Suddenly, the words made sense.