True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 15
Acceptance pt.1

With the duffel bag still slung across my shoulder, I walked into a dirty, graffiti-ed, payphone and slipped in a few coins.  I dialed the number on the nasty buttons.  I put the phone up to my ear but made sure not to let it touch my skin.  The phone rang once then he answered.

            “Well, hello there.  Do you need to talk?” he asked politely.  He most likely didn’t know if I still had amnesia.

            “Yes,” I said with no emotion.

            “Turn around.  Get in the car,” he said, now all talk of pleasantries gone.  I turned around slowly in disbelief and my knees felt weak.  There was a black limo and the drivers’ door opened.  A chauffeur emerged in a spiffy suit and I thanked him as I slid in the back.  He looked sort of surprised.  I wondered how Mr. Stone treated his men.

            “Good afternoon,” Mr. Stone greeted.

            “Do you just get a kick out of death?” I wondered.  He’d killed thousands of people and he killed my relationship with Alex by threatening to kill Alex!

            “Sort of.  Kind of.  Yes, mostly.  I find it quite thrilling.” He laughed at his own joke.  The limo was nice.  The interior was pitch black leather with a state-of-the-art stereo system and a lot of different buttons that controlled a lot of I-don’t-know-what.  Samuel was there, too.  I waved to him but didn’t smile.  I was not pleased with him.  And very soon he would know just how unpleased I was.  He knew he was in trouble and he nodded to me once then looked out the window.

            “I’m accepting your offer,” I said with a sour taste in my mouth.  Mr. Stone looked stunned then incredulous then amazed then overjoyed.

            “Lovely—”

            “On a few conditions,” I said.  Mr. Stone closed his mouth and listened. “One: Alex and Serenity are off limits.  No touching them.  No bringing them in like you did Tommy.  Nothing.”

            “Alright,” he agreed. “Anything else?”

            “Yes.  I will allow one goon to be with me at all times so you know I’m not going to run.  But I get to pick the shifts and the guy.”

            “You drive a hard bargain—” he started with a smile.

            “Cut the bullshit,” I stated shortly. “Let’s just go.  You can teach me whatever you want to.  Let the lesson begin.” I leaned my head back and closed my eyes.

            “Alright.  What I do isn’t as bad as you think.  Just think, some people can’t afford a baby, or a child, or their child is just plain evil.  What they can afford, however, is to have us remove the child.  Children aren’t the only ones that this happens to.  Adults make the same decisions about other adults.  And it’s sad, I agree, but it’s inevitable.  And if we didn’t do it professionally, then some cheap hit man would do it anyway.” He paused. “Are you sleeping?”

            “No.  I’m not that fortunate,” I replied in a tired voice.  I thought about Alex.  Tears got stuck in my throat and I stopped thinking about Alex.

            “Right.  Well, let me tell you a little something about where you’ll be staying.”

            “Another run-down building?” I guessed, crossing my arms over my chest.  I could nearly hear Mr. Stone’s patience waning.

            “So to speak.  You’ll be more than accommodated, I’m sure,” he said, amusing himself somehow.  We rode in silence for another twenty minutes and then the limo stopped.  The chauffeur opened the door for me.  I smiled and thanked him again, this time asking his name.  He threw a cautious glance to Mr. Stone before telling me his name was Terrence.  Did no one have last names in this business?  Mr. Stone led the way with me behind him and Samuel right beside him.

            “You’ll be woken up at seven in the morning, every morning,” he turned to Samuel. “Show her to her quarters,”  I rolled my eyes.

            “Quarters?  Seriously, you might as well say ‘prison cell,’” I commented easily, flipping my hair over my shoulder.  I missed Alex.  I wanted him near me.  But I would have killed him.  Well, technically, I  wouldn’t have killed him, but indirectly it would have pointed back to me.  We all stopped in front of a building that had bricks missing, paint chipping, broken windows, and no lighting. “If you think I’m going in there, you must be on some sort of illegal substances.”

            “Trust, my dear,” Mr. Stone requested.

            “Okay, trust you? You?  You’re officially on illegal substances.” I crossed my arms over my chest and stopped in my tracks.  I stared up at the building before me.  I couldn’t even believe I was standing there. “Just curious.  What exactly did you put in my food?  It must have been something strong enough that only had to be absorbed, or else spitting it out would have nullified the effects, right?  But it also had to be something you knew I’d recognize as an Australian sedative base.”

            “I don’t know how to put this in terms you’ll understand.  We modified and honed the effects of the lotus plant.  Mythology briefly mentions it in The Odyssey.  It’s completely different.  Same symptoms.  But extremely potent,” he said simply.

            “And just how long have you been stalking me?” I wondered, settling my fists on my hips.

            “I haven’t really followed you frequently.  Occasionally, I’ll tag along.  Usually I’ll have one of my men do it for me.  But this morning, I was feeling lucky.”

            “Lucky you,” I mumbled, suddenly missing Donald’s awkward charm.  Peter’s eyes.  I probably could have handled the situation better if I had been in… better sorts. “So you’ve been stalking me, poisoning me, and preying on me when I had amnesia, which; by the way, you gave me.  And I’m supposed to trust you?”

            “It’s better for everyone involved if you do.” I had had enough cryptic messages from him, Alex, and Lexi in the past seven or so years. “Now, you are going to go inside, get situated, and meet me in the mess hall at three.” He nearly reached out for me and I gave him a daring look.  Mr. Stone swiftly retracted his hand and turned and left with Terrence close on his heels.  I glared at Samuel.

            “Samuel,” I spat, as if tasting something unpleasant.

            “I was under orders, miss,” he informed me, already knowing that I was referring to him making me believe he was someone that he wasn’t when I couldn’t remember anything. “Please, come this way, miss.” I watched as he led the way into the building and grudgingly followed.

            Once inside, I wasn’t impressed, to say the least.  The walls were bare and peeling.  The dull shade of brown and yellow wallpaper was almost ancient.  I cringed when I smelled a rust of some unknown metal.  There were doors on either side of me and they continued down the hallway.  I could barely see scratched out numbers; from what I could figure, room numbers.  I suspected that the building was an old hotel.  Surprisingly, there was no dust or dirt in the hallway.  It was just old, not nasty.

            Samuel opened a door and waved me inside.  It was dark in the room, and drafty.  But it smelled of roses.  Freshly picked roses.  I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes.  Samuel clicked the light-switch and I opened my eyes.  My mouth dropped and I heard Samuel close the door.  The room was huge.  First, all I could see was white.  Then my eyes focused and I saw a large couch set put in a semicircle around a tall flat-screen television.  There were rose petals sprinkled lightly over the white cushions.  The couch had a very modern style and silver metal legs.

            “Follow me,” Samuel said with a pleased tone.  I walked behind him, recognizing the scent of cologne he was wearing.  We continued straight and entered a den with books lining the walls. “You can read here.  You won’t have to worry about paper work.”  I nodded and scanned the titles of the various books on the shelves.  I recognized some of them, but didn’t let myself smile.  I didn’t have the will to smile at all.  I missed Alex.  I missed him even more when I saw his favorite book sitting lonely on the desk in the den.  Everything was mahogany in this room.

            Next was the bedroom with a bathroom connected to it.  The bedroom was completely white and cream.  There wasn’t an iota of evil in the room.  I had expected a creepy dark room.  Samuel pressed open the bathroom door and the whole room inside was filled with bouquets of red roses.  I was nearly pushed back by the smell of the flowers.

            “You can rest and freshen up here,” Samuel said, before turning to me. “Is everything to your liking, miss?” he asked.  I shrugged. “Mr. Stone wants you to be ready at two-forty-five.  He’ll have someone escort you down to the mess hall for lunch.” I nodded and waited while he brought me my duffel bag.  I stood in the bedroom until I heard the door click safely behind him.  I ventured around the apartment/hotel/quarters.  I walked back into the living room and sent a roundhouse kick to a man who sat on the couch.  He went down easily and didn’t get back up.  Stupid goons.

            I hummed a short little tune and went to the bathroom to shower.  I let the hot water soothe my tensed muscles for only ten minutes and then got dressed.  I combed my hair out until it shone and made sure it was completely straight.  I kept humming until the goon on the floor in the living room started to stir.  I sat down and stretched out on the couch.  He groaned and sat up.  I punched him hard in the temple and he was back on the floor practically snoring.

 

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