As if sensing his confusion she looked up and grinned. “Sight is not your gift, it’s mine,” she said cryptically. “I receive the information and you…” she shook her head. “I’m getting ahead of myself. Would you like to meet the team?” To read Part 1 click here.
“Team?” He was starting to get a bad feeling. It was like an itch at the back of his neck; his instincts were telling him to get the hell out of there. “Look, this is all very interesting, and I appreciate the…”
“I didn’t take you for a coward,” she said, rising to her feet. There was disappointment in her eyes.
“You don’t even know me.” It annoyed him, the defensive tone to his voice.
“I know everything about you, Theo.”
Right. The following thing. “You’re not exactly filling me with confidence here.”
Her musical laugher filled the room, echoing around him. “I knew I’d like you,” she said and turned towards the staircase. “Don’t worry. If we wanted to harm you we’d have left you out there.”
She ran up the staircase and disappeared, leaving him at a loss.
“You coming?” he heard a few moments later.
He hesitated before ascending. The staircase seemed to go on forever, and as he began to climb he heard voices. Words like, “The boy,” and “Resistance…” floated down to him.
When he reached the top he saw five people, including Hannah, standing around what appeared to be a 3-dimensional map of the world. They didn’t appear to notice him, because no one turned or stopped talking.
He inched forward quietly, pausing when an old man with a grey beard turned to stare at him. He seemed to be the leader of the group.
“Great. You made it,” the old man said.
“Made it where?” Theo asked, looking at the map.
“You know.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “You’ve been here before.”
“No. I haven’t. And I demand to know what’s going on.” This time Theo’s voice held a note of authority.
“Hannah,” the man said as he turned towards her.
“Yes, grandpa.” She picked up a small toy, shaped like a person, and held it above the map.
“You’d better go and get the stuff we need for tonight,” he replied. “Everyone else you’re dismissed. I want to talk to Theo alone.”
Theo watched as the man took the toy person from Hannah and replaced it.
He waited until everyone had filed from the room before speaking. “What’s going on?”
“How much do you remember?” the old man countered, flexing his fingers in front of him.
“Remember about what?” Theo sighed, struggling to get a hold on his patience. “Look, I don’t know what kind of operation you’re running here, but I don’t have time for this.”
He could only stare when the man began to laugh, a sound that came from deep within his belly. “If only you knew how apt it is you should refer to time,” he spluttered. “That at least is new.”
“Why do you insist upon talking in riddles?” he asked, about ready to turn on his heel.
“Humour an old man. We’ve had this conversation so many times I‘ve lost count.”
A slither of alarm travelled down his spine. He was clearly deluded.
Still he couldn’t prevent himself from asking one more question. “If that’s the case, why don’t you cut to the chase and tell me why I’m here exactly.”
“Your father,” he said as he walked towards Theo.
“What about my father?”
A wiry, veined hand clamped down on his shoulder. “Do you remember him?”
He shook of the hand and started to back away. “Of course not. He died when I was three.”
The old man wouldn’t give him an inch. “Do you remember how he died?” he asked.
“An accident at the factory.”
Theo watched him walk back towards the map. “Not exactly,” he said so quietly Theo strained to hear him.
“What do you mean by not exactly?” he demanded. “What do you know about my father?”
“He died to save you. He was part of the resistance.”
Theo felt panic skitter in his gut. “That doesn’t make any sense. How can his death have anything to do with me?”
“You have a gift, Theo. But there was an accident and now we’re all living in a loop only you can fix.” The old man’s quiet stare was haunting.
“You’re crazy.” He backed towards the stairs, amazed at his level of control. What he really wanted to do was turn and flee as quickly as his legs could carry him.
“What is it with the drones, Theo? What do you hope to achieve by bringing them into our reality.”
Theo shook his head. He’d rather go back and face the drones, than listen to any more from the guy.
He wondered if anything he said would make a difference. “I didn’t bring the drones.”
“Then who did?”
The question flummoxed him, and instead of moving away, he found himself walking closer to the old man. There was something familiar about him now. Something he couldn’t place. Like maybe he’d seen him before.
“Who are you?” Theo asked, watching as he grabbed a figurine from the map table.
“Don’t you remember?” He shoved the figurine into Theo’s hand. “I’m your grandfather.”
As his fingers curled around the object he was blasted with a memory, one strong enough to obliterate the walls of his prison.