I know it’s been a few months, I apologize for that. I have the attention span of a flea sometimes, that &&& I’m lazy. Lazy as in I do nothing. But I’m pretty sure everyone is like that sometimes. But here, finally, is part four. For anyone who thinks their behind and wants to catch up, or just haven’t read them yet: Here is Part One, Two, &&& Three. I’m working on Part Five as I write this && should be done by the 20th. At least that’s what I hope since that’s when it’s due for the thing at work. ((I hate the way it copies.))
It had been a month since Zaire had been brought to a location without any knowledge. He felt in a daze ever since Quinn had brought him in after lying to him about her motivations. He wanted to zip inside of a time machine back to the day he met her in the hospital where she began spitting out lies about how she turned down a wrong road moving into a town which she loved and now everyone in the town, except her, has the same illness he has. But in reality there is no such town or people, and he’s the only one that was poisoned and that’s because of Quinn.
He had never wanted to go home as much as he did right now as he sat in the middle of a twin concrete bed, a thin stained mattress – without a sheet – with one pillow and a thin white blanket. The room he was given was small, almost the size of a bathroom in most apartments in New York City, and included a small window above his bed, a desk with an old style typewriter, stack of a solid white copy paper, and a lamp sitting on it, a closet that held his clothes, a two drawer side table that held pencils, notepad, and a bag of erasers.
Was Quinn trying to tell him something?
The restroom was three doors down on the left in a hallway by itself right next to a water fountain. He wasn’t grateful for much, but he was really happy that the door to his room wasn’t locked and he was able to leave. It wasn’t much, however, since he wasn’t able to leave the actual building. He found himself a few times standing on his bed looking out of the window at the grass, trees and people that walked by. He realized he was on an actual street with families probably in a large house. The inside didn’t look like it, though, since all of the walls were silver and bolted together almost like everything was metal. He was pretty sure the outside looked like a house or people would be looking at it weirdly. But they weren’t; people would just walk past smiling and making jokes. But for him this was a complete nightmare.
Standing up from the bed he stretched his legs and then back. The last couple of days his legs have been bothering him – hurting in places he’s never hurt before. At first he was blaming it on his illness but he has come to realize it’s because of his sitting all day and every day. His body was giving up on him and there wasn’t much he could do about it. So instead, he would stand up in his tiny room and walk around, or walk around the hallways that connected other rooms. He began doing this daily, up and down hallways, trying to get the feel of the building and land trying to decide what he was going to do. On the walks he’d look at all of the closed doors and wonder if there were other people in them. Are they sick? Did she lie to them and tell him how she was a sad maiden living a life of happiness and needs someone to slay her dragon? Or was it just him? Was he the only one she has treated like crap over a span of months?
After his daily walk he made his way back to his tiny room and sat down at the desk and stared down at the typewriter. Since being here he had actually never sat and just looked at everything on this desk. The typewriter was a brand he hadn’t heard of, Steinaker. He thought of himself as a typewriter connoisseur. But looking at this one and staring at the brand name he realized he didn’t know as much as he thought.
He looked around at all of the objects sitting on top of the desk. A couple of them seemed a little shocking to him. They went out of their way to make sure that the bed was made of concrete and the chair, sitting at the desk, was made of concrete and then they placed a small, thin, red seat cover on top. But on the desk was a pair of scissors, a box of paper clips, thumb tacks, a metal letter opener and then a few other odds and ends like a telephone (which he was pretty sure didn’t work), tape dispenser, a bottle of Purell, speakers that was connected to an empty iPod base, a box of Kleenex, pens and pencils.
Why would they do that if they wasn’t going to keep the bed metal or have a metal chair? I could do more damage with scissors. He shook his head trying to clear his mind.
Noticing the piece of paper sticking out of the top of the typewriter he pulled it out and read the line that was written out loud, “Write until your heart explodes.” A part of him was pretty sure she meant that literal. Figuring he’d humor her he grabbed a clean sheet of paper and slid it inside of the typewriter and began typing: He was silent as she stood behind her. He could see the goosebumps form on her arms, she knew he was standing there but she didn’t move a muscle. Normally, people would move when the person who wanted them dead stood there. But she didn’t. She decided to go ahead and trust him, the man, one who used to trust and have faith in every word that she said. A part of him even believed there might be a future friendship, but no – lies. It’s all she told and he couldn’t help the impulse.
At times he found himself feeling like he was in a trance – she was the witch. He needed to get away and he’d known it all along but that part, the single part that believed everyone had good, trusted her way too much. Now he finds himself in trouble – a bleak predicament that he didn’t see himself getting out of anytime soon. Doing her bidding because she was too afraid to do it on her own. He laughed inwardly, still silent – the crazy part of him didn’t want her to have any satisfaction with any mood he may, or may not be in.
Right now he was angry. He has been for a while. But he…
A knock at the door stole his attention. He sighed – it had been so long since he was able to sit and just write, even if he didn’t feel as if the words would take him anywhere – that it felt nice. His fingers sliding across the keyboard clicking the letters and watching as they print themselves onto the beautiful white paper. He stood up and made his way over to the door – he opened it revealing a large Mexican man, his name tag read Jorge, holding a tray of food. He handed Zaire the tray, nodded, and turned – walking away. Zaire knew this is the part of day he should be excited – who doesn’t get excited over food? But for him, this was about as good as receiving a large box of snakes screaming your name.
He chuckled to himself, a box of snakes might be better.
He placed the tray of food on his bed and sat down beside it. The best looking part was the roll and butter. He wasn’t sure what the rest was – it kind of resembled what his mother would call goulash – but since it was all he could have for the rest of the evening he decided to just be grateful she fed him anything and ate it without complaints. The sweat tea, however, was a welcomed gift. He sometimes found himself wishing he got it more often. But she – she as in Quinn – would only give him water to drink throughout the day leaving the sweat tea for meals only.
12:00 AM flashed on the clock that hung on the wall above the desk. Zaire wasn’t asleep, he instead was rolled into a ball in the farthest corner of his bed – he felt like he was sixteen again after watching a scary movie and couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t shut his mind off, finally understanding how women felt when they just sat up until odd hours of the night just thinking about everything – his main thought was of course – is there a way out of there?
He could pull a scary movie stunt and start screaming while looking through the window, even though it’s closed and locked – knowing no one can hear him. He could attempt to run – he has found the front door – it should be too hard to open it. He could attempt to overpower someone or something or…
Zaire took a deep breath and felt defeated. He knew he wouldn’t be able to make a break for it through the front door because it is logically locked and would need a key. He also realizes that there is no way he could overpower anyone in this place to get a key to one of the doors. He may not be a rocket scientist, but he’s not completely dense. He knows he is stuck here to wait for Quinn to decide what she really wants him for. He figures if it is to actually kill an evil dictator, he will soon die anyway.
But tonight he has decided he’s too tired to fight or care. His body feels like it has been ran over by a semi-truck and then tied to an anchor and sent to the depths of the ocean. Tonight – he has given in to his fate of death – and is accepting it is what it is.
Tomorrow, he might feel different.
Breakfast is just as bad as dinner possibly worse since they decide to make gravy which looks a lot like grits. At first he thought it was grits until he realized it was slathered over biscuits. Everything is bland unless he finally just lost his taste buds. He was told once it might happen but he knew he needed to eat to survive, so he did.
Once finished, like he does every day, he picked up his dirty dishes and made his way to the door. Opening it he came nose to nose with Quinn. His face fell, he flipped the tray toward her, shut the door and walked away. No part of him ever wanted to look at her again and knowing that she was there meant she was going to explain herself – he didn’t want to hear anything she had to say.
The door opened, Quinn let herself in, “That was extremely childish.”
Zaire laughed, “Me… Being childish? You have nerve to come in here and tell me that.”
“You know you’re going to have to forgive me, especially when you start your mission.”
He shook his head, “I don’t want a mission. I want to go home and die – alone. But you’re making this really hard for me.”
“I’m not making it hard, I’m just trying to get you to understand that you’re meant for more.”
“Who says? You? You did all of this. It’s not like God dropped down to my door step and explained to me that there was an evil guy who needed to die. Do I look like someone who goes around killing people willy nilly?”
“Zaire, this is why I picked you.”
His anger was building but he knew there was no point in being this angry. There was nothing he could do about it – she wasn’t going to let him go. He wouldn’t be able to get out so he might as well just accept it. He took a deep breath and stared at her with an emotionless look.
“Then do tell, Quin…” His voice was dry. “What exactly do you want me to do?”
Quinn paced the floor, “I need you to dispose of Josef Aguilar.”
He rubbed his face. “I’m not sure I recognize the name.”
“You wouldn’t, he’s nameless; faceless, right now. But if we don’t do something quick he’s going to be all over everything and that’s not a good idea.”
“Let me guess, you got your information from a gopher.”
She sighed, “No, and please take this serious, I know this because he’s my Uncle.”
He went to say something but stopped leaving his mouth open a tad. He wasn’t sure how to take this. She wants him to kill her Uncle.
“Yes, Zaire, I want you to kill my Uncle.”
“But why? Why would you want me to kill your family member?”
Quinn took a seat on the bed and patted the spot next to him for him to sit, never taking her eyes off of the floor. “He has plans that are going to hurt many people and I feel as if I have to stop him.”
“Okay, so why do you need me?”
“When I first met you, Zaire, I thought you were him. I have never seen someone look so much like him that I almost called you Josef until I heard you talk. That’s when I realized you wasn’t him and I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
“Where did you first meet me? You said you’re the reason I’m sick – so where did you find me to get me sick?”
Quinn shrugged, “You went to Taco Bell one night to get a very late dinner. I was sitting in the parking lot in my car. When I saw you I got out and followed you because of the resemblance. But when you ordered your food you sounded nothing like my Uncle. So I left. Once at home, even while I slept, all I could do was think about you. I figured if anyone could bring him down it’d be someone who looks a lot like him.”
“So that night, at home when you were lying in bed, you just decided to make me sick so when you brought it up I’d feel… what? Like I was obligated to do something heroic since I don’t have much of a life left?”
“Not exactly the thoughts I had.” Quinn reached in her pocket and pulled out a cell phone – clicked a couple buttons and pulled up a webpage. She turned the phone toward him and showed him his Facebook page. “When I couldn’t go to sleep that first night I looked you up. It wasn’t hard to get your name since it’s such a small town. I noticed you were a writer in a slump, I figured you could write about this adventure. That’s why I have so many writing things in here.”
“So you stalked me?”
She shrugged, “If that’s what you want to call it.”
“So how much of what you told me was true?”
Quinn licked her lips and made a face, “I knew you’d eventually ask me that. Most of what I said is true. The town doesn’t exist, both of my parents are alive, and I didn’t come from California. I was actually born in Davenport and my parents live on the Northside. My Uncle, Josef, actually lived in Davenport once himself, he was a teacher, but once he decided to take over the United States he had to go back to the mainland. He needed people and many at that.”
“You haven’t told me his plans yet.”
“When he left Davenport he found a group of people that believe like he does. They have all agreed that one day he’s going to dress up like a plumber and drive to the White House. Go in pretending to be a plumber and make everyone sick – put them to sleep, if you will. Once everyone is out him and his men are going to break in, tie everyone up, and drag them to the basement.”
Zaire starts laughing, “I’m sorry for laughing, but that is the dumbest idea I have ever heard. He’ll never be able to pull anything like that off. There are way too many people in there and I’m pretty sure not everyone drinks tap water. I personally don’t have to kill him, he’ll kill himself when he tries – which is when? Do you know that information?”
“Next Thursday. Josef is smarter than you think.”
“I don’t want to do this, you do realize this, correct? I don’t think I have a murderous bone in my body anywhere. The fact that you’re asking me to kill someone shows you didn’t stalk me very well.”
“Fine! If you cannot kill him then bring him to me. That’s it, then you can leave, and be done with everything. Can you at least do that?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
Quinn stood up from the bed and walked over to the door. She reached out and wrapped her hand around the door knob before stalling with her eyes on the floor, “We’re going to find out soon, very soon, Zaire, if you have what it takes to go get him and bring him to me. I know you’re hesitant, but this is the only way I will be able to let you go.”
“Quinn, the other doors in this place.” He stopped trying to get his thoughts together.
She turned the door knob to leave but pause in the door way and looked back at Zaire, “They didn’t do what I asked.”