Returnee #1224

Returnee #1224 stalked the Quarantine holding area like a caged lion. He did not fume exactly, but his impatience and irritation were obvious by his furrowed brow and hard eyes. He stroked his beard. As he looked around the room, he saw confusion, bewilderment, sorrow, and fear. It was understandable. He was also experiencing a small amount of disorientation. He didn't like it. It was disconcerting for man of such self possession to feel even a little out of control. But the situation was far from ordinary. He had to acknowledge that. Being abducted…abducted. He shook his head in disbelief and smirked: the very idea.

Who had taken him? Where had he been? What was their angle? Was he still in business? Was his money safe? How long had he been gone? Did they declare him dead? He had so many questions: questions that needed answers. He was not a man used to being stonewalled. The fact that they were being held here with little information about their condition and even less about the outside world was offensive. What about their families? He had no family, but the argument was sound. The drab, kaki jumpsuit was also unacceptable. He hated he idea of equality or anonymity if only in dress. He was a leader of men, not an everyman.

Suddenly, he felt a touch on his pant leg and flinched at it. Looking down he saw a blonde haired little girl. Her face was soft, but sad. He had not thought of the possibility of children.

"Hello there," he said, smiling and extending his hand.

She took his hand, brightening at the contact. "Hello. How are you?"

"I'm fine," he replied. "How are you?"

"I've been better. It's cold in here and I'm kind of lonely."

He marveled at her honesty. She seemed older than the small body she inhabited. "You are right about it being cold in here. Perhaps we should ask our guardians to turn up the heat?"

The little girl shrugged. "They won't do it."

"How will you know if you don't ask?" he said amiably.

"I just know."

He kneeled in front of her. "How old are you?"

"Eight," she said looking directly into his eyes. "I have something to tell you."

"Really?" he replied, still enjoying the interaction. "Something for me?"

"He will be your greatest pride, but your most bitter enemy."

He stood up, scowling, shocked at her words. He looked at her incredulously. "What? Who?"

"That's all I know," she said.

"You are a strange little girl…" he said, wanting to say her name.

"Maia," she said, helping him.

"Maia, I'm Jordan Collier."

"I know," she replied, turning an about face and skipping into the sea of kaki jumpsuits.

He considered her as she disappeared across the common. More questions that will most definitely need answers, he thought.