A Gossamer Cage
Part 1 – Solace (1.1)
NOTE: This begins immediately following the prologue.
Reid hated mornings. Very late at night was great. Great late night TV, a nice quiet time to study, life was quiet. Early mornings were for the birds. That particular time of day was only tolerable if lots of coffee was available.
Realizing that his body was trying to wake up, he closed his eyes tighter and he snuggled deeper into the warmth of his covers. Curled on his side, he clenched his pillow tighter. It was Saturday morning, freezing cold out, and after the last week and his nightmare during the night, he wanted nothing to do with this morning.
Slowly, a sense of 'wrongness' penetrated. The more wrong things felt, the more still he became. The sounds around him were different. Rather than the traffic of the street below, he could hear wind and what sounded like a muffled roaring. A clearer rumbling was more audible. Forcing himself to breath slowly and regularly, he extended his senses. Wherever he was, he wasn't at home. The bed was comfortable, but it wasn't his. The air smelled different. The smell of high end, fresh coffee permeated the air. He perked up in spite of his adrenaline which was beginning to pump.
There was no sense of people, or of danger, just . . . different. Taking stock of himself, he noted that he wasn't hurt, but he felt heavy, drained. Like the after effect of a sedative of some kind. Great.
Finally, he cracked his eyelids, trying to see without opening his eyes. Because of how he was lying, all he could see was dark, aged, hardwood floor stained walnut. Definitely not his floor. Solid Navy Blue colored flannel sheets. Not his. Again, no sense of anybody around.
Opening his eyes wide, he took in as much of his surroundings as he could without showing he was awake to any watcher. A large, irregularly shaped room. Lots of windows, covered with drapes that blocked the brightest of the light, but still allowed enough to make the room dim, not dark. Nobody present.
Taking a deep breath, Spencer sat up and took in his surroundings. He certainly wasn't in Kansas anymore.
He was in an old fashioned, cannonball bed, tucked up under the eaves of an irregularly shaped room. Steep roof lines came down two thirds of the way down the walls, creating knee-walls. Windows on three sides of the spacious room, including a high, long, window only about a foot high above his head, right at the roof line.
A fire was burning in the gas fireplace across the room, creating heat and keeping the room at a nice temperature. A comfortable arm chair was in the corner at the foot of the bed's alcove facing the fire and a set of French Doors, covered with the same light blue drapes as the window his bed was pushed up next to. A chess set and timers sat ready for play on a small table next to the arm chair. A low cupboard door opposite his bed. Fully stocked built in bookshelves and a TV next to the door. Between the fireplace and the door sat a small cabinet with a small refrigerator, microwave and a counter with a coffee maker that was clearly on a timer and brewing coffee as he watched. A Kurieg coffee maker sat next to it. A sink completed the tiny kitchen.
Behind the head of the bed was a treadmill in a corner, an archway with a window beyond and what appeared to be a bathroom, at least what he could see of it. A built in dresser completed the spacious room.
The rumbling made itself known, and Reid looked at the foot of the bed. A Siamese cross short-haired cat gazed at him, purring from it's place, curled up on the down quilt.
Blinking, Reid just gazed around. He was wearing his own tee shirt and sleep pants that he'd gone to be in the night before. His ipod was on the bedstand next to his bed. A picture of his mother was next to that. A clock ticked softly, creating a homey sound. 8:00. Light out, so morning. Saturday?
Dr. Spencer Reid, genius, child prodigy, holder of multiple PHDs and not yet 27 years old, sat stunned and completely at a loss as to what had happened. Last night he'd gone to bed in his own small Virginia apartment, woke up with a nightmare at 2am, gone back to sleep, then woken up . . . . here. The more he thought about it, the more convinced that he'd been drugged. But how? And when? And, above all, why?
The purring got louder as the cat got up and picked it's way carefully over to push at Spencer's hand. Automatically, he started to pet it. The cat purred harder, and wound around the young man's hand and wrist. He probably would have sat there just petting the cat and dazed, had not nature chosen that moment to make him realize it was calling.
Bemused, he through back the covers, completely insulting the cat who stamped back to the foot of the bed, back turned pointedly. Swinging his feet to the floor, he found his slippers. They were his own slippers. Getting up, he made his was to the archway, and the0 alcove with the bathroom to the right of it. On the left, an old upright piano was shoved against the wall. After using the facilities, which were nice, and well fitted with a shower and a claw foot tub, as well as his shaving kit (again, how own shaving kit from his go-bag), he stopped at the window and swept back the curtains.
The first jarring note from the homey, comfortable atmosphere was the wrought iron bars on the window. But even though they looked ornate, they were clearly functional as well. Spencer blinked, then looked outside onto the cold, frosty landscape. He was high up, and he looked out onto a bleak, unkept field of high, brittle, winter grasses. The colors of washed out sage, and dry moss were windswept and rippled in the never-ending breeze. Nothing else. No other landmarks, just the field drawing away from the house into the distance.
What he could see of the house was dark roofing near his window, and weathered blues, grays and lavender paint. Victorian lines. He was in the attic of a Victorian house.
"Huh." Thinking a moment, he went to the opposite end of the room and pushed the drapes back from the French doors, and blinked. He looked out onto a small balcony. The deck was sheltered by the eaves, and looked out onto the ocean. An unending view of an angry sea, far below. Opening the doors, he stepped out, and realized that there were more ornate ironwork bars enclosing the balcony, making it into a very pretty cage. Inviting, but a cage none the less. A chaise lounge was covered against the weather and the cold.
Shivering, he stepped up to the end of the small balcony, and looked down as far as he was able, not that the bars would let him lean out. The height surprised him. The house was clearly built at the edge of a huge, rocky cliff, and far below, the breakers on the rocks created the muffled roaring he'd heard before. Only now it wasn't muffled. The sea was angry, and the swells broke over the rocks and reared up the cliff to a massive height. It looked to be a straight drop from his balcony to the water hundreds of feet below.
Retreating back to the warmth of the room, he shut the doors and returned to climb on his bed to push the drapes back from that window. This time a view of the cliff stretching away from the house, and more water and field. No habitations, no buildings, no boats, no anything. Just desolation and water.
Somehow, it seemed more peaceful than desolate.
Until you noticed the bars that were on this window as well.
Reid sat for a moment on the bed, thoughtful. He looked at the door across from the bed, in the middle of the wall. Crossing, he opened it. Inside was a dumbwaiter with many shelves. There was a plate with a selection of fruit, and some pastries. Breakfast, apparently.
Reid sat back on the bed, leaving the dumbwaiter door open. Then it hit him. He was a prisoner. A comfortable one, but a prisoner, none the less. There was no door to the outer world. Only windows. No trapdoors, no roof doors, nothing. He was imprisoned, he had no idea where, or why.
CM CM CM CM CM
Reid's next plan of action was typical for him. He proceeded to explore every nook and cranny of his prison, taking in every detail, mentally cataloguing every item available to him. He literally checked every inch of the floor, walls and ceiling. First, there was no door. No entry door, no trap door in the floor, no opening onto the roof. The windows opened, but the bars were welded into place. The only possible way in was down through the dumbwaiter, and that was clearly secured with heavy bars. He'd rested his whole weight on it, and not even a fraction of an inch budge.
Secondly, a lot of his own personal possessions were here. His clothes were in the built in dresser, and he'd even found a tiny closet with some of his sweaters hanging up. Many of his books were here, he'd found his go bag (neatly unpacked and stored), his messenger bag with contents, his laptop (no internet connection at all), and many of his books on tape. These were stacked neatly next to the TV/DVD player and a small portable tape deck. There wasn't any TV reception, but there was an interesting selection of movies and documentaries ready to pop into the DVD player. There were also CDs by his favorite composers.
A tiny, stackable washer and dryer were in the same closet as his clothes, and the refrigerator was fully stocked with his favorite juices, fruits, breads and meats and cheeses. There was music stacked on the piano. Music, again, from his favorite composers. The piano was a real draw. He hovered over it for a moment. He hadn't had a piano for years now, and he'd missed playing. And it was in tune. That was a bonus.
As astonishing as it was, all that he could have wished for with the exception of contact with the outside world was right here in this room. His tastes and interests were anticipated and provided for with uncanny precision. Right down to the nightlights stationed in the outlets throughout the room, clearly meant to keep the dark at bay.
The only things missing however, were vital. His wallet and all identification. His cell phone. And his FBI credentials and gun. Whoever had him, was planning on keeping him.
After taking several hours to examine his surroundings, he knew he was well and truly trapped. Sinking down on the edge of the bed, Spencer processed all the information. He knew he was a prisoner, but honestly? He found it hard to get very worked up about it. He was clearly intended to be here for awhile and somebody had gone to great lengths to make sure he was comfortable. That led to a less pleasant conclusion.
He'd been studied. All the little things, right down to his fear of the dark. Unease nibbled at him. Somebody had been watching him for a long, long time. This was well planned, and well executed.
A loud bang, followed by a louder rattle made him jump, then look at the dumbwaiter cupboard. Leaping to his feet, he reached the door in two long strides, hoping to see a way of escape. Thoughts of jumping on top of the contraption and sending it down and him along with it were uppermost in his thoughts as he wrenched open the door, only to be faced with a blank wall. A large piece of wood was blocking the doorway and access to the shute. And after a tentative push, then a much harder shove, it was clearly that it was securely bolted into place.
Ear to the wall, he could hear sounds.
"Help!" His voice was rusty. He cleared his throat. "Heelllpppp!"
"There isn't any need to shout, Dr. Reid." The voice echoed throughout the room, clearly heard although the speaker didn't raise his voice. Sound system in the walls, Reid's mind supplied. He stepped back from the wall warily.
"You didn't eat your breakfast. You must be hungry. Let's see if this is more to your taste."
Another rumbling, rising, and stopping behind the wall. More sounds like heavy bolts being shot into place and others moving, and the wall dropped, revealing the dumbwaiter once more. The fruit and pastry plates were still there, but also, a covered hot plate.
Reid looked at it warily.
The voice spoke again, gently this time. "There are no drugs. It's just food. Pad Thai. I believe that is your favorite."
Reid's stomach growled at the thought. Yum.
"I promise, Spencer. May I call you Spencer? It is safe. You are safe. You have no reason to fear."
Reid finally concluded that it probably was safe. After all, this person had gone to great lengths to make him comfortable. That didn't mean it would be safe later, but for now at least, he probably was okay. He took the plate over to a small coffee table in front of the fireplace, and dropped to the floor. Uncovering the tray, he found an appealing meal. Shrugging he began to eat.
"My team will come find me." The effect was somewhat lost by his mouth full of Thai food. And really good Thai food. He was starving.
"Ah, yeah," he said in spite of himself.
"Excellent." The man sounded satisfied. "And as for your team, yes, they will probably look for you. For awhile at least." The voice was oddly gentle.
Reid blinked. The man didn't sound worried about it at all. Odd. "They won't give up. And they won't be happy when they find you."
"Oh, they won't find me. They won't look that hard."
"You're wrong." Reid was positive in that.
"No, I'm not." And again, the voice was oddly gentle. "Deep down, you know that as well. To them, you are a tool. An unusual tool to be sure. They won't like the loss of that tool, and they will search. But other cases will come up, and they will be able to work without you. Slower, granted, but the same conclusions will be reached, and soon they will move on. They will look off and on, but with less and less intensity."
"You're wrong," Reid said again. But the seeds of doubt had been sown.
"Did they look for Jason Gideon?"
"Gideon left a note." Reid didn't question that the man knew about Gideon. This person had done their homework.
"Yes. But did he leave against his will after that? Or did he go off on his own. Did anybody look?"
"I did." Defensive.
"Of course you did. Did anybody else?"
Reid had to think about that.
"Enough for now. We'll have lots of time to talk. I'll leave you to sort out your thoughts."
"Wait! "Why are you doing this?" Reid was kicking himself for not asking earlier.
"Why? To save you of course. You are valuable. You're mind is something incredibly special. Too special to be wasted on the BAU and their 'use & abuse' policies. They use people, then discard them when they've used them up. Here you can think, write, explore. If you need anything, just let me know. I'll do my best to get it for you."
"But I'm a prisoner!"
"Only for now. In the future, we shall see." A click indicated that a microphone had shut off.
"Wait!" Reid shouted again. "Come back!"
Nothing. The room was silent again, except for the ticking clock and the sound of the surf on the rocks far below.
Reid picked up his fork again, and began to eat again, slowly, his mind working out his problem. Who on earth was this man? And where was he. The best option he had was to play along and see if he could profile the man behind the voice. Find the profile, find the weakness. And for the first time it struck him. The lack of a door into this room besides the secured dumbwaiter was a boon after all. Maybe he couldn't get out, but nobody else could get in except through the dumbwaiter. And he'd hear that long before somebody arrived inside.
With a deep sigh, he realized that he was tired clear down to the bone. Good food, and the after effects of the sedative no doubt. Getting up he stumbled over to the big bed, and crawled in, curling up on his side. He was a little surprised that he thought he could sleep, but frankly, he just couldn't keep his eyes open. Besides, he needed to be strong so he'd be ready when the team came. As he dropped off, he felt a weight settle near his back, then the sound of purring. Smiling slightly, he reached back and scratched the cat's ear lightly, and heard an increase in the purr. Sighing, he dropped off.