Chapter 11: If I Could…
"Cat?" Tess' voice shook her own body. Her fear stressed Cat, who was sitting next to her in the car, even further. Even though she still had a blindfold on, Tess turned in Cat's direction. "What the hell is going on?"
"You need to shut up Tess." Cat whispered. "The less you know the better."
JT leaned closer to Cat. "Not that it'll make much difference now."
"You worry too much!" Cat stressed her voice.
JT matched her tone. "Says the person who has been abducted by them before."
"You've been abducted before?" Tess pushed herself closer to Cat, their shoulder pressed together. JT and Tess squished Cat inward. Soon, she knew, she was going to loose the ability to breath. "Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you report it?"
"Shut up!" JT demanded Tess at his normal volume.
The car stopped. Its sudden halt forced JT and Tess away from Cat. Air returned to Cat's lungs. The car door slammed open.
"Let's go." A man grabbed them took them from the car one by one. "We have some catching up to do."
If the blindfolded could see, they would see their breaths coming out in puffs; visible in the winter's night air. Their puffs only grew more visible once they brought inside and seated on stools. Footsteps' echoes told Cat what kind of structure they were in: Another abandon warehouse. Men tied their feet together. Cat was grateful Tess had experience handling pressure. From leaving the car to the warehouse, Cat didn't hear a word spoken. She reasoned JT's fear prevented him from saying anything.
"Cat?" Evan's voice interrupted her problem solving. Before she could respond, her blindfold was removed. Cat blinked and discovered she was looking straight at Evan. Her heart sunk. "What are you doing here? What's going on? Are you okay?"
Cat's closed eyes told Evan not to single her out.
"How sweet," one of the suited men started. "There's a little romance between two of our prisoners." He walked and towered over Evan. "Finding your weakness wasn't hard, was it?"
Evan looked up at the man and matched his intense glare. They connected only for a second. Without moving a limb, Evan's eyes searched the room. JT and Tess were tied up across from Cat. A suited man stood next to each captive.
"You guys are ambitious. Abducting two officers and their coworkers. That seems like a fail-safe strategy to me." Evan couldn't help adding sarcasm to his voice.
The man crossed his arms. His tone and posture demanded respect. "You quite ambitious yourself, Mr. Marks. Attempting to recreate cross-species DNA. We found your research in your lab. Impressive. It's too bad we destroyed it after you worked so hard on it."
Evan gaped at the interrogating man, too stunned and devastated to speak. Evan caught JT's attention, hoping JT was as outraged as he felt, and was disappointment to find JT's expression unchanged.
Comebacks rolled on Evan's tongue and he did everything he could to hold them in. Something didn't quite fit together to Evan. His eyes turn to slits upon examining JT again. Evan recalled the impression JT gave him that he held the power. "'Friends in high places?'" Evan threw JT's words back at him. "So were you playing me or were you the one who told them where to find my research?"
"If I was the one who turned you in," JT whispered. "I would hovering over you right now and not tied to a stool."
Evan's menacing tone echoed through the warehouse. "You bastard."
"Enough!" The man ordered quiet. He placed his hands on his hips to address Evan. "Where is he?"
Evan snapped his attention to the interrogating man. Despite acting interested, the man could see through Evan's blank expression. "Who?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Mr. Marks. The man whose DNA you found at two different crime scenes. The man you are researching with JT Forbes." The man in the suit half-turned and pointed at JT. "Where is he?"
Evan's eyes widened. "You're looking for the creature that my cross-species DNA sample belongs to? I'm just as curious as you are. I have been looking for him myself."
The man laughed, sending more chills through the warehouse. "Lying won't get you out of here sooner, Mr. Marks."
"No. I'm serious. If you're looking for the creature, I want to help you in any way I can."
The man laughed again. With his back to Evan, he approached JT. "And would you offer your services as well, Mr. Forbes? Or can you share his location with the group?"
Still trembling, JT managed to meet the man's glare. If he held it any longer than a second, though, he knew he was going to spit in his face.
"Leave him alone!" Cat's scream echoed through the empty room.
The man in the suit turned. Cat sat straighter. "Catherine Chandler. I almost forgot you were here. But then, how could I? You look so much like your mother."
Cat watched the man walk towards her, her revulsion to him growing with every step. "You would know, right?" Cat risked responding. "You were one of the men who killed her that night. I remember your face."
For the first time, anger raged through Evan. He sat up, realizing their abduction had much more to it than he thought.
The suited man crossed his arms. "Where is he?"
Cat refused to look at the man; refused to give him any kind of respect. Suddenly, her gut jolted. Her familiar feeling alerted her on Vincent's presence. On instinct, Cat looked up at the ceiling. There he was, hiding in the rafters of the building.
Relief flooded over her. Feeling a smile coming, Cat returned her attention to the man interrogating her. Abhorrence filled her body when their eyes collided.
"Why would I know anything about your cross-species DNA creature?" Cat's mouth turned sour using their terminology, but she knew she had no choice. "I haven't been researching him."
"Maybe not." The man's sinister smile sickened Cat further. "But you are the one who reported his DNA in a couple months ago and have been protecting him ever since."
Cat couldn't look at the man. She knew daring to connect with Vincent for a second time would only risk exposing him. Yet, when she noticed JT's sweat beads running down his forehead, Cat urged herself to relieve him somehow.
She waited for JT to look at her. Waiting, Cat didn't know whether JT was more determined to fix his sight on the man's jacket and pretend to shoot fireballs at him or to avoid her gaze altogether.
"Okay, the silent treatment. I'd be a fool not to expect that. So, I'll make you a deal." The man started. Cat had heard his speech before the last time she was abducted and knew to ignore it. "You give me Vincent and I'll tell you everything that happened to your mother."
Cat put on a smile for the man. Holding his attention with one eye, Cat looked passed him with the other. Finally JT found her. The knots in Cat's stomach twisted when she risked looking at Vincent in hopes JT would follow her eye line.
Cat was sure he had when he laughed out loud.
The suited man swiveled on JT's laugh. He took large steps and was in his face instantly. "Something funny?"
"It is funny," JT started. The man knew he had lost some advantage when he saw the twinkle in JT's former frighten eyes. "That's your offer? 'Hand over Vincent and I'll tell Cat about her mother's secret life.' If Big Brother knew anything, which you don't, you would know we solved her mother's murder weeks ago."
Tess had kept her promise to keep quiet until now. For when she heard JT's announcement she blurted out, "What?"
Evan too, couldn't suppress his surprise and spoke over Tess. "Excuse me?"
Both exclamations were ignored, however, and the warehouse was silent. Although the man was a professional, Cat could swear he hadn't foreseen this revelation and it had trapped him – at least for a moment.
His weakness didn't last long. The man had recovered as soon as he crossed his arms. "Well. How disappointing." He smiled. "So much for a calm exchange of information. It seems you would rather divulge your knowledge the hard way." The man nodded to the guard on Tess, who instantly pulled her off her stool while another man brought in a tub of ice-cold water.
"Stop!" Evan yelled. "You don't know what you're doing! She's a police officer!"
"Don't tell him anything, Cat." Tess looked at her friend. Cat saw Tess' fear as she watcher her dragged on the floor to the tub.
"No! Wait!" Cat yelled. "Stop!"
Cat's yells pieced through Vincent. He closed his eyes and hoped her cries would be enough to transform. Everyone would be safe, including his true identity, if he could control when he transformed.
"You didn't think we brought along your useless friends for nothing, did you?" The man asked Cat with satisfaction. "Now," He nodded to the guard who pushed Tess' head into the freezing water on command. "Where is Vincent?" The man asked Cat. His square posture looked down at her and demanded an answer.
Tess' fight kept growing more and more violent. Soon, Tess' pain transferred to Cat. She knew she just had to look up at Vincent for him to end both their sufferings. Yet, Cat waited. She gave herself time to weigh the consequences of her decision before begging him to assuage their pain.
Cat's tortured expression was all it took for Vincent to transform. Once his beast came out, Cat turned back to her abductor. She whispered, "He's right above you."
Everyone lifted their gazes to the beast. He flew down from the ceiling. Tess was released. Guns were brought out from nowhere and aimed at Vincent. Cat watched Vincent's beast take out the suited men in the warehouse, starting with their interrogating leader in front of her.
Incomprehensible yells filled the warehouse. Only Cat held her composure. She kept her eyes on Vincent's beast's actions. Throughout her abduction, including Tess' torture, now Cat could allow herself to feel her fear rushing through her body. Every action went by in slow motion to Cat. She permitted herself an exhale after the last man was taken down.
Vincent's beast was at Cat's side the second the last man had fallen. Cat could feel his adrenaline between them when he walked behind her in attempt to untie her. His attempt soon failed and frustration fueled Vincent's beast to cry out.
"Shhh! It's okay." Evan heard Cat's calming of the creature incredulously. "Come here. Look at me."
Vincent knew he couldn't look at her. The second he did, his true self would be revealed to Evan.
He tried again to untie Cat with success. He wondered if somehow Cat's voice could calm him just enough to settle his nerves.
Once free, Cat reached for him. However, only when he backed away from her touch did she understand he had no desire to transform back.
"Hey Dumb and Dumber!" JT yelled across the room. "She's not the only one tied up here, you know."
Cat held Vincent's beast's gaze. She placed her hand on his arm and then demanded, "Go!"
In a blink, the beast disappeared.
"Cat?" Evan spoke out from his stool. "Care to enlighten me on what just happened?"
There was an unspoken agreement between the enlighten ones in the room to ignore Evan for as long as they could. Cat kneeled to the floor to untie Tess, not allowing herself time to soothe her friend. Cat ran to help JT without looking back at Tess.
"I told you not to worry so much," Cat whispered to JT when she untied him. "It's okay."
JT turned back to her, "You call five dead guys, Evan and Tess not having to worry so much. Really?"
Cat turned to Evan, who Tess had just untied, to see him examining the distance from the ceiling to the floor. He soon turned to study the cause of death of the man at his feet.
Tess ran to Cat and folded her into an embrace. While she leaned on her friend's shoulder, all Cat could do was watch the blood of five men diffuse on the floor.
A/N: A week went by without an update! Aren't you appalled? :)