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Over the Top Secret - Chapter 22
AKA Another Damn Experiment
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Start at the beginning (Prologue - AKA Mission Report)
Read the previous chapter (Chapter 21 - AKA Oh Rats!)
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The chair is even less comfortable than it looks. Especially since Dr. Souris kicked the poor young lad out of it, leaving a stain of eye juices and probably pee down its spine. Yuck. I try my hardest to avoid the puddle of liquids, but it seeps into my jeans all the same. I scream bloody murder.
“Stop squirming!” Chantal barks. She’s holding me back with one arm to my gut, and her other is fastening my ankles in the leather straps attached to the torture device.
I can’t even think of something to say to distract her or slow her down. My chest is heaving with each gulp of air I take. Suddenly sewage scented oxygen tastes excellent, and I can’t get enough of it.
“If the information in T.O.P.S.E.C.R.E.T.’s file is correct, I am utterly baffled by the successful implementation of…” he squints at the screen and scrolls with the computer mouse, “…Project Mcguffin.”
Chantal has managed to tie my left ankle down, and now I have one less limb to fight with. My efforts focused on stalling Chantal and compartmentalizing this experience as it’s happening, I use what remaining brainpower I have left to try to figure a way out of here.
“So are we,” I tell him. “None of us have any idea what’s going on in my brain,” I continue, hoping I can dissuade him from whatever it is he’s planning, “or how it worked in the first place.”
“Quiet! I’m plotting.” He grabs a bunch of papers and scrolls through more notes on his computer. “This is exactly what I’ve needed from the start. I was so close, but I couldn’t bridge the gap!” He points at a page with some kind of squiggly equations, a clear gap in the scrawl. “But if I can analyze your brain and implement a system for my own personal use, perhaps—”
“Oh, come on!” I whine. “Another test?” What is it with scientists and their squiggly readings? “I’m so over these damn brain tests!”
He whirls on me, his fingers gripping the air like he’s holding a stress ball in each hand. Through gritted teeth, he says, “Do not interrupt me when I’m plotting!”
Chantal gets my second foot in the holster.
This isn’t looking good.
I decide to appeal to this Evil Villain’s ego. Maybe he’ll reveal everything to me the way the bad guys do in all those movies. (Though, the last time I tried to take survival cues from the movies, I ended up turning myself into The McGuffin… However, I don’t really see any other options at this point.)
“I’m sorry, Doctor,” I say, bowing my head for effect. “I’m just so, er, grateful to be part of one of your legendary experiments.”
His ears perk up at this statement. “Legendary?”
Ha! It’s working.
“Oh, yes. You’re all T.O.P.S.E.C.R.E.T. talks about. ‘Dr. Souris’ this ‘Evil Villain’ that…” I’m starting to babble. This happens when I’m nervous. Focus! “I couldn’t wait to become part of all the action.” I cringe on the inside. That’s definitely overdoing it. For sure.
“Did you hear that Chantal?” He laces his fingers together in a thinking position as he paces. Chantal grunts, fastening my wrist into the leather belt.
“Doctor, please tell me what I get to be a part of,” I say, batting my eyelashes by way of faux flirting. Chantal notices this and constricts the leather strap extra tight. My breath hitches.
In a few minutes, I won’t be able to feel that hand at all, but I ignore the pain and the mental image of my circulation being cut off. “What are all these fascinating tests for?”
“Under normal circumstances, I would take this opportunity to explain everything,” he checks his watch, “but since I’m running behind schedule, I must skip the monologuing and get right to the evil villain part.”
“But what about—”
“Shut up, girl!” he shouts. Chantal smirks at this, clearly pleased Dr. Souris is no longer fascinated with my fake flirting.
So much for listening to the movies.
“It’s time to give me your brain.” Dr. Souris says this with eyes aglow and a creepy grin that reveals all his tiny teeth, even the ones in the way back.
“My brain? What?”
“You are the first person to ever have information digitally downloaded to your mind! I need this technology. I need to make it work for myself.”
Alright, I always knew my brain was excellent (straight A’s since Kindergarten, hello), but why the sudden interest from evil villains and Top Secret government programs?
“Even I don’t understand how it works! It’s not worth your incredibly precious time, doctor.” Maybe if I pretend to care, he’ll be more agreeable.
“Nonsense! If I cannot duplicate the system, I will simply take your brain.”
My heart stops.
TAKE MY BRAIN?
“You don’t understand,” I start, “You-you can’t just, even Simon doesn’t,” I search for something, anything, that might resonate with Dr. Souris. “But it’s my brain!”
I admit it isn’t exactly a compelling argument.
“And soon it will be mine.”
Dr. Souris places the makeshift helmet over my head, and I realize it’s the lacrosse helmet from my vision. Just like in my vision, it’s covered in different colored wires and frayed copper mesh that attach to the computer selling all of T.O.P.S.E.C.R.E.T.’s goodies.
But unlike my vision, it doesn’t seem like a toy. No, this helmet feels deadly as hell. There’s no way I’m letting him put it on my head.
Then again, if it was in my vision, maybe that means I’m supposed to be here?
Gah, it’s useless trying to come up with positives in this scenario. Not when the only thing I can do is watch an Evil Villain steal my own brain from my head!
My pulse quickens. My breathing turns shallow. I frantically search the place for some kind of solution, but I’m drawing a blank.
Chantal watches me with a cocked eyebrow. “It’s pointless trying to get out of those, darling. If they can hold me, they can hold anyone,” she says with a sultry voice. It occurs to me that this chair may have been used for worse things than experimentation. I fight the urge to vomit once more.
An incredibly loud metallic clanging shakes through the walls, followed by a raucous wailing and screeching. Wild animals must have been let loose in the sewers of Paris.
Chantal stops fastening my arms to stare down the hall where the noise came from.
“What was that?” she asks, now at full attention.
“Go find out,” Dr. Souris tells her. He fiddles with The Backup on its little plastic platform.
Chantal gives me a pointed glare. “Do not try to escape again, girl. I will find you and throw you over the railing myself.” She turns and darts down the hallway, her bumps and curves bouncing with each step.
The frightening speed at which she runs contrasts comically with the image of a frumpy old lady in pointy heels. Nevertheless, it sends a wave of creepiness down my spine.
Dr. Souris places some more wires in the helmet and grabs a remote control. He brings the germ-riddled device high above his head with eyes glimmering in the lamplight. The tiny man wiggles the oversized helmet to get it to lay on my head just right, then steps away from me cautiously, like someone distancing himself from a coming explosion.
“Do not fight it, girl,” he says, raising his voice over the sudden electrical whirring that fills the room.
A salty tear makes its way to the corner of my mouth. It’s my tear, I realize. Damn it! I don’t want this to be the end.
The computer and the wires and the helmet all glow as electrical current fills them up. “In a moment you may be dead, or you may lose all original thoughts in your mind, or you may feel lighter, or—”
“You don’t know what’s going to happen?” I shriek.
“That’s the nature of an experiment!” He laughs evilly (which is only one adjective off from Simon’s unnerving giggle, though I’d much rather be in his electrocution chair right now) and presses the button on his little remote.
A surge of energy shoots through the wires, and I can feel heat build in the helmet on my head. I grit my teeth and scrunch my face up, expecting the worst. I make sure to keep my eyes clamped shut, in case they decide to start melting like the guy before me.
Dear God, I hope that doesn’t happen.
“Yes!” he cries, the sound of the machine now so loud I can’t even hear myself panting. “Surrender to the power, girl! Give me your mind!”
A jolt of energy explodes in my brain, sending commands to every muscle and joint to twitch like a person who just chugged twelve cups of espresso. I fight against it as hard as I can, but the twitching continues until something hot and heavy runs down my face. Is that… blood? It runs over my lips. I lick them but taste nothing. Is it all in my head? Is my brain leaking out?
Something POPS off the helmet and a piece of metal flies across the room, lodging itself in the stone wall behind Dr. Souris. He furrows his unibrow and adjusts the dial on his little remote. The previously increasing electrical current noises reach a sudden halt, then begin to die down. The fans of the computer start purring as they cool the machinery. I can hear my panting again.
What’s happening? I want to cry out, but my body is shaking from shock.
Dr. Souris presses every button on his remote with force. “What is wrong with you, you piece of shit?”
It merely beeps back at him. He smacks it against the wall with a huff, then rushes over to the computer. As he scans the readings on his screen, I wonder what Simon’s readings are telling him now.
“Merde!” He slams his fist on the table, then he whirls around and tinkers with the helmet. “Agh! I need another piece of equipment.” Dr. Souris trudges toward the hallway.
“What did you just do to me?” I yell after him.
“Nothing! That’s the problem!” He shakes his head. “I will have to take your brain directly out,” he continues, now muttering the details to himself as he shuffles down the hallway. “Subject fifty-nine could be of assistance…”
His voice fades, and I’m left alone to struggle against my leather bounds. Now is my chance to get out of here! I shake and twist and wriggle as hard as I can but to no avail. Chantal is damn good at tying people up.
I look to The Backup, taunting me from its perch on the little plastic platform. It’s right there! And I can’t even move.
Hot tears sting my eyes, and suddenly all the emotions hit me at once.
My bones ache from exhaustion. The one thing I ate in the last twenty-four hours drained me of all the energy I thought I had left, and now I’m trapped in an underground dungeon covered in the nasty stuff of my nightmares. I can’t do anything about it. Except for cry. Like a baby. And wonder where the hell Eric is.
Maybe I can telepathically talk with The McGuffin. How do I get out of here, McGuffin? Tell me something useful! My eyes bulge from their sockets as I stare at The Backup, pretty sure I’ve gone crazy.
“Crrrk!” A faint static noise fills my ear. I gasp.
“Are you… talking to me?” I squint at The Backup, terrified and in awe at the same time. Maybe Dr. Souris’ experiment gave me superpowers.
“Crrrk! Cccrrrrrkkk!” This time it seems farther away.
“Julie! Come in, over. Crrrk!”
Eric! He’s talking to me through my earpiece. I let out a surprised little shriek.
“Eric!” I whisper loudly. “Eric, can you hear me?”
He doesn’t answer.
“Over?” I add. Then I remember there’s a way to adjust the volume. If I could only reach my earpiece, but my arms are no use. I push my head against the helmet, trying to use the frayed copper strands to adjust the dial in my ear. Almost there… gotcha!
“Eric? Do you come in?”
“Julie! Where the hell are you?” His voice screeches in my ear, the volume turned up to 100%. I quickly dial it down, banging my head against my helmet like an imbecile and blinking away the stars in my vision.
“Did you fall into the toilet or something? Jesus,” he continues.
What a lovely partner.
“I was kidnapped, you ass!” I tell him all about how I was brought to an underground lair by a strong old lady, and now an Evil Villain is trying to sell The Backup to fund some type of experiment and steal my brain. Oh, and also that Greyson is here. I whisper that last part, realizing it would be terrible to add a conscious Greyson to the situation.
“You’ve experienced blunt force trauma.”
“Just hurry up and find me before Dr. Souris turns me into another one of his deformed rejects!”
“Calm down. How did you get from the bathroom to where you are now?”
“Did you even listen to me?” This guy is unbelievable. “I was drugged and kidnapped!”
He laughs— actually laughs— and says, “I can’t believe you were drugged again.”
Why did I ever think this idiot would come to my rescue? Then I get an idea.
“I’m looking right at The Backup, but I can’t get to it because I’m tied up,” I tell him. Maybe that will get his attention.
“I’m coming, Julie,” he says, suddenly serious. What a jerk.
“Hurry up! He’s going to be back any second,” I whisper loudly.
Nothing. A few moments pass. I wait with bated breath.
“Eric!” I whisper again.
“Crrrk! I’m currently approaching what looks to be a corridor of mutated slaves, probably the ones you were talking about. Just sit tight and I’ll be right there.”
How the hell did he find this place so quickly?
His voice crackles back in again. “Oh gosh, you poor little thing—”
A cacophony of chaos erupts in my ear, cutting Eric off. The call goes completely to static.
“Eric!” I say, but he’s gone.
Oh boy. The little bird girl must have figured out he knows me.
Just then, multiple sets of footsteps echo down the hall.
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