Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Twenty-Two: Naptime

-x- With Gianna -x-

“Now, sweetie, I need you to talk to me for awhile. It won’t take long, and then you can go back to sleep,” Schlagger said in a soft tone of voice to the little girl he’d had brought to the office he’d set up as his own. Alonsa was standing on the side of the room, an annoyed look splashed across her face.

“I wanna go to sleepy now,” Gianna yawned crankily, crossing her arms over her chest. She didn’t know that the man standing in front of her; the man who had slowly been attempting to brainwash her, was Erich Schlagger, or that he was trying to find her aunt. She didn’t know that Schlagger was keeping Zack in solitary confinement in a small, three by three room in the basement of the Hospital, tied to a chair with no food or water. She didn’t know any of these things. All she knew was that she was tired, and she wanted sleep.

“Well, if you tell me what I need to know, we’ll make sure you get a nice, long nap,” he told her with a small smile, patting her shoulder before he handed her a teddy bear. “Now, I’m trying very hard to find your auntie Melissa, but she keeps running further and further away, and we can’t find her anywhere. We want to bring her back here so she can be with you and your Uncle Zacky again.”

Gianna thought about it for a minute, and then nodded. She didn’t know what she could possibly tell the man that would help bring Melanie back, but she really wanted to see her Aunt again. She missed her, and if this man could bring her back so that her and Uncle Zacky and Aunt Mel could play together like they used to when she was too little to recall real, solid memories—then she’d do everything she could to help.

“Did your auntie ever tell you where she would try to go if she was in trouble?” Schlagger asked her, crouching down to Gianna’s level so that he’d seem more approachable to the little girl. She frowned for a minute, and then gave him a frightened look.

“Is she in trouble for leaving?” Gianna asked in a small voice. Erich knew that his word choice was crucial with a girl like the one he was talking to, and he shook his head with a friendly smile on his face. He hadn’t gotten to this point in his regime by telling the truth and being honest. Erich Schlagger was a man who was more concerned with the big picture, and if it took a few little lies and dead bodies to get to that point, nothing else really mattered to him.

“No, no,” Erich shook his head as he gave her a reassuring chuckle. “We just need to know where we should start looking. The sooner we know what direction she’s headed, the sooner we can bring her back to you.”

That, at least, was the truth. Or at least, a partial truth. The military had scoured every square inch of the land surrounding Haverly Hospital, and had even gone further, up to Fullerton. No one had seen a thing, and all eyes were peeled. He knew he had his best scout, Pierre Bouvier, on the case, and that if anyone could find them, it would be the Canadian spy. But it would take Pierre just as long as the military, if not longer because he was working alone. He’d been debriefed once since Melissa Baker and her friends had escaped the prison, and had had no information to give. This was taking far too long for Erich’s taste, and he knew that Gianna might hold the key to everything.

“Auntie Mel never told me to go anywhere if I was in trouble,” she frowned at the man as she thought about the few times she’d had to just talk to Melissa. “She always said to just hide, and not come out.”

Schlagger sighed before looking up at Alonsa, who appeared to be bored by the little girl. He knew his wife’s stance on children, and he shared the same views. He realized now that he was wasting his time with Gianna Baker. She was too young to know anything about where Melissa might have gone, and she was taking up time he could be using to track down real leads.

He stood up and looked over at the black-clothed Policeman in the corner of the room, nodding. “Take care of the problem. Injection. Burn the corpse when it’s been finished,” he sighed before looking down at Gianna Baker with a smile. The little girl returned the smile, and he nearly chuckled. The little brat didn’t know what was coming to her. “Go with the nice Policeman, Gianna. He’s going to take you to your nap now.”


-x-With Matt, Jimmy, Mel, and Pierre -x-

Today was the day everything was going to start happening, Melissa realized stark realization as she sat up on the cut-out in the rock that she’d been sleeping on. She saw Jimmy and Matt asleep on the other side of the room, both of them looking exhausted even in their sleep. She knew that today, everything was crucial. If they didn’t make it past the security checkpoints, all three of them would be dead, and Pierre would be found out as a spy. The penalty for that was even worse than death, she knew, and she hoped with everything she had that it never happened to Pierre. She may not have known him long, but her life was in his hands, and she had come to view him as a good friend.

It almost seemed like a lifetime since that night he’d shown up beneath the window of her Cell, but it had only been a few weeks. She recalled thinking he was insane for sneaking out of his Cell block, but that had been before she realized that he was a spy for the Canadian government and a rat for the Schlagger’s regime. She wondered if he hadn’t already had everything planned out that night when he’d come to her window. She knew that he’d talked to Zacky and the others beforehand, but she had to wonder how long he’d actually been planning on breaking her out of Haverly Hospital, and if he’d ever counted on bringing Matt and Jimmy along with.

“Melissa?” Mara’s voice said from the archway of the small room, a nervous look on her face as Melissa turned to face her with a small smile. She didn’t understand why Mara and the rest of these women and children seemed to think she was their savior. She was just one girl, not a hero. She’d never done anything worthy of being viewed as such. She couldn’t do any of this if it were just her—she was just along for the ride. Matt, Jimmy, and Pierre were doing all of the work, and Melissa thought that Mara should view them as heroes instead of her.

“Yes?” She asked quietly. Mara cleared her throat before stepping into the room, looking over at the sleeping boys before returning her look to Mel.

“I want to wish you good luck on the rest of your journey. I…know that I haven’t been very hospitable to the two boys that are with you, and I want you to know that I think they truly will get you far. I wanted to apologize for treating them with disrespect,” Mara muttered, as though she didn’t really want to say those words. Melissa smiled at the girl, and then nodded her head.

“They don’t blame you. Both Jimmy and Matt realize it’s not easy for you to live here like this, and they appreciate you letting them into your home. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us, Mara. I don’t know what we would have done without you.”

Mara stood there for several long minutes before she cleared her throat, reaching into her pocket, pulling a necklace out and handing it out to Melissa. It was made with a turquoise gemstone, attached to a strong piece of soft, dark brown leather. It was a simple necklace, but in a place like this, Melissa wondered where the girl had gotten it.

“I want you to keep this with you. It will grant you safety in a small village outside of Scottsbluff. My mother’s sister is there,” Mara said quietly. “When you reach the village, tell them you want to see Louise. Show her this necklace, and you will be granted safety, and they will help you to go where you need to get from there.”

Mel nodded, taking the necklace and putting it into her back pocket securely before she hugged her arms around Mara. She knew the girl wasn’t used to being showed affection like this, but she smiled when she felt the girl hugging her back as well. “I’ll do what I can to help you, Mara,” Melissa told her with a small voice. “I’m only one person. I still don’t understand why everything rests on me. But I will do what I can to help,” she promised. Mara nodded, and then turned to Jimmy and Matt, who were starting to wake up. A voice from the archway cleared their throat, and everyone turned to see Jacobs standing there, a heavy look on his face.

“We have to leave now if we are going to make it to the chopper in time for the flight,” he told them before turning and walking out of the room. He knew that the three of them would need a few minutes alone together, and Mara left as well.

“Hey, don’t look so down about this, Mel,” Matt told her, cracking open one of his bruised, swollen eyes to look at her. She winced just looking at the bloodshot color of his eyes, and turned away. This broken and bruised shell of a person wasn’t the Matt she’d always known. She knew it was for their safety that he’d let this happen to him, but it didn’t stop her from feeling pain for him. “I’m just wondering if they have peanuts and water for us,” he tried to crack a joke. Melissa knew how serious the situation was when Jimmy didn’t let a smile form across his thin lips like he normally would have.

He crossed the short expanse of space that separated them and wrapped his arms around her thin waist, holding her gently against his chest while he hugged her. “I love you, Mel. I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise,” he murmured into her ear. Melissa nodded, leaning into his touch as he held her. She knew he meant what he said. He’d do whatever he had to do to take care of her, and even though she sometimes felt weak for allowing him to do so, she knew that it was what needed to be done. She couldn’t take care of herself on this trip; she knew nothing about survival or how to get from one place to the next, and she needed them to get her to safety. She just hoped that they were all alive at the end of the journey. She didn’t know if she could handle losing them.