Each bump the van takes hits my body. I reach up to pull the hood off but it wont move. The Society put a lock around my neck making the opening to tight to fit over my head. Sitting up I lean against the wall and try to breathe in deep. Freaking out now won’t help me. This is exactly what we wanted. It just sucks that it happened right as Aaron was about to tell me something. I close my eyes and think of our kiss. I wasn’t my first but damn it was amazing. My heart races even thinking about it.
It takes what seems like hours to get to wherever The Society is taking me. I pray that Aaron is okay and that he is going to the same place as I am. Finally the van stops and I hear the doors opening. A hand grabs me hard and pulls me out. I fall and hit my knee hard on the concrete. A scream comes from my throat, my hands going to my leg. A gruff man huffs and pulls me forward. Panic bubbles inside me as I stumble on with a strange man squeezing my arm.
I try to look around but the bag over my head lets no light in. I struggle to breathe as my panic rises. I can’t get enough air into my lungs and I start to hyperventilate. The bag gets sucked into my mouth as I gasp for air, gagging me. I try to focus on where we are going to calm me down. I count my steps and turns quietly whispering them to myself to calm my breathing. 15 steps forward, turn right, 30 steps forward, turn left, 22 steps, stop, enter a room. I’m then shoved into a chair and the door shuts. They left the hood over my face. I want to cry. I am not strong enough for this!
The door opens with a screech and I hear footsteps over to me. The stranger stops next to me. I can feel them next to me, they lean close enough to me that I can hear their breathing softly. I feel the air brush against the hood. Goosebumps crawl over my skin. After several breaths my captor moves to unlatch the chain that is keeping the hood secure over my head.
Light overwhelms my eyes and I flinch to the side, away from the person in the room with me. I look around the room, anywhere but the person standing so close to me. The bright room is the size of an average bedroom. All of the walls are stark white with what I assume to be a one way mirror on the wall on the farthest side from me. The table that sits right in front of me is white as well. It has two hooks in the middle of it for someone to be cuffed to the table. The room I am in must be an interrogation room, at least from what I’ve seen on TV it looks like it. Finally I have nowhere to look but the man that’s at my side.
Slowly I take a deep breath in and turn my head to see my company. When I finally meet eyes with this man I have to blink several times to even begin to register who is standing right next to me. My dad. The man who I haven’t seen for years. The man I believed dead, is right in front of me. My mouth runs dry as true sadness overwhelms me. This person who I had mourned when I was 8 is standing next to me alive and well. I lick my lips trying to replenish moisture in my mouth. “Dad?”
The dead man smiles at me. He looks as if he finally was whole again. My heart sinks further into my stomach. How many times had I wanted to see that smile again. Tears well in my eyes as I stare up into my long lost fathers. He has the same eyes as me. I think back to just before he died. He took me fishing, one of the only times I actually caught anything. Mom had packed us a cooler full of snacks and sandwiches for lunch. We went down close to the water and set everything up. He held my hand the whole walk from the car to the water, something he rarely did. Normally dad was really distant and kept farther away from me, but not today. We each had a chair his was giant compared to my small pink and purple kids chair.
I sat and watched as dad set up my pole, putting a hook and bobber on. Then he pulled out a little jar of small grey fish. He unscrewed the jar and pulled one of the small wiggly little fish out and shoved the large hook through its face and then cast it out into the water. I stared up at him as he handed me the pole, “why did we have to hurt the tiny fish daddy?” He looked down at me in amusement a smile at his lips. “Because that’s the world Dani sometimes you have to kill to get what you want.” With that he did the same to his pole and cast it out into the water as well. I never thought about the comment again until now. Now with him standing in front of me those words ring true but I am not entirely sure why.
“Hello Danielle, I am sure you are surprised to see me again.” He smiles and takes his hand and runs it down my hair. I look at him allowing the confusion to show in my expression hoping that is enough for him to explain himself. His smile grows wider with the amusement growing inside him. “I work for The Society Danielle, you were broken and they knew it. When they told me that you were broken I didn’t want you anymore. Your mom was a bitch and you were broken, no one was meant to love you. So I had The Society fake my death so I could be rid of your mom and you. The Numbers work perfect for some, I was an exception, and being so high in The Society I was able to get out of my match and get a new wife and start over with a less broken family.”
So dad had known from the start that my Numbers were broken and he didn’t do anything to help or fix me. He left. He never loved me. That’s why he was always so distant from me. “Now Danielle, since you didn’t come in when we asked your fate will be worse than your mother’s.” Shock crosses my face and my heart rate quickens when the one way mirror lights up showing me the room next door. Mom sits in a chair just like mine. Her arms are cuffed to the table and her body chained to the chair. She is slumped down with just the chains holding her up. Her face is bloodied and bruised like she had been beaten several times.
I look to dad pure hatred showing over his face at the mere sight of my mom. Her clothes have been torn and are stained with blood. Her torture has been going on for so long and it’s all my fault. I look back at mom my heartbreaking for everything all at once. My mom has been suffering while I am gaining friends. My dad was probably the one to do this to her, and I didn’t stop it when I could. “Please can I go to her one last time if you’re going to do anything to me. I am so happy I got to see you again before anything happens to me, I would like to see mom one last time too. Please?” I look at him putting all the love for him that I had into my eyes, pleading with him. Looking down he nods to let me go through the door to see my broken mother.
I run into her room and over to her. “Mom, I’m here. Oh god I am so sorry I didn’t come earlier. Mom I love you, I am so so sorry.” I kneel down beside my mom and take her face in my hands, careful not to touch any bruises she has. Tears form and roll down my cheeks as hold her. Just after I came into the room mom started to come to a bit. A smile formed on her lips as her eyes fall on my face.
“Baby girl, you’re here. I missed you so much. Oh sweety I love you so much.” tears spill from her eyes streaking down her cheeks mixing with the blood on her face. The tears must burn her wounds because she winces. The pain brings her back fully into the world and she sits up and stares at me. “You shouldn’t be here. How did you get here? I couldn’t have told them where you were because I didn’t even know. Oh my god. He is going to kill you.” She looks around with a wild look of confusion and anger.
“Mom. It’s okay. Listen to me mom.” I take her face in my hands again and direct her to look into my eyes. “Mom it’s okay, I let myself get caught. I found the Entity, we have a plan.” I say all of this under my breath into her ear like I’m pretending to just hug her. I whisper the whole plan to her then I do hug her. I really hug her, as tight as I can without hurting her broken body.
We sit and cry together. We cry for dad, we cry for each other, and we cry for hope. Something that has been lost to both of us for as long as dad has been dead. To both of us, the thought of him hating us but still being alive is a better fate than him being dead.