Jackie spent the rest of the day straightening up the inside of the house. She was cleaning out her grandmother’s clothes from the bedroom closet, so she could donate them to the local goodwill and finally unpack the rest of her belongings, when in the very back corner of the closet she spotted what looked to be a rifle of some kind. She pulled it out into better light to have a look and realized it was a double-barreled shotgun.
gram, who are you?
She thought. Jackie opened the break action and saw that it was loaded with two twelve-gauge shells. She stuck her head back into the corner of the closet and found four more boxes of shells. Jackie was not unfamiliar with guns; her college boyfriend was an avid deer hunter. She even accompanied him on a few hunting trips. She did wonder however, why in the world her grandmother would have such a powerful weapon. It seemed too big for her to have handled; she was a slight woman of about 5'3 and a hundred and ten pounds soaking wet. A .22 rifle or a small revolver would have suited her better. She decided she would keep the gun beside the bed to make herself feel a little better about being alone here at night, especially with all the freaky things that have been going on. After bagging up all her grandmothers’ clothes, she set them by the front door. She planned on heading to town tomorrow. She would drop them off first, then she would go back to the hardware store to talk to Henry Miller and ask him if her gram had ever mentioned anything weird going on out here.
Jackie made herself a big salad for dinner. After cleaning up her kitchen, she decided to grab a beer from the fridge and go sit out on the front porch. She sat in her grandmother’s rocker for a while, and enjoyed the last bits of sunlight before it got dark. She started thinking about her best friend Sarah she had left back in Cheyenne. She missed her; missed hearing her voice, her laugh, and how she could always put a smile on Jackie’s face no matter what mood she was in. She decided when she went back in to the house later that she would give Sarah a call and catch up with her; let her know how she was doing. She hadn't talked to her in about two weeks now. Sarah was a worrier; she was always being mother hen to Jackie. Always wanting to fix every thing for her, even when she knew some things just couldn't be fixed. Jackie sat rocking in her chair, enjoying her beer. She wasn't a big drinker, but sometimes, moments like this, she just craved one. Besides, maybe it would help her get some sleep tonight after not getting much the night before.
It’s so beautiful here; so relaxing and peaceful.
She thought to herself.
Besides the crickets starting to chirp and the breeze occasionally setting off a soft ringing of the chimes at the far end of the porch, it was pretty quiet. No cars, no horns or sirens. She laid her head back against the chair and closed her eyes, just enjoying it all. A few moments later, Jackie felt that something just wasn't right. It got quiet, too quiet. The crickets had completely stopped their singing. The wind went still. She opened her eyes and felt a cold chill run down her spine. She felt like she was being watched, like last night in her bedroom. She slowly turned her head to the left, toward the tree line, and there it was, that damn shadow she keeps seeing; except this time there was no denying whether or not it was her imagination. It was there. It wasn't as far back from the tree line as it was before, it was right at the edge. There was still just enough light out to see between all the other trees in the front, except for where the shadow was. It completely blocked out the view into the woods where it stood, or hovered? She wasn't sure. It was stock still, but she felt something coming from it, some kind of consciousness. She didn't move a muscle; too afraid if she did the thing would come flying right toward her. Her heart was beating like crazy, her adrenaline was starting to fill her system, deciding if it wanted her to fight or flight. She tried to stay perfectly still and just watch it. After a minute or two the shadow started to fade into a black wispy mist and faded back into the darkened woods.
Jackie was still frozen to her chair. She took a deep breath trying to get her limbs to move, and when they finally cooperated she shot up, ran, and nearly tripped over her own feet trying to get inside the house. Once inside she slammed the door closed, locked the deadbolt, and ran to check the other doors and windows. All of which were still locked up tight from the night before. She ran down the hall to her bedroom and grabbed the shotgun from beside the bed and took it back into the living room with her. "What the fuck was that? What the fuck was that!" She said aloud in the otherwise quiet room. “What the hell is going on? This is like some fucking twilight zone shit!" She was freaking out. Holding the gun in both hands, she paced the living room for what felt like an hour. Finally calming down, her heart not banging to get out of her ribs anymore, she sat down on the couch. She was exhausted. She saw it; it was real. She knew it for a fact this time. Not her imagination, not her tired mind playing tricks on her. She saw that fucking thing, felt it, and watched it fade away.
Call the cops!
She thought to herself.
And say what? I saw a shadow? Oh, Hello officer, I saw a shadow in the woods and it terrified me! Animals? Oh yes sir, I'm sure there ARE animals in the woods, but this felt more like a human! Did I see an actual human? Well no, but, sounds? No, no sounds, just a scary ass black mist weaving through the fucking trees!
They would think her a lunatic, a silly woman who's been alone in a house in the woods too long. No, she couldn't call the police. They would be useless. She'd just have to protect herself until she could figure out what was really going on. How in the hell was she going to get any sleep tonight?
Remington was still in the bathroom when he heard a knock at the door. He threw on the sweat pants that were on the toilet tank lid and walked to the other side of the room. He could see the wooden door was open and there was a man standing on the other side of the jail door. He had a tray in his hand. He hadn't seen this man before. He wasn't a big guy, maybe 5'9. He had light brown eyes and hair to match, no significant muscles that could be discerned under the black button down shirt he was wearing. Remington thought if this was his guard, it might be easier escaping this place than he previously thought.
"Hello Mr. Cross, my name is Josh. Mr. Smith sent me to check on you and bring you some food."
"Mr. Smith? You mean that asshole from the hellhole I was in before? The one that gassed me?"
"The very same Mr. Cross. You must understand that he has put so much time and effort into this project, that when it doesn't turn out well, he gets a bit uh, discouraged."
"I don't give two shits about his feelings, Josh is it?" He glared at the man. "I just want the hell out of here!"
"I think they have decided to try again with you.” He said. "They seem to think since you've bounced back from the first try so quickly, that you will be able to handle another procedure. I'm sure Mr. Smith will be by some time tomorrow to let you know the details," he smirked.
Josh placed the tray on the floor and slid it with his foot through the narrow opening that was cut out of the bars at the bottom of the door.
"You tell that sick fuck Mr. Smith, that if I get hold of him he's fucking dead! You hear me you little shit? DEAD!" Remington growled.
"You can tell him yourself Mr. Cross, tomorrow. Try and get some sleep, you look terrible!" He laughed and disappeared down the hall.
Remington picked the tray up from the floor and slammed the heavy wooden door closed. There was no lock on it, they could peek in on him anytime they wanted. He guessed that’s why there were no cameras in this room. Where was he going to go? "Fucking jokes on them, I’m getting out of here tonight" he whispered to himself. He took the tray over to the bed and quickly downed the ham and cheese sandwich and can of coke that was his meal. It wasn't near enough to satisfy his hunger, but it would have to do. He went back to the bathroom to take a quick shower. He was still filthy from being in that nasty, puke filled room. He turned on the water, got it as hot as he could stand. Then grabbed the soap from the side of the sink, dropped his sweats, and entered the stall. The hot water felt so good as it sluiced down his back. He was still so groggy, most likely from whatever they used to knock him out. He put his head under the water and rubbed the back of his neck. It felt like one giant knot. He had to get out of here, but knew he wouldn’t make it far without some rest. He used the soap and quickly washed his entire body, being careful around the stitches on his head. When he felt he was as clean as he was going to get he exited the shower stall and used the towel to dry himself off. He put the sweats back on and the white T-Shirt. No shoes. Guess they figured he didn't need shoes if he wasn't going anywhere but back to the operating room or the morgue. Remington turned on the cold-water side of the sink and used his cupped hands to drink down as much water as his stomach could hold. Then he went back to the bed. He needed sleep, just a couple hours. His mind was trained to wake himself up at pretty much whatever time he desired.
Thank you military,
he thought. He laid down on top of the sheet and closed his eyes. "Just for a little while." He told himself, "Then...I'm a ghost."
Remington woke himself up, just like he knew he could. He figured he had been asleep about two hours. He crept over to the big wooden door and slowly opened it. Listening for any sign of his captors. He didn't hear anything, so he decided now was the time. If his calculations were right it should be nighttime. He wrapped his hands around the bars and started to pull. The bars began to move just like before. He was still amazed at this new talent he had. He felt the moisture on his top lip once more, but kept pulling until the two bars he held spread apart wide enough for him to slip through. He went back into the bathroom and rinsed his face off again. Then went over to the bed to make a dummy out of the two pillows. He laid them out in the shape of a body and pulled the sheets up over them, hoping that if they did decide to check in on him later, they would see the mound and think he was asleep in the bed. Pleased with how it turned out, he went back over to the bars and slid through the opening. Grabbing the bars once again he pushed them back in to their original position. The adrenaline that shoots through him while using this new power was unbelievable. He felt as if he could lift a car if he had to; the only downfall was the exhaustion and bloody nose that came after. Hopefully the little bit of sleep he was able to get could push him through to safety. Remington rubbed at his nose and wiped it on the back of his pants. He then slowly walked down the hall. It was dark except for a faint glow ahead. He hoped this was the direction to an exit. He passed more doors on either side of the hallway. They all had bars with a wooden door on the other side. They were all closed. He knew they must have other people in here that they were experimenting on, but he couldn't just go banging on doors. He needed to find a way out, and then maybe he could figure out how to help the rest of them. He kept walking as the faint orange glow of the light was starting to get brighter. Remington came to a dead end. He had to go left or right. The light was coming from the left so he went right. Walking as softly, but swiftly, as possible he made his way down the corridor. This one was different than the other; no doors, the walls were black and the floor instead of hardwood like in the previous hallway was concrete. He noticed he had yet to pass a window. It reminded him of a basement, except he didn’t descend down any stairs. He made his way undetected to another dead end. Right or left? He wasn't sure which way to turn but since the last decision didn't steer him wrong, he went right again. After walking about twenty feet he saw another light. This one was brighter than the last. He slowed down, staying against the wall until he reached the end of that corridor. There was a man with a gun on his hip, sitting in a chair next to a door. It looked like he was reading a magazine. Remington figured it had to be the exit. A guard wouldn't be posted at just any random door, no, this guy was there for a reason. Remington flattened his body as much as possible against the black wall. The guy wasn't sitting with his back to him, which would have been ideal, but he was sitting sideways to the hall where Remington was coming from; he could work with that. He'd have to be quick. He'd have to rush the man before he could pull the gun. Remington reverted back to his training. He calmed himself, took a few deep breaths, letting them out silently, building himself up for the kill. That’s what would have to be done; he knew if he was going to get out, this guy would have to be taken down quickly and quietly. It was time to make his move. Remington ran out of the corridor at full speed. The man caught him out of the corner of his eye and jumped up out of his chair, but before he could completely face the freight train that was Remington Cross, his eyes full of surprise, he was tackled to the floor. Trying to get out of Remington’s hold, and reaching for his gun, he let out a pain filled yell when Remington twisted the arm that held the gun behind the mans back and with a sickening pop, broke it. The man still fought, he punched Remington hard in the temple making him see stars. He was no weak looking schmuck like the guy who brought him his tray earlier; this man had some strength behind him and was almost the same height as Remington, only lacking an inch or two. They wrestled on the floor trading multiple blows until Remington was able to get one of his huge muscled arms around the guys’ neck, and with everything he had left in him he squeezed. The man went slack in his arms, Remington checked the man’s pulse, he was dead.