Episode 3 – Chapter 7

After a full day of work Kerri had been eager to have something to eat. She’d not been able to keep much down earlier in the day. Morning sickness was setting in it seemed. She savoured every bite of her meal. She had been wondering to herself if she should admit her condition to the people in charge of food. If they knew she was eating for two they might increase her rations. She would sleep on it. After eating, she waiting for the sun to go down. She spent most of the time pacing back and force in her small room in the accommodation building. She and Liam had decided that it would be best for her not to show up in daylight. This was to be a covert operation.

Kerri rang her hands through her hair. She had never done anything like this. She certainly wasn’t a saint and it wasn’t as if this would be the first time she’d broken the law, but this tonight’s plans just seemed dangerous somehow. Maybe she was getting old, or maybe it was the baby inside her. Kerri sighed. Illegal or not, this was the only way she would be able to guarantee a steady supply of drugs. She knew it wouldn’t be good for her child, but she also knew that she didn’t have the strength to resist.

Finally, Kerri looked out the window and saw darkness. It was time.

She pulled on a light jacket and headed out the door. The walk to Liam’s house only took a few minutes. He was standing on the balcony waiting for her. He was dressed in all black.

“Is that what you’re wearing?” he asked.

“I didn’t know there was a dress code,” Kerri said defensively.

“You really have never done anything like this before have you?”

Kerri folded her arms across her chest.

“You’ll be seen a mile away in that floral top. Come on.”

Liam walked inside beckoning her to follow. He led her through the hallway and into his room. At one time, not so long ago, the idea of being led by an attractive boy to his bedroom might have been an exciting prospect to Kerri, but not anymore. She had zero interest in such things at the moment.

Liam opened his wardrobe and pulled out a black beanie. He pulled it down on her head.

“Take that jacket off,” he said. As she shrugged out of it, Liam took a heavy black coat off a hanger and threw it to her.

“Okay. Now you look like a cat burglar.”

Kerri gave a little giggle despite herself.

“Glad to see you’re finally lightening up. This will be great. Trust me.”

“Let’s just get it over with okay.”


* * *There were not many people hanging around the part of town that housed the science building. That was a big relief to Kerri. A large tree out the front cast a dark shadow over the entrance.

“Now, Doctor Spearwood’s lab is on the rear left side of the building,” Liam said. “He’s got a window that looks out into the forest. We’ll go in that way.”

Kerri nodded and followed him down past beside the centre. By the time they reached the window in question, it was so dark that Liam had to pull out a small electric torch. “Here hold this for me will you?” He passed the torch to Kerri.

As she looked on, he fished around in his bag and pulled out a chisel – one of the ones they worked with during the day. “I hope this works.” He began poking and pulling at the window with the chisel. After a few minutes of failure he sighed. “This is no good. We’re gonna have to break the window.”

“Is that a good idea? They’ll know somebody was here.”

“It’s probably not going to take them long to figure that out anyway, but don’t worry – nobody will know it was us.” Liam walked a few steps and picked up a rock about the size of a tennis ball. “All right, we’ll try to time with with a big gust of wind. They’ll help mask any noise.”

Kerri nodded silently.

Liam waited until he could see the trees begin to rustle. As the sound of the window rose to a dull roar, he swung carefully but firmly and crashed the rock against the glass which shattered. Liam used the chisel to enlarge the opening a little.

“Come on, this is taking too long,” Kerri said.

“Okay, here let me give you a boost up.”

Kerri stepped forward and placed her foot in Liam’s outstretched hands. He propelled her upward and she carefully climbed through the hole.

“Ouch,” she said as she nicked her hand on a sharp edge of glass.

“Careful up there.”

Once Kerri was clear of the window, she saw Liam step back, then run toward the wall and jump up grabbing hold of the windowsill. He certainly was athletic. He swung himself inside without making contact with the glass.

“Easy does it see.”

“Can we find the stuff and get out of here?”

“Easy girl. Try to enjoy this. It’s exciting.”

“Whatever.”

Liam took a seat at Spearwood’s desk and turned on the computer monitor. As it was booting up, he began rattling through he scientist’s drawers.

“Aha!,” he said as he pulled out a small key. “This guy isn’t exactly security conscious. Here.” He threw to key to Kerri. You go open the sample cupboard with this, grab one sample of each plant he has in there. If I can find a little information about which ones are good I’ll tell you and you can take more of those.”

Kerri unlocked the door into the sample cupboard and swung it open. Just as she stepped inside a loud wailing noise made her jump. An alarm!

Liam swore. “We’re in for it now. We’ve gotta get out of her. It won’t take security long to get here. Follow me quick.”

Kerri turned to see Liam already leaping up to the window and disappearing through it.

In a panic now, she ran after him and climbed up. She started moving through the window when her jacket got caught on the glass. She tried to pull it free but only succeeded in loosing her balance. Suddenly she began to slip sideways.

Just as she realised that she was falling backwards into the lab, she felt a searing stab of pain in her side. As she hit the floor hard the wind was taken from her lungs.

Kerri was stunned for a moment. Awareness returned as she heard a voice.

“He went that way”!” Security had arrived. A moment later Kerri heard the same voice call out again – quieter this time. “Stop! Security!” They were getting further away. Security were chasing Liam, they weren’t coming into the lab.

She tried call for help – but no words came out. The last thing Kerri saw before she blacked out was the stream of crimson blood – her blood – leaking onto the floor.

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About Adam David Collings

Adam Collings is a writer of speculative fiction who works as a software engineer during the day. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam is currently working on a science fiction novel.
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