Kat still lay in darkness in the back of a truck as her captors rode in search of her husband. She wasn’t sure how long it had been since they had imprisoned her. Days? Weeks? All she had seen was the inside of this truck. Rarely did someone check in to give her something to eat and drink. She was weak with hunger, and she was pretty sure dehydration was setting in as well. It was hot inside the truck. The year was moving on, and it was a lot cooler than before, but the sun still heated up the walls of the truck, and made the air hard to breathe.
She didn’t know why they kept her alive. Anti-Sergio hadn’t said much to her after her capture. Kat guessed that they probably still needed her, possibly to help draw her husband out of hiding.
That was the only thing that kept her sane. Her husband and her daughter were still out there. Invergence hadn’t won yet. And as long as Alice remained safe, they had a chance.
It was a fleeting hope though. She had no idea how long Sergio could keep it up. He couldn’t run from Invergence forever. They had caught up to Kat, and it seemed likely that they would eventually catch up with him as well. Invergence had nothing to lose except time.
Kat was brought out of her brooding by the sound of latches opening. A moment later and the back of the truck rose. Kat blinked in the bright light, but basked in the cool air that rushed to fill the compartment.
A man stepped into truck. The man with Sergio’s face. The man who was responsible for everything Kat hated about her life. This man had killed their friends, and other innocent people. He was the one in charge of Alice’s pursuit. If it weren’t for her chains, she would have attacked the man with everything she had.
Unfortunately, she had no choice but to remain where she was. He approached closer, pulled up a chair, and removed her gag. For a brief moment she thought she might cry for help, but logic soon destroyed that idea.
“Your husband has proven to be quiet elusive,” Anti-Sergio said. “I suppose it’s not that surprising, if he’s anything like me, which he is.”
He smiled at her. It made her sick. She had seen that smile from her husband all the time.
“You may have noticed that we’ve kept you alive. Do you know why that is?”
Kat remained silent. She no longer wanted to acknowledge this man with a response.
He paused, waiting for her answer. When it didn’t come, he shrugged and continued.
“I, of course, think it’s best if we keep you around if only for use as leverage. But there’s more to it than that. Have you noticed how the men look at you?”
Kat frowned. She had noticed. Most of them regarded her with some unusual expression. For some it was a sort of desire, which at first she thought was typical of men like these. But for others it was more like fear. No…respect.
Anti-Sergio saw the confusion on her face, and chuckled. He seemed in a reasonably good mood, at least relative to what she was used to. “I’ll explain it then. You see, where I come from, you were rather an important person. Well not you, exactly. The mirror-image of you. Just like I am the mirror-image of your husband. She died, and the power that she held went to another.”
Kat wondered where he was going with this, but still refused to say anything.
“She and I were lovers,” he said, and a hand reached forward to touch Kat’s hair. She winced and tried to pull away, but she could only tilt her head back. His fingers brushed the side of her face and moved down her neck. If she had had any food in her stomach, she would have lost it right then. She felt nothing but repulsion for this man, and the fact that he looked something like her husband only seemed to make it worse.
Anti-Sergio drew closer. “If you were to come with us willingly, there’s a chance you could be great again,” he whispered in her ear. “You would have power like no one on this puny Earth has ever imagined. You could even have your daughter to raise once we find her. You and I, we could change Invergence to fit our purposes. We could take back the power that your mirror-self once possessed.”
Kat spat in his face.
He didn’t recoil. He simply reached up with his arm and wiped the spittle off his cheek. She stared into his eyes, infusing her gaze with all the defiance she could possibly muster.
The hand that had touched her suddenly tightened around her hair. She gasped as he pulled hard and pain ran through her scalp.
“I’m asking nicely,” he growled. “You have no idea the pain that I can cause you. No idea!”
His grip released her hair and she brought her head up just as he backhanded her. Her cheek exploded in white-hot pain and she cried out.
“Oh you thought that hurt?”
Anti-Sergio grabbed the edges of the chair she was strapped to and lifted. Her chair tumbled backward with Kat still attached.
A boot connected with her stomach. All her air escaped her. Again, Anti-Sergio’s boot lashed out at her. She could do nothing to defend herself. She tried to remain silent and defiant, but couldn’t stop her cries as the man beat her.
A minute or an hour later, the kicks subsided. She did not look up, she would not give him that. Silently, she wished she had passed out. It hurt, oh but it hurt!
“You will eventually do what I ask.” Anti-Sergio said, breath heaving from exertion and anger. “We have ways of making you one of us. It’s only a matter of time.”
Kat didn’t doubt the man. If she stayed here too long, they were bound to break her eventually. Brainwashing was a definite possibility.
Panic filled her mind as Anti-Sergio stalked away, and the sliding door shut behind him, leaving her in complete blackness again. She had to find some escape. Some way to get out of here. Still strapped to a chair on its side, she wondered idly if that might help her sleep better. But with her aching body and troubled mind, it took quite a while before her exhaustion finally forced her into dreamless sleep.
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