I hope it hasn’t been too long of a wait for chapter two, but here it is! Again, this is a romance between two women with supernatural elements. I wouldn’t recommend it as a stand-alone story, as you’d get lost in it all.
Obnoxious thank you to LesbianChickLit whose continued support and encouragement helped this story develop into what it is. Your help is irreplaceable and you rock.
Feedback is appreciated.
A faint creaking informed Camille Silva that her lunch was being shoved through the compartment at the bottom of the steel door to her cell. With a sigh, she sat up, stretching her legs over the edge of the lumpy cot, and she took in her despondent surroundings. The distant scent of over-cooked mush was filling the small space at an alarming rate. The room was eight by ten, no larger than an average prison cell, and just as confining. A toilet with built a in sink was placed in the corner and the solid steel door loomed beside it.
Pulling back her mop of black hair, she fastened the unruly mess together with a strip of fabric she ripped from the bland gray of the garb provided.
Her stomach turned at the sight of the food that was unceremoniously tossed to her. She stood, unwavering as she walked the few feet to the door. Picking up the hideous ‘food’ offered, she slipped it back through the compartment. The tray clattered to the floor, and although she couldn’t see, she was sure the food splattered on to the concrete surface and hoped as much.
She crossed to the toilet/sink combo, washing her hands of the mush. Hesitantly, she peered at her reflection in the clouded mirror. Wisps of black hair stuck out in various places, her vibrant hazel eyes dulled and cheeks slightly sunken from the short weeks of exploitation.
Camille knew she was being punished for not cooperating with Dr. Thorn and her people. She didn’t give a shit. From the moment she volunteered for the project, she’d been lied to, promised money, money she desperately needed to finish her degree and provide an education to her younger brother, Malcolm. Their parents had saved just enough to send Camille to college but not enough to complete her desired degree. After depleting the entire fund, the guilt was real when Malcolm set forth applying to colleges with little means of paying for the endeavor. They probably think I’m dead in a ditch somewhere. She cringed at her internal assumption.
It had been just over four weeks since Camille signed up for the exciting and enticing study the Ohio State University’s psychology department was conducting. If a qualified applicant, the research group was offering a great deal of money as reimbursement for individuals who volunteered. The only pre-requisite required was having an extra sensory perceptive ability. At first glance, Camille assumed the study to be a spoof or made up of a bunch of geeks trying to prove the existence of some pseudoscientific claim.
When she arrived at the intake for the study, she was welcomed by Dr. Miranda Thorn, a renowned doctor of genetics and immunology as well as a handful of reputable members of the scientific community on the board of research. It was impressive surprise to have such a member of the scientific community conducting the study. It only added to the nervousness Camille was already feeling about the intake.
“Good morning, Miss Silva and welcome. Please, have a seat,” Dr. Thorn announced curtly, her hand motioning to an empty chair. She was the only member from the research team present during the intake, much to Camille’s relief. From first glance, she seemed pleasant enough, her graying dark hair pulled back into a tight bun, flawless make-up and an air of authority floating around her. A tiny camera was set up on a tripod about ten feet from the desk and chairs, not yet engaged.
“My visit at the University is brief, so let us begin. This interview will be recorded for determination of our choice in volunteers,” Dr. Thorn asserted, pressing a button on a small remote, initiating the camera to start recording.
“If you could explain your alleged extra sensory perception, for documentation purposes, please Miss Silva,” Dr. Thorn stated flatly. Her stare was hawk-like, her eyes narrowing in on Camille. Her hand hovered over a blank notebook, a fountain pen grasped between her fingers. Camille cleared her throat, her hands suddenly sweaty, her solicitude stealing her voice.
She sputtered clumsily, “I, uh…,” taking a deep breath, Camille thought about a hot air balloon, swept up by a violent wind on a brisk spring day. One breezy spring afternoon, her father had taken her to a field as a race was being held. She remembered the experience with blithe nostalgia, watching the heavy basket dangling from its cables, skirting too closely to the grass covered hill before it landed.
She stared at Dr. Thorn, projecting the image, pushing it forth from her mind. She willed the doctor to draw the image with precise detail. Dr. Thorn’s hand began to move swiftly across the paper on the desk, her eyes still locked casino şirketleri onto Camille’s.
When she finally was broken from the trance, Dr. Thorn dropped the pen from her hand with a start peering down at her notepad. A billowy hot air balloon was scrawled on the pad, floating over a hill covered in a patch of grass. The balloon was impeccably shaded with the black ink of the pen.
Dr. Thorn’s astonishment was clear by the pallor her face took on, her eyes widening and a tremor running through the hand that had held the pen. Camille smiled smugly at her reaction.
Two days later, Camille came back for the beginning of the project, to Dr. Thorn’s enthusiasm. She went on to tell Camille that her abilities were remarkable and unique, something she hadn’t seen since the dawn of their study.
Camille didn’t pay attention to the paperwork she signed, her naïveté and ego overshadowing her common sense. It had been years since she was able to show off her skills, the only person around her knowing was her brother. He shared the strange anomalous ability and she had stressed to him the importance of disclosing the information to a limited amount of people, or risk judgement. If only she had followed her own goddamned advice.
Camille knew now it was a mistake admitting herself into the study, probably the biggest in her life. It seemed harmless at first but, after that, Camille was detained. She was transported to a facility in a location she wasn’t conscious to see.
Her distorted reflection combined with the lack of food made a wave of nausea hit her, forcing her back to the uncomfortable bed. She lay on her back, staring up at the textured ceiling, wishing for a plan. She wondered if her parents knew, if Dr. Thorn’s people told them anything. If they told her family she was a freak of natural. A creature born of a disrupted genome; a mutant, an aberration, a deformity.
Maybe them thinking she was dead in a ditch wouldn’t be so bad after all.
A chickadee gracefully landed on the glass table in front of Roland, and she frowned, her concentration ripped from the murder mystery in her hands. Just as the killer was to be unveiled. The bird’s opaque eyes stared at her, it’s head tilting slightly to the side, studiously.
“Shoo,” she whispered, leaning forward and flailing the open paperback at the bird until it fluttered away. Roland looked up as Jude and her new brunette shadow walked up to the table, hand in hand.
“I’m surprised you came out for your obligatory social time, sis,” Roland speculated, placing her book face up on the table.
“Of course,” Jude sang, pulling a chair out for Natalie to sit, then moving to her own chair. Natalie looked at Roland quizzically and then to Jude, then back to Roland.
Roland smirked at her. “Little miss introvert over there agreed a long time ago to carve out at least one day a week from her hectic schedule to have coffee with me. Usually Saturdays. You know, for her social health.”
“Yeah, well, I can be sociable when I want to,” Jude commented neutrally.
Roland lifted an eyebrow, taking in the couple. Natalie’s cheeks were flushed, her green eyes bright and a small smile splayed on her lips. Roland grinned at Jude, knowing what had ensued between the two and she chuckled. Jude’s face seemed softer, her eyes warm and thoughts jubilant, obviously unaware or unconcerned of her cheerful telepathic broadcast. Roland sat back in her chair, her expression knowing, before picking up her book and resuming her task.
Jude mumbled something to Natalie, a reply was made that Roland blocked out whilst reading, and Jude stood. When she was sure her sister was out of earshot, Roland placed the open book back on the table before regarding Natalie.
“You make my sister disgustingly happy,” Roland noted flatly, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Natalie stared at her, unsure of Roland’s words.
Roland flippantly pried her mind, disregarding any concern for her privacy. Unlike Jude and her pretentious moral code, Roland didn’t feel any obligation to have a person’s consent before she delved into their thoughts. Instantly, she could sense Natalie’s apprehension, her uncertainty, and more importantly, her steadfast love for Jude before she became aware of Roland’s presence. It was clear how the woman felt toward her twin, the fervor almost suffocating.
“No, really. You do. And I’m glad for the both of you. Maybe Jude will quit brooding around her apartment now,” Roland reiterated, smiling with as much warmth as she could muster before returning back to her book. Jude came out of the coffee shop with two beverages, placing one in front of Natalie and the other in front of herself. For reasons she couldn’t understand, a surge of jealousy plagued Roland as she watched the couple from her periphery, an exchange of gazes filled with longing and blatant ardor.
The question she mulled over was if her twin knew of the connection between them, the unmistakable mutual passion passing through those glances. Roland casino firmaları decided to inquire further, but Jude cleared her throat. Roland sighed, halting her phrenic progress, her eyes peering up from her book to catch her twin glower.
Jude was cognizant of Roland’s attempt to divulge into the privy of her mind, a scowl present on her features. Roland didn’t care, wearing a smug grin on her lips as her eyes lowered to her open book.
After a long pause, Roland spoke without lifting her head, “What are you two doing today?”
The couple looked at each other for an answer before Natalie spoke up, her face toward Roland.
“I think we’re just going to take a walk. Enjoy the sun before it starts to rain,” she suggested before looking to Jude, “and then I have some lesson plans to work on for this week.”
There was the feeling again, almost strong enough to produce a flowery aroma. Ugh, I have to get the fuck out of here, Roland thought to herself. She scoffed with discomfort and a slight shake of her head, almost going unnoticed by Jude.
Natalie touched Jude’s arm affectionately, an innocent and automatic movement that Roland noticed as she lifted her eyes slightly.
“From the look of the clouds, we should probably get going,” Natalie mentioned.
Jude smiled at her paramour and nodded. “We’ll see you later, sis,” Jude offered before standing. Roland unceremoniously lifted her hand in acknowledgement of their departure, her eyes glued to the novel in her hand.
As they left the small coffee shop veranda, their pungent love dissipated much to Roland’s relief. Looking at the two irritatingly infatuated women forced Roland to evaluate her own love life. Sisters can’t help but to compare themselves, and the comparison suffered greatly with Jude’s rapid change from cloistress to inamorata. At least while Jude kept herself and her heart locked away, Roland’s superficial relationships surpassed Jude’s complete lack of any relationship.
Now, however, Roland’s calling an Uber for that last conquest of the prior evening- within a few short minutes of being eaten out no less – seemed both shallow and possibly a little cruel. Worse still, Roland took that action not to be considerate, but because she’d read thoughts of spending the night in the visiting blonde’s head. The now unquestionably more commitment-phobic twin didn’t want Sarah thinking that their purely physical relationship was progressing in any way.
Or was it Susan? No. Sandra? It didn’t matter. But shouldn’t it?
Roland irately swung her book at another innocent songbird with the misfortune to land on her table.
The room was stuffy, and Camille shuffled in the chair, her cuffed wrists in her lap. It was a strange room, more like a television interrogation cubicle than a room in a research facility. A four-legged folding table was placed directly in the middle of the room, surrounded by three chairs, one of which she occupied. A security camera was tucked in the corner above the door.
She knew there was a guard at the door, but apart from that, she was alone. The large clock hung on the wall ticked incessantly, nearly driving her bat shit crazy.
Her wrists ached from the subtle chaffing from the tight metal. She wasn’t sure why they felt the need to cuff her, as she had no idea where she was, or if she was even in the States anymore. Besides, she was far too fatigued to fight anymore. She wouldn’t know where to turn even if she did escape.
There couldn’t possibly be anything they had forgotten to do to her. After the countless EEGs, EKGs, CAT scans, MRIs and blood work, she was over it.
Finally, the door opened, Dr. Thorn herself stepping through with another guard behind her. Camille’s eyes squinted at the woman with open hatred.
“What the hell do you want?” Camille snarled as Dr. Thorn sat on the opposite side of the table, flattening her pencil skirt before placing her leg over her knee. She sipped idly from a bottle of water before locking her eyes on Camille.
“It’s a pleasure to see you as well, Miss Silva,” she chirped.
“Cut the shit. What do you want now, Thorn?” Camille asked viciously.
Dr. Thorn smiled, placing the bottle of water on the table. “I’ve decided to offer you a proposition,” she crooned, her smile sickening.
“Fuck you,” Camille snapped, spitting in Thorn’s direction, causing the doctor to stand.
Dr. Thorn cackled, stepping behind the chair she rose from, her hands gripping the back.
“It’s humorous to me that you still possess such venom, such anger. Your life is mine, whether you agree or not. You sleep when I allow, you eat when I say, you see the light of day if it pleases me. You are no closer to escape than you were five weeks ago. Frankly, you have nothing to lose,” Dr. Thorn pressed.
Camille’s jaw tightened, and she forced the lump in her throat down before any tears could threaten her stoic stance.
She knew the bitch was right. She’d tried countless times to use her ability to escape, güvenilir casino to convince, to persuade, to demand the guards to let her free to no avail. At first, it seemed as if she were chipping away at the doctor’s resolve, slowly convincing her to let Camille go. But, as the days turned to weeks, she hardly ate, exercised even less, and sleep eluded her. She was depleted of her strength. She truly had nothing to lose, so she took the bait.
“What is it?” She asked.
“I’ve decided you have potential beyond sole research purposes. If you cooperate with the premise and achieve the goal set, you will be granted partial freedom.”
“You will be under strict observation in residence within the facility, answering to myself or members of my research team without fail,” Dr. Thorn stressed. Camille snorted, shaking her head.
“I’m not helping you for pretend freedom,” she retorted, causing Dr. Thorn to laugh once more.
“I’m going to explain this to you in terms you’ll understand clearer, Miss Silva. If you don’t cooperate, I’ll be forced to take a closer look at your younger brother. Malcolm isn’t it? He possesses an uncanny ability such as yours,” Thorn sardonically confirmed.
Camille was suddenly flooded with anxiety, her hands trembling and perspiration forming on her scalp. How could she know about Malcolm? Had she unknowingly let it slip at some point in her imprisonment? No, she was certain she never said anything of her family, let alone her brother who shared her condition. Shit. She was quiet for far too long, Dr. Thorn’s wicked smile widening, knowing she’d won.
Camille took in a slow, deep breath, steeling herself. For all she knew, Malcolm could be two cells down from her own. But, what she did know was it would help no one to continue the trifling battle with Thorn.
“What do I have to do?”
The walk to Pike Place Market from the coffee shop was pleasant enough, the sun sifting through the cloud brought in by a strong front, thick with the promise of rain. Roland enjoyed the chaos of the city pushing from every angle in the midmorning hours. Impatient metro bus drivers honking at the other vehicles, bits of conversation from pedestrians to other commuters on foot or on cell phones. Scattered strings of music lifted from various locations as she walked. She felt at peace with the daily nuisances of the urban jungle, thriving in its intensity.
The market was full of people, the fish throwers flinging cod and salmon across the narrow walkway between the vendors. The fetid odor mixed with the hot scent of fresh baked pastries left Roland mildly nauseated, however, not as nauseated as she felt within the vicinity of the school teacher and her twin’s poignant affection. She headed for the second level below, taking the stairs quickly. It was much quieter on the lower level, less people and even lesser fishy undertones.
Tucked between an antique shop and a storefront offering handmade collectables from around the world sat her impulse buy. The window display showcased multiple new bestsellers alongside crumbled secondhand novels. Roland had purchased the idyllic used book store a few years before, refusing to allow her favorite establishment to go under when the rent skyrocketed. Although it was an expensive investment, her twin hadn’t an inkling she’d bought it, nor their father. She cherished the store almost as much as the act of reading the books it contained.
The alluring fragrance of old books, coffee, pressed flowers and a hint of moth balls washed over her as she stepped into the store. She took a lungful of the nostalgic aroma and smiled. At the sound of the tiny bell jingling in the threshold, the white-haired woman sitting behind the desk looked up, beaming when she recognized her.
“Roland! Did you finish that book already?” Gladys Murphy asked, her face breaking into profound wrinkles with her elation. She was not only the bookstore’s oldest and longest standing employee, but also Roland’s friend.
Roland chuckled, placing the well-loved paperback on the desk in front of the sweet woman. “I sure did. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. But, it kept my interest until the end. That’s saying a lot. Do you have any new suggestions for me?” Roland asked.
Gladys beamed even wider, stepping away from the desk. She grabbed her colorful cane and headed toward one of the isles. “I do! A large donation came in this morning and I know just the one,” she exclaimed. Roland followed close behind the old woman as she headed down the narrow isle. The books on the shelves were pristinely organized by genre and author, their conditions varying. Some bindings were brand new while others were frayed or peeling, having been donated.
The bookstore relied solely on donations prior to Roland taking ownership, but she allotted a far sized monthly budget to keep an influx of new books, at the staff’s suggestion. However, they still accepted used books. Gladys led Roland through a door at the end of the isle, leading to the storage space and the small office in the back. Open boxes lay scattered across the floor, books haphazardly placed and nearly overflowing from some. The old woman stopped in front of one of the brimming boxes and pulled one from the top that appeared brand new.