Author: Chesterfield PM
The ARROW Corporation has the power and resources to sell and trade children as though they are pieces of machinery. Can Juliet intervene before these boys are sold to the highest bidder for illegal human experiments?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 43 - Words: 108,820 - Reviews: 57 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 12-15-09 - Published: 05-18-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2674456
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Juliet woke up in the morning not quite feeling seventeen years old. It was difficult to be sixteen one day and then seventeen the next, so she tried to just assure herself it was because she was in London, and therefore there was a weird time difference and so she was sort of a wonky-seventeen.
She still stuck by her plan to have a great birthday in the face of bad things to come, so she got up and showered so the day could begin as soon as possible. When she came out refreshed and started getting dressed, she noticed a brown paper bag in the corner of the room which she hadn't noticed before. Upon looking inside, she discovered it was her belongings from when she had come home from the hospital the day before.
It wasn't anything very exciting: only her pajamas, a pair of slippers and—well, she revised her premature statement of "non-excitement" because the small camera Sunday had allowed her to borrow as at the very bottom. She reprimanded herself for forgetting about it, and quickly threw herself on the bed so she could flip through the pictures and the one video she had taken.
Of course, she was very disappointed when she discovered that the pictures she had taken were erased. She groaned and felt like throwing the camera across the room, but then she took a closer look at the picture which was on the screen. After a second or so of interpretation, she realized it was, oddly enough, a picture of a picture. Specifically, it was the Virgin Mary at a strange angle which suggested the picture was on the floor and the person taking the picture was standing over it.
Juliet thought maybe out of context, the picture must have seemed strange. She didn't want to go flipping through Sunday's pictures so she was going to turn it off and go about her business, but she found herself far too curious and went to the next picture. This time, there was a clear shot of a hand, palm up, and nothing else. The next one was equally cryptic in that it was another picture of a picture: a large white church on a high hill.
Aside from that, there were no other pictures on the camera.
Juliet flipped through the three pictures again, then again. She knew it meant something and also got the feeling that these were not Sunday's personal pictures.
"Mary, hand, church," Juliet said out loud to herself as each picture came up on the screen.
The hand was clearly a child's hand, and Juliet started to wonder if it was Toby's, recalling that he had taken her camera when they had first interacted. There was an intense possibility that he had merely taken the camera to play with it, but Juliet had an inkling that it meant more than that.
There was suddenly a knock on the door, and Juliet hastily got into a position that would have been more flattering for standing in a towel. She was so used to people barging into her room without knocking that she was actually surprised when the door didn't open.
"Who is it?" she called.
Then the door did open, and Juliet was quite disappointed when Felix's private detective, Marianne Churchill, revealed herself. She still felt a peculiar hostility towards her for reasons she couldn't exactly pinpoint, but she had become especially hesitant around her following Sunday's accusation of her evil motives.
"Mr. Jordan requested I inform you that he unavoidably had to catch a flight early this morning and would appreciate it if you did not follow him to his destination, wherever it may be," the detective stated.
She reached for the doorknob to close the door behind her, as if what she had just said did not require any further explanation. "Wait!" Juliet commanded. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Clearly, Churchill was not amused with Juliet's tone. "I am already acting outside my job description," she said pointedly. "If you wish for further explanations, simply wait for him to come back."
"When will that be?"
"He didn't say."
With that, she shut the door, leaving Juliet to stand in shock with her mouth hanging open. So much for having a relaxing, stress-free day! Without thinking too much, she threw a t-shirt and a pair of jeans on and sprinted out the door in hopes to catch up with the detective.
"Did he say when he'd be back?" she practically demanded.
"Frankly, I don't even know where he went," Churchill answered.
"We were all going to go together," Juliet said. "On Friday!"
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about," said Churchill, turning her back to Juliet and strolling down the stairs.
Juliet scrunched her nose as the detective's heinous perfume lingered. She found she couldn't really do anything about the situation except groan and stomp her feet childishly. The number of people in the house had significantly dwindled over the past couple of days, and with each incident, Juliet became progressively afraid. Somehow, she didn't feel as though Felix's disappearance was entirely by his personal choice.
She was about to retreat back to her room to get dressed for real, but she noticed the door to Warren's guestroom was open so she ran down there in hopes to talk to him. She stumbled across him in a position which suggested he had only just finished putting his pants on about a split second earlier, so she spun around and faced the other direction while remaining in the hallway. He made an embarrassed noise as he fumbled for a shirt to cover himself up as she insisted, "Why was your door open?"
"Sorry, come in," he said.
Juliet took a moment to collect herself as she processed what she had seen. The burns on his back were still just as black as the first day she had seen them and that sight alone had upset her. He called to her again, so she took a deep breath and ran her fingers through her wet hair, then presented herself in the doorway.
"Sorry," she said. He was now wearing a collared long-sleeve shirt and, as Juliet recounted as much as she could remember about his clothes over the past few days, she realized he had been extremely conservative and covered up the entire time. She cleared her throat in an attempt to make it less awkward.
"It's my fault, I should have closed the door," Warren said in a welcoming tone. "Happy birthday!"
"Oh, thanks," she said passively as she sat down on his bed with an exasperated sigh.
For once, Warren was able to read her immediately. "Not so happy?" he tried.
"Felix left this morning," Juliet said flatly.
"What?" Warren practically gasped.
"That's what I said!" Juliet threw her arms up in the air. "That nasty detective lady came to my room to give me the message that he left this morning and that he doesn't want us to follow him."
"But the appointment was for Friday."
"I don't know," Juliet said. "I mean, why would he leave early? Didn't we all decide we were going together?"
"Well," Warren said, sitting down next to her. "He does have a kid now. Almost, anyway. That might have changed things."
"Maybe…" Juliet said, still unconvinced. She didn't know if she should share her conspiracy theory with Warren or see if he could figure it out on his own. After all, if he thought of it too, then maybe it wouldn't seem as crazy.
"That upset Elliot a lot, didn't it?" Warren said.
"Oh, yeah. I think he took it pretty well, actually."
"It seems pretty insane though, doesn't it?" Warren asked. "Do you think the ARROW Corporation was making it up?"
"Why would they make up something like that?" Juliet questioned, but then she waved her hand. "No way. It's got to be true. Felix acted like it made sense. There's no denying the fact that those two were at least in some kind of intimate relationship, otherwise I think Felix probably would have been more surprised. She's kind of young, though, isn't she?"
Warren counted up on his fingers. "She's twenty," he deduced.
Juliet put her head in her hands. "I'm insane," she declared. "That's the only explanation. I'm completely insane."
"What for?" Warren said.
"I don't even know. That's part of the reason why I'm insane."
"Well, maybe Felix just had to go out real quick," Warren tried. "He probably didn't even go to ARROW. After all, he hasn't been out for a while because he thought people were trying to kill him."
"Detective Churchill said specifically that he had to catch a flight," Juliet said.
All of a sudden, she was assaulted by the most brilliant realization she's had in a while.
"Mary, hand, church," she said.
"What?" said Warren, raising an eyebrow.
"Mary, hand, church, hill," she said, standing up. "Marianne Churchill!"
Her voice rose to almost a yell as Warren stood up and put his hands on her shoulders in an attempt to calm her down.
"Relax," he urged her.
"How can I?" Juliet said frantically. "Toby left me a message! It's Marianne Churchill!"
Warren only stared at her, utterly confused. She grabbed him by the arm and dragged him down the hallway to her room and basically threw the camera at him. At first, he seemed a little skeptical, but he revised the pictures. "This is Toby's hand," he reported professionally.
"It's a message, isn't it?" Juliet said, putting her hand on her forehead and collapsing onto her bed. "Oh…my god. You know what it is? She's the supervisor."
"The what?" Warren asked. "You have to give me more information than what you're giving me."
"When I was at that camp with Sunday, they kept talking about a supervisor," Juliet explained. "But they didn't tell me who the supervisor was. Sunday seemed to know, but he didn't tell me. Warren, Marianne Churchill is the supervisor."
"What makes you think something like that?" Warren asked. "It could be about anything else. Maybe this message is all just a coincidence in the first place. After all, when you're looking for something hard enough, you can see it anywhere."
The camera randomly slipped out of his fingers and fell to the floor. Juliet attempted to catch it, but she was far from fast enough. She picked it up, ready to pass the incident off just as clumsiness and devise her retort, but when she looked back at Warren, she found he had his hand on his head and was reaching out for something for balance.
"Warren?" she said, taking his arm to help him steady.
"I have to sit down," he said meekly. All the color drained from his cheeks as Juliet guided him towards to the bed, though he appeared unable to even take the few steps to reach it and began to sink to the floor. Juliet stayed next to him, feeling afraid that something terrible was happening. After he was sitting, he continued to sink, and Juliet didn't know if it would be a better idea to try to keep him awake and up or if she should allow him to lie down and rest.
"Stay here," she said.
Though she didn't know much, there was one thing she was certainly aware of: she had to get someone else to help. She managed to lean him up against the foot of the bed and tried to convince him not to move as she went to the hallway.
"Hello?" she called, glancing back at him as his head rolled from side to side, propped limply up against the bed.
Now feeling even more frightened, she raced for Elliot's room in hopes that he would be there. She entered without knocking to find Elliot still lying on his bed among the folds of the blankets, sound asleep. She grabbed his arm and shook him awake, not even allowing him to question her before she had pulled him to his feet.
"Something's happened to Warren!" she announced, as he stumbled sleepily down the hallway.
Elliot, still half asleep, was instantly awakened when he entered Juliet's room just in time to see Warren topple over and hit the floor. They knelt on either side of him and Elliot picked him up off the floor and ordered him to stay awake. Warren started to raise his hand, as if asking for permission to speak, but he was looking right past Elliot almost as if he didn't see him.
"I'll call an ambulance," Juliet said.
"No, don't," Elliot said.
Juliet stared at him seriously. She knew he had an aversion to the notion of calling ambulances in the past because he didn't want to be found by the Corporation. Now that they were free, however, she didn't think there should have been any problem.
"He's sick," Juliet said, putting her hand on Warren's and feeling herself growing extremely upset.
"No he's not," Elliot said, sounding extremely calm and almost at ease.
"Yes!" said Juliet, pointing at him. "He is!"
"Did it come on suddenly?" Elliot asked. "Out of nowhere, I mean."
"It did," Juliet said. "We were just talking and he was totally fine. Then all of a sudden he was completely white and practically falling over."
"Let me explain," said Elliot. "I've seen this before. I've…I've gone through this before."
Juliet instinctively found herself relaxing.
"These are the side effects to ingesting the drug," said Elliot quietly. "Weakness, light headedness and slight delusion. It'll last a few hours."
"The drug?" Juliet repeated. "What drug? Not…"
"Yeah," said Elliot with a nod.
"He somehow got a dose in his system," Elliot said.
Elliot shook his head. "I'm not liking this," he said, looking down at Warren and snapping his fingers in his face to get attention. "Warren, listen. Hey, you listening?" Warren only nodded vaguely. "What happened today so far? Did you eat anything today?" He looked back at Juliet and added, "He had to have eaten it. Usually it was given to us in shots and he would have known if that happened. They hardly ever gave it to us as food because we'd just throw it up if we knew it was in there."
"How long does it take to start working? I was only with him for five minutes today."
"About a half an hour. Just regular digestion time. The shot has a pretty much instantaneous reaction."
"What can we do?"
"Just let him wait it out. There's nothing we can do at this point."
"Who would have done this?" said Juliet. "Who here as access to that stuff and why would they put it in Warren's food?"
"Help me," Elliot said. He slung one of Warren's arms around his neck to lift him up off the ground. Juliet did very minimal help since Elliot seemed to be doing all right on his own so she basically ended up watching as Elliot lied Warren down on her bed. "Juliet, go get me some kind of length of rope. Something I can use to tie him down with."
"Tie him? Why?"
"Some people experience delusion," Elliot said quickly. "Hallucinations, you know, something like that. I don't know if Warren will, but if he does, then he could end up hurting himself."
Juliet nodded somewhat reluctantly as she left the room, glancing briefly back at Elliot as he readjusted Warren on the bed. Juliet didn't know where she was going to find rope or anything like it and congratulated herself for remembering the elaborate cuffs which the ARROW Corporation had used on Elliot and Warren the day before.
She knew they were still in the limousine so she hurried down the stairs and to the long front driveway where the limo was still sitting. Warren had pretty easily picked both of the locks on the way home from the fiasco, but she doubted he'd be able to do it in his delusional state. She shut the door and started to return to the mansion, looking at the ground to make sure she didn't step on any rocks when she crossed over into the mulch towards the porch.
At first, she didn't pay any mind to the fact that the mulch looked as though it had been tossed around, but then she saw a few flattened plants sitting among absolute perfection. She actually stopped to stare at them, knowing there was something distinctly wrong and, like a detective, she followed a trail which led straight to the driveway and of course disappeared once it hit the pavement. It was a distinct path of disarray.
Feeling apprehensive about returning to the house after the disturbing discovery, she developed a hastened pace, practically racing herself up the stairs. When she got to the top, she heard someone yell in protest from her bedroom, so she froze at the last step. Cautiously, she began to sneak towards the bedroom, leaving the handcuffs on the stairs. When she was only a few steps away from the bedroom, she could hear the sound of a struggle quite clearly.
Terrified but reluctantly courageous, she flung the door open and found there were two butlers holding Elliot down, wrestling with him to keep him still, while Warren lied vacantly on the bed. "Hey!" she shouted, at a loss of anything else to say.
The two butlers looked up with fierce eyes, which immediately told her that they were not butlers. Her lame distraction seemed to be enough for Elliot because he was able to sit up and connect his fist with one of their faces. The man fell back into a cart which had breakfast food arranged on top of it, knocking it over. The second man barely managed to avoid Elliot's attack, getting up to his feet and nearly tripping over the bed.
The man's angry eyes met Juliet's, and he decided to make his move towards her. Juliet screamed a warning to Elliot, who ran towards the man and jumped on top of him, knocking him to the floor. The first man scrambled to his feet and grabbed Elliot under his arms, pulling him into a headlock, but Elliot continued to fight and throw punches and kicks in whenever and wherever he could. He finally yelled to Juliet to run away.
Juliet immediately followed his advice, initially. She was barely standing outside the doorway before she realized that she couldn't possibly just run away when there was still something that could be done. She spun around and sprinted back in the room and, without thinking much about it, she blindly dove on top of the man attacking Elliot and tackled him to the ground. The man had clearly been caught by surprise, which might have explained the reasoning for his quick defeat, but he was ready to swing right back at her. His elbow swiped across her jaw line, knocking her off him and across the room. When she hit the floor, she at first felt as though she wasn't going to be able to get back up, but as soon as hands grabbed her shoulders, she felt prepared to fight again.
She flailed her arms blindly, but the person grabbing her spun her around and took her by the wrists. Confused, she hadn't even realized her eyes were closed as tight as she could get them, so she opened them up and found that the person holding onto her was Elliot, wearing an expression which was a bizarre cross between surprise and admiration.
"Come on," he said, sounding a little excited.
"Yeah," she stuttered dumbly. When she spoke, her jaw throbbed, but the look of utter elation on Elliot's face was enough to get her back on her feet and over to the bed where Warren still lay.
"We have to get out of here," Elliot said, though it was pretty obvious to her.
"Where'd they go?" Juliet inquired as Elliot took Warren by the arm and slung him over his shoulder.
They negotiated his deadweight to get piggyback him to move more quickly. "I think they ran away when they saw how vicious you are," Elliot commented.
"Shut up," Juliet commanded.
In spite of everything, she was feeling surprisingly good. They dodged into the hallway, and Juliet retreated back into the room to retrieve her money, passport, the camera and Delilah's pin, and then opted at the last minute to put some shoes on.
They stampeded down the stairs and right out the front door. There was no sign of the fake butlers who had attacked them, but Elliot remarked that he wasn't complaining about not seeing them again. The garage door was open, suspiciously enough, and there was a single key hanging up near the door. Elliot hopped into one of the many cars which appeared as though it had gone years without use, and tried the key to thankfully find it worked.
Juliet got into the passenger's seat and leaned over to the back to help Warren lie down, since it looked as though he was going to be sick. Elliot had already reversed the car out of the garage and was heading down the driveway before Juliet had even spun around to put her seatbelt on.
As they passed through the front gates and into the street, they both finally let out the breaths they had subconsciously been holding in.
"Oh," said Elliot, looking at Juliet. "Happy birthday."
It's cute, it's relaxing, but it didn't really offer Juliet any meaningful advice which she could use to take her to the next level of understanding the insanity she would soon be diving head first into.
So that's actually the end to book 1. I know, RIGHT? I have a part 2 in the works, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. Let me know how you guys would feel about reading another chunk of junk. Until next time, thanks...