Author: Grimpeddler PM
Cyrus Lapluant, the neighborhood nut, finds himself caught in an underground rat race. Everyone seems to want him; no one seems to want him alive. Currently under revisions, so bear with me for now.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Chapters: 12 - Words: 21,838 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 07-06-12 - Published: 09-17-11 - id: 2953164
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Cyrus's eyes opened tentatively, searching and processing his surroundings before he made it known to any possible threats that lurked that he was finally awake. Nervous habits, he supposed. He groaned as he heaved his upper body forward and curled his knees to his chest. His back and head were sore from the fall, but he didn't quite remember where he was, much less why. He tousled his hair as he looked around the room, thinking, trying to recall.
Suddenly, the memory rushed back like lightening, and instant panic and feverish giddiness sprouted in Cyrus's mind. He was suddenly everywhere and going nowhere at once, shaking indecisively on where to go from here. There was nothing more thrilling then a break through, and God knows he needed one.
A goofy grin spread across Cyrus's face and he flopped onto his stomach with the grace of a one-footed elephant, then pushed himself into a staggering stance. He wobbled, but leaned against the kitchen table, eyes sliding shut and a despite-himself-smile met the ceiling as he tilted his head back.
Someone was out there; another human being was out there in the world that wanted to help him. There was finally a person who knew he wasn't crazy! A small laugh fell from Cyrus's lips, and he crinkled his eyes as they grew more wet at the thought. Someone cared enough to call, to come, and the idea was so unreachable that he had never thought he would ever reach it.
He was about to solve it. Someone had fallen into his lap with the answer in their hands, and they were going to give it to him. They were going to tell him what had killed his mother, and all the people he'd researched.
Dr. Haes, Marie Shubert, the hospital staff - he wouldn't have to wonder anymore.
He could only guess what it could be. Government testing? Terrorist plot? Rare poisoning? The ideas were horrifying, but the fact that they were answers made Cyrus want to jump up and down and scream until his lungs were sore and his heart cried.
Cyrus beamed and his smile split into a toothy one. "Yes!" he cried. He jumped as high as he could, reaching with his arms and clenching his fists, a laugh so loud it could have been his loudest. He squirmed a little, but then he sighed happily, calming himself with deep breaths.
"I can't believe it," He muttered, "I can't believe it."
Cyrus, who had been holding his forehead excitedly, let his hands slap against his thighs as he caught his breath. He let the thrill wash over him, but he knew the search for answers wasn't over; he still had to meet with ... His eyebrows knit together. He knew he was meeting with someone. How could he forget that conversation? Did the man even say his own name? Where were they supposed to meet?
Fervent knocking interrupted Cyrus's worried thoughts, and he turned with startled eyes to face the door.
He stood for a few seconds, halfway turned and thinking. The slowly dying rap against wood drifted, but it sounded like cannon fire in the abrupt tension, echoing and distant. Cyrus considered the situation carefully. A mysterious man with no name calls the house - how did he get the unlisted number? - and then shows up outside. How did he get the address?
Cyrus gulped. Maybe he was paranoid, but that made it look a little like this person had looked him up.
Cyrus let his body slowly turn, and he stuck his foot forward a step, beginning an almost tortuous crawl to the front door, heartbeat racing. He didn't want to open the door. Who was this man? The question pounded in his head, and it made Cyrus' palms sweat and his face flush. For all he knew, it was some nut who had been stalking him. He could be some freak who wanted to worm his way inside the house - but then again, what was there to steal?
Cyrus stretched a cautious hand to the surface of the door, cool under his hot and nervous skin. He didn't mind jeopardizing his own safety, but to let a potential hazard into this house. Into this one? There was a sluggish feeling of guilt and confusion, not formulated thoughts, only vague emotions about letting someone into the house. It was his house now, he had inherited it, but to let someone come inside ... no one had been inside; he didn't want them there. Of course, if the man was dangerous, it wouldn't really come up as the most immediate problem; maybe they could talk outside.
Cyrus almost laughed at the idea. Go outside?
He had to know. What if the man really did have information. Cyrus finally noticed the knocking again now that he was through deliberating. It was beating in his eardrums, reaching the point of sharp stings of pain in his temples. He would open the door.
"Hello?" Cyrus called, a tad shakier than what he had aimed.
"Finally!" a muffled voice replied from outside, and the irritation was palpable. "It's nearly six-thirty, you bastard! I even showed up early!"
On the last note, the words turned friendly, forcefully nice - even more unnerving. Cyrus said nothing, but moved to the many locks on the door, working and fumbling with each one.
"Well, are you going to let me in?" said the voice after a while.
Cyrus paused on the last bolt.
Rumination seemed most important, and Cyrus lost himself like he always did. He could hear the scratching of shoes on the porch and imagined huge shoes scuffing the faded porch, his home. He tensed, then heard the click of the bolt and the door swung outward before he had even decided on doing it.
Cyrus paused, eyebrows twitching together as he scrutinized the man before him. The man was tall, and stared down with a scrunched-up look of displeasure on his face. He had narrow, squinty eyes and to Cyrus's silent amusement, a very non-threatening, thinning hairline.
Cyrus forced down a smile at the man's lanky frame and normal appearance when he saw the man's nonappreciative glare snake into a slimey smile.
"How can you be late," said the man, "for an appointment outside your own home?"
Cyrus' eyes flicked to his hands, which worried together at his belly. "I, uh ... I, I, fainted ..." He could have slapped himself for wording it that way.
"Right," said the man. He pushed past Cyrus in a sweeping gesture, and Cyrus would have called the stride determined if it hadn't been laced with something else - something Cyrus didn't like, but couldn't identify.
Cyrus followed the man with his gaze, watching him walk through the hall and disappear around the corner Cyrus had passed on his way to the door. He noticed with a twinge of worry that he limped terribly, leaning heavily on his right leg as he loped away.
"Are you hurt, sir?" Cyrus called, shutting the door firmly and swiftly locking it again, fingers dancing up the side of the entrance. He glanced over his shoulder as he waited for a reply.
The man poked his head around the corner and gave Cyrus a critical look. "You have a surprising security system, Cyrus," he said.
Cyrus blinked. "... Thank you."
The man stepped forward, seemingly drawing himself up to his full height, eyes boring down on the shorter of the two. "I had a difficult time getting inside."
The edges of panic swelled in Cyrus, but he went over his exercises instead, counting in rhythm.
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
"... You tried to get inside?" he asked.
"You were unconscious," the man explained, hand swiping through air as he presented the information. "Couldn't help but notice the security you've installed: Password Keypad, numerous cameras, silent alarm. Fear of burglars, Cyrus?"
Cyrus drew back a little, staring with alert eyes. He didn't respond.
"Anyway," the man said carelessly, "I bet you're just dying to get on with our chat, aren't you?" He took a few steps towards Cyrus, a hand rubbing up and down his thigh absently as he went.
"How'd you hurt your leg?" Cyrus asked sharply.
The man stiffened, then a smile twitched at the sides of his mouth in a way that Cyrus did not at all like. He shouldn't have opened the door.
1 2 3
1 2 3
A deep exhale, calm.
"Well, aren't you the busybody," the man said, and Cyrus brought a hand to his temple, eyes sliding to his feet. "You must be a very curious man, Cyrus."
The words mixed on his tongue. "Just w-w-wanted to know if what you do is dangerous."
"Hm. Curious. Why would you care about my job?"
Cyrus thought back to the phone call. "... Because you offered me one of my own, and now you're stalling."
"Stalling?" the word came out as a hiss that startled Cyrus, and startled him even more when he realized it was the man's laugh. "Cyrus, I think you have some trust issues."
"Who are you?" Cyrus asked. 1 2 3, 1 2 3, "Why are you here?"
"What did I say on the phone?" the man returned, palms up to accentuate his question. He pressed a hand against the wall, carefully lowering himself onto a stool that sat at the side of the room.
He looked up at Cyrus, and gave him a look that Cyrus would have expected only to see on a mischievous school boy in detention: Happy to be there.
"I'm here to give you all the answers you need," the man continued.
Cyrus narrowed his eyes, still refusing to cross the room to where the man sat.
"... If you're here to answer my questions, then what is your name?"
The man smiled brighter and nodded understandingly. "Joseph Renteria." He stuck out his palm as if he expected Cyrus to shake hands.
Cyrus squirmed, glanced at the hand, touched his temple, and waited for Renteria to lower it.
"Alright then," Renteria breathed, dropping the friendly gesture. "I'm sure you want to know the details of why I'm here."
Cyrus nodded quickly.
"I have been ordered to recruit new personnel, and you have been classified as a potential cadidate."
"New personnel ..." Cyrus muttered. "For what?"
"Confidential, I'm afraid." The words came with an unwelcome smirk.
"How do you know I'm the perfect candidate?" Cyrus asked.
"You let me in, didn't you?" Renteria replied. Cyrus's thoughts whirred. "Don't you want to know? Aren't you aching to finish the puzzle?"
Cyrus bit the inside of his cheek. A finger scraped against his temple.
"Aren't you tired of people being worried about you, thinking somethings missing-" Renteria pointed to his own head. "-up there? You can finally prove everything you know, all you've seen!"
Cyrus sat up a little straighter. "What have I seen exactly?"
"Exactly! Don't you want to know?"
Cyrus mulled it over. People were dying horribly because of whatever this was. If he was 'recruited,' that might mean he'd be working to safe people, people like Dr. Haes, and Marie Shubert, and the hospital staff. But what was he being recruited for? Maybe, the people who ordered Renteria to recruit Cyrus were the people causing it, and they wanted to get him too - they'd gotten to his mother, so why not him? Maybe it was a government experiment and they needed the parent and the child.
But Dr. Haes didn't have children ...
Cyrus shook the thought from his mind. No, it didn't make sense for Renteria to be here if he were causing the disease. Cyrus wasn't important; he posed no threat unless he was actually necessary for some sort of plan, which while possible, seemed extensively implausible. It seemed that while Renteria seemed to pose no logical threat, he presented little form of positive proof that he was who he (hadn't really) said he was, or that he was here to do what he had claimed to be there for: Recruitment.
"It killed her, Cyrus."
Cyrus's eyes darted up, pulled out of his thought process. He didn't know how long he'd been thinking, but Renteria was staring at him - not angrily or impatiently - indulgingly.
"It killed her." He didn't have to name anyone.
"... What do I do?" Cyrus asked.
"Just come with me," Renteria said. He lurched off of the stool, brushing past Cyrus as he reached for the door. "You don't have a lot of time," he added, looking back casually. Then he stepped out, shutting the door behind him with a click that resounded in the empty house.
Cyrus stared at the ground before him. He hadn't turned to watch Renteria go, just stared vacantly at the wooden flooring.
1 2 3
1 2 3
Without a thought, Cyrus hurriedly unlocked the door, fingertips shaking uselessly against the locks. He pushed against the wood and nearly fell out onto the porch, the balls of his feet burning as he stumbled just to the top of the steps. "Wait!" he cried.
Renteria was already on the sidewalk, standing with one hand on the door of a black, sleek limousine. He stood sideways, eyes hooded as he watched the man with the knocking knees.
"What if ... what if I don't want to go?" Cyrus called, fingers fidgeting in front of him.
Renteria seemed surprised by the question.
Cyrus stared back at him, hectic scenarios playing out in his mind of what would happen if he went back inside, less inventive ones playing if he clipped down the steps.
While Cyrus though, Renteria opened the car door and ducked his head as he took the far seat, leaving the door wide open on the right.
Cyrus mussed up his hair and pressed his temple.
"Coming?" came Renteria's voice.