When we board the bus I immediately spot Ryder lying on a couch under a dark green blanket. She sees me and purposefully turns her head away, lifting her pert nose slightly higher in the air. The man in the woman in the black uniforms who came yesterday are sitting up front, she's driving and he's in the passenger seat, arms folded over his chest, eyes closed, but I get the feeling he knows exactly what all of us are doing.
"How you doing there Ryder?" Ryan asks with a grin, as he walks past her and slaps her on the thigh.
She starts, winces, then glares at him. "I got pushed through a force field, how the hell do you think I'm feeling? Leave me alone." She pulls the blanket over her shoulder and rolls away from him.
Mr. Hood walks over to her, places a hand on her shoulder and whispers in her ear. I watch her unclench from under the blanket. A moment later, I'm pretty sure she's asleep.
"Is it really that bad getting pushed through a force field?" I whisper to Ryan, feeling very guilty. I had never meant to hurt her. Hell, I've never hurt anyone before, ever.
Ryan shrugs. "I hear it's like going through a plate glass window. A lot of little pricks. Kind of painful. But usually doesn't kill you."
"I didn't mean to hurt her."
"That's alright little lady!" Mr. Hood gave me a hearty pat on the back. "You were just showing us what you can do. And Ryder there will be right as rain in a couple of days. It's good to let an ego like that knocked down a peg or two! Just goes to show, however strong you are, there's always someone out there who's just a bit stronger! Now buckle up kids, we have a long ways to go!"
Ryan motioned Dean and me to a table in the corner and we all sat down. I had never been inside one of these fancy RV's before and I took a moment to look around. It looks like the inside of a fancy living room. There's two long couches in dark blue upholstery that's crisscrossed with a white line and diamond pattern. The booth where we're sitting, backs up against the other couch, and it has the same upholstery. Across from us, there's a small kitchen with a sink, a mini refrigerator and a microwave. Almost a perfect home on wheels.
Except I couldn't feel less at home.
From somewhere, Ryan produces a deck of cards, and even though I don't feel much like playing, I accept the hand that's dealt to me.
We play a few rounds of poker until I can't resist asking: "Are we there yet?"
Ryan shakes his head.
"How much longer?" I whine childishly.
"Dunno," Ryan studies his hand of cards.
"How can you not know? Didn't you like drive to my house from this place? How long did that take?"
He shrugs. "Not sure."
"How can you not be sure?"
"They don't exactly let you just waltz out of Sentinel or let you just wander in. I... I just sorta found myself on the road, following a GPS to your town."
"Well, that's creepy."
"That's the way they do things. Accept it now Kit. It's too late to go back."
I scowl. As if needed reminding of that fact. And I don't want to go back. Even if Sentinel is some super scary organization where they can do things like wipe out memories or make you black out half a drive. At least they have to have more answers. And they can definitely help me control my powers. I realize I'm trading one kind of freedom for another- the freedom to not be scared of myself for the freedom of just being a normal human being living in society. But well, the second was never an option for me.
"Don't worry Kit. They'll take care of us at Sentinel. It's not that bad," Dean tells me gently, and gives my shoulder a light squeeze.
"I'm not worried." I hunch my shoulders over my cards and focus on keeping Ryan out of my head. I feel him trying to creep in and take a look at my cards.
"Hey kids, how's your ride?" Mr. Hood saunters back and sits down next to Ryan at the table. "Why don't you kids get some sleep? You all look a little beat. Ryan, take the couch. Dean and Kit, see that curtain? There's two beds in back, go ahead and lie down." I realize he's not asking so much as telling. I almost want to argue but my legs seem to have a mind of their own, and the next thing I know, I'm walking behind the curtain and lying down in one of the beds. Dean's right behind me.
I want to say something. Maybe good night? But my eyelids are heavy. I barely manage to draw the covers over myself before I'm fast asleep.