Mirella sat back against the pure white wall. She had been placed in here as soon as they could. No one seemed to know what else to do with her, and they had taken her house coat in exchange for something that she knew too well. A straight jacket.
She wondered which of the many people who hated her had arranged this.
Her family? Maybe, it was possible, seeing as they would like nothing more than her disappearance on a good day, yet another reason they couldn't stand each other on a normal day. On the other hand, they weren't exactly well enough off to afford something like this. So, that meant they were probably out. For now.
Next was the police officers that had been hounding her for years. She knew why they thought it was her, and honestly, she couldn't fault them for it, but that didn't mean they were right. According to what she had been told, she fit the profile of the mastermind behind the bank robbery, the one that no one seemed to be able to solve. From the moment they had a run a background check on everyone that had been in the building, she had been a suspect. Despite the fact that her records should have been sealed because at the time she had been a minor. Despite the fact that she hadn't been in trouble ever. Despite everything that she had been through, Mirella Gasper was the only suspect that to this day, they still hounded.
All because she fit the same profile of being a cold, calculated mastermind, as they had called her.
Even though she was now stuck once again, she couldn't help but snort. Just because she could be an excellent criminal, if she wanted to, did not mean she didn't keep her nose clean. She wasn't doing anything, and never had.
The police seemed to be the most rational option, if it wasn't for the fact that if she was in a place like this, it wasn't what they wanted. The police wanted justice for the three people who had died that day, and while they wanted her locked up, she doubted this was what they had in mind.
Then again, they knew they couldn't convict her for it, and she knew it too. They had different reasons, she was sure, but they were still in agreement over that, if nothing else. She knew they wouldn't arrest her, or at least charge her because she had nothing to do with the robbery. Nothing that they could find would prove otherwise, simply because she knew herself and knew that she had more important things to do than to plan and rob a bank. She didn't need the money, she had been working for years and Jason paid her well.
They, on the other hand, thought it was because she was too clever to leave obvious or not so obvious tracks. Which she was. That was the biggest reason she put up with the harassments. She easily could have been the person they were looking for. She admitted she was too smart, too cold, and too clever for her own good.
Which led her back to the memories she was trying not to think about.
It had honestly started years before. She had been about six when she realized that she wasn't normal in the most obvious ways. By fourteen, she had been stupid enough to mention one little tiny nugget of information to her family, hoping that this would help her not have to hide anymore. Of course, by the next day when she had woken up, thinking they had taken it better than she thought they would. That didn't stop them from grabbing a few of her things and shoving them and her in the car. They checked her into a mental hospital.
Because she was stupid enough to give them just a piece of truth, they locked her up. She stayed for eighteen months before being released. Of course, by then, she had to do everything that she could in order to keep her secret. They misdiagnosed her on purpose. That was far kinder than the truth. She could have been honest from the start, but she had found that manipulation was as much in her genetics as the disease that they said she had. She wasn't sure how much anyone but her knew though. She had always been very careful to keep up certain expectations since she was there. In fact, the only time she had let down her masks was right after the release forms had been signed.
The expressions on the doctor's faces when they realized that they were wrong was rather satisfying.
Of course, it wasn't like they could go ahead and re- institutionalize her when she was discharged only moments before. She was completely sane. She knew that being locked up like an animal and trapped in the white room…
No one knew what they were getting into with her of all people. That was fine though. There was no one who needed to know anything about her. As soon as she turned eighteen, she moved out. She had been working with smaller companies since she was sixteen, just a few months after her release. She made good money once people knew that she was excellent at her job. She had the money to buy a small, one bedroom apartment that she had kept right up until she started having to move around.
She quite enjoyed moving around from place to place, even if she didn't like the reasons for it.
So, being stuck here was bringing back a feeling of entrapment that she hadn't felt since those days. Huh. It made sense, in some strange way, that she was feeling things that she mentally associated with a time of panic and manipulation. In fact, it would be strange if she wasn't feeling anything.
Mirella took a deep breath, and leaned back again, trying to release some of the tension in her shoulders that was already starting to build up. Her arms, shoulders, and neck would be a mess by the end of this.
As soon as she got home, she was going to interrogate every person she knew who had the connections, including the newlyweds. Lucy would do anything for Phoebe. Anything, including locking up her older sister if she thought it was for her own good.
Mirella cringed. She should have known better than to let anyone see her being angry. She shouldn't have snapped at her sister, despite how stupid she was being.
The door opened slightly, and she stiffened. A woman in her late thirties with deep brown hair and light blue eyes slowly walked in, holding a small tray.
"You must be hungry, petite fille. I brought you some food." Her accent was light, french, and almost an afterthought.
Mirella felt her eyes narrow. "Who are you?" She asked quietly. "Why am I here?"
The woman tutted. "So full of questions, petite fille. Questions are not safe here. However, they call me b73, and you are here because you were a très stupide petite fille. Now, no more questions, alright, J26?"
"J26? Why are you calling me that?" She couldn't help but ask.
B73 laughed lightly, her eyes full of pity towards the younger woman. "That is your name, of course."
"What are you talking about? Where-"
The woman cut her off with a look of slight fear towards the door. "I must go." She whispered. "If you behave, they may let you leave. Learn the rules, petite fille, and you might survive this island."
The woman rushed towards the door, but stopped at the last second. "The weather is nice for a ride in the air, non?" She smirked before disappearing through the doorway with a soft click.
Was that a clue, she wondered, a warning maybe? Either way, this place was messing with her mind, she knew it, and did not at all appreciate it.
Oh, she was sure that if anyone she knew was watching her right then, they would say she was getting a taste of her own medicine. There was a difference though, she wasn't the type to take away someone's movement and basically trap them in a white box.
If she wanted something from someone, she had better ways to get them to want to give it to her than this.
Maybe it was because she was psychopathic, or maybe it was because she recognized this game, that she wasn't freaking out.
Whatever the reason, she could easily give her captors some tips to keep their victims... occupied.
A small, very well hidden part of her couldn't help but think that they wanted something else from their games. She wanted something, and usually managed to get someone to do it for her. Her games, while seemingly cruel, never allowed any actual harm to come to anyone. She had always said that if she wanted someone hurt, she would have done it herself.
These people were still playing mind games, but they seemed to have a different target and goal than she did.
Had they kidnapped her on purpose? Had they come looking for something, and found her instead? Did they want to use her against her family, or against Jason? Were they after money, her skills, or information?
She couldn't help but sigh. She fully admitted that she played games with people. She had been doing so for as long as she could remember. There was a difference though. With her, she had rules. She would be the first to admit that her moral code was slightly… different than others.
The trick to playing her games was to make sure that no one else realized they were playing. A puppet who believed they had free will and that they had a choice in performing certain actions was far more useful to her than a broken one. She lived for the game, and for the moments when her prey did exactly what she had wanted them to, because they had wanted to.
There was a certain satisfaction she got from winning a game of wits that no one else realized they were playing. It was a rush that she may have been slightly addicted to. She had a fondness for games, and the ones where her control was absolute were the most enticing
A deep ache ran through her arms from her shoulders. She felt herself stiffen, but continued to breath. She knew that there was something missing in that moment. After all, what fun was it to make a prey suffering break without being able to watch.
If the person or people behind his were anything like her, there would be a camera of some sort watching her. Mirella leaned her head back, and took in the room from the eyes of her captors. If she had been setting the room to hold someone that was emotionally unstable or unnerved, the camera would be facing the door.
However, if they were expecting someone who was more likely to resist while appearing to give in, or someone who felt no fear, the camera would face the farthest corner of the room from the door. If one was comfortable and near the door, it would be too easy to open the door and dose them without the prey having any time to react. The farther from the door, the more time one had to react.
She had a feeling that they knew they would be dealing with the later, rather than the former. That was slightly disturbing. That meant they knew she was more than she appeared.
An old doctor then? If it was her family, despite them knowing she was considered unstable, they underestimated her. They thought that she could snap, true, but they had no idea exactly what she could do if she really set her mind to it.
If they did, she knew that Phoebe or any of the others would be too scared of her to even think about verbally assaulting her. She was very aware of the price she paid to make people fear her as little as possible.
A voice jerked her out of her thoughts. It was muffled through the door, and while she couldn't make it out, she did realize that they were coming in. She relaxed her posture, keeping her muscles loose in case she was able to run.
When the door opened, though, she couldn't help but freeze. There, looking every bit as attractive as always, was Harvey Daniels. She resisted the urge to curse. She had known there was something off about the bartender, but she had never pegged him for the type to do something like this.
He gave her an emotionless look. "Hello, J26." He said semi bitterly. In that moment, he was more open than she had ever seen before. His eyes swirled with regret, anguish, resignation, and fear. After a moment, she realized that he wasn't scared of her, he was terrified for her.
Well, she couldn't help but think, that answered that. Harvey was not the mastermind, but he was a threat. If only because he knew who was pulling his strings, and had never warned her that someone here was after her.
"It is my honor to be the one to introduce you to your new life." Harvey told her, "I am known as I43. Welcome to El Dorado. The rules are simple. The only way you are leaving this island is in a body bag. Those who have tried to leave have disappeared. If you try to involve anyone of authority, firstly, they either already know, or they don't care. You will be given a job, and be referred to as J26 for the EST of your stay. Everyone has a roll here, and their name will be reflective of said status. For example, I am a bartender, therefore, my letter is an I. You are a security specialist, or at least you will be after some training. You are to do as asked, the first time. There are no second chances. Please be aware that each of our new employees are watched very carefully until they no longer crave the outside world. You aren't allowed to ask questions, unless someone gives you their express permission. You will find a piece of paper on your desk with any orders. Should you disobey, you will be punished harshly. Should you not complete the task in a timely manner, you will be punished harshly. Should you tell anyone about your assignment, you will be harshly punished. If you fail a task, you will be killed. The punishment for any offenses, from being late to trying to leave without permission, are simple. Every failure results in the death of a loved one. The more serious the offense, the more the person is hurt before they die." He had to stop, his voice started to shake as badly as his hands were. Her keen eyes didn't miss the way he had to close his eyes for a moment.
Clearly, this was a punishment, or part of one. For a moment, she allowed herself to wonder what crime he had committed.
"DNA evidence will be left at the scene of the crime, and it will belong to you. Please keep in mind that even if you do manage to leave the island, your entire family will be slaughtered before you manage to get there, and the FBI will have a price om your head. Assuming you survive the initial punishment, you will be killed before you even arrive at the prison. Your body will be given to the man who hides in plain sight. Do you understand?" He asked.
He slapped her across the face hard enough to make her head hit the wall as he crouched before her. "I did not give you permission to speak, J26." He hissed.
He regretted the action, she knew. But his eyes hardened, before flicking over to the side. Her eyes followed, and sure enough, there was a tiny speck of something black on the pristine white walls.
Mirella resisted the urge to smirk. Now that she had found the camera, she could fund out a way around it. Possibly, she could even figure out what kind of security this place had. If there was anything she understood, it was security systems.
Harvey moved slightly, and she knew that he had seen where she had been looking. He said nothing about it, but she could see the relief in his eyes.
"You are not to speak without permission. This is your only warning, J26. Most people would not be so lenient. Don't test my patience further. Now, do you understand?"
She inclined her head slightly. He wanted to help her, but they were watching him too closely, and he had already screwed up once. If he could sabotage the people without them knowing, he would. Until then, she was on her own, and couldn't trust anyone. Message received.
"Good." He backed away slightly, and stood. His eyes flickered to the camera once again, before his focus was back on her. "Stay sane, J26. And welcome to El Dorado."
Within moments, she was alone again. She could play the game, and now that she knew at least the basics of the rules, she could win. It was going to be tricky, and require more of her, both mentally and physically than she was used to giving, but she knew it was her only chance.
She closed her eyes and relaxed. They were probably going to keep her in isolation, probably starving her a bit, and she wouldn't be surprised if they expected the isolation to make her more vulnerable.
She almost pitied them. They didn't know who they were messing with. They didn't know that she was most comfortable by herself, or that she could easily survive however long she was in here by simply plotting. She would be lost in her mind until her string of an idea was carefully molded into a meticulous and probably slightly paranoid plan that was as perfect as she could make it.