Catching Smoke: The Twenty-Second Chapter

Wednesday, December 03, 2014



Catching Smoke

The Twenty-Second Chapter


It’s not what Emmalee expected.

“First, you’ll go through training. Don’t ask me what that will be. It’s different for everyone, and even if I knew—and I don’t—I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you.” Colin says.

Emmalee frowns, but doesn’t complain. She would like more information, but fine. She can be patient. Surely, there’s more information to come.

“And after training?” Emmalee asks when Colin doesn’t immediately continue.

“You’ll have your first assignment.”

“Assignment?”

“I was getting there. Jeez.” Colin sighs. “The job is made up of assignments. They’ll seem random, but they are all appropriately coordinated with your level of skill and your current location. Your level of skill is determined during training, and kept track of after each assignment completion. Your location is tracked by the company. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know, and I don’t care.”

“They track my location, and I’m not allowed to know how?”

Emmalee crosses her arms over her chest, stands up, and begins pacing back and forth in front of the bed. She doesn’t like having her location tracked. That was why she had started this whole life of escaping. How is she supposed to be okay with this? Colin should have warned her. He knew about this, and he didn’t—

“We’re not the bad guys.” Colin says.

“How do I know?” Emmalee asks. “How am I supposed to believe anything you tell me?”

“Well, I don’t see how you have much of a choice.”

“Exactly!” She stops pacing, and stands in front of Colin. “I don’t have a choice. I’ve never had a choice. I’m just supposed to give up everything for one giant mess of secrets!”

Colin is silent for a minute, and Emmalee struggles to keep from crying. She hates this, hates all the unknowns. She’s worked hard to keep her life in her control, and then Colin showed up and wrecked every sense of control she thought was hers to keep.

“We all have secrets, Miss. Whittaker.” Colin says. “We all have things happen that are out of our control. It’s part of life.”

“Not mine.”

“What?” Colin laughs. “Now, you’re just being ridiculous. Are you going to let me finish or not?”

Emmalee takes a step backwards. She knows her options for escape are severely limited. Colin may be injured, but Lydia isn’t, and Emmalee knows she can’t be far. Surely, they anticipated her desire for escape. Surely, Lydia is waiting for her to try.

“I don’t know.” She says.

Colin sighs. He leans back on the bed, and grabs the remote for the television, turning it on.


“Let me know when you’re ready. I’ve got all night.” He says. “But just so you know, it’s too late to change your mind.”

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