Catching Smoke: Ch. 29

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Colin’s phone is ringing.

He can hear the high pitched screech ringing in his ear, but when he tries to move his hand to reach for it, he realizes he can’t. His hands are handcuffed to a wall or something. Colin is still much too drowsy to open his eyes and look. What happened? Why is Harlem calling him? Harlem only calls for emergencies.

That’s when Colin remembers.

His eyes snap open, and he realizes he’s in total darkness. There’s nothing to see. Colin has to blink several times just to make sure his eyes are even open.

“What the hell,” he says, and his voice echoes.

Is he in a cave? Where the hell is he right now?

He remembers how he got here: the hotel room, Emmalee’s father, a group of men with a needle. But why? What the hell is going on? If Emmalee’s father was a threat, why wasn’t he in her file? Was he in her file? Colin can’t remember. It’s incredibly likely he glossed over her family history. It’s never the most interesting part. All recruits have some sort of family issues. Otherwise they wouldn’t be recruits.

“Oh, you’re not in hell yet,” Emmalee’s father says from across the room. “But don’t worry. You’ll get there.”

Colin blinks some more, trying in vain to see through the darkness. Where is Emmalee’s father? What does he want?

“Boo,” Emmalee’s father whispers in Colin’s ear.

Colin didn’t even hear his footsteps. This isn’t good. Colin’s never been in this situation before. Luckily, his phone has stopped ringing. He’s never not answered his phone either. Harlem will know what to do. Harlem will find him.

“Not much of a talker, huh?” Emmalee’s father asks, now a few feet away. “Not going to ask all the typical questions? Why am I here? What do I want? Really?” Colin doesn’t answer. “Hmm. I always thought my daughter’s taste in men was more predictable. She’s never gone for stability. I think she likes to have the upper-hand, you know? She likes to think she’s in control, the strong one. She didn’t get that feeling growing up, I’m afraid.”

Colin fights the urge to smile. Emmalee’s father thinks Colin is her boyfriend. He doesn’t know who Colin really is. Colin can use that to his advantage. This could work.

“Please,” Colin says, “let us go.”

“Ah,” Emmalee’s father says, “there it is. You must be one of the nice ones. Think just a little bit of begging with some pleasantries will do the trick? I’m afraid that won’t do, son. No, I have something much more fun planned for the two of you. I’ve been waiting a long time for this reunion. I expected someone like you would be here to join us, so don’t worry. You won’t miss out.”

Emmalee’s father puts a hand on Colin’s shoulder. Colin squeezes his eyes shut. He knows what’s coming even before he feels the needle press into the skin on his neck.

“Goodnight, now. I’ll see you for dinner,” Emmalee’s father says.

And then Colin is left in the dark again.

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