Never Alone part III
SilverWings looked up from the trunk she was currently inspecting. Like all the other boxes she had seen so far, it was full of illegal products: pirated DVDs, marijuana, Cuban cigars. She had even found a case of handguns.
"Find anything?" she asked Thirteen, who was exploring through the other half of the crates.
"No," he sounded frustrated. "Just an abandoned warehouse full of prohibited goods. Want me to call it in?" Ever the do-gooder, Thirteen already had his phone out to call the police and report the illegal activity.
"After I check out one last thing." Silverwings squeezed through a cluster of trunks to a large crate covered by a yellow tarp. She had noticed it before, though had disregarded it for anything of great importance. Now that they had gone through every other box and found nothing of use, she hoped there was something beneath the tarp.
Using her hidden blade to cut through the lines holding the tarp in place, Silver observed how new they were: strong and thick. By the time she finished sawing through the last rope, Thirteen had joined her to see what she was up to. Together, the two grabbed a corner of the tarp and pulled it off.
SilverWings froze, as did her partner. The bars of the cage were a glinting steel; as new as the lines that had anchored the tarp to the ground. The lock was a large combination-lock, twelve columns of numbers that would surely take minutes rather than seconds to decipher. Someone had spent a lot of money for such a well built piece of equipment.
The pair of teens cared little about the lock, or the prison like cage, as they met the startled eyes of a teenage girl.
She could not have been much older than themselves, 17 perhaps. She sat in the back of the cage, cowering in fear. Her nutmeg-brown hair was a matted, tangled mess. The girl was extremely thin to the point of malnourished. Her cheeks were hollow and her irises were sparkling-blue topaz gems in her shadowed eyes. She was quite beautiful, despite the dirt smears on her face, body, bare feet, and dress that looked like a hospital gown.
"Hello," Thirteen said softly, the first to recover. The girl shrank back even further despite the limited space. "We won't hurt you."
SilverWings blinked away her shock. She knelt beside the cage. "Hi there, I'm Aryess. This is my friend; his name is Alek. What's yours?"
The girl only stared wide-eyed at the new visitors.
"You look hungry," Thirteen said. He reached into his knapsack and pulled out a granola bar. He held it up for the terrified girl to see. "Would you like this?" He passed it through the bars, which were barely far enough apart for his wrist to pass through.
The girl struck, grabbed the granola bar, and returned to the back of the cage. She opened the bar, and took a bite.
"You should not be here," she said. The voice she spoke with did not fit her rough conditions. It was high and soothing, like the call of a finch.
"Who are you?" Thirteen asked. "Who did this to you?" His voice trembled slightly, which startled Silver. She had never before heard her partner truly angry, but his words bordered on rage.
"They did," the girl said simply, "the men who stole me from the labs. They put me here until they can sell me."
"Labs?" SilverWings said. The girl nodded and stepped away from the wall of bars. With a sigh, she unfolded two extensions of feathers that Silver recognized as wings. Despite the amount of grime covering them, they were dazzling. Almost completely white with black dapples on the primary feathers.
"There is not enough room for me to extend them fully," the girl said, as if to apologize. "They called me Project Immunity where I was created."
"We need to get you out of here," Silver decided. She looked at the lock, reaching for it to begin a trial of sequences, but a hand grasped hers. Silver had not even heard the girl's movement, which impressed her. The hand that stopped her own was bony, but strong.
"You cannot free me," she stated. "They will know. They will come after me. And they will harm you."
"I am not afraid for myself as I am for you," SilverWings remarked. It was true, and her rage at how this girl, not much older than herself, was being treated like a forgotten animal, only strengthened the feeling.
"Move," Thirteen said. Silver stepped aside and saw that her partner held one of the handguns from the crates. It was a Glock 23: quick, forceful, and known worldwide as the gun used by the FBI. Silver immediately understood his intentions.
"Move back and cover your ears," she ordered Immunity. The girl moved back against the bars of the cage. She pressed her hands over her ears, watching the boy with the weapon with high curiosity.
Silver stepped back and covered her own ears. Despite her effort, the blast of the Glock was deafening. It was a thunderous boom that shook the entire warehouse, the glass of the windows vibrating in their panes. The combination lock exploded, not leaving a shred of brass in place. Silver looked to her partner. His jaw was set, his vibrant emerald eyes sparking with anger. He lowered his gun and opened the door to the cage.
Immunity opened her eyes, having shut them instinctively when the bullet had collided with the lock, sending it in every direction.
"Come with us," Thirteen said soothingly, holding out a hand to the girl. Not a hint if his fiery was reflected in his tone. "We will not allow harm to come to you."
Immunity stretched her arm hesitantly toward Thirteen's fingers, and gripped his hand lightly. He helped her out of the confinement of the bared prison and into the musty air of the warehouse. Immunity smiled, stretching her wings fully with a relieved sigh. The fourteen-foot wingspan brushed the piles off cares on either end of the space. SilverWings found herself stroking the angel charm that hung around her own neck.
"Let's leave before your handlers come back," Silver advised, shaking herself from her daze. She once again squeezed through the boxes.
With the glass no longer an obstacle, Silver leapt onto the windows ledge. She looked behind to see Thirteen guiding Immunity through the mound of crates to their escape. She smiled slightly, knowing what the mistreated girl created by and for experimentation meant to him. Both would likely compare notes of their childhoods of trials and tests before escaping. Or in Immunity's case, getting stolen. The boy formally known as Subject Thirteen met his partners eyes and smiled.
Silver nodded to him and dropped onto the weed infested ground of the marshland. Looking up at the window to await her companions, she felt the cold metal of a gun press up against her neck. She tried to scream a warning to the others, but a hand clamped over her mouth.
"Hello again, little princess," said a deep voice that sent a shudder through her.
"They call me Project Immunity..."