Laurie wasn’t sure what happened next; she could remember being bundled into some sort of vehicle, and going somewhere else at a speed that couldn’t possibly be considered safe. But the first time she could remember her mind working again was when she woke up at the evening chorus in a bed she didn’t recognize.
She sat up in bed; and then sat right back down again. Her body ached from head to toe and she wasn’t sure she could move properly under her own power. She looked down at herself; someone had cleaned all the blood off before they put her to bed; she didn’t seem to remember anyone doing that.
Laurie looked around the room. It was the kind of room that kids tend to develop; every available surface was covered with things; toys, sculptures, fluffy things. She took the room in and decided she liked it; the bed was comfortable and she felt safe in it.
That said, Laurie had plenty of instincts that told he what to do when she heard the evening chorus. She levered herself back into a sitting position; ignoring her body’s protests and looked around. Whoever had put her to bed had folded all her things and put them on the bedside cabinet.
Laurie took her glasses and gun, but decided to leave the ‘Alice in wonderland’ costume behind. She looked around the room and her eyes found some sort of brown cotton poncho on the floor under what looked like some sort of plush toy.
Yes, thought Laurie; that will do nicely. She reached for the poncho (disturbing an overfed cat in the process) and took stock of her situation.
She was in a comfortable room somewhere, and felt well rested and awake for the first time in a little while. She tried to stretch, but only got halfway through before her muscles caught and forced her back down. She had tried to fight Emma last morning; she could remember it now; and by the feel of her body she had lost badly.
Laurie stretched again; she thought she got a little bit further this time; and she wondered about Team Three. It was like they just didn’t care about the people they hurt while they were having fun. Laurie scratched her arm and her brow furrowed; she found that attitude unnerving, and it made her stomach turn just a little bit; but she didn’t think she would try actually attacking one of them again.
Laurie finished tying the poncho up and tried the handle for the door; it was unlocked. Laurie pushed open the door and walked into the room beyond; glancing around as she went.
Derek was there; he was sleeping on a couch; it looked like he had just passed out again; he was fully dressed right down to his boots. Laurie smiled at him; she couldn’t remember a lot of what had happened last morning, but she had a notion that Derek had been as angry about what Team Three had done as she had been.
Laurie let her eyes wander to the half clamshell kitchen at the other end of the room; Emma was there, chopping vegetables. She looked up and met Laurie’s eyes, then she snorted a looked back down at her work.
Laurie raised her hand in a half wave, “Uh, hi?” she said. Emma didn’t respond, and Laurie left her to it; if she was going to talk to her then she wanted it to be some time when she didn’t have a knife in her hand.
Laurie looked around for Beatrice and didn’t find her. She shrugged; of all of them Beatrice would be the one best able to look after herself. She was just looking for the remote so that she could watch the news when it occurred to her that she had forgotten someone very important.
“Where’s Ernest?” she asked. Then, realizing that Emma wouldn’t know who she was talking about, she clarified, “The kid I was carrying. You see he was an important part of the missi-”
“Derek already told us” said Emma, without looking up. She indicated with her knife towards a door on the other side of the kitchen.
“Thanks” said Laurie, and walked towards the door.
The door opened on a completely dark room; inside there was a single figure; tied to a chair with a bag over his head. He looked completely limp.
Laurie shut the door feeling like she had been walking over someone’s grave. “Has he woken up?” she asked.
Emma made a sound at the roof of her mouth, which Laurie took as being negative. She stepped away from the door and wondered exactly what had been in the teddy bear that she had dosed Ernest with; it must have been something powerful to have put him out of it for twelve straight hours.
Laurie tried to remember if she had ever seen a medical drama that had mentioned how long someone could stay under general anaesthesia; then she thought about the state Ernest had been it and wondered if the rules were different for a dissociative coma.
She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she didn’t even notice when Beatrice walked back into the room. Beatrice dropped a paper on the kitchen table with a slapping noise that made Laurie Jump. Then Laurie smiled; it would be good to catch back up with what was happening in the world.
She thanked Beatrice and moved to look at the paper. For her own reasons Emma was curious enough to move next to her and look as well. Their collective intake of breath when they both saw the front page was loud enough to shock Derek out of his sleep.