Forbidden Birds

Again, just messing around with ideas.

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3. Chapter 3

Now

A woman with sharp features stands in front of the bars and watches us as the guard opens the lock. Daniel sits up straight and stares back at her defiantly. The door opens.

"Elise Kane, come with me."

I gulp and hesitate. I don't want to. Daniel holds my arm. 

"Leave her, she doesn't want to."

She arches her eyebrow at him "It was not a question, it was a command. Lest she wishes to be forcibly removed."

I brush off Daniel's hand and stumble to my feet, gritting my teeth as my tense muscles creak from the lack of movement. The lady doesn't even acknowledge me as she turns around and starts walking down the dark, silent corridor. I look back once at Daniel then the guard pushes my shoulder and I start to follow the lady, sandwiched between her and the guard. Everything is so dark and quiet. I force myself to take deep breaths as I square my shoulders and walk purposefully, holding my head level. We finally reach a door and the lady opens it, beckoning me in. The room seems empty, with only one table and two opposite chairs facing each other, but I know there are hidden cameras everywhere, Daniel told me. She sits down in one of the chairs and the guard pushes me down into the other. I scowl up at him then slowly shift my gaze to the lady. She clears her throat and leans back. 

"Elise Kane. Date of Birth the 9th of April 2109, age 17 years."

She must have read my case through and through.

"So tell me Elise." She looks at me curiously "Why?"

I narrow my eyes "Why what, specifically?"

"You know what. Why...have you written a book?"

I could lie. I could play dumb. I could play wimp. I don't.

"I wanted to." I say simply.

"But why would you want to?"

I shrug "I liked the thought of books. Is that really a crime?"

She coughs "No, that is not a crime. However, actually producing a book, against our international law, now that is a crime."

I look down "What are you going to do?"

"Nothing yet. I want to know everything first."

That's the invitation. I don't say anything.

"Elise. You're going to have to co-operate with me." 

I look up and tilt my chin "I saw a book. I liked it. I made one. That's it."

She purses her lips "Saw a book where?"

This is safe. "The Walkhouser Museum. My class went there."

"I see." She doesn't write anything down, the cameras are recording. "And where did you find the means to produce a book of your own?"

I struggle to keep my face expressionless. "I found some paper and pens in an abandoned warehouse."

"You found paper and pens?"

I nod. 

"I don't believe that, Elise."

I shrug "Believe what you want. I will tell you what I will."

"Like I said, you're going to have to co-operate with me."

"And if I don't?"

She sets her mouth "We're going to have to force you to."

I know. "Like I said, I found them."

She sighs "And when did Daniel Odell come in to this?" 

More lying. "I...forced him to help me. He didn't want me to but I needed someone to draw for me. Daniel was my friend, I forced him to."

I swallow the bile rising in my mouth and act casual. The lady just sits there and looks at me for a long time. I return her gaze, refusing to be cowed. Finally, she scrapes back her chair and stands up.

"Thank you Elise, we will resume this at another date."

"Another date?!" I spit. "Just how long are you going to keep us here?!"

She doesn't flinch "We have other cases, but not one of this magnitude. You are a priority and we will try to solve this as soon as we can."

"You mean sentence us?"

"Yes."

"For writing a book?!"

She looks back at me coolly "You know the laws of our world. Perhaps you should have regarded these with more thought before breaking them." She motions to the guard to lead me away.

"You make me sick." I growl at her "These laws are stupid and repressive and downright wrong, and mark my words, they will be a disaster for you."

The guard grabs me roughly and hauls me out the door, pulling me along the corridors back to the cell. Daniel sees us and stands up, coming forward to peer out more clearly. The guard opens the lock and shoves me inside before locking it again and walking off. I stare at his retreating figure in hatred, breathing heavily. It is quiet and dark once again.

"Elise?" Daniel asks, touching my arm softly. I blink and turn around to face him. He looks worried. 

"What did they say?"

I grip my arms to warm them up and say through gritted teeth "They just asked questions."

He frowns "That's it?"

I groan "But they're...they're not nearly done. I don't know how long they're going to keep us in here."

He nods, then wraps his arms around me. "We'll be fine."

Neither of us know that.

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