A Thousand Ways to Pay a Price

After escaping nearly being kidnapped, Teresa and Maya are on the run. Not knowing why they are being chased or who's following them, their only hope is to find the mysterious organization known as Infinity.

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1. Maya


"Are you close by?" I'm on the phone with my friend Teresa, she's coming over to hang out. 

"Almost there," she replies immediately, "you can see me from your window."

"What's that loud noise?" I ask. It sounds like a person yelling 'STOP!' over and over again with loud pants in between.

"Oh that's just the police officer half a block behind me," she replies nonchalantly. 

Quickly I go to the window and look out to the street, moving the curtains apart. There she is, strolling as if without a care in the world, with her cell phone in her hand, her long hair flowing behind her in the wind. 

It's hard to describe her hair's colour, it's a mix of chestnut, red and blond. For the record, she doesn't dye it (even though everyone thinks she does), it's naturally like that. Today, the way the light's hitting it, it looks blond with a couple pink streaks and brown under layers.

Just as she said, a police man is running after her, occasionally stopping to pant for breath before running after her again. Teresa is the only one who can make someone lose their breath just from following her at a normal walking pace. 

"What did you do this time?" I ask dreading to hear the answer. 

"Nothing big, I just jaywalked." 

"The police officer must be really bored, isn't there more need for a police officer somewhere else?"

"Well this guy was just looking to get on my nerves! He tried to give me a ticket and then arrest me!"

By now Teresa is close to the door, so I walk over and open it. 

"Hurry up," I say to her, "maybe the police officer won't notice you came in."

"He seems busy enough, catching his breath," Teresa replies with venom.

I think about what she said, arrest? "Why'd he want to arrest you anyway, Teresa?"

"After I jaywalked he wanted to give me a ticket, but I refused to accept it and ripped it it two. He got really upset for some reason and decided to arrest me, at which point I kicked him really hard. I turned and started walking away and he chased after me and told me I was 'resisting arrest' and only making things 'harder for myself.' I ignored him and kept walking. I hadn't realized jaywalking was that serious of a crime. There were NO cars on the road! I don't get where the problem was, he was the only one being difficult." 

I roll my eyes. That police man is always pestering people, especially Teresa who's always jaywalking. It didn't surprise me he tried to give her a ticket. 

"I don't even think he's a real officer. He's probably some guy with issues who decided to dress as a police officer and give people tickets!" Teresa finishes. Once you get her going she'll rant about whatever is bothering her this time until she's exhausted her repertoire of every possible detail about it. 

We walk over to the living room, a cozy place with walls and stuff. "The marathon's about to start, you got here just in time," I say. Just then I hear the microwave beep, "Oh, and the popcorn's done as well!"

I get a bowl from the kitchen and fill it with warm popcorn, taking a handful and stuffing it into my mouth. From the living room I can hear Doctor Who's theme song start to play. Just as I plop down onto the couch I hear shouts coming from outside. 'Has the police man figured out I'm harboring a fugitive (Teresa) and brought backup?' I wonder.

The sound of the door being kicked in and the windows shattering, makes me come to the conclusion that this definitely isn't the police, maybe a SWAT team? Is jaywalking that big of an issue?! (If you haven't guessed, I'm having a panic attack.) The gaps in the door and window frames are quickly filled with men in all black spy suit like things.

"It was just jaywalking! Leave us alone! Teresa is really sorry! She'll never do it again!" I scream in panic. 

"Freeze!" they yell at us pointing their guns in our direction, "put your hands on your head!"

I'm having trouble processing the events, everything seems to happen too quickly. What's going on?

A cold voice cut through my thoughts, "Ahhhh... Maya Alexandra. Check! And who else is here? A bonus! The other one is a User too! Take them both!"

A man walks thought the door casually, as if this kind of thing is an everyday occurrence, he isn't wearing a mask. The cold voice belongs to him. He gestures to two men on his left who grab us roughly. I'm frozen with terror and before I can scream, the man holding me clamps my mouth shut. I can see the other guy doing the same thing to Teresa. She's struggling against him. My eyes widen as I watch a man approach her. He isn't wearing any spy gear and a tattoo of a broken mirror is clearly visable on his left forearm, he places nothing more than a flower around her wrists. 

Before letting go, he looks at the flower intently and before my eyes I see the flower thickening, slowly turning into a rope and tightening around her wrists. She winces and I start struggling harder against my captor. 

'The tattoo seemed to glow when the flower changed,' is my thought directly after, 'Did I just see that? Is that even possible? Who are these guys? What's going on? Is this some kind of prank? If it is, I'm pressing charges.'

The man with the tattoo walks up to me and I struggle more fiercely, desperate to escape. He does the same thing to me, and I can feel bruises forming on my skin as the thin delicate flower changes into a thick hard rope.

I struggle, but it's no use, the guy holding me is too strong and the rope is too tight. I wish I could get out of here, I'd rather be anywhere but here. For some reason I keep remembering this school trip to city hall that we had in fifth grade.

I can picture it vividly. I close my eyes and remember. I remember taking the subway there, I remember walking on the asphalt towards the tall looming building, past the melted ice rink. I remember laughing at Teresa's sarcastic remark referring to an instruction the teacher gave. I remember not being tied up and held by strange men in my living room. 

I want to go back to that time. I want to go back to that class trip at city hall. Anything is better than this. With all my might I wish to be there and I shut myself off from the present situation. 'No,' I think to myself, 'I'm not here, I'm at city hall. The teacher is telling us to line up against the wall so she can count us.' I remember walking in through the front doors. I remember-

A sharp intake of breath brings me out of the memory. I open my eyes to see a door, that wasn't there earlier, in the middle of the room. A man in black spy gear approaches it after being given an order to do so from the man without a mask. He gives me a funny look. 

The man in black walks around it and them comes back to the side facing us. He tries to turn the handle and I really don't want him to open the door. I have a feeling that whatever is on the other side is too good for him. He releases the handle warily, "It's locked," he informs the watching crowd.

"Very peculiar," the man without a mask says slowly as he gives me another look.

I really don't like that look he's giving me. What's he thinking? It's really creeping me out.

The man with the tattoo is ignoring the entire situation and is looking through drawers in the room next door. "Does anyone see a mirror anywhere?" he asks the room at large.

I hear a grunt of pain and turn my head quickly, surprising the man holding me, so loses his grip on my mouth. Teresa has stomped on her captor's foot and he has released her in suprise. 'Yes!' I think, 'Run for it! Head for the door!' I have this strange feeling it'll open for her. 

She's halfway to the door, the men have realized she's escaping. 
She's almost at the door, they're starting to run towards her. 
She's at the door, "Get out of here!" I yell. 
But she keeps running. 

She doesn't stop.

I stop and think this over again.

She's still running... 
Straight towards me! 

She rushes just past me and crashes into my captor who releases me in shock at the impact. Teresa quickly gets back to her feet. "Come on!" she yells at me. We run towards the door. 'Please open!' I beg it. As we get closer it opens of it's own accord and we rush through. 

The last thing I hear as we pass through the open door, is the man without a mask's screaming in rage, the man with the tattoo saying calmly, "Finally! I found one!" and the sound of glass breaking.

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