I thought I saw wrong, when shadow past the window, the door banged open and next time I looked up, Saul stormed in the kitchen in pure rage. His neck was red and he slammed the pack of papers on the kitchen table, tearing everything else from its place and blowing my cup off, breaking it into pieces.
“Well,” I thought, afraid to even look away from his face, “isn’t that a pretty start for a day?”
He heaved hard, knuckles slamming hard in the middle of the paper. “How could you do that?”
I coughed, choking on the cookie stuffed in mouth. I couldn’t swallow it fast enough and he continued, his fierce voice accompanied by cracking knuckles. “You just couldn’t keep your mouth shut! You had to tell that bitch every little detail about our past!”
“M-morning?” I tried to slow him down a bit, but he responded with another fit of hits on the table. “Zuzana? What –?”
“Who else? WHO ELSE DO YOU KNOW FROM NEWSPAPERS?”
I pulled several inches back, head disappearing behind my shoulders. “Now would be good time to explain, what’s going on – I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
He pushed his newspapers aside and grabbed the one I was reading earlier, broke it in half and presented me with a big fat headline HIDING RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES. By Zuzana Hepburn.
Shoulders slumped together with my heart and my stomach growled in sudden shock.
“Hadn’t got to it yet…” I whispered, turning paler by seconds, slowly cupping my mouth while reading the introductory paragraph. “This is so bad!”
“Oh, go on! Read it through.” I glared up, incredulous how short-tempered he was. He crossed the floor in one swift move and leaned against the counter, packing his hands on his chest, his voice surly rasp, lined in steel. “I’ll wait!”
I bet he did. I knew I hadn’t given her any interview. I hated her to the bottom of my heart! Why would I even go near her?
“Look, Saul, I wouldn’t ever, ever do that to you –” I turned to tell him, but he wasn’t in accompanying mood.
“We were his Sample A and Sample B. We were kept in a large house on the last floor. In opposite of the courtyard stood a similar house – grey, flat roof…
It had six separate windows on the first and the second floor. The one with ventilation shaft above it, was Dr. Rouse’ office. He often worked late. Other windows were kept covered.
On far left was staircase with glass panels reaching all the way to the top – one, two, three, four, five white frames. On the top floor was another hall with one huge six-panel window. The other group was held there. We knew it, because we were held in a similar room.
You wouldn’t know those houses were high security prisons. Modern cells don’t need bars. They are built in the glass. High level skyscraper glass with inbuilt layers of plastic.”
I remembered his words as I stood in the courtyard and observed the U-shaped tall wreck around me. The sun shined right on the window with the ventilation shafts, reducing me to shiver. The way it painted gold all over the dusty glass reminded me the doctor still at work.
I didn’t want to read the whole article. Every word was making me dizzy and my stomach acted up. Few lines below the bad stock photo of a monster caught my attention. It sounded familiar. Too familiar even. I grabbed the paper and raised it higher, stretching my back with recognition. Oh, and the irony – “According to Miss. Helder”.
“I’ll be damned…” I murmured. I let the paper slide back on the table. “She was eavesdropping!”
“She must have listened, when we talked about it!”
He took a deep breath before saying through closed teeth. “You talked about us?”
“He called…” I whispered.
“It was hot. I came outside to talk.” I whispered, gritting my teeth, but like always – too late to change anything. “I read him a page from the notebook.”
“The hell would you do that? In public, of all the places!”
“How was I supposed to know she was hiding nearby? No one ever goes around here at night!”
“Now, isn’t that a nice excuse!”
“I’m not searching excuses!”
“Good for you, ‘cause you have ten seconds to tell me how you can make this better!” He pulled his jacket up and started counting.
“Like a little baby!” I cried out, breaking. “I just wanted to talk to someone! Is that such a big crime?”
“If it concerns us – YES!”
“So, now what?”
“You know they want me to banish you forever? Do you fucking understand?”
I gulped. So that’s how easily it was done – some pressure to the boss and you were tossed out. Only, I wasn’t even part of them to be tossed out. It hurt inside, knowing I was so easily sacrificed.
I looked down and saw the broken cup with pieces still half filled with coffee and splash of my favorite ice cream. I got up and went for the brush and bin. I knelled next to the pieces and pick them up one by one.
“And you talked with Mykola! Are we really that bad that with one little argument, you just HAVE to run back to that bastard? You couldn’t wait to share information, could you? I should have known you’re gathering information on us! Who in their right mind would want to be part of us if they could just go and sell the information?”
I listened and had to sit. My heart changed its rhythm so fast it broke my chest in half. Mykola was related with them? He was the secret source? Shit, the bastard was alive! Until now I had not considered it much of a reality.
I couldn’t listen any longer. I pushed up from the floor and hit him hard with the trash pin. It flooded us with emptied packages, papers and the ceramic pieces.
“Out of all the shitheads I know, he would be the last one I’d call! I hate him so much my stomach burns each time his name comes up! Most of my friends are dead while he is pirouetting his nightmare ass around the premises! I swear! I get my hands on that fucker, I will bash his head in two with his own candle holder!” I took a deep breath. “I was talking with Malek!”
“Malek is the one, who gave her the information?”
“I’ll see to Malek.”
“Don’t you dare go punishing him for this! You hear me? Saul?” I yelled after him. “I understand them tossing me out, but Malek – you’re all he has! You can’t send him away for this, he’s your best friend!”
He jumped over the redcurrants, but whirled around.
“He is my employee! I will punish him for talking to outsiders! That’s our way to handle it and you have no right to teach me how to deal with my own men!”
“He only wanted to make me feel like home!”
He shook his head. “He should know better!”
“I did most of the talking! Saul! Please don’t…”
“How is it that all your problems seem to wash others down the toilet?”
I turned my eyes away and saw Malek watching us through the thin curtains. My shoulders slumped and I swooned forward, but regained my posture. Life was going in a freaky circles and it was back in nightmare fall.
“Community is about helping each other! Not dragging them in the hole with you!”
My eyes snapped back on him.
“I take full responsibility for it if you really need to blame somebody, but don’t punish him for it!”
“Too late! From now on – solve your own problems! Don’t drag my men into it!”