You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang of genetic misfits continues…
Braeden tackled me around the waist. My back cracked against the concrete floor. Air whooshed from my lungs and it felt like I breathed fire.
Janet fell to my side. “It stopped.” She reached over me and grabbed Braeden’s shoulder. “You okay?”
He rolled to his side and nodded. “No beeping, and I’m not splattered against the wall. It’s all good.”
I coughed, air finally getting into my lungs, and pushed up to my knees. My chest burned. I leaned over and took two deep breaths. A pain shot down my side, but other than that I was okay.
“Sorry, dude.” Braeden slapped my back.
“No collar. I don’t get it.” Jeff knelt beside me. “Do you have a leash somewhere else?”
“Leash?” I shook my head. “I—isn’t that for—animals?”
“You are the animal in this place.” Braeden grunted as he hopped to his feet. “My guess is it’s inside him.”
“No,” Janet gasped.
“I don’t see anything else. No bracelet.” Jeff pointed to my feet. “You wearing an ankle cuff?”
“No, sir.” I lifted my jeans to show them.
White socks, black shoes, blue jeans and a white shirt. That’s all I wore. No collars or leashes. That didn’t make any sense. Why would someone put a collar on another person?
I scratched the back of my neck. The skin tingled like static shocks igniting beneath the surface. Not real painful, but it sure itched.
“Of course!” Jeff clapped his hands together. “He was connected to that computer! It’s in his head.”
“Oh my gosh,” Janet said, her hands covering her cheek. “What did they do to you?”
“I’m okay, ma’am, other than my side hurting. We can’t leave anymore?”
“Not unless you want to redecorate the walls in arterial red,” Braeden said. “I know I’d rather not.”
“Braeden,” Janet said. “Honey. Can we look at your neck?”
“Yes ma’am.” I hustled back to the chair and sat upright.
Janet and Jeff exchanged glances then made their way around the chair to behind me. Neither touched me right away, but then, gently, I felt fingers shifting my hair away from my neck. Braeden watched from the doorway, glancing out every once in a while.
He seemed nervous, cracking his knuckles a lot.
“May I ask who you are? Why you’re here?”
Braeden grinned. “Here to break you out of this joint.”
“We’re Kurators, buddy.” He nodded. “This is what we do.”
“What he’s trying to say, honey, is that we’re here to help you. The people at this place, they were holding you prisoner. It’s our job to help those held captive. Do you understand?”
“With guns? And the smoke. You used violence to save me?”
Braeden snickered. “These science types don’t respond to well-written Cease and Desist letters.”
I didn’t understand what he meant, but I was curious, “How did you find me? Why did this place want to keep me prisoner? Why can’t I remember anything?”
“Not sure yet, honey, but can you lie down on your side so we can look at what’s going on here.” Janet eased me onto the chair.
It wasn’t flat, so I was at a strange angle, but her warm hand on my shoulder distracted me from the discomfort.
“Looks like he’s got something wired into this port,” Jeff said. “Buddy, do you know anything about this thing in the back of your head?”
“No, sir. What is it?”
“Don’t be scared, honey, but it looks like a self destruct mechanism has been wired into your port. You went to the door and it was triggered.
“Your leash,” Braeden said. “I had a collar. As in a leather collar around the neck like a dog where I was. Everyone there did. If we got anywhere near an exit it got messy real quick.”
“You were in a place like this?”
Braeden stood tall and crossed his arms over his chest. “These two busted me out. Just like we’re busting you out.”
“You said you were Kurators.”
Something tugged at the back of my head. A sharp jolt of electricity zapped through my skin and down my shoulder. My arm shot straight. My fingertips tingled. Burned.
“Oh! I’m sorry!” Janet gasped. “Are you okay?”
“Hey, at least he didn’t explode,” Braeden said.
“Explode? You mean, I could hurt you?” I went to sit up but Jeff held me down. He was stronger than he looked.
“Don’t move please,” he said.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone. Please. You should stop.”
“It’s fine.” Janet patted my shoulder. “Just hold still.”
“Like I said. This is what we do.” Braeden leaned against the doorframe. “These guys have saved hundreds of kids. They know what they’re doing. Having said that…are you guys close yet? Clock’s ticking.”
“I’m actually surprised a team hasn’t barged in on us yet.”
Another tug at the base of my neck made me hold my breath. I think every muscle in my body tensed, expecting a shock. But there wasn’t one.
“There. See the wire? Curled around the red one?”
“I see it.” Janet let out a long breath. “Steady…”
“Were you two rescued from a place?” I asked.
“No, honey. We just help kids like you.”
“What happens next? Where will I go?”
“With us. We’ll set you up with a sweet life.” Braeden clicked the roof of his mouth with his tongue and pointed at me. “These jerks won’t find you again. We’ll make sure of that.”
“Will I be allowed to play soccer?” I glanced at the checkered ball on the floor near the doorframe. “I’d very much like to play soccer.”
An eardrum bursting alarm basted through the air.
Oh no. Jeff tripped my destruct button. I was going to explode. I had to run. They’d be hurt.
“Wait!” Jeff grabbed my arm and Janet flopped over me. “It’s not you! Don’t move.”
Braeden grabbed a little black box from one of his side pockets. “Five incoming.”
“Almost there,” Jeff said. “Two minutes.”
“Not sure we have two.”
“Make it happen,” Jeff said.
Braeden rubbed his hands together. “My pleasure.”
“What’s happening?” I asked.
“Remember that team I thought should have been here by now?” He grinned. “Looks like they were just running a little late!”
Join us Wednesday for Chapter 4 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.
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See you soon….