Meghan puffed out a breath. “Yes. Yes, of course I think we should save someone. But we’re on limited time here. If we miss our rendezvous, then we’re done for.”
“I get it. It’s risky. I’m with you. But no one deserves this place or to be experimented on. Please, we have to at least try. If it’s a bust, then we abandon it.”
Meghan must have seen the determination in her eyes. She nodded. “Okay, we’ll give it a try.” She scanned the tablet for instructions. “This way.”
They raced down the hallway until Meghan screeched to a stop in front of a blank door. She tapped the code into a pad at the door, and it slid open. Reyna reeled back at the sight before her. This room was a prison cell. A real one. Not like the lush accommodations Reyna had been given. She had never realized how lucky she had been these last weeks until she saw the room that opened before her eyes.
It was a ten-by-ten box with a metal bed in one corner with a thin lumpy mattress and an off-white sheet. A pail sat in another corner for waste and a drain opened in the middle of the floor. Markings coated the once-white walls. There were no windows. One incandescent lightbulb hung from a string in the ceiling. Otherwise it was just a box—a horrible fucking box.
It took a moment for Reyna to come to terms with the state of the room and focus in on the black woman who had jumped up from the bed at their approach. She was no older than Reyna, wearing a threadbare version of the standard-issue white uniform to which Reyna had grown accustomed. The woman was tall and rail thin with unruly curly hair that was utterly incredible. She took one look at Meghan and Reyna in the doorway and huffed wildly.
“We’re here to get you out. Come with us.”
The woman’s eyes widened in shock. “I don’t know who the hell you are but—”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Meghan breathed under her breath. “We’re on a tight schedule. Do you want to come with us or stay here?”
Her eyes darted back and forth quickly as if debating whether this was reality. “Hell yes, I want out of here.”
“Good,” Meghan said, retrieving her little gun. The girl looked at her with alarm.
“It’ll deactivate the tracking device in your arm,” Reyna told her. “Just let her do it and then we’ll be out of here. I swear.”
The woman narrowed her eyes at the both of them before extending her arm to them. Meghan pressed the gun against the device, it buzzed, and that was that. The woman ran her hand over the tiny knot in her arm.
“We have to go,” Meghan said. “We have less than five minutes to get out of this building while the cameras are down. I don’t have extra clothes for you. You’ll have to pretend to be our patient. Act docile—or better yet, pretend to be drugged on a vamp bite.”
“Y’all are for real?” she asked, suspicion still glinting in her dark eyes.
“No one deserves this.” Reyna held her hand out to the prison cell.
The woman shook her head in disbelief. “Okay. Okay…I’ll come with y’all.”
“Finally. Now, let’s go,” Meghan said, ushering everyone back outside.
They backtracked through the corridors until they finally hit a stairwell. Up they went. Around and around and around. Reyna lost count at some point. The other woman stayed close between them. Her labored breaths made it clear that she hadn’t been exercising as Reyna had. Even with her exercises, Reyna was still panting as they climbed the stairs.
“Where…are…we?” Reyna gasped out between breaths.
“Visage. I’ll explain later,” Meghan told her.
This whole time she had been in the building where Beckham worked. She’d been living, eating, breathing, surviving, and also slowly dying, and she’d been doing it in this fucking place. Practically in plain sight. How could Harrington get away with this? How the hell was it even possible?
“I’m going to kill him” was her only response.
“We’d all appreciate that, but right now keep it down.”
Reyna gave a tight nod and kept filing up the stairs.
“Two more flights,” Meghan said. So close.
Just as they reached the landing at the next flight of stairs, an alarm blared overhead. Reyna skidded to a halt, colliding with the other girl. Both of their eyes rounded with fear as they turned to Meghan.
“What the hell is that?” the other woman asked.
“Meghan?” Reyna asked.
Meghan turned frightened eyes toward Reyna. “Shit.”
“What?” Reyna asked.
“Control your breathing. Get it under control. Both of you.” Meghan fixed Reyna’s hair, brushing more in front of her face. It was clear that she was trying to look confident, but her hands were shaking.
“Meghan, what is happening? Tell me!” Reyna hissed.
“Someone knows you’re gone,” she whispered. “Our window just closed.”