“Find out any information you can on the slavers.” I responded.
“With these attacks, is it wise to make another trip?” Red asked.
“I’m going to keep this one short,” I responded. “I have someone who will meet me halfway.”
That was naturally a complete lie, but Red didn’t know the nature of my abilities either. As far as she was concerned, I went to someplace and came back with supplies, and my backer must be pretty big to allow me to make the trip safely. In fact, after our fourth attack of the day, she had approached me and asked why my benefactor was allowing these raiders to make such a mockery of our supplies. I muttered something about them telling me to handle it.
I began to realize that perhaps part of the reason she had so easily abandoned her freedom and put her lot in with us was the lingering belief that I had some powerful backer. If someone didn’t know the truth, they’d have to assume this. How else was I able to get such high-quality materials without it being some powerful faction or colony? They’d need the resources to create such products, and for them to truly be radiation-free involved a power that didn’t exist in Argos city.
I didn’t plan to burst her bubble. Whatever her reasoning, there was a collar around her neck and I intended to use it. I still had to lie a bit, but I did agree that this was a bad time. However, if I didn’t return to Earth, it’d create more problems. I’d come home for a day, create some excuse like an extended meeting, and then I’d be back out of the house. My exam was also coming up that Friday, which meant this was a bad time to move, but the lives of Katarina and Kiera, and everything I had built in Argos city, revolved around us getting the personnel to stop the raider attacks.
After a quick meeting where I relayed my intent to leave, and a closed-door meeting where I told Katarina the truth of my plans, I returned to my place in the back of the museum. I used the crates that had stored the supplies I brought over, and then very carefully packed them with the dinosaur bones. I had looked online to the best of my ability for techniques that could preserve them and keep me from damaging them. Considering archeologists from the 1920s used to regularly dig up bones, I couldn’t imagine my techniques on already dug up bones would cause any more damage.
When I was finally ready, I touched the crates and returned to the warehouse. I had ordered Mizuki to leave the warehouse locked the entire weekend, and presuming she listened to me, then I had expected to arrive alone. I also had Cecelia scan for cameras, and she found none within the warehouse. Perhaps that sounded a bit paranoid, but if I was a little worried about my transportation ability being found out in Argos city, I was downright terrified of it happening on Earth. I could lose everything if such an ability was found out, including my life.
I didn’t have any illusions that my world was kind of civilized. Scientists would happily chop off my hand to hack into the secrets of my Perco, let alone to research the dimensional switch that it seemed to power. I left the warehouse, making sure that I wasn’t seen by the outdoor cameras, to which there were several. Even if I was seen coming to the factory, I didn’t want to then be identified leaving it a weekend later.
As soon as I left the factory and got in range of a cellular signal, my phone started buzzing like crazy. I didn’t need to look at my phone, since all of the information on my phone was instantly skimmed to my Perco. However, I was a bit surprised at how many times it was buzzing.
“What’s going on?” I asked Cecelia.
“Master, you may want to look at this.”
“Huh? What?” I lifted my Perco, and a string of texts appeared.
I started with the earliest one.
Hazel: I’m missing you.
Hazel: I want you so bad.
Hazel: Do you not have cellphone signals at all?
Hazel: Why are you ignoring me?
I couldn’t help but make a face as I read these. Was she accidentally texting me stuff she meant for her boyfriend? This was not texts you sent your brother. I was certain of that! There were several more texts, but they seemed to range between anger that I wasn’t answering and trying to entice me. I scrolled to the next day.
Hazel: Did you come home last night?
Hazel: Mom is still gone with Gabriella, right?
Hazel: Brother, you shouldn’t play tricks on your sister. I can hear you in your room.
Hazel: Stop ignoring me when I knock on your door, I know you’re in there.
As I read her next texts, my brow began to furrow, and I started to feel increasingly worried. There shouldn’t have been any noises in my room. There was nothing in my room.
Hazel: Okay, I’m starting to get a little freaked out. What are you doing in there?
Hazel: I’m opening up, you better not be doing anything weird.
Hazel: Hello. It’s Daniel, right? You have a rather nice room here. You have a beautiful sister.
Her tone suddenly shifted considerably, and I had a bad feeling that shot through me. I had a clear feeling that this wasn’t my sister anymore. There was only one final text, and it was a close-up image of Hazel’s face. It was dark, and her face was overly bright. It was also clear there was duct tape over her mouth and her eyes were filled with fear. There was only one word accompanying that text.
I let out a loud curse, causing a few people walking down the street on was on to look my way. “Cecelia!”
“Master, this was all sent on Saturday. That was nearly twenty-four hours ago. I’m checking out traffic cameras, but I don’t see anything suspicious.”
I didn’t wait for her to find something. I broke into a sprint, just managing to reach the bus stop as my ride was running away. It’d be another fifteen minutes before the next bus passed. I wasn’t going to wait, so I kept running, and whether by adrenaline or desperation, I made it to the next bus stop just as the bus arrived.
“Wow, you wanted to get on.” A bus driver joked.
I barely even paid attention as I flashed my card and then sat down. My foot was tapping a mile a minute. My mind was moving just as fast. Do I call Mizuki? She had a lot of resources. Maybe Lily would be a better choice. Caleb? This had to involve Caleb. Did that bastard betray me? Was it that trash loanshark? Who the hell did I have to kill? I’d kill them all! By the second bus ride, I was so agitated that the people sitting near me moved away.
As soon as the bus stopped at my spot, I raced off and sprinted to my building. I entered the door, ran up the stairway, and slammed through the apartment building. The kitchen was right near the entrance, and I immediately took a few steps and then pulled a knife from the knife block before looking around. The place had been completely ransacked. The couch was overturned, the rooms were rummaged through, and the kitchen was cleaned out.
I knew where the source was though, and I immediately ran to my bedroom. It had similarly been ransacked. The mattress had been cut open, and various things had been taken.
“Hazel!” I shouted, looking around desperately. “Hazel!”
It didn’t make sense. The door to my room had been locked when I left. The door to my apartment was locked when I just arrived. The window was sealed too. It was like they had appeared, ransacked my home, and then disappeared. They had appeared in my room without warning. How was that possible? There was no way in or out. Other than the mirror, I couldn’t think of…
A horrifying realization shot through me all at once. I ran for my closet and threw open the door. Standing right in front of me was the mirror where I had left it. While my side had broken, the side in this world had not. I hadn’t paid any mind to it and just left it in my closet. Now, the mirror stood there with something written on it in red lipstick. It was my sister’s lipstick.
“Come and get her.” – Cock and Balls
“That’s…. that’s impossible.” I took a step back, shaking my head. “No, h-how…. How!”
I didn’t need to think hard to realize how. They were able to come through the mirror. They must have figured something out that I didn’t. They came through the mirror, and they took my sister. I was the one who told them about the mirror. I was the one who sent them to the mirror. This was my fault. My hand trembled. I was going to fucking kill them all.