Chapter 25 by Astrid D'coutho

Rob stumbled through the glass roller doors and into the lobby of his apartment. The security guard, an elderly gentleman who had seen Rob stumble in various states of intoxication many times before, didn’t even twitch as he observed through narrowed eyed over the top of his newspaper him shambling through the elevator doors with blood down the front of his hospital gown, “Bloody addicts...spreading Seeker around. Keeping us in lockdown. Inconsiderate degenerate .” The grumbling continued as the elevator doors shut and Rob slumped back against the back wall, trying not to pass out from exertion and nerves. 

He reached the fifth floor and stumbled out, meandering down the hall towards his apartment door almost tripping on a bag of trash left near the garbage chute that had been sealed shut for maintenance. 

He fretted silently about what he saw Ken do to those people back in Adi’s lab. He stumbled through the apartment door, not even registering that it wasn’t locked and waded through piles of clothing mixed with old wrappers to the bathroom. Was Tara here?

Using the sink to brace himself, he looked in the mirror and saw a jagged splinter of wood the size of his thumb sticking out of his cheek. Rob’s face and neck suddenly began throbbing with pain at the sight of his injuries and he let out a yelp as he yanked the splinter out of his cheek.

Suddenly he heard the front door open and close and the sound of fast-approaching footsteps. Two men in black jumpsuits and balaclavas burst through the bathroom door and advanced towards Rob. In his weakened state, Rob could only put up a faint struggle as the thugs held him down and smothered him with a rag. A sickly sweet aroma, like vodka mixed with sugar syrup filled his nostrils as he faintly yelled for help before his vision faded to black. 

Rob awoke several hours later sprawled on a couch in what appeared to be a moderately well-appointed green room. His wounds had been dressed, his bloody garments had been removed and a new set of clothes was folded neatly on a side table along with a glass of water. As he attempted to prop himself up on his elbows, head throbbing, and swimming from the chloroform, he tried piecing together what fresh hell was about to rear it’s ugly head. He felt faint and exhausted and every muscle ached in demand for rest. He scanned the room again for a clue to where he was. 

“Look who’s finally awake!”

Rob’s head swiveled around to the back of the couch and his heart jumped out of his chest. He fell off the couch in a tangle of blankets and tried to find the source of the disembodied voice in the dimly lit room. Rob desperately looked around the room for the voice and his eyes settled on the blinking light of a camera that was recording him from the corner ceiling above the door. The voice called out again...seemingly from the camera speaker, “Don’t worry Rob, my name is Dorian and you’re safe here. Someone will be down shortly to brief you on the current situation.”

About the author:
Astrid D’coutho, 59, is an HR professional currently living and working in Dubai, UAE. Originally from Mumbai, Astrid is an avid reader who is a firm believer in paperbacks and in her words “Can’t wait to see The Moving Type finally published!”. Astrid has three loving children and is also a dog mum to 3 precious puppies; Flappy, Leah and Tio.