I blinked, startled. Something about the name sounded familiar. Suddenly, recognition hit me like a wave, and I was transported back to a small room, dimly lit, with a dusty old plaque in the corner. “April DeNonno,” had been carved across the dull brass in spidery letters.
“What were you doing there?” I hadn’t realized I’d said the words out loud until Eris’s sharp rebuke left me speechless.
“I . . . I . . .” I stammered, wracking my brains for a decent reason explaining my being in the room, besides the fact that I’d been snooping. “I found it. I was in this dingy old laboratory, and I uncovered a trapdoor – looked like it hadn’t been used in years - and I went through it.”
“Why, why on earth would you do such a stupid thing?” Eris hissed in a fierce whisper. “Do you have any idea what would’ve happened to you if I hadn’t found you unconscious in the lab? What they’d have done?”
Angry now, I felt a hot flush spread across my neck in the semi-darkness, fueling the frustration that had built up since the moment I’d awoken to Eris’s face hovering over me.
“Oh, I don’t know Eris. What was I supposed to think after I saw you watching me - and don’t deny it – while I was still trapped in that metal room? Huh? Did you think I didn’t see? That I’d actually trust you, after you just left me?” I felt nothing but adrenaline pumping through my veins, and it was only by Eris’s horrified expression and furtive glances that I realized I’d been screaming.
“You don’t understand – ” but Eris was silenced by a heavy arm as it swung from the darkness and collided solidly with her head. Spinning, she tumbled to the floor, carried by the force of the blow, and landed with a sickening thump on the concrete. Whirling around, I ducked just in time for a large, meaty arm to come sailing over my head, but I wasn’t quick enough to dodge the second hit, which smacked me square between the shoulders.
Reeling, I felt my chin hit the ground, and smelt the sticky aroma of blood as it gushed from my nose. Scrabbling madly, my battered limbs dragging like felled logs, I felt along the floor for Eris’s hand. Grasping it, I reached up her arm towards her neck and placed a finger where I guessed her pulse would be. Instead, I found only skin, still, cold, and for all intents and purposes, lifeless.