Sunday, February 16, 2014

TRAPPED Sunday Serial Part Eleven

Part Eleven
Mrs. Kennedy steps past me. “So that's why nobody came running in when Karl started yelling,” she comments coolly, scanning the area with her eyes.
The bodies of crumpled guards are scattered around the floor. They're knocked out.
“Who would do this?” Kenneth asks, shock and delight inflected in his voice.
“I would.”
The tone is gravelly, masculine. We turn.
Then Slick shouts, “Daddy!” and runs into the arms of a short, squat, beefy man with a brown buzz-cut. The man scoops him up as Mrs. Kennedy strides over to where her husband stands. “Finally, Fred,” she says, “I was beginning to think you'd abandoned us.”
“What, and be a second Amber Talina Sharpina Harttmin?” Mr. Fred Kennedy says, revealing a bunch of gaps in his teeth with the grin. Then he puts Slick down and checks his watch. “Reinforcements are coming. We'd better get them all to a safe zone and debrief them.”
“You know, what's exactly what your wife said,” Kenneth remarks as we start hurrying down the hallway.
“Well, I guess that's why I married her,” Mr. Kennedy answers, shooting Mrs. Kennedy a look. “You know. We share the same mind, same soul. Just not the same body—we take out more bad guys with two.”
“It's husband-wife telepathy,” Kenneth tells me knowingly. “I have it all figured out,”
“Oh, I bet you do,” I reply as the Kennedys begin jogging down a long green-lit passageway. “You have everything figured out, don't you?”
“Most things.” We rush to catch up with the Kennedys. They reach a control panel with a ton of buttons installed on the side of the wall.
Mr. Kennedy makes a tsk-tsk noise with his teeth, leaning close to the panel but not touching it. “Foolish, foolish Karl. Never did have much--”
“--sense, did he?” Mrs. Kennedy finishes. She looks down at Slick. “Stand back, kids.”
“Why?” Kenneth asks as we slide back against the opposite wall.
In one swift, fluid movement, Mr. Kennedy tosses a hacky-sack. It lands on the panel of buttons.
With a big bang, a cloud of smoke, and a ton of heat, the panel disappears, raining down tiny sharp pieces of metal around my hair and onto my head.
Behind the panel lies a long carpeted hallway. Sconces light the way.
Alarms begin to ring, and without a second thought, we all rush into the hallway.
Every time we pass by a sconce, it flickers out and dies, plunging the section of hallway behind us into pitch-black silence. “Almost there,” breathes Mr. Kennedy after several minutes of furious jogging.
I'm huffing and puffing and don't bother to respond.
The ground goes upward until it's so steep I can barely take a step.
Shouts behind us give me the strength to continue.
“Do you want me to carry you on my back?” Kenneth asks courteously.
I give him a Glare Stare. “That trek through the water was enough, thank you,” I tell him, my voice as sharp as the pieces of metal hanging off my hair.
“Sheesh, I was just trying to be nice,” he says as we stop, blinking in the bright sunlight.
I stifle a sigh as I recognize my surroundings. “Oh my gosh. This is a safe zone?”
It's the Haunted House pizzeria kitchen.
“It's safer than--” Mrs. Kennedy starts.
“--other places in the park,” Mr. Kennedy ends, leading us towards the stainless steel appliances. Slick closes the passageway behind us, and it clicks locked with a thud.
“That should keep them out,” he says with childlike delight.
“Refreshments?” Mrs. Kennedy asks, opening the refrigerator and taking out toppings and pieces of dough. “We'll be staying in here a while, so might as well--”
“--have something to eat,” Mr. Kennedy cuts in smoothly, grabbing a hunk of dough with his dirt-encrusted hands.
My mind is whirling, with all sorts of questions and answers and a whole lot of confusion.
“So what's the plan?” Kenneth apparently has the same idea as I do. “What do we do? Are we going to, like, take them down?”
“Not right now.” Mr. Kennedy steals a look at the clock that innocently ticks on the wall. “What's the--”
“--point?” Mrs. Kennedy adds. “We're obviously outnumbered. We have a couple of hours to think what to do.” Then, not believing my ears, I actually hear her laugh. Cackle, actually, but in a good way.
So not the Mrs. Kennedy that I'm used to. What happened to go the go-getter attitude I met after riding down the chute?
Kenneth and I exchange looks. “What's going on?” I ask. “Did something happen? Did, like, an atomic bomb blast their HQ to bits or something? Can I go home?”
A slight pang in the stomach as I voice the word home. Oh. Never before in my life have I wanted to leave Phantom FunPark so badly as now.
Slick pipes up, “Mrs. Kennedy imprisoned Amber!”
“An obvious backfire.” Mr. Kennedy is grinning, as if he's hugely enjoying this moment. “My wife knows her stuff.”
“Imprisoned?” Stunned with the news, I turn to Mrs. Kennedy. “What?”
“I hid Amber in a place they're probably not going to figure out for a couple more hours yet.” Mrs. Kennedy just grins whitely as she pats out a large pizza.
“But won't they just go ahead and do everything they're planning on doing?” Kenneth asks.
“What are they planning on doing, anyway?” I say.
Mr. Kennedy shrugs. “We're not quite sure, but everybody knows that Amber's the brains of the entire shebang.”
Everybody knows? From Kenneth's face, I'm guessing the rather important bit of information is news to him too.
“I didn't!” I inform her indignantly. “And when Mr. Harttmin cornered us...he said they were planning something bigger than just, you know, stealing from people. What are they planning?”
“They're planning on kidnapping the people in the park and bringing them to the colony.” Mr. Kennedy speaks with assurance. “Amber lacks the creativity to think beyond that.”
“Then why bring us in?” Kenneth and I ask at the same time.
“Hey, you're starting to sound like Mommy and Daddy!” Slick pipes up, looking from me to Kenneth to me again.
Awkward silence.
Mrs. Kennedy breaks it. “We don't have arugula, Mr. Bored, but sausage, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni will do, right? With vinegar and olive oil sprinkled on it?”
Kenneth gapes at her. “How did you know my order?” he asks.
“I wasn't able to finagle the details of Amber's plan out of her, but I was able to retain some information about you two.” Mrs. Kennedy winks at him, then turns to me, Mr. Kennedy sliding Kenneth's pizza into the oven at the exact same time. “You're kind of a plain cheese type of person, aren't you, Echo?”
I open my mouth. Yes, I'm a plain-cheese type of person, but I'm feeling extra hungry. It was probably ten o' clock at night. I'd been through a lot.
“I'll go for some pepperoni and mushroom pizza,” I tell her.
She arches an eyebrow as she starts slapping toppings onto my pizza. “Amber said that you didn't seem like a very interesting person.”
A slow cooker of anger starts to boil in my stomach. “She said that?”
How dare she.
“Amber's right.” I turn to glare at Kenneth. “You aren't a very interesting person, Emily,” he remarks, peering at his pizza through the oven screen. “Me, on the other hand...” His hand creeps up and slicks back his hair.
I scowl. “You've got your old movie-star charm coming back, Mr. Bored.”
“I know, right?” He doesn't look at me.
Mrs. Kennedy suddenly becomes very interested in making my pizza. “Anywhoo,” she says cheerfully—can Mrs. Kennedy actually be cheerful? I wonder for a long moment—I'll pop these right in and we'll have a good meal for once.”
“But back to the main issue,” I say. “Why bring harmless outsiders like Mr. Bored and me to start a rebellion against a conspiracy idea that she's thought up? I mean, what's the point in all this?”
Long, long pause as Mrs. Kennedy slides my pizza into the oven. The sound of grating metal shatters the silence.
“We're not sure,” Mr. Kennedy says softly. “But whatever it is, it's nothing good. Amber always was--”
“--no good,” Mrs. Kennedy joins in, his voice and her voice blending into perfect harmony of sadness.
“I can't believe this,” Kenneth mutters. “What do we do now?”
“Answers,” I say into the darkened silence.
Everyone looks at me.
“We find answers,” I repeat, feeling brave and courageous...for once.
“And how would we do that, Emily?” Kenneth looks very, very weary.
I look at each one of them in turn.

“We fight,” I say.

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