Excerpt from Kidnapped

I can't remember if I've published this excerpt from Kidnapped on the blog or not. If you've seen it before, feel free to give me a virtual slap over the head, LOL!


The room was small and sparsely furnished. Besides bare walls, she saw a narrow bed, a metal table, and two metal chairs. Not until the door closed behind her did Patricia realize Travis hadn't followed her in, and she sank down on the edge of the bed, finding it anything but comfortable. "This place really sucks. Oh, you can probably hear me, can't you? I mean, don't get me wrong, it's much better than the cell, and I am grateful, I guess. I mean, the cell is even scarier than YOU are. Is there a shower? Why didn't I ask if there's a shower?"

The sound of her own voice was somehow comforting, and she got back to her feet, wanting to find that closet filled with clothes from possibly deceased strangers. Travis picking out clothes for her seemed creepy, but investigating would give her something to do.

When she approached the first wall, it didn't move at all. The second turned out to be a completely unresponsive computer terminal, and the third opened to show a small and peculiar restroom. Her next attempt rewarded her with a long row of clothes approximately her size, of very different colors and models. Holding one up against herself, she muttered, "Does he really expect me to wear this?"

After tossing the dress to the side, she ventured over towards the little restroom, where she poked the peculiar faucets and controls, wondering what they might do. Over to the side stood a metallic tube attached to both the floor and the ceiling, and when she stepped closer, the front part slid to the side. "Hmm, I wonder if you're the garbage disposal or the sauna?"

She jumped when the metallic voice she'd once heard on the bridge echoed in the little room. "Please remove your clothing, step into the personal cleanser, close your eyes, and hold your breath."

Looking around, she was both surprised and relieved not to see anyone. "I thought you weren't real. Who are you? Where are you?"

As Travis's words of them being completely alone on the large ship surfaced in her memory, she added quietly, "Are you a figment of my imagination?"

The voice offered no explanation; it just repeated its command. "Remove your clothing, step into the personal cleanser, close your eyes, and hold your breath."

Standing in a steel tube didn't seem appealing, especially not if it required closing one's eyes and holding one's breath, but personal cleanser did sound a little like shower, and she felt disgustingly dirty. She stuck her hand in cautiously and wiggled her fingers. When she withdrew the hand it was still there, and she decided to obey, dropping her clothes in a pile on the floor.

As soon as she stepped in, the opening in the tube closed automatically behind her, and she was trapped. She barely had time to remember closing her eyes and holding her breath before a smelly solution attacked her from all sides, spraying her from top to toe. Less than a second later, it was sucked off with enough force to make her hair stand up, and another solution drenched her.

She wanted to cough, or maybe scream, but there was no time. Hot air blew over her, drying her off with near hurricane strength. It only took a few seconds after she entered the tube before the door opened to let her out, and she staggered back into the restroom, gasping for air. "Personal cleanser? That's a freakin' carwash!"

Taking a look at herself, she made a little face of reluctant approval; she was clean. She lifted an arm up and smelled it, and even if the scent wasn't exactly coconut, it was acceptable.

Bending down to pick up her clothes gave a little shock; they were no longer there. She squeezed her eyes shut and opened them again, but every little piece of clothing, every trace of everything that tied her to the person she once was and to the world as she knew it was gone. Not even a thread of her old self remained.

She yelled, "What the hell! Who took my clothes? I was only gone for like five seconds!"

No one answered.


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