Jessie woke up because she felt like her bladder was going to explode. She had no idea what time it was, and she had to guess where she was. The room looked like a nice hotel suite. She was in the same bed she’d been in earlier, though it had been reconfigured until it was basically normal. Other than that, there was a large TV, a dresser, a few lamps, and a couple of doors. One of them seemed to lead to a living room, the other a bathroom.
She got up and hurried to the bathroom first. Fortunately the after effects of the IV, which were rapidly taken care of, seemed to be the only side effects of her recent medical adventure. This time she didn’t have a headache, nausea, muscular stiffness, or broken ribs. Really someone ought to come up with a way to use Chinese healing magic to replace the stun magic currently in use. Though, she supposed, that wouldn’t sell unless consumers of defensive magic were really concerned about the comfort of people they were knocking unconscious.
It wasn’t until she came out of the bathroom that she realized the bedroom was missing a window. She went into the next room, which was in fact a living room, and found it was nice but also window free. The suite also contained a windowless office and kitchenette. There was one more door, presumably the exit, it was locked. She just had time to think, Great, I’m trapped again, when the door opened.
She didn’t recognize the man who opened it, but he was probably one of the least threatening people she’d ever met. He was tall and thin but hunched, wore thick glasses, and had practically no hair on the top of his head. He sort of looked just past her and spoke in a quiet voice when he said, “Hello, I’m to take you to Thomas if you’re feeling up to breakfast.”
Jessie looked at him in confusion. “Um, sure, I guess. How did you know I was awake?”
“You had a heart rate and blood oxygen monitor on your finger while you slept. Just a basic precaution. You took it off.” Jessie didn’t remember that and it probably showed on her face, “You might have pulled it off without noticing if you were in a hurry when you woke up. They just unclip. You might even have knocked it off when you started moving.”
“Oh, sure.” That seemed possible. It also seemed possible they were spying on her somehow, but she decided to keep her suspicions to herself. She looked down and found she was wearing a hospital gown over the pants she’d been wearing when Thomas worked on her. It was nice she no one had undressed her, but she’d definitely been wearing the same pants for longer than was at all reasonable.
Todd was either great at reading expressions or she was being really obvious because, for the second time, he answered a question she hadn’t asked. “Some clothes in your size should be in the drawers in the bedroom. If you’d like to shower and change, just buzz me and I’ll escort you to Thomas whenever you’re ready. There’s a call button on your bed, or you can dial 0 on the phone there.”
“That sounds good,” Jessie said, and then she didn’t rush the door when he walked out.
* * *
Todd had been true to his word. Though the door was once again locked, when she got out of the shower, the call button summoned him, and he escorted her to an elevator which carried them both a long way up. It carried them far enough up, in fact, that Jessie was surprised not to be on the roof when she walked out of it. Instead, she appeared to be in a large greenhouse. The air was warm and humid, plants grew all around, and there were even a few tropical birds. But, despite the glass roof, Jessie couldn’t really see anything more than sky from where she stood by the elevators. She suspected that would be true wherever she went. She actually knew where she was, Dwennon had seen to that, but it was unsettling that the facility seemed to be constructed to hide its location from its occupants.
“Thomas will be just down this path,” Todd said. He didn’t exactly look at her while saying it and then he punched a button on the elevator and the machine whisked him away rather rapidly. Jessie couldn’t quite decided if he was super creepy, or just shy. Normally she would have gone with shy, but the whole ‘potentially a minion of an evil organization’ thing was evidence in favor of ‘creepy’.
She walked along the path, which was made of chipped wood despite being indoors and found Thomas as easily as Todd had predicted. He was seated at a small wrought iron table just a few yards away from the elevator. She probably would have seen him the instant she got off, but the table was nestled in next to a tree growing in a little artificial pond. The tree was bulky and seemed somewhat confused about the difference between roots and branches. It hid the table quite well and made the already private setting seem even more private.
Thomas stood when she walked up, and pulled out a chair for her. Jessie nodded, and sat, he sat too. The silence was making her a little uncomfortable so she offered an awkward, “Hello.”