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Path

6. The Law

5. The Tower

4. Midnight Cafe

3. Hallway

2. Threshold

1. The Drafting Board

Urbex: The Law

avatar on 2024-07-10 18:54:11
Episode last modified by Perri on 2024-07-11 14:59:14

106 hits, 16 views, 3 upvotes.

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"What the hell do you think you're doing?" drawled a deep voice.

"Let go of me!" I cried, trying to wriggle out of the grasp. My coat gave me some slide, but his larger hand completely encircled my slender arm. I was wearing the baggy jacket and hadn't realized how skinny I was, but it was clear there was no escape.

"Alright, that's enough," the man snapped.

A moment later, the world turned sideways as I found myself slammed into the ground.

"Give me your hands, you're under arrest."

"Dammit! No!" I huffed as he wrested one hand behind my back and ratcheted a cuff in place. "You don't understand, this isn't supposed to be like this. I need to get inside. I need to get to the 7th floor!" I continued to blubber uselessly as he got my second hand. I instinctively tried to wriggle my hand free, but he was strong. Holy shit, he was strong. I felt like I had a better chance against the metal handcuffs than this guy's grip.

"You don't need to do anything but come with me," he snapped. I heard the crunch of boots on glass as he heaved me upright onto my trembling feet and started to push me out of the back alley. My mind was fried and frenzied, and I struggled to do anything other than comply. What should I do? Why did the tower suddenly look so lived in? Where was Tali in all of this? Was she still inside? Did she see all of these changes too? Was... she changed too?

The policeman, whose face I'd yet to see, marched me out into the street and back towards the direction I'd come from. An old-style cruiser with a blocky design, sharp edges, and low-gloss paint greeted us. The white and brown cruiser sported a hand-painted sheriff's star on the door. I couldn't help but be confused at the retro sight, but I started to realize it fit in with everything else I'd seen so far. The diner, the streetlights, even the tower itself... I had connected the dots but couldn't figure out where that line was pointed.

The man opened the back door, then ordered, "Watch the edge," as he put his hand on my forehead and half-guided, half-forced my head into the back of the cruiser. I tumbled into the faux leather cushions, having not stepped high enough to get past the bottom of the door frame.

The man reached through the window and barked some code into the radio receiver fastened in the center dash, and after getting a static-filled reply, turned his attention back to me.

The man on the other side of the open back door was slender and sported a thin, regulation-compliant mustache. His eyes were steely blue, and his hair was in a high and tight. The man gave off Terminator vibes, if the T-1000 had been manufactured in Highland Rim.

"Well," he said lazily. "That was stupid." He put his hands on his hips and assumed the posture of a disappointed dad.

He explained, "I followed you all the way back from Main Street until you went down that alley." He gestured to my cheek. "Saw you faceplant. And then break the window."

I sighed and buried my head in my hands. How could I have missed him? Sure I was preoccupied, but I had to have been completely blind.

"Eyup," he agreed with my exasperation. "What are you doing? What possible reason could you have for breaking into Echo Valley Commerce?"

I wasn't sure what to say. Hey, sorry about that. I was just trying to find my girlfriend who was exploring some non-Euclidean portal space. The last time I was here, the tower was a dilapidated husk. My bad! I cringed at the mere thought. He'd either take me for a liar or think I'm schizo.

"That's... complicated," I finally muttered, breaking the silence.

"It's illegal is what it is, but what I'm trying to find out is if you even have a reason to be here." He crossed his arms, letting silence hang in the air. When I didn't say anything, he continued, "Are you here alone?"

"Yes," I replied dryly. That lie was practiced. It wasn't the first time I'd faced down authorities in my adventures, though it was the first time getting caught by the police. Whether Tuli was here or not, my answer would have been the same.

"Does your dad work here?"

"What? No," I stated flatly. I was about to say, "I didn't know anyone worked here," but thought that might be too telling.

He nodded slowly in that patronizing way. "Well, if you don't tell me why you're trying to break in, I can't help you if something's wrong. I see a girl walking with a purpose, trying to break into an office building, I think there's a reason behind it."

Oh, we're going that route. I'm just like your paw. Help me help you. The law's the law, but I'm here to help. This is tough love. I ran my fingers through my hair in exasperation. I wanted to interpret this as a callous attempt to lock in a conviction, but the thing that annoyed me was that his tone seemed authentic.

I opened my mouth to reply, then decided against it. "Don't I have Miranda Rights or something?"

"Ok," he replied sharply. "We can go that route if you want, but I'm trying to give you a chance to explain yourself."

Fuck. I'm so stupid, but I want to tell him. I want to tell him that something utterly supernatural just happened and that my world just turned upside down. I actually want to talk. FUCK. Why do I feel emotional all of a sudden? I bit back the feelings welling up inside me and decided to give it a shot. It's not like he didn't already have all the evidence he needed to convict me.

"Look. Something really weird is going on, and I'm just trying to figure out what and make sure a friend is ok."

"Weird how? What's that got to do with Echo Commerce?"

"Weird... as in..." I shifted, trying to find a less uncomfortable posture with my hands handcuffed behind my back. "I can't explain it. Something that shouldn't be able to happen happened, and I'm just trying to fix it."

He gave me that slow nod again but had a disconcerting glint in his eyes this time. My absurd explanation meant something to him. I couldn't say why, but I suddenly felt like I'd gone from small town good graces to deep shit in one stuttering sentence. My stomach dropped, and my thoughts went back to the hoboglyphs. Hold your tongue. Shit... If those glyphs really were for travelers like me, I'd just gone against the advice.

Hiking his pants, he stated, "Alright, well, here's what's going to happen. You're under arrest for vandalism and criminal trespass. Depending on what else you broke, that could include criminal mischief. I'm going to run you down to the station and we'll figure the rest of this out there. You're going to spend the night in holding, and Judge Byron will decide what's going to happen from there tomorrow morning. Now, a lot of his decision's going to depend on how cooperative you are tonight, and right now, you aren't being cooperative at all."

I let out an exasperated sigh and glared off into the distance as T-1000 continued his paternal lecture. A second cruiser pulled up behind us, finally bringing his lecture to an end.

"Ok, yeah. I get it," I replied as he stopped talking. For a second, I felt like he was so unsatisfied with my response that he would start up all over again, but instead, he just closed the door and met up with the other policeman. I was left in the back of the cruiser, handcuffed, and miserable. As if things couldn't get any worse.

My officer finished up his conversation and returned to the driver's seat of his cruiser. The door slammed, and the engine revved. I watched out the back window as the other police officer started to encircle the tower, shining a flashlight up and down the fire escape. I was driven off to get booked. I hope Tali's doing better than me, wherever she is.




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