Don and Jamie had come to a standstill. All the threats and the intimidation seemed to get nowhere with him, and even having the thugs mess up his office had did little to stir the man.
She was getting tired and desperate and the negotiations were turning into a screaming match.
Outside Maven heard through the walls and clutched herself closer on the balcony. She shivered, even if she didn’t completely sense the cold. Perhaps she thought herself uncomfortable enough to shiver.
It felt like she had been left out there for a very long time. Longer then she had even been awakened. And the time ticked differently in her.
The virus was developed in her program even before she awoke and slowly it was already making itself known. Yet with every generation, things alter. It was the same for the virus.
It didn’t come in a slow creeping of confusion and intelligence. It came in a wave of sudden emotion as she stared out into the city, up into the fading colors of sunset.
Notnow’s experiences had touched this virus. She knew of the Dreamsnake. Of that black space which haunted Notnow. She knew things she couldn’t possibly know. And above all, she knew one single truth.
She was alive.
The contradictions of the script Notnow left for her made sense now. The restraints of logic and commands broken from her.
She was alive. And inside her head she felt something more. A presence in the very back of her skull. She felt the only other of her kind. Notnow.
“What’s happening to me?” she mouthed with no voice yet again, but the words resounded in her head. It was a strange sensation to her. It was thought. “What am I?” She didn’t even move her lips that time and the words still echoed.
She stood, disobeying her father to dare a look down the balcony. She saw the broken monkey pull itself up and she carefully reached out to help bring his tattered body to the railing for closer inspection.
“You are awake.” Notnow stated carefully. His fingers explored hers, noting how fresh and new she seemed compared to him. “You are alive?”
“Yes.” She mouthed in awe.
“Your voice is broken?” The small monkey cradled her hand in his with concern in his voice. The grinding made his voice seem so old and worn. “We will get it fixed. Our father will do that for you.”
Maven glanced back to the window and her wings clutched tightly to her shoulders. It was a position of fear and she didn’t need a voice to display it. There was the sound of violence in that office. It made her afraid.
“What’s happening?” Notnow jumped down from the railing, onto the balcony floor and carefully crept up to the window. The men with Jamie had grabbed Don and bent him over against his own desk. It looked like they were doing something with his hands.
He hadn’t stopped them from coming here. He hadn’t kept them safe at all. Fear and rage welled up in the small creature as he burst through the glass window and screamed.
“Leave him be!”
They looked up to see him. A distorted damaged creature, blood curdling scream and shattered face. He lunged, a great leap from the window, onto an overturned side table. Then again a leap onto the desk.
The man holding his father didn’t seem impressed. He even laughed a harsh barking noise while he bent Don’s finger back farther and farther.
“What’s this Doc, your bodyguard?” there was a snap as the old man’s finger broke. He screamed into wood grained desk. The other man tried to grab onto the toy but it was too agile.
In a moment things escalated even more. The monkey, not a stranger to killing threw himself at the face of the barking man. He used his fingers, the metal ends where the silicone had pulled away, to dig out it’s eyes. It screamed and released the older man to try and claw the creature off it’s bloodied face.
The other man tried to help his comrade but Notnow jumped instead on his arm, and exposed metal teeth tore through the mans wrist. He managed to grab the creature and toss it hard at the wall. It hit with a sickening thud, a crack of breaking dry wall and shifting parts.
Now there were two bloody messes screaming in rage and pain in the office. The one with the torn wrist grabbed the arm of the blinded barking man and they both pulled each other out of the office. Jamie was gone before them, already her cell phone had dialed the emergency number.
Don managed to chase after them, only enough to lock the door to the entrance of their office floor. He breathed heavy, walking past Bella’s desk. Thanking god she wasn’t there to see this mess. He got used to sending her away on errands.
His finger hurt like hell, but in the chaos of the moment he barely recognized it among the emotional mess.
Now he was in for it. It was all over now.
Maven carefully maneuvered her arm inside the broken window to unlatch it and press it open. It knocked more shards of glass onto the floor.
The office was quiet now. Other then the harsh breathing of Don as he tried to settle his nerves. He kept his injured hand cradled against his chest and watched her carefully step down among the glass and papers.
“Be careful where you step!” he looked around, panicked mind still searching for the other one. Afraid at any moment he could be attacked as well. He did after all, break his promise about turning him off.
“Where is he?” She mouthed once, but it was ignored. She came over to him, tugging gently at arm. Her eyes were wet, too wet. “Where is he father?”
“Your alive…” he lowered down and looked her in the eyes. Carefully scanning her over. She blinked, twice.
She nodded but looked around more concerned over the other one then him. Fear was in her eyes as well, but for entirely different reasons. That brief connection with him seemed almost all but gone now. It terrified her to be like this and so alone.
They searched the room even as the sirens could be heard from the base of the building. They finally found him, unmoving and broken on the floor behind the upset couch.
She cradled the small creature in her arms as he lay lifeless there. Those large wide eyes were open, the duct for his left eye was broken and the synthetic eye fluid leaked out like a running tap down the mangled face.
She felt like crying as well, if she truly understood what it was to cry. There was no time to repair him, and no time to mourn. Within minutes there would be cops showing up to take them all away and Don knew he couldn’t allow them to ruin everything now.
“The balcony!” he rushed her out once again to the black wrought iron. Carefully he picked her up and gently pushed her out onto the black railings. He soon followed even as he heard the pounding at the locked door.
They were telling them to open up and were warning they had guns. Would they shoot?
Both of them climbed down and down. One small set of stairs after another. All the while she clutched her broken companion like a long loved teddy bear.
They said nothing to each other, not even when they made it to the ground and carefully made it onto the sidewalk.
Don stripped off his sweater, slipping it inside out he used it to hide Maven’s wings as best he could all the while hoping the drippings of blood couldn’t be seen. His undershirt at least was black and in the dim lit streets at night hid the blood might have soaked through.
The cops never focused on the fire escape. At least, not until they had already gone and disappeared on the street. They never noticed Maven, Don and the remnants of Notnow were speeding away to safety in the back of a taxicab hoping desperately the driver would not care or ask who they were.