Serial Saturday: The Stolen Man episode 2-2

The Escape: Episode 2-2

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You find this strange young woman in the cage and her nonsense banter oddly compelling. “What does that even mean?  I built this?”

She chuckles, “Well, you didn’t physically build it, but it couldn’t have been done without you, moneybags!”

“Tell me what you know, maybe we can help you get out.”

“Always negotiating, aren’t you, sweetie.  Seems to me a gentleman would offer to help right away. But you can always count on Rockefeller here to look for the return on his investment.”

“I’m…I’m sorry.  Of course, you’re right.  How can we help?”

“Don’t go soft on me now, baby.  I always liked that about you.  One always knew where they stood.”

“Well I don’t.  I don’t know where anyone stands.”

Lorelei glances up at the green light, “Looks like I’ve got some time, and I’m pretty sure I’m ready, so I can afford to tell you what I know.  You must be dying to know, huh?”

You hear something and you turn in time to see Dan slipping out and the door closing behind him.

“Go ahead, go with him…unless you want to hear what I know.”

“But, where–I’ll stay.  You need my help.”

“Right, you are just staying to help me.” Lorelei shakes her head and laughs again, “Ok, here’s the deal.  You are a banker of sorts, you broker deals, provide loan and raise money for very special projects, the kind of projects that can’t be funded in the usual sort of way.  This building, Sunnyvale, houses many of these projects, maybe all of them for all I know, but I don’t think so.”

“Secret projects?  Government?”

Lorelei shrugs, “Some.  Most are private.  But when someone in power wants to do something without congressional funding, you’ve been known to come to the rescue there as well.”

“What kind of projects?”

“Well, now, they don’t really trust me with that kind of information. I don’t even know your name, remember?”

“Right.  What else can you tell me?”

“Let me ask you a question first.  Do you believe what I’ve told you so far?”

“Why are you asking that?”

“Call it a curiosity, a test of my own.  Do you believe me?”

“Sure, yeah, I’m a multi-millionaire banker who provides funding for black helicopters and Area 54. What else you got?”

Lorelei pouts. “Well, if you’re not gonna play, than I won’t either.  Go away, find your friend.  I don’t need your help.”

You can’t seem to find a rhythm with Lorelei.  She seems to control the flow of the conversation, but then it’s hard when you don’t understand anything anyone is saying.

“I’m serious.  I just want to know. Do you believe me?”

You don’t want her to shut down so you better stop and think about it. The words sound incredibly stupid, but something…

“Yeah, mostly.  It sounds unbelievable, but I think you’re telling me the truth…mostly.”

Lorelei smiles, “Mostly?”

“Well, I’m confident the words you’ve spoken are all true, but you’re leaving something out.”

Lorelei looks at you admiringly, “and all that without memory.”

“What does that mean?”

“Along with your money skills, or maybe it was part of them, you are known to have an uncanny ability to tell when you’re being lied to.   At least that was the rumor.  I was just curious if you could tell.”

“Well can I?  Were you telling me the truth?”

Lorelei shrugs and smiles, pointing to the light which has just turned yellow. Then oddly she says “Gulliver’s Travels.”

She begins to type quickly on the panel, which apparently has a keypad, and the keys make little beeping sounds like a phone.  She mutters something under her breath as she types until on the last few keys she speaks the same strange words you heard when you walked in the room, “commandments, witches, wonders, lights on.”

The light turns green again, the door to the cage swings open, and Lorelei looks triumphant (and a little relieved?) but does not exit the cage. Her attention is suddenly drawn to the keypad.

“You did it!” you say, sharing momentarily in her triumph.

“Yes, but I think there’s something you want to see before the door closes again.”


“The door.  It will close when I leave, but something just showed up on this keypad.  Something about you. “

“What?  What does it say.”

“You need to come see, but hurry, before it goes away.”

You hurry into the cage, and Lorelei steps out at precisely the same moment.  You are briefly distracted as she squeezes past you and then she is out and the door to the cage slams shut.  The light flashes red and then green and and you see there is no handle, no apparent way to open the door from your side.  You begin to feel around the seam, to push against the cage, but the door has not only shut but virtually disappeared, seemingly bonded to the walls and no way to get out.

“Moneyman, you do come in handy.  Challenge one was to memorize the keypad code, challenge two was to leave something living in the cage when I left.  I think it was supposed to be that thing,” she points at the dead creature in the corner, “but I suppose you’ll do just as well.”  She dismisses you, turning and talking now, only to herself, “Just one more challenge. What is it?”

“Wait, What’s going to happen to me? You said this would be fatal.  You’re going to leave me to die?”

“Trust me greenbacks, you’d have done the same.  I know you, remember?”

“No, that can’t be right.”

“Besides you heard what I did, maybe Dan will come back and he can be your living sacrifice for the cage.  Or maybe they’ll suspend the test once they see it’s you. “

“What happens if I don’t get out?”

“Really, I don’t know. They only told me it might be fatal.  But they might have just said that to see how I’d react.  But I don’t want to wait to find out. And I wouldn’t play around either.  They were pretty sketchy on the rules, but I don’t think you get more than one chance on the keypad.  So get the code right the first time.”

Lorelei moves cautiously but quickly to the door.  As she grabs the door knob, she grimaces in pain, and pulls her hand back from the door.  Muttering something under her breath, she grabs the knob again, and this time opens the door and leaves.

You are alone, in a glass box; you are very tired and the pale green light above the door taunts you.  The panel in front of you is just a simple keypad with large keys. There is no display or speaker that you can see.  You glance back up at the light.  It’s still green, but for how long?  How long did you and Lorelei chat?  Who is Lorelei really?  Where did Dan go?  And what is your role in all this?  But most of all, what’s the code?

 (Next Episode)

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