A blast of cold and Ara's eyes snapped open with the rush of water that seemed to freeze her cells, knocking the wind right out of her. An officer stood above her, thick dark hair that shadowed over dark eyes and a wide, almost fanged smile. 

    "Who are you?" Ara asked shivering as she scooted as far away from him as she could. 

    "Your worst nightmare." He smiled and mashed his teeth at her a little before chuckling at himself. "See, you've been stupid." The kid circled over to her a bit. "we know you so well. You could even say, too well for comfort with the information collected by cap'n Dunning in the past." Ara glared up at him with the sudden feeling that she was being challenged. She took it with her eyes, staring into his. 

    "I'm not afraid of you." She told him through clenched teeth. He smiled and chuckled again, darkly. 

    "Maybe not of me." He replied, looking up at the flickering yellow light in the room. He left the cell and shut the door, the sound of a lock clicking from within the metal. It wasn't until the lights in the cell flickered out that screams and whimpers could be heard from within. 


     There next night was silent for Thomas and Charlotte who ate a dinner of beans as they waited. Charlotte perked her head up at about eleven o'clock when Marlow and Ben came in. moonlight streamed through on Marlow's dark stubble when he showed his face. 

     "Alright, we need you to look in the chief inspector's office, the chief of police's offices, the sky patrol commander's office, or the office of any higher up you can find. check the security files first though. We're looking for the design or any information on an automaton that acts as security to something called the Devil's Cell block." Thomas instructed, "It's officially called Special Prisoner's unit. SPU for short." Marlow wrote all of this down on a note pad that he had pulled from his pocket. "Remember, you're most likely to find it in the security room files."

    "Right," He confirmed, and disappeared with Ben into the darkness. Charlotte paced back and forth in between moonlight beams that passed through the foggy window outside. Thomas only leaned with his arms grasping the iron bars, back turned to her. It was a silent anxiety that coated the room with bad ideas and the feeling that it was not going to get any easier from here. She was pacing because she didn't know what they were doing to her first mate. He clenched his grasp around the bars because he knew. Suddenly, a light trumpety sound tooted into the room coming from Charlotte. Thomas turned with the strangest look of confusion that also seemed to hold a sense of horror and surprise. Charlotte looked to him and stopped pacing. 

    "What?" she asked, 

    "Did you just-"

     "We had beans for dinner, can you grow up? This isn't the time."

     "But you're female." Thomas blinked at Charlotte with a childish sense of curiosity. It took her a moment to understand his reaction to something as simple as a fart. She scoffed and smirked for a moment. And then chuckled when she completely understood. 

      "Thomas-" She was about to say a full sentence at least but couldn't finish because she just ended up cackling. "You spoiled little rich boy!" 

      "Mother told me. Girls don't fart. It's common knowledge." He said defensively, crossing his arms and leaning back against the bars. Charlotte tried to speak through her laughs. 

      "Did- did you never hear- never hear a girl- never hear a girl fart before now?" She fell to her knees in hysterical giggling that bordered on that of a mad man. Thomas shook his head with a frown and Charlotte pushed out her last laughs before looking up at him. "never?" 

       "I've never heard a female fart before you." He confirmed. Charlotte held her sides and stared at him with the utmost curiosity in her voice. 

       "Right, cause it isn't polite to fart." She said and he nodded, a bit embarrassed at his misinformation. "Anyways," she sat back on her bum and leaned forward on her knees. "Do you think Ara's ok? Be honest." 

        "You want an honest answer?" 



   It's that terrifying feeling when you can hear your own heart beat drumming loudly in your ear. Black; everything black. Even with her eyes shut, she could feel it like a dense fog circling her. It wasn't vulnerability. Well, that was part of it of course. But for Ara, it was the ghosts of her past that came out in the dark. It was the clear memory that challenged her sanity, staring her down in a compilation of shadows. she liked to tell herself, "If father hadn't challenged the serial killer in the paper that sunny Bostonian day, none of this would have happened." But that was just as much of a lie as what she told everyone else about his death. 

   In reality, if the daughter of a famous forensic scientist had taken her mother's warning not to talk to strangers, especially the one who stared into the window from the sidewalk,  If a silly little, eight year old girl understood the consequences, he would still be alive. And in the dark, it all came back like time travel. Ara always crouched down and plugged her eyes, shut her eyes not to see it. Not to see the void of black that surrounded her that not. But nothing stopped it; the feeling of warm, wet, blood drenched rope stinging her wrists after she had given up struggling, the sound of her father's voice calling into the basement of a harbor warehouse, The sound of gunfire and two limp bodies hitting the floor. The horrible mixed smell of rotting flesh, piss, and human feces as a week went by without being found. That lurching, tight feeling in her stomach, not having eaten for a week. She would have died of dehydration if she had not heard the leak in the ceiling a few feet away from her and made herself fall over to drag herself over to it. What a relief it was, when she felt her cheek hit the puddle? 

    Yes, it all came back in the dark, that eight year old girl. Nevermind the blast of light when she was finally carried outside in a blanket, her mother wrapping her arms around her. 

    "There's a God!" Margaret Porter had shouted with happy tears to the press. But was there really? The forensic scientist's daughter had wondered this much as she watched them take his body away on a stretcher. That's what lasted in the darkness, never to go away until she was fast asleep. That history was the shadow that stared her down when the lights when out. She was taken at night in the dark. She was tied in a chair in the dark. Her father died in the dark. She was left in the dark. She was found with a lantern light. 

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