The opaque fog layer creeps low across the headstones, coming into view more clearly as the darkness starts to lift above the horizon. You settle back against the safety of the monolithic mausoleum keeping your eyes fixed on the two silhouettes twenty feet away. The harsh sound of wood against polished cement bounces through the quiet of this place as Charming Bear continues tapping out a rhythm on the girl’s grave. Each crack sends a wave of unease deep into your soul causing you to wince every time.
Kline checks her watch, “It’s time. Badger will be here shortly, if he’s not already lurking around.” You can make out her eyes as they scan the cemetery, connecting with your line of vision for a heartbeat. The dreadful feeling that she sees you watching makes you hold your breath, heart pounding, the wave of terror causing you to inch backwards. She shifts her attention back to Charming Bear.
“Oh, I’m sure he is. I’m sure he is.” You can almost hear the smile on his face as he speaks, and begins to hum along with the tapping, “Hmmm. HmmmHmmm. Hmmm. Hmm. You think our fish knows, Raven? Hmmm. Hmmm.” He whispers to Kline and she nods.
“If not, they’ll get it soon enough.” The woman waves a hand at the man and walks off, disappearing into the lifting fog. “Be nice to this one. They might surprise us.” She calls out behind her.
As Charming Bear stands alone, you contemplate taking him down, wishing you had a weapon of some kind, but that tapping pierces your brain, sending you into a trance as the incessant sound echoes out. You nod your head in time and count along, beginning to recognize a pattern. You realize it could be a simple Morse coded message, and tilting your head to train your ears on the sound, you try to capture exactly what is being relayed.
T...U...R...N…A...R...O..U..N..D… And the tapping stops. You finally make the connection. He’s not sending a message out to a hidden compatriot. He’s sending a message out to YOU. You watch as Charming Bear turns his lanky form to look directly at you and locks eyes. He twitches his eyebrows up and down like a cartoon character, and the blood drains from your face. You jump to your feet and begin looking for an escape route.
“That’s right, Nosey Nelly. It’s time.” He calls out laughing, and lifting his hand he swirls the club around in a circle above his head.
You swivel left and right in a panic, when a sudden rush of air surges forward. Bent over doubled, your eyes lose focus. A towering dark form looms above you, peeling itself away from the shadows. You have time to take one last quick gasp before another thunderous blow crashes down upon you and everything goes dark.
Light falls from a crack in the ceiling, warming your face as you open your eyes and regain focus. You gaze about the room and see nothing but a few scraps of trash littering the floor and a fire door at one wall. The air is hot, damp and unpleasant. You attempt to stand but the pounding in your head and a nauseating hangover feeling sends you reeling back against a porous cement wall.
Putting a hand to your head to steady yourself, the feeling of dried blood brings the memory of recent events swirling back. You have no idea how long you’ve been unconscious, the meager light filtering in is not enough to tell time by. You clamber to your feet and approach the door. Tugging fiercely on the handle you find that it’s locked. There’s a small circular vent in the center of the door, too small to fit more than your hand through.
“Hey!” You scream through the vent and pound on the door, not expecting an answer. You give the door a solid kick and yell out wordlessly. You can hear your screams echoing on the other side, indicating that this is only a small room in a much larger structure. You press your face against the vent, trying to look out through the thin metal slits. You can see into another room on the other side, larger and sparsely furnished. A sudden scraping sound sends you sprawling back again, crawling backwards along the floor. Thick trudging steps follow when the scraping stops. The meager light shining through the vent goes dark, and a voice speaks to you through it.
“Sleep well, agent?” You recognize the voice of Agent Lowell and scuttle back to the vent, hopeful. You see his deep set eyes staring at you, a sharp grin on his face. “Come on out of there. I think you’ve finally seen the bigger picture, haven’t you?” You frown, untrusting of that unsettling grin. After hesitating for a moment, a sudden booming cry flares to life. It’s the girl from the shed, the one from the phone call. She’s crying and calling out, just like before.
“Lowell!” You scream out at him, the horror of your situation has your voice cracking, your adrenaline pumping aggression as you pound and kick on the door until you’ve got nothing left. You sink to the floor, heaving, exhausted, and back yourself into the darkest corner. You feel something soft against your back, and you jolt forward, expecting a rat or something worse. Instead, you see a stuffed bear with a note pinned to the chest:
“REMEMBER ME? I CAN HELP. REACH INSIDE.”
Cold black eyes stare blankly at you, just as they did on your first day at the office. You grab it by the throat, squeezing, and notice that there’s something solid inside. In a cathartic fit, you tear into the stuffing, tossing bits of fabric around the room. You reveal a cylindrical case containing a small set of lockpicking tools.
Out of options, trapped in a cell with a traitor on the other side, the only thing you can do is face him. You insert one of the tools into the lock and get to work. You hear Lowell begin to laugh from the other side. You try to focus on the girl’s cries and use them as motivation. You have to get out of here and save her. Somehow.