July 13th, 2003
Yorkshire England, UK
The two men in white coats moved like ghosts in the dark, removing IVs and monitors with expert speed. They took one last note of vitals, then hastily wrapped the thin figure on the bed in her own sheets.
"She's heavier than she looks." Emmet Clark whispered as he lifted the bundle over his shoulder. "Are you sure we can't reverse the dose enough to have her walk?"
Charles Winsor's weather-worn features wrinkled as he chuckled mirthlessly. "If we could do that, we wouldn't be here, would we?"
"Point." The shorter man agreed as he edged the body through the door. The power would only remain off for so long. They had to move now.
Getting into the girl's cell was easy. They were assistants to the team assigned to her, and overall security was surprisingly lax for what the Rowen Research Institute held. The Grey Girl was said to be capable of amazing things, when they could get her to do them. Despite having lived almost entirely in captivity, the girl was feral, barely spoke, and offered up such wild resistance that she was often drugged to make her manageable.
"She's just a little thing, though," Clark continued in a hoarse whisper as they made their way through the winding halls. "How much damage can she do?"
"Ever get mauled by a cat?" Winsor replied with a grim smile. "They're too soft on her here. We'll devise a more suitable method of controlling her. Otherwise she's a waste."
He paused to scan the lobby ahead. Around him came sounds of confusion from patients and nurses while flashes of torch lit random corners, but otherwise all was quiet.
"We're clear." Winsor motioned to the front door. "Come on."
Outside it was cool and damp with the scent of rain, and the mud sucked at their boots as they stole through the parking lot. Clark all but tossed the limp body into the back seat of Winsor's old Renault, and after a brief debate over how to secure her, they opted out altogether before speeding into the night.
Winsor blinked as he tried to keep focused.
Their contact was supposed to be only a two hour drive from Rowen, but unforeseen detours had slowed them down, to the point that by hour three they were still driving through the endless moors of northern England. By day the wild hills of fern and heather held a raw beauty but on a dreary night like this they were a monotonous roll of black on black.
A soft moan came from the backseat.
"Damn it, the stuff's wearing off, and we aren't even close yet." he muttered as the road wore on beneath his headlights. "Clark.... Clark! Wake up. Give her the booster."
"Huh?" Oh bloody, it's past her dose."
The man beside him drowsily rummaged through his medical kit. "Where is that bloody thing?" He held up a syringe. "Is it this one?"
"For god's sake, man." Winsor said irritably as he glanced at it. "How can you not know by now which-?"
Suddenly he saw something long and black slide into the road ahead.
"Holy mother of, what the bloody **** is th-?!" He cried as he swerved to avoid it, but the wet road took him too far and they hit the embankment with terrible force. The car launched, flipped, then tumbled down the ravine until it wedged on its side. The metal groaned a second longer, then fell silent to the steady patter of the rain.
After a time the wreck creaked again and a body fell through the open passenger door into the mud. The slim shadow from the road returned, drawn by the bloodied rainwater flowing through the grass, and it investigated with its tongue until the girl opened one grey eye. The two regarded each other a moment before the snake turned back to the field.
‘Follow', the girl thought in a singular haze, and she half crawled, half stumbled after it into the darkness, until at last she collapsed amongst the bramble.
Blue and red emergency lights flickered against the brush as paramedics recovered the two unconscious passengers found in the wreckage. Once they were certain they had found all there was to find, they set off for the nearest hospital, and as their sirens faded away into the wild grey hills, the Grey Girl slept her first night in peace.
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