Part II

        They had been driving for what seemed an eternity. By day they searched by night they rested and tried to figure out where to go next. Madeline and Nikita had been to ten small towns in ten days. With nothing to show for it. Everywhere they went there was no sign of Sarah.

        According to the information Mr. Loftus had provided Sarah had to be somewhere in the area but they were not sure where. The search had been narrowed down to twenty small towns in a very rural area. So far all they had found were farmers and some dirty old men that liked to sit on their porches and reminisce about the "good ole days".

        Today they were driving again to another farm town that didnít seem to hold any promise to Nikita. The constant driving was getting tiring but at least it wasnít uncomfortable in the car that section had provided. It was a large luxury vehicle with comfortable seats and air conditioning. Something she was relieved about. The sweltering heat outside the car was enough to melt the skin off of her bones.

        Nikita sat in the passenger seat as Madeline drove. The entire trip Madeline had been very quiet. Not even offering any small talk as they went from town to town. She wore almost the same outfit she had worn in section. A suit with a skirt and some heels. Nikita couldnít imagine how she could walk around constantly in such an outfit. Especially in such a rural area.

        Nikita had opted for a more comfortable ensemble. Just some pants and a T-shirt. Although even in those clothes she couldnít get comfortable in the unbearable heat.

        "What makes you think that she will stay in this area?" Nikita asked trying to break the silence as they headed for theyíre next destination. "If I were her I would have left long ago."

        "She is going to stay put for a while and wait until she feels it is safe to go somewhere more permanent." The car sped up and they passed trailer truck that was probably headed for the same town. "But she wonít stay for long. Our search window is closing, and if we donít find her soon we never will."

        A quizzical expression appeared on Nikitaís face. "How is it that you know so much about Sarah? I thought all the records had been destroyed."

        Madeline smiled a little bit. "It is something that I would do. So I am assuming that she will do the same."

        "Not everyone is like you Madeline."

        "No, not everyone." She said. "But Sarah is."

        "How do you know that?" Nikitaís questions were verging on to an interrogation.

        "I know. Trust me."

        Nikita decided to stop this line of questioning. Knowing that it wouldnít get her anywhere. She sat back in her seat and watched out the window at the giant treeís passing by.

        "Weíre going to hit the next town soon." Madeline said. "When we get there I want to split up and search. Weíll check around and see if anyone has seen her. This way maybe we could go to another town today."

        "Ok." Nikitaís thoughts wandered to the girl that they were searching for. "Sounds good."

**********
 
        She noticed the woman as soon as she walked in. Sarah sat in the back of the diner enjoying her coffee when she saw her. A tall blonde woman who didnít look like she fit in here. She wore a tight white T-shirt that you could almost see through and some black pants that seemed a few sizes too big for her. The woman also wore sunglasses that didnít come off even when she sat at her table. It was almost as if she were trying to hide her eyes from the outside world.

        The woman was completely different than anyone else in the diner. She was surrounded by farmers and farmers wives who were all staring at her. They looked shocked to see someone like her in there midst. She sat quietly looking out the window ignoring all the onlookers.

        "Have you seen a woman around here? She has brown hair and is wearing a suit. I was supposed to meet her here." Sarah heard her ask the waitress with an exotic voice.

        The waitress shook her head no as she poured a cup of coffee in front of her. The mysterious woman thanked the waitress and went back to staring out the window.

        Sarah smiled. "So sheís looking for me too huh?" She thought to herself. Her heart beat a little faster as she got up from her table. She crossed the room and sat across the table from the woman.

        "Hi there." She said nicely. "Iím Sarah. May I ask what your name is?"

        She could see that the woman recognized her. She paused before answering. "Nikita."

        "Well Nikita. Iím going to ask you to leave."

        "You know I canít do that." Nikita put her hand under the table. Probably getting her gun. "Iím going to have to ask you to go with me."

        "No," Sarah almost laughed. "Iím not going anywhere! And I will only ask you one more time to leave."

        She heard a click as a gun was pointed at her under the table. "Please Sarah. Iím doing this for your own protection. There are people out there that want to hurt you."

        "Oh you mean those men that were here the other day?" She took a sip of Nikitaís coffee. "They were a couple of fools. I took care of them already."

        "There will be others coming for you, and it would be best if you just came with me."

        "Youíre a persistent one Nikita." She stood up from the table. "But I am not going back. I would die before I would go back there. You donít understand what itís like."

        "Where are you going to go then?"

        "Iím going to my place. And youíre coming with me."

        "Donít be silly Sarah."

        "I already have your friend you know." Sarah smiled knowing she had the upper hand. "The woman you asked the waitress about. She was here earlier and I have her hidden away now. If you donít give me your gun and come with me I will kill her."

        "What did you do with her?" Her voice was filled with concern.

        "NothingÖyet." She took the gun out of Nikitaís hand. "Why donít we get going now huh?"

        "Fine." Nikita gave in. "But we arenít here to hurt you. You donít need to be worried."

        Sarah pulled Nikita out of her chair. "Sure! Youíre all bloody liars. I will not go back to that!"

        They walked out of the diner. Sarah following Nikita. "Take me to your car." Sarah commanded.

        "What are you going to do now Sarah?" Nikita asked. "What do you need with us?"

        They stood out side the car. Sarah opened the door and motioned for Nikita to get in. "You donít need to worry about that."

        Before Nikita knew what was happening she was hit on the head with the butt of the gun. Quickly she faded into unconsciousness.
 

**********

        Nikita woke up with a terrible headache. She felt like a fool as she realized what had happened. "Damn! I should have been prepared for that!" She thought to herself. She tried to rub her head but couldnít. She seemed to be tied to a chair. Her hands were tied behind her back.

        She could hear some sort of sound. It sounded like someone was grunting. Looking up she saw where the sound was coming from.

        Madelineís hands were tied to a hook in the ceiling and Sarah was using her as a punching bag. But the grunts werenít coming from Madeline. She remained silent throughout the beating. The grunting was coming from Sarah who was punching as hard as she could with no reaction from Madeline.

        "Sarah stop it!" Nikita yelled. "You donít need to do this!"

        Sarah gave one last punch and Nikita could hear a cracking noise as she broke one of Madelineís ribs. "Ah I see sleeping beauty is awake."

        Madelineís face was bleeding from several different wounds. Her eyes werenít even open. She might have passed out during the beating.

        "Let her down Sarah." Nikita said calmly.

        "No Iím not going to do that." Sarah sat down on a small chair in the corner and wiped her brow with a towel. "I need to know a few things and you two are going to tell me."

        "Please just let us go and we will take you back to where you will be safe."

        "Iím perfectly safe here." She waved a hand gesturing for Nikita to look around. "I donít need you two to take me back."

        Nikita scanned the room. The walls were wooden; it looked like they were in a log cabin. There was nothing in the room except a few chairs and a table, which had an arsenal of weapons on it.

        "I see youíve noticed my little collection." Sarah said. "Those gentlemen from Logos were kind enough to bring those to me."

        "What happened to them?"

        "I took care of them. I buried them out in the woods. No one will find them."

        "Where are we?"

        Sarah stood up and looked out the window. "This is an old cabin that I found. I think it used to be a hunting cabin. But it is abandoned now. Donít worry weíre out in the middle of the woods. You can scream as much as you want and no one will hear you."

        "Sarah at least let me see if she is still alive." Nikita was almost begging.

        "Not to fear she is still alive. I wouldnít kill her so soon."

        "What are you going to do now then?" She tried to wrestle her hands out of their bindings but they were too tight.

        Sarah pulled a chair up and sat face to face with Nikita. "Do you understand pain Nikita? I mean what it can do to people, what it can make people do?"

        She just stared defiantly at Sarah.

        "I think your friend enjoys pain. As a matter of face I think she rather enjoys it. She hasnít said a word since sheís been here. Iím hoping that you will be more cooperative." She went to the table and picked up a knife. "Iím gonna try a slightly different method with you Nikita. Hopefully it will work out well."

        "Donít do this Sarah!"

        "Iíll do whatever I want!" Her face grew red with anger. "I will not go back to that hell Nikita!"

        "Iím not asking you to go back to the M9 project I want you to come with us." Nikita continued to try to get through to Sarah but to no avail.

        "I will not go with anyone!" Sarah held the knife tightly in her hands. "Do you know what they did to me? Do you know how they took me from my home in the middle of the night and forced me to do as they say!  I was only three years old and I was taken from my mother and father!"

        Her mouth opened in shock. "I didnít know that. And I canít help what they did to you before. But I can help you now."

        "I donít need your kind of help! I want you to see something." Sarah turned around and lifter her hair. Nikita could see two small dots on the back of her neck. They looked like two pinpricks about an inch apart. "Do you see that?"

        "Yes. What is it?"

        "When we donít do what they say they gave us shock treatment." Sarah put her hair back down and sat in front of Nikita again. "Those are where they placed the electrodes on my spine. For hours they would shock us until we did what was said."

        "Iím so sorry." Nikita said solemnly. "I didnít know."

        "They trained me well Nikita. But I will never go back to that way of life. I donít want to kill anymore."

        "But you killed everyone at the M9 compound. And you killed the men from Logos." Nikita said.

        "And I will kill you." Sarahís voice was filled with determination. "But that will be the end. I donít want it anymore."

        "How do you know it will end at this? It is all you know. How can you live a normal life now?" Nikita was speaking out of experience.

        "I know it will be hard but I can do it."

        "ButÖ" Nikita began.

        "Stop it!" She held the knife to Nikita. "I know what youíre trying to do and it wonít work! I will not change my mind about any of this! And I will not change my mind about what I am going to do to you!"

        Sarah stepped closer to Nikita knife held firmly in hand. Nikita tried to move away but was held in place by the chair.

        "I want you to tell me a few things." Sarah said in a calm voice.

        "Donít do this!" Nikita was full of fear. "Please!"

        She held the knife against Nikitaís arm. "Who do you work for?"

        Nikita sat silently waiting for the oncoming pain. "Who do you work for?" She asked again.

        When there was no response Sarah sliced into her arm. Nikita screamed loudly and struggled. Blood poured down her arm and dripped from her fingertips.

        "I will cut you until you bleed to death if you donít tell me what I want to know." Sarah held the knife threateningly in front of her face. "It will be a lot easier if you just talk."

        Nikita spat in Sarahís face. "Fuck you!"

        "Fine," Sarah didnít bother wiping her face. "Be that way."

        She drove the knife into Nikitaís leg. This invoked an even louder scream from the tied up woman.

        "Will you tell me now?"

        "Fuck you!" She screamed her eyes welling up with tears.

        "Nikita you have to cooperate!" Sarahís voice rose. "I donít want to hurt you  anymore!"

        Suddenly a ringing sound took Sarahís attention. It sounded like an alarm going off in the room.

        "Goody goody." Sarah went to the window. "It looks like we have some more visitors. Perhaps someone to rescue the two of you."

        Nikita couldnít speak. She could barely keep conscious the pain rushed throughout her body. Her head sagged and blood poured from her wounds.

        "Iíll be right back ladies." Sarah grabbed a handgun from the table and went out the door.

        "Nikita! Nikita wake up damnit!" She tried to open her eyes but couldnít. She could feel the life draining out of her.

        "Nikita! Goddamnit wake up!" Slowly Nikita lifted her head up to see who was yelling at her. Though tears blurred her vision she saw it was Madeline, wide-awake and trying to get her attention.

        "MadelineÖ" Nikita whimpered.

        "Snap out of it! We have to get out of here!" Madelineís voice rose with every second.

        "I canít get out of this." Nikita struggled to get out of her bindings again. "Iím tied too tight."

        "Can you move closer to me?" Madeline asked.

        Nikita tried using her body to move the chair, but with every movement pain rushed through her again. Madeline got her answer from the screams Nikita gave her.

        "Ok. Hang on Iím gonna untie you." Nikita watched as Madeline lifted her legs with amazing agility. She wrapped her legs around the rafter, from which she hung and lifted her hands above the hook. Thus releasing herself from her bondage. She undid her ropes then turned her attention to Nikita who had passed out.

        "Wake up!" Madeline slapped her across the face leaving a bright red mark. It was enough to bring Nikita out of her unconsciousness but nothing in comparison to the pain from the injuries she had sustained earlier. "We have to get out of here before Sarah comes back."

        Quickly Madeline untied her. "Why donít we just wait for her to come back here and get her then?" Nikita asked. She tried to stand up but couldnít stand on her wobbly legs. She fell to the floor with a thud.

        "Look up there." Madeline pointed to the corner of the room. There was a small package of explosives and wires connecting it to explosives in other parts of the room. "That is probably her failsafe in case something happens. I would bet that she has the trigger on her. If she feels it is unsafe sheíll blow us up before we even have a chance."

        "Madeline." Nikitaís voice was growing weaker. "Iíve lost too much blood. Iím dying, you have to go on without me."

        "No!" Madeline picked her up off the floor. "Youíre coming with me! Donít give up so easily."

        Madeline went to the arsenal of weapons Sarah had on hand. She picked up a small gun then went back to the wounded Nikita. Putting Nikitaís arm around her neck she helped the wounded woman to the door.

        They both jumped when they heard the sound of a gun fired nearby. "We have to hurry. Sheíll be back soon." Madeline said.

        Together they went out into the woods. They traveled in the opposite direction of where the gunshots were heard. Very slowly they made their way deeper into the woods. Nikita hanging like a rag doll next to Madeline.

        "Madeline! Nikita!" Sarahís voice echoed from behind them. "Donít try to run! Iíll find you!"

        "Oh, no." Madeline murmured. She picked up the pace a little trying to increase the distance between them and Sarah.

        Another gunshot was heard. This time it was much much closer. "Iím coming for you!" Sarah cackled at them.

        Unexpectedly Nikita fell from Madelineís arms. A bullet wound ripped through her shoulder. She lay face down in the dirt. She wasnít dead but would be soon without some help.

        Nikita fell into unconsciousness. Death was very close at hand.

Continue to Part III