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When I came to, the first thing I think is, oh gods, what just happened?! I open my eyes, trying to get a sense of where I am. It’s dark, and damp, smelling of mildew and wet wood, and something else, something I can’t quite place. I try to push myself into a sitting position, but then realize that my hands are bound behind my back. I lie there for a moment, trying to get my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I start to notice a dull throbbing at my temples, and my neck tenses with pain as I try to turn my head. With rising panic, I struggle to sit up again.
Breathe, I tell myself silently, breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Taking a few deep breaths, the panic subsides, but only a little. Inhale. I force myself to close my eyes, to ground and center. Exhale. Inhale. I can make out a faint hum, possible some sort of generator. I focus on it. Exhale. Inhale. I let my mind wander a little, half-heartedly wondering what the generator did. Exhale. I open my eyes, calmer now. It then occurs to me that I have no clue how long I have been here. Not that I know where here is.
My vision blurs. Why, I think, did he want me? It’s not far! I never did anything! I never… Oh. I pause, the realization dawning on me. He wants me because of what I can do, because every evil madman needs someone who can blow stuff up. Even my little joke didn’t cheer me up, though it made more sense now.
“I bet the Flash didn’t have to go through this,” I say aloud to the darkness, “I bet he would have just superspeeded his way out by now. My power isn’t very useful. I can’t see anything, and even if I could, I don’t know what I would do.” I pause to blink back tears. “Great, now I’m talking to myself. Ain’t that swell?”
I strain at the bonds, groaning at the pain in my half-numb arms. Something cold bites into the skin at my wrists. Great, I think, he really doesn’t want me leaving, he’s using cuffs of some sort, not rope. I groan again, this time in frustration, then tense as something shifts not far from me.
“Hello?” I hear a voice, soft and low, clearly female. I nearly cry, thinking, I’m not alone, but that means I’m not the only on.
“W-Who’s there?” I don’t care if my voice shook as I said it. I am so scared that nothing else mattered. I needed to know I wasn’t alone.
“My name’s Jesse. Jesse Quick,” she sounds as surprised as I am to realize she isn’t alone, “Who are you?”
I’m Kathrin. Allen. Do you-know where we are?” My words come in halting chunks as I struggle not to break down.
“All I know is that this is Zoom’s,” I flinch at the name, “Secret lair,” she too, sounds like she’s trying not to cry. She goes on, “I was afraid that you were,” her voice halts for a moment, “Gone when he brought me here a few days ago, but I wasn’t going to give up hope til I was sure.”
I felt a though my heart dropped when Jesse said that. “A-a few days ago?” I stammer, my heart now pounding in my chest. Oh, no…
“Yeah, You’ve been out.”
“Oh gods…” Tears fell now. I feel as though someone just stabbed me in the heart. “Ray…” I let my chin fall to my chest, silently willing myself to be strong. “Oh gods…” I choke out again, my voice failing to work through the tear.
I hear something shift closer to me, then feel a hand on my shoulder. I didn’t look up, I couldn’t, out of everything happening I felt as though I was making a fool of myself, and this wasn’t a feeling I liked. Here was the woman, pretty much a complete stranger to me, seemingly in the same dire situation as me, and I’m crying like a baby. I don’t know what to do with myself, but I didn’t stop crying. All of the panic, the fear, the frustration, it is too much. I couldn’t help it.
“Hey,” Jesse says softly, “You’re not alone. We’ll get through though this somehow.”
“I don’t know…” How did she know? There is no way to get away from this madman. No way…
“Look, Kathrin, I know this seems hopeless, but I know my dad is looking for me, and he’ll find me. Find us. He’ll come through, we just have to hold on.”
“Jesse,” I start, taking a breath through my tears. “Jesse, how do we hold on? What is there to hold on to?”
“We have each other now.”
“For how long?”
“Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, let’s be grateful, aye?”
“You’re right,” I manage a weak smile as my tears slow to a stop.
“You know I’m right, Kat. Can I call you Kat?”
“Sure,” I give a real smile this time, “You know, that’s kind of funny.”
“What is?” She asks, also smiling. I realize for the first time that I can see now.
“Most people ask if they can call me Kathy, you’re the first to come up with Kat.”
“You have a problem with Kathy?” She must have heard something in my voice as I said it.
“The only person that calls me Kathy and gets away with it is my foster mom. Anyone else saying it makes me feel like an old lady. Graves litter Central City.”
“Alright,” Jesse laughs, “Kat it is!”
I laugh with her, feeling happy and safe for the first time that day. If my hands weren’t bound behind my back, I probably would have thrown them around Jessie right then.
“You know,” I said, “You are good with words. You should be a writer. I bet you could whip up some great sci-fi!”
“I think I’ve had enough sci-fi for my lifetime. Tell me about yourself, Kat,” She says as she wraps an around my shoulders, “What’s your life? How’s school? What do you like to do?” That kind of thing.”
“Well,” I start, talking about my foster mom, my cat. Telling her that I like writing and am learning to play guitar. Telling her about my school, my friends. I tell her about my rock collection and my favorite books, I tell her everything there is to know about me, coming to my meta-ability. “You see, I don’t really know know to use it, but I can blow stuff up. Theoretically.” I add.
“I don’t know how to control it. It always happens at random.”
“Well that’s…something,” She seems to struggle to find right word.
“Yeah, about that. Something sounds good.”
Jesse starts to tell me about her life, about her father, Dr. Harrison Wells. But as she tells me about Star Labs, something strikes me as odd.
“There’s almost always a crowd there, checking things,” she says, “Though sometimes I think some of them are just there to be around the great Harrison Wells.”
“Wait, that doesn’t make sense,” I start.
“Sure it does, people like being around famous people.”
“No, not that,” I shake my head,” It’s that I’ve almost never seen anyone at Star Labs before. I live only a couple blocks from it, and I only see a few scientists and the Flash go in there.” I study her for a moment, and then go on, “Also, from what I know, Dr. Wells is dead, or at least missing. No one’s seen him for a year or so, give or take a few months.”
“B-but that can’t be right,” Jesse stammers, “How long have you lived near Star Labs?”
“As long as I can remember.”
“Then you must have seen the crowds!”
“I haven’t seen any, Jess. It was pretty much deserted after the particle accelerator exploded.” I then pause, tilted my head to the side a little. “Do you hear that?”
“Hear what?” She gives me a look of confusion.
“It sounds like voices.”
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