Julian groggily opened his eyes and tried to move. Immediately, he felt a hand gently touch his shoulder.

“Julian,” a voice said. “Don’t try to move. You’re safe now.”

Everything came into focus and Julian was able to see who the voice belonged to. His foster brother, Evan, stood by his bed side. Julian almost didn’t recognize him because of the fact that he looked so unkempt. His hair didn’t seem to be combed; it looked like he hadn’t shaved for a few days. His normally bright blue eyes seemed dull and his face looked worn. For a moment, Julian wanted to ask where he was or what happened, but all of a sudden it all came back.

Sarah’s dead. Julian tried to speak but he could barely move his mouth. Evan could tell Julian was trying to talk and stopped him.

“I’m sorry, Julian,” he said, fighting back tears. “I’m so sorry.” His foster brother walked away from his hospital bed. “They were after my research. I wouldn’t budge so they came after you and Sarah.”

Julian knew that Evan’s research had something to do with genetics, but other than that he wasn’t sure what all he was currently working on. For that matter, he wasn’t even sure why someone would go to such lengths to get at the research. It didn’t make sense at all.

Evan knelt down beside Julian’s bedside. “I can’t tell you anything right now, but I will soon.” Evan paused for a moment and then added, “You deserve that much.”

Julian tried to talk again, but he could barely form the words. Evan stopped him saying, “Save your strength, Julian. I will tell you what I know, but later. Rest now.”

Julian gave up. Evan was never one to keep secrets from him so he figured that there was something bigger going on causing his foster brother to remain silent about it. He thought of Sarah again and his heart burned with anger at her loss. He closed his eyes and he could see her broken body, covered with cuts and bruises from the torture. She remained stoic through it all. They had beaten her so badly that she could hardly speak. All Julian could do was hold her and tell her that they were going to make it through. Julian wanted to scream but all he could do was silently weep. He half heard Evan leave the room for a moment. A minute or two later Evan returned with a nurse.

“I asked them to give you something to help you sleep,” said Evan. Julian felt a sudden rush of warmth and the tension in his body relaxed. As he drifted away, the haunting visions of his and Sarah’s torture returned.

The torturer was a hulking mass of muscle. His hair was slicked back and long enough to tie back in a pony tail. Julian couldn’t make out much more than that because it was dark and his eyes had swelled up from the blows to the face he’d received. He wasn’t much for talk. His cohort asked the questions. Julian could make out that this one wore a suit.

“Now let’s try this again, Mr. MacGregor,” the interrogator spat. “What do you know about Project Caelestis?”

Julian spit out some blood onto the floor. “Like I said before, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” Another punch connected with Julian’s face.

“This is getting us nowhere, Mr. MacGregor.” The interrogator paced back and forth across the little room in which he, Julian and the torturer resided. This was pretty much how the interrogation had gone for the previous hour or two. Julian wasn’t sure of the time he’d been there either as there was no clock. “I’m sure you and Miss MacCormack can’t take much more of this. Do you and her a favor and tell us what we want to know.”

Julian slowly lifted his head up. “I…told…you…” Julian paused, unwillingly. He was ready to pass out.

“Get him out of my sight,” the interrogator said, finally. “This is useless. MacCormack didn’t tell them anything. We’ll just dump them on his doorstep. That should motivate him to work with us, eh?” He chuckled and then lit a cigarette.

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