His eye's swept the shelves, books of all different sizes, colours, subjects, prints and authors, no real order to them, just books, no sign on a nook, cranny, knob, handle or other. Behind him, Robert could hear Wolf and Eclipse sniggering at him, he closed his eyes, trying to maintain patience, any time now, he was going to be forced to ask one of them how to get out, he loathed needing anything from anyone, and today of all days, finally feeling, more or less, himself again, he did not want to ask.
Just as he was about to swallow his pride and ask, something caught his eye,one of the books, deep royal blue leather, with silver, worn lettering which read,
"Oh....please, PLEASE be kidding!", he thought, exasperated.
THE FORTY THIEVES
"Open, O' Simsim?!", he said inside his head.
Robert took hold of the book, closed his eyes, praying he was wrong and there was a door handle close by he had simply missed, and pulled, the book stuck, something mechanical clicked into place inside the shelf, and the double doors swung open, nearly taking his nose clean off as they passed.
"I'm kinda impressed!", stated Eclipse, staring avidly at Robert, her amazing blue eyes sparkling in the orb light, Wolf sniffed, turned his back on Robert and mumbled something that Robert couldn't quite make out, but from the look of disapproval on Eclipses face, it wasn't a compliment!
Robert looked down the passage now open to him, long, thin, and dark. A few scattered mini "moon" orbs hung along the walls, glowing faintly, not that there was much to show, a hard wooden polished floor, and stone walls. Without looking back, Robert stepped into the passage, and the double doors closed behind him. His first reaction, once alone, was to check how to get the doors back open, a large stone plate on the wall, he found it very quickly, obviously once you were in, no one cared about you finding the way back out!
He began walking, the passage really wasn't well lit, and its width, combined with shadows, made its size confusing and disorienting. Small recesses, randomly scattered down the walls, were so overcast, they could have squeezed on forever, he was really having to strain his eyes to make out his path through the passage, and something inside his head told him the orbs weren't going to get any brighter.
Robert reached the end of the path, but there was no door, just bare brick wall, he checked the walls on either side of himself, looking for another plate, but then, If there was no door, would he find a plate? There didn't appear to be one, and he was on the verge of turning back and examining the recesses a little closer, when he remembered Barricade and the breakfast tray, there was no other way he could have come. His foot hit something on the ground, something hard, fixed to the floor, and by tracing its outline with his foot, discovered was round.
Robert put his right foot down onto what he was hoping was a switch, and pushed down, slowly at first, the increasing pressure until it depressed under his weight. There was a loud mechanical 'click' from within the walls, then, what sounded very much like two very loud clock 'ticks', before the entire end wall of the passage folded up and out, making a small roof just above the exit.
He walked out and straight into the brightly lit greeting area, Roberts eyes took a moment to adjust to greatly increased power of this rooms much larger orb, but when it did, he realised where the passage came out, and turning on the spot, he confirmed that the entire lower half of the stair case had flipped up, into the air, to allow exit from the passage. As the staircase lowered itself back into place, Robert noted one of two "moon" orb lamps, mounted on the base of the banisters, it was slowly twisting itself round and round, until another mechanical 'click' and the passage was sealed, stairs restored.
Robert passed one of the glass four "journal" boxes, he peaked through the glass as he passes, and felt a sudden sinking sensation when he realised, the box was empty, he did a quick count, remembering the order they had been in when he had left the library, sure enough, this box had contained the second book, he was feeling a tad edgy about his meeting with Woods now. He wanted to shake the feeling off, to maintain the re-found confidence in himself that had been missing since he had awoken six days ago, but doubt had settled in, he was starting to question his ability to out think Woods.
Climbing the stairs, Robert took the left hand branch and made for Woods office, he knocked twice and waited,
"Come in, Robert",
Robert walked in and briefly looked towards the painting that had caught his attention the first time he had been to taken to Woods, the girl in the long blue dress with the smudged blonde hair, standing in the place, he felt sure, he had witnessed burn in an impossible battle.
"Take a seat", Woods instructed from behind his desk, his glasses pushed back against his head, the light reflecting off them in such a way that his eyes were obscured, Robert sat down opposite him, glad that the shift had made his eyes visible, he had to be able to see his eyes. Woods simply sat there, regarding him calmly, just as cool, just as calculating, but Robert wasn't stupid, this man held all the answers, all Robert had, whatever the Doctor wanted, which he still didn't know.
"How do you feel, Robert?", Robert contemplated the question,
"How do you feel?" he repeated back,
"How, do you feel?", Robert asked again, eyes locked, the men watched each other, debating the others next move,
"I am fine, thank you for asking, but, I believe, I DID ask you first, Robert",
"I'm tired", Robert replied,
"You didn't sleep well?", how anyone was ever meant to sleep well in that cold, grey, dank cell was beyond him, but never the less,
"Oh no, I slept fine, that's not what I mean!",
"Then what do you mean?", Woods leaned forward in his chair a little,
"I mean, I'm tired of you thinking, what ever it is, you think you have on me in that file", he motioned to the large folder file sitting on the desk next to Woods arm, "is going to keep me playing through hoops with you?", his manner cool, his grey eyes giving away nothing, Robert waited for the Doctor to respond.
Woods just watched him, staring through his glasses into those cold, empty eyes. Robert didn't care, with the exception of loosing his dirty grey gown and bed, there was nothing else Woods could take. He wanted answers and he was not leaving without some. Woods picked up the file and handed it to Robert. It was all there, everything, quite literally, everything! Copies of his birth certificate, medical records, school reports, exam results, criminal activities, operation reports from cases involving his businesses, investigations into the disappearances and murders suspected of being either committed by or ordered by him. He felt the tiniest of chills when he saw Abigail's name.
"So you see, Robert" Woods said almost playfully as Robert flicked through the papers, "I 'have' everything!",
"Then why aren't I in prison?", Robert asked, staying focused and unphased,
"Because I don't want you to go to prison, what use are you to anyone in prison?",
"What use to anyone am I here?",
"None, actually!", Woods grinned, leaning back, obviously feeling very pleased with himself, "Yet,
"Yet?", Robert pressed on,
"Robert, I'd like to talk to you about the incident yesterday morning again...",
"And I want some answers", Robert interrupted, Woods did not look happy,
"Please do not do that again, Robert!"
"Then tell me what I want to know!", Robert spat back, annoyed with himself for the laps in concentration, that really wasn't like him,
"I don't have to tell you anything", Woods stated, "as I have told you before, and I thought, made quite clear, you are powerless here, Robert, you have no rights but those I deem you worthy of, all you need to know for now, is you are here to learn!",
"Then tell me what I'm supposed to be learning!"
"You are here to learn", Woods sat back, placing his hands on his desk, together as if in prayer, "to learn that what you need, you do not want!",
"I'm getting a little bored of the cryptic", Roberts patience was loosing integrity, he had no control over the rising temper. He could not afford to break, "can't you just explain it to me in plain, simple, English?",
"Now where would the fun in that be?", Woods grinned, "Robert, as that file your holding quite clearly shows, you are, quite possibly, the most decadent, corrupt, evil men, I have ever had the displeasure to meet, you quite honestly disgust me, you will earn every single meal, piece of clothing, warm blanket you ever receive from me, and If i do not wish to tell you anything I don't want to, you will except that. We all take instructions from someone Robert, everyone!", Robert had an idea,
"Wolf asked, If you had told me, how long I have been here for!", Robert stated, not a question, but it might get a reaction,
"Did he now," Woods was still cool and calm, but his eyes said he hadn't expected Robert to say that at all, "I swear, one day, that boy's mouth will ACTUALLY connect to his brain!", it was a playful, near child like statement, Woods obviously wasn't going to fall for anything Robert could throw at him.
"Now, If we may return to the reason I called you here?", Robert nodded reluctantly,
"Thank you, now, have you remembered anything more about thst morning, in the shower?",
"Only what I told you last time, I went in, turned on the water relaxed, felt a slight breeze against the hot water, then woke up in the kitchen, feeling like complete shi...." he refrained from finishing the sentence, remember Woods rule on swearing.
"A breeze?!", Woods looked excited, "you didn't mention that before?!", Robert thought about it, no, he hadn't? Why hadn't he noticed?! His head began to hurt, this wasn't like him and he was finding it unbelievably frustrating, It was like learning to do football skills or play a computer game, or learn a dance really really well! Only failing miserably in front of your friends. Robert couldn't ever remember feeling like this, everything he could do had always just 'flowed' out, without effort, like a gift, but here, now, in this place, with this man, he was powerless.
"Yes, a slight breeze, like fresh air", Robert continued, as he thought about it, that moment, a little more came back, "I was standing in the steam, I remember feeling the breeze, It was like fresh air, I'm sure you can appreciate It feels like its been a while since I felt the fresh air!", Woods grinned,
"Quite a poetic statement from someone who's spent the better part of five years hiding in a suite at the Regent!", Robert glared at him from across the desk,
"I do remember looking up, at an air vent? I think? But that's it, really", he finished grudgingly,
"An air vent", Woods picked up a silver fountain pen from the blotter on the desk and began tapping it against his lip, staring through Robert, lost in thought,
"You wanted to leave", Woods finally said,
"Of course I want to leave",
"No, I know that" Woods continued, refocusing on Robert, "I mean, that moment, you felt away out, and reached for it",
"No I didn't!", Robert snapped, "I never tried to escape!",
"Oh you did, Robert, you just didn't mean to, or rather, you didn't know you were doing it!", Robert was completely lost, how could attempt an escape, without knowing he was attempting it?!!
"Your not making any sense!", Robert retorted,
"Not to you, perhaps", Woods knew he was infuriating Robert, and seemed to be enjoying it, a lot!
Robert rubbed his head, the pain was getting worse, he was loosing his nerve and he knew it, nothing was going to stop that. Woods cocked his head slightly,
"Are you alright?",
"Fine" Robert lied, he needed to gain focus again, he spotted the electric blue L.O.M flag behind the desk, "What does L.O.M stand for?" he asked,
"That is none of your business!", Woods replied, "now, I'd like you to come with me", Woods stood up, Robert thought he knew what was coming.
The two men left the office and made there way back down the stairs in silence, Robert trailing behind Woods, his head pounding, what was wrong with him?! He felt out of control, his temper boiling, he couldn't remember ever being this angry before, he kept wanting to grab things and throw them across the room with as much force as he could muster!
They crossed to the right side of the greeting area, and to no surprise to Robert at all, made their way to the Library door.