“Mathew.” I repeated the word with little enthusiasm. “And why am I here? Or are you not going to tell me that bit?” His smile told me that I was right. I found myself trying to work out how old he was, but it was almost impossible. He was older than my parents, I could tell by his eyes, but he had no wrinkles.
“So, El, do you want to tell me why you knocked on my door?” Mathew asked me, which wasn’t at all what I was expecting, even though I’d resigned myself to his answering only in questions.
I hesitated before I replied, but I had nothing to hide. I shrugged. “Jon didn’t want me to.”
“I see.” Mathew’s eyebrows went up. “So you go out of your way to disobey instructions, even when they’re for your own good, is that it?” He made it sound like this was some sort of test, as though everything depended on my answer.
So what should I say? “Not all instructions. But Jon was annoying me. He wouldn’t tell me where we were, and I was hoping to find somebody who would tell me. To be honest, though, I don’t actually remember knocking.”
“Ah.” Mathew sounded like, well, like he’d done something he shouldn’t have done. “Probably shouldn’t have mixed those two. Your lot tend to react badly to that.” So I had been drugged.
“What do you mean, ‘my lot’? Humans?” I was still sort of freaked out by the thought that he might not be. I wasn’t sold on the alien thing, and I didn’t know what else we could be talking about.
Mathew just tapped his nose. “You’re not ready for that just yet.” Ugh, this was getting so annoying. “But now it’s time for you to be going home. Your hour’s lesson is almost over.” Well, that was a surprise. Obviously, I hadn’t been unconscious for as long as I thought. But no – that was absurd, because the sky had been dark outside the window; when I looked up I saw that the sun was high in the sky.
“Okay, so what did you just do?” He was really beginning to creep me out now. I didn’t know how to react, seeing as I was completely out of my depth.
“Relax, El. Do you want to go home, or not?” Of course I did. That’s what I’d been hoping for over the past couple of hours. But I wanted to know what was going on and I was determined not to let them get away without telling me.
“First, tell me what you are.” That was my condition; he could take it or leave it.
“You’re not here to tell me what to do,” replied Mathew, eyes flashing. I’d really angered him now.
“Then why am I here? For if I don’t know, how can I act accordingly?” The words were polite enough, even though I was mad at him.
My captor – I honestly couldn’t think of him in any other way, though he’d not wronged me particularly – just pursed his lips and refused to tell me anything. Ah, that was new. Not. I tried again. “Look, you can’t just leave me wondering for hours and hours. Would it hurt so much to tell me?”
“Next time,” he said, pulling me towards the open door. Jon was standing there, though I hadn’t seen him arrive.
“What if there isn’t a next time?” I tried to kid myself that I wouldn’t go anywhere with Jon again, but I knew if I had the chance to find out what was happening here, wild horses couldn’t keep me away. I was hooked now. I wasn’t going to get out of this easily.
“There will be,” said Mathew. “Oh yes, there will be.”