"So, you're not a college professor, are you?" I ask, defiant and ready for some answers. My mind reels with questions. Like why am I speeding away with one of my teachers who says that I'm in danger? Why am I in danger? And from what?
"No," Mr. Neilson replies, "I'm not. I just play one on TV..."
His humor is lost on me.
"I was just ushered out of that school, a shooting probably going on as we speak; I'm ready to hear what's going on, sir."
"Don't call me 'sir'. Save that for Boss. Please, Antonio or Tony, whichever you prefer. You'll probably be ahead of me in the line for promotions. And you are definitely the more valuable one." He muttered that last part to himself, but his words only confused me more.
"Okay, why don't we start with this: if not a professor, what in the world are you?"
"A natural-born human being, which is more than I can say for you."
He's really starting to tick me off. Is he trying to insult me and/or make me angry? This is definitely a side of him I've never seen in class!
"UGH!" I growl at him, my frustration obvious. "How specific do I need to be? What is your occupation? What do you do that requires you to carry a gun?"
"If I told you everything right now, you wouldn't believe me, so I'll let someone else back me up later. But this should suffice: I work with your dad."
"So you work for the government? Did dad send you?" I'm still somewhat skeptical of him, but there's no way that I can jump out of the car right now.
"Not entirely. And no, he didn't. I was only here to keep an eye on you, but was ordered to whisk you away like that before they got to you."
Mr. Neilson, or Antonio, or Tony, or whatever, took a left around the corner of an intersection, brakes screeching, horns being honked at us. I braced myself, white-knuckled.
I am SO glad that I buckled up.
"Who?" I say when I recover. We go up a fraction of a mile and veer off an exit to the interstate (he used the turn signal). A sign flashes by. We're heading out of the city.
"The Society." he looks at me and adds: "The bad guys."
After that, he says no more, but checks the rear-view mirror before turning off onto an deserted highway when we are completely free from the city, and from thence onto a dirt road a mile up. We stay on this for the better of ten miles, and I stay quiet. Finally, we reach a airstrip and pull up near a helipad where a copter has just touched down.
We hustle out, grabbing two bags out of the back, and board the helicopter. It takes off immediately before either of us are strapped in. The pilot hands me a headset, and Mr. Neilson takes his before seating himself in the co-pilot's chair.
It rings in my head. Like a bad omen.