Chapter ThreeMature

    It was about two in the morning by the time we stopped again. Max pulled into an abandoned parking lot and pulled out his phone. He punched several buttons, apparently came to an automated voice service. He pushed more buttons. Finally, he hung up and looked at me,

"Ready to become a member?"

    My heart rate increased, as I thought of what I might have to do in order to become a member. I looked around, trying to find wherever this "society" was located; we must be nearby. Finally, I decided I wasn't going to find out, unless I responded to Max's question.

   "Ummm... Yeah.... Where is it, though? What do I have to do?"

    "It's near here. They just want you to be absolutely sure you want to join. The things you have to do are not dangerous at all, but they aren't easy."

    "Yeah, I guess I'm ready... Just really nervous of what I'm going to find." That was an understatement. I was practically trembling with anxiety.

    "Don't be too nervous, It's not that bad."

    I took a deep breath, "Can we please just get going, Max? Sitting here is just making me more nervous. I hate suspense...."

    He nodded and said, "Hold on, this is where the ride gets bumpy,"

    I didn't quite know what he meant, but I settled deeper into the seat anyway. It wasn't long until I found out what Max meant; he drove off the pavement and into an overgrown field. This couldn't be good for his car, but I wasn't going to question his motives at this point. My mind was reeling and my nerves sparked, as I thought about what could be lying in wait for me at our destination.

     I looked out  the window and saw the grass that had gotten stuck all over the car. I didn't know much about cars, but I was pretty sure all this grass couldn't be good for it. Maybe something would end up breaking, forcing us to walk the rest of the way in the dark. I didn't particularly care for that option and secretly prayed that the car would not break.

    Suddenly, we came out of the tall grass near the edge of a forest. This was where I mentally did question his sanity. Was he simply driving me around so I wouldn't know where I was? Suddenly, fear gripped me, maybe he had lured me into a false sense of security, so he could lead me out into this dark, deserted field and kill me.... Or worse.

    Like he had read my mind, Max looked over at me and smiled, "Just so you know, this isn't the place I come out to kill people. You're safe."

    I tried to feign calmness as I said (hopefully in a joking manner), "Yeah, sure, that's what they all say."

    He chuckled and said, "Yeah, yeah, just hold onto your seat for real now. We're going through the woods."

    "What??"

    "Yeah, it's hidden pretty well. We don't exactly like our little secret getting out. You up for th ride, Princess?"

    I rolled my eyes and said, "Like I'm scared of driving through the woods? It's your car, not mine."

    "Yeah, you'll be surprised how smooth it rides through the trees. Almost as if they were made for it, but you wouldn't be able to guess that from looking at the route we're gonna take."

    He easily found his path. If that's what you would call it. There was a small opening in the trees that might make for a decent walking trail or even maybe a four-wheeling trail, but it definitely didn't look suitable for a car! Let alone a Mustang like this! I closed my eyes, as he eased the beautiful car toward that narrow opening, expecting to hear scratching, as it rubbed up against the trees or the branches scraped the windshield.

    I heard Max laugh and opened my eyes. Somehow, we had gotten past the opening to the path and the car hadn't been damaged. I looked around and saw that the trees didn't seem nearly as closely packed as I had originally thought.

I looked at Max and said, "How did that happen? The trees looked way closer before. And I could've sworn there were tons of big rocks all over the place. Why isn't the car getting scratched up by the trees and jolted around by the rocks?"

    "Just one of our many defenses, designed to keep people who aren't members away. See? We take this seriously."

    "How does it work? I still don't get it."

            "You won't, until you are really one of us."

    Suddenly, I felt as if I was joining a cult. Who knows, maybe that's what was lying in wait for me up ahead... wherever that was... All I knew was that I was suddenly scared and didn't think I could trust Max so much anymore. The feeling of safety I had felt earlier was gone now and I just wanted Adam to be with me, to make me believe everything would be okay. I wanted to go home.

    My fears were confirmed, when he stopped the car and reached into a plastic container in the back seat. It was full of some kind of liquid. I looked at him, trying to figure out what he might be doing. He pulled out a small towel, rung it out, and sat forward in his seat. I sniffed the air subtly, but smelled no odor. That meant nothing, really. Anything could be on that rag. I started trembling with anxiety.

    "Amelia... I hate doing this to you... but to bring an outsider into our society, I have to be sure you're subdued. It’s a precaution that's held out for generations and it's only to make sure you can't simply leave and bring more people to us..."

    My heart rate climbed until it felt like it might break through my chest. I was on the verge of a full panic attack. I found myself wishing that I had never agreed to come along with Max. Never let him trick me into a false sense of security.

    "W-what are you going to do to me?" I said nervously, trying to keep my voice steady, butknowing I was failing.

Without another word, Max put one arm around my shoulders, like a caring friend. He then reached his other arm over and put the rag over my mouth and nose. A sweet smell filled my nostrils. Oh shit! What have I gotten myself into?! He's choking me out with Chloroform!  My last fleeting thought, before the world went dark and I was unconscious.

The End

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