Alex Rider: Contamination
By: Edna Baudelaire
Chapter Ten: The Truth Will Out
The black sedan pulled into the entrance of the ritzy hotel, and I couldn't wrench my tired eyes from my shaking hands. My previous anger slowly ebbed away to mere exhaustion and worry. My sudden outburst this morning had scared me. I could only imagine what it had done to Alex and the rest of the family. Poor Bindi. My retinas burned with the image of her glistening eyes, her quaking body as she held Alex closer. But most of all, I could see Alex, the confusion imbedded within his features, quickly turning to anger. He sat beside me, silent, seething, before he wrenched the car door open and hopped out. I sighed and followed.
Alex trudged up the marble stairs, ignoring the doorman completely. He stood, his hand on the knob, looking perplexed. I made sure to mumble a small thank you before racing inside. Alex was already halfway to the receptionist desk and I ran to catch up with him.
"Slow down," I ordered, a little out of breath.
He ignored me.
"Rider. What room are we?" He asked the man behind the desk, not even waiting for a formal introduction. The man looked taken aback, his hand falling lightly upon his Dior pocket handkerchief. He quickly composed his posture, entering the name into his computer. His fingers made a light tap-tapping sound on the keys. I feel each one travel through Alex's frame as he grew more and more impatient.
"Rider, room 717. Here is your key-"
"Thanks," Alex spat as he snatched the key and sharply turned on his heel, towards the elevators. I nodded sympathetically towards the receptionist.
"Honeymoon?" he asked, a touch of regret in his voice.
I smiled. "No. He's my brother."
Relief flooded his features before he shot a warm smile my way. I waved goodbye and raced after Alex, who was already in the elevator, the doors closing.
"Wait!" I yelled, breaking out in a run. My foot collided with the golden doors, sending a rough thud traveling through its frame. The doors stopped, and slowly receded. I glared at Alex, and he glared back. I stepped inside, punching the "close doors" button before bursting. "What the Hell is your problem!"
"My problem?" he shouted, rage contorting his features. "What about you!"
"Me!" I shrieked. "What do you mean, 'me'?"
"Well, gee. You basically woke up with a freakin' vengeance this morning. What the Hell was that?"
"Alex, I want to punch you in the face so hard right now-"
"Do it," he ordered, shoving his face close to mine. My hand curled into a fist at my side, and I wanted nothing more than to raise it, and watch the blood pour from his nose.
But, I couldn't.
Breathing heavily, I lowered my shaking hand and closed my eyes. "Screw you."
"I knew you wouldn't be able to hit me." He said, satisfied, and before I knew it, the blood really was pouring from his nose. It glinted in the artificial light, and my thoughts immediately flew back, months ago, to that night when I watched McCroy murder my parents…
When I watched their blood stain the concrete floor a sickening crimson…
When I watched the terrified look on my brothers face as they took him away...
The doors closed behind him and I felt rough hands grab me, holding me back.
That was the last I saw of my brother. His terrified eyes, with my mother's blood spattered onto his face, mixing with his tears.
Back in reality, I stared down at my fist, feeling the blood furiously pounding through my veins. Had I done that?
"Holy shit, Anna!" Alex shouted, clutching his nose. "That's freakin' twice already!"
"God! You're like a pregnant lady! I am so done with your freakin mood swings!" I shouted as the doors opened on the seventh floor, and I hopped out, passing two very confused bellhops.
"Ditto!" he screamed as he trudged after me, but I paid him no mind. My eyes frantically scanned the hallway for room 117, and I tried desperately not to notice that these doors were very similar to the one that shut behind my brother for the last time.
It was then that I realized that Alex held the key. He seemed to realize it the same moment I did, for he stopped in his tracks.
"Give me the key, Alex." I tapped my foot impatiently, holding my arms across my chest, praying that I wouldn't fall apart then and there.
Please, just let me get inside first.
"No," he said, still clutching his nose.
"Stop acting childish, Alex. Give me the key."
I growled, feeling the anger boiling in my veins. "Alex, I really don't want to punch you again, but I swear I will if you don't .."
"Why must you make everything so freakin' hard!" I screamed, pounding on the door, not caring how much noise I was making. "All I want is to finish this freakin' mission! That's all I want! It's all I want…" My voice slowly crumbled as I felt the tears welling up. Alex remained quiet for once, and I prayed for him to say something, anything to diffuse the silence.
I regained my posture, standing up straighter. I would not do this. Not here. "Alex, please give me the key."
"No." He stepped closer. "Tell me why you want to finish this mission."
"What do you mean?" I asked, playing with the hem of my shirt.
"Why are you crying?" he asked, his hand lightly brushing a tear away.
I stepped back, my back hitting the door. "Just please, give me the key."
"Not until you tell me what's going on."
"Fine," Alex said, turning on his heel. "I'll be in the lobby until you cool down."
"Please," I whimpered, finally breaking. I slid down the length of the door, drawing my knees to my face. And before I knew it, the tears fell freely, and there was nothing I could do to stop them. Images of my parents, my brother, flashed before my eyes. Memories that I had repressed sprang back up, taunting me, laughing, laughing. It had been so long since I allowed myself to think about them. They've been locked up in a dark corner of my mind for months. After the scuba diving incident, while I was floating around in a vast ocean of darkness, they were all I could see. And now, their sad faces haunted my mind. The past and present molded as one. I could see Alex, rushing towards me, concern in his features, and I could see my parents, kissing me goodnight, my brother, playing with a toy airplane, their faces, filled with sorrow, terror, pain…
"Anna? Anna? Are you OK?" Alex asked, his arms snaking around my quaking body. Tears racked my frame, squelching any form of an answer. My mind clouded with the image of McCroy, with the way his face showed joy as he pulled the trigger. His face had haunted my dreams for months. I was finally getting around to forgetting the past.
Until I opened up that report, and saw who we were tracing.
David McCroy. The man who killed my parents.
His face has pervaded my mind ever since, and has been the driving force behind this mission. I needed to find McCroy.
I needed revenge.
Alex held my face in his gentle hands. His lips were moving, but I heard nothing. A dead ringing resided in my ears, bringing forth a pounding, dull headache. I shut my eyes, trying to will away the images. Trying to will away anything. Trying to will away everything.
"Anna?" I asked, my hands caressing her face. She shut her eyes, mumbling incoherently. "Anna, what's wrong?" I shook her shoulders lightly, but received no response. I could hear the concerned murmurs of our nosy neighbors starting, so I scooped Anna up and fumbled around for the key. I breathed a sigh of relief as the lock clicked and I rushed inside. Closing the door with my foot, I adjusted Anna in my arms and looked around the room. MI6 really lavished us this time…
I ran over to the bed and gently laid Anna on top of it. My thumb softly brushed away her tears before I ran to the sink to fill a glass with water. The water sloshed over the sides, and I noticed my hands were shaking. I tried to calm myself, but the sight of Anna sobbing and shaking made me all the more jumpy. The majority of the water was now on the floor and I growled, turning on the water again. The glass shattered in my shaking hand, the force of my grip proving too strong. I cursed, quickly grabbing another cup and filling it.
I rushed to Anna's side and sat her up. I held the glass to her soft lips and encouraged her to take a sip. The tears kept flowing, but the sobs had slowed. Her eyes cracked open slightly, and she looked from the cup in my hand to my face and back again. I could see each tear clinging to her full lashes, each tear trailing down her face.
"You're bleeding," she croaked. Her hands found mine, and she turned them over, revealing the red blood, staining the pristine white bed sheets.
I cursed again, and got up to grab a dishtowel, when she stopped me.
"Let me," she said, her voice small. She got up and opened the door, looking left and then right. She bent down and picked up her suitcase, and dragged it inside. No words could escape my mouth as she rummaged through it, searching for something. Today had been a rollercoaster and I wanted nothing more than to crash on the bed and sleep for a million years.
She returned with a first aid kit, a small, pathetic smile plastered to her face. "Let me see," she ordered, sitting on the bed. Silently, I complied. She set to work, her tender hands running over mine, clearing away the blood. Her touch was so soft; I couldn't even feel her removing the shards of glass. Her tears had stopped flowing and dried upon her face.
"Do you mind telling me what's going on?" I asked. She poured some chemical on my cuts, and I couldn't help but growl. "What was that all about?"
"You're nose isn't broken," she said, gently probing it with a wet rag. "It just needs to heal-"
"Anna-" I started, getting impatient.
She sighed. "Did you ever find out what really happened to my parents?"
I shook my head. She kept her eyes trained on my hand, working intently.
"I was on a mission a couple months ago. A man had a chip, a very important computer chip. In his hands, it was very dangerous. It was my job to get it back." She stopped, taking a deep breath. "The man found out who I was."
I let out a shaky breath, knowing where this was going.
"He killed them," she said, the tears making another appearance. She closed her eyes, her hand in mine. "Right in front of me. Right before my eyes. And it's all my fault."
"No," I said, at a loss for words. "It's not your fault-"
"I wouldn't give him the chip!" she cried, nearing hysterics. "He let me trade! He offered, and I refused. And he shot her. He shot her." She shoved her face in her hands and I wrapped my arms around her, providing any comfort I could. Her hands fell from her face and gripped my shirt, as if she was trying to get a grip on her sanity.
"Shh," I said, my hand running through her soft hair.
"It's him," she whispered through sobs. "It's him."
"It's who?" I asked.
"The man we're tracking now?" I asked, the realization dawning on me.
"It was him. He killed my parents."
My mouth opened, but no words tumbled out. I felt like a fish out of water, desperate for air. That's why she wanted to finish this mission so badly…
"McCroy killed my parents," she repeated. "And he still has my brother."
As an apology for taking so long with this chapter, I made it extra long :D I hope you all enjoyed it. It took me a couple weeks to write. I've only had about 5 minutes inbetween classes to plan and actually write it. So this is like, a mash-up of all my free time for 3 whole weeks right here :D Anyways, I hope you guys drop a review because it would really make my day. You guys are great, and thankyou for even reading my fic. :D