Undercover secrets, p.24
Undercover Secrets, page 24
‘And then what?’
Annoyed, she huffed at his incredible calmness. ‘I don’t know what happens next. But I will find out. I’ve got to.’
‘Why?’ His eyes softened as he caressed her cheek.
‘Why are you so excited about all this?’
She didn’t falter. She had nothing to lose now. And she knew she could trust him. ‘Simon, I’m not who you think I am. I came here to try to find out what was going on.’ He didn’t seem shocked. ‘Do you understand what I’m saying?’
He nodded. ‘You’re a spy.’
‘Simon, you’ve got to help me. You told me yourself, cloning is illegal. Galloway’s a madman if he thinks he can get away with this.’
‘How can I possibly help?’
‘I had a video camera. Peter caught me with it, and I don’t know what he’s done with it. I need it to get some evidence. Can you find it for me?’
‘Of course, but…’He looked bemused.
‘What is it?’
‘I thought you liked it here. I thought you wanted to stay.’
‘I do. But what Galloway’s doing is wrong, Simon. He’s got to be stopped.’
He nodded quickly. ‘I’ll find your camera.’
He left Anna alone with Frank again. ‘That’s phase one under way,’ she muttered to herself. ‘Now for phase two. Frank?’ She held his hand. ‘I want you to listen very carefully. You have to do something very important for me.’
When Frank didn’t return, Anna began to pace distractedly. Her spirits soared as Simon came through the door, but she could tell by the coldness in his eyes that there was something wrong. When Galloway followed him in, her tiny camcorder in his hand, her hopes shattered in a thousand sharp pieces on the floor.
‘I believe you want this back,’ Peter smirked, holding up the video camera.
Anna looked uncertainly at Simon, but he wasn’t giving her any help. His eyes were fixed on the floor.
‘It’s no good looking at him.’ Like a wolf, Peter circled his captive prey. His fingers were cold as they trailed across her neck. ‘Simon’s mine, just like you’re mine.’
Anna’s hand flew to her mouth, but it was far too late to recapture all the things she’d said to Simon. No wonder he wouldn’t look her in the eye; he was a spy himself, Galloway’s faithful servant.
‘I trusted you,’ she whispered sadly. ‘I thought we were… friends.’
‘And I trusted you.’ Galloway’s face loomed into view.
‘I also told you once that, if you had questions, you should come to me for answers.’
‘All right.’ She jutted her chin defiantly. The game was up, but she wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
‘Answer this. Why did you really need my cells?’
‘So that we can clone you.’
She gasped. His calmness knocked the breath out of her. ‘That’s illegal.’
He tilted his head in agreement. ‘At the moment, it is.’
‘It’s also immoral, unethical… insane —’
He held up his hand. ‘Only to those who refuse to open their minds. I thought we had finally managed to open yours, but it seems I was wrong.’
‘Don’t change the subject,’ she hissed. ‘I’ve another question. Why are you trying to clone people?’
He shrugged, as if to say, why not? ‘At first, it was because everyone said it couldn’t be done. Then it was because they said it mustn’t be done. Now that we’ve done it, I must admit the money’s looking like another very good reason.’
‘But who are you doing it for? Where’s the money coming from?’
‘America, mainly. They’ve lots of money and no morals over there, you know.’ He winked. ‘Our research is being funded by a chain of very prominent people. Politicians, lawyers, businessmen — even the President’s a donor, a very generous one, too.’ He laughed at Anna’s impatience. Her mind was full of questions, her mouth opening and closing. ‘These people don’t want normal children. They want babies who’ll grow up according to their grand plans. Some want blond, blue-eyed boys guaranteed free from disease and without any chance of growing up to be homosexual. Some want children who are programmed to be gay, like themselves. Others, and I believe the President is one of them, want to spawn geniuses. Some want to breed Olympic athletes. Some want children with an aptitude for music.’ He spread his hands wide. ‘We can give them anything they want, Anna. Blond, blue-eyed boys… black-haired, green-eyed girls with great tits and built-in sexual perversions. They can order the perfect child, just like a takeaway.’ He sneered at her disgust. ‘Mail-order babies, Anna. The ultimate designer accessory for the super-rich control freak who wants more than a hand in his child’s future. Oh, close your mouth, it’s not so surprising. This was talked about, the day a scientist first discovered what a gene was. It was inevitable that someone would do it sooner or later.’
‘It’ll never work,’ Anna insisted. ‘Real professors say it’s impossible to clone a human.’
He turned down the corners of his wide mouth. ‘They can’t have seen Frank, then.’ Anna’s mouth gaped, again. ‘Not bad for our first attempt, was he? “Perfect”, I think you called him.’
‘That’s obscene,’ she gasped. ‘You’re insane.’
‘Am I? My staff think I’m rather clever.’
Anna looked at Simon. ‘You knew about this?’
Galloway answered for him. ‘All my staff are fully aware of their purpose here. They’re more than willing to be involved. They get to indulge their fantasies and they’ll have a share of the profits when we start business. You would have been told, too, had you behaved like a normal recruit. But we knew you were different, Anna Caplin.’
It took her a moment to realise that Johnson was the name she’d given in her interview. ‘How long have you known who I am?’
‘Not long. But, from the start, there was something different about you.’ He squinted, as if he was still trying to work it out. ‘You were almost too willing.’
‘If you knew what I was doing here, why didn’t you ask me to leave? Why are you telling me all this now?’
As if she had finally come up with a good question, Galloway nodded. ‘At first, I thought you were playing along because you had to. But then I realised your desires were getting out of control. You didn’t want to let go, but you couldn’t help it. I was enjoying watching you fight with yourself.’ He grinned salaciously. ‘That’s why I let you stay. And I know it’s safe to tell you everything now, because you admitted there’s nothing left for you in the outside world. You don’t want to leave this place, Anna. You realised that not long after I did.’
‘You’re wrong,’ she spat. ‘I lied to you. And someone’s on their way here now to get me.’
‘A knight in shining armour?’ Galloway shrugged nonchalantly. ‘He won’t get through the front gate.’
She could have burst into tears. She’d been so irritated by Mike’s doubts, and he’d been right all along. This job had been too much for her. Galloway had seen through Anna as easily as if she’d been transparent. She’d got the answers she needed, but now it was too late to do anything with them. The only hope she could cling to now was that Frank had done what she’d asked.
‘Cuff her,’ Peter barked as he disappeared through the door. ‘Simon, she’s yours.’
Two hooded men trooped in. Working the pulleys on opposite walls, they lowered two long chains from the ceiling. They cuffed Anna’s hands above her head. Pulling her ankles apart, they fastened those into thick leather bands chained to the floor. ‘She’s all yours,’ one of them muttered to Simon as they left the room again.
Simon looked uneasily at Anna. ‘I’m sorry,’ he offered.
‘Don’t bother,’ she snapped. His betrayal tasted bitter in her mouth.
‘I had to tell him.’ Tentatively, as if she was an animal who might rip off the chains and lunge at his throat, he stepped closer. ‘We really thought you’d come back because you wanted to.’
Anna flinched, turning her head away as he lifted his hand. ‘Don’t touch me.’
He grabbed her jaw, gently forcing her to look at him. ‘You liked it when I was touching you before.’
She burnt him with the hate in her eyes. Slowly, she softened and allowed him a faint, sad smile. It was hard not to like him. ‘I knew which one was you. I could tell by the way you licked me.’
‘Anna, if you stayed here I could make you come like that every day.’
She closed her eyes as he dropped to his knees. It didn’t look like she had much choice.
Mike wasn’t sure that Frank had understood his instructions, but he had left the gate open as planned. Parking his car outside the fence, just out of range of the cameras, Mike sat for a moment and weighed up whether he should wait for the others to arrive before going in. He knew he probably should, but the thought of Anna being in pain, as Frank had said, decided it. He went through the gate and up to the Institute’s front door, which immediately opened.
Mike nodded and held out his hand, but Frank was already on the move. He beckoned Mike urgently towards a staircase. Mike struggled to keep up as the blond hulk took the stairs three at a time. Mike was puffing heavily by the time they reached the top floor.
Frank peered out into the corridor, then waved Mike through. They moved stealthily to the end of the passage and through a dark doorway. Another door, and then he saw her.
‘Anna! Oh God…’Fora moment, he thought the look on her face was pain. Then, as his brain caught up with his eyes, he realised it was the opposite.
Anna was falling out of a tight-fitting red dress. It was open down the front, and her breasts were spilling out of her low-cut black bra. She had knee-length leather boots on, stockings and suspenders, but no panties — and no pubic hair. A naked man was sitting up between her open legs, licking her naked pussy. Behind her, another man was reaching round to pinch and pull her stiff nipples.
The two men looked up as she cried out. One of them strode menacingly towards him. ‘Who are you?’
Mike huffed. ‘Who are you?’
‘Peter Galloway. This is my Institute, and you’re trespassing.’
Mike met his challenging glare. He wasn’t about to be intimidated by a naked, fake doctor, even if he was a megalomaniac. ‘I’m not trespassing, Peter. Your son Frank invited me here.’ Mike jerked his head towards Anna. ‘Come on, Frank, let’s get her out of that thing.’
Peter watched incredulously as Mike and Frank freed Anna from her restraints. Mike heard Peter snigger as he buttoned Anna’s dress up for her.
‘You obviously don’t know Anna very well. I think you’ll find she likes to show her body.’
‘How interesting. I think you’ll find the police are on their way.’
Galloway’s stone-cold eyes narrowed with suspicion. ‘I don’t believe you.’
Mike shrugged and took Anna by the hand. ‘I don’t give a shit what you believe. They’ll be here in a minute. I left the gate open for them.’
Galloway followed them out into the corridor. On cue, a siren wailed in the distance, muffled by the building’s thick walls.
‘Simon — the gene bank.’ Galloway grabbed Simon and they darted off down the passageway.
Anna clutched Mike’s shoulder. ‘They’re going to destroy the evidence. Mike, for Christ’s sake, we’ve got to stop them, now.’ She jumped about, then latched on to Frank. ‘Frank, listen to me. You’ve got to go to the gene bank and stop your father and Simon from getting in. Please, Frank, do it for me. It’s very important. Go now. Run!’
Mike watched as Frank loped off down the corridor, speeding over the floor with his huge strides. ‘Will he do it?’
Anna nodded. ‘He’d do anything for me. He’s got feelings for me, you know.’
Mike looked at her. She seemed fine, but there was something different in her eyes. He couldn’t resist it; he gave her a hug. ‘I’m so relieved to see you.’ He squeezed her hard, making sure it really was her, and she really was safe. ‘I was so worried. I hadn’t heard from you since your message saying you’d call back later — and then you never did. I was already thinking about coming up here when Frank called. I got on the first plane.’ He held her shoulders, peering into her beautiful green eyes. ‘Looks like I got here just in time.’
There it was, that familiar smile. ‘I had everything under control in there.’
‘Of course you did.’ He winked. ‘I never doubted you for a minute.’
Her smiled dropped and she bit her lip. ‘I nearly messed things up completely, though.’
She looked so serious. Perhaps she’d tell him what she meant, later — when all this was over. ‘You didn’t mess up, though,’ he said.
They both looked up as a policeman appeared at the top of the stairs. Anna ran to meet him. ‘Follow me,’ she said, already running off in the direction Frank had gone. Mike waited for his film crew to pant up behind the detectives and he ran with them. ‘What’s the story?’ the cameraman asked as they jogged along. There hadn’t been time to brief anyone — when Mike had spotted his burnt-out Golf on the side of the road, he’d phoned the police and a colleague who worked on a local news programme. He didn’t want to cover this story with a borrowed crew, but he didn’t have much option.
‘This,’ he said, ‘is the biggest story Undercover has ever done. Point the camera at the woman in the red dress.’
He watched with pride as Anna directed the police, showing them who to arrest and keeping one eye on the camera all the while. She was a natural. She would never be able to work undercover again after this, but she had a great future ahead of her as an investigative reporter. Mike admired her guts and determination. He’d been worried about sending her into the Institute, but she’d been confident all along that she’d get the story. The unmistakable fire of triumph smouldered in her eyes as she pointed the naked Galloway out to the police. There was something between the two of them that was obvious in the way Galloway smiled at her as he was being handcuffed. Under the circumstances, his expression was macabre and disturbing; but Anna smiled back, meeting the challenge in his eyes. Whatever battle had gone on between them, she had finally won it.
‘Good job, Anna.’ Mike smiled across at her as he started the car. Finally, the police had agreed they could leave for the night. Mike said he wanted to get her to a hotel and let her get some sleep: she’d be back early in the morning to carry on helping the detectives and to shoot some more footage for the programme. But Anna knew she wasn’t going to sleep tonight.
‘Are you sure about this?’ Mike jerked his head towards the back seat.
Anna leant around and patted Frank’s knee. ‘We couldn’t let him be taken away with all the others. He’s done nothing wrong.’
‘Yes, but he’s a… clone.’ Mike mouthed the word, as if Frank would know what it meant.
Anna tutted. ‘Where’s your compassion? Even an animal bred for the laboratory deserves a decent life and a good home, with a loving owner. What was the alternative?’
‘I don’t know, but I hope you realise what you’re taking on. Freeing a laboratory monkey is not quite the same as taking a human under your wing.’
She smiled to herself, imagining how Suzy would react when Anna introduced their new flatmate. ‘Me and Suzy will look after him.’
‘He doesn’t know how lucky he is,’ Mike murmured.
‘To be getting away from that place,’ he added, as Anna looked up. ‘Was it really awful in there?’
She looked back over her shoulder. ‘It was… unusual,’ she said, feeling an inexplicable pang of regret as the imposing white building grew smaller. She couldn’t possibly explain to Mike, or anyone else, how it had felt to be a part of the Institute. Only a few people would understand, and they were all being driven away in police vans.
‘It must have been frightening, bei
Sick was one thing she hadn’t felt. Confused, aroused, out of control, perhaps even a little insane — but never sick. ‘Peter Galloway lives by a different set of rules to the rest of us,’ she murmured. ‘Some would say the wrong set of rules.’
‘Some? The bloke’s a power-crazed madman.’
‘Yes, he is.’ Anna could feel Mike looking at her.
‘Anna, you’re glad it’s all over, right?’
‘Oh, yes,’ she said, but she couldn’t stifle a heavy sigh. Ever since she’d made her mind up in the church, she had known her voyage of discovery was coming to an end. But a tiny part of her wished the madness could have continued — for ever. ‘Can’t wait to get back to normality,’ she mumbled, not even managing to convince herself.
The driveway joined a narrow country lane. Mike was following a police car, and he should have kept his attention on the road, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself from sneaking sidelong glances at Anna. She felt his gaze on her legs. ‘One thing I’ll say for Galloway,’ Mike said, ‘is that he’s got good taste in staff uniforms.’
‘Mmm,’ Anna said again, leaning her head against the window.
‘I think I’ll bring in a uniform policy at our office.’
‘Good idea,’ she said, trying not to snap but wishing he’d shut up. She closed her eyes, thinking that a few weeks ago she would have savoured his attention on her body. Now, behind the refuge of her dark eyelids, it was Galloway’s touch she longed for; his voice, dousing her skin; his eyes, coating her body in desire. She thought of the look on his face as she had handed him over to the police, and she felt herself getting wet.
Mike seemed to get the message that she didn’t want to talk. They drove in silence for a while. He coughed before he spoke again, as if he was warning her. ‘I expect it’s all a bit of an anticlimax now, is it — now that your first big assignment’s over?’
by Zoe Le Verdier have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes