Authors: Trish Marie Dawson
Station - Volume 2
Trish Marie Dawson
copyright © 2012 Trish Marie Dawson
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in
any form or by any means without prior permission of the author.
book is for the teens of the World.
are our future. Be kind to each other.
No matter what happens…live well, love hard
and laugh always. - Piper Willow
When I arrive back at the Station the first thing I feel is the cool
floor under my naked feet and I tuck my toes in, pretending the ground is grass
and that my toes are deep inside the moist soil of a Pennsylvania forest. For
just a moment I let myself feel sad as I realize it's a sensation I won't ever
experience again, at least not in my
body. I spend at least a full
minute standing in the dark room allowing my imagination to take me to the
woods of Erie. I drag my fingers up and down my arms to simulate the feeling of
rough tree bark against my skin and imagine that I'm twenty, thirty, forty feet
up in the air climbing a giant conifer.
When I open my eyes I see nothing but black. I'm not perched on the top
of the highest tree in the woods, or walking barefoot through cool, damp grass.
I'm standing in one of the Depot arrival rooms.
Who knew it was possible to
miss trees so much?
I take a deep breath and step forward, knowing that the doorknob will
find its way to my palm practically on its own and the moment my warm skin
meets the cold metal the door slides effortlessly open. Light floods in around
me from the hallway and there to greet me is Niles. I rush into his waiting
arms and sigh deeply into his blue sweater vest.
He's patting me on the back and though I can't see his face, I know
he's smiling. "I take it this case ended better than the last?"
I nod into his slightly squishy chest. "I did it. I helped
her." I beam up at him.
"Yes, dear, you definitely did. How does it feel?" He asks.
The wrinkles around his eyes deepen as his smile broadens. "That's
how it's supposed to feel. If you do it right." He winks at me and points
to Abby's card that is in the portal slot I used for Sloan. "Don't forget
I cross the room in three strides and pull the slate gray card from the
wall. I tenderly hug the thick glass to my chest; this is all that is left of
We leave the Depot room in happy spirits and enter the long hallway
that leads to the other side of the Consignment Department. Niles walks beside
me in the hall as we weave around a handful of others. He's listening to the
highlights of Abby's case with interest until he notices Carlson bounding
toward us with his metal clipboard clutched tightly to his thin chest, as
"Is everything okay, Carlson?" Niles asks him.
"Yes, yes. But I need to speak with you Abbot," he pauses to
clear his throat and sends a nervous glance in my direction.
I just got
back; surely I couldn't have done something wrong, could I?
it's about her."
"Piper?" Niles seems just as surprised as me.
Carlson bobs his head up and down and looks at me again with an almost
pained expression on his face.
Wow, this must be bad.
"I'll be right back, Piper. Okay?" Niles tries to smile at
me, but it doesn't do much good. I can't speak so I just nod my head and watch
them walk down the hall together, disappearing into one of the small rooms.
crap. What's happened now?!
I stand awkwardly in the hallway holding Abby's glass card to my chest
like it's a life raft. I feel like I'm floating alone in the sea and every time
someone walks past me and bumps into my arm or shoulder the sensation startles
my body and my insides rise up and down, like waves from an ocean storm.
I'm pretty sure I've made myself sea-sick by the time Niles and Carlson
exit the small room and I almost puke on my feet when I see that his face is
set into a worried frown. I've spent however long it was that he was in the
next room running through everything I did with Abby. I followed ALL the rules,
more so with her than I did with Sloan. I'm confident that I haven't done
anything too awful to involve Niles.
So what's going on?!
"Piper," he says my name softly.
I nod, waiting for my banishment or public humiliation to come. Niles
simply takes my hand and pulls me next to him. We begin walking back down the
hall, toward the room he and Carlson spoke in and suddenly I panic.
I stop hard enough that the soles of my bare-feet squeak loudly as they
skid on the smooth, cold surface of the Consignment Department floor. Niles
stares at me, waiting for an explanation.
"Who's in there? Am I in trouble?" My voice is strained to a
point that even I don't recognize it.
"It's nothing like that, dear. But I need you to come with me.
Please?" He holds his hand out and I count slowly to ten before placing my
fingers onto his outstretched palm. Forget shaky hands, my entire body is
trembling. I've just begun to follow him when Carlson rushes at us, muttering.
"Crap. Crap." Carlson nearly drops his clipboard at his feet
as he attempts to hurry down the hall.
Niles glances over my shoulder to follow Carlson's gaze and freezes in
place, his mouth agape, his hand gripped tightly around mine.
"Niles? Are you okay?" I ask, afraid of the shocked look on
his face. Slowly I tug my fingers from his grasp and shift slightly as Niles
continues to stare at something behind me.
Suddenly I bump shoulders with a taller man as he rushes by my left
side and I'm spun in a half circle by the force. I hear him mutter an apology
just as he passes me but his attention is set on Carlson.
Niles is staring at the man, a look of concern on his face before he
glimpses down at me briefly. I glance back in Carlson's direction, not
understanding at all what is happening. He's now talking to the tall man that
collided with me in the busy hallway. I see nothing extraordinary about him, other
than the fact that he must be a New Arrival since he's holding the single sheet
of Station Guidelines from Orientation carefully in one hand. His six-foot
build towers over the fragile looking Carlson but he still seems small in the
hallway. After Carlson speaks to him, the tall man straightens and begins
scanning the busy hallway looking for someone. He raises a toned arm up to push
his hair off his forehead as he turns in my direction and I catch a peek of
something green beneath the sleeve of his t-shirt.
My entire body goes weak and my fingers release their tight hold on
Abby's card as our eyes meet. The glass slides down the front of my baggy shirt
and hits the hard floor with a sickening sound as it shatters loudly around my
feet. I don't notice it. But everyone else does, including Niles, who gasps
beside me. All eyes turn to face me; the girl that just destroyed a precious
and irreplaceable Assignment card, but I focus only on the man standing ten
Carlson gapes at me in horror. He clutches his metal clipboard to his
chest and shakes his head disapprovingly at me. But I'm not looking at him. I
can't tear my eyes away from the shocked man by his side. Carlson quickly
grumbles something to the New Arrival. I watch as he leans down to hear what
Carlson has to say and a familiar set of dark curls drop over his forehead.
no, no, NO, NO!
Everyone is still staring at me. Niles is kneeling on the ground,
sweeping some of the glass shards into his hand but I don't care. I don't care
that Abby's case is lost forever, because
Sloan is at the Station.
you doing here?"
words drift across the hall as Sloan and I stare at each other. My senses
become heightened but at the same time, restricting. I'm aware that others are
around me, because I can hear the steady rhythm of their breathing. The stale
inhales and exhales of startled Intake Specialists and confused Volunteers echo
up and down the walls. But I can't focus on anyone, not enough to identify
faces. All I
see is Sloan.
you here?" I ask again.
we go somewhere private, Abbott?"
ignores me completely, aiming his question at the man kneeling beside me. I'm
suddenly aware that Niles is at my feet, quietly picking up the shattered
remains of Abby's glass card. But I won't take my eyes off of
yet. Not until someone tells me what is going on.
two steps toward me, his face a myriad of confused expressions. Carlson reaches
out to stop him but his hand is easily shrugged off the taller man's arm as he
continues to move closer to me, narrowing the gap between us quickly.
know your voice," he stammers. The blue of his eyes is electrifying.
is just unreal.
Niles and I both speak the word at the same time.
you. Don't I?" Sloan turns to look at Carlson, who is just as confused as
the rest of us.
the mess on the floor, Niles stands quickly and tugs on my arm, pulling me with
him across the hall and through the first available door. Carlson doesn't need
to tell Sloan to follow, since our eyes hardly break their connection as I'm
rushed by him.
How did you get here…what happened?
As I pass
through the doorway, I'm finally forced to look ahead of me. Niles has pulled
me into another smaller hallway with several doors that line the walls. I have
no idea what rooms lie beyond them. The walls match the milky white color of
the floor and ceiling and I lean against the smooth surface of the nearest
wall, feeling the coolness of the glass on my skin as Sloan is rushed into the
room by Carlson.
regulate my breathing, I watch as Niles comes to a stop a few feet away and
stares at Sloan as he shuffles into the small hallway, waiting quietly for
Carlson to close the door. Once he does, it seems the men all begin to talk at
once. I try to tune out everyone but Sloan. I hear only bits and pieces of what
understand…explain this to me like I'm five…what the hell is this place…who is
It's the last
question that slaps me out of my shocked semi-aware state. I push off the wall,
moving slowly toward the three men who are all now staring at me with different
expressions. Niles looks worried, Carlson simply looks angry and Sloan…Sloan
wants answers. His blue eyes are glowing with pain and confusion. I remember
the day I awoke at the Station. How lost I felt not knowing where I was, or
what this place did. Sloan was there now, in that moment.
folds his arms over his clipboard and hugs it to his chest again, Niles clears
his throat as I approach. Apprehensively, Sloan shifts on his feet, watching me
until I stop within arms' reach and stick out my hand.
Sloan, I'm Piper," I say in a voice as confidant as I can manage.
He blinks and then takes my hand, letting me slowly pump it. The heat from his
skin radiates through mine and the shock of actually touching him sends a
slow-dancing shiver up my spine. He doesn't let go, not right away.
Is that your name?"
me," I say with a faint smile, attempting to stop the shake in my voice.
remember you," he says.
falls open slightly and I stare between him and Niles. "Remember me? We've
never met before today, Sloan," I say.
heard you; your voice. I know it was you."
He looks me
up and down, as if placing my body with my voice. For the umpteenth time I hate
what I'm wearing. Meeting Sloan in my pajamas is beyond embarrassing;
looks amazing in his faded jeans and heather grey
t-shirt. And he's barefoot.
He has great feet.
I tug at the hem of my
top, trying to stretch out the loose tank so that it covers more of my hips.
what do you mean, you
Piper's voice?" Niles asks.
don't know how to explain it, but I know her," he says as he turns to face
me again. "I know you."
have you had a chance to explain Volunteering to Sloan?"
the boy was just on his way to Orientation. He doesn't know nothing about
nothing, yet," Carlson says with a sharp edge of irritation coating his voice.
Niles glaring at Carlson, who wisely bows his head a bit before staring down at
the floor. He uses his clipboard as a shield by raising it to just below his
chin. The man annoys me tremendously. Spending an eternity with Carlson might
just kill me for the second time.