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Authors: S. A. Bodeen

Trapped

BOOK: Trapped
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Table of Contents

About the Author

Copyright Page

 

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For Jessi Gile Eaton

 

1

Sarah Robinson huddled on the cold stone floor of the cavern, stunned that the villainous Curator was, in fact, the small, blond, freckle-faced boy in a blue jumpsuit currently pinned under her stepbrother Marco.

Her heart pounded as she recalled the events of the past few days. First on the list was the unexpected and brutal typhoon that swept their skipper overboard and led to the wreck of the
Moonflight
, marooning them on a place they christened Shipwreck Island.
They
being Sarah's father, John Robinson; his new wife, Yvonna Murillo; and her two boys, Marco and Nacho, along with the skipper's big black dog, a Newfoundland named Ahab.

Then came all the strange things they saw and heard on the island, leading up to their discovery of an unconscious girl on the beach. When she regained consciousness, Cashmere Bouchard told them how her grandfather Sarge owned a sailboat charter business and was hired by a man and woman who seemed like typical—and snobby—tourists. But the two were secretly hunting for a certain remote island that held a stash of mysterious treasure the man had left behind. Holding Sarge at gunpoint, the couple stranded Cash on Shipwreck Island and said they would come back for her once they found the island they sought.

Cash told the Robinsons that she had fended for herself before being captured by someone called the Curator. After a day or so she escaped, which is when the Robinson family encountered her on the beach. Sarah's dad went looking for the Curator, but didn't return. Then Nacho had gone missing with Ahab as well.

So Marco and Sarah went to find them. Along the way, they'd seen bizarre creatures, including a shark on legs that had nearly made a meal of Sarah's new stepbrother. Then they reached a cavern full of white modules, each with a frosted glass window and an animal inside.

Sarah glanced at the three nearest her and gulped. Those held something else. And Sarah could do nothing about it while sitting on the floor.

“Marco!”

Sarah sucked in a breath and froze again, afraid to move. Before Marco took control, the blond boy had used a white tube to shoot a net at Sarah, which was stuck to her leg. Cash had warned them about the weapon, so Sarah knew that if the net became entangled with the rest of her, she'd be immobilized.

Marco got to his feet and pointed the tube at the boy, whose eyes remained closed as his chest rose up and down. Marco glanced at Sarah. “Did you see that?”

Marco could only mean one thing: The boy had actually changed
bodies
. When Marco had pinned him to the ground, hands on his throat, the boy first appeared as an elderly man in a jumpsuit, then changed to a red-haired woman, then morphed to a man with chestnut hair. Finally, when Marco threatened to choke the life out of him, he turned into the boy, a shape that seemed to stick longer than the others.

Perhaps this was who he really was. Sarah couldn't be sure about anything anymore.

She nodded in the boy's direction. “What is going on here?”

The boy coughed.

Marco quickly tightened his grip on the weapon.

The boy opened his eyes and slowly sat up. He held his palms out toward Marco.

“Please don't. I mean you no harm.”

“‘No harm'?” Marco's eyes narrowed. “Seriously?”

Sarah pointed toward the closest row of white modules, where her father stood motionless, like a specimen in a test tube. “You … you froze my dad!”

“And my brother.” Marco pointed down the row.

Sarah glanced at the modules, where Nacho and the dog, Ahab, stood in the same kind of cold stasis as her father. A rush of heat made its way up her insides.

“How could you do that?” she cried. She took in the strange scene around her—all those containers, all those animals. “How could you do that to
them
?”

The boy rubbed his throat for a moment as he noticed the net still stuck to Sarah's leg. He told Marco, “Twist the end and you can remove the net.”

Marco stepped a few feet away from the boy, until he was next to Sarah. “And why should I trust you?”

“I don't lie,” said the boy.

Sarah scowled. “No, you just take innocent people and animals and turn them into … into …
Popsicles
!”

“But they aren't hurt,” protested the boy.

“Then let them out!” Sarah shouted.

Marco added, “Yeah. Then let them out.”

The boy shook his head.

Marco twisted the end of the white tube and pointed it at Sarah's leg.

She gasped. “No, Marco! Wait! You don't know what—”

But before she could do anything, a puff of steam came out of the tube. Her leg tingled, and as she watched and waited with a pounding heart, the netting dissolved.

Sarah exhaled.

A knife that had been tangled in the net dropped to the floor. Marco picked up the blade, folded it, and put it in his pocket.

Sarah rubbed her leg for a moment, then bent her knee a few times. Convinced that she was truly unharmed, she relaxed and took the hand Marco offered her.

“Okay?” he asked as he pulled her up.

She nodded. “Thanks.”

They both glared down at the boy. He darted a few looks their way before lowering his gaze to his feet, which were clad in taupe-colored woven shoes. “I'm not your enemy.”

“Then who are you?” asked Marco.


What
are you?” asked Sarah.

The boy held out his hand.

Sarah glanced at Marco, then stepped forward and helped the boy up.

“Thank you.” He brushed his palms on his blue jumpsuit.

“How did you do that?” asked Sarah. “Change bodies?”

Still looking at his feet, the boy said, “It's a long story.”

Marco glanced at the modules. “Are you going to let them out?”

The boy's shoulders slumped. “I … can't.”

Marco pointed the white tube at the boy. “Then I guess we have time for your story.”

Sarah's stomach growled.

Marco rolled his eyes.

“What?” Sarah scowled. “I can't help it.”

“You're hungry.” The boy's words were quick and pointed, as if he was in a hurry. “I can feed you.”

Sarah and Marco exchanged a glance. Cash had told them about the food while she'd been imprisoned. How it had made her fall asleep. Sarah shook her head. “We're not eating your food. Cash told us you drugged her.”

The boy sighed. “Yes, I did. But I won't do that to you.”

Neither Sarah nor Marco said anything. Sarah was so hungry that she considered believing him. Actually, she was beyond consideration. She was ready to eat whatever he put in front of her.

The boy said, “I'll sample it first. You can see.” He seemed eager as he pointed to one side of the cavern. “Please. Let me show you to my cabin.”

“Cabin?” asked Sarah. “Like on a ship?”

The boy nodded. Sarah and Marco glanced at each other as the boy led the way. Marco followed close behind, still brandishing the white tube, while Sarah brought up the rear. She stopped to take one more look behind her, at the modules that encased her dad and stepbrother and the dog.

“I'll get you out,” she whispered. “I promise.” And then she turned to follow Marco, hoping that she'd be able to keep her word.

 

2

Marco trod carefully as he followed the boy. He kept the weapon raised; he would be stupid to trust him after what they'd just seen. He didn't believe the boy when he said he couldn't release Nacho and John, as well as Ahab and the other animals. In fact, he found it hard to believe anything the boy said, despite his assurance that he didn't lie.

But Marco suspected that Sarah didn't feel the same way. She was scared—and hungry. They would have to stick together if they were going to free Nacho and John and Ahab.

They left the cavern and continued down a narrow white hallway, the walls and floors made of a shiny, glittery tile like nothing he had ever seen. The air in there smelled much fresher than in the cave. They passed a few doors. Was one of them where Cash had been held? Because the last few moments had proved to Marco that—despite his original feeling to the contrary—the girl they found on the beach had been telling the truth about her ordeal. And this didn't exactly ease Marco's mind.

The boy stopped in front of a door, startling Marco. “You go in,” he told the boy. “And don't try anything.”

The boy's eyes were sad. “I am not going to try anything.” He waved a hand. With a whir, the door slipped open to the side.

“Cool,” said Sarah from behind Marco.

Marco locked his gaze on the boy and whispered to Sarah, “He's probably trying to distract us. Help me keep an eye on him.”

The boy entered the room.

Sarah followed and whispered back to Marco, “I think you can relax a tad.”

But Marco didn't think he should relax, even a little. He took a slow, deliberate step into the room, which was as white as the corridor. Cushioned seats lined the sides, not unlike the seats of the
Moonflight
, and a long table connected to one wall.

The boy walked over to a console and opened something that resembled a microwave. “What are you hungry for?”

Sarah said, “A grilled cheese sandwich.”

“Sarah!” said Marco.

She huffed. “What? He asked what I wanted and I told him.”

“Like he's gonna have stuff to make grilled cheese.” Marco rolled his eyes.

“Cash said he gave her a sandwich.” Sarah told the boy, “We met Cashmere, you know. The girl you held here. Did you know that was her name?”

The boy shook his head slightly and shuffled through a stack of shiny discs. He inserted one into the side of the pseudo-microwave and pushed a button. A buzz began and then ended a moment later. The boy opened the door, pulled out a plate, and set it down on the table.

Orange cheese oozed enticingly out from between two perfectly browned pieces of bread. Sarah stuck her tongue out at Marco. “Told you.”

BOOK: Trapped
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ads

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