Too late. He stayed, half crouched, trying to think of another plan.
“Clear out!” The footsteps were right in the doorway and people were backing out. Now it’s definitely too late.
Seven security guards burst into the room.
“Get on your knees!” they shouted. “Hands in the air!”
They surrounded him. Elijah sat back on his knees. He put his hands in the air, talons still reaching for the kill. He looked up at them, all of them in black gear. Similar he thought to a flock of black birds plaguing a marauding predator.
A raptor, like himself. Unfortunately, these black birds had guns.
Two men took his shoulders from behind and cuffed his hands behind his back. As he drew his talons in, he felt the men hesitate. But then they finished it and pulled him to his feet.
They marched him out of the office. He tried to shift his arms around as they went through the doorway, the cuffing had ruffled his wings, and it was making his sweaty arms cramp up. The people stepped back as they went through. He looked at them, and they looked at him. They looked confused, and he traded in their looks of fear for disgust.
He glanced back down and let security lead him through the hallway in between the offices. Your stuck in it now, he told himself. He didn’t pay attention to the words buzzing over the coms he was surrounded by.
They turned a corner and he tripped a little on his bad leg. He wasn’t sure how well he’d be able to walk without security pushing him forward.
But they stopped and changed directions. It caught Elijah’s attention, as he hadn’t heard the change of plans come along through the coms; not that he knew what was going on beforehand. He was just trying his best to keep the pain from collapsing his leg, and keep himself from panicking.
The entered a wider room, filled with short cubicles, and a large office surrounded by glass walls. In the large office the shades were drawn on the outside windows; but still the sun could be seen slipping through to the feet of a man standing behind a desk, looking down, hands in his pockets.
He didn’t look till security had marched Elijah right up to the door.
The man looked up. Elijah could see through the reflecting glass that he was grey haired, prematurely, as he came up to the door. He adjusted a necktie and slid the door open.
“Bring him in,” he said. Four of security led Elijah in the room. The others stayed outside and slid the doors closed.
The man circled back to his desk and crossed his arms. He leaned against it.
“Leave us and shut the door,” he said to security, though his eyes remained in Elijah’s. They did, and Elijah readjusted his weight; without them his leg threatened to give out.
When they were out, the man sat down on the desk.
“So, your Elijah Burton,” he said.
Elijah jumped inside. But then he shoved the tension back down. They probably saw my passport in my backpack.
“Also Adrian Webber’s boyfriend.”
“She works here?” Elijah asked, trying not to show his surprise.
“Is that why you came?”
“Does that look like why I came?” He was standing there with wings; he had flown through windows. The way the man was talking he wasn’t sure if he even noticed that.
“I know almost everything about everyone that Webber knows. But nothing explains why and how you are standing in my office today.”
“Because she’s missing,” Elijah answered. The man cocked his head. “There’s a man, Stanford, no – Stanfield, he works for the Correlation –“
“If we are talking about the same man, then he works for me.”
“Then he’s playing double agents.”
The man adjusted his position again.
“The only reason I don’t think you’re crazy is that you survived that plane crash in Chad,” he said, sharply. “Just explain to me how Webber and Stanfield are in this.”
“Adrian was told by Stanfield to drive me back from me airport to my – house. She was also told I worked for the Correlation, and she must have thought Stanfield was going to handle it. I went in, and Stanfield said that the Correlation would arrest me by morning, but he wanted to give me a chance to get out. I took it and found Adrian again. She ended up returning to the house. She should have been back this morning.”
The man was silent. Elijah knew there was a lot more to explain, but he waited to be asked, too tired to come up with the questions himself.
He stood up, and walked around the desk and opened a come.
“Send security back in,” he said. “I need to get these cuffs off him.”