Delia and Primal entered the motel lobby to speak with the desk worker. Much to their hopefulness, the man working at the computer behind the lobby desk was the manager. Delia spoke in Swahili first, asking if the manager could speak it and he could, but he courteously offered to speak English as well. Although Delia could manage the conversation just fine, she knew it was important to have Primal as a second party to comprehend the information as well.
“We appreciate it. Our Swahili is not as good as it could be, and we don’t always make much sense in Luo.” Delia lied about the Swahili part, but she knew she certainly had not grasped enough Luo yet.
The manager nodded and smiled, eager to exchange business with the girls. “How many people, how many nights?” He asked, already prepared to type them into the system.
“Oh, actually we’re not so sure yet.” Primal started, coming off a little more happy-go-lucky than she had behaved so far. “We’re part of a college grad trip with our university, back in America, and we’re all supposed to meet one of our members here. He got out here a little earlier than the rest of us. Last we heard from him he said he was at this motel.”
Delia nodded along, “At least we think we got the right motel.” Before the manager could say anything, she made sure to add, “He’s a German exchange student. Can’t miss his accent, very notable!”
The manager leaned back on his heels. “Right, yes. He didn’t say anything about others coming here though.”
“Well, to be honest we weren’t supposed to be staying here. We’re supposed to head out to an organization we’re helping in the outskirts of Kisumu.” Primal added.
“I see. From a university? For school then?” The manager asked, although he didn’t seem as interested anymore since the girls were not booking a room.
So as not to raise any suspicion, Primal continued, “Yes sir, it’s for a class. The organization we’re helping allows us a place to stay for the first couple of nights while we travel.” She smiled.
Delia breathed in, “Well, now that we know this is where he’s at, I’ll go give him a call and tell him to meet us out front.” She turned back to the manager before walking out with Primal, “Thank you so much!”
Once outside, Delia commended Primal. “Well done spinning that story on a dime.”
“It’s not hard. Lying is easy. It’s trying to stop myself from lying that gets fucky.” She smirked. Once they both got back to the Jeep, they confirmed the information with Dali, Spade, and Flyboy.
“I didn’t get that good of a look, but from what I could tell he matched the picture.” Delia said. “And the manager confirmed that there’s a German man staying here.”
“It’s him.” Dali said matter-of-factly. “Can’t remember the name, but one of the guys in Freudishblooner’s pictures had short blonde hair with a weird spiral cowlick. I didn’t see his face but I did see that.”
“Why didn’t you mention that earlier?” Delia asked pointedly then reeled back in confusion. “And… Freudish…Blooner?”
Dali rolled her eyes. “Ugh, Friedenbeggar, sorry.”
“Um…” Delia looked to the others for help, but they all seemed bored.
“She does that. She can’t say Freudenberger’s name right.” Spade explained. “Sometimes she gets it though… Sometimes.”
“Anyway,” Dali said, annoyed, “I’m pretty sure it’s him.”
Delia returned to her first question, “Why didn’t you say anything?”
She shrugged. “I didn’t think about it at the time.”
Again, Delia looked to the others for some form of semblance to her current state of exasperation, but again found only strict unconcern. She was frustrated, and made a mental note to deal with Dali later, but it wasn’t the time to address it then.
“Do you remember which one it was? Scientists or intern?” Delia asked.
“Intern.” Dali answered. “I’m sure he is one of the interns. I just don’t remember the name.”
Primal stared at the motel. “He probably knew the Chancellor’s niece pretty well, since they were both the only interns in the group.”
“Primal, get the dogs. Spade, you’re coming with me.” As quick as a flipped quarter, Delia took a commanding stance and ordered the others like she was a veteran. The others obeyed just as quickly, no questions asked. “Flyboy, I need you to stay behind the wheel, engine on. And Dali, keep this door open. You’re going to help pull this guy in and tie him down when we get him.” She started towards the motel room where she saw the German enter before. Spade was just behind her, with Primal and her wolf-dogs rounding casually to the other end of the motel. “Quick and painless, everyone, quick and painless. And quiet if we can help it.”
She never stopped surveying the parking lot and the doors to neighboring rooms, searching for any sign of movement or witnesses. Back at the Jeep, Delia saw Flyboy passing a patch of cloth to Dali, whom then fastened it over the license plate. Delia was thankful for their experience in such situations. It comforted her that she didn’t have to be the first one to take every last precaution, and that there were others as keen as her to make an event like kidnapping speedy and efficient… As speedy and efficient as hers had been for that matter.
Delia told Spade to stay to the left of the door, in case the German decided to slam the door quickly if he suspected Delia’s intentions. That way, with the direction the door opened, Spade could force his way in much more effectively. Delia signaled to Primal at the far end of the motel with her dogs, pretending she was giving her over-furred white beasts a reprieve from travelling, as though she were a simple tourist. She would not be seen by the German from her position at all.
Delia knocked on the door as Spade pressed his wiry body against the motel siding. After hearing a few fumbles and scuffling from the other side of the door, the door hesitantly creaked open. Delia knew instantly the man was indeed one of the two interns.
Before Delia could utter out any deceit, the German slammed the door. Since he had only opened it slightly, Delia was sure he had successfully locked himself back in his room. However, both Delia and the German were startled by the door’s definite inability to close. Within seconds upon the German answering Delia’s knock, Spade had jammed a retractable nightstick right into the doorway before the door could click back into the frame.
The door had bounced back from the nightstick’s disruption, forcing the German to stagger backwards and fall. He was quickly back on his feet, running to the bathroom. Delia reeled back to sprint at him before he could get to the bathroom and lock the door. Then she felt coarse fur brush past her legs in a flash. Primal’s wolf-dogs had already been released and gunned towards the German. Specter’s claws tore through the carpet as she heaved her body into the man’s knees. He instantly buckled to the floor, both wolf-dogs snarling at his throat. He was paralyzed, terrified, and vastly confused as to who these people were.
Delia had barely made it a foot past the doorway. Primal had joined Spade behind her. She was magnificently impressed, and made sure not to break stride. She walked towards the German as he trembled. She crouched before him knowing Specter and Baba would ensure that he wouldn’t attack or try to escape. He was surrounded now, game over.
“You’re going to come with us. We have some questions regarding your work with a few other scientists back in Germany, as well as the German Chancellor’s niece.” She smirked as the German shuddered and tightly closed his eyes.
Spade retracted the nightstick and stood as a lookout while Primal stepped forward, carefully retrieving a concealed, tiny pistol from the inside of her deerskin, lace-up boot. She ordered her dogs to step back as she made the German sit up.
Delia looked to Spade while Primal worked. “Where did you have that thing stowed away?”
Spade only smiled as he simply put the retracted nightstick down his sock. “I’d say I have tricks up my sleeve, but this time it’s in my sock.”
Primal pressed her pistol to the German’s back as he stood, and told him to walk with her and the others to the Jeep. Spade and Delia provided as much coverage as they could while transporting the German across the parking lot. Dali was waiting for him with zip ties and a gag prepared. Dali and Spade fastened the German down, immobilizing him, and sat him between Primal’s dogs.
Before they had even finished seating themselves, Flyboy took to the road. He knew what to do next. It was time to drive out to a remote place in the wilderness.
“I take it you know what the next step is?” Delia asked from the passenger seat.
“Yep.” Flyboy kept his focus on the road ahead, scanning for a vacant place to hide the Jeep and allow for noise without alerting anyone nearby. “It’s time for the nightmare to begin.”
Delia looked at him quizzically, then noticed Spade and Primal’s suddenly erupting jubilance in the backseat, followed by Dali’s disapproving nod.
Flyboy had driven miles outside of Kisumu into the wilderness, off the roads which were all dirt by that point. They had escaped far out into the rough, able to spot any passersby instantly, but still obscured enough within the thick, tall grass and bushes.
Primal and Spade were nearly giddy when they realized it was time to interrogate the scientist they had successfully captured. Nothing made them happier as a team than when they could use their manipulative, fear-inducing abilities on people… And they were fully allowed, even encouraged, to do so.
“All right, boo! You want to work him over first?” Primal joked.
“Absolutely bae, you be on standby ‘til I need you.” Spade answered.
Delia looked at Dali, “’Boo?’ And bae?’ I don’t understand what’s happening here.”
Dali laughed a little. “They get really, really into interrogation. And for some reason they just call each other that every time.”
Delia furrowed her brow and crossed her arms uncomfortably. “Ok… But shouldn’t I do the interrogation?”
Dali and Flyboy exchanged looks. “Well…” Dali started, “Not to discount any interrogating skills you may have, but Primal’s background in clinical psychology and Spade’s training in hypnotism and, well, general creepiness just work so well every time.”
“It works well because they’re both mentally destroying people.” Flyboy added.
Delia reminded herself that her companions were well-experienced, and that if Dali and Flyboy said they were always successful, then she had to at least give them a chance. “Alright, whatever gets the job done.”
The scientist, a young man in his mid-twenties, sat petrified in the chair they allowed him to have. He was roughly tied by the ankles and wrists, attached to the chair, by Flyboy’s Eagle Scout knots. He sweated heavily as Spade and Primal broke off from the others, encircling their victim. He felt his heart rate increase; his breathing grew ragged.
Spade came forward, his blue eyes intense as they seemed to bore into the scientist’s mind. Although the German tried to avoid eye contact, he felt he couldn’t look away. He heard Primal behind him, she had clicked open her knife, Raptor. As the scientist finally pulled his gaze away to see Primal behind him, Spade briskly whipped in closer to snap the man’s attention back to him. He was torn between the two, each behaving more unsettling every time he tried to divert his focus.
Primal nibbled the end of Raptor with her canine tooth, feeding off the scientist’s anxiety. She loved how Spade could instantly coax people in with his hypnotic abilities. She heard him snap his fingers methodically as he held their victim’s focus and line of sight. It surely wasn’t full blown hypnotism, but enough to aid them in snagging the information they needed.
Dali and Flyboy tried to ignore their companions’ ordeal. They mostly tried to find interesting features in their surroundings, never at all pleased with Spade and Primal’s interrogation methods. Delia was the only one fully engrossed, taking in as much as she could.
Spade spoke softly, but firmly, enticing the German into a gentle calm. “We obviously have questions, you will obviously answer them. We need you to be as specific with your answers as possible. We need you to help us achieve our mission. Answer our questions with the right responses, and we will not kill you. We want your friends, specifically one person, not you. Can you understand me?”
The scientist nodded, still terrified, but unable to move. He felt as though the world were drowning out around him. Spade’s eyes seemed normal at first, like the slate gray sides of mountains at dawn. Then the man saw something else in Spade’s eyes. As Spade spoke so closely to him, so intimately, the German saw the slate mountains crack open to release bright blue, electric energy beneath them. He was both captivated and horrified by the thin veins of lightning within Spade’s eyes. He also heard Primal playing with her blade behind him, hearing the rhythmic sound of her tooth grazing across steel. All he could focus on at that point was the sheer pain they would inflict on him. The way Spade and Primal moved and behaved made the man feel as though he were being hunted. He felt like a mouse trapped between a venomous snake and a feral cat.
“Tell us your name.” Spade asked, even though he and the others already knew. Spade knew to conduct a few control questions for Primal’s lie-detecting process.
“B-Beitel.” He managed to get out. “Jaye Beitel.” His German accent was noticeable, but he spoke and understood English well.
“All right, Beitel. Were you the head of this little operation? You already know which one. Experimenting with parasites and all that?”
“No, not at all.” Beitel shook his head, sinking with thoughts of impending demise since his captors knew the truth.
Spade glanced up at Primal. She was smiling, eager to take a slice out of the guy. “Ok, Beitel. Then tell us what your role with this group was?”
“I got brought in as an intern-“
“An intern?” Spade stopped him. “So it was you and the Chancellor’s niece, both innocent to the evils of the scientists? Or are you just trying to cover your ass with a lame little ‘I was hired, they made me do it’ kind of story?”
Beitel heard Primal step in closer behind him. He was scared to look behind, and equally afraid to look away from Spade. “No, I’m serious, I was an intern. I was the only intern.”
“Now I might have to call bullshit on your story, Beitel.” Spade looked at Primal. “Would you like to test Beitel’s story here for us? Find out if it’s true bullshit or not?”
Without any verbal response, Primal swung the point of Raptor swiftly across Beitel’s ear, slicing clean through his skin and cartilage.
Beitel cried out, nearly doubling over in tears out of sheer panic. He felt hot blood drip from his ear and down his neck. “I swear! I’m just an intern! I just wanted to graduate. Oh my God I’m going to die. I’m going to die…” He breathed heavily as though he were choking on his own struggled breaths.
Spade grabbed Beitel by his jaw, forcing him to look right in his eyes. “There were two interns, then, right?”
Beitel looked confused. “Two? No, I was the only one!”
Spade and Primal’s eyes met. Primal cocked her head slightly to the side, indicating she believed he was being honest, but she was just as confused. Freudenberger’s report had shown the Chancellor’s niece as one of the two interns. They knew Beitel was an intern, but needed to know the difference between him telling the truth and lying. Both Primal and Spade sensed he was telling the truth, but it didn’t match the report they had read.
Spade continued. “The Chancellor’s niece was the intern. Morgen Fertig.”
Beitel heavily shook his head. “Oh no, not at all. Ms. Fertig was the one in charge.”
To the side, Dali and Flyboy were now entirely focused on Beitel’s words.
“You have to be more specific, we’ve been over this.” Spade pushed him.
Beitel nodded. “Of course! Of course… Well, she was technically in charge. Dr. Houk was the official biologist in charge of the operation, but it was all for Ms. Fertig’s hypotheses. She was adamant to find some kind of parasite or something that would eat away cancerous tissues. I was told something completely different before I signed on. I needed an internship and I was so excited that I went for the first one who answered. Then everything fell apart, and I wasn’t allowed to leave or say anything and I didn’t know what to do so please God I-“
“Stop it.” Spade calmed him back down. “You’re not here to freak out about your own problems. We’re trying to help you, remember?” Spade backed off Beitel, circling around him and allowing Primal to take her place in front of their victim.
“What do you think, Prime?” Spade asked.
Primal studied Beitel’s face. She felt his tone was sincere, but she searched his expression to confirm that they were getting the correct information. “You haven’t called Morgen Fertig ‘doctor,’ only ‘miss.’ Meaning you knew she wasn’t a doctor and couldn’t have been one of the supervisory scientists for your internship. What did she purport herself to be?”
Beitel tried to swallow, but his throat was horrendously dry. “I never really asked. I assumed she was Dr. Houk’s assistant, or maybe just his girlfriend.”
Primal raised an eyebrow, “’Just?’”
“Yes. I found out later they were together… Romantically.”
“Oh.” Primal tossed Raptor to Spade over Beitel’s head, causing the shaky man to flinch and let out a dry shriek. She came up close to him, crouching down in front of him to look up at his face. “See? No weapons. You understand that we have to be sure about what you’re saying? Correct?”
“Good.” Primal took in a deep breath. “Do you know how Fertig met Dr. Houk?”
“No. Although she said something about meeting him at her school. Other than that I don’t know.”
“Good. Did you know that Fertig had not yet graduated, and that she needed an internship in order to graduate just like you?”
Beitel looked a little surprised because he had finally connected the dots, not because of the information itself. “That makes a lot more sense now. I didn’t really know that before, but that makes so much sense.”
Primal shifted her posture a little. “I’m going to cut to the chase here. I have little interest in anything more about Fertig or Dr. Houk that I can’t piece together on my own. We do, however, need to know where she went when you all fledGermany.”
Beitel opened his mouth, but hesitated. He looked as though he were trying to decide which was worse: being tortured by this group of people, or confessing that he was an accomplice to something horrid. Sadly for him, Primal and Spade didn’t wait for his decision.
Without breaking her line of sight from Beitel, Primal raised a finger in the air to signal Spade that she was losing him. Spade pulled his taser from his left leather holster and clicked it on. He then lunged forward, eagerly pressing the volts straight into Beitel’s back. Beitel screamed. Spade continued to allow the electricity to flow through Beitel for a few more seconds before finally withdrawing.
“I need you to stick with me here.” Primal said. “You don’t seem to understand how lucky you will be if you cooperate with us. If you tell us everything we ask you will be left alive just as my friend promised. But if you don’t, we will tear you into shreds and leave you to live out the remainder of your life that way. So, in a mental and emotional, perhaps spiritual sense you will be dead. And if you don’t receive immediate medical attention when we’re through with you, you will be literally dead.” Primal looked around. “And from what I can tell, you’re not getting that medical attention out here any time soon.”
Beitel’s eyes were wide and focused, but he had quickly developed dark circles under his eyes from the stress and pain. “Ok.”
“Ok?” Primal smiled. “Good!”
“But I don’t understand. I don’t understand why you would let me live.” Beitel felt instantly foolish and regretted his words, but he sincerely did not believe that they would leave him alive. He felt he had seen enough action thrillers to know that the person getting interrogated always got killed to tie up any loose ends.
“You don’t believe us?” Primal scoffed. “Well, we would have no problem letting you live. If you tell us everything we need to hear, we simply turn you over to the German government. You’ll mostly likely live then, but most importantly we won’t be the ones to kill you.”
That he believed. Beitel saw now that his choices were to die slowly and painfully, or be given a chance to live the rest of his life in prison. “I wish I had never signed up for this internship.”
“Yeah, we all wish that.” Primal breathed in deep again. “Where did Fertig go? What happened to her?”
Beitel closed his eyes and tried to steady his breathing. “She came with us. She wanted to find a place where she could perfect what she and Dr. Houk discovered.”
“She’s alive? And cognitive?”
“Yes. As far as I know she is still alive. She may have lost too much blood at this point, but Dr. Houk was good with her restraints. She had early stage bone cancer. It is called Ewing’s Sarcoma. She has it in multiple places, but it started just above her left elbow. I don’t know exactly what she did, but whatever she put in herself… She injected two things in herself. I was never told what they were. Only she and Dr. Houk know. Maybe Dr. Sanders… All I know is that both specimens took hold in her brain, and both began fighting each other it seemed. Both were fighting and controlling a lot of her actions. She began eating herself within three days of the injections.”
Primal nodded, finally standing and looking away when she got everything she wanted. She looked over at Spade, giving him a sign that she knew Beitel wasn’t lying. She looked back at Beitel. “Where are they going now? What were they planning on doing here?”
Beitel shrugged. “I honestly don’t know. Dr. Sanders used to work with a clinic in Kenya and did some work in Uganda as well. Other than that I have no idea why we came here other than to escape Germany.”
Primal didn’t respond, she and Spade walked back to the group. Delia looked impressed, but was careful not to come off as too eager in her questions. Just as she was about to calmly ask what was the next step, Primal and Spade began arguing.
“We’re going to have to kill him.” Spade stated.
“No, all we have to do is fuck him up a bit and have him dropped at a police station with the German government’s private warrant slapped on him.” Primal insisted.
“If we do that, what’s to stop him from telling the government about us?”
“Why would they care? They’d be more interested in finding out where the rest of the crazy-ass doctors went.” Primal insisted. “Besides, he’s going to be busy trying to find some way to reduce his sentence, and talking about us won’t get him that.”
Spade sighed. “You’re right. He’s going to try to get some kind of reprieve as best as he can. He’s going to throw the doctors under the bus as well as us because we’re interfering with a country’s whole government investigation. For that matter, they’d be interested in knowing how the fuck we found out about all this in the first place. You have to remember that Freudenberger’s hacking is not legal.”
Primal agreed, “But there’s no need to kill him, we promised his safety, and you know how I feel about that. The German government won’t believe him, and we haven’t told him anything that would get anyone’s attention.”
“I think you’re pussing out on killing someone again.” Spade snapped.
Before Primal could snap back, Delia interjected. “We’re turning him over to the German government.”
“No, we’re not, and you don’t get to decide that.” Spade protested.
“Technically, yes I do.” She was a little afraid of what either Spade or Primal would do to her after seeing their little display of psychological scarring, but she persevered. “We drop him off at the nearest authorities, but before that you’re going to cut out his tongue and cut off his fingers. That way he won’t be able to speak or write, and won’t feel inclined to say anything about us at all. Understand?”
Primal and Spade smiled at each other. “I’m starting to like her.” Primal said. “This way too the government will assume his group did this to him. They won’t care to investigate that part much further.”
Spade thought for a moment. “It would also give us some more time to find the others… But we need to be careful; he can still find a way to talk about us.”
“But the German government won’t be asking about us.” Delia stated confidently.
Spade kicked the toe of his boot into the dirt. “It would be easier to kill him… But… As long as I get to kill the scientists then I’ll be happy.”
Delia smiled uneasily. “We’ll see.”
“At least one of them.” Spade insisted.
Primal took Raptor back from Spade. “I call the tongue.”
“Aw, I was looking forward to that part.” He huffed. “Fine, I’ll start on his dominant hand.”
“Toss the bits to Specter and Baba, please!” Primal said as she sauntered over to Beitel. The scientist sat there glumly, entirely unaware of his upcoming misfortune.
Delia leaned over to Dali and Flyboy. “They really do enjoy this, don’t they? Dismantling a man mentally and physically?”
They both nodded. “Oh yes. This is why it’s dangerous to let them pair off exclusively for too long. They will both mutilate, scar, and kill everyone around them…” Dali trailed off.
“Or each other.” Flyboy finished.
Delia winced a little as she watched Primal grotesquely pull out Beitel’s tongue in a rough, harsh manner. Delia decided to turn her back and march to the Jeep as dignified as she could before seeing Primal slice through Beitel’s meaty tongue. She heard his shrieks become more muffled, gurgling with his own gushing blood. She heard his choking and gagging grow quieter the further she walked away, knowing that each new burst of pained expressions were caused by Spade’s slowly sawing off each finger.
Delia remembered her comment earlier before they captured Beitel. She had said it would be like fishing. The taught-bodied woman rounded to the other side of the Jeep and stared out across Kenya’s wild terrain. She realized that her companions, Primal and Spade, thought it was like fishing; they were out in the field behind her gutting their “catch.” She pretended it didn’t get to her, that her mind was cleared of it by her own will, but later that night she would have nightmares about the two doing the same to her. She would never confess it to them. She could never let them know.