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3

As Emilia enters the dark hallway, she is yanked hard onto her back by the leg, and Belinda clambers onto her, her fat blubbery body sandwiching Emilia's figure onto the linoleum floor, arms and all.

"You traitor!" Belinda jeers. "You traitor!" Her eyes are wrinked and furious with bloodlust.

Emilia's arm is yanked and before she could react, Belinda pulls down her sleeve and stabs a syringe into one of her veins. She can feel the new substance flow through her bloodstream already, as the numbing sensation gradually comes to.

Then Emilia manages to free her other arm from under, and pokes Belinda in the eyes.

"Narrr!" Belinda bellows. "How dare you!"

Emilia wiggles herself out of Belinda's body mass index, and after a little searching, finds a backdoor out of the clinic.

The daylight is terribly blinding for some reason -- Emilia finds herself in a parking lot, and there happens to be police cruisers just arriving at the scene.

She runs away, adrenaline pumping though her heart, but the drug is spreading through her body, making her legs weighed down with clumsiness and she only makes it a few paces towards a fence before haplessly collapsing, like Gumby the claymation dude on one of his off days.

Her world is blurring, and the last she sees is the police officers coming with handcuffs, while Belinda the receptionist wails for justice on Canadian soil.

The End

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2

Belinda leads her through the cornering halls. The sterileness of the air carries its own kind of reek, as Emilia's nose starts to bite from the lingering antiseptic. One thing she notices is how Belinda walks, like a well-fed cow who's tip-toeing on two hind legs, with a little creak on each step. She almost imagines how behind every door, there's pigs ready to oink at her behest.

Then they enter a darkly lit portion of the clinic, where the only light seems to come from where they've been, and a lamp-lit office desk.

"You sure this is where Tre is?" Emilia asks.

"Of course," Belinda says. "Room 27 is here, isn't it?" She shakes the door handle. "But apparently, Tre is being tended to by a doctor at the moment."

Emilia rushes over to the door and tries opening it for herself, to no avail. Then she realises there's a list posted on the door, with doctor's names alongside dates for checkups.

"I told you to come back another time," Belinda says, with arms crossed. "You don't listen."

With a wave of resignation over her, Emilia sighs. Maybe the receptionist is right; but then, Emilia notices how the checkups are 30 minutes max -- and this Dr Davis is about to finish in 5 minutes.

"He's almost done checking up," Emilia points out.

A beat. "..ahh.. smart cookie," Belinda goes. "Well then, why don't we turn on the radio while we're at things?" She waddles over to the desk where beside stacks of paperleaf is one of those old, archaic radios, where she flicks a dial, and for the longest time there is grey static while she fiddles with the other dials.

Emilia rests the backpack beside her on a seat.

Then, you can hear the news broadcast: "This is CBC 11 News. We are here live at the site of the wreckage in Thorndom Fields. A Canadian stealth transport carrying a supply of ammunition and weaponry has recently been crash-landed by attackers unknown. Officials say that the pilots have made no transmissions during the emergency-- it is very likely that there is sabotage involved. Reports to come as they uncover the details from the plane's black box.."

Inside, Emilia smiles -- they know only that much at the moment, so that is good.

"Hehe, I suppose that's what the siren's all about," Emilia jests. Indeed, it can be quite envigorating to know you have been the cause of a major news story - a story that you know more than the journalists about.

Thorndon fields.. I landed in Thorndom Fields.. She's forgotten the name of the place where she waded through the wheat, and the sunset is as vivid and orange as it can be. It was a family friend who'd owned the ranch by the fields, and so she'd been allowed to play - as long as she didn't wander off too far. It's strange - she'd hardly recognized the place anymore. There's no more wheat anymore - just a field of white poppies that makes her sneeze. It's very pretty, oui, but it isn't the same.

"You seem pretty happy about it," Belinda says. "Care to tell me how you're feeling?"

"About what?" Emilia remembers she's in the clinic with this woman.

"The news."

"Oh. Well, it's exciting stuff, what happened."

"Say.. that's an interesting jacket you have on there.." Before Emilia has realised it, Belinda has rushed by her side and has her grip uncomfortably close on the red fabric. Emilia's first instinct is to pull away from this woman, but already it feels like she herself is caught in those pudgy fingers. "You know, my cousin is in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and I saw him bring that same sort of jacket for a show-and-tell once. As well as that backpack."

Emilia stares at her levelly -- as Belinda's breath starts brushing over her, that rank, sour scent.

"It's the equipment they use when they're stranded in nowhere," Belinda goes. "Say, I wonder if you just happen to be a fan of the RCAF.."

And with the same swiftness that had surprized Emilia, Belinda unzips the backpack on the seat, and pulls out some tightly sealed food cans, an emergency radio and some flint and steel. "Lookie what we have here," Belinda says. "It's not a stretch to say you're connected with the crash, and even more - you killed the pilots. You spy. You traitor. After landing, you were hoping no one would notice you."

Emilia says nothing. Her face begins to sheen from sweat, and her brow visibly furls under growing stress.

"I can understand that you're very upset," Belinda says. "Have I ruined your little charade for you? Aww. But enough is enough. Before you came, you have bribed, cajoled, killed - and if you're so determined to shake hands with the Devil, that's fine with me, but I want to make sure that you do it in Hell."

And the door to room 27 opens -- without blinking, Emilia slams the woman in the face, and quickly knocks her down to the ground. The doctor coming out of the room is stunned. He doesn't know what to do, he locks eyes with Emilia for one second before out his lungs, he screams, "Alarm!" in a girly manner. He rushes over to the desk and presses the panic button underneath, before Emilia subdues him.

The only thing to do now is enter the room, where she sees Tre on the bed - my, how he's grown up from that young and feisty kid he'd once been.

"Tre?" Emilia goes. It's such a while - she was in her last year of high school when she'd known him, and he seemed so sweet and adorable when his family would visit hers in holidays. How he would beat her all the time in Guitar Hero and the racing games. But now it is 13 years later, and she rarely has any time to enjoy herself.

She hopes her own voice hasn't changed; there's a tenderness in it that is subtly attractive, and that Tre really liked.

"..Emilia?" Tre croaks. "Is that you?" His eyes pang with recognition, and it makes Emilia smile so much.

"Yes Tre, it is me," she goes."How's things?"

"What's happening out there?" he wonders.

"I.. it's a very long story, and I don't have the time to tell it. But I brought you somethings. You once said you'd wanted to fly, and--"

Emilia takes off the red jacket and lays it on a chair. Tre opens his eyes -- "Is that.."

"It's the jacket the pilots wear when they have to parachute out the plane. I also have the backpack with the trinkets inside."

"Wow!" Tre goes. "Awesome!"

All Emilia has on is the black one-piece jumpsuit that she started out with. "I know it is. But I have to go now." And it would likely be good-bye forever. "How long are you in for?"

"Until next Sunday, I guess. Wait -- where are you going?"

"I don't know. Someplace far away from here, before the police start showing up." She wishes it could have been a more ceremonious goodbye, but the pressures are on her. So she winks and tells him, "Until later," and disappears into the hallway.

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E S P I O N A G E

1

Emilia strides into the walk-in clinic's lobby. She's ruffled, as though she has just narrowly missed a chance at dying. Her garishly red and purple jacket already stands out, and the weighty backpack she carries is like baggage on a pack mule.

She hurriedly asks the receptionist, "I need to see my friend - he's staying in one of the rooms here, it's urgent. Can you have someone show me over?"

"Calm down, miss," the receptionist goes. "What's your name?"

"Emilia."

"And who's this patient?"

"His name is Tre."

The receptionist sniffs, gives her mousy nose a little brush-over before checking on one of the computers. Emilia notices the nametag on her blouse -- Belinda. The name suitably fits her worn-out appearance; the greying hair, the conservative taste in makeup and dress. It is everything Emilia despises and is not.

"Well, Emilia.." Belinda the receptionist gives her a stern look. "Trevor Listman is still recovering, and he needs his rest in order to get better."

"Please, I have to see him," Emilia pleads. "I have to tell him something."

"But if you really do care about Trevor, you will listen to me and come back on a later time. Rest is very important, did you know?"

Urrgh. Emilia can tell she is hardly going to make much progress with this woman, at this rate. She hesitates at first about pressuring her -- but outside, the sirens start to go off, though their wailing is muffled indoors.

Moments before, Emilia had been struggling on-board a stealth carrier, up in the sky. Her mission had been to sabotage it, and bring its contents crash-landing. She had snuck aboard through one of the exhaust ports and knocked out both of the pilots before they could shout emergency. So far, her mission had been a success; she set the autopilot to plummet straight into the ground, and climbed out with one of the emergency backpacks and jackets.

When she had safely landed, the plane was already in shambles some parts away. She could see the smoke rising, and she walked over to the nearest signs of civilisation. This town, intimately familiar to her -- the place where she grew up in. What a coincidence.

That siren means that they have discovered the plane. Emilia is hoping they won't connect who she is with the wreckage any time soon. There's very little chance of it happening, she imaigines.

"Please, it's only a minute," Emilia goes. "You have to let me see him."

"Erm," Belinda goes, "this means bye-bye, get it? Unless you're here for a check-up yourself."

And without thinking, Emilia slams her hand on the counter. "I'm through being polite, goddamnit!" she goes. "I didn't come here for nothing-- If you won't let me in, I promise I won't ever let anyone I love come to this clinic!"

The people waiting are staring at Emilia - finally, there's some popcorn drama for the enjoying!

Belinda the receptionist seems unfazed; after what seems like a while passes, she finally says, "I guess I will have to grant you your precious minute with Tre--" (she half-snarls 'precious') "--with you making such a ruckus. Fred, take over for me while I escort this woman."

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