Just as Alice was falling asleep that night, Quade was being kidnapped again by the cult. He was brought back to the same basement, tied up in the same chair. The black-cloaked cult members surrounded him. And standing right in front of him — Alice’s mother, Elizabeth.
“F***! F***! F***!” Quade repeated out loud as his memory came back. He knew he was screwed. He knew that tomorrow morning, he would forget that all of this ever happened. He knew he was in for some brutal torture. And he was helpless.
“Oh, you are relentless!” Elizabeth chuckled, “you really thought you could team up with my daughter and save the world?” She roared with laughter, “that is so adorable!”
Quade glared and couldn’t help but bark back, “you’re back for another go, huh? You can brainwash me every damn night but I always come back stronger.”
Elizabeth’s jaw dropped, “oh! The audacity of a man who’s about to be tortured! You’re cockier than your father!”
“Can I just ask you one thing before we do this?” Quade furrowed his eyebrows, “I’m curious — why haven’t you destroyed my father’s closet? That’s where all the evidence is. Why screw with my head when you can just eliminate the evidence?”
“Because we work from the inside out. That closet means absolutely nothing except for proof of your father’s insanity. We love the closet actually, we find it hilarious!”
“So, those articles were real?”
“Yes,” Elizabeth nodded without hesitation, “it was in the news and everything. We were outed. Humanity was on the brink of world peace. And the red ones were on the brink of extinction. Your father was our greatest threat. Of course, as you can see, we got our power back.”
“Hm,” Quade nodded surprisingly calm. “You know the difference between my father and me? You know why I’m going to win this time?” He grinned.
“Try me,” Elizabeth squinted her eyes with skepticism, appalled by his lack of fear.
“Because my father tried to do it all alone. But I have Alice. And I love her,” he confidently claimed, “and love conquers all.”
Elizabeth screamed in laughter, throwing her head down and covering her face. “Wait, wait,” she stammered, “you can’t be serious. Who is this guy?” She looked at the other cult members who were speechless. “Have you ever heard anything so pathetic? What would my perfect Alice be doing with a chump like you?” Still laughing, she continued, “oh, you poor little thing! I actually pity you! Oh, please take it easy on this little one. I actually feel kind of bad for him!”
Cutting off her giggles, one of the cult members couldn’t help but chime in, “ironic to think you’re planning on sacrificing your ‘perfect Alice.'”
Elizabeth turned to him with eyes of death, “leave,” she ordered, and he did.
Quade wanted to smirk at the man’s sarcasm, but he stopped himself and said, “wait, sacrifice Alice?“
“Nothing,” Elizabeth brushed off, “let the brainwashing begin,” she announced to the other members before disappearing.
The black-cloaked people stabbed several needles all over Quade’s body, dosing him with drugs. Next, they propped his eyes open with clamps so he couldn’t blink. And then, they showed him countless pictures and videos of Alice while electrocuting him as he screamed in excruciating pain.
One man repeated the same phrases over and over in his right ear, “Stay away from Alice. Do not talk to Alice. Do not look at Alice. Do not trust Alice.”
As Quade was being tortured, Elizabeth left and sat in another room with the man who had just back-sassed her — his name was Dexter Freestone.
“Don’t embarrass me in front of everyone like that,” She told him, “don’t you know that comments like that can get you killed?”
“At this point, I wouldn’t mind death,” he was grinding his teeth, “how do you live with yourself?”
“I do what I need to do, in order to keep the Master happy. If you were in love then you would understand.”
“He doesn’t love you!” Dexter shouted in rage. “He’s evil! He feels no guilt or remorse!”
“No, us humans are evil. He does this to protect his alien race, the red ones. They’re the Innocents.”
“No, we are the innocent ones! They eat our negative energy to stay alive, no different than a virus with super intelligence!”
“They don’t go to war with one another.”
“Because they’re not being brainwashed and tortured!”
“I don’t have to defend myself,” Elizabeth carelessly shrugged.
“Elizabeth, I’m in love with you. Run away with me. And bring your daughter. The Master wouldn’t bat an eye if you died tomorrow. We can fake your death. He doesn’t care about you. He has hundreds of women just like you , taking them to bed and brainwashing them.”
Elizabeth let out a deep sigh, and with the push of a button, he was dead.
Alice patiently awaited Quade in the secret attic at six o’clock sharp. Yet when twenty minutes passed, she made her way back downstairs to the main lobby.
And then she spotted him. He looked groggy and dazed, like he hadn’t gotten any sleep.
“Quade!” She rushed towards him, “where were you?”
“What?” He rubbed his red eyes.
“We were supposed to meet? Did you sleep past your alarm? You look tired.”
“Huh?” He looked puzzled.
Alice was baffled, “…is this a part of the plan?” She whispered, looking around, “is someone watching us?”
With a polite yet awkward laugh, he said, “uh, why don’t I talk to you later,” excusing himself.
“Sure…” she slowly nodded, “later…”
The rest of the day, Alice waited for Quade to approach her. Whenever she saw him, she stared, and he avoided any eye contact. Towards the end of the day, she approached him again.
“Quade, what’s going on?”
“What are you talking about?” There was so much coldness in his eyes, like she was a total stranger to him.
“Do you remember yesterday?” Alice cried out in devastation.
“Yeah, what about yesterday?”
“Um… your father’s closet?”
“The red ones?”
His face went stiff, “don’t talk about my father, okay? It’s none of your business,” and then he left with a huff.
Alice was absolutely dumbfounded. Everything that happened yesterday was far too significant for her to forget. She knew she wasn’t crazy and concluded that either this was part of his plan, or the cult had given him amnesia. Once she was home, she would confront her mother once and for all.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth was spending her day with the other cult members as usual. And then, her and the Master were alone together once again.
“I know what you did,” the Master told Elizabeth in his deep and mysterious voice, “had Dexter Freestone put to death. And I’m very pleased. I never liked the way he looked at you.” He leaned in to pull Elizabeth close, but she resisted.
“He mentioned something that made me very upset. Something about you sleeping around,” she scowled.
“Impossible, you know I only have eyes for you.”
“Actually, he really got inside my head. So I did some investigating, and I found video evidence.” Elizabeth was fuming underneath, but she gracefully maintained her composure on the surface.
“Those women mean nothing to me,” he defended himself.
“I’ve seen the way they look at you, talk to you. You have them brainwashed… just like me. I knew it all along on some level. Except now I have the proof.”
“I’ve told you before, it’s hard for me to trust anyone after the things I’ve gone through in life. I can only offer you my full commitment once you sacrafice your daughter to me. So let’s do it — tonight!”
“What will you do if I refuse? Kill me? Kidnap her, anyway?”
“I could’ve done that a long time ago. I need your grief of giving up your own daughter. I need to feel that energy. Without that pain, I’ll perish very soon.”
Elizabeth paused a moment, and then bravely stated, “I refuse to give her up.”
For the very first time, she felt emotion rising from the Master. She saw fire exploding from his eyeballs. The vivid redness of his skin diminished into a sad, pale pink. He slouched over, sinking, like all of his energy had been zapped out of him in an instant.
“You said I could trust you!” He attempted to shout, but his voice grew weaker with every passing second. It sounded more like a whimper.
“I love my daughter, Alice,” she continued, “I love her more than my abusive husband. I love her more than this evil cult. And I love her more than you.“
“don’t say that,” he whispered, barely able to speak, looking at her with absolutely terror, “you’re breaking my heart.”
“I’m leaving this cult or I’m going to die trying!” She yelled, feeling her own heart grow stronger.
“S…stop,” he gasped for air, falling onto the floor.
And there he was, lying on the ground, lifeless. Elizabeth was shocked but full of intense relief. She was prepared for him to kill her — the last thing she expected was for her to kill him… especially of a broken heart.
She wondered, was it actually possible that he did love her, if he died of a broken heart? As strongly as she despised him, she felt tears running down her face.
Everything is love.
Love always, xoxo.