The man remained silent, which told her all she needed to know. Cam decided that this man hadn’t completely crossed over to the dark side. Maybe, just maybe, she could get him to recognize it. “There are ways out of this, you know.”
The man snorted. “Sure, tell yourself that. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Forget everything you thought you knew about our world because the Collector doesn’t follow any laws—human or Feiru. She makes her own, and given her army, no one is about to mess with that.”
Cam knew she didn’t have much more time. This man seemed to think the Collector was invincible, but he clearly hadn’t heard of Neena Chatterjee.
The best she could do was plant a seed of doubt. “This Collector might be powerful, but I bet I know someone who is more so.”
The man shook his head. “Do you think you’re the first person to try to bluff your way free?” He turned toward the door. “Enjoy your optimism, because I assure you it won’t last.”
He exited the room without another word, and locked the door behind him.
While she hoped that she’d stoked the man’s curiosity, she’d also had time to memorize his features—dark hair, tan skin, an intricate tattoo on his neck. All of those things might help, if she could ever fall asleep deep enough to dream and contact Neena. If there was anyone who could stand up to the Collector and her army, it was Neena Chatterjee.
After all, the DEFEND co-leader had her own army at her command.
Cam had also succeeded in distracting the man who’d carried her, and he hadn’t noticed that her claws were still extended. It hurt like hell to have them out for so long, but she instinctively knew that if she retracted them, she wouldn’t be able to extend them again of her own free will until the formula suppressing her abilities wore off.
The sound of rain started to beat against the hull, followed by the boat pitching up and then back down. She willed her stomach to behave—it was easier to do on an empty stomach—and wished she had a window in her room so she could see outside. When she’d been out on deck not five minutes ago, the sky had been bright blue and cloud-free.
Wait a minute. She didn’t want to get her hopes up, but maybe Marco hadn’t abandoned her after all. The only way to ascertain if he’d come or not was to get to a window or balcony, and see if the storm was only something an elemental first-born could create.
Cam closed her eyes a second to gather her last vestiges of strength. If she met someone while trying to get to a window or balcony, she was fucked, plain and simple. But anything was better than her lying here helpless and wondering “what if.”
She opened her eyes and slid off the bed. She crept to the door and listened, but all she heard, apart from the rain, was the slow creaking of the boat rising and falling with the water.
Good enough. She couldn’t be a hundred percent sure there was no one in the hall, but she’d take her chances.
She focused on her next obstacle—the locked door. It had a sideways-extended handle and an insert for a physical key. She put one of her claws into the small space between the door and the door frame, held her breath to make sure there wasn’t anyone walking down the hall, and then cut through the lock bar with a small clicking sound.
She counted to ten, and then gently eased the door open. The hall was empty.
Leaning heavily against the wall, Cam scanned for the nearest life ring and emergency kit, and saw one at the far end of the corridor.
Using the wall to remain upright, she slowly made her way toward the emergency kit station. All of the other doors she passed were closed, but she’d deal with breaking into one after she had something to keep her afloat.
While the ship was a little less steady than when she’d arrived, thankfully, it hadn’t jolted again since she’d left her room. She reached the kit station and carefully unhooked the life ring and grabbed the small emergency kit. She had no idea what was inside the bag, but there was bound to be something she could use.
Now, all she needed to do was to find a balcony or a window.
All of the sudden, the floor jolted under her feet, and she fell to her knees.
Her insides were a mess, and the exagger
ated rocking was not helping matters. But she was nothing if not determined.
Cam laid on her stomach and started to crawl along the floor. There were noises and shouting coming from up above.
The boat rocked hard to the left, and she crashed against the wall. No doubt the crew would be coming downstairs any minute. She needed to find somewhere to hide.
She eyed the closest room and doubled her efforts, using her claws to help pull herself along the floor. As the boat continued to pitch, Cam was grateful that there was nothing left in her stomach.
She finally made it to a door, reached up, and turned the handle.
The door swung open on the next pitch, and she tumbled into the room.
After crashing into the bunk at the far end, small pinpricks of light dotted her vision. She shook her head and blinked until she could focus. While the room was dim, there was light coming from a sliding glass door next to the bed. If she could just make it to the door, she could try to escape.
Dragging herself across the floor, Cam reached the door just at the boat rolled dangerously to one side. This time she slammed into the glass door, hitting her left elbow against the glass. She sucked in a breath at the pain, but it would pass. She could move all of her limbs, so nothing was broken. A better assessment would just have to wait.