Chapter 3

Astrid waited until after midnight to venture into the bottom levels of the facility. She used her father's keycard to bypass the securities. The security guards were on patrol so she made sure to keep in the darkness to not bring attention to herself.

The floor looked run-down, the perfect place to keep animals. She didn't have to look too far until she came across some small cages containing rats and mice, sitting on a bench in the first room that she had entered.

She took out her phone and took a few pictures with the camera.

She ventured into the next room... about a dozen cages also filled with rats and mice. The next room was like an animal shelter. Her heart sank as she saw a number of cats and dogs kept in cages. She took more pictures and left the room just as she had found it.

There was nothing in the next two rooms. However, when she reached the next room, which was the largest room, she saw cages lined from floor to ceiling containing monkeys and in the very middle of the room a cage that contained a very large gorilla.

The minute that she turned the lights on, the room sounded loudly with the occupants of the cages. The gorilla said nothing, he remained silent, staring intently at her.

She was frightened and in awe of his presence at the same time. "What have they done to you?" she asked him, not sure if she was expecting an answer or not. She noticed the sign on his cage door. "Grodd? Is that your name? My name is Astrid Sutherland, and I promise you that I will get you out of here. I will get you to safety." She vowed.

Astrid took a few pictures and heard a door closing in the distance, followed by some footsteps. She quickly hid inside a storage cupboard, forgetting to turn the light off, before hand.

"Yeah, I'm just checking the monkey cages..." a voice spoke out in the darkness. It was one of the security guards. How many of them knew about this animal testing business? So many would be losing their jobs over this, Astrid knew it!

She could see through a crack in the door, of the cupboard, that the man was standing facing Grodd. "You're one ugly monkey." The man taunted.

The ape growled at him and surprised Astrid when it spoke, "I am Grodd! You leave now!" The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. She could tell that the security guard was frightened too, nonetheless, he turned on his heels and left.

She waited until she could no longer hear the security guard's footsteps, before she let herself sigh in relief.

"Astrid is safe!" The gorilla spoke again, once again chilling her to the bone. She stepped out of the cupboard slowly.

"I didn't realize you could talk," she told him. He pointed at a desk of vials, the same as the ones she had found from level 37 earlier.

"I promise I will find out what they have been injecting you with and I'll help you." She told him. "but I need to go now, before I get caught." She left the room, but didn't notice the large ape wave at her as she left.

The next morning, she slipped the two vials into the back pocket of her jeans and put her phone in to the other pocket ready for when she would speak to Captain Singh to arrange a proper investigation.

She had not yet heard from her father and he was still unavailable to reach. The news seemed to downplay the meteor, focusing all the more on trivial matters. It was a comforting thought that the meteor was nothing to be concerned about and that her father may have been worried for nothing.

Astrid arrived at CCPD and raced towards the elevator just in time to see Barry juggling three takeaway cups of coffee from Jitters and his shoulder bag full of documents,

"Let me help you, Barry." She told him, taking two of the cups and helping him with his bag. "You look frustrated... and late... again." she pressed the button to the elevator with her elbow and tried to encourage him to breath.

"One day, captain Singh is going to fire me," he spoke nervously.

"Use me as an excuse! Because... I need a favor from you... please!"

"It really depends on what that favor is and when you need it done by, a you can ee… punctuality I not my forte." He told her as they both entered into the elevator.

Astrid was relieved that they were the only ones in the elevator this morning. The matter was confidential. She waited until the doors of the elevator closed shut before she began to speak again.

"Do you remember the news report about my father's business being involved with animal testing?" she asked him, as she juggled the two coffee cups into one hand and pulled out the vials from her pocket.

Suddenly, the elevator jolted violently causing Astrid to lose balance, falling onto her side against the wall of the elevator, crushing the vials in her hand on impact and spilling the coffees. She cursed out loud.

The elevator stopped as Barry tried to reach for her arm to support her. "What just happened?" she asked out loud, knowing full well that he had no clue either.

The elevator shook wildly again and made a large BANG! This time causing Barry to fly back and the light hanging above him to come crashing down, causing them to be in total darkness. Astrid lost her balance again, this time smacking her head hard and dropping the cups and the smashed vials out of her hands, and falling to the floor.

She awoke to hear the static and crackling and people screaming from outside. She was still in total darkness, but she remembered where she was. Her hands hurt, the coffee had burnt one of them, and the glass of the vials had pierced the other.

Whatever was in those vials couldn't be good!

"Barry?" she called, as she pulled her phone out of her pocket and used the light to look around her. The large elevator light had come crashing down from the roof and had landed on him.

"Barry!" she exclaimed, He had spilt coffee over himself and been hit with the light. He could have been electrocuted! She shined the light over him, he began to move and groan. She sighed in relief, "Are you okay?" she asked him. She put her phone down beside her and knelt beside him.

She went to move him but jumped back as she received an electric shock. Barry sat up, pushing the light off of himself and looked at her. "What just caused all that?" he asked her.

"I don't know. I think it was the meteor. I heard screams from outside the elevator. But it just doesn't make any sense, it was so far from here. How could we be impacted by it to this extreme?" She tried to dial her father, but she had no network service on her phone.

Barry reached for the emergency phone and dialled for assistance. "I got somebody," he whispered to Astrid, he then told the person on the phone what had happened.

Astrid used the light of her phone to look at her hand. She had certainly cut herself with the glass from vials, and the chemicals were all over her hand, she was also bleeding.

She attempted to take some of the glass out and tore a piece of her shirt to wrap her hand up in it, to stop the bleeding.

"Are you bleeding anywhere?" she asked him. He felt his head and scanned himself, "not a scratch, they should be here to help us soon." he told her.

Astrid's head continued to throb in pain. "Good, because I need to lay down, my head really hurts!"

She sat with her back against the wall as he clambered next to her. "So now we wait. I really hope that I don't get fired after all this," he said, making them both laugh at their horrible situation.

All of a sudden, Barry began to shake violently, his head banged on the wall behind him. Astrid carefully laid him out on the elevator floor so he couldn't hurt himself any further. "Barry! Barry!" she cried out.

"Somebody! Please help!" she yelled out as loud as she could. Her head pulsated with pain. It was becoming unbearable. "Someone! Please help us!"

She grabbed the emergency phone and tried to talk normally, but she could only cry out as her head felt as if it were splitting open.

She cradled her head in her arms on the floor of the elevator, dropping the phone to floor.

Alas, she saw the shadow of the doors opening, from her peripheral vision. Someone had found them, someone had come to their rescue. She could close her eyes and rest for just a moment.


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