“Here,” Sam said. He dug around in the big pocket of his tool belt for a minute until he came up with a roll of brightly colored candies.
“Thanks,” Lauren said taking a purple and red one while Rachel picked out a yellow and green one. They popped the candy in their mouth and let them slowly dissolve.
“Wow,” Lauren said. “Have they upped the caffeine count in these things?” She shook her head sending her wild yellow curls bouncing.
“You didn’t hear?” Paisley asked.
“No,” Rachel said.
“They have the equivalent of an espresso now.”
“Oh dear,” Lauren said. “Were we supposed to eat two?”
“Sam,” Rachel said punching him in the shoulder. “You should have warned us.”
“Ow! Why’d you hit me?”
“If you think my totally loud Dad is crazy after one espresso, you should see Lauren on two!”
Lauren grinned, crossing her eyes and sticking out her tongue.
“Don’t worry, you’re about to burn off all that energy.”
Roger opened the door to the Test Bedroom.
“We’ll see about that,” Lauren said. She accepted a Super Soaker from Roger and stepped through the door
“You’ll be sorry,” Rachel chanted as she followed Lauren in taking her own gun with her.
Sam shook his head and hurried off to the observation window.
Rachel and Lauren waited side by side in the dark room. They timed their breathing until they inhaled and exhaled in unison. Their eyes tried to adjust to the dark but the blackout was so thourough there was nothing to adjust to.
“Ready with the button?” Rachel asked. Lauren was the quicker of the two by just a hair, so she had the Pause duty.
“If you’re ready with the silencer?”
Both their right hands rested on the side pockets of their tool belts while their left hands held the Super Soakers. They breathed in and out. In and out. In and—
Right hands dropped and clasped the well-worn, familiar grips of two odd toys. Lauren cleared her holster a second before Rachel did. She pulled the trigger and the strange sensation of suspended animation melted over her. Everything stopped, enveloping Lauren and Rachel in the sudden realization of how much of life involved movement. Lauren swore that the Pause gun made her aware of exactly how much the Earth spun through the universe.
Rachel fired her odd toy and the sounds of life stopped.
The moment passed. The world crashed, spun, and cranked up the volume. Rachel grunted. They’d been unpaused.
“It’s still dark.”
“Goggles.” Lauren said.
They both pulled down their goggles and the world turned an odd shade of puke green.
Both of them took a quick double check on the bed’s occupants. The cardboard boy had sleep heavy eyes drawn on his face. If his eyes had been open they would have had bigger problems to deal with.
Lauren pointed at herself then under the bed. Rachel nodded. Lauren pointed at Rachel then the bedroom door. Rachel agreed. Lauren dropped to her knees and thumbed the red button
She fired the Super Soaker right at the bubbling lump with toooo many eyes and toooo many fingers under the cardboard boy’s bed. Ooze soaked the creature capturing it.
Rachel rushed to the door, opened it and charged through. Light blinded her. She ripped her goggles off just as she hit the silence button on her odd toy. She dropped and slid across the wood floor right under the bed, thumbed the red button, and fired. Lauren followed behind her shooting the odd toy to Pause the room before she rushed the next door.
Leap frogging, they made their way through the Test Bedrooms, only working together if there was more than one bed, or bunk beds. Bunk beds were the worst. Yellow and blue goo coated monster after monster while the Silence and Pause toys kept them from every seeing the two Special Agents with their blue and yellow hair.
Panting, they reached the end of the course and stepped into the observation room.
“You know, the way you two do that makes it really hard on the clean-up crews,” Sam said typing furiously on his tablet.
“Are they cleared for field work?” Lauren asked ignoring Sam’s grumbling.
“Agent Carmichael says we have the best system.”
“Yeah, well it’s really tense to watch!” Sam said finishing his notes.
“Sam,” Lauren said putting her hand on her hips. “We’ve got monsters to fight.”
He nodded. “I know. Sorry. Y’all are the best we got. You’re both cleared, along with the guns for field work. Also, try to bring one back that’s reasonable. I need to find out what is going on and why we have them under beds again.”
“We need to make sure it’s not her,” Rachel said.
Sam nodded. “Exactly.”
Lauren tossed her head watching the bright yellow curls bounce. “Let’s roll.”
Rachel nodded. The twins gave each other a high five. They left the observation room, Super Soakers in hand and made their way down to the transport deck.
“One monster infested bed coming up,” a red-headed boy with freckles across his noes said. “God’s speed.” He waved them into the backseat of a sleek silver car.
“Ladies,” Tom, the driver tugged the bill of his driver’s cap at both of them. “Locked and loaded?”
“Well, let’s go do some good in this world.”
Tom gunned the engine and shot out into the night with a large van following behind him with the clean-up crew.
…To Be Continued…