Chapter 31: The Plan
While Bobbi dressed, I turned to Anne. She had stood quietly and unmoving as she watched us. When we made eye contact, she smiled sadly and gave me an encouraging nod.
“Anne? I know you cannot tell us directly how to reach the basement, but is there anything you can tell us?” I gave her a firm look, revealing my determination, but knowing it would likely be difficult times ahead.
“Only that you are not allowed to enter it through the kitchen. There is another way to enter, from any room in the house.” She pointed towards one corner of the room and a small apparent closet there, but said nothing more about it. “That way is only for those deemed impure however and I wouldn’t suggest it. It’s fast, but it is not designed for safe passage. It would leave you vulnerable.”
I glanced to that corner. I considered the merits of using the trap against the trapper, but I doubted that we would be able to recover from such a situation. Especially since we had no idea the exact nature of what state it would leave us in. I shook my head and returned my gaze to Anne. “Fine. How else can we get down there?”
“I can only enter through the kitchen, but you are not allowed down there of course.” Her expression was dark and hidden. I suspected she knew other ways, but her ban specifically prevented sharing it. “That will not be easy. All of the wives are under direct orders to not allow any outsider to enter the kitchens. The risk is too great for him. Even I will be forced to stop you if I know you plan to do so…” She trailed off, falling short of mentioning that if she didn’t know for sure she would not stop us.
“How can you even tell us then?”
“He didn’t order me to never speak of the door in the kitchen. Just not to let you through it. His control over me is weak enough I can work around it. A little bit, at least.”
“Then can you use these loopholes to help us?”
“I cannot.” She sighed, clearly frustrated at that fact. “The best I can do is to make myself busy with some other task. That may prove distracting to myself and the other wives, but I can’t promise anything…”
“We have been ordered to attend to our guest’s needs, so long as they do not interfere with the Subduing. The cleanliness and arrangement of the rooms is designed to improve the process. We have order to make sure nothing is out of place.”
I nodded and glanced around the room, considering how to cause some form of mess. I especially wanted one which would take some time to clean. As I looked, I noticed Bobbi stood before the vanity and was tying newly longer her hair up and out of the way. I wondered if cutting her hair would be enough, but decided against it. We had no tools to quickly or efficiently cut her hair and it would cause big enough mess. Instead, I turned to Anne with a shrug. I could think of nothing that would make a big enough mess with what we had on hand.
She looked back at me, with a strange smile, and pointed at Bobbi. I glanced at her again, with a confused expression. The pink-haired woman was standing at the vanity and staring at her reflection. I looked back to Anne with a raised eyebrow. She rolled her eyes and pantomimed a punch and pointed at the mirror. Finally it dawned on me. If we were careful, we could break the mirror without causing too much noise.
I nodded to Anne and walked over to place a gentle hand on Bobbi’s shoulder. “You okay?”
“Not really. I look weird and this make-up doesn’t want to come off.” She was wiping idly at her eyes, halfheartedly trying to remove eye shadow from them. “I don’t even look like me.” She lifted a lock of hair from her face. “Did they re-dye it? And how did it get so long so fast? I haven’t had to tie it out of my face like this since I was a kid…”
Without removing my hand from her shoulder, I looked in the mirror with her. I was surprised to find that I still looked wild eyed and wild haired. My half-assed attempt earlier had not been enough to do much. My bedraggled appearance was only highlighted by the strangely gentle grace that Bobbi’s appearance now held. With a sigh, I leaned in to Bobbi. “If your frustrated enough with the mirror, why is it still in one piece?”
She looked at me curiously. Glancing between the mirror and me a few times, she shrugged. “Doesn’t seem necessary, I guess.”
“The old Bobbi would probably have thrown something at it already, though. Right?” I was egging her on, and she seemed uncomfortable with the suggestion.
“I don’t know. Maybe…” She stared at her reflection as she spoke. “If I was pissed enough, I guess.”
“Then why aren’t you pissed now? They’ve done terrible things to you in this room. Made you do things. They changed how you look and feel and wanted to change the way you think.”
“Yeah…” I could hear growing annoyance in her voice.
“They made you look like this, and they wanted to make you a slave. They wanted to make you one of them.”
“They… they made you into a sex crazed madwoman. They made you the worst of female stereotypes and wanted to make you less than them. Less than human.”
“Yeah..!” She was breathing hard, though it sounded almost as much an issue of arousal as anger, a fact that I decided to ignore for the moment. “Those fuckers messed me up!” She took a sharp, deep breath and she reared back for a violent punch. I flinched away for a split second at the sound of crunching glass and, when I looked back at the vanity, the mirror was severely cracked. Much of the mirror remained in place, with only a handful of shards fell from the frame and soundlessly onto the carpeted floor. Those which remained created a large spider-web effect that spiraled out from the center.
I glanced around at Anne, who was looking falsely horrified. “Oh dear, what a mess. I have to make sure that none of this glass hurts anyone…” She shot me a glance as she started to make her way to the mirror. I took the hint and twisted the mirror towards us, sending the remaining shards tumbling down around us. To which Anne merely sighed and muttered. “This could take forever. At least an hour to find all these pieces.”
I took the hint and grabbed Bobbi by the wrist and drug her to the door. I shoved her backpack into her hands and told her to put it on. With but a brief stop in my own room and Rick’s, to grab our remaining packs, we headed down the steps as quickly and quietly as possible.