Pepper's head rolled from side to side as she came to. Someone was lightly slapping her on the cheek while faint music played in the background.
"Hey, hey," the person slapping her said.
Pepper's eyes came to focus on an attractive blond guy still patting her cheek. "Who are you?" she asked.
He finally stopped hitting her and handed her a little white pill. "I'm Parkman. Here eat this," he said. Still a little groggy from whatever she'd been drugged with and the fact that she was starving, it didn't occur to Pepper to be suspicious. She didn't hesitate in taking the pill and poping it into her mouth.
The instant it hit her tongue, it dissolved and poured liquid warmth down her throat all the way to her stomach. Her eyes widened and she felt more alive than she had in days. Her now alert mind took in the surroundings around her. She was leaning against a taupe wall of some hallway. The walls contrasted with the dark, almost black floor and ceiling. There were no doors in sight.
She shifted her gaze to Parkman and was shocked by his nakedness. She was even more upset when she realized that she, too, was naked. Hastily, she covered herself with her hands, her left arm easily covering her meager chest.
"Where am I? What have you done with me?" she asked him.
"There's not much time. Do you remember anything?"
Pepper shook her head no. She tried to remember, but all that came to mind were four colors: pink, cyan, orange and red. All of a sudden, the music in the background ended. Parkman looked up at the ceiling, as if searching for the speakers.
"Shit, they're coming. Run!" he said and turned and ran down the hallway. "Nice bow!" he yelled and disappeared around the corner. Pepper reached up and found a bow holding her blond hair in a pony tail. Where'd that come from she wondered. Probably from the same people that took her clothes.
She tried to stand up. Though her mind was alert, her body was still shaky from hunger and the remains of whatever she'd been knocked out with. She forced herself up, someone was coming and she needed to figure out where she was and how to get out of there.
Bracing herself with one hand on the wall, Pepper walked in the direction Parkman ran off in. She hadn't gone more than a couple of steps when she found a little white pill. It was identical to the one Parkman had given her.
Fully conscious, the suspicion that had been absent earlier gripped her mind. She had so blindly eaten the first one. She had no idea who that guy was or what the pill was. As far as she knew, he could have been the one to have kidnapped her and the pill could have been some sort of date-rape drug; they were both naked after all. In any case, it definitely felt like a drug: food didn't melt like that or make her feel as good.
This time, she carefully inspected the pellet. In all respects, she couldn't tell a difference between it and a white gum ball. It was about the same size, it was hard, and it had a sweet smell. Pepper's stomach growled. If someone were looking for her, they surely would have heard the noises her empty stomach was making.
Pepper didn't have much choice. She needed something to quieten her stomach and the white pill was the only thing around. She took a deep breath and popped it in her mouth. Just like the first time, the instant it hit her tongue it melted. The heat spread throughout her body and gave strength to her wobbly legs.
Standing on her own power, she noticed that the hallway branched off to the left. She looked down but couldn't see a door or anything that offered a way out. Since Parkman was the only thing she had to go on and he hadn't gone that way, Pepper gave it a pass. She continued straight ahead and soon came upon another pill.
She picked it up and almost threw it in her mouth before stopping herself. Was she already addicted to them after just two? Her stomach rumbled and her body shivered in anticipation for the warmth of the pill. She contemplated putting the pill down and continuing on, but her stomach rumbled again. She needed strength. Her body flushed with heat as her third pill dissolved in her mouth.
Pepper continued down the corridor and found yet another pill. Who had put these here? It couldn't have been Parkman. He'd only had the one and being naked, it's not like they could have fallen out of his pockets. She tried to put the pill back down, but her stomach rumbled again. She devoured the new find and the heat soothed her body and her distrust.
At the fourth pill she found, there was another split in the hall, this time to the right. Parkman had most likely gone this way as he had disappeared to the right. I've followed him this far she thought. So intent on deciding which way to go, Pepper didn't notice she'd eaten her new pill until the warmth was corsing through her body.
She'd hoped that the way she'd chosen would take her to a room with an exit or a phone or something useful, but it wasn't even a room. It was another corridor that ran parallel to the one she'd just come from. She wasn't in a hallway in some hotel or building somewhere Pepper realized. She was in a maze.
She picked up the pill that had been left where she was standing and looked at it. Was she the rat? Were these pills her reward for going the right way or were they leading her to something, like her death? Someone had gone to great lengths to leave these here for her. Pepper thought hard again about dropping the pill and continuing on her way.
If she was going to be addicted, she probably already was (She felt so good after eating one). There's always rehab she thought and popped the pill. This time, it seemed if the pill's heat concentrated in her eyes. They burned for several seconds.
She blinked several times and the heat subsided. The pill had changed her ability to see. Everything was more vibrant and sharper, she could now see the white pills in the distance. To her left, she could see their faint glow trailing down the hallway. To her right and the direction she'd come from, there was nothing but the cold black floor.
It seemed like someone wanted her to go left here and Pepper didn't feel like disappointing them. She turned and walked down the hall, gobbling up each pill as she came to it, her distrust long forgotten. Eventually, the path she'd chosen ended at an intersection.
This time, there was no clear way that she was supposed to go. Looking to her right, she could see a long trail of dots leading off into the distance. Looking left, there were two pills leading to a wall. If she went left, she might wind up back on the original corridor. If Parkman had come this way, he probably would have to have gone right.
Once more looking to her right, all the warmth she'd accumulated from the pills dissipated as a chill took her; further down the hallway she could see a figure in red. Pepper turned left and ran. She didn't even notice that she picked up the two pills in her path and ate them as she ran. Their warmth did calm her down as she ducked to the left around the first corner she came to. Had she been seen?
Pepper peeked around the corner. The person was still coming her direction. Pepper ran again. She came to a path to the right which she turned down. It soon came to an end at another long corridor and she took a panicked left, ran a bit and cut back to the left on a different path a few steps later. She eventually came to a stop at an L shaped bend in the hall.
She wiped a few drops of sweat off her forehead and tried to catch her breath. She wasn't just hot from her run. She'd somehow found time to throw the dozen or so pills that were in her path down her throat as she ran and the cumulative heat from their warmth was making her sweat.
The warmth seemed to be congregated in her chest. She cupped her small breasts and started trying to massage the heat out of them. Pepper was surprised by how good it felt. Had it always felt this good? She looked down at her mere offerings. Hey, look at that: cleavage, she thought. They're like little strawberries. What was she doing? She was in danger. She had to concentrate.
Pepper listened for footsteps, but all she could hear was her own breathing. Figuring it was safe, she set out in the direction that had pills left, happily eating all that she came across. Her path took another left and then came to a long hallway. She knew this hallway; this is where she'd woken up.
To the right, she could now see a trail of glowing pills. Since she'd already eaten all of the pills to the left, there was nothing but the cold dark floor. Still clinging to the hope she wasn't addicted, Pepper told herself that she was going right because the person in red was to the left, not because she wanted more pills.
As she walked, munching on pills, she got the impression that the maze was symmetrical. Her new direction was a mirror image of the last with offshoots in about the same places. Pepper figured her best chance of escape was down the long corridor, so she ignored the smaller paths and kept going straight.
When she got to the entrance way of what she believed was the mirror image of the corridor she'd seen Red, she ventured down it. She was right; it was identical to the other corridor. Pepper hadn't gone more than four steps when she came to an intersection. There were no pills to the right or left, but there was something odd about the path to the right.
The left was like every other turn she'd come upon; she could see down it and the taupe wall at its end. To the right, however, there was no wall at the end. The walls just faded out into blackness. Pepper's heart raced. Had she done it? Had she found the way out?
.... There is more of this story ...