In a dystopian America, Trinity Shire, and three other teenagers are taken captive by the government to be used as scientific experiments. The scientist plan on making the "perfect human". They strive to create someone that is able to conquer anything. They spent years perfecting a chemical that could wash out the mind of a human so they can't think for themselves. They plan to build an army of mindless power machines, but will they succeed? Copyright © 2013 by Cassidy McClurkan,
All rights reserved


5. Chapter Four


            Dust puffs into the air as I shift my weight on the mattress. I look over to see three figures sleeping with their backs turned. My contorting stomach awakes me before the others and there is no hope for me drifting to sleep again. I gently rise to my feet and slide off the mattress. Lance stirs in his sleep as the floor groans beneath my feet. I pause, waiting for him to settle down again. The past few days have been hard on us, and I want them to get the best sleep they can.

            The bandages on my feet are swollen with my blood, and I leave red stains on the splintered wood floor. I make quick and nimble steps hoping to subdue the pain, but it doesn’t work. If I walk on my toes, the arch of my foot pinches me, and if I walk on my heels, well, I can’t walk on my heels.

            I pass through the hall, which leads into the kitchen. There are four rooms in this house, a bathroom, a living room, and two small bedrooms. We all avoid the bathroom, which reeks of sulfur. Brown stains form rings around the toilet bowl, and rust forms in the sink. I suck in my breath, and quicken my pace as I pass that forbidden zone.

            I sneak over to the small cardboard box resting on the countertop. Its sides are slowly crumbling apart, and the box itself is looks nothing like a box. Shuffling through the contents, I find a knife, and some old chains from snares.

            I pull a jacket over my shoulders before heading out the door. Last night, before I went to bed, I had placed some snares out in the nearby woods in hopes to catch a small prize.

            I twist the loose knob of the door, and slip outside in to the cool morning dew. The mist welcomes me, and seems to wipe away all of the pain that lives inside my aching bones. My feet hit the grass tenderly, and I head into the woods. I release the worries of tomorrow and today, which I struggle to let go of. My feet glow brightly against the red bandage of my feet, and the dark soil. I examine my hands. They are shades lighter than they were before the injection. I wonder if my hair is paler too.

            I trace my figure up my arm, is this real?

            The earth feels as if its shifting beneath my feet, and my eyes see more clearly than before. I know its real. I know this is happening, and has happened. I am the beginning of a new world. Because of me, because of us, this world will not be the same. It never will be.

I shake the thoughts of the near future away. I know it is impossible for us to stay hiding away in this small cottage untouched by society. I will have to be the heroine I used to hear about in old stories. I remember I always wanted to be a brave hero, but now since I have to be, I don’t want to be one. I only want safety and comfort.

            I shake away the thoughts of the near future from my head and focus on checking the snare.

            I weave my way through the trees, skimming my figures on the rough bark, leaving small pieces of dirt on my skin. I breathe deeply here, filling the deepest corners of my lungs. I round a corner to see the silhouette of two deer. It's a mother and a fawn.

            The moans of the doe echo in the still woods. Guilt shoots through me. I never meant to ensnare a mother and her child.

            The faun stumbles near it mother, pecking at the snare trying to free her. She believes she can free her guardian, but she can’t. The faun follows the doe so blindly, like how I follow Griffin. I begin to relate to the faun, so young and naïve. She follows the one who seems to know what is going on, and that gets her nowhere. Does Griffin really know what he’s doing? Or is he blind just like the rest of us.

            I make my way towards the snare cautiously. The doe is still and makes no sudden movement. She is paralyzed in fear. I whisper softly trying to sooth her nerves, and once I reach the snare, I slowly kneel down and twist it open.

            Once free, the doe lurches away from me, her faun fumbling behind her. I stand and watch them fade into the fog. I just released a meal.

            “It was the right thing.” His voice startles me. Lance stands only a few feet away from me, watching after the deer.

            “How did you know I was here?”

            “I followed you last night when you were setting the snares. I wanted to see if you caught anything.”

            I give him a pained smile. “Well, I guess we can starve now.” I laugh, not because it’s funny, but because I’m scared. “Why us?” I ponder aloud through the constant guffaw. “How did they even know I existed? I lived on the edge of the wasteland! I was practically non-existent!” tears begin to flood my eyes and spill over my flushed cheeks. I must look like a lunatic.

            My lips cannot decide whether to turn up or down, so they just shrivel up. Strange half chuckles, half sobs escape my lips, spewing drool everywhere. Maybe I am a lunatic.

            My knees give way and I sink into the soil looking up to the sky.

            “Hey, it’s gonna be alright.” Lance says while sinking to my level. He rests his hand on my shoulder and burns his green eyes into mine. His face is still so young and innocent looking.

            “I’m sorry,” I say.

            “It’s okay.”

            He takes my hand and lifts me to my feet. “We should head back. We don’t want Griffin to get mad.”


            My stomach twists in an uncomfortable knot, and it feels as if it will never come undone. I thrust open the loose cabinet door, and rummage around in hopes to find some sort of food. Angrily I slam it shut, which causes the door to fall off the hinges. With I sigh I turn to the next one. This time, the shape of two cans resting in the shadows catches my attention. A screech of excitement escapes though my lips. It felt as if I had seen heaven in a can.

            “Guys! Look what I found!” my voice echoes though the small ranch house. They groan in reply, and drag their exhausted bodies towards the kitchen.

             “What?” their groggy voices chant in unison. I let the snap of the can opening answer them. Immediately their eyes lost all signs of tiredness, and they race towards the salty smell of pinto beans. They huddle around me like savage dogs waiting for the smallest scrap of food to fall off the table. Griffin retrieves an old pot from the table that we had found under the stove. Then places it over the fire burning that lied within a stone fireplace.

            I slowly let the slime covered beans slosh into the pan. We all hover around the fire and watch the mixture boil with anticipation. Then, when the time came, we divide it. To make sure there was no tension about portion size, I use a cup to divide the beans. The four of us sit together cradling our bowls, and soaking in the warmth of the food inside it. The sweet smell of the beans filled the whole house with its distinct aroma. In only seconds, the beans were gone, and we all stare wistfully at the empty bowls.

            “Well,” says Lance, “This is sad…” his eyes train on the foodless cans.

            “Yeah.” Agrees Jesse.

Griffin rises to his feet and slips his dark hoodie on.

            “Alright, we can’t sit around here forever and hide in the shadows. I’m going into the heart of the city to get food and information. I want to know if people are looking for us.” His voice is stern and fierce. “Would anyone care to join me?”

            “I’ll go.” The words pour out of my mouth without me even thinking. I bite my tongue and wished I hadn’t said it. I can’t go into a city again, but I am. Griffin nods as if accepting my company, and then he tosses me a dark hoodie just like his, except mine has a design of a flying seagull on the rim.

            The garment is thin, and hugs my body so tightly that I have to reach into my shirt and stretch it from the inside. “I will need you two to stay and hold down the fort, can you do that?” Griffin says with the slightest humor in his voice. It brings a smile to my face.

            “Trust me, you didn’t have to ask. I’m not going anywhere near that dump.” Jesse replies looking down and slightly raising her eyebrow acting like he is stupid to ask such a question. Lance rose to his feet and clasps his hand tightly against Griffin’s shoulder.

            “Stay safe, and keep her safe. That’s the most important thing. We can’t lose each other.” He says. I always thought he was the most thoughtful of the group.

            “I will. You do the same.” Griffin replies and nods his head towards Jesse, who was fiddling with a piece of loose thread that hung off her shirt. The Lance turns on his heal to join her.

            Griffin looms over me and presses a pistol into my palm. This object is foreign to my hands. In fact, I had only seen one in my whole entire life, and that was the day that the men came and tore me away from my home. The weight of the gun causes my hands to drop before my muscles react to it.

            “Use it wisely.” Warns Griffin. I can feel his breath against my ear, which causes the familiar sensation of longing to invade my body. He hands me a backpack and tells me to keep it in there, on safe of course. “Ready?”

            “Yes.” I reply, “I am.”

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