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


14. Chapter Thirteen

       I slow to a jog as I reach Lance. He seems stressed and worried, and his eyes are glassed over. He doesn't speak to me, in fact he acts as if I'm not there. He walks steadily past me, and past Griffin as well, who give me a concerned glance. 

      Lance runs his hands though his hair, and lets out a cough mixed with a sob. He paces back and forth with his hands in his hair. "Lets go." he finally says.

       "What about Jesse?" Griffin questions. Lance stares to the ground, fighting back his emotions. Griffin repeats, "Where is Jesse?" he almost spits the question. I gently place my hand on his shoulder, hoping to calm his rising nerves. The gesture doesn't help. He marches towards him, and places his lips next to Lance's ear. "I told you to look after her. I told you to stay together. Now look what you did." he snarls. 

       Lance looks at him strait in the eyes, "It's too late, okay? Iv'e failed. She's been altered into a Drone. And I didn't think you wanted me to bring her here in that state." he shoves his hands against Griffin's chest, causing him to stumble backwards. I step in before Griffin can return the aggressive action.

       "What is wrong with you two?" I snap. "Give him a break, Griffin. The scientist's men found out where they were hiding while we were gone. She was obviously the first Drone, they used her DNA to create them. They just tweaked the formula to make it ever better. Mistakes happen, lets just go." They nod in agreement, and I walk between them as we cross the bridge. How will I be able to control them? And why is Griffin acting this way? The questions keep me quiet, and oblivious to the argument around me. 

        "You should have been more careful!" Griffin yells.

         "Well maybe you should have been the one to save her since you're so great!" 

        Griffin shakes his head,  "I thought you were a lot tougher than you are. I should have know you weren't capable of handling yourself." 

         My attention snaps to the ongoing conversation. Lance inhales deeply and gives a weak smile, which puts Griffin over the edge. "Why are you smiling?" he grits his teeth and jerks Lance up by the shirt. 

           Lance shakes his head, and says nothing. Eventually Griffin puts him down. I roll my eyes and keep pace ahead of them.

           Now the concrete roads are beginning to fade into large slabs of dispersed gravel. Occasionally I trip on unstable rock, and my foot rolls out from under me. The sun beats down on us, causing beads of sweat to gather in our brows. A few times we hear helicopters soar by, but we mange to hide from them in the bushes. 

           The mood of the group is downcast thanks to Griffin's anger issues. Lance nervously bites his lip when walking near him.  "We better find a place to rest before it's too dark." I imply. Usually at night feral dogs scour for food, and the best place to sleep is in the trees, which I've never been to keen on climbing. My philosophy is that we were created to be on land. Not in the water, and not in the air. I like the ground, and I prefer to stay on the ground. And yes, I may have a fear of hights, and I'm defiantly not a fan of climbing.

         "Okay, well, where do you want to go?" Griffin asks.

         "I think the trees are the safest bet." I reply, and he nods in agreement.

          While the sun sinks, we scour the woods for a nice, big tree. When the boys aren't looking, I search for the tree with the most knots. My heart cringes when Lance finds one.

          My eyes travel up the endless trunk, and I force a reassuring smile. No knots, no branches. Griffin effortlessly hoists himself into a fork in the branches at least fifteen feet above me. "Go," Lance says with a smile. 

         "I'm scared to." I whisper, making sure Griffin can't hear me. 

         "It's fine, I'll be right behind you." 

         I sigh and lodge my finger into the spaces between the bark. Every in my muscle strains as I travel higher into the tree. Every once and awhile, I feel the reassuring grip of Lance's hand around my ankle. I hoist myself into the center of the tree, which is flat. Lance joins me, because there is space for two. We're at least three feet above Griffin and his lounge. 

        I press my aching hands into my legs in hopes to ease the pain. The shadows disappear, and the moon looms above us. The course of crickets chirping buzzes in the air. The pale glow of the moon reflects off the leave, illuminating the night sky. It's something I can call beautiful, something that makes me want to look again. 

        His voice abruptly breaks the silence, "Are you scared?" Lance questions. I can feel his steady breathing against me as I lean into him. 

        "Aren't you?" In the distance I can hear cars rushing past our woods. Not many people drive, only the people who are looking for something. 

        "Not really." he replies after awhile.

        "Why not?"

        "I've been through worse." It strikes me then that I know nothing about Lance, not even his last name. I'm about to ask when he says, "I had cancer when I was younger." 

         For a moment I don't know what to say, and if I did, I don't know if I could. "I was fourteen when I was diagnosed. I have been fighting it ever since."

        I stare at him in awe, "Wow," is all I can seem to mutter. 

        "And, when the government crashed the nurses quite, so did the doctors. I was alone  in this hospital. Occasionally I'd see an old man or woman stroll by my room wandering aimlessly. Then, a few days later I didn't see them anymore, but I could smell their rotting flesh." his voice breaks, "I just kept hoping that someone, somewhere, would come for me, but they didn't. So, I detached the wires myself, grabbed some necessary supplies, and headed out of the hospital. I snuck past thugs that were stealing drugs and pills." a sob escapes his lips and his body trembles next to mine, "I'm a coward." he chokes. 

      "No no no, you're the bravest man I've ever known." I assure him. I slip my hand into his and ease my head onto his chest. 

       "I let them die. You don't understand. I let them kill them, my..." a sob spewed out of his mouth, and tears stream down his cheeks. 

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