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


21. Chapter Twenty


The crackle of the engine came earlier than expected. Soon, smoke comes rolling out of the hood of the truck. "Okay, pull to the side." Griffin instructs in an irritated tone. Lance eases to the side of the road, and I prepare my legs for more walking. All three of us get out of the car, each a little frustrated, but what can we expect from a truck that's been abandoned? Lance crosses his arms while I place my hands on my hips. 

The hood pops open, catapulting smoke into the air. "Ah, dang-it." Shouts Griffin while kicking the ground. I prepare myself for the worst, the worst being walking. "I'm going to have to get some supplies to fix this. We passed an old shop a few miles back, they might have some stuff I could use."

"Griffin, the chances of that are so slim. Pretty much every shop has been looted. There's no point." I say, hoping to keep him here. 

"If you want to walk all the way to Georgia, that’s fine by me." he replies. I nod, giving in. "I can go by myself and you two can stay guard. It'll only be a few hours." he insists while handing us each a gun. He winks at me, and then turns on his heels and starts walking down the road. For a moment I sit there, fighting with the urge to stop him. 

"Griffin, wait!" I call while sprinting after him. "Griffin," I grab his shirt, pulling him towards me. "Be careful, and come back to me." I whisper into his ear. I can feel his breath against my neck, causing the skin to shiver. He pulls back and smiles, then, buries my head into his chest. 

"I'll always come back to you.” he whispers while pressing his lips to my forehead. He places his hand on my cheek, and rubs his thumb under my eye. The gesture seems like he's almost saying goodbye, and I hate the feeling. 

"Promise?" I question, unable to believe him.

"Have I ever failed you?" he asks with a smirk.

"Well, there was that one time..." I joke while playfully shoving his shoulder. I have grown so accustom to his company, that it wouldn't feel quite right without him. 

He laughs at my attempt at comedy, "I'll be back in a few hours." he says as he begins to walk down the road again.

"I'll be counting them down." I say barely above a whisper, watching him fade away. Reluctantly, I turn around and head back to the truck. Lance is pulling blankets out of our backpacks and laying them down on the tail-gait. Tonight only the stars light up the sky, giving off limited visibility. 

"Hey, everything alright?" Lance asks, while adjusting a quilt. 

"Yeah," I smile as he lifts me into the back of the truck. He has made a pallet for us to wait on. The hard metal is cautioned with several blankets and pillows that were found in the car. 

"I figured you would want be outside waiting." he implies with mixed emotions. 

I sit down and lean against a pillow, "Thank you, that’s very thoughtful." 

For a few minutes we sit and examine the stars. I stretch my back and lie down next to Lance who's breath begins to slow. I look over to see his eyes shut, and his mouth slightly open. I smile, knowing it's been awhile since he has slept. His disheveled hair hangs over his eyes, and his long lashes flutter as he dreams. I wonder what he is dreaming about as I watch his eyes shift under his eyelid. For a moment it is peaceful, and then his hands begin to curl into fists and his muscles twitch in discomfort. He takes in sudden gasps of air frantically, and that’s when I realize it’s not a dream, but a nightmare. 

"I'm sorry," he moans desperately, "I can't do this anymore!" his voice rises, and a thin layer of sweat begins to form on his brow. I launch up into sitting position and shake his shoulder. 

"Lance," I whisper, "Lance," this time a bit louder. His eyes shoot open, revealing the glowing blue light, and he lurches toward the sound of my voice. I throw myself against the opposite side of the truck, not knowing what to expect. "Lance its me!" I yell as he grabs my shirt and slams my head against the side of the car. Tears spring into my eyes, and my shaky voice pleads, "Please, it's me, Trinity. Lance, wake up." I bring my hands up to my face to shield any hits. I can feel a warm liquid oozing down my forehead. That’s when I scream at him, begging him to wake up.

The grip on my shirt loosens, and Lance tumbles backwards. His are eyes back to the rich green they were before. His body is trembling in fear. He stares at me for what seems to be hours before crawling back towards me. His eyes are glossed over with a layer of tears.  He winces as I shy away from him. "Trinity, did I...hurt you?" his voice cracks as he wipes away the blood trailing down my forehead. "Did I hurt you?" he presses. I nod my head slightly, and stiffen as he wraps his arms around me. 

Before he can apologize for actions that he isn’t responsible for, I ask, "Lance, how long have these nightmares been going on?"

"Ever since I can remember. I was a bullied back in school because I would disappear for months while in the hospital. I eventually dropped out. I guess that’s when they started." My heart sinks for him. The pain he has been enduring seems to be finally eating away at him. His breath is rapid against my ear, and I can feel his heart beating against his chest. "I'm really sorry," he whispered, "I didn't mean too. I thought you were somebody else."

"Who?" I question.

"Just a kid at my old school." he sighs. He slides his arms off my shoulders and looks into my eyes.

"You don't have to worry about them now. You have real friends, like me and Griffin." He laughs when I mention Griffin

"I'd be lucky if Griffin considered me a human being." he chuckles; his green eyes are shrinking behind his eyelids. His full lips spread out into a smile, and it seems he has forgotten about his dream. 

"It's a crazy world were living in." I say fiddling with my fingers

He agrees, "Yeah,"

We fall silent, exploring each other’s eyes. Something about him brings safety and peace to mind. He's like a puzzle that is slowly coming together. There are so many pieces to him, and each day I find a new one. He leans in, his forehead presses against mine. There is an air of acceptance floating around us. I can be myself when I am with him. There is nothing to hide. The tip of his nose brushes against mine, causing my heart to flutter slightly. His hands find my elbows, and he holds them tightly. 

A gentle breeze carries the trees back and forth, and slowly strips them of their leaves. A laugh slips though my lips as the wind tickles the hair standing up on my skin. Suddenly, it's hard for me to breathe, and excitement builds up in my stomach as he leans closer. His soft lips skim over mine, as if taunting me. I immediately pull away as a picture of Griffin’s face flashes through my mind. What am I doing?

“I’m sorry,” mumbles Lance, clearly ashamed. I reassure him it’s okay and that he needs to sleep, but I know he wont. He feels to stupid too get some rest. 

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