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,
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3. Chapter Two


             I would have rested, but I knew that wasn’t an option. Griffin got the other boy to his feet, and we started off down the dark alley. By now his eyes have faded back to normal, and I am glad.

            Everything is quiet and still, but it’s not the peaceful kind. It’s the kind that makes someone uneasy and weary. Here in the City there is no grass or even a tree. It’s the complete opposite of my home.

I remember looking out the window of my house to see my father out in the fields preparing his crops for winter, when a man pounded his fist against the door. Foolishly I answered it, and ended up here as an experiment. I didn’t even have time to say goodbye to my family. It’s insane how one careless mistake can wreck a whole life.

            My bare feet dodge pieces of shattered glass that is distributed along on the pavement. It seems as if the buildings towering over us will cave in at any moment. I imagine the terror of bricks crumbling from the sky, and bits of debris sinking into my fragile skin. I shiver at the thought and try to draw my mind to a happier place. “Where are we going?” I ask in attempt to divert my attention away from the haunting buildings.

            “There is some things I need to get, but after that, we are leaving town.” Griffin replies. He leads us down series of stares that open up to a subway. Old musty newspapers are broadcasted across the floor along with food wrappers and old water bottles. I resist the urge to plug my nose as the fowl odor rises from the ground.

            Colorful writing enhances the dull concrete walls. Weeds are pushing their way through the small cracks in the stone floor. They are in search for light, but they will never find a ray of sunshine. Not even the light from a lamp.

            I feel like I am a weed; I am searching for the light in the darkest places.

            A run-down train rests idly in the middle of the tracks. Obviously it had broken down ages ago, because rust has begun to gnaw on the sides of the damaged metal. Griffin urges us forward, and slips though a gap between the train and the wall. I stumble down the drop, almost landing on my knees. “What’s your name?” I ask the girl with glasses propped crookedly in-between her eyes.

             She slides elegantly down the drop, and I instantly feel stupid for jumping so carelessly onto the tracks. “Jesse, and you?”

            “Trinity. Do you have any idea where were going?”

            “No, but I suspect that he is from these parts. He seems to know what he’s doing.” She looks in Griffin's direction, and I nod in agreement. She has exceptionally beautiful eyes, and her body is slim with a slight curve. I conclude that she is sixteen, only a year younger than me.

            “Are you scared?” I ask.

            “Aren’t you? I have no idea what’s going on.” her hands shake, so she grabs her gown in attempt to stop them.

            “Come on, slow pokes.” Griffin teases. Though, in my opinion, this is no time to play around. We all shoot weary glances at each other when Griffin can’t see.

            I make my way next to Griffin, but walk silently. “Tell me, where do you think we’re going?” a cocky smile lifts his cheeks.

            “Some dump in the middle of the city.” I say casually, wiping my sweaty hands on my paper dress.

            “Listen closely,” there is a sudden change in his voice, “People down here respect me. But to them, you are just a lost girl who cant defend herself, just stay with me and don’t talk to anyone, okay?” I don’t know whether to be pleased, or offended. I can defend myself, especially since my resent changes.

            The sound of voices, and the potent smell of alcohol and human waste loom in the stuffy air. “Stay close.” Griffin warns us. I am so petrified that I didn’t even realize how close I have drifted toward him. I can feel the warmth of his skin bounce to mine, and somehow it calms my nerves.

            A raspy voice emerges from the darkness, and my body jolts back with fright. “Hello there, pretty girl. What are you doing down here? Why don’t you come sit down?" I felt the man’s eyes follow down my body. I freeze in my place while the urge to punch him burns inside of me. A sickening smile curls at his lips. I don’t know what to do.

            “Get away from her you sick sewage rat.” Snarls Griffin. He shoves me behind him in protection, and relief sweeps over me. The man spits at Griffins feet, cursing him as we continue on. The sound of his vulgar words echo’s down the tunnel and in my mind. Such words are foreign to me. I’ve only heard them a few times, but I hate the sound of them. Each word sends a pang of misery through my chest.

            “Thanks,” I whisper as we continue on, but he doesn’t reply. 

            The constant sound of trickling water cascading form the ceiling makes me uneasy. Jesse’s hand abruptly clamps down on my shoulder. “We're in New York underground,” there is a sense of urgency in her voice. Behind her glasses are eyes as big as golf balls.

            “Should we be afraid?”

            “Yes. We need to get out of here fast.” She hisses. Griffin swaggers in front of me. His shoulders sway from side to side.

            “Okay. Well, what do you want me to do?”

            “Get out of here. That’s what I want to do. But you need to talk him.” She gestures towards Griffin. I don’t want to talk to him about it, because part of me fears him. Instead, I nod and forget that she said anything.

            “Griffin, are we almost there?” my voice strains.

            “Almost. Why?” his eyes are always set on what’s in front of him. He never glances to the helpless people on the curb.

            “It… it just doesn’t seem safe down here. That’s all.” I look to the people around me sitting in there own filth. My heart aches for them, well, most of them. Children play between the tracks, skipping pebbles back and forth, or scraping drawings into the rails when playing PictionaryHow could the government let this happen? 

            “That’s because it’s not safe.” Griffins voice tore my attention away from the children. “We’re here.” He says gesturing his arm forward. He guides us toward a man who is slouching against the slimy wall. His body is frail, and his clothes are stained.

            “There’s my boy!” he smiles, exposing the few teeth he has. “Now come help me up.” Griffin assists the man, and hands him a tattered cane.

            “I’m back, father.” Griffin forces a smile, and then embraces the rancid smelling man. That makes sense. Now when I close my eyes, I can see Griffin as one of the children leaping from curb to curb. My heart weighs down. “I need your help. They need your help.” Griffin says, and then motions us forward for his father to examine.

            With his jaw set, he studies the group. Then he nods, and scratches the bald spot on his head. “Follow me.” He says as he hobbles toward a soured cardboard box. He kneels down and shuffles the contents of the box around. I couldn’t help but notice the eyes that began to appear behind us.

            “Hurry dad.” Griffin urges. The crowd inches closer, and I can almost feel their breath against my neck. I inhale, and then close my eyes. A rush flees though my veins. The mob ambles almost zombie like toward us. Sunk in faces begin to encircle us.

            “Dad.” Griffins voice repeats in a low hiss. His eyes flicker rapidly from one face to another. With my eyes still closed, I feel as if my body is reenergizing, recharging. My chest rises, and then falls. My thin dress to vibrates with each pound in my chest. Then, I open my eyes. I felt as if I have lost control, for the power pulsing inside of me has spread though every fiber in my body. With my jaw set, I drew my elbow forward ready to hit the person whose breath kept tickling my neck.

            Then his hand caught mine. “No.” Griffin warns. When I stare into his eyes I can see the reflection of the blue rim around my iris fade. His eyes, sharp like daggers, glare into mine. “Lets go. We need to get out of here.”

            He ensnares my hand in his, and laces our fingers together. Quickly, He smiles at his dad, and gives a nod of gratitude. Then retrieves the box, and shoves his way though the crowd. Jesse and the other boy follow close behind.

             The chorus of feet padding against the ground echoes though the subway as we race out of the tunnels. We weave though the endless hallways and dodge the scattered debris.

            Once out of the musty area, we break for the buildings. The leader charges for the latter, and flings himself upon it. Our feet and hands curl around the bars of the latter. My hands burn as they twist around the rods. Jesse is the slowest, and the boy that I don’t know, is already at the top of the building.

            “You all might want to hurry up.” He barked while leaning over the edge. He eyes the mob of mad people, which are progressively gaining on us.

            “I just have one question,” Jesse snarls, “What do these people want? What’s in that box?”

            “Never mind that,” Griffin snaps, “Just CLIMB!”

            The latter begins to vibrate as a mob of angry people line up to it. Three are closing in on us, their fingers snapping at Jesse’s shoes. Finally, my raw hands meet with the top of a building. Shouts and snarls echo though the alley and ring in my ears. My heart hammers violently against my chest, almost like it’s trying to break through my ribs. I wrap my hand around the arm extended out to me, and let my weight be lifted up. My knees collide against the rooftop, which is covered in small pebbles. I lift my head to see his rich green eyes staring into mine, paralyzing me for a second.

             “I’m Lance, you?”

             “Trinity.” quickly, I brush myself off and forget his deep eyes. Griffin’s knuckles turn white from the loss of blood flow as he twists them against the metal poles. He thrusts the cardboard box over his shoulder as he approaches the top. I quickly rush to his aid, attempting to help him, but he is strong enough on his own. He pulls himself up, meeting my eyes. Sweat beads off his forehead and rolls into his bushy brows.

            “You okay?”

            “Yeah, I’m good.”

            We all notice when Jessie reaches the top. Loud moans escape from her lips as she sprawls across the roof. “Will somebody please tell me what’s in that ridiculous box.” she asks. Her words slur together with exhaust, and her mood is getting exceedingly worse by the second. She lifts herself to her feet and stares daggers at Griffin, but he only curls his lips, and he rolls.

            “I don’t have time for your stupid questions. Lets go, follow Me.,” he says. I know that everyone but Griffin wonders what’s in that box. I catch Lance taking quick, ponderous glances at it, and Jesse never takes her eyes off its ripping sides.

            “But Griffin… there’s nowhere to go. We’re trapped.” I say trying to conceal the panic in my voice. Somehow, the smile that lifts his cheeks is not comforting at all. Instead, it sends my body cold.

            “Ready?” he asks. He lays his palm out in front of me, and I take it without hesitation. Stupid.

            I focus on his long strides as he leads me to the edge of the building. We are thirty stories high. I feel my stomach drop, then twist, then my heart all together stop.

            “Whoa whoa whoa… You are a psycho! Are you trying to kill us all?” Jesse shrieks. I’m glad she spoke the words I could not say.

            “Oh, shut up and get over here. You too Lance.” Griffin says while rolling his head toward her and cocking up his eyebrow as if he is challenging her. She ignores the look, and follows his steps to the edge of the building.

           The tips of their toes are hanging off the edge of the building, and twitching in the air.  I feel as if I am cutting off all circulation in Griffin’s hand, but I don’t care. He urges me forward until my feet are aligned with the others. I flash a weary look to Jesse, one that she returns.

Griffin’s free arm is wrapped around the box, and his hand is locked in my grasp. I try to listen as he barks commands, but the sound of the wind and my own heart drowns out his voice.

            “Once they reach the top, we will jump. Okay?” I try so hard not to look at him with my bulging eyes, but I fail. “Hey, its okay. Just pretend your jumping off a diving board.”

            “I guess the high dive that plummets to our death?” he chuckles and rubs his thumb against the back of my hand. It’s supposed to be comforting, but it only causes me to feel more anxious.

            Looking down I only see a blur of run down cars and cracked concrete. “Griffin I cant. I cant!” I sound too desperate.

            “One.” He yells ignoring my pleading voice.

            “There has to be another way!” I scream over him. My legs are shaking uncontrollably.

            “Two.” The shifting of gravel signals that the mob has arrived. I hold my breath, and then let out a half wheeze, half snort noise in discomfort.

            “Three!” I look to my left frantically to see that Jesse, and Lance have gone. They are only small specks falling though the sky.

            “Now!” I jolt forward when Griffin shoves me, and trip off the building.

            My stomach drops into the bottom of my feet. A rush flees though my body like a rapid stream that has been contained in a dam for too long. My limbs flop in every direction, but I can’t feel them. I can’t feel anything. I feel my thin dress fly over my head and I struggle to keep it down. I try to scream, but the air has been removed from my lungs. Then, a rush of searing power seems to make itself present.

Inhale, exhale, inhale, and exhale.

            I open my eyes and I feel as if I am unstoppable. The falling sensation has become my addiction, and I don’t want to stop.

            A prickle crawls up my limbs as I land almost catlike on the concrete. Griffin, Jesse, and Lance all stare down at me. Eyes glowing. Without even thinking of recovering from our fall, we immediately get to our feet.

            Busted windows and boarded doors fill every street corner. Dying weeds that have pushed there way though the concrete rest in the moist areas. Our feet fly over the pavement. I am breathless. I am fearless.

            We all follow Griffin. Not by choice, but by instinct. The dim glow of the streetlights above us casts an eerie flare to the alleys. Shadows flicker amongst the building as the lights struggle to stay lit.

            My eyes stay focused on Griffin as we leap over wired fences and slide over the hood of cars. The glass embedding itself into the arch of my foot doesn’t seem to bother me. We don’t stop, for we know that people will be following. By now, the men in black would have walked outside for their break. They would notice the missing bodies and send for the scientist and officials immediately.

            They would soon discover that their experiment had worked.

My legs burn like they have been crafted out of fire, and my heart pounds violently against my chest. My muscles scream at me, begging me to stop, but I can only hear the voice in my head saying, Run.

            We veer down several alleys, and run though an old parking deck. Finally, I can see it. The hazy outlining of leaves colliding against the pale sky. We push forward knowing the dry grasses await us.

            A wave of relief washes over my muscles, putting out the fire that burned only seconds ago. The others in front of me slow to a stop. The cool air tickles the hairs on our arms, and brushes the hair out of our eyes.

            Griffin rests his hands on his knees in means of support. A half laugh, half cough escapes his throat. “For a second there I didn’t think you would make It.” he says pointing at me. His eyes fade back to normal.

            “What do you mean?” I question.

            “Your eyes didn’t change until you were only a story above the ground.” He says, “Don’t worry, I was there to catch you if you fell.”

            “Thanks…” I reply with a little too much sarcasm. But I did fall... you pushed me.

Griffin is still hunched over, his hands resting on his knees.

            “Power of will… that’s what saved you.” He said jabbing his finger into the air, “that’s why they chose you.”

His words slosh together and it is hard to decipher what he is saying. “What?” I ask. I know I am verging on annoying him because he shrugs his shoulders exasperatedly.

            “The scientist chose four people with these qualities: Power of will, strength, intelligence, and somebody with the ability to sneak around without being seen. You,” he points to Jesse, “Are the Intelligent one, and you,” he gestures toward Lance, “are the clever and sneaky one.”

            Jesse interrupts, “That only makes sense. They chose those qualities because when all together, they form the perfect team. The brains, the strength, the cleverness, and the will power.” she nods her head in approval, mentally patting herself on the back.

            “What about you?” I question Griffin.

            “Strength.” He says, “that leaves power of will to you.”

            “They enhanced our abilities, right? So, I must be mounds smarter than I was before.” Jesse said as a smile tugs at her lips. 

            “Yes,” Griffin replies. A sullen look took over his face. He leans up and runs his fingers though his medium cut hair. “Lets go,” he says while motioning us toward the woods. He grabs the box, and heads down the moist trail.            

            Grey skies hang loosely over the ground, and small patches of dull grass sway in the wind. I find myself testing Griffin’s knowledge. How does he know all this information? When in the lab, it seemed he almost knew what was happening. I eye his back suspiciously. What’s in the box?

           I press my footsteps into Griffin’s. My feet are half his size, and he is a good head taller than me. With each step we take, his muscles rip, forming the intricate design of his body.

           Now I notice the searing pain extending from my feet. I curl my toes in discomfort, but try my best to ignore the pain. I can’t let Griffin see that I am weak.

            “Hey, Trinity,” whispers a soft voice. I turn my head over to Jesse who is tilting her head, asking me to come near her. I drop back from Griffin’s lead, and walk with her.

            “What’s up?” I ask.

            She is quiet for a second before asking, “Do you think we can trust Griffin? I think he knows more than he’s telling us.”

            I find myself nodding in agreement, and before I know it, I’m weary of the situation. Where is he leading us? Why are we following a stranger so blindly?

            But there is just something about him that makes me want to be near him. Maybe it’s the fact that I am a stupid girl.  

            Soon the swampy field fades into a forest. The branches extending from the trees claw down at us, and spill small drops of water onto our skin. Occasionally we will hear a twig snap in the distance and it’s Lance who assures me that it’s only a deer. He must notice my jittery legs and skittish movements.

             “Don’t worry, we only have little ways to go.” Griffin’s voice is encouraging and hopeful.

            As the hours pass, my feet become coated with blisters, and my skin sticks to everything in reach. My hair has plastered itself around my face and my neck. I try fixing it, but the greasy feel makes me realize that bathing will be the only remedy. The moist earth emerges from between my toes, and some creeps under my nails. The skin on my knees has been stripped away. My feeble legs are growing to weak to bare the weight of my body, and I have taken many falls.

            Lance walks next to me. Slow and steady. He never rushes my steps or paces impatiently when I slow down, instead he holds my hand when I stumble, and encourages me to continue on. “Your feet are in bad condition.” he notes when we take a rest.  I sigh, and sink into the moist earth. I know when I stand there will be a big dirt spot on my bum, but all I care about is my feet.

            Lance squats down next to me, while Griffin leans against a tree trying his best to ignore Jesse while she interrogates him. “Ah, I know,” I say through my teeth, hoping to erase the pain. I wish the serum would take away pain, but maybe it’s a good thing it can’t.

            “I wish I could help you.” Lance says sympathetically.

            “Just walking with me has helped enough.” I say with a small smile. He looks down at my feet, and winces.

            “I’m going to pull out some of this glass, okay?” he waits till I brace myself. I twist my hands into the weeds. A severing pain travels up my legs, and my toes curl. I feel the glass glide out of my skin, and a warm liquid pools under my feet. “I guess when we were running you didn’t feel the glass. The change took away the ability to feel pain.” Lance says.

            “Guess so.” I reply.

            Griffin coolly approaches us. He doesn’t seem to notice the gashes in my feet. “You guys ready? Were not that far now.” he says with a reassuring smile. His nose crinkles up along with the skin surrounding his eyes. My heart flutters for a moment and I don’t know why. I smile at him before he turns on his heel heading back into the woods, Jesse following behind like a lost puppy.

            Lance offers me his hand and pulls me to my feet. He allows me to rest all my weight upon his shoulders and we walk, easing some of the pain.

Finally, after hours of hiking, a small cottage appears. Glass has been busted out, and the porch seems as if it would collapse at any moment, but Griffin didn’t hesitate to open the door to the late 2000’s house. “I know it’s not much, but it’s enough for now.” He said while plopping the box against the floor. Jesse and Lance took no interest in the house at all. Instead, they ran to the box. I follow them. 

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