“Good one Idiot” Echo bellowed from the top of the web.
A giant structure made up of metal outlines of boxes, built to try and train us to be able to get out of odd situations, I don’t know where this will come in handy but they insist we do it.
I stood at the bottom waiting for her to get down; she waited until she reached the top to respond to me when I told her what happened.
In true Echo style, she wanted everyone to know when she was talking. I got a few stares when she called down to me, people wondering what she could be going on about. She was by my side in second, her white pixie cut swaying just above her eyes.
“Why would you even hesitate you loser? Life or death and you are too busy fixing up your belt” she teased, echo’s favourite pastime was to tease me and push my limits. I guess that’s why we were so close, we could tease each other for hours but the moment someone else tried to, they learnt quickly that is was a bad idea.
“You try wearing a uniform that is two sizes too small with the plastic pretty much piercing your skin, that’s a challenge!” I laughed, she hit me on the back and we started walking towards the gun stands. The silver floor radiating against the light shining down from the lamp, I would love to say that it was sunlight, but none of the trainees have ever seen the sun.
No one living here has seen the sun other than our teachers. We had an army, but now, we have a memorial.
Just as Echo was about to pick up a gun, we were interrupted by the sound of giggling and laughter coming from outside the doors.
We followed the sound and were led to two of the novices in the basic training ring, Caitlin and Joanna. Joanna had found a blunt spear and was chasing Caitlin around the ring saying she was a walker, trying to devour Caitlin’s brains. Then Joanna remarked how she was probably wasting her time if brains were all she wanted.
Caitlin turned around and punched Joanna in the arm, sending her flying back onto her butt.
Joanna rolled on the floor in fake pain.
“Caitlin, I’m wounded, come help me” She cried.
“Ha, you deserved it” She said in between spurts of laughter. I’m not sure if they realised they were being watched yet, but it was entertaining to watch two people act like nothing was going on, like there wasn’t an epidemic or that our race was on the brink of extinction.
They taunted each other, Joanna poking the spear at Caitlin and Caitlin saying she would knock her over again. It was cute, I knew them from their initiation day and both of them looked like they were going to faint. They were as nervous as me when I was initiated, thinking that I wasn’t good enough and was going to be kicked out the moment they saw me shoot a gun and missing the target completely. I can imagine how nerve racking it was for them.
Just as Echo was about to join in, most likely to throw the spear around and act like a child, the alarm started to go off.
One, two, three rings. Walkers had infiltrated the main gates.
Echo was running before I was, her black boots pounding against the ground. If she could, I know Echo would race to the front gate and try to push through the guards to get in on the action and behead a few of the walkers, but we were too far into the system for her to get there in time. Instead, we ran to the bunkers to find my little sister, Holli, sitting on the floor of our room, curled into a ball with her knees pressed to her chest.
Without thinking, I slid to the floor and wrapped my arms around her. Her tears were falling down my hand as I wiped them away.
I pulled back her straight brown hair and pushed it behind her ears. Her emerald green eyes were twinkling from the tears that had built up on her eyelids.
“Are they the monsters that took Mommy and Daddy?” She whispered, she was five when they were killed, three years later and I still haven’t forgotten the terror in her eyes with the guard told her without any remorse for her.
“They won’t get to you Holli, I promise, nothing will ever hurt you” I whispered back to her. Echo hit her back against the wall and slid doesn’t sitting up with her hands resting on her knees.
“Yeah Holli Bear, nothing can get to you while you have Lyssa standing in its way” She joked, trying to lighten the mood. It would have worked had Holli not been in a state of panic.
Holli sat up, I leaned against the wall and Holli sat against me, resting her head on my chest facing Echo.
Echo put up a front, in the training ring, she acted like nothing could phase her and she could take on the world. When it was just us and Holli, I saw a side of her that she would never dare show anyone else.
We sat there in silence, waiting for the alarm to stop ringing in our ears. Holli started shaking again as she thought horrifying things like Walkers making it through the gates and infecting the population. I didn’t need to be a mind reader to know that, it was her most terrifying fear.
And if I was being honest, it was mine too.
Once the alarm stopped Holli got up and ran over to her bed on the right side of the room, Echo was slowly getting up from her spot, making sure I knew just how exhausted she was by grunting and sighing.
“Anyone would think you were out of shape there Echo” I said, she threw back a glare and made her way over to her bed to the left of the room. She fell onto her bed and landed with a thud.
Holli giggled, she loved the fact that Echo had moved into our room, I would have loved it too but it meant that my bed had to be in the centre so that Holli could poke her hand out in the middle of the night and grab mine whenever she had a bad dream.
“I wish I was out of shape, and then I wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep this machine in shape” She laughed as she spoke, she may have tried to be serious but even she knows she failed. She wouldn’t be able to breathe properly if she didn’t have her toned stomach that she just loved to show off in the ring.
“If you were even a little bit out of shape, you wouldn’t be able to handle it. We both know you would hit the ring so hard that you would pass out just so that you had almost no body fat on you.” I said, Holli didn’t really understand what we were talking about, but she laughed anyway. Whenever Echo and I bickered over pointless things she thought it was the best thing.
Echo threw her pillow at me and rolled of her bed and onto the floor, once again, landing with a thud.
“Would it be weird if I said the floor was a lot more comfortable than the metal beds they gave us?” She asked, her voice was muffled from having to speak into the floor. I still hadn’t moved from leaning against the wall.
We had a few moments of nothing; we didn’t have to worry about any surprise attacks, no simulations or teachers shouting at us. It was Bliss.
But as everyone who has ever lived knows, all good things must come to an end.
Echo and I were called back to the training ring and Holli went back to sitting in the cafeteria, avoiding having to go to the ‘school’ on the lower grounds.
If there is anything that I have learnt from living in The Underground, it is that they are training us for something. Whether it be to become the new breed of soldiers or fighters, I don’t know.
When we entered the training ring, we were faced with Ryder and his buddies getting hounded by Professor Lansbury.
“How old are you, Ryder?” She said with a curious look on her face.
“Excuse me?” the dumbfounded look on his face showed me that I hadn’t missed much of the conversation.
“How old are you?” She said again with a more stern voice.
“I’m 18, Professor Lansbury” He replied, the dumbfound look still plastered across his face.
“Knowing that you arrived here when you were only seven, after 14 years of living in the compounds, I thought you would have a better understanding of the rules and expectations that have been placed upon you. Torturing another trainee is most definitely not one of those expectations nor is it a requirement for any form of training that you are or ever will receive. So tell me, what purpose did it serve that you put a snake in Lyssandra’s training bag?” She was killing him. For every word that came out of her mouth, his face grew more and more embarrassed. His friends stood behind him, heads down, one arm slung across their bodies holding the other.
Hold on, did she just say ‘Lyssandra?’
“You put a snake in my bag?” I said, more calmly than I had anticipated.
All eyes turned to me, Professor Lansbury didn’t look surprised, she move than likely saw me walk in.
Ryder’s whole body slouched over, he knew he was going to be forced to apologise to me.
But I’m going to make him do more than apologise, I am going to make him get that damn snake out of my bag.
Professor Lansbury exited the training ring and left Ryder to me.
"Are you freaking crazy? If I got bitten then you realize I would have actually killed you?" I said, Echo walked away from me but I hadn't even noticed until -
"You would have tried, you wouldn't even be able to get close enough to me" Echo hit him over the head with a foam hand, knocking him to the ground.
“What the hell was that for?” He cried from the floor.
“I got bored and I figured no one would bat an eyelid if I hit you. Now get up and get rid of the snake” She towered over him, all of his ‘friends’ had scurried out of the room after Echo pointed to the snake.
Ryder reluctantly got up from the floor, holding his hand to his head and made his way over to the stands. I followed him but stood back as he got closer to my bag. I looked back expecting to see Echo at my side, but she was still close to the door, standing as far as she could get from the stands. He reached into my bag and pulled out a long, slimy looking snake. The snake was hissing and squirming, I wouldn’t have believed these kinds of things existed if I wasn’t looking at them right now.
“Just throw it away before it bites someone” Echo bellowed. Her crossed arms and hard eyes gave her away, she was scared of snakes.
“Relax, it isn’t poisonous” Ryder tried to comfort her, but he was completely wrong. The snake was poisonous. Echo has calmed down and was starting to walk towards me, but just as she took her fourth step, Ryder screamed a girlish scream.
“What?!” Echo Almost screamed, almost.
“The snake, it went over my hand!” He cried, hands poised in front of him as though he was going to catch a ball.
“You were holding it, what did you think was going to happen?” I said, how idiotic could one person be? Seriously.
“Ryder, where the hell is the snake now?” Echo ordered more than asked.
“I don’t know I dropped it and I-“He was cut off by Echo’s ear piercing scream. My whole body froze as I came to the realization that Echo had found the snake, or at least the snake found her.
I ran to her side and held her as she fell to the ground.