19. Going Out with a Bang
~~Ethan lowers the badge and stares at it warily. Harry and the people behind him rush down the stairs. “They lied, you don’t get 30 seconds to get away from them, as soon as you unpin it the bomb activates.” I stare at him in shock and remember the bomb going off a few minutes ago.
“How do you know this?” I ask not wanting to know the answer.
Harry takes a deep breath “James...slipped away to let his off. Harley and Joan went with him, none of them came back.” He says grimly and I feel a stab of pain. I didn’t know them well but they were still part of the team and they’re gone. I wipe this from my mind, I can morn later. Right now I need to think how we can blow the lab up without blowing ourselves up in the process.
“How big are the explosions?” I ask
“Not that big, it made a dent in the machine but it’s still working” Harry says biting his lips. The door behind us opens and I brace myself to run but I relax when I realise it’s the rest of the group. “Why haven’t you blown anything up yet? Tyler asks panting, they’ve been running.
“We don’t have a 30 second get away time” Marcus says
“Well we have to get out of here” Kestra says shutting the door and sliding the lock across. “The guards are after us. You were right; they knew exactly who was who in the group. “I let out a growl of frustration and look around at the group. They’re all looking at me waiting for my decision. I don’t know why, I’m not a leader, that’s Ethan’s job. I notice him looking at me too and when I lock eyes with him and he nods at me. I swallow and realise what he’s telling me. Just like on the riddle day and during the game of the capture the flag, he trusts that I can do it.
We all wince as we hear banging at the door and panic starts to take over me. I tell myself to calm down and ignore the noises. I take a deep breath and think about what we have. Not much. I have a gun and everyone else has a bomb that will blow up as soon as they take the pin out. I look down at my own badge and unclip it from my jumper. We’re in a lab full of chemicals. I run to the cupboard labelled ‘supplies’ and pull the door open. I scan the labels on the bottles and grab all the ones that have ‘acid’ on them then run back to the group who’re giving me strange looks. I ignore the banging on the door and hand the bottles to people. “I can’t promise this will work but it’s the best idea I have. Put your badge where you want it to explode them poor the acid on it. We can then escape through that door and hope it leads to an exit” I say and everyone odds. “Go” I say when I notice the door behind us is coming off its hinges. Harry takes a few people into the other room and the rest of us run over to the machines and put our badges on the floor. Ethan places his a few meters away from mine and I pull the top off the sulphuric acid in my hand. Please work. I think to myself then poor half the bottle onto the pin of my badge and the other half onto Ethan’s.
The pin starts sizzling and a small thrill runs through me and Ethan smiles at me. “Let’s get out of here” He says then takes my hand and we run to the door Maygen was about to lead us to earlier. I frown at the sign on it ‘conversion room’ that’s what Tessa was talking about. Harry and the others run in from the other room and run towards the door and I shove it open. They all reach us and I hold it open for everyone and check we haven’t left anyone behind then let it swing shut.
We’ve entered a room with a huge machine in it, I stare up at it and suddenly screams fill my ears. Hundreds of human screams full of pain fill the room and I put my hands over my ears to try and drown them out. “Ash what is it?” Ethan asks, he doesn’t seem to hear anything.
“Can’t you hear them?” I ask as a tear runs down my cheek, so much pain. He frowns at me and shakes his head. I look at the others and they’re all looking at me impatiently hovering by the door. I swallow and stagger forward to catch up with them. Ethan catches me in his arms and I hear the guards breaking through the door in the other room. “Go” I shout at them and they don’t hesitate before bolting out of the door. Marcus, Finn and Cody stand hesitantly in the doorway and I try to sand up but my vision is going as the screams engulf me and get louder. My head is pounding and aches far more than any hangover I’ve had. “I’ve got you” Ethan says and pulls me into his arms and starts to carry me to the door. “Leave me” I whisper to him knowing that I’m going to slow him down. “Never” He says and we reach the door way and Marcus nods at him then shuts the door and the screams stop.
I can still hear them in my head though; you can’t forget something like that quickly. Ethan starts running and follows Marcus, Cody and Finn towards the next door at the end of this corridor.
We’re too late though, the guards burst through the door and I hear bullets fly through the air and hit the wall. The door is so close now, we can still do this. All the hope drains from me as the door opens and more guards flood into the room. We’re surrounded. I want to reach inside my pocket and get my gun out but I don’t know if I have the strength to lift it. Anyway what use would one gun be against 20? I clutch Ethan’s jumper tightly when he stops and look at him, his eyes are full of panic. Marcus Cody and Finn stand with their hands in the air, defeat plastered on their faces. Hopefully the others have made it to safety but looking at the guards I don’t thinks so.
Suddenly the ground of the corridor rumbles and I hear huge bangs echoing in the air. It worked, we blew them up. I smile to myself; at least we’ll die for something. I think to myself then the pain in my head takes over and everything goes black.