I have to grip my bag of new clothes in both arms thanks to the handles snapping after loading in the jacket. Amelia apologised, saying they had to ration plastic bags, which I waved off easily. It’s not that hard.
Thanks to three trips to the tent now, one yesterday and two today, I find I can navigate my way back a little easier even with Amelia behind me. When I get confused, I simply look behind at her and she’ll direct me down the correct path.
I hid it for Eliza’s sake, but I’m quite enjoying myself. When I start thinking of my parents and how worried they probably are, I have to shove the thought aside. There’s no point anyway. We’re not going back so it’s time to make the best of a bad situation.
When we get back to the tent, Jackson is pulling on his boots and jacket.
“Where are you going?” Amelia asks, eyeing him carefully.
“Toby just came by,” he shrugs. “They’ve decided we’ll get Liliana out tonight.”
I went to the meeting earlier with Amelia so I knew they were going to rescue her, but even I’m surprised they’ll do it so soon. With no planning, how do they hope to achieve?
As if reading my thoughts, Jackson turns to Eliza and me.
“You two have to come.”
“What?” I blink at him in confusion. “Why?”
“Well, you do anyway since you know a bit of the layout. You won’t actually be on the surface. You’ll be helping Toby on the computers.”
“I know nothing about computers,” I quickly shake my head.
“Let me rephrase. Toby’s going to bring up the building sit and layout and you’ll help him navigate it so he can report to us on where to go. Got it?”
To say I’m confused is an understatement. Most people don’t trust prisoners to do these things less than 24 hours after being caught. I step back from Jackson, thinking it might be a trap.
“How come you trust me?” I narrow my eyes. “How come you trust me not to lead your people into officials?”
“I had hoped you wouldn’t ask.”
With one swift move, he pulls a gun from his jacket and points it at Eliza.
Eliza’s eyes go wide and I feel mine doing the same. I remind myself to stay calm as I assess the situation. Even Amelia looks surprised, but when I meet her eyes, she looks away.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” Jackson explains smoothly. “You will help us navigate our people in and out of that building without so much as a peep. If we get ambushed, she dies. If Toby reports anything to me, she dies. If you try anything stupid, she dies. Got that?”
I don’t even have to ponder it.
“Good. Now both all of you, go get dressed and hurry up. We don’t have time.”
I climb into the back of the truck and find myself seated across from Eliza and next to Amelia and some other guy I don’t know.
“This is Collin,” she introduces us and he pushes his glasses up his nose.
Collin hasn’t had his vaccinations it seems. His skin is close to our chocolate colour, maybe slightly lighter and his hair is oily black and cropped close to his head. His eyes are dark as well and even though I’m not attracted to him in THAT way, I find him almost beautiful.
“Hello,” I nod curtly. I’m not really in the mood since my best friend is sitting across from me with a gun pointing her way.
“Collin will be helping you and Toby with the computers,” Amelia explains as the truck shudders to a start and starts moving slowly.
“What about you?” I ask her.
“I’ll go with my dad,” she shrugs.
Eliza and I hold eye contact the whole way there. I expect her to look at me with hate, but she looks at me with desperation. I hope my eyes reflect how sorry I am.
When we come to a stop, Collin helps me jump down from the truck and I look around to see we’re in a tunnel opening, kind of like the one camp is set up, only much more smaller.
Toby, going off of his bar code number, is already there, setting up a heap of equipment. People mill around, but I can’t recognize them from one another. I hope that science geek invents that other snitch soon so I can see names.
I feel guilty over the thought. It seems I’m getting way to into this new lifestyle.
I tug on my ponytail to check it’s still in tightly and watch as Eliza steps out of the truck.
“Wait here,” Jackson instructs and leaves us with Amelia.
“I’m so sorry,” I rest my head on her shoulder as we lean against the truck.
“It’s not your fault,” she shakes her grin. “Just don’t... do something stupid. I don’t want to die.”
“Of course I wouldn’t,” I elbow her. “I wouldn’t let you die.”
A pang settles in my chest when she looks away. She doesn’t believe me?
I open my mouth to ask, but Jackson reappears with two armed personals who look exactly like him.
“This is Robert,” he gestures to the soldier on his left, “and this is Miles,” he gestures to the other. “They’ll be looking after you Eliza.”
“Okay,” she nods grimly and steps away. “Where are we going?”
“They have work to do with the lighting in one of the tunnels. Just don’t run and they won’t shoot.”
I’m allowed to hug her quickly before she’s escorted away.
“Sorry about this,” Amelia hugs me quickly, too, “but we can’t have you risking our people.”
I remind myself that they don’t yet trust me so I quickly nod my head.
“It makes sense.”
“Ready?” Toby walks up, hands in his pockets.
“Okay,” I shrug and he directs me over to a computer.
At first, I’m totally confused with the hologram. I’ve always sucked with 3D maps, so I have to stare at it for quite sometime.
Through this, Toby sighs with impatience. It’s gone quiet now. Everyone’s left, leaving me alone with Collin and Toby.
Collin sits against the wall, tapping away on some computer and occasionally talking into a mouth piece Jackson gave him to keep in contact.
Inspecting the layout from this way and that, I finally figure out where I worked that one time.
“That’s the third floor,” I point and Toby rolls his eyes.
“Well, duh! How stupid are you?”
Realising it actually hurt, Toby looks a little guilty.
“Umm… sorry. Honestly though, that was farley obvious.”
“No,” I point again. “That’s the third floor and that place there is where I worked. They closed about half an hour ago, at six and they’ll open about eight or so tomorrow.”
I point out each area as I remember.
“The basement is where they keep the equipment and the motors keep the lights running. The first floor’s where all the patients wait for assistance before being taken to the second floor where the doctors work mostly on the simple stuff like cuts and broken bones. On the fourth, they have the surgery theatres and on the fifth, they have the wards where the people are kept overnight. On the sixth, they have the female dormitories for the girls who are having abortions and on the final floor,” I point to the top, “they have the final room where all abortions are conducted.”
Toby stays quiet, so feeling a little more confident, I got into more detail.
“Elevators run all throughout the hospital and are the main way of getting to and from floors. However, there are stairs running at each end of the building.”
I point them out, even though the hologram doesn’t really show them.
“The stairs on the right end are only for the workers such as the nurses and doctors. Patients and visitors use the left set.”
“How come the doctors get a separate set of stairs?”
That, I can’t answer and I bite my lip, feeling guilty. If they kill Eliza for this, I’ll them.
“I don’t know,” I admit.
Toby nods before speaking hurriedly into his mouth piece.
“Glasses are a go!”
I turn to Collin whose eyes scan the screen of his laptop.
“Okay,” Toby tosses the mouth piece aside and turns in his chair to look at us both. “They’ve just left the tunnel and are now heading towards the building.”
“I can see,” Collin grins proudly and Toby sighs in annoyance. “What? It’s going to help loads.”
Not sure if I’m meant to, I slowly approach Collin and sit down next to him with my back to the world.
It’s like a camera, I realise. I see the town, my home, passing by as the group makes their way down the streets. People look at them weirdly, but don’t seem to give another thought. You’d have to look hard to see something wrong.
“There!” I point at the screen when I spot the hospital. “That’s it there!”
“I can see,” Collin grins back and I blush. Toby huffs and I look to see he’s glancing between Collin and me with a frown. I shove the idiot from my mind.
The screen shifts around and I realise they’re looking to see if anyone is watching before suddenly darting towards the building and flattening themselves against the ground.
I don’t remember much about the outside of the building, but when I spot the small grate in the building’s wall, I point it out quickly.
“They could climb through that if they could fit. It should lead to the basement, I think. I’m not actually sure. I just remember seeing it.”
Toby reports it into the mouth piece and I see a few people break off from the group to try and pull it out.
I’m thinking, maybe, just maybe it’ll work when I hear a loud bang, something I’ve heard before but can’t remember where.
“What was that?” I look around in confusion as the noise echoes.
Toby’s staring at me, mouth open.
“What?” I ask with a frown.
“They shouldn’t have.. Nothing happened.. You didn’t do anything..”
“What?” I quickly climb to my feet. “What was that noise?”
He runs his hands through his hair and takes a deep breath.
“A gun shot.”