I roll my eyes at the stupidity of my two guards. Even I wouldn’t attempt to shoot a rat in a tunnel where a bullet could easily ricochet.
Sitting down on the cold floor against the tunnel wall, I watch as Robert and Miles, I don’t know which is who, alternate between shooting innocent rats and muddle with a light on the roof.
If I wanted to, I probably could escape the idiots, but I decide against it since they’ll probably shoot Alice if I did.
I know I’m not her number one pal right now, but even I don’t want her dead.
I look up to see one holding a gun out to me and immediately recoil.
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not going to shoot you. Just wanted to know if you could try and take down a few rats.”
“Do you want to shoot rats?”
No is my immediate thought, but I’ve never held a gun before and even thought I know I shouldn’t, I find it quite beautiful in the torch light.
I also said I would never attempt to shoot anything in a tunnel, but how could I not when the offer is presented?
I scoot forward and take the shiny contraption from his hand, testing the weight in my own.
It’s cold, sleek and oily black. I run my finger over the barrel, but am careful not to stick a finger into it. I tap the trigger, trying to figure out how such a beautiful object could do so much damage.
“So here’s what you want to do,” the guy jumps off of the ladder and moves to me side.
To close, in fact.
I bite my lip and hold my ground.
He points out the different parts of the gun, telling me what each one does. He also explains that no, he is not an idiot and did not load the gun with real bullets, just little pellet things that sting, but don’t penetrate.
I relax during he’s teaching and try to memorise what he says. The other soldier, who’s using his screwdriver to fit something into place, also listens with a small smile.
“Just quickly,” I interrupt, “but which of you is which?”
“He’s Robert,” my teacher points. “I’m Miles.”
“You can always tell which is which,” Robert speaks up, “by their ability to obey orders.”
“What’s that meant to mean?” Miles glares.
“Oh I don’t know. Maybe the fact we’re meant to be fixing the lighting and you’re teaching our prisoner how to fire a gun. The logic fails me.”
I giggle at their little argument and point the gun experimentally at the wall across from me, trying to figure out how they can hit targets so easily.
Mile’s sees what I’m doing and steps behind me before putting his arms around me to show me how to hold the gun properly.
Usually, I’m not very comfortable around older men or even young ones. The fact he’s my guard and could shoot me at any time also makes me feel jittery, but not nearly as much as it should. Even though he must be in his late thirties at least, there’s something childish about him.
“So you clasp this with this hand,” he directs me, “as well as your other. If you don’t have a firm hold, it could kick back and you’ll hurt yourself.”
I listen to what he says and he nods.
“Stand with you feet a part, yes like that, and face your target right on.”
I imagine a bulls-eye appearing on the wall and square my shoulders at it.
“Now take the safety switch off,” he shows me how and I slowly click it off. “Now very carefully, squeeze the trigger.”
Remember what I said about ricochet? Well, all thoughts of that went out my mind as I stupidly pulled the trigger at the tunnel wall.
I, myself, quickly dropped to my knees and pressed myself to the ground, but Miles was not so lucky.
He swears loudly and his hand flies to his behind as he limps in circles.
“You freaking shot me!” he glares at me and clutches his butt. “In the arse, too.”
I slowly sit up, trying not to laugh.
“I’m so sorry. I honestly forgot about the whole ricochet thing.”
“Don’t be sorry,” Robert rolls his eyes as he casually climbs down the ladder, not even bothering to rush to his friend’s aid. “The idiot should have thought of that before you.”
We all look up at the stomping of footsteps, Robert and Miles drawing their guns.
“Get behind us,” they hiss and I quickly obey.
Three people run into view, a girl and two guys, close behind. As they get closer, I recognize the kid with glasses from the truck and quickly step back around my guards.
She barrels into me, practically knocking me over. She’s crying and I quickly pull back from her way-to-tight embrace.
“Dude, what’s wrong?”
“We heard a gun shot,” Toby glares at my guards who shuffle from foot to foot.
“Oh,” I laugh weakly. “I’m okay, Alice. We were just...”
“No time for this now,” Toby grabs Alice’s hand and tugs her away. “You had one freaking job, Alice. All you had to do was sit there.”
“I thought she was dead,” she hisses, “and so did you. I saw the look on your face so don’t deny it.”
“When I say to stay,” he leans in close, practically touching his nose to hers, “you stay, got it? Now, come on. Anything could be going on.”
“You didn’t have to follow me,” she jerks out of his reach as the head back down the tunnel. “I was only going to check.”
“That’s what they all freaking say.”
I turn on my two guards who look sheepish.
“You got that right,” Miles snorts and returns his gun to his jacket.
“Come on,” Robert rolls his eyes. “If we don’t get this light fixed, we’ll be in for it even more.”
I sit back down against the wall with a smile and close my eyes for a short nap.
Robert and Miles lead me back t the place where everyone left from when the recuse mission started. Just like before, I see, the place is filled with people buzzing around frantically. Robert and Miles nod when I ask if I can look for Alice and I start the search.
When I find her, she’s sitting against the wall with that Collin geek. They’re peering into a screen, exchanging words with frowns.
“Hey,” I approach them and they jerk their heads up. “Relax. It’s just me.”
Alice pats the ground beside her and I quickly sit, looking over at the screen.
Alice explains to me, in a quiet voice, about some sort of glasses that allowed them to view what the person wearing them could.
“I thought they were coming back?” I frowned as I watch the screen where people run in every direction.
“They are. The glasses fell off on their escape back.”
“So this,” I point at the screen, “is what’s going on at the Hospital now, right?”
“Yes,” she says grimly. “This is the first floor, too.”
I watch as government officials run this way and that, dressed in heavy armour and carrying shot guns.
“How did they find out?”
“An alarm,” Collin answers for Alice. “One we didn’t realize existed.”
“Explain,” I shake my head, confused.
“Apparently the girls dormitories have an alarm that goes off when the girl leaves her room,” Alice bites her lip, looking sick. “They must inject a sort of chip or something to track the girl’s movements.”
“They got that Liliana girl out, right?”
“They did, but only just,” Alice nods her head. “They lost a man or two.”
My blood freezes a little.
“What do you mean, lost? Like, shot?”
“No, no,” Collin laughs dryly. “They were captured.”
“Oh crap,” I close my eyes with a sigh. “They’ll torture them, won’t they.”
“More than likely,” Collin taps away on his laptop and the screen goes dark. “It’s the most effective way of getting information.”
“Do you know who was captured?”
“Not yet,” Alice stands up, pulling me with her. “The main team just entered the tunnel. They should be here any minute now.”
We wait against the wall as the cavern fills with more and more people. At one stage, a random yells for everyone to clear the space to allow a truck to come through.
Alice and I press ourselves against the tunnel wall as the people press into us and I do my best not to feel claustrophobic once again.
“It’s them!” someone yells as the truck rumbles into view. “Get the medical team ready!”
Alice and I stay in place, watching the scene unfold.
The back of the truck is opened and two men step out, holding a girl between them who’s dressed in a knee length nightgown. Her head rolls to the side as they lower her onto the cot and they quickly push it out of view.
I can’t tell who’s who since the whole team looks the same, but I’m guessing it’s Carmen who follows behind the gurney, shaking her hands out as she looks around nervously. The room hums with the sound of chatter and I feel a head ache on the verge of appearing. Most of the people at our school don’t talk this loud even though there are more of them.
Eventually, someone yells for everyone to be quiet and all sound comes to a stop.
“This is Commander Jackson for those that can’t tell who I am,” the same person says loudly and I relax.
Even though he was going to shoot me, I don’t want Jackson dead. Besides, what would Amelia do without her dad or her mum?
“We managed to get Liliana out unharmed,” he states and everyone cheers before quietening again, “but not at the cost of two of our people.”
“Who was it?” a random close to Alice and I yells out.
“Rowan,” Jackson takes a deep breath as does the rest of the room, “and Shane.”