I open my eyes as soon as I wake up. My head throbs even worse as I encounter light, but I quickly shake the fogginess out of my brain and sit up.
The room’s completely filled with people and every single one is staring at me. I consider pushing myself into the corner, but I refuse to look weak.
When I find the guy who hit me with a shovel, I’ll kill him.
My eyes zone in on a girl sitting at the table with her hands handcuffed behind her back.
She opens her mouth and lets out a loud whistle.
For once, I’m actually glad for our communication system.
I go to stand up, but the guy sitting next to Alice jumps up to shove me back down.
“I wouldn’t stand up if I were you. Though I’m not positive, I think you have a concussion.”
“Don’t touch me,” I shove him away.
“Hello Eliza,” an old man walks over to my cot. “My name’s Shane.”
I bite my lip and look at Alice. It’s the old man we were spying on before.
“Sorry that Toby knocked you out,” Shane nods to the guy who shoved me down and I glare at him.
“Why would you do that? I would have followed you wherever you wanted us to go.”
Toby looks at me a little dumbfounded. When I get him alone, he’ll look even more shocked, that’s for sure.
“Sorry,” another man approaches the bed, “but we have to take certain measures of protection.”
He holds up handcuffs and my breath stops short in my chest. What will they do to me?
Alice goes to stand up, but an older woman, maybe even the one from before, points a gun at her.
“What did I tell you?” she hisses.
I meet Alice’s eyes as my hands are handcuffed and even though I’ll never admit it allowed, I’m glad she’s trying to calm me.
“Okay,” Shane claps his hands together. “I’ll introduce a few people and then we’ll get started again, okay?”
He doesn’t wait for an answer.
“This young man, the one who knocked you out, is Toby and the older woman there is his mother, Carmen. This is Jackson,” he nods towards the middle aged man who handcuffed me.
“Umm... Nice to meet you.”
“Besides these three and me, no one else really matters.”
“Oh thanks,” a girl scoffs in the corner.
“Sorry Amelia. I’m trying to be quick here.”
“What are we doing here?”
My question is directed to Alice, but Toby answers it for her.
“We can’t exactly let you both go since you’ll probably spread around what you heard.”
“What if we promised not to?” I ask meekly. I refuse to die down here.
“Don’t embarrass yourself,” he chuckles.
“So you’re going to kill us, right?” Alice asks.
“Of course not,” Shane looks horrified. “We can figure something out.”
“Like what?” Carmen crosses her arms and glares at me. “The last time we let one go, the group got blown up. Are we really going to risk that again?”
“No,” another man standing behind Alice speaks up. “We can always track them.”
“Okay,” I huff out air. “Now I would rather die than have you guys stalking me.”
“They could always convert?” Amelia shoves away from the wall. “That’s what I did, remember?”
“You were different,” Jackson sits down next to me. “You’re my daughter so of course you were trusted.”
“Can I ask something?” Alice asks from the table.
“May as well,” Shane waves his hand for her to continue.
“What exactly would we be converting to?”
The room goes silent and turns on Shane. He shakes his head.
“We can’t tell you that.”
“So you expect us to convert to something we don’t even know?” I chuckle without humour.
“I say we shoot them,” Carmen points her gun at the roof. “It’s quick, easy and no one in this group will be in danger.”
“No one will be dying under my watch,” Shane glares at her.
“Let’s just take them prisoner,” Toby huffs and sits back down next to Alice. I see her cringe away. Looks like her crush no longer exists. “We don’t want to convert them and we don’t want to let them go. Shane refuses to shoot them, which I agree with, so that leaves us with simply taking them prisoner.”
Alice shoots me a panicked look and I whisper to her to stay calm. We’ll figure something out.
“It’s logical,” Amelia nods her head. “I mean, sure it sucks, but who knows? They might even like what we do.”
Alice looks absolutely horrified and I can see the tears welling up.
“Alice,” I whisper, but she can’t hear me.
“I think it’s probably our best choice,” Shane nods solemnly. “It’s the safest thing for all of us.”
“Will you let us say goodbye?” Alice looks at him, tears streaming down her face. “In some way, can we please say goodbye to our parents?”
“No,” Carmen mutters just as Toby says,
The two glare at each other.
“If we can figure something out, it should be okay,” Jackson nods next to me. “It isn’t fare to leave them in the dark.”
“So I think we can say the matter is settled?” Shane asks as he looks around the room. “Let’s take a vote.”
“All in favour of converting the girls, raise your hand,” Toby instructs.
No hands rise.
“All in favour of letting them go, raise your hand.”
No hands rise.
“All in favour of killing them, raise your hand.”
Carmen raises hers and I glare at her. She sneers back.
“All in favour of kidnapping them, raise your hand.”
Every hand shoots up in the air besides Carmen’s and even though this really sucks, I can’t help but feel snug.
Take that, you cow.
I’m pulled to my feet by Jackson and Shane while Amelia and Toby take Alice by the arms.
“Are we leaving already?” I hear her ask Amelia.
“Yeah. We stayed overtime and the rest of the group will be worried.”
“The rest?” I ask as we’re pulled from the room. “How many of you are there?”
“Oh, I’m not sure,” Toby screws his face up in thought. “Maybe a few hundred?”
I stumble and Jackson tightens his grip on my arm.
For some reason, I find his presence comforting.
“Do we get to know what your group does?” I ask him as we head around the tunnels corner. “Or are we still in the dark?”
“You ask a lot of questions,” he chuckles and I see Shane smile, too. “Maybe soon. We still have to alert everyone else about this.”
“Then, I guess, you can join our forces.”