Sector 9

What would you do if you found out your whole life was a lie?


4. Chapter 4: James

May 18th

    A sharp tap woke me from my rest. In the moonlight, a shadow flitted across my wall, blocking the silvery light that trickled from my window. My heart began to murmur, and I scanned my room for an intruder.

    The tap came again, more urgent this time, and I snapped my head around. The window. Of course. Maddy always came through the window. I scrambled out of bed, slipping one of my sweatshirts over my head. In the dark, my fingers found the window latch, and I lifted the window.

    Without waiting for an invitation, Maddy swung into my room, landing with almost no sound. I raised my eyebrows at her, but she put her finger to my lips before I could speak.

    “Close the window!” She breathed into my ear, pulling a small silver hologram projector from her pocket. Regular people weren't supplied with those: she had stolen it. I slipped to the window, closing it as softly as I could. From across the hall, my sister snored loudly.

    When I turned, Maddy was sitting on my bed, out of sight of the window and the door, cloaked in shadows.

    “James!” She hissed, patting the area next to her. “I have to show you something!” I made my way over to her, grumbling.

    “It couldn't wait until morning?”

    “No. It’s urgent.” I had never seen Maddy so serious. She stroked the projector, and a small hologram burst from its screen. It was unmistakably security footage, most likely from the news. It showed the school representative from Sector 4, who appeared to be reciting curriculums.  Maddy paused the hologram with a wave of her hand, and pointed to the corner of it. I saw a small blur of white in the background, distinctly human shape. I knit my eyebrows together, and Maddy resumed the clip.

    The woman on the hologram stopped her speech. Turning to her side. With another wave of her hand, Maddy muted the holo, just as the woman opened her mouth, frozen with a silent scream.

    Then it happened.

    Maddy slammed a pillow over my mouth before I could yell in fright. A figure stood in front of the camera, dripping drool and deranged. And in its mouth…

    Maddy shut off the holo.

    ¨I was the only one who saw, besides Donovan. That was a person, James. A person. The Enforcers are going to notice. If they know that I saw, they might-¨

    ¨Maddy!¨ I interjected, shushing her. ¨Itś ok. I won't let them. How are they going to find out that you saw it, anyway?¨

    ¨They have holotracers, James. I heard my parents talking about it. They will know! But that isn't important: that thing is loose in Ipsum! Where did it even come from?¨

    “I don't know, Maddy, but you need to rest. I will take you home.” I said, beginning to lace up my shoes.

    “I told Donovan we would meet him. He went to Zoe’s house to warn her. We agreed on meeting on the train tracks between sector 5 and 6, in the blind spot.” I looked at her with surprise.

“Maddy, are you insane?” I choked, sitting up. “How on earth are we going to get there without being noticed? Sneaking through the sectors when it’s dark is one thing, but the train stations are always lit up and motion monitored!” Maddy rolled her eyes.

“Stop being such a good child, James! And, please, like I don't have any tricks up my sleeve. C’mon.” She turned, leaping out the window with surprising agility, leaving me no choice but to follow her.

I arrived, breathless, on the lawn below my house.

“Are you sure they don't monitor the sectors at night?” I gasped, flicking my eyes at the cameras on the street corners.

“Not on Wednesdays or Fridays. Stop being such a pansy.”

“Maddy, it’s tuesday!” I squeaked, flipping my grey hat onto my head, pulling it low over my eyes.

“That’s not going to do anything, James. The monitors can identify you without being able to see your face by using heat patterns and body shape.”

“How do you know all this?” I asked, pushing my hat out of my eyes. Maddy didn't reply, but instead slid into the shadows between my neighbors houses, slowly making her way towards the train station. I walked as quietly as I could behind her, scared to ask questions in case I alerted the cameras to our presence. When we were almost a unit away from the train station, Maddy sprinted across the street into the bush garden on the other side, leaping into their depths, disappearing behind a hedge.

I stood, terrified, on the other side of the street, staring at the spot where Maddy had disappeared. What if an Enforcer happened down the street, armed with a restrainment drone and a pair of noisy, shining black boots?

The bushes trembled, and Maddy poked her hand out of their safe haven, motioning to me. Wasting no time, I sprinted across the rode, diving into the bushes.

“We can't talk now. The cameras have microphones. Just do as I do. No hesitation.” Without waiting for my reply, she began to crawl on her stomach through the bushes. I crawled after her, wondering what I will say to my mother tomorrow at all the dirt on the front of my shirt and pants. Maddy and I emerged from the bushes, and Maddy began to roll towards the large concrete fountain in the middle of the garden. She paused at it’s side, waiting for me.

I met her at it’s side. She turned looking at me without fear in her gaze. I could feel the bravery radiating from her body, and it gave me strength enough to smile at her. She smiled back, hooking her finger in the collar of my shirt. I looked at her with confusion, then, without warning, she flipped over the side of the fountain, pulling me after her.

It took all my strength to refrain from gasping at the cold. The fountain was

Nearly frozen, or so it felt. I had never realized that the fountain was so deep. If I was standing, it would be at my waist. I surfaced, trying not to breathe too loudly.

    ‘“Listen,” Said Maddy, ducking low in the water so only her head was above. She trembled in the cold. “This will suck the heat out of our bodies. According to Donovan, it should last us about three minutes before we heat up enough for the cameras to see us. Two  if we are running.” I nodded, then dunked my body back under the water again.

    “On my count,” I whispered, my hands shaking violently. “One… two… three… four…!” Maddy and I burst from the fountain, streaking through the bushes towards the train station.

    After around a minute of running, the light of the train station illuminated my way. Without hesitation, Maddy launched herself onto the loading dock, planting her foot on the waiting bench and sailing over the protective fence, rolling smoothly onto the train tracks. I followed her, but overestimated my jump, and fell when I landed. Maddy helped me up, pulling me by the hand into the shadows.

    “You’ve done this before.” I said, wringing out my jacket.

    “How did you know?” She joked, rubbing her arms for warmth. Then, she froze. I stiffened, hearing the sound too.

    A slight clopping echoed in the train chamber. I seized Maddy, pulling us both flat against the train chamber just as two figures rounded the corner. Beside me, Maddy sighed.

    “Donovan!” She hissed, stepping into the light. “Over here!”

    “Why is Donovan wearing Enforcer boots?” I demanded. “And why aren't they soaked to the bone?”

    “My dad only had one pair. The monitors ignore anyone wearing enforcer boots, and anyone they have with them.”

    “Lucky them.” I muttered, stomping my feet for warmth.

    “Hey guys,” Whispered Donovan, holding Zoe by the hand. “Zoe says that her brother can get us backpacks from sector 4!”

    “Backpacks?” I asked, puzzled. “Why on earth would we need backpacks?”

    “For the journey there, of course.” Said Zoe, rolling her eyes like I was the dumbest person ever.

    “The journey to where?” I demanded, looking around.

    “You didn't tell him?” Asked Zoe, pushing her strawberry blonde hair out of her face.

    “You know he wouldn't take that news well.”
    What news!?” I begged, looking at Donovan with pleading eyes.

    “I think Maddy should tell you.” He whispered, looking at his feet, like he always did when he was nervous. I whirled on Maddy expectantly.

    “James…” She pleaded, biting her lip. “Just hear me out. I didn't tell you before because I knew you wouldn't want to leave your sister unless you knew the facts.”

    “Leave my sister? Why in the name of Ipsum would I leave Nora?”

    “Well,” She continued, almost too quiet to hear. “It’s not just Nora you would have to leave. It’s everyone I guess, except us three.”

    Why?” I growled, glaring at her.

    “James… Donovan, Zoe and I have to leave Ipsum before the Enforcers find out that we saw the news. We are going to The Wander.”





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