Hotter Than Fire

**Darkest Minds Fanfiction**
Tamarin is twelve years old when his little sister Chamberly is taken away by soldiers in black. Several inexplicable things happen that day, including explosions and unexplained fires. Six years later, now 16, Tam begins to understand everything that's happened. He discovers his identity as a red. Attempting to survive, he searches for Chamberly- joining up with some interesting allies along the way.


14. Camp

    I’m woken by a sharp slap to the back of my head. I jerk upright, and see the Bloodhound standing over me. “Get up, boy.”

    Kia is already awake, and outside the vehicle waiting for me. The look on her face isn’t very encouraging, but she does her best to smile at me. I smile back, but the smile falls when I see where we are.

    The entire compound is massive. Grey walls stretch ahead of me, topped with barbed wire. There’s a single gate, that’s heavily guarded. I can see buildings beyond, but the entire area looks lifeless and dead. The Bloodhound is already moving away, talking with the guards at the gate. They’re soldiers in dark black uniforms. Like the ones that took Chamberly away from me so long ago.

    I want to turn and run. All my instincts are screaming at me to get out of there. But there are too many guards- too many eyes on Kia and I. If we try to escape, we won’t make it more than ten paces before we’re shot. I can’t believe Kia would actually risk her life for me.

    I meet eyes with her. Her expression tells me that she’s willing. All I have to do is give her the word. But I shake my head quickly. Don’t do it. They’ll kill both of us.

    I can see in Kia’s eyes that she thinks they’ll kill us anyways. But she’s willing to listen to me. She believes I have a better plan, and is willing to follow it. Poor innocent, trusting Kia…

    The soldiers and the Bloodhound approach us. One of them holds a scanner to Kia, and lets out a quiet noise of surprise.

    “This one’s an escapee.” He’s male, with a deep voice. He studies Kia with an amused look. “Didn’t expect to find yourself back, did you?”

    Kia doesn’t answer. She keeps her eyes on the ground, and I can see how tense she is. It must be taking all her willpower not to run.

    The man’s eyes turn to me. Unlike Kia, I don’t look away.

    “This one has no registration,” he remarks. “He’s old. What’s his color?”

    “Red,” the Bloodhound replies. “He should be a valuable score, if he’s worth the trouble.”

    The soldier nods. “It’ll be worth your while.” He slaps a wad of cash into her hand. She turns away and reenters the car, peeling off with a cloud of dust that blinds me. I feel a hand grab my arm, and one of the guards shoves me over next to Kia. I gently touch my arm to hers, to say I’m here. She keeps her eyes on the ground. I can feel her trembling, and anger surges through me.

    The soldier approaches us. “Take the girl to bunk 5. I’ll take the boy.”

    One of them goes to take Kia, and I step forwards. Almost instantly several guns are up, trained on my chest. They really are afraid of me. “I stay with her,” I say calmly.

    The soldier steps forwards, grabbing the collar of my shirt. He yanks me forwards, so that our faces are inches apart.

    “Listen to me, boy,” he says quietly. “I don’t know where you came from, and I don’t really care. Maybe where you’re from they let you talk back. But here, you don’t talk back unless you want to get hurt. You do what we say, when we say it. No backtalk. No response unless we ask for one. See that girl?” He jerks his head at Kia, who flinches. “She knows how to behave. Take a note from her.”

    “I stay with her,” I growl softly. I’m not going to let anybody talk down to me like that. I can’t let myself be pushed around so easily.

    The soldier studies me. There is no fear in his eyes. There is nothing but contempt. Then, without warning, he rams a fist into my gut. The air goes out my lungs, and I double over, gasping. He follows up with a sharp blow to my shoulder blades. I hit the ground, still struggling to regain my breath. I look up, and see him standing above me. There is no emotion in his eyes. Just disdain. Not even anger. Like this is just a routine. Like he would hit me again, and not care.

    He sees me looking, and presses a boot to the back of my head, pushing my face down into the ground. From above, I hear his voice.

    “Now in a moment I’m going to let you up, and you’re going to agree to behave. Otherwise, things are going to get ugly.” His boot comes off of my face, and he hauls me to my feet. I spit dirt out of my mouth, my mind blank with anger. But then I see the look on Kia’s face. She begging me with her eyes, telling me not to fight. Slowly, I grit my teeth, and nod once. That’s all I can force myself to do. Any more than that, and I’m afraid that my spirit will just shatter like glass.

    The soldier nods, and grabs my arm, guiding me inside the prison. Another takes Kia, and drags her away. She won’t meet my eyes anymore, and I wonder if this is the last time I’ll ever see her.

    They pull me inside a large building that looks like a medical center. I am guided through countless halls with metal doors. From inside one of them, I hear soft sobs. I shudder, and wonder what’s going to happen to me. Kia said they were going to kill me. But if that’s the case, where are we going? Surely they don’t need to bring me somewhere to kill me.

    We reach an empty metal room. In the center is a single chair. The soldier gestures to it.

    “Sit down.”

    “What will happen if I do?”

    The soldier draws a gun and lightly taps it against the side of my head. “I believe we already discussed what would happen to you if you talked back. Sit.”

    I hate obeying. It goes entirely against my nature. But I know that they’ll hurt me if I don’t obey. So I sit. The soldier uncuffs my hands, and then produces a new set, locking my wrists to the sides of the chair. He reaches and pulls out a radio. Remembering the horrible sound the stereos had produced when they had captured Kia, I flinch. But he speaks calmly into it.

    “We’ve got a red in room 2A. Call someone in to pick him up.” He pauses. “Yep. Came in with the blue girl. No. No, we haven’t.” Another pause. “How long?” This time the soldier curses. “Signals are down? I swear, those yellows… find who did it and shoot them. I don’t care if they’re valuable, if one of them is getting rebellious, they’re dangerous.” He clicks the radio off, and turns to look at me. “Wait here, boy. Someone will be coming soon.”

    He turns away and leaves the room, slamming the door hard enough to make my ears ring. I watch him go, and then let out a soft sigh, dropping my head to my chest. Slowly, the reality of my situation catches up with me. I’m alone. Kia is gone. I sent Amaranth away. Chamberly could be dead, or lost, and now I’m a prisoner too. What I always warned myself about. And now there is no one left to save any of us.

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