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Pen Your Pride

Bullets.

Knives.

Arrows.

Terror.

My feet pounded the tile floors that were splattered with indistinguishable red substances. My heart raced. My lungs burned. My throat was ragged and raw. With Carter to my left, Sam to my right, and Ezra leading the way, we plunged head-first into the chaos.

Screams.

Agony.

Fire.

I don't stop. We don't stop. We make kills on the run. Never pausing. Never halting once one of our own falls. That is the hardest part. When a Disloyal drops, we couldn't even pay our respects. It had to be in our heads.

Slicing.

Puncturing.

Stabbing.

The boys and I narrowly escape death. A bullet grazed my forehead. Carter had to be saved from the clutches of an enormous man.

Broken.

Bleeding.

Shattered.

We were mangled. Sam's back was bleeding profusely. Ezra's paw was injured. Carter had taken a bullet to the foot in a misfire. Still, we kept running.

And we kept running.

Suddenly, we reached the big metal doors. The big metal doors that we knew signaled the end. The end of our adventure. The end of this war. If we could get inside, we could solve all of the problems. All of the dysfunctional parts to what should be a well-oiled society.

Carter motions to our small faction. We line ourselves up against the wall, barely avoiding the surrounding disarray. He fires two shots at the lock, kicks with his good foot, and the boys swarm into Lynch's office.

My Disloyals grab positions in the corners and train their firearms on the big plush chair behind the desk. Slowly, Lynch turns himself around and finds my eyes instantly, like he knew exactly where I was. A malign sneer splits his face.

My hair stood on end and my palms started sweating. A momentary flashback brings me to the times him and his partisans abused me. The times he was responsible for the death of the people I loved. My parents. Kaleb Underworth. Aaron. I tense up, something I told myself I'd never do in the presence of this man. I began shaking, but never removed my eyes from his.

Casually, he ignores the cross-hairs and makes this encounter personal. Between him and I. All this time, we never had a confrontation in which I wasn't detained. I had hoped seeing me capable would intimidate him in the least, but it hadn't. Why? That was the question. We had him. He was unarmed. Undefended. He had no allies in sight. He was trapped. But he was calm and collected. He wasn't showing any emotions besides the fact that he seemed thoroughly pleased. Pleased with what? Me? The Disloyals? Not hardly. The Fire? No. They had left him alone. Stuck in his office. Awaiting certain demise. That only leaves himself. He was pleased with himself. These thoughts solidify when he tells me with a smile, "I knew it. I knew this is how it would happen."

I didn't give him any more time to say anything. There was no one to save him, and his time had long been expired.

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