"Whooh!" I let out a thrilling scream as we rush through the woods, now downgraded from its green beauty to a blur of brownish-green color.
My heart soars in excitement, fear not striking me yet. If this is what it feels like to fly, then I want more. Nearly forgetting that a thousand Screeners could be tracking our movements, I laugh out loud.
"Hang in there, Hannah," Peyton laughs through my helmet. "This thing can go higher and faster if it wants to."
"It's Holland," I remind her with a smile, "and we can go faster than this?"
"Of course! It already mapped out the terrain, so it knows where to go all by itself."
"Impressive," I comment, twisting my fingers around my seat belts. The wind whips so hard at my face that I can barely move my neck. The back of my head presses stiffly against the headrest, and I add another thought to our conversation. "So can this MaticBike crash?"
"Yup," Peyton says, "if it malfunctions somehow."
Peyton twists her right hand on the handle bars, and the Bike picks up speed. My back is tossed against the seat and released when I adjust to the speed. We weave in between trees faster than ever, so fast that I can hardly believe it. I silently hope that the Screeners don't own vehicles this speedy. We will never make it out of the woods if they do.
I press the thought out of my mind. We don't need the Screeners catching up with us. Ever.
Peyton and I ride for a while without speaking. The wind ruffles my jumpsuit sleeves, and before I know it, my skin is shivering. My fingers suddenly feel chilly, like they're going to fall off as we rise higher above the ground. I glance down at my lap, realizing my hands are tightly wrapped around the sides of my seat.
As our trio of MaticBikes rips through the treeline, Peyton explains where we're going. "The Camps are approximately 50 miles from here, hidden in the forest. I'm dying to explain more to you, but I was instructed not to do so."
She laughs in her mic, taunting me with her all-knowing attitude. "Sorry, Holligans."
"Holland," I tell her with a grin. "It's really not a difficult name."
"Well, I've never met a Holland before."
"It is a rare name," I begin to explain, "but I really can't reveal any more about its origin until I know more about the Camps."
Peyton smiles into her mic, sending a muffled sound into my ear. My manipulation tactic doesn't work. "I'm sworn to utter secrecy. My lips are sealed," she says.
"More like padlocked and rigged with explosives," I mutter sarcastically, earning another laugh.
"But I will warn you, Holland," Peyton says, "You might be surprised by what you see."
"Why? Like what?"
"Like the fact that the Camps are filled with people who aren't under any government regulations. There are no Screeners or apartments or SkyTrains."
"Okay, yeah," I say calmly. Even though I can't imagine a settlement without SkyTrains, I withhold a reply.
We ride through the forest for another 20 minutes before Peyton begins to slow down the Matic Bike, or rather, the Bike slows itself down. Each tree begins to re-clarify as we approach a dome of black metal. The sun lightens the grim-looking dome, also casting golden rays on our red outfits.
Our Bikes coast smoothly as they touch the ground again. Peyton skids the toes of her boots while we land, stalling the speed. Tanner, just yards ahead of us, is the first person to enter the dome structure. An entranceway reveals itself as a door slides upward. Our small group of Screeners rides through the passageway, and we're released into a slim room not much bigger than my old apartment. A few people dressed like Screeners take our Bikes as we step off them, rolling them out of sight. The entrance door rolls shut soon after, leaving the area dimly lit by blue-white fluorescent tubes suspended from the ceiling.
Before I get a good view of the black room, hands begin to unzip my outfit and shed my red Screener gear. A warm hand guides me out of my jumpsuit, leaving me with helmet hair and wrinkled clothing. I straighten my clothing and smoothen my hair.
The woman folding my jumpsuit looks straight into my eyes, and I smile, not knowing what else to do. Her dark eyes blink open in a wide surprise. I can't explain the weird look, so I glance away from her.
Wow, I must really look like a mess, I think to myself.
With a slight thank-you nod, Tanner leads us deeper into the dome. We pass through a manual door, and as the wide-eyed woman opens it, she stares at me with hawk eyes. I shift away from her, avoiding eye contact.
Following Tanner down a hallway, I notice the space is lit by hologram-spewing devices attached to each dark doorway. The bright blue glow of the devices illuminate the hall perfectly, though it's still kind of dark.
Tanner unlocks two adjacent rooms with a 360-degree face scan of himself. I watch closely as the holographic grid washes over his face. When both rooms unlock, Tanner points to one of the doorways. "Holland, you're in this room. Stephen, you're over there. You'll find out all the information you need to know inside."
I nod, biting my lip to keep from vomiting a billion questions. I want so badly to distrust Tanner and his suspicious motives, but I can't. The overabundant darkness sets my off my danger alarms, but my instincts can't agree on whether to relax or tense.
So I step into the room without a pang of my nerves. The door closes behind me, dropping me into a pit of darkness before blue grids brighten the room. The three waves of holographic grids scan my body.
"Oh, and one more thing," Tanner says from the doorway. "Welcome to a new part of the Enhancement Project."
-- -- -- -- --
unedited, so i apologize! haha, i was performing in a musical (Aida) so no harassing me for procrastinating!
but your welcome in advanced for leaving you that final line spoken eerily by tanner ;)
i haven't used either of your commented question choices from the last chapter, but they're coming soon (probably next update). so for now i'm going to ask some fun question:
Question: Should the true meaning of an Equinox be revealed or kept a secret? Yes or No.
Question Part Two: Should the wide-eyes woman reappear? Yes or No.
Follow-up Question: Comment your all-time favorite male and female names.
YOU ARE READING
Welcome to the nation. Welcome to the place where everything is monitored... everything is portioned... everything is perfectly under control... Everything except the SkyTrain Holland Renner was aboard. In a matter of seconds, Holland finds herself...