Chapter Thirteen

9 0 0

I put all my attention into the plumbing, tracing the paths of water along the corner of the wall. There are two sets of pipes. One thicker pipe, which carries large masses of water, and another pipe that runs the opposite direction, which doesn't feel quite as right as the rest of the pipes, and leads to the rooms we're supposed to enter.

That thicker pipe is what I need.

I concentrate on the one nearest to me and push my desire into making the water reroute itself from going the usual path to exiting through a streamlined hole in the wall next to one of the agents.

The pipe ruptures across the entire line of the wall with an impressive whumph. Water slams the inside of the wall, filling the inside cavities, and then slowly trickles out from under metallic molding at the base of the floor.

That didn't quite go as planned.

"Uh..." I clear my throat. "Someone else want to give it a try?"

Everyone stares at the growing puddle of water on the floor, more perplexed than anything else. Apparently I make a better distraction than a threat. The agent closest to me sighs and shakes his head. "Amateurs." He closes his hand in a fist and starts toward me.

My heart pounds against my ribs. If he takes me on in a one-on-one fight, I'm going to be locked inside one of those cleansing rooms before I have a chance to protest that the Community is supposed to be safe. I back up, not really sure what to do next. Try to punch the guy in bullet-resistant armor and a really nice helmet? My fist would take the worst of it.

A blur of movement shoots past me.

Nia clocks her fist against the agent's jaw with a ferocious crunch. His helmet buckles, and if he hadn't been wearing special armor, his neck would have snapped under the blow. As it is, he flies across the room before crashing into the wall. He sinks to the ground into my puddle of water.

I blinked, stunned. One... Nia's fist is perfectly fine. Two... apparently she used my mishap to successfully get out of his line of sight.

Again, I'm better as a distraction than a fighter.

"Break out in progress!" The doctor scuttles back from the four of us, her fingers to her ear as she calls in the threat. Two more agents close in from the other room. "I repeat, we have a breakout in progress. Three with powers. Water and strength evident. We need a life suppressor in here now!"

The agents raise their rifles and cock them. I sprint toward the doctor, hoping they won't hit me before I can get to her. We need a plan.

We don't have time for a plan.

Rifles click. Whumph-whumph.

I squeeze my eyes shut as I barrel into the doctor and hope I haven't been hit. I don't feel hit. No sharp needle stabs. Just the sensation of falling. The doctor squeaks. We crash to the floor in a tangled heap of lab coat and hospital gown. I'm fairly certain my backside is now completely bare, but aside from reminding me that this whole facility is inefficiently cold, that really doesn't matter. I wrap my arms around the doctor and roll her on top of me, hoping she'll shield me from future tranquilizer darts.

She punches me in the nose.

I squawk at the sharp pain and the sticky blood dripping into my mouth. She staggers away from me, her eyes narrowed in disbelief.

"You don't want to hurt us," Erin says, her voice wavering.

The doctor frowns, and then turns to face her. "You're completely untrained. If you think persuasion is going to work on me, think—"

DeceivedWhere stories live. Discover now