Chapter Thirty Two

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"Don't be too upset with her. Obviously she's in denial out of fear," Matthew explains, taking my hand. We turn down another hallway and I sigh. Sam had just announced the mission squads for tomorrow: Matthew and four others will stay back and guard the Depot while I will share a squad with Josh, Leah, Sara, and Oscar.

"I guess you're right. But wouldn't life be easier if people stopped living out of terror?"

"Of course. But sometimes ignoring a threat makes it seem less... well, threatening."

Matthew promised to show me another one of the Depot's "amenities" because neither of us could sleep, even after today's rigorous training session. It's way past the curfew, but Matthew knows a lot of people. Suddenly, an older man with a gray beard passes us in the corridor, then he turns on his heel.

"Hey, isn't it late for--Oh, good evening Matt!" Matthew nods politely in reply. With that, the man stalks off around the corner, sticking his nose into one of the books he was carrying. I wiggle my eyebrows.

"Matt, huh?" Matthew groans.

"Please don't call me that." I grin.

"I wasn't going to... Matt." He jabs my ribs playfully and I slap his hand away.

"Seriously... Tell me more about yourself." Now it's my turn to groan. "What? I thought girls loved to talk!"

"They do, but I'm not a girl." He gasps dramatically.

"What?"

"You know what I meant," I snap, swinging at his ribs. He jumps nimbly to the side and I miss.

"Fine, fine... You don't have to tell me anything girly."

"Well..." I struggle to find some interesting tidbit of information I may have withheld, but I find it extremely difficult. My life really began when I discovered the Depot.

"I got an F in physical education once," I splutter.

At first there's silence, then Matthew chokes.

"I got an F in physical education once?"

"Well, if you're so clever then you think of something to say!" We turn down another hallway that I've never seen before, lined with translucent glass doors.

"My name is Matthew Elliot, I'm twenty years old, my birthday is some time in December, I hate my dad, and my mother's dead." He smiles at me cockily. "See? That wasn't so hard."

I roll my eyes to hide my shock. Did Matthew's mother die on a mission, like my dad? We reach our destination and I shove the thought into a different compartment of my mind. Matthew stops and opens one of the glass doors. I walk inside and instantly pause in the middle of a step.

"What is it?" I gasp. Before me, a large, glassy pool of water lies motionless in a dark, tile room with chairs and tables scattered around its perimeter.

"It's called a swimming pool."

"What is it for?" Matthew shrugs.

"Swimming?" As if in a trance, I step towards the water's edge, crouching down on the balls of my feet. The blue water ripples when I dip my hand in it. It feels cool. I've never seen water like this in my entire life: still and clear. The Atlantic Ocean has always been dark and murky and unstable: the parts of the city closest to the shore often get flooded. Already, part of the city is underwater.

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