Chapter Thirty Five

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The "holding room" turns out to be the Propaganda Detection room. Ironic. I would go so far as to say funny, were it not for the fact that I'm scared out of my wits. The guards force us to fill in the rows of chairs and they leave, locking the door behind them. Instantly, people begin to mutter and ask questions across the room.

Have you seen?s and Do you think?s bombard me on all directions. Matthew and my mother lean in close so we have some form of privacy.

"Mom. Where's Mark? Where's grandma?" I ask. She bites her lip as tears build in her eyes and instantly I know the answer.

"Enna, I'm... I'm sorry. I should have believed you the first time you came to me. It's just that I miss your father so much, and--"

"Mom, I forgive you." I mutter, even if part of me really doesn't. I cover her hand with my own. She gives me a watery smile and turns to Matthew.

"So... You're Matthew?" He nods and they awkwardly shake hands. "Thank you for giving Enna fighting lessons. She's never exactly been graceful..."

"Thanks, mom," I say pointedly, my face reddening. Matthew wraps a protective arm around my waist.

"It was no problem." Now my face reddens even more, and I begin to feel a thrill of something familiar: wanting. I should savor it while I can. "What are we going to do? Obviously we can't just sit here."

"We have to, though. What other option do we-?" Before I can finish my sentence, I hear the jingle of keys as someone unlocks the door. Everyone rushes back to their chairs and sits silently. I make myself stare at my lap. The door opens and hard footsteps pace across the floor, stopping soon after.

"I'm going to be watching you for a while until John is ready to leave. If you don't complain or do anything stupid, there won't be a problem between us. You understand?" As soon as I hear the voice, I recognize it.

Sam.

My knees spin before me and I almost fall forward.

He was the second traitor John told his cronies about. He was the one trying to kill me. He was the one who tried to hide my father's recording.

I should have known.

I should have known.

How didn't I know?

Quickly, I glance sideways at Matthew. His face is flushed and his eyes are wide. Obviously, I'm not the only one facing this revelation. Why would Sam target me personally? Why would anyone in the government target me personally? I remember the way he scolded me for my compassion of others, and how it was his idea to "conveniently" place us far from the Depot entrance before the attacks today. Sam pulls out a small wireless radio.

"I've got her. Yeah. Well of course, you idiot! Listen, stop worrying. We'll have them all off to Region Six by tomorrow morning, at the latest, and my son should be safely out of the way."

I continue to stare at my shoes like the rest of the detainees, thinking furiously. We're going to Region Six? From what I've learned at school, Region Six is much west of here and, for the most part, uninhabited.

"Can you please tell us what's happening?" A quiet female voice speaks up from the back of the crowd. There is a tense silence, then Sam replies.

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