Chapter Twenty-Six

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Chapter Twenty-Six

We headed out of the dusty apartment and made our way down the alleyway toward the main street. Several large buildings loomed over us, creating odd shadows that danced along the narrow corridor. All of the windows in the massive structures had been smashed out, leaving dark holes. It was eerily quiet in a city that should have been full of noise and life.

The air still had a gray haze to it, as if a fire burned nearby. As we continued to walk, a gust of wind caused several leaves to drift erratically next to us. Their brown, dried-out exterior made me think that each would crumble the minute it hit a hard surface. Like everything else in this area, the leaves were dead.

Theo stopped at the end of the alley and inched his face around the corner. I crept behind him and, before I realized it, my body was pressed up next to his. He tensed as I moved closer, but there weren't many options for where I could stand and still have a good view of the target area.

A loud voice suddenly boomed into the empty space, causing my head to snap upward. It seemed there were speakers set up throughout the city. "Leave those dirty tunnels. Come to NorthStar—your new home."

"He's trying to lure normals out of their hiding places," Samuel said, sounding more than a little peeved.

"Do we know how many people are still alive?" I asked.

Paul came up alongside me. "We think there are a couple hundred left. So not many, given that our population was several billion a few decades ago."

"Where are they hiding?"

"They're in various camps in the tunnels. Our soldiers have been able to locate most of them, but others have gotten very good at making sure they're not discovered," Paul said. "Although, I'm sure this team knows where many of the camps are hidden."

"If the world is dying and they have no choice but to join one of the facilities, why are they still hiding?"

"Because they don't know. If we told everyone that we have less than a few months left on this planet, there would be even more chaos. We wouldn't be able to control them," Paul said. "We can't let that happen."

"And you can control them now?" Audrina asked, narrowing her eyes.

"Yes."

A thunderous sound, like a rocket taking off, caused all of our heads to jerk upward. After several seconds, four disk-like objects shot into the sky. Instantly, they disappeared into the smog.

Paul pointed to where the rockets had just launched. "Those are Troy's soldiers. He must be sending them out to scan the area to see if any of the normals have popped their heads up from the tunnels."

Suddenly, a familiar figure came walking down the street. Luther! Dark sunglasses covered his eyes, and he wore a green military-style hat with a navy blue, long-sleeved shirt and matching utility pants. It looked odd to see him in regular clothes since I had only ever seen him in our white jumpsuits.

It took everything in me not to scream and run toward him in a full rage. He'd brutally killed Mary. He'd caused all of this, and maybe, just maybe, he was the reason I'd lost three years of my life.

"What's he doing here?" I hissed as we hid behind one of the walls. The thought of all the stuff he'd done made me sick to my stomach.

Luther glanced our way, but then quickly looked back to the ground.

"I definitely don't think he's on our side anymore," Gave said, his gaze straying from Luther to the rest of the group. "I bet he can feel our energy right now. He knows we're here. You guys understand that, right? Why else would he be out here walking around?"

We watched as Luther made his way inside the building. He didn't look back toward us, nor did he hesitate at the door as he entered the facility. He seemed to know exactly where he was going, like he had been there many times.

"I'm going to kill him," Audrina said through gritted teeth, her hands closed in tight fists. "Just wait until I get my hands on him. He's dead. I don't care if he knows we're here. I want him to be afraid. I want him to understand that what he has done to all of us is pure evil. He deserves to feel our wrath." A look of mingled sadness and anger crossed Audrina's face. "I swear, I hate him. He's an idiot."

"Don't worry, Aud. You're not the only one who wants to wrap their hands around his neck," Theo said. He slammed his fist into the side of a brick wall and several small clusters of dirt fell from the rough surface from the force of the blow, but Theo didn't flinch or even seem to notice. His voice was cold and hard. "I want Luther to pay for what he has done to the team and to Mary."

"All right team, we need to put our heads together," Samuel said. "It's time for us to think of a plan to get back at Troy and Luther."


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