The elevator doors reel open, and this time, I'm ready with a vengeance. The inductees around me stream out of the elevator, all pleasant and unsuspecting. I wait behind just a second before following them.
Dozens and dozens of people swirl out from elevators and cross the finely-carpeted lobby. The air isn't sterile or fearful but welcoming. I squint my eyes in scrutiny.
I scan the lobby, pivoting slowly to look for familiar faces. Everyone adorns gold attire, causing so many questions to fill my mind. I glance upwards. Sparkling chandeliers and exuberant decorations drape overhead.
All the golden colors bothers my eyes. Plus no one's wearing anything to identify if they're lower, middle, or upper class. Guess all that won't matter for tonight.
A shoulder bumps into me, waking me up. There's no sense in standing around in the middle of a busy area. I sweep a final glance around the room before taking a path through an archway. The area is packed with people, so I squeeze my way through.
A hundred banquet tables fill the huge space I enter. Inductees swarm to fill the area. Instead of searching for my own place to sit, I search for Nicolette and Stephen.
My heel catches on the carpet, but I manage to avoid tripping. Thankfully no one notices my blunder. I straighten out my dress and move away from the busy entrance.
I lean against a nearby wall, scanning the banquet hall. My mind is so conscious of the sensor in the back of my neck. The technology makes me fear Stephen so much, and I need to disable it. The only question is how.
Voices float around the banquet, carefree and light as my situation darkens with dread. I can't freak out if I spot Stephen. The last thing we need is me causing a scene.
I search and search for both my friends and a solution. My eyes skin around beautiful tables with electronically-flaming centerpieces. There's even a few lit-up accents around the room hosting similar golden flames.
I wonder why there's so much fire, I think to myself. It reminds me of the rebel attacks in Grand Rapids with the explosions of bombs.
I find myself reminiscing. War is so easy when you've got a gun. Just kill the bad guys instead of letting their technology manipulate you into fearing the person you love...
My gaze falls on the post heating my shoulder. The gold flames crackle as my eyes widen. I feel my heart pound as I stare at the fire. I've got an idea.
Without missing a beat, I scramble towards an empty table and grab a metal knife. I pinch it within the folds of my dress to disguise it hastily.
Returning to my position against the wall, I drop half the knife into the flames. My sudden plan is so ungodly insane it's going to be a success. Step one is done, and now on to step two. I've got a plan, and this is going to work.
My hands begin to shake, my nerves flare. I need to find Nicolette before Stephen find me. And I need to do it now. I can't afford to spazz out in fear of Stephen, and I know exactly how to prevent that from ever happening again.
Back and forth I sift through all the faces I see. I manage to spot a few semi-familiar faces, but no Nicolette. Minutes upon minutes crawl by.
C'mon, Nicolette. Where are you hiding?
At last I spot her, sitting at a table halfway across the banquet room. I jump to life and hurry towards her.
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...