Chapter Twenty-Seven Part One ~Maddie~

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A shrieking siren blares through the room and in my surprise, I slip, almost falling down onto the tiled floor. Gripping the shower curtain tight, I keep myself from completely eating it and crashing to the ground. I right myself quickly, turning off the water and pulling the curtain open in a hurry. The shrill noise continues to pierce my ears as I rush to put on my clothes and dart out of the bathroom.

Red lights flash everywhere- In my room, in the halls, in the open space outside my window, painting the entire floor red. I walk over to the edge of my room, and with my palms pressed to the glass, I watch as panic ensues. Looks of shock, fear, curiosity, and surprise color the faces of all the girls around me. They mirror every emotion I'm feeling. But more than that, I'm anxious, a nervous excitement buzzing through me. Because it's time. Travis set off the alarm, I know it. It's time for us to run.

A few Hunters charge past my room in a hurry. They begin unlocking the girl's rooms, ushering them towards the back of the building. They must be sending them out the back door and up the stairs to the field outside.

My foot taps against the floor, my fingers beating a nervous rhythm against the window. Where is he? My mind races, wondering what he has planned, how the hell we're going to get out of here. Will we take off right now, or when I'm outside in the field? I wish he could have told me more so I could be ready.

What if I do something wrong, make one wrong move and ruin everything? I wonder, swallowing back the panic I feel beginning to rise to the surface.

Travis appears before me suddenly, unlocking my door in a haste. Thank God. I breathe a sigh of relief.

He guides me out of the room, his hand pressed firmly against my back. "Stand right here. Don't move from this spot," he quickly says into my ear, loud enough to be heard over the alarm still blaring through the halls. Then he takes off, unlocking the doors of the other rooms around us.

"Breeder, let's go!" a Hunter yells from across the room. Keeping my eyes trained on the floor, I pretend not to hear him, hoping to God he isn't talking to me. "Now!" he screams. He's talking to me. Shit.

"I've got her!" Travis yells. "Owens is in the stairwell, helping the girls out to the field," he gestures towards the back of the building. "I need you to unlock the rooms in the next hall, get the Breeders outside," he continues, motioning across the way to the second hallway of rooms. "I've got this section handled," he finishes, his tone authoritative and direct, causing the man, who has probably worked here a decade longer than him, to turn with his tail between his legs and follow the orders he's been given.

Travis turns and continues unlocking the girl's rooms, pointing them in my direction, and one by one, they walk over and begin forming a line in front of me. He finally makes it to Alex, letting her out of her small room, but his hand reaches out for her arm to stop her, turning her to face him. They exchange quick words as I watch the seriousness of Travis's expression. He points to me and she nods her head, turning to make her way over to the line. Travis's shoulders relax and he looks slightly relieved as she takes her place behind me.

...behind me. I've already been planning, concocting any way to drag Alex out of here with me, but it looks like Travis just took care of that for me.

Looking over my shoulder at her, I yell a quick, "Stay with me!" over the sirens just in case.

She nods, "I know."

So he did tell her. The weight of that worry, of that burden, falls from my shoulders.

A smoky, burning smell begins to invade the room and I turn, finding grey smoke swirling through the cracks of the steel door at the very end of our long hallway. My heart pounds against my chest as I stand here waiting. Our time is running out, closing in on us. There are only two ways out of here- the back door, where every other girl and who knows how many Hunters and personnel are, and that steel door, growing more and more obscure by a thick cloud of smoke.

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