Chapter 27

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"What?!" My voice cracked like a whip, echoing. "Renae, we won't kill you."

"But you have to," she mumbled. "You have to, if you want to escape." As we stared at her, in horror, she said,

"It doesn't matter. I'm already dead..."

"What- what will happen if we kill you?" I asked slowly. 

"I will return back to where I once was, and you can get over this table and open the door. It's touch-sensitive" she answered. The Games of Pain. And therein, lay the cruel trick, here was the decision. If I or Liam killed Renae, she would return to her worst nightmares- to Damien. But if we didn't...Renae could...stay here, she could escape Damien even if only for a short while. And as well- maybe...maybe she could escape with us. Maybe she could live. 

I didn't know if it was possible- all I knew what that it might be. 

"Renae, get down off that table for a sec, over here," I told her, gesturing next to me. 

Her face tightened almost, imperceptibly. Eying Liam's bloodstained knife, pain washed across her face. She thought we were going to kill her. 

Liam looked at me helplessly. He had no idea on what I was doing. And he couldn't kill her. That was made plain by the pain which was displayed openly on his face, and the tears in his eyes, which threatened to fall. 

Renae slid off the table, and walked slowly over to me. She closed her eyes, and waited- waited for me to kill her. 

Instead, I put one gentle hand over where her heart was. I jumped back- in surprise, in joy. She was alive. Her heart was beating, slowly but surely, and she was warm to the touch. When I had last seen her, all the warmth had been leeched out of her, and she was cold- her heart no longer beating.

"You're alive," I whispered in wonder. "You're alive."

Liam heard my words, and looked at Renae, the tears drying up easily. With a happy smile, he hugged her enthusiastically. Renae stood there limply, her arms not wrapping around Liam. She looked confused- and pained. 

"You have to kill me," she insisted, pulling out of the hug. "You don't understand, you HAVE to kill me."

"No," I replied. "We don't actually."

"Danielle," she muttered my name like a swear word. "There is no way out of this room, unless you kill me."

"No, we don't," I said, smiling. "Because, all we have to do is get over the table, and open the door with a touch."

"And, how exactly," Renae glared at me. "Are you planning on getting past the table which engulfs you in flames every single time you touch it?"

I just looked at her, and said,

"You."

"You are going to lie down on the table, and we are going to climb over you."

"But-but-" Renae was lost for words, having not considered this new facet of my plan. I knew the flames wouldn't hurt Renae- because she had just climbed over them.

Raxis had devised this choice. He knew that leaving Renae alive, would be hidden, and that we might not figure it out. He also knew that I probably would figure it out. 

What kind of trick was on the table now? What setback, what horror, would we encounter if we led Renae out of this room? I didn't know, but I had still made my decision. 

I had to save Renae this time. I wasn't sending her back to the Games of Pain. Not this time. 

Liam had remained speechless this whole time, but now he spoke, saying,

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