Chapter Forty-Four

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The black designs had returned. After giving us a brief announcement, Agent Mika had lead us down the hall into a new room where I immediately noticed the black lines and ninety degree angles. He quickly mentioned something about somebody else coming to give us more details on Unit X, before leaving and closing the door shut behind him.

As he walked out of the room, I heard the sharp click of a lock, trapping us inside. I felt anxiety swell up in me at the thought of being unable to get out, but it quickly went away when I looked at the four other people. At least this time I wasn't alone.

Mace stared at the door with an odd expression on his face, like he was lost in his own thoughts. Asten sighed and ran a hand through his hair while Jadyn jumped down onto one of the two couches in the room. At the same time, January, more calmly sat down at the edge of the opposite one. I glanced around the room, trying to see if there was anything we could use as a weapon. The only thing decorating the room besides the black designs on white walls were the red tiled floor and two bright red couches. Not to mention the few streaks of red added in with the black designs. It seemed like whoever had made this room had at least some experience in fashion and style.

"Does anyone know what's going on here?" January asked from her seat on the couch. Her head was in her hands, and she looked disturbed by the whole situation.

"Apparently we made it to the Equator," I responded.

"Were taken," Mace corrected.

"Yea..." The room fell once again into silence, and I went to sit on the couch next to January.

"Whatever's going on...doesn't feel right. I feel like they're not telling us something...," Asten said, before sitting down on the couch opposite us with clasped hands.

"Well, they did kind of tranq us to get us here. I'm pretty sure that's a good reason to feel doubts about this place," Jadyn commented with her feet on the arm rest. She looked like the least anxious one in the room at the moment.

"Then we should get out." Mace looked two seconds away from walking over to the door and knocking it down himself, despite the lock.

Asten sighed and looked at the door. "Yea, that's not really possible."

"There has to be a way," Mace retorted.

I leaned back against the back of the couch with my arms crossed over my chest. Sadly, Asten was right. Sometimes, there just wasn't a way around things. Sometimes, the only option was to just go through with whatever was happening.

"This place reminds me of my old room...the black, white, and red....," January said softly after a couple seconds. She looked up at the ceiling then around at the walls, contemplatively. Her comment was somewhat out of nowhere, but thankfully took all of our minds off of the fact that we were trapped here for who knew how long.

She waited for somebody to respond, and I suddenly realized that her goal was to get us to stop thinking about our present situation. To think of happier days, before the apocalypse, when the world was still normal, and people could still go to school or hang out with their friends whenever they wanted to. I hadn't actually thought about that world for a while. Everything was so different now...it was hard to even imagine a world such as that existed.

"I used to have a room that was all blue...blue beanbag chairs and walls. Everything." Mace looked up at January, and I could tell that he was barely smiling. It was weird to see on him.

"Nice. Where'd you live?"

"Ohio." I could feel myself relaxing more as they talked.

"I'm from Pennsylvania," January replied.

"Rhode Island," Jadyn cut in, seeing as everyone was answering the question. I would've answered, but I already knew they all knew where my house was. And actually, I vaguely was able to remember where Asten had come from also before he even said it.

"I'm from New York. But my family also bought a house in Central America...," he said.

"Huh, you're rich then?" Jadyn asked him, raising her eyebrows.

"I mean....I guess..." He seemed really awkward about the topic. "Not anymore obviously."

"Obviously...," Mace muttered in agreement.

"Can I call you Rich Boy?" Jadyn suddenly added, with a smirk. "Or would you prefer Boy spelled with an i at the end to make it sound more...rich boyish. You know?"

"Knock yourself out," Asten replied, looking like he didn't care too much.

"Bad word choice...," I said, referring to the multiple times we all had been literally knocked out in the past day.

"Someday, when this is all over, we should all properly go to a movie theater. Or a restaurant." January was smiling now, no longer looking sad and lost in memories. Her idea was a wild hope, one that we all knew was probably impossible. If the situation had gotten so bad that the government bombed entire neighborhoods, it was likely there weren't many movie theaters or restaurants left. Except maybe ones in the Equator, but then again we knew nothing about it.

"Yea," I still said, allowing that hope to live. Because maybe it would be nice to think someday there could be an end to this thing.

Before anybody else could talk, the door opened suddenly and a new person who we had yet to see walked in. It was a guy with square glasses, messy blond hair and dimples. He held a clipboard in his hand and was much scrawnier than Agent Mika. "Hello, trainees. I'm Agent Choles and I've been assigned to set you all up." He nervously scribbled something down on a sheet of paper on the clipboard before closing the door shut behind him with his foot and walking closer to us all on the couch. I stared at him in confusion. He was the most human person that I'd met here. It almost felt like he belonged to the old one, and was only here now because he time traveled into the future.

Suddenly, he pulled out a contraption from his back pocket. It looked like some type of syringe, but it was hard to tell since the needle at the end was slightly bigger than a normal one. "As Agent Mika probably told you, you're unit X. Congratulations on surviving long enough in the Wild to make it here. Seriously. But don't be alarmed. I just have to....ah...."

He began fiddling with the device, letting his speech trail off. I was glad, because his speaking was so abnormal for the situation that it made me more uncomfortable. Why was he acting so casual about the fact that we'd been captured and forced into this position? And why did he seem so...normal?

"Great." The way he said it made it sound like things weren't so great. Finally, he slammed something into the device and sighed. "Okay, thank you...for working...I hate these things..." Without missing a beat, he walked over to Mace who looked overly suspicious of him. He took the syringe looking device and quickly slammed it into Mace's neck.

"Hey!" January shouted, standing up from her position on the bed. Mace tried pulling away, but it was too late. He already had been injected with whatever was in the device. He rubbed the injection point on his neck as all of us backed further away from Agent Choles. I looked around the room again, trying to find something to attack him with, but there was nothing.

"Geez...okay...you all don't have to flip out...," Choles said, holding up his hands like he hadn't attacked Mace. Well, I guess he technically didn't attack him, just did something against his will. "These are just trackers. I told you. And they told you. You're one of us now. This is how it works whether you like it or not." His face grew serious at that point, no longer the awkward person that had first walked in the room.

And he was right. Whether we liked it or not, we were stuck with these people. And if they weren't lying about this being the only refuge left in the world...

We were stuck in the Equator.


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