Chapter Fifty

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Training sucked.

I didn't have any other words to describe it. It was awful the second I stepped into the room.

We'd been informed to go to a specific room number which took over ten minutes to find since nobody in our unit actually knew the way around. None of us had actually had time to wander around our new home yet. Class was easy to find because it was just down the hall, but this was a gym.

And this gym decided it would make all of our lives more difficult.

When we finally managed to reach the large metal double doors signifying the entrance, I was already tired. I wasn't sure how I'd get through any of the training they had planned for us. In the end, I didn't really have a choice in whether or not I wanted to participate. Because when they said military facility, they really meant it.

Our entire day was running. Just running in circles and circles around the track that surrounded the gym while the other more experienced units fought and did more entertaining exercises in the middle of the gym. Our coach was a lady wearing a white camouflage outfit that resembled those they used to wear when there was still a normal military. Her first instruction for us was to run until she told us to stop. In reality, that just meant keep running until you pass out from exertion.

Everyone at this point was just moving at a slow jog. I couldn't tell how long it had been, but it felt like a couple hours had passed. There were no clocks in the gym and our clothes hadn't included digital watches. But finally, right when I felt like I was sure I would die, the woman blew a whistle and everyone slowed to a complete stop. Somebody near me bent forward and threw up, but I was too tired to even look or move away. He wasn't close enough to me that his vomit would touch me so I just didn't care.

"Great job today. Be back here tomorrow, same time. You're dismissed." She nodded at all of us in approval before walking away.

I saw Asten a couple feet away making his way through the crowd, towards me. Sweat rolled down both sides of his face and he had his hands on his hips as he sucked in air. "Hey.....so I was talking to some of the people...you know...not our people. They're having a party tonight in this room number...I think it was G739?"

A party didn't sound like something I was really in the mood for at the moment, but if everyone was going....I didn't want to be left in the room by myself. "Yeah....and...?" I asked.

"You should come. I'm pretty sure it's being kept secret from the generals. But it sounds fun." The few people still hovering in our vicinity began to leave through the door with everyone else, and I slowly began walking in that direction, too. I desperately needed a shower.

"You don't think they're going to get caught?"

He shook his head quickly. "No. They said they've been doing this for a long time. It's tradition. Every Friday." It was weird hearing that word again. Friday. Fridays had ceased to exist for me. It almost made this place feel normal.

"Fridays...," I muttered, wondering how they even knew the day of the week. Had they really bothered keeping track while everyone was dying and everything was falling to pieces? But that wasn't the point of this conversation. I was tempted to just say no and leave. I didn't need to go to a party for any reason. It seemed kind of...wrong....with people still out in the Wild, dying because they couldn't get enough food to hold them off. Dying from exposure because it's too cold to live. 

"I think we deserve it. After everything...," he said persuasively, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye. He sighed after a couple of seconds of me not answering, assuming that it was a no. 

But something stopped me from rejecting his offer. I did want to go to it. "I'll come," I responded, feeling suddenly nervous. What if this all went wrong?

What if somebody found out and they kicked us out of here for good?

I felt like I could live with that. The Snow Society was still out there somewhere, even though it was split up. I could go back to living in the Wild, since it would be exactly what I had been doing. Right?

I wanted to believe I was right. That was the annoying thing about all of this; now that I finally felt safe and happy somewhere, I never wanted to leave. I could tell myself all I wanted that I'd be fine going back, but deep inside I knew something changed. I'd gotten a taste of how other people were living, and it hurt to think that I might go back.

It was too late. No matter how indecisive I was about the party, I'd accepted the fact that I was going. I would enjoy myself for once.

Even if it was just this one time.

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