Chapter Sixty-One

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For a second time seemed to freeze.

And I didn't know what to do.

Mace had been shot. Mace was lying on the cold, hard ground, a dark red splotch beginning to appear in his upper right leg. All it would take was a second shot, and he'd be done for good.

I just had to get to him in time.

Ignoring the imminent threat of being cut down by bullets, I sprinted out towards Mace. He wasn't moving. Had he already died? Was it possible....?

I fell to my knees next to him, feeling the cold mud leach through the knees of my pants. I felt his pulse, my own pounding so loudly in my ears that I could almost not concentrate on his. But then a felt it. The fluttering of a heartbeat somewhere inside of him. Now was the hard part.

Getting him back inside.

For some reason, the shooters up top had temporarily stopped, but I knew once they began to realize that there was still life below them, it'd start up again. Which meant I had to move fast.

I put my arms underneath Mace's armpits and began dragging him across the field. He was obviously unconscious and unable to move himself, probably from the blood loss. The bullet wound was directly in his thigh and blood was still leaking out with every pull of his body. But I had to make it. No matter how worried I was about him losing too much blood, I still had to make it.

Just as I was nearly one hundred feet away from the vent we'd come out of, the shots returned. A few rang out loudly as I pulled, but the actually bullets missed. The closest one came was maybe two feet away from me, causing dirt to explode up and almost trip me. I regained balance, and kept going. I was so close. I could see the inside of the vent.

Just as I was closing in on our escape I felt something hit the side of my cheek, making me stumble to the side and nearly fall over. It took my frozen skin a second to actually recognize the pain.

Stinging erupted along the side of my face and I knew one of the many bullets that had gone by had grazed me. My focus was lost. I could still see the vent, but now I was panicking. My heart was beating so much faster than it had been seconds before. I'd almost been killed.

I could easily be killed.

With that thought, I pushed myself harder. I tightened my grip on Mace's body and pulled him up and into the vent which had somehow managed to finally be close enough. Once inside, I immediately pulled the metal cover off the ground and put it back in place. I had no time to consider screwing it back in. I just had to get back inside. We weren't safe yet. Someone might still come looking and could possibly find us hiding there.

Suddenly aware of just how small the vent was, I turned towards the inside and began to crawl once more. I was glad Mace was unconscious. With every movement, I could hear his bad leg bouncing up and down. My face felt like a large slice of it had been dunked in acid, but that wasn't my main concern at the moment.

The journey through the vent felt faster than the first time I'd gone through. I could remember the passage back and after a while, I was able to push the metal cover on the other side out of the way and exit the vent. Again, I left the cover in place, but unscrewed. Screwing would take too long.

The next issue was where to go. I had to keep thinking, otherwise I felt that I might once again fall into a total panic which had only been fixed by my thorough thinking of the problem. I needed a place to stay with Mace. Somewhere where I could get help without alerting anyone else of the problem. If I went to the doctor at the military complex, they would immediately know who had tried to escape and probably would kill him and possibly even me. If I went to Asten or tried to find Kyan or anyone else, they'd wonder why they hadn't been told of our plan and I wasn't even sure they would be up and not completely surprised by my sudden appearance. The last option was a the dorm I'd only been to once.

Abi's.

I didn't know her that well, but I did know that she knew Mace, and was also the only other one who'd been in on our plan. A part of me was slightly concerned because of her failure in doing her job in our plan, but another part of me was too desperate to care.

I turned around in the hallway and stumbled in the direction of Abi's room, moving as fast as possible. It wasn't too far away. I saw the door, and gently lowered Mace to the ground so I could open it.

The door opened itself after my first attempt at turning and Abi stood there in the doorway, face pale like she already knew what had happened. She already knew just how badly our plan failed.

Before she could ask any questions, I picked Mace up again and brought him into the room.

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