Chapter Seventy-Nine

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I wasn't sure where she was taking me. I felt an inkling of fear enter my brain, but I tried not to focus on it. I had to know where I was going now.

I doubted my disobedience in answering would be utterly ignored.

We passed down the halls I'd only just been in with the boy. Again, the smell of cleanliness hit me. As we walked down the hallway, and turned on another, I realized it might have been a good idea to pay attention to where I was going. I needed to know in case I somehow found a way out of this situation.

It hit me I could probably break free of her and run away. The only problem was, I had no idea where the exit was of the building, and despite the fact I hadn't seen anyone else, I doubted she'd leave the doors unguarded. I was still being held captive. Even if I wanted to leave, I questioned my ability to find my way out. Every hallway looked exactly the same. Bright, white, and tiled.

Dr. Conway continued pulling me until we reached a pair of metal doors. She pushed them open and at the other side of them was what looked like a truck's loading dock. A track sat waiting, it's back pulled open. I turned around to look back at Dr. Conway, but she just shoved me forward. There was no way out now.

It was this or nothing. 

I obediently, walked out and into the back of the truck, feeling the darkness envelope me like a blanket. Almost immediately, the truck door slammed shut behind me and I found myself standing alone in the cold, bleak interior.

The car's engine revved, and suddenly, we were moving.

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The truck stopped not long after, and the door was flung open. As I got my first glimpse of the outside world, since being thrown in the back of the vehicle, I knew I was somewhere very far away from the first location. Immediately, things looked so much different.

It looked like the Equator.

It was the Equator.

I'd already seen a bit of it that first time when I'd found a door leading into the city, but this was different. This time I wasn't just on the outer edge of the massive city, I was in the middle of it. I could only see the brightest glimpse of neon lights, and fantastic buildings, beyond the massive building that stood in front of me. Because I wasn't exactly in the middle of everything. I wasn't that close to the liveliness of the Equator.

A few guards in white stood, waiting on either side of the now open door. They stood on gray cement, that eventually lead to an open glass doorway, that light spilled from like a broken egg yolk. The building itself was gigantic. I tried to look up and see more of it, but my view was blocked by the top of the truck. I even wondered for a minute if I'd even be able to see the top, since it was so dark out and from what I could tell, the building stretched upwards forever.

But my eyes kept becoming distracted by the brightness behind it. I wanted to get closer. The building was situated in a way, so that it was almost like a private mansion placed directly in the middle of an urban area. The cement pavement seemed to extend one hundred yards in diameter before falling off into the actual city life about five feet below it.  Obviously, I was somewhere extremely important.

And the guards were waiting for me to walk out.

I took quick, nervous steps towards the edge of the truck, and at the very end, I jumped out. My hands were still tied behind me, giving me no sense of balance. By some miracle, I managed not to fall over on my face. I tried to prevent myself from looking around too much in my curiosity. I didn't want to seem too interested. At the moment, the Equator was still my enemy.

The two guards grabbed my elbows, and lead me towards the bright white light. It looked like it should have been some kind of beacon of hope, but I knew better.

Whatever was lying in wait for me, wouldn't be good.

Dr. Conway appeared to the right of me as I neared the door. She walked in front of us and pulled open the door to allow me inside. I winced at the light's intensity, before stepping inside and looking around. I needed to know where I was. Could it be some kind of capital building for the Equator? But surely, I was not important enough for that. The only reason I might be, is because of the book.

And that wasn't even my book.

I was lead down a hall, and this time the familiar black and red designs reappeared. I cringed at the sight of them. They reminded me of that first time waking up in their training facility. I remembered my panic. I remembered having no idea what was going on, and wondering why on Earth these people would abduct us in the first place.

As we turned another corner, I felt my breath catch. We were no longer in simple hallways. This one, I could tell, was a series of cells. Cells with glass windows allowing viewers to glimpse prisoners through them. Cells with bright fluorescent lights shining down on the ghastly prisoners, who wore nothing but red jumpsuits. I stared towards the prison cell to my right, and found myself locking eyes with an old man with an unshaven beard. He had a numb, defeated look in his eyes. Fear struck through me as I wondered how long he'd been stuck here. Dr. Conway stopped walking with us at this point. She nodded curtly to the guard at my left, and turned and left. I was too focused on the suffering of the old man to wonder why.

If this was my fate, then it probably would have been much better to just tell them where I'd gotten the book. I hadn't mainly because I didn't want to give in. I wanted to show them I was stronger than that. But with the journey, I'd forgotten about the other important reason why I hadn't cooperated. The cells we passed seemed older, and as we steadily moved on, I found younger and younger people, their tortured faces passing me by, begging for help that I could not give.

And then we reached a new batch of cells. I stopped moving completely.

I'd forgotten.

I'd been so distracted by my own fate...I'd forgotten about theirs.

For a moment, I refused to look to my left. I'd only gotten a glimpse, but I didn't want more. I didn't want proof. I wanted to hold on to that one hope that maybe the tracking chips had somehow broken and stopped working.

But the incessant pounding against the glass, forced me to look.

Asten stared at me, his mouth open as he said something that was muffled by the glass. He seemed frantic and confused. Maybe he'd had the same odd hope that I had. That we wouldn't be captured, although a part of me knew it all along. I shook my head sadly at him and looked away. It didn't help to fight back. There was nothing to fight against. The sound of his pounding fist, slowly began to fade as the guard pushed me forward. I tried not to look in the other cells, but I did catch glimpses. After Asten was January, and across from her Axel. Axel sat staring blankly ahead in his cell, which was directly next to Jadyn. I was shocked that they were allowed to stay together. It also allowed me a shred of happiness.

Mace, Kyan, and the girl who I still didn't know the name of followed the twins. Nobody moved. Except Mace, who glanced up suddenly as I was brought by. He seemed all right, surprisingly. I thought he would have more problems with the bullet wound he still had in the leg.

I was stopped at the row of cells past everyone. This row intrigued me.  The cell on my left held a familiar face that I didn't expect to be there: Abi. I guess somebody had found out about our mission, and her help. The cell to my right was open. I knew that this was my destination.

I didn't know what would happen next. I even wondered in the back of my mind, how I'd gotten here. After everything, how did I end up in the Equator, except not at all in the way I'd expect?

I gave in, because that was all I had left to do, and walked into the empty cell.

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