Katherine Lacey: No Exit

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It smelled like burning flesh.

Katherine opened her eyes. There was a strange invisible pressure weighing down on her shoulders as she lay slumped against the wall, her head hanging down so her chin rested on her breasts. Her eyes first took in the sight of her legs on the dirty floor – they were stained with soil and blood.

Her head moved incredibly slow and she couldn't seem to gather the strength to move it any faster. Her clothes had been torn and pieces of fabric hung loosely on her body. The hallway she found herself in was dark with a green tint. She wasn't sure if she was in an abandoned hospital or an asylum.

With great effort, Katherine brought her legs closer to her and tried to stand. As she moved, she felt something painful on her neck. Warm blood ran down under her clothes. Gulping, she felt for her neck. She couldn't feel it – something was covering her skin.

She felt the outside of it, noticing it was wrapped around her entire neck. It was freezing cold, and her eyes were still too blurry to make it out properly. She scrambled to her feet, being careful not to move her head too much, and looked in a nearby broken mirror.

It was a spike collar. Like one of Jigsaw's crazy contraptions, the spikes were on the inside, centimetres from piercing the delicate skin on her neck. Katherine cried out, feeling around the collar frantically for some kind of escape button. It was no use – it had been melded shut.

Her cries roused people nearby. Katherine couldn't hear them at first over the sound of her own voice, but the moving shadows drew her attention. A couple of people walked out, hunched over slightly, from a nearby room. Another few people walked down the hallway, slowly, as if part of the undead.

Fortunately for Katherine, they were very much alive. Just.

The nearest person to her was instantly recognisable – Spence Wilkins, the ex-boyfriend of Tiffany. Katherine looked at him, and while she detested him, she was overjoyed to see a familiar face.

'Spence,' Katherine spluttered, her face now drenched with tears. 'Where are we?'

He looked at her with nothing but fear in his eyes. 'I have no idea.'

'Do you know who took you?'

He shook his head. 'I don't know what happened. I've been here for a couple of days, and I've seen people come, and people go.'

'Go?' Katherine said in surprise. 'Go where?'

'I don't know.'

Katherine could feel herself get annoyed with him. She tried not to, but now she feared for her life all over again.

Another person approached her. 'Katherine Lacey?' It was Cece, and sure enough, her friend Trish was right there behind her. She knew them as Tiffany's enemies, along with Brenda, though Brenda was nowhere to be seen.

'Yes, it's me,' Katherine said calmly. Seeing more people appear soothed her only slightly. A part of her felt like she needed to protect them, and as a Guardian, it was hard not to despite them not being the Marked Ones.

'Is this some kind of punishment?' Cece asked. Any make-up she might have had on had been washed away. The usual prettiness had vanished. 'Is this because we are bad people?'

Katherine wasn't sure how to answer her. 'I don't know what this is. Do you remember anything before you were taken?'

'We were together,' Cece said as she looked at Trish. 'We were with Brenda, but then we left her and started walking home. Then I saw those people in the news, the men with the white masks on.'

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