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Nine

"Lincoln! Mom!" The rubber band around Arryn's heart snapped, sending a stabbing pain through her chest. Her soul shattered into a thousand pieces.

Lincoln whipped his bloodied face around towards her, baring his teeth back. Chunks of flesh lay wedged in between his teeth.

Pop.

The sound reverberated off the walls of the narrow hallway.

Scarlet overtook the white tile, followed by black splatter.

The squelching stopped, but it never left Arryn's mind. Like a broken record, it played over on a loop.

Pop.

A high-pitched whistle sliced through the air. Slowly, a hole formed in the middle of Lincoln's temple, leaking the same tar-like substance that matted his hair to the back of his head. He slumped to the ground, not twitching this time.

"Are you bitten?" a man's voice boomed. It echoed like the gunshot still screeching in her ears.

With eyes wide, Arryn turned to find a security guard pointing a gun at her.

"Answer or I will shoot." He took a step forward. Blood trickled down the side of his temple, caking bits of his black hair to his skin. A hardened look lay behind his blue eyes as he pressed closer.

"N-no, but my mom... she... I," Arryn couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence. If she said the words out loud, it would cement the harsh reality her mind fought hard to deny. The reality where her mother and boyfriend were gone.

The man lowered his gun. "Sorry, you can't take chances anymore. I just lost a friend that way. As for your mother," he paused, looking down at the motionless woman on the ground, "she's gone. I'm sorry."

Hearing the words out loud drove the nail further into her heart. The piercing pain washed over her in pulses. Her legs grew weak, and within seconds she found herself against the cold ground. The world spun. Like a Ferris wheel, the lights above her went round in circles. Dizziness mixed with the crippling loss, forcing everything her stomach had to offer out onto the floor beside her.

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