22. A Hindrance And A Tragic Departure

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I stand on the beach, a soft breeze blowing a strand of hair into my face. I tuck it behind an ear, watching worriedly as the boat docks.

The ocean stretches for what seems like forever, and I know somewhere out there is the Main Land, but also, somewhere deeper, into the Bermuda Triangle, where many have gone and never come back, is the mysterious island where Zero comes from.

I hear soft footsteps kicking up sand behind me, and turn, only to see Peter walking towards me, a curious look on his face.

"Hey, Peter." I greet, before turning back to watch as men start loading the ships.

"Is something up Ashley? I haven't seen you around much, not since that incident a few days ago....".

I wince at the memory. The day I tried to kill Peter. The day I wanted  to kill Peter. I've been avoiding him since that day, guilt and fear keeping me from seeing him.

"I know, and I'm so sorry, it just.....scared me."

Peter takes a step closer, to where we are side by side, watching the ship.

"I know. It scared me too, but not because I might be hurt. I didn't even think of myself once. What I really cared about was you, and I was scared that you might hurt yourself."

"Always the selfless hero," I say with a low laugh.

Silence fills the air for a few moments, and a sea gull squawks somewhere in the distance.

"Are you ready for the trip?" He asks, and again, I'm reminded about how people think this is going to be some kind of vacation or trip. For me, it's Death Row.

"Do I even have a choice?" I answer, then cringe at how dramatic and self-pitied that makes me sound.

"If It makes you feel better, I'm coming too." He says, to which my head immediately jerks around to stare at him, my mouth falling open.

"....If it makes me feel better? What kind of question is that?! Of course that won't make things better! In fact, now they're worse, way worse!"

My breathing starts getting rapid, and I know I'm panicking. Now I don't only have my father to look after and protect, but Peter too.

"I didn't know it would affect you this much. Don't worry about me, Ashley, I'm here to serve and protect. I can handle myself against a bunch of jungle animals."

I'm too speechless to tell him it most likely won't be jungle animal he's fighting, and that he's not a bodyguard, he's a human shield. My disgust for Mrs. Clark and her whole team only grows. How could she risk the lives of people, to protect her own shallow, self-absorbed, good for nothing life?

Before I can open my mouth and say something I might regret, something catches my attention out of the corner of my eye. I half turn away from Peter to see a group of armed men walking down the beach, towards the boat.

My heart nearly stops when I catch sight of light brown hair.

before I know what I 'm doing, I'm running towards the group, desperate to see Zero at least once before we get on the boat and everything takes a turn for the worse.

"Zero!" I yell once I get close enough. 

I can now see him through the gaps of bodies, and watch as he freezes mid-step. his head jerking in my direction.

I watch his mouth form the shape of my name, and finally come to a stop in front of the whole group.

"I need to see Subject Zero....please," I add on as an afterthought.

one lone solider steps up and blocks my view of Zero as the other's resume their march. I attempt to goa round the lone solider, but he steps to the right blocking my path. I step to the left, and he fluidly moves with me.

"What is the meaning of this?" I ask, stepping back and folding my arms.

"Sorry ma'am. We were given very clear instructions to get Subject Zero to the boat as quickly as possible with no hindrances."

"I'm not a hindrance," I argue, standing on my tiptoes to see Zero has moved farther away now, almost half-way to the boat. "I jut need to see him. It will only take two seconds, I swear."

The guard starts to shake his head 'no', but suddenly, Peter appears at my side, and starts swiftly chatting with the man. I take this opportunity to make my escape, running around the man. I throw a thankful glance over my shoulder at Peter, before sprinting down the beach, towards me target.

This time, I don't even stop to address the uniformed men, I barge right through them, paying no heed to the dangerous weapons they carry.

"Zero!" I say in relief once I finally burst through the men and come face to face with him. He's shackled, locked up tighter than a vault, but I ignore it and take a step closer.

"Ashie." He says in surprise and what I also detect to be relief. 

I stare at him for a second, confused as to why he won't use my real name, when I remember these soldiers don't know he can talk yet. I gulp. wondering suddenly what to say now that he is here in front of me. I can't ask any questions, because he won't be able to answer them, and I realize all I can do is maybe reassure him that everything is going to be fine.

"I just wanted to say thank you Zero, for being the best subject ever while you were here on the island. I promise I'll look out for you on the boat. I won't let them torture you for information."

His eyes flash,  and I can already see the words he wants to say, but can't because of the people.

Thank you too, Ashley, for all you've done for me here.

I nearly gasp when I hear his words echo through my head.

I promise you will come back here alive, even if I have to give up my life for it.

I feel my eyes prick at his words, and stand in silence as the soldiers jostle him and make him start moving again, leading him towards the boat. 

I watch all the way until the board him, leading him below deck to his brand new holding cell installed on the boat. Once more I hear footsteps approach behind me, but when I turn around, they're my dads this time.

Without a word, he holds his arm out and I throw myself against his side, hiding my face in his chest, feeling like a little child all over again. 

"Are you ready to go?" He finally asks after a few moments of silence.

I look up at him and nod, taking a step away. I wipe my eyes, which are watery and turn towards the boat, picking my slouched soldiers up and standing up straight.

Here I come.

Dear Readers, How awesome is this? Two updates in two days? it seems I've got my writing mojo back. I've been thinking for a while about trashing this book, but have come to the conclusion that I will not, since some of you like it, although I have no idea why. Instead, I'm going to finish it, only to start another new, better, and improved book. I'll put a sneak peak p about it, but let me tell you its going to have way more action, romance, and adventure than this book. Thanks so much for the votes, and although I love votes, I love comments more, because I get you opinion and can converse with you.

Lots of love,



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