~ Chapter Thirty-Four ~

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"All right everyone." Sgt. Bradman shouted. "Disperse! It's a hard-enough decision for one person to make, without all you vultures hovering around."

The previously fuming mob slowly dissipated and simmered down.

Norman and Gavin tried to think of the options that may lay ahead and discussed what action to take next.

Meanwhile, Perri couldn't help but let her eyes roam around the room.

Nearly everyone was staring daggers at her and they didn't even hide it when her eyes met theirs.

Even when she looked away, she could still feel their hateful, fear-borne glares, burning into her soul.

Perri's gaze lingered on the soldiers that were now guarding the exit. The thought of being able to escape quietly just went out the window. Then, her eyes widened. An idea dawned on her.

She'd have to fight her way out.

"—I don't see how that's possible, Norman. They took everything. The soldiers have all our weapons stored somewhere." Gavin's voice broke through Perri's sound barrier and snapped her out of her thoughts.

Suddenly, she became aware that she hadn't seen her tomahawk, back when she'd found her clothing, in that room in quarantine.

"Well, shit. What's your plan? Hmm?" Grumbled Norman. "These people are terrified and now that they see Perri as their last chance at survival. Well, I'd say they're even more dangerous than those things outside."

Perri looked to Norman, almost jumping at the thought that crossed her mind. "That's right." She said.

The men turned their focus to her, silently questioning her with their identical lowered brows.

"I think I have an idea." Perri said, still sifting through it in her mind.

"Um, okay. Care to share it with the rest of us?" Asked Gavin.

"There's no time. I just need you to trust me." The words came out hastily and she went to step away.

Gavin grabbed her arm. "Where do you think you're going?"

"We're gonna need some inside help. Just wait here, I'll be right back." She replied, but Gavin only pressed his lips together as his mouth pulled to the side and he shook his head. "I'll be fine. None of these frightened pricks are going to try anything. Not if they want their damn cure." She assured him.

Gavin cringed and gave her a curt nod as he let go of her arm.

Perri raced through the maze, scanning the faces of all the soldiers until she stood at the other side of the room.

She couldn't see him anywhere.

Perri approached a soldier near the archway. "Where's Jack?" She asked more loudly than intended.

There was a shameful expression on his face and he avoided meeting her eyes.

She huffed loudly through her nose, waiting for the man to respond.

He didn't. And... he wasn't going to either.

Perri's brows lowered, eyes widened, nostrils flared, and she bared her teeth, crinkling her nose, about to give the soldier a verbal bashing-

Until, a solder stepped in beside her and touched her shoulder.

She whirled to face him, and the anger dropped from her face almost instantly.

The soldier swallowed hard. His jade-green eyes softened the rough features of his tanned face. "May I speak with you?" He said all to quietly, before moving away from his fellow soldiers.

Perri followed.

"Who are you?" She asked when he stopped and turned back to her.

"My name's Luke. Jack's my best mate. The others won't say anything to you about him. It would go against our orders to do so." He sighed. "Doc' Holloway asked to speak with Jack. They went down into quarantine and haven't come back since. When I asked, Sarge told me to keep my mouth shut. That it doesn't concern me."

"So, why are you telling me?"

"I saw what you did out by the bus that day. And I'm not stupid. Things are changing."

"That still doesn't answer my question."

Luke ran a hand through his short, brown hair. "I can't get down there to help him. But, you can. And what ever needs to happen, I think you're the one to do it."

"Because I'm a monster." Perri grimaced at herself.

"No. Because you're capable of being one." Luke put a hand on her shoulder and added, "To save people."

Perri didn't know what to say, she hadn't thought of it that way.

"So? Want me to tell the doc' that you're ready to... make the cure?" Luke asked.

"Yeah, okay. But, after, I need you to go and get my friends. Take them outside and wait for me." Perri replied.

"I know who you mean. Consider it done."

"Thank you."

Things were indeed 'changing', Perri thought.

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