Chapter 33 (Part Two) - Maybe This Will Make It Easier

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That night I slept in a room that looked almost exactly like the ones before except there were two beds and with an attached bathroom. Sienna had the other bed as we were the most recent two to finish. And the best part was that there was a clock. It said 6:42 when we entered.

I plopped on to one of the beds. "I wonder why Mindy isn't here yet."

Sienna snorted. "She probably couldn't stop herself from mouthing off to somebody."

I shuddered. What would that mean for her? How much longer would she be inside?

"But we shouldn't talk too much. Who knows how much they are still watching."

I nodded, my throat feeling tight. I was more than glad to their brainwashing program was over, but Mindy was still in there. Was it possible she thought we should rebel more? I hoped she remembered that we needed to just get through it, convince them they had won even if I knew what that would cost her.

It sickened me to think all those girls in that room had done the same thing. Every single one of them must have pushed that button and done Shasta's bidding.

I flopped backward on to my bed as Sienna went into the bathroom. I could hear her turning the water on. My skin had stopped peeling and a shower, as they called it, sounded nice. But my brain honed in on Mindy. Worry for her had me chewing on my bottom lip.

What were they doing to her? What was taking so long? At least, I now knew that last test wasn't real, but she wouldn't. She'd be in that horrific place I had been earlier today. Was Mindy strong enough? I hoped she could tap into that flame of hers, the one that always had her snapping out snide remarks whenever she felt threatened. On further thought, maybe I hoped she didn't. That would only keep her in longer.

I smiled, one of those far-off ones that only a good memory can cause. How we had hated one another before the Offering, and now I worried about her. I wanted to see those riotous curls and even hear some snarky barb.

Sienna came out of the bathroom, standing by the door and toweling off her wet hair. "It's all yours."

Someone knocked on our door, so Sienna turned and opened it.

I could hear Tilly. "I need you both to come with me."

Sienna took the towel from around her neck and threw it into the bathroom before turning toward me. "You coming?"

I rolled off the bed, my limbs fatigued even though I barely moved this day. I guessed I hadn't seen the last of Tilly.

Tilly was already squeaking away by the time I left our room, following Sienna.

Maybe she was leading us to eat. Back in the main room, I had heard one girl talk about the dining area. I picked up my pace to catch up to Sienna, arching my brow at her when she glanced at me. She only shrugged, and my stomach growled.

I raised my brows even higher when Tilly used a card on a device by the door. She hadn't ever used one of those. Only the guard had when I first came in. Could they be moving us on to the next part? My heartbeat quickened. Something was up.

Tilly brought us down two flights of stairs and showed us to a room. Inside were a few chairs, so Sienna and I sat down. Maybe this was a class of some sort. Now that they thought we were all broken, perhaps this was a lesson on what was expected of us.

A few minutes later, Eluena came in followed by Edith. Then Mindy.

I jumped up to greet her, enfolding her in my arms. Any thought of acting a certain way disappeared from my head. But now we were all back together.

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