Mysterious Stealings

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There’s only one word that echoes in my head repeatedly: Nate.

Nate.

Nate.

I sit on the bench and stare at the picture of the Director before Thomas and my dad in the Training Room while the name haunts me.

Nothing matters to me when Nate is dead.

He’s dead. Emma is dead. Cassie is dead. Everyone I love is dead. I have no one left to care for. That thought makes me clench my fists that are on my lap.

It’s my fault that they’re dead. I was a selfish person who makes people think that I’m dead by joining HQ. I have never thought of the consequences when I told Director my wish to be one of them.

I have never thought of how my decision causes the death of my family and friends. They paid my price with their lives.

The Director who I’ve been staring for who knows how long starts to change. His skin looks like it is melting, leaving only the skull left and eyes still staring into mine.

‘You’re next to die, Melanie Meridian,’ what’s left of the Director says.

I will be next to join them.

“Melanie?” a voice says, snapping me out of my reverie. I look up to see Athena giving me a concern look when she sees my pale expression and tears that is welled up.

“They’re dead,” I whisper brokenly. Defeated.

“They’re not dead, Melanie. Your family and friends are healthy and living.”

I shake my head in distrust. I saw them died in front of me. I can never forget the look on Emma and Cassie’s face when they took a step back into the flames. It was a look of disgust.

Disgust of me.

My eyes wander at the picture of the Director, where the skull is not there anymore. It’s Emma that’s staring back at me with a poker face.

“Emma,” I say, stumbling towards the picture. When I blink, the ex-Director is back on place. “No!” I scream, punching the picture, making it fall to the ground. “No! No! Emma! Come back!”

“Melanie! Calm down!” Athena orders as she tries to drag me away from the broken picture.

“Emma!” I shout angrily, pissed that she’s playing a game of hide and seek with me. She fooled me into thinking she’s dead! How dare she! A monster snaps out of me, completely out of control. I attempt to break away from Athena’s strong grip on me or burn her with my high temperature skin.

Unfortunately for me, Athena is a goddess and she’s not affected by the blows I tried to give her.

She lets me trash around in her arms while I scream like a wild animal in a small cage. I plead her to kill me so I can join Nate in heaven.

All rational thoughts left me, leaving a mindless beast in control.

“Melanie, listen to me! Whatever you saw is nothing but a test. Nothing happened in reality, dear. They’re just a test,” Athena’s soothing voice calms me down.

Willingly and thoughtlessly, I throw my hands around Athena’s neck, causing her to gasp in surprise. I cry into her arms as she soothes me with words. All the anger and frustration left while my body temperature has lowered back to normal.

After what feels like ten minutes, I let go of Athena, apologizing quickly for my actions and behavior.

“That’s alright, dear. I was worried how long you can keep your emotions bottled up,” Athena explains. I notice that her clothes doesn’t have any wet evidence from my little tearing moment.

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