chapter five

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"Oranges are dangerous because they can get inside your head, right?" Liam asked quietly as we watched the fire.

"Yeah, they can look at your memories, make you do things." I respond, my face scrunched slightly, "Why?"

"Have you ever been in someone's head before? To — To look at their past? Or their memories?" I shake my head at the question.

"No. It'd be cool, but I've only ever gotten into peoples' heads to make sure I wasn't found out at the camps. I made them think I was normal — well, as normal as you can be these days."

Liam was quiet for a second, as if he was hesitating, "Do you want to? Do you want to go inside my head?" My eyes shot up to meet his.

"What?" I asked in disbelief, "Do you understand what you're asking?" His eyes were dead set on me as he nodded.

"Yeah, I do. I just thought that we know some of your past, maybe you should know some of ours. If you went in my head, you could see it." He explained.

"Liam, you know I'd be able to see a lot more than that, right? And you're trusting me to go inside your head and not mess with you?"

"Is there a reason I shouldn't?" He raised an eyebrow. I let out a prolonged sigh, "No." I shook my head.

   He takes in a deep breath, "Then do it."

"Have you ever driven before?" Liam's question made me look up from the book Chubs had lent me.

A breathy laugh fell through my lips, "No, but that doesn't mean I don't know what bad driving looks like."

   Liam scoffed playfully, "The only bad driver here is Chubs! He's the one that tried to run you over." At this, Chubs poked his head in between the seats, pointing a finger at Liam, "I told you I didn't want to drive! We all know I can't see that well, but no, you were tired!"

   I laugh at the two's banter, Zu giggling along with me.

Liam takes a turn off the road and behind a small minimart since we didn't get to gather all the supplies we were supposed to last time. He parks near some trees and we all climb out of the van. "C'mon, Zu." I gesture for her.

   "Hey," Chubs calls from behind us, "Try not to run into a tracer this time!" I bite the inside of my cheek to stifle a laugh, "Don't worry, I won't."

   Zu and I walk over to the back entrance of the store, our bags slung over our shoulders as I open the door and peek my head inside.

   I look left and right, up and down the isles, before turning back to the little girl, "It's clear, c'mon." Zu walks inside, going straight for the frozen food isles, most likely trying to find waffles or something similar.

   I take on a similar routine as last time, silently hoping that we don't run into a tracer again. As I gather supplies, I'm careful to keep an eye on Zu as I walk around.

   Grabbing a jar a peanut butter and jam, I stuff the two into my bag and work my way to find a loaf of bread. I contemplate asking Zu if she'd seen it, but decide not to when I come across it myself.

I reach for the bread, following the same routine of putting the item in my bag, but I freeze as I hear the slam of a door and heavy footsteps.

Liam and Charles said they'd wait outside. I look around the corner, slinging both straps of the bag over my shoulders and tightening them as quietly as I could. I hoped that Zu was out of sight of whoever just walked in.

A dark-skinned girl in an army uniform had walked into the minimart. She didn't look like a tracer, but that didn't mean she wasn't a threat. I could feel my eyes instinctively change to their blue color, ready to defend myself and Zu — that was if I could see where she was at.

   I looked around as much as I could without being seen. I squatted closer to the floor, slightly moving down the isle and out to the next, getting closer to the last part of the store I had saw Zu in.

   I watched as the girl moved into the corner, sliding the backpack off her shoulder and facing towards the wall. I took this time to quickly stand up and look for Zu. She stood over near the frozen food isle, still looking through some of the selections.

   I paced up behind her, grabbing her wrist and pressing a finger to my lips, indicating to be quiet. I tugged her along with me, carefully stepping over some fallen items, but Zu must not have been paying attention.

   A loud clanking noise was what reverberated throughout the small mart as she tripped over the items, and I was positive the girl had heard it.

   We both froze in our spots, not daring to make another sound. I looked back to Zu, gesturing for her to stay behind me, I walked forward, my head peeking around the corner of the shelves.

   The girl stood at the end of the isle, now sporting a red hoodie and some jeans. A small gasp escaped the girl's mouth, not expecting us to be here.

   Blue swirled in my irises as I stood up and walked into the middle of the isle, facing the girl. I could see Zu moving to the door of the food cooler behind me, sliding off her yellow glove and pressing her hand to it.

   The girl's eyebrows furrowed as she gasped once more before hunching down lower to the ground as sparks flew from the electrical outlets and the already damaged ceiling lights.

   With her gloved hand, Zu grabbed my arm, tugging me along with her as she ran to the exit and left the girl standing in the isle.

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