「 1: Aphrus 」

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"HYUNJIN!!" I screamed. It all happened in a blink of an eye. He lay there on the ground, helpless in a sea of his own blood.
I rushed to his side, pressing my hand against his wound where blood gushed out of. Jeongin stood beside me, helping me to lift his body on the plastic chairs that were packed closely together along one of the bus walls.
"We're losing him," Jeongin's voice trembled, his eyes filled with tears that spilled out uncontrollably, "please don't die... please..."
"He'll be okay," Chan tried to assure us, but even his voice shook and he looked terribly afraid. No one wanted to lose Hyunjin.
"Give me the tablet," Jisung held out his hand to Changbin, who held the glass tablet he had stolen from the hospital on our escape. However, he sat frozen, staring fearfully at Hyunjin, unable to comprehend what Jisung said. "CHANGBIN!! TABLET!!" Jisung yelled with a panicked tone. He sprung back to life and handed him the tablet with shaky hands.
"What you got there?" Felix peered over Jisung's shoulder anxiously. He held the tablet in one hand, the folded map in the other.
"The map. There's a phone number on it," he pointed, "the tablet must surely be able to call numbers hopefully if Dr. Moon used it all the time. Younghyun must've written it."
"Who are we calling?" Minho pondered, his worried expression glued to Hyunjin.
"I don't know. But whoever they are might help us. They might help Hyunjin."
"And how exactly are we going to get Hyunjin to them in time?!!" Woojin yelled from the driver's seat, still driving at an alarmingly high speed.
"We can only hope," Jisung said as he finished dialling. The tablet began to ring, and we all anticipated for someone to answer.
"I knew you lot would call," a distorted, abnormally low pitched voice answered. Their voice was clearly edited; they were concealing their identity.
"Who is it?" Jisung beckoned.
"Calm down now Jisung, I'm here to help."
We all looked frantically at each other; how did he or she know his name?
"Can you save Hyunjin?" I asked even though they most likely were unaware of what happened to him. My hand was firmly pressed against his stab wound. Hyunjin groaned, but only just. He had lost so much energy.
"He'll last. Stop the bleeding as much as you can."
How did they know what happened to Hyunjin?
"AP3 4JA, number 48. City of Aphrus. Make sure you arrive there alone. They'll be able to recover him. You're doing well you nine. Stay close together."
The mysterious person hung up.
"How did they know everything about us, and even what happened to Hyunjin?" Chan wondered, "are they watching us?"
"I think we would've noticed if there were cameras," Changbin mumbled, staring at Hyunjin. The postcode the person had mentioned popped back into my head, as I perfectly memorized every digit and letter.
"Woojin!! Take us to AP3 4JA NOW!!"
"On it!!" He typed in the postcode in the old SatNav.
"How'd you remember that?" Felix stared at me blankly.
"I have pretty good memory," I explained. He gave me an odd look but was cut off by Jisung.
"What do you guys think when they said that us nine were 'doing well'?" Jisung asked.
"Maybe they're the Third Eye, or allies, who are supporting us," Changbin guessed.
"Whatever. I just hope Hyunjin will be alright soon," Jeongin sobbed.
Suddenly, the tablet Jisung gripped in his sweaty palms burst to life, a familiar tune playing from it: the news. He turned around the tablet so everyone could see, a slight hint of worry across his face in wonder of why the tablet had shot alive.
"Good evening Tartarus," the news reporter greeted calmly, "tonight, we have breaking news. A loyal Hospital Director known professionally as Dr. Moon has been assassinated, along with several Knight Guards, their corpses found in the Asphodel Hospital. Nine male patients aged between 16 and 20 from the Hospital are known to be behind it, and are reported to have escaped. The patients have been identified as Woojin Kim, Chan Bang, Minho Lee, Changbin Seo, Hyunjin Hwang, Jisung Peter Han, Felix Bang, Seungmin Kim, and Jeongin Yang."
Images of our faces with our names and ages labelled underneath appeared on the screen. The program then transitioned to someone who looked like a Hospital Director, whom I didn't recognize since the only one I knew was Dr. Moon. But Dr. Moon was now dead.
"Dr. Park," Jisung whispered to himself. I just about caught what he said.
"The Crown Police Force kindly request that if anyone from the public sees any of these criminals, they should report it to them immediately. We'd like to assure the people that they are completely safe from these escapists and that the entire situation is under control-"
"Lies," scoffed Changbin.
"Unfortunately we do not have much information in regards whether they are armed or not, however they were last seen driving an old yellow school bus. One of the escapists, Hyunjin Hwang, has been injured and so their level of threat has gone down. We'll announce very soon when we've got hold of them."
"They'll never capture us," Minho laughed forcefully, before he realized everyone was thinking the same as him, "or at least... I hope."
"Great, now the whole world knows about us," Felix sighed, "we might not make it that far."
"Don't lose faith, Felix. We have each other," I reassured him. He gently smiled, although it didn't conceal the amount of doubt that circled his eyes.
"You guys," Changbin reached for the bucket under his seat, "we need to get changed. We can't be caught."
Everyone agreed. Nobody cared about privacy; we all just got changed. We were all in utter fear, confusion and worry. Who cared if one of us saw the other without a shirt? It didn't matter. Time was precious and couldn't be wasted.
"What about Hyunjin?" Minho asked.
"He'll be fine in his clothes for now," Chan replied, "plus it might be risky if we tried since he might lose more blood."
"I'm sorry," I heard Changbin say softly.
"What are you apologizing for?" I turned to him. He looked at me, confused.
"I didn't say anything."
"Yes you did. Just now."
"Changbin said nothing," Jisung told me. I shrugged, brushing it off.
I glanced down at Hyunjin, sighing sadly. I hugged him tightly, and Jeongin caressed his head on top of his lap. Hyunjin's breath quickened, his expression clearly stating he was still in great pain.
"Hang in there Hyunjin," I said softly, "we'll get you better soon. Just stay alive for a little longer, please."
As if he heard me, he slightly nodded, and weakly reached for my hand that was pressed against him. He stroked it gently, like he wanted to comfort me. Calm me down. I was glad that he could at least still move a bit.
"I'll be okay," he murmured, "don't worry."

[indefinite hiatus] CLASSIFIED | Stray Kids AU | Book 2 in GENOCIDE seriesWhere stories live. Discover now