So sorry you guys! I was on vacation for the majority of July. Updates should be a bit more regular now. The good news is that is is an important chapter!


Night had fallen by the time we reached where we were going. The members of the bus exited quietly, one by one. I followed behind Blayne, with Hannah close behind me. I felt her head droop onto my back and turned around to see that she had fallen asleep standing up. I nudged her a little to wake her up, and we left the bus.

A huge concrete wall, probably 200 feet high, surrounded the large government building we had arrived at. A military member checked every adult's ID before admitting us into a stark white room. We were all dirty and the room was far too clean. A smiling brunette lady waltzed into the room in a lab coat.

"Welcome to safety," she smiled, her red lipstick rubbing off onto her teeth. "I'm very glad you all have survived one of the greatest disaters the world has ever soon. I hope you have a prosperous life until we get the situation cleared up."

Cortney's eyebrows were sky high and I had to stop myself form laughing. She was about five shades too chipper to be in this situation.

"First off, we have to test everyone. If one of you shows up to have traces of the virus, then we will care for you until you are able to be admitted. We'll take teenagers first, followed by children and parents, then adults."

Hannah, Cortney, Blayne, and I stepped up behind the lady. The other teenagers on the bus followed us. We were rushed into a medical examination room.

A balding, harried looking man was pouring over some thick books in a corner. The lady cleared her throat.

"Ah, yes! Thank you, Imogen," he grinned. "My daughter here is a very bright young lady. I'm Doctor Harold, pleasure to meet you."

Were these people unaware of how drastic this situation really was?

He pulled out a table and patted it. "Young man, sit, sit," he said, pointing to me. I raised my eyebrows and sat on the table. Dr. Harold pulled out a sterilized needle connected to a bag.

"I will have to draw some blood," he started and I almost puked. God, needles were Satanic. I felt like the world was spinning as he took a blood sample and ran it through a high-tech computer. "No traces of the virus," he grinned, but my anxiety level wasn't lowered. Blayne or Cortney or Hannah still hadn't gone.

"Connor Culver, eh?" The doctor said to me. "Nice to meet ya."

Blayne sat on the table next. He was cleared. And then came Cortney.

After getting blood drawn, and running it through the computer, Dr. Harold frowned. "How old are you?"

"Um…sixteen?" Cortney said. Behind her steely mask there was panic in her brown eyes. Her nose was scrunched and her round face was cocked to the side.

"Well, Miss Pugh…" he began, "You have traces of the virus."

Cortney's breathing quickened. "What?"

"Somehow you have come into contact with it," Dr. Harold said saidly. "Unfortunately, we will have to place you in immediate medical care." He pressed a button on his watch and two uniformed men gently grabbed Cortney.

"Cortney!" Blayne said, grabbing her elbow. She looked at him, and for once you could tell exactly what she was thinking.

"I'll see you later," she said firmly.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Blayne asked.

"Because then I couldn't save all of your sorry asses," Cortney said, her mask painted carefully back on. She was escorted from the room. Hannah was shaking from terror as she sat on the table. Since the needle wouldn't stay in one place they had to sedate her. I watched as her eyes dulled and her body quit shaking. She received the news that she was clean and she got off of the table, the dull look still in her eyes.

"Come on," Blayne said, slinging an arm around Hannah. She was still, her arms dangling at her sides.

"How long will the sedative last?" I asked Dr. Harold.

"Only for a little while longer, son," he smiled, before testing another teenager.

"Well," Imogen started, "I will be showing you to your barracks. I hope you find your stay pleasant and enjoyable."

Yeah. Right.

Hannah was still silent. It was creepy.

We were shown our rooms. Apparently we were going to room together. I grabbed Hannah's bag and slung it on the nearest bed. She was staring blankly ahead and I tried to get her to sit down.

"Hannah, maybe you should sit," I tried.

"Why did Cortney go away?" She asked, eyes glassy and unfocused.

I sat beside her on the bed. I felt like I was talking to a five year old. "She had the virus."

"Why did she have it and no one else did?" Hannah looked down.

"I don't know," I admitted. "But the most we can do is hope that she gets better."

"She better," Blayne said, brooding on his bed. "Do they have a gym here? I need to punch something."

"I don't know," I admitted. Was I becoming caretaker to two emotionally unstable people?

"I'm not emotionally unstable," Hannah muttered. Did I say that aloud? A knock was heard on our door.

"Hello," a uniformed man said, but his brow crinkled when he saw Hannah. "Young lady, why are you in the boy's dorm?" He shook it off and continued, "There is a building-wide meeting going on in five minutes. The President will be speaking and addressing any issues we may have. I expect to see you there."

"Where is it?" I asked. This place was huge, I was positive we'd get lost.

"Why don't you kids just follow me," he said patronizingly. Blayne rolled his eyes. I could tell he had issues with authority. Like the beer he still had in his bag.

We followed the uniformed man to a speaking room, or meeting room of sorts. Thousands upon thousands of chairs were placed all over it. It was massive. Everyone was lined up by age and gender, and then there eighteen years olds and up, then families, then the elderly. Seeing as I was sixteen and so was Blayne, we we forced to our section. Hannah had a strike of terror in her eyes as we were separated.

We were all seated and the National Anthem was played. The American flag was risen and we placed our hands over our hearts. Then our President came out.

His talk was long and boring, and I fell asleep two minutes in. The next thing I knew, Blayne was nudging me and whispering. "This is our chance!"

"A man in California by the name of Jacoby has discovered a cure for this virus," our President was saying. "Unfortunately, he is asking a large sum of money for it. We believe it is in the best interest of our people if we, ahem…acquire it by other means."

Blayne boldly raised his hand. The President looked taken aback, but said, "Yes, young man?"

"You want someone to steal it?" He verified.

"Well, for lack of a better word…" He appeared flustered. "Yes."

Blayne smirked as hushed mutters broke out among the residents. "Well I volunteer."

Silence.

The President was shocked that such a young man would offer his services to the country. "I was hoping for someone a little older…"

"Me too," Hannah said, standing and meeting eyes with Blayne, who gave a proud nod. Her family began protesting hysterically, but she remained standing.

"Fine," the President said. "This meeting is over. You two," he gave a look to Hannah and Blayne, "meet me in the back room after everyone leaves."

I looked incredulously at Blayne. "Are you crazy?"

"Maybe," he grinned.

"I thought the goal was to get out of this mess!" I whisper-yelled. "Not crawl right back in! Now you're endangering yourself and Hannah too."

Blayne smirked knowingly. "Do you care about us, Connor?"

"UH…yeah!" I said, as if it was obvious.

"Then come with us," Blayne said finally. He walked over to discuss things with the President. I turned away to walk back to the barracks.

"Don't turn around, don't turn around…" I said to myself.

I promptly turned the opposite direction and made my way to Blayne and Hannah.