The Train [Ryan]
Twenty One Days Until Destination

I didn't really know why I had turned back, looking for Christina for some reason, but it was a good thing I did. I saw Lucas' body bob up to the surface, but I didn't see Christina supporting him any longer. I dove underwater, frantically looking for my friend, and I spotted her, drifting through the water.

As she sunk down, I saw her eyes go blank, and her arms stopped moving. Crap! I thought, forgetting others could hear me.

What is it?! Zack asked, turning toward me quickly.

I was already diving down toward his sister, catching her wrist before she sank any deeper. Then Zack was next to me, helping me drag Christina's limp body to the surface of the water. If she stayed unconscious any longer, we wouldn't be able to get her to the surface in time. So I grit my teeth and punched her hard in the side, feeling some bones shift around.

Christina's eyes snapped open, wide with pain, and she started paddling quickly toward the surface, with me and Zack still helping her.

We reached the top and Christina gasped in air, coughing up loads of water. The lake was still rising, and we were being pushed up with it. Soon, we would hit the ceiling.

"Climb the cliff!" I yelled. "Get to the other side!" Everyone started swimming for the rock face, and we clambered up, climbing as quickly as we could. Christina's breathing was labored, and I could tell she was struggling, but she kept climbing.

When we reached the top, the cliff started trembling, and I heard a grinding sound. We all looked at each other, then the rock started upward, toward the ceiling at a frightening speed.

I started pushing people down the other side, making sure everyone was safe until it was only me, Zack, and Christina left. We were so close to the roof, I could feel the coolness radiating off the metal.

"Go!" I shouted at Zack, and he tumbled down the cliff in an awkward rolling somersault.

I looked at Christina and grabbed her arm. She shook her head frantically, eyes wide with fear, and clutched at her side. I pulled anyway. I wasn't going to let her die. So we bounced down the cliff, my vision whirling around, sometimes seeing dull rock, sometimes seeing the metal ceiling, and sometimes seeing Christina tumbling down beside me.

When we were near the bottom, I heard a piercing shriek from Christina. I landed hard on a small rock beach near a small pool of water. I looked up and saw the rock had slid into the ceiling, blocking the wall of water that we had just escaped from. I heard Christina land next to me with a hard thump.

Diamond's electronic voice filled the air, "Training is over. Exit the door when you are ready, and base team will treat any wounds you have."

Everyone rushed toward Christina, who was lying on the rock, shaking and whimpering in pain. Rae quickly rolled her off of her injured side and everyone went silent except for Christina. Lexy, Rae, and Mai all backed up, eyes wide with horror. I felt like puking.

Christina's flesh was hanging in awkward chunks around three pieces of perfectly white bone that were sticking out of her side. Each time she breathed, a new gush of blood poured out from around the broken bones. I could see shards of white peppering the shredded flesh.

While we all stood frozen, the wounded girl in front of us started coughing up blood. I bent down near her head and picked up the top half of her body. Zack quickly lifted up her feet and we started toward the door that led to the base team.

"Someone get the door." Zack said quietly, and Levi, who had Lucas slung over his shoulder, rushed forward to open it. Zack's voice was calm, but I could see the panic in his eyes.

As we carried Christina through the door, her voice quieted into low moans and her eyes started to lose focus.

"Come on, Christina. Stay awake. We need you to stay awake." I said firmly.

She nodded weakly and tried to focus her eyes on me, looking straight up at my face as her brother and I strained to put her gently onto the table the Base Team had prepared.

The Base Team pulled a curtain around the table as the Control Teams streamed into the room from their car. Lizzy and Tris were among the last to come in, and they craned their necks to see over the mass of people with what looked like serious concern on their faces.

I heard the sound of sloshing water as the blue-eyed teenagers of the base team continued to carry containers of water into the closed off space. Christina's cries quieted and the tension in the rooms both grew and relaxed at the same time.

The base team hurried everyone but our team out of the room, and pulled the curtain away, leaving the car themselves.

We crowded around the table, Rae and Lexy sniffling with quiet tears sliding down their cheeks, and Mai standing with a blank face, trying to stay strong. Zack's eyes were filled with worry, and Levi and Dallas were quietly tending to Lucas as he was starting to wake up.

An hour passed, and one by one, our friends left to go rest. Levi and Dallas helped Lucas shuffle slowly back to our car, and soon it was just Lexy, Zack, and I that remained. I could see Lexy nodding off, then snapping herself back awake. I nudged her.

"Go to bed. It's okay. Zack and I will wait for her to wake up." I said softly.

"Actually, I can't stand just waiting here. I need something to do. I'll walk Lexy to her room." Zack said, and quickly got up. Lexy nodded sleepily and stood, leaving with Zack.

It was quiet for a few moments, and I reached over to brush some of Christina's dark hair out of her face. her eyelids flickered, then slowly opened.

"Ryan?" Her eyes locked onto mine. "You pulled me up. Through the water."

"Yes. And Zack." She nodded slowly, remembering.

"You pushed me off a cliff." She said next.

I smiled faintly. "Yes. I'm sorry. I didn't want you to be crushed."

"Thank you." She smiled. "Help me up?"

"Are you sure you're okay?" I asked, concerned.

She nodded. "They... Um... They..." She furrowed her brow, trying to remember. "There was water... And then... And... I'm better now. Just a little sore." She said brokenly, and pulled up the side of her shirt to show me her unmarked skin.

"Okay..." I said hesitantly, and reached my arm under her back, giving her support as she sat up. I didn't see any signs of pain on her face as she swung her legs over the side of the table.

"Gross!" She exclaimed when a wave of watery blood was swept off the table. "Is that mine? I'm so sorry." She said hurriedly when she saw the red splotches on my clothes.

"Don't worry about it." I assured her. Her clothes were soaked through with blood and water, and her skin was pretty slick too.

"Help me to my room?" She asked. "So I can rinse off and get a change of clothes."

"Sure." I said, and lifted her arm so it rested over my shoulders. She stood up shakily, leaning on me for support, and we started for the door slowly.

Luckily it was late, and not many people were in the halls to stop and stare at us. She had to stop and rest against the walls frequently, but eventually we made it up the stairs to her room. I helped her into the bathroom, then turned to leave.

"Ryan! Um... Thanks. For staying with me." she said quietly, blushing a bit.

I nodded and smirked a little, causing her to blush more, then quietly left the room.