"Ava, you are the best of all of us at this game. You're a natural. And you've never played before?" I asked her, watching her for her response. She shook her head.
"Well, congratulations. You can beat all of the experienced players with ease." I said as I motioned around to everyone else in the room. She nodded and smiled.
"She even beat me," Alice said in astonishment. "No one's done that before."
Ava nodded once again and then, looking shocked, motioned behind us.
We turned around to find a man standing behind us with an amused expression on his face.
"Poker?" he questioned, shaking his head and trying not to grin.
"Yup!" Alice answered.
"Now which one of you is Alice? You need to come with me."
"Over my dead body!" Alice responded, quickly standing up and backing into the far wall of the room.
"Now, now, it's only orientation. We just want to get to know you, that's all."
"Just go, Alice. You'll be fine. But one more thing," I said as I motioned for her to come closer so I could whisper in her ear. "Don't take any medication they give you. Who knows what it will do to you? Okay?"
"I'm not stupid, Nikki," she whispered back, rolling her eyes.
She left the room with the doctor person.
One by one, everyone left, until it was only me and Blake.
"Do you think everyone's okay?" I asked, starting to let my earlier emotions show.
"I have a question, Nik." He stated, taking a step closer to me. I hate it when he calls me that.
"Why do you care about the well-being of others? You always seem to take care of others but not yourself. The real question is, are you okay?"
By now his face was only inches away from mine. I stared into his warm, green eyes before turning quickly around and fiddled with my hands. "Yeah," I murmured. "I'm fine."
I prepared for the worst to happen. Him to get angry at me for turning away and not giving a straight answer, or worse, awkward silence for the rest of the time we were in the room. Luckily neither of those things came because right as Blake began to speak the door opened and a man came to take us wherever we were going.
The man was tall. He had a very pale face and stressed looking eyes, as if he had been working all day non-stop. He had a somewhat pointed noise and was wearing another fancy looking suit. They must all wear fancy suits, I thought.
He took a second to glance at us and then I believe grunted a quiet "Follow me" but I couldn't be sure.
As we walked down the hallways, I tried to make sure to remember details of the place in case we needed it anytime soon. The walls were completely white and the floor was a dark black. There were some windows but they were all barred. All of the doors lining the hallway were closed and only few had windows. I glanced through one and saw a child rocking back and forth with a small stuffed bunny in her hands, crying. What a wonderful place.
When we went about halfway down the hallway we stopped at a set of double doors. The doors automatically opened, showing us the room's interior. It was a somewhat large room, with beautiful big windows. There was a desk in the center of the room with a man sitting at it, looking to be typing something on his computer.
The man who had brought us here cleared his throat. "Sir?"
The man at the desk finally looked up. "Yes?"
"Here they are, shall I report back to my duties?"
The man nodded and the man who brought us here left.
"Please, do come in Blake and Nikola," he said, locking his fingers together in that sophisticated way on his desk.
I hesitated. No one has called me Nikola besides my parents, and they're dead. And if my assumptions are correct, which they usually are, this is the man who plotted their death.
"Nik, it's okay, I promise." I heard Blake say. I must have hesitated longer than I thought. A moment seems like minutes when the timing is right. Blake led me to the couch in front of the man's desk so I could sit down.
"What do you want from us?" I asked, my voice surprisingly calm.
"Just like your mother, aren't you? Automatically going for the big questions like, 'Why are we here?', or 'What do you want with us?'. All answers will be revealed in due time, but right now I'm offering you a chance to get the answers you seek. Not big ones like that but smaller ones. Any question you can think of. Go ahead." He leaned back in his chair, waiting for a question.
"What is going to happen to us?" Blake asked, his voice wavering slightly.
"Ah, that's a good one. Well, let's see. What grade are you in? Eighth? Ninth? Well, I guess it doesn't matter what grade, more to the point is that you still have to get an education until you're eighteen. So until then, you will be taking classes regularly."
"What about after that?" I asked.
"It depends on your behavior and if you could possibly be a benefit to us. If we think neither are good enough, you will be eliminated."
Eliminated? He was willing to kill children if they didn't do what he said?
"But enough of your questions. I have a few of my own that I have to verify. How old are you?"
"Fourteen," I stated.
"Fifteen," Blake said, his voice sounding annoyed.
"Good, and you're both from Michigan?"
We both nodded in response.
"Okay, well that's all I needed to verify. Oh, and look at the clock. It's already twelve. I better be headed off to lunch." He said, as he started to get up from his chair. "Oh, I almost forgot. You all will be getting your own rooms tomorrow. Two people to a room. Now, as I said before, I must go. Joseph will lead you to the cafeteria to get something to eat." And with that, he left the room.