Alex absently toyed the food on his plate. He was sitting in the cafeteria, staring at the empty chair across from him. It had been more than a week since he and Doyle attempted to sneak out of the compound. He still hadn't seen Doyle since. Mr. Jensen had at least told him that Doyle was alive and in the infirmary. He said that Doyle was badly injured by two guards while trying to escape from the compound at night. He would have been killed if the head farmer's son hadn't stopped the guards. He couldn't understand why his best student would do something so reckless. Alex wanted to tell him that the whole thing was actually his idea, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He also wanted to visit Doyle while he was in the infirmary, but they wouldn't allow him to. He also hadn't seen Derreck again. He wanted to thank him for what he'd done. There were a lot of things that Alex couldn't do. He felt powerless, but most of all he felt guilty. He knew that the whole thing was his fault. Doyle only went along with everything because he knew how much Alex wanted to do it.
After lunch Alex walked over to the infirmary as he did every other day that week. He once again asked them if they would let him see Doyle, but Doyle had already been discharged earlier that morning. Alex ran back to the dorm, hoping to find Doyle there, but it was empty. He went to all of their favorite spots, but Doyle was nowhere to be found. He finally saw Doyle outside of the old church where they had their classes. The sight of Doyle made tears well up in Alex's eyes. His face was almost completely covered in bandages, some of which were stained a dull red. One of his arms was in a sling and the other was resting on a shoddy wooden crutch. One of his legs was covered with bandages at the knee. Doyle was speaking to Mr. Jensen, who seemed to be berating him, judging by the gestures he was making and the faces he was pulling. Doyle only looked down at the ground. Alex approached Doyle after Mr. Jensen finally stormed off into the church. Alex stood in front of Doyle, who was still looking down at the ground.
"Hey," Alex said, unable to find any other words.
Doyle looked up at him. Alex could see anger shooting through his eyes. Doyle opened his mouth to say something, but after a pause he closed it again and looked away.
"I'm sorry," Alex said.
Doyle looked at him again. Alex thought that he looked even angrier. He knew that if it wasn't for the sling and the crutch Doyle probably would have hit him. He wouldn't have blamed him. A single tear streamed down from Doyle's face as he looked away from Alex again. He clumsily turned around, supporting his bandaged leg with the crutch. Then he limped away, pausing only once to look back, not at Alex, but at the church door that Mr. Jensen had gone through earlier.