"What the hell?" Cameron finally realized he was falling, and he was falling fast. He didn't know where he was or where Madison was or where this even was. All he knew was that he was falling. The air around him, blurred with the tumbling from the fall, was multicolored and the air stank. Bad. It smelled like a mixture of bleach, death, and shit. Like a hospital. "Cameron!" He heard Madison's voice in the distance, and she was clearly far away. "Mads! Where are you?" He yelled back. "I'm over here!" He still couldn't tell where here was, but he knew it was where he wanted to be. "Are you still falling!" "Yeah!" "Not much longer!" Her voice got louder, clearer, and the smell became evermore pungent. All at once, he crashed to the ground and instantly emptied his stomach at his feet. His vomit was mixed with blood, and he knew he would never be able to eat that food again. "Shit," he wiped off his cheek. "Where are we?" He looked around, and sure enough, it looked like a hospital
"I think that's the cheesiest thing you've ever said to me, Cameron," Madison laughed. "Well, it's true." She put her hand on top of his and kissed it. "Let's get you looked at real quick. Lay back." She peeled his shirt up and inspected his torso. It was bloody, but it didn't look like anything serious, nothing more than bruises. She was mostly concerned about his teeth and how bloody they were. At least one was definitely gone. That guard did a number on him, but she was sad to say they didn't have the time to go fixing those right now. They had to keep going. Cameron argued after a moment, "Come on, Mads. Let's just go. I'm fine." "Well, nothing looks life-threatening, so we'll look at it later after we get out of here. Right now, yes, we need to go." ***** Carly was forced to push down the fears that she had killed all of them. If I'd just gotten here sooner, maybe they-- no, Carly. You can't think like that.
Guards were in tow behind them, screaming obscenities at them to make them stop. As if that would work. "Cameron, what's going on?" Madison questioned."Just trust me." The girl rounded a corner in the hallway under the arena, presumably thinking she was headed to a glorious prize. Madison didn't say anything, but she grabbed Cameron's hand and continued running after where they'd taken the girl. Their feet fell flat on stone floor, and each step pounded through Cameron's calves, shooting up his legs. If only he'd done more running on surfaces like this before, he would be all set and ready to go."Stop!" The guards yelled again at Cameron, gaining ground. Their feet thumped together. Cameron heard the jangle of the baton scrape out of the man's belt, and his necked twitched as he knew that the guard would use it on him."Not until you tell us where she's being taken," Madison ran backwards for a moment, her hair whipping into Cameron's face. "No!" The unarmed guard yelled. "Why sh
Through the next hallway, there were four more people they had to help: one woman and three men. Madison effectively unhooked them with a minimal amount of help from Cameron. He held the tubes steady while she dislodged them from people's brains and throats. "God, I do not get how you can do that," Justin said, less green the first few times but still somewhat green. "Perks of the trade," she said without a glance as she pulled out the last tube."I do not get how you're fine when I lose an arm, but you can't handle a little bit of brain juice. That's like people who would prefer to clean up vomit than piss," Cameron thought."Because I've encountered blood before. I can honestly say I never thought I'd be seeing brain fluid," Justin had a good point."Stop talking and help me. We have to get these last few people through here," Madison pointed to another hallway. "Justin, are you able to stay behind and talk to them when they wake up?""Yeah, I guess so." He walked over to Cameron
"Finally, we're getting somewhere," Carly muttered."Don't jinx it," Justin scolded."I won't. I was just excited.""Well, don't be. I don't think we want to be finding something here," he said. Cameron silently agreed."Why?""Just hush," he put his index finger over his mouth in the universal 'hush' motion. "I can feel it. We're almost there."Madison nodded that she could feel it too. She wrapped her hand in Cameron's and squeezed. Her hand was clammy, presumably from anxiety. Cameron normally would've been disgusted, but he didn't mind because it was her. She could wipe it on his face, and he wouldn't mind. Well, that's a lie. He probably would have, but he wouldn't have gotten as upset as if it had come from someone else.The room expanded and lightened even more. Cameron froze. He'd been here before--the cavelike room with the overarching holographic stars and the enormously-hot room. He knew something felt familiar, and now it was overwhelming. He'd been here before. "Stop," h
"The records room is this way," Justin directed Cameron. "I don't think we'll have any more luck in there, but we need to put these files back." "You rememberexactlywhere you found them, right?" "Yes, I marked them with a tiny piece of string I tore off my shirt. I'm honestly a little hurt you'd even question me," Justin mocked. "Better safe than sorry," Cameron said. "Besides, you have no idea how meticulous they are about those records." "Apparently not meticulous enough to where two teenagers can break in and go completely unnoticed." He had a point. "Besides, I'm sure no one even goes in to thepaperrecords room anyway." Another good point. "True. Okay, put them back quick. I'll keep an eye out." They exchanged nods, and Justin ducked into the room. Cameron looked around the hallway. This part of the building started to change from stone to concrete. The floor wasn't glass. In fact, nothing from the
"You'll never believe what we found," Justin told Cameron and Carly when they met up."What did you find?" Carly purposely dodged questions about them, which Cameron appreciated. He wasn't ready to talk just yet."Come on. We can't talk here," he instructed. "Follow me." He led them a ways down the hallway to another stone room that, at first glance, contained no cameras, but they weren't stupid enough to take that as the truth. The room was empty. It had no place to sit or conceal themselves from any potential cameras. The floor was hard and cold, but Justin sat on it to spread out the files he found."This isn't about Project Invidia," Cameron inspected."I know, but they're about Keegan Enterprises," Justin defended. "I didn't think we'd have enough time to look solely for Invidia, so I just went into the history of this company. It's apparently much older than originally thought.""How old?" Carly asked."A hundred and thirty years," Mad
"About six months after I started here, people started acting strange." Chuck started."Strange how?" Cameron leaned on the edge of his seat."Well, they'd be depressed every day. They came in here acting like the world was ending and their lives were falling apart, but I didn't know why. You know, the place can have its days, but I've never thought it as that bad, you know? Anyway, I noticed people here went from being depressed to killing themselves. One by one, people were dropping like flies. I never understood why, but I ended up going to get a drink with this man once. I never got his name, but he had a wife at home. We were at the bar, and he was telling me about how she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He was totally in love with her, and I haven't seen that in a long time. Anyway, he'd been noticing the same things I was, even wrote about it in his journal that night. That's how we came to meet, actually. His best friend, Marcus I think is what he said, was becomi