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“Go! Move!” I shouted at them. Phillipa and John scrambled out of their cardboard beds and to the door of our section. I hated using such a harsh voice with them but it was the only way to get their attention. We needed to hurry.
We walked onto the narrow balcony of the fifth floor. The thin wood creaked under all of the people running across it. The air was colored with a yellow tinted fog, and the clouds bore dark green colors, parading across the sky like a death signal.
This is worse than I thought. I went up to the chain link fence surrounding the balcony and tugged at it. We needed to climb down if we were to escape. Tom ran by, dirt streaked across his face and sweat staining his shirt.
“Need help?” He shouted over the noise.
I nodded and pulled John and Phillipa close as Tom blew apart a small section of the fence with his signature flares. I nodded thanks, and wished him luck.
“You too,” He answered hastily, and continued running.
“Go guys, come on!” I said, practically shoving the kids through the hole in the fence. Their tiny hands clung through the square holes, and they scrambled to lower themselves onto the balcony on floor four. We had talked about this, and I told them that we might have to escape soon. I was proud of them for being so mature about it. We’re going to make it out of this.
Lucky for us, the lower we got, the less security. If I was running a mental hospital, I would have it the other way around, but I’m not complaining.
John reached the ground first and turned to help Phillipa. I waited until John had told of her before starting through the fence. I pushed my legs through the narrow opening and started down when I felt something cold skim my neck. I jerked my head upwards.
Erica was standing in front of me. She pulled me by the hair, holding her gun to my neck.
“If you struggle, you all die. If you come with me, I’ll let them live.”
I imagined Phillipa and John on level four, a place neither of them had ever been, stuck in the middle of the chaos, looking for me.
But they’re alive. And they must stay alive.
“I’ll go with you.”
Erica walking across the balcony was like Moses parting the seas. I walked swiftly behind her, receiving many stares from my fifth floor companions. She led me into her office and opened the door for me. She pushed me roughly inside, and shut the door, sliding the lock into place.
The yellow tinted air was stronger and more concentrated in the room. I was surprised to see what couldn’t be less than fifty people in the room with me. They all slumped against the wall, a vacant look in there eyes. They had already given up.
I turned around and banged on the metal door, alternating fists. I screamed until my raw throat gave out, and I too, propped myself up against the wall. I closed my eyes and took in the low humming noise from the lights running along the ceiling. I heard the distant noise of the occasional cough, but I stayed still. There was no use, the end was coming.
I thought to Phillipa and John, wondering where they were. I prayed that they would get out alright. That they would find someone to help them. I bent my knees and propped my elbows onto them, my hands on my temples, trying to calm myself. My pulse probed my fingertips, but I could feel it slowing down. I struggled to keep my eyes open
Erica pushed open the door and her slender frame slithered into the room.
“You all thought you were doing to get away. Didn’t you?”
She spoke calmly at first, but her voice escalated; she was shrieking by the last syllable.
“Didn’t you!?” She screamed into the face of one of the nearby victims. She turned to face us all, her young and beautiful face contorted by rage. She was sweating and her breathing was labored in the tinted air, but we were used to it. She scraped her hair off of her face and surveyed all of our faces.
“I’ve won. It’s over.”
She walked back over to the door. She started laughing hysterically.
She’s lost it, I thought
She opened the door and spoke once more before leaving us to die.
She cackled again, and shut to door. Her snakeskin heels slapped the concrete, and her footsteps soon faded away.