Dizang, you guys! You can’t just choose to take a nap? Why must you be adventurous? I’m half-high on cold medication and I think our next option should be Drink Some Hot Cider And Then Take a Nap.
What? That’s not exciting enough? FINE.
I suppose we should go with C. Figure out a way to make everyone think you went to bed early, and go out now, find this foot ball stadium, and watch, but do not attend. You need to know a WHOLE lot more before risking the amount of trouble you could get into if caught.
Alright, Mucinex. Let’s do this shizz!
Chapter 04: I Go Out Walkin’ After Midnight
You cast a quick look around your room, checking to see if you’ve forgotten anything. Pillows under the covers, check. Snooze Machine set to sonorous snoring, check. Thank God that those vids of the old classic tele show, Full House, survived the Information Revamp. You know how to make it look like you’re still sleeping. And, should you ever have the funds to purchase makeup from the black market, you know how to wear it like you don’t have it on at all.
Now for the hard part.
You’ve taken a shower, and scrubbed yourself red and raw. Your hair has been bundled up into a cap, and you’ve dressed yourself in the paper gown that all students were given during Intake. You are as chem-free as possible, but you still don’t know if that will fool the door monitor, which has been tuned to sense your body chemistry. Here goes nothing.
You hold your breath and shut your eyes as you enter in the combination. The door slides open silently, and as you step through, no loud klaxons sound out the alert of a student outside her perimeters, and you silently thank Sev for her insistence on attacking you with a spritz of perfume anytime you leave the room.
Quietly, you tiptoe down the hallway and slip through the half-open window in the girls’ bathroom that serves as emergency ventilation – both for those few people with the funds and balls to sneak cigarettes and for the times that Tech feels an air cooling system is too luxurious for students. Casting glances around you, you keep to the shadows as you make your way to the football stadium.
“Football stadium” is a bit of a misnomer, actually. The field had been uncovered several years before, its paint still visible under choking weeds. For a while, students had been allowed to recreate the game of football from an old vid of rules, playbooks and Xs and Os, but then Tech declared the game to be too unstructured—something about tackles and quarterback scrambles—and banned the game. Now the field was strictly used for morning calisthenics and, apparently, clandestine meetings.
You can just make out a hooded figure standing in the center of the field, and as you duck behind a row of seats, you notice a tall man with black eyes approaching midfield. Cain, you think. Maybe I should go out there.
Cain and the mystery person confer briefly, their voices hushed but angry. You can’t make out quite what they’re saying, but you think you catch the mystery person say “She will be the ruin of us all.” Who will be the ruin? you ask yourself. Who will be the ones ruined?
Deciding that you need answers, you stand up and start to maneuver out of your hiding space, intent on joining this little meeting of minds. But just as you are about to reveal yourself, you see Cain look around and then quickly reach his hand into his pocket. Something glints, briefly, and you have time to think ‘reader?’ before Cain jams the object into the belly of the hooded figure.
You hear a loud groan—the human equivalent of a computer long past its expiration date shutting down—and the hooded person falls to the ground. Cain removes the object—the knife, you think they are called—wipes it clean on his shirt, turns on his heel and begins to walk away.
A choked sob escapes your throat and Cain stops and turns towards the seats you are secreted behind. He cocks his head to one side, as if he is listening to you.
Can he see me, you wonder, while biting your hand to keep from screaming? Can he hear me?
Time closes in as you wait for Cain to find you. But he just smiles, sort of wistfully, and nods in your general direction before turning on his heel and walking back to the dorms.
A. go after Cain? WHAT THE HELL, BRA?
B. run to the middle of the field and try to save the mysterious hooded person?
C. sneak back into the dorms and decide to tell absolutely no one what you’ve seen?
D. run back to the dorms, try to wake up Tiny, and tell him what you just saw?