V pulled the van over on the side of the road. We drove through that first day and night and a second day. It was dark out, the moon high in the sky. I missed the moon and the stars. You could sometimes see one or two from the barred window at the base, but those were few and far between.

The Sergeant shifted on the uncomfortable bench they'd planned to make us sit on, "What's going on?"

V was so tired he couldn't keep his eyes open. He muttered, "Rest. M, keep watch."

M nodded, and V fell over, his head on my lap. And with that he was asleep. I gently moved some of his pale hair out of his face. It was hard to see because he was so pale, but there was a scar running along his cheekbone. I wondered why I'd never seen it before. I glanced at his wrists. The thick leather gloves they kept on him had left permanent bruises on his arms, and the edges, wide scars. I wondered how he could've taken that for his entire life. Alone, in that cell, tortured everyday.

Thinking about it though, I was tortured too. Not in the same way, but being different in that facility, never accepted. A freak among freaks. I looked at M. He was watching our prisoner, who was also asleep. How were we possibly going to save the other Subjects? V still didn't want to, I would have to do it alone, which terrified me. And even if they did get out, how would they survive in the real world? It was so different than anything I had imagined, but I wanted to leave. They don't.

I remembered back to one Saturday in the facility. It was the week of the Tournament, the competition put on by the scientists. Partially so they have something to do, partially to show off their handiwork. Each scientist had a set of Subjects that they worked with, trained, studied, etc. In the Tournament the Subjects would fight. Supposedly not to the death, but they never seemed to mind when something happened. "Accidents" they called them and said the Subject would be punished, but that rarely happened. I wasn't even allowed to fight in that. I was too useless in a fight. What could I do, ask a mouse to attack for me?

Subject 19, my best friend was scheduled to fight that day, and she was nervous. I brushed my hair out of my eyes as I walked up to her, "Ready?"

She checked her padded armor again, making sure she had a few extra sores of water. She could pull it out of the air if she needed to, but it always made her feel sick and dizzy. She nodded.

I asked quietly, "Couldn't you refuse?"

"Its not worth the punishment," she tied her hair back.

I watched the current fight before saying, "Doesn't seem right that they should make us fight, even if we don't want to."

She stared at me, "It doesn't matter what we want. They told us to."

"I know. I'm just saying, it doesn't seem right."

That seemed to confuse her, the idea of defying the scientists. I said, "Wouldn't you like to get away from here someday? Get Outside?"

She stared at me like I grew an extra head. "E-Escape? Haven't you ever heard what they say about Outside? We'd be killed. No, we're safest here."

Safe? They make us fight, experiment on us and this is considered safe? It made me wonder how bad the Outside must be. I had no idea.

Outside was dangerous. And intimidating. And threatening. And thrilling. And exciting. And confusing. I wasn't sure how I would be able to survive, but I couldn't imagine living any other way anymore.


V woke up before me and started driving again, so when I finally woke up, trees were speeding past. I asked slowly, "Shouldn't we slow down? I mean, won't we get a ticket?"

V shook his head, "This van has been registered with the military and the government. The police can't pull us over even if they want to."

I didn't understand that, but whatever. I asked, "Hey, what're we going to do once we get to the facility?"

"Facility?! You still stuck on that? We're not."

"Fine," I said stubbornly, "I'll go alone. Any suggestions for when I get there?"

"You're not going alone."

"And why not?"

"Because I won't let you die like that!"

"Maybe my life would be worth saving theirs."

"No!" He snapped. I looked over. More quietly, "You're more valuable than all of them conbined."

"To who?" I snorted.

"To me! I love you if you haven't figured it out. Damnit, A, I won't let you give up your life to save them, when they don't even want to leave that hellhole. And what would the rest of the world do? People that control elements? They would terrify everyone. They'd be hunted down."

I looked down. I knew he was right. Hadn't I just been thinking about that myself? I still didn't want them to die though. Didn't seem fair. Especially considering I just escaped by chance.

The Sergeant leaned forward, "The facility? Where you two were created?"

V glanced at him in the rearview mirror, "What about it?"

"When you three escaped, some of the other experiments started getting ideas. They began rioting, and fighting the scientists. The project was eliminated. They're planning to restart next year."

Everything suddenly stopped. I couldn't remember how to breath. My friends' faces flashed through my mind. I choked back tears, asking, "Eliminated?"

He nodded, "All of the experiments were terminated."

I couldn't hold it in. I burst into tears, my heart breaking. I could've saved them. I could've done something. No. They were all killed because of me. Because of my selfishness. If I hadn't agreed to help him, none of us would be out, none of them would be dead. I leaned against the window, letting the tears come. I couldn't have stopped them if I wanted to.

After a few minutes V's arms wrapped around me. I realized he must've stopped the car, pulled over or something. I leaned into his embrace, sobbing helplessly. He muttered something in ear soothingly, just trying to calm me down. I don't even remember what he was saying, but after a while my sobs subsided but V didn't move away, holding me to his chest. I looked up at him. He'd gotten what he wanted. I wouldn't be going back. But he didn't look happy about it. He muttered, "I'm sorry."

I kissed him gently, hoping the electricity would help. I pulled back, saying, "Let's get going. We still have a long way to go. I'll—" Be okay? I wouldn't be though. The blood of all those people were on my hands. I decided just not to answer, turning away.


I took a sip of my drink, "V, what're we going to do about him?"

He followed my gaze to the Sergeant, who was being closely followed by M. We had stopped at a little coffee shop to go to the bathroom and get a drink. I was sitting with V, M was escorting the Sergeant to the washroom. V ran a hand through his hair, "What can we do? Kill him."

My jaw dropped, "No. No way. Too many lives have been taken because of me. I refuse to take another," his eyes narrowed just slightly, "Or let you take one."

He leaned back in the chair, "Well then, what do you suppose we do?"

I bit my lip, "I don't know. We can't let him go…but I won't kill anyone else."

He watched me from behind those dark shades. I heard two girls across the café muttering, "Look at those two handsome guys."

"Which two?"

"Those two. The ones in uniform."

"Uniform? Oh, I see them. Wow."

"I know right? I like the tall one."

I stopped listening, at that point cause they had made it over to our little table. M really did look good in his uniform. But then, he always looked good. His dark blonde hair and dark eyes. No way around it, he was handsome. Of course, I didn't think of him like that. But you can't help but notice.

We all stood to leave, making our way out of the room and back to the van. With M looming the Sergeant didn't dare try anything. Suddenly a chill ran down my spine. I scanned the woods, searching for what made me feel that way. I spotted two neon eyes watching us. What…Subject T! The tracker!