Sweat poured down my face and body for what seemed like an eternity. My mind flipped between worlds like television channels. A gentle cool breeze hit me. I was at home, trekking across the newly harvested fields. There was solace, but something was missing. I cried his name, but he did not answer. I wondered if he simply hadn’t come home yet, but something was wrong. I called again, and there was no answer. Suddenly dark clouds began forming under the horizon, with intimidating thunder and bright lightning. I turned my heel to race back to the house. The storm came upon me. I could see the house over the horizon but suddenly my legs felt limp and fought against me. There was a blinding light behind me, shining in many colors. The whispering started again, and I heard a scream of pain and agony.
I peeled my eyes open. I was back in the quarters Dr. Beamont has left me in. All the other beds were empty. All my cellmates were gone. That is, except for Amia, who was standing over me with a smile.
“How do you feel, Luana?” She asked, cooly.
“Tired…” I mumbled, “Tired and hopeless.”
My eyes widened and I suddenly sat up.
“SONIC-!” I cried.
My head began to spin and I squeezed my eyes shut.
“Easy!” Amia exclaimed, “You’re going to make yourself sick! Whatever they put in you, you didn’t react well to it. You’ve had a deathly fever for several weeks!”
I wasn’t listening.
“Sonic! He was here! He was here and I-!”
Tears started filling my eyes.
“I couldn’t save him!”
Amia forcefully pushed me back into the pillow. I covered my face with anguish and shame and sobbed.
“It was all my fault! They used me! They used me to get to him! He was right there and I was helpless!”
“Luana, I have seen friends come and go, and all for the same reason: they were used,” said Amia, “That’s what our only purpose here is: to be used. You’ll get adjusted to it.”
A flash of anger burned inside of me.
“You shouldn’t have to!” I snapped, “We shouldn’t have to be used!”
I looked down at my arms.
“He shouldn’t be used either…”
Just then, Tanner and Chelsea came into the room, door locked tightly behind them. Chelsea ran to me and embraced me.
“Oh! Oh no, Lu, don’t cry! Everything’s gonna be okay!” She assured, attempting to comfort me.
“How do you know, Chelsea?” I snapped, pulling away from her, “how do you know everything is going to be okay!? You’ve been living here your whole life! This is all you’ve known! Because you’ve never had a real family! But I have! I have a mother, and a father! And I have a best friend! And he’s suffering because of me! I should have left him in his cryo-stasis! I should have just left him sleeping so that he wouldn’t have met me, and he would still know the fact he was going to go home where he belongs!”
Everyone stared at me in horror. Chelsea froze for a moment. Her eyes welled with tears, but they didn’t fall. I realized what I had said.
“I’m-I’m sorry…! That was unkind, I just-“
I looked away, “-I refuse to subject myself to your mindset. It is unfair, and cruel!”
Chelsea reached out her hand and unfurled her fist. There was a crumpled piece of paper in it. I looked at her for a moment, then cautiously took it.
“What’s that?” asked Amia.
“A ghost gave it to me during the tests. He said it was important” Chelsea responded.
“Chelsea, there’s no such thing as ghosts!” Amia corrected.
I straightened the paper and read silently.
“Luana, you don’t know me, but you know Sonic. I can help you, but it will be dangerous. Be alert. Be ready for anything. Be ready to fight.”
“Who do you think that is?” Tanner inquired.
“I have no idea…” I breathed, then added more strongly, “But if there’s and opportunity to save Sonic, to save all of you, I will take it!”
“Really? You mean we might be able to see the world outside?” Chelsea asked, a hint of excitement.
“Yes, and you will all go home with me!” I promised.
“‘Home?’ What’s it like? Do you have a garden? Is your home huge with lots of bedrooms? Do you have watermelon? And pizza? I’ve always wanted to try pizza…”
“I’ll tell you more about it later” I assured.
“That’s a pretty tall order, Luana,” said Amia, “Anyone who’s attempted to get out of here we’re never seen again.”
“But we have Sonic,” I added, “And the Chaos Emeralds. I think they’re the key to blasting out of here; and this time we’ll be prepared.”
“Do you think we can use them? They sound pretty powerful!”
“I have a few ideas…”
Amia took down all the air bots above while me and Chelsea took down the robots down below. Tanner covered us with his forcefield. I grabbed and airbot and using its laser to take down the ground bots. We stood there for a minute to catch our breath. Then, the guards came in. We stayed as close to the other end of the room as we could without acting suspicious.
“Come on kids” said a guard, “let’s go.”
We looked at each other and then started to follow them. But then, before they could know what happened, me and Tanner grabbed Amia as we flew right over them and headed to the exit. Chelsea trailed behind us.
“Get back here!” cried a voice.
“Luana! Close the door! Hurry!” exclaimed Amia as we got outside the chamber.
I used my strength to pull the door down and seal it shut. Alarms started blaring from all directions.
“Alert! Subject 8, 14, 17, and 12 have escaped custody. Shoot to stun!” echoed a voice over the intercom.
“What now!?” asked Chelsea.
“To the first floor! Come on!” I exclaimed.
More guards coming towards us.
“Chell! Take them out! Amia, take to the skies! Distract them! Tanner, you cover us!” I ordered.
“Right!” They all exclaimed at once.
Chelsea dashed to the soldiers aiming at us and whirled around, crowding them together. They tried to shoot, but kept missing her. Tanner used his forefield to catch them all like a hamster in a ball, and tossed them to the side.
We continued to advance. When we got to the main room, guards were shooting from all floors and all directions! Chelsea sped up the stairs, punching them and sweep kicking. Amia grabbed my hand and flew me upwards. I landed on the top floor, punching as hard as I could to knock them out. Then, I realized that the soldiers would just keep coming.
“I have to find the controls to override the security system. But, how will I know which room has Sonic?” I thought to myself.
I saw a door leading downstairs. I ran over to the railing. and flipped over, landing on the bottom floor.
“Guys! Fall back! Follow me!”
The children ran to meet me. I forced the knob off and kicked the door open. We ran down the stairwell, lighted red with alarms blaring.
When we reached the next door, we saw that we had walked into the engine room. There were scientists all over the place and one dozen soldiers. Chelsea sped past me and took out half of them. Amia flew upwards and took out two more. We all regrouped at the center of the room.
“Don’t hurt us, and we won’t hurt you!” I wanted the scientists.
Before we could get a chance to catch our breath, we were quickly surrounded, soldiers flooding from every door to the engine room. They raised their guns at us.
“Put your hands up where we can see them!” shouted the Lieutenant in the front.
Tanner, Chelsea, and Amia raised their hands. I didn’t.
“Where was the guy who said would meet us?” I thought, confused.
“Raise up your hands, subject 7!” said the lieutenant again.