Chapter 10

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"Everything is going to be fine," Willow whispered to me from where she was beside me, against the right wall. "We'll be getting out of here soon."

"Yeah," Matteo piped in from Willow's other side. "In a casket."

Willow glared at Matteo. "You need to seriously shut up."

"Make me," he said, chuckling as he turned away from her and looked towards the far wall. I only then noticed how unafraid Matteo looked as he stood there. He must know that the chances of himself losing or growing tired were quite low. That only added on to my fear as we waited for Ace to get the device working.

Willow clearly didn't appreciate Matteo's remark. She went to open her mouth to say something back at him but I quickly elbowed her hard in her side to stop her from getting into trouble.

"Ouch!" She turned on me and scowled, rubbing her sore side. "What the hell was that about?"

I inclined my head towards the waiting Ace and watched as the colour slightly drained from her face. Thankfully I had been keeping a close eye on him and knew when he was done and ready, so he didn't see the exchange that went down between Willow and Matteo.

Ace stared at all of us and smiled. "Good, I see you all listened well." He glanced down at the device once more before staring at us. "Alright we'll be starting in 3...2...1..."

Beep!

The device made the smallest of sounds, but it sounded twice as loud with the silence of the room.

As soon as it went off, we all ran to the other side of the room, making sure to cross the thick black line that was there. Many teens sprinted as fast as they could across the floor, unsure of when the next beep was going to sound, while others went at a good pace. Willow and I both made sure to stay in between the two, and got to the other side and was given a couple seconds of a break before the next beep went off.

Beep!

And it continued like that; running back and forth. The smell of sweaty bodies started to fill the room. The sounds of heavy pants and gasps for breath were the only things I could hear. They overpowered the sound of the quiet beep coming from the device.

We no longer had the small break that was given on the first few rounds. It was now just continuous running. Our grey shirts were turning a shade darker than before. My legs felt sore and begged for a break. My lungs screamed for air while my throat needed water to quench the thirst that the sudden workout created.

I could tell many teens around me felt the exact same thing. Tears streamed down the faces that I passed, as they fought back the pain and pushed themselves on. Willow and I remained together, both growing closer and closer towards the front of the line and where Matteo was with a few of the other teens.

Then as we made it to approximately the twenty-eighth beep, we heard the loudest sound yet, resonate from where Ace stood, causing my ears to ring painfully.

Bang!

I kept my eyes up as I continued to run, not bothering to look down at the teen who was sprawled out in the middle of the room and forming a puddle of blood under our feet.

Bang!

Again, I continued to avert my eyes, focusing on the walls and only the walls.

Bang!

Screams, screams, screams; everywhere.

I finally looked down, and at the boy who was shrieking out in pain and regretted it immediately. The dark skinned boy from earlier, the one who got on Ace's bad side, was lying on the ground, clutching the bullet wound that was embedded into his thigh. Tears flowed down his cheeks as he threw his head back and let out another scream, this one louder than any of the others.

"All right!" Ace shouted over the screams of the injured boy. "That will be enough! You may stop running!"

I stopped with the rest of the teens on the wall on the right of Ace. Some of the teens flopped themselves down on the ground and inhaled large gulps of air, while many of us just hunched over and rested our hands on our knees.

Before fully getting enough oxygen into my lungs, I looked up to Ace and watched him make his way over to the whimpering boy.

Ace raised the gun once again and fired at the boy's head. I watched as the bullet entered the boy's forehead and exited the other side along with chunks of his brain matter and blood. The boy fell back to the ground and stayed in that position; his eyes wide and staring at the ceiling, a puddle of blood forming, just like the other two teens who were both lying with their arms and legs in strange angles.

Ace placed the gun back into the front of his pants and pocketed the small device before turning his attention back on all of our sweating bodies.

"Good job," he said. "You all did wonderfu-"

The door to the room opened and Austin walked in, interrupting Ace.

"Perfect timing," Ace said to Austin and then looked at us again. "The boys will be following Austin. Girls will be coming with me. Let's go."

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