Chapter 26

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Bright lights overhead made my vision blur as I tried fighting against whatever they had injected into my arm. My mind dipped and spun, while my eyes drooped and my fingers reached along the flat metal table that I was on for something that wasn't there.

I had only one thing on my mind: my family.

"Don't bother fighting it, Zoe," a woman in white said down to my stubborn figure.

I noticed the dull blue of her eyes and her platinum blond hair that was pulled into a tight ponytail at the back of her head. If it weren't for the wrinkles and the heavy bags under her eyes that told me she needed rest, I would have said she was very pretty.

"You won't remember anything when you wake up-"

I shook my head slowly and tried to tell her that I wanted to remember. Tell her that I wanted to go home. But all that came out was a groan. A sad and pathetic groan.

"Don't worry, Zoe." The woman reached out and used one of her hands to brush some of my brown hair out of my face. "You will make it back here. I promise."

My eyes drooped even more, and my head pounded, trying its hardest to get me to give in to the darkness that had been trying so hard to pull me under.

The woman dropped her hand away from me and backed up, looking at another man in a while lab coat that had magically appeared out of nowhere. "You may begin."

My eyes closed for a second, but I willed them to open again, at least once more, before I finally gave in. The woman had disappeared, out of the operation room, and I could see the man slowly make his way closer to me, a whirling saw-like device in his right hand and a creepy witch-like smile on his face.

* * *

I woke up with a gasp. My eyes shooting open as the pounding of my heart continued on; the room was dark even though it had been awhile since my eyes had adjusted. I sat up and scanned the room, while my heart rate steadily returned back to normal.

I could tell I had just had a nightmare, there was no doubt about that. But I couldn't remember what it was about. How is that even possible?

I shook my head, took one last deep breath, laid back down and focused on the sounds of the teens' soft breaths as they slept. I tried my hardest to remember what I had dreamed about, but around fifteen minutes later, I ended up not coming up with anything. So I rolled over, trying to get back to sleep. I then could hear the sound of the doorknob jiggling and then eventually turning. As the door opened, I pretended to still be asleep.

I could make out -with my eyes squinted shut- two silhouette figures and the trolley of boxes from the light of the hallway coming into the dark room. Then without warning, Ace stepped inside the room and reached out with one of his hands, flicking on and off the light.

"Up you get," he said, continuing to play with the light switch. "Time for breakfast."

Moments later, and after many groans of protest and yawns, we all stood at the foot of our beds, just like we had done the last few times. Ace, -also like the last few times- had his notepad out as he called out names and we retrieved boxes.

He and Marcus both wore almost identical outfits to what they had worn yesterday. They both had tight grey shirts and dark pants and the same holsters for their guns. Although the only different thing that I had noticed was that there was now a baseball bat at Ace's feet. The tip of it, resting against the floor while Ace held onto the top of the handle with his free hand.

"Hurry up," Ace said once all of our food boxes had been distributed. "We got a big morning," he looked at the notepad and placed it in his pocket and then muttered the rest of the sentence just loud enough that we could hear him, "and half of you will be dead by the end of it."

Many shocked looks went around the room and whispers rose as everyone started talking among one another. I could see a large smile make its way onto Ace's face at the reaction he had gotten and then he turned around to watch Marcus leave with the trolley.

I looked away from him and opened up my box of food to see the same portion size of breakfast that we had gotten the day before. It was like they had made one serving and then split it in half to give one day and the rest another. I continued to stare down at the bit of food, Ace's last few words playing like a record inside my head.

Half of us were going to be dead by the time the morning was going to be over.

"Zoe you need to eat," Willow whispered to me.

I looked up to see that she was done eating and the box had been chucked to the floor where Logan and Matteo's boxes were as well.

I picked up the egg and toast and did as Willow had said as I listened to their quiet conversation. She was right. I was going to need the energy if I were to survive.

I was the last one to finish and when I was done, I threw my empty box to the ground, that small action basically telling Ace we were ready. We then all turned to look at him, waiting for his next order.

"Alright, looks like you're all done," Ace said, picking the baseball bat up and resting it over his shoulder. "Let's now go pay Blondie a quick visit."

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