The first thought that comes to my mind is this; how stupid was I to think that he was actually dead?
I can’t believe I thought he was gone for good.
I can’t believe I thought the Blair Institute would crumble without him.
I can’t believe I thought I would never be in their clutches again.
And now, staring right into the pale, lifeless eyes of Hal, I realize just how terribly wrong I was.
I want say something, but I am physically unable to. It’s as if the roof of my mouth is superglued to my tongue, preventing me from opening up my mouth. All that I can do is stare unblinkingly at the reflection of Hal’s eyes in the rearview mirror, stuck in a frozen reverie of shock and terror.
Before I can even attempt to say anything, the partition between us begins to roll back up again, creating a barrier between us and Hal. Only once the partition is fully up do I turn to Ian.
“Oh my god...” I whisper under my breath, shaking my head slowly.
Instead of looking back at me, he stares at the closed partition. I soon notice that he is trembling.
But before I can continue, he suddenly convulses, smacking his hand forcefully on the tinted, glass window.
“FUCK!” he shouts, flecks of spit flying out of his mouth.
He continues to violently smash his hand against the window over and over again until I finally can’t take it anymore.
“Stop!” I exclaim, reaching out and grabbing his hand before he can smash it again.
He turns to me, a wild, deranged look in his dark eyes. For a few moments we stare at each other as the car continues to drive, veering sharply around a turn. Then, I watch as a tear silently rolls down Ian’s cheek.
And instantly, my heart breaks.
I slide across the seat, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling him close. We stay like that for a few moments, clutching onto each other.
And utterly defeated.
“There’s no way out of this,” I say miserably.
Ian looks down at me, holding my chin in his hands.
“Don’t say that Tessa. There’s always a way out,” he says.
I raise my eyebrows.
“You’re saying there’s a way to get out of this locked car?” I ask.
“No. Well I don’t know. But don’t give up hope yet,” he says, gently stroking his thumb down my cheek.
I don’t know how Ian can be so hopeful. I’m not sure if he’s faking it or not, but whatever it is, it does make me feel slightly better.
“If there wasn’t a partition between us, I would strangle him” Ian says.
The car continues to speed along, occasionally turning and going over bumps in the road.
“I wonder where we’re going,” I murmur.
“At least it’s not going to be the island. Don’t think we can get there by car,” Ian says, smiling slightly.
All of a sudden, the car jerks to an abrupt stop. I sit up straight, every single muscle in my body tensing. There is the sound of the front car door opening, followed by the sound of footsteps coming towards us.
“I’m going to attack him right when he opens the door,” Ian murmurs into my ear.
I turn to him, swallowing hard and looking at him with wide eyes.
“Don’t worry, I got this,” Ian whispers.
With my heart pounding my chest, I watch as Hal slowly begins to pull the car door open. When the car is halfway open, Ian suddenly lunges forward, barreling himself towards Hal.
But when I see what Hal is holding in his hand, I scream at the top of my lungs,
For the next few moments, everything seems to go in slow-motion. I watch, frozen in fear as Ian lunges at Hal, who is pointing a gun directly at him.
“DON’T SHOOT HIM!” I cry, my eyes meeting with Hal’s.
He stares at me for what seems like an eternity, his finger on the trigger and his grey, dead eyes locked with mine. And then, he lowers the gun.
Ian crashes down onto the ground, skidding across the ground.
“Did you guys actually think I would be unarmed?” Hal cackles, lowering his gun.
I stare at him, pure hatred radiating from my eyes. He smiles at me, revealing those all-too-familiar crooked, rotted teeth. I have the sudden urge to punch those teeth out, and have to ball my fist up to resist doing so.
“The worse you behave, the harder this is going to be. If you two be on your best behavior, we might make things a little better for you. So will you two please get up and follow me?”
“You’re lying,” I hiss.
Hal raises his eyebrows again, his devious eyes glinting.
“How am I lying?” he asks.
“You won’t make things better for us if we behave,” I say.
Hal smiles nastily.
“We’ll start with this; get out of the car and follow me. You can do it the easy way or the hard way but I will tell you one last thing; you’re not going to be very happy with the consequences if you do it the hard way.”
I roll my eyes at him in disgust, then slowly get out of the car. We are on a dirt road in front of a large, tall building. I look around at my surroundings, but it appears to be only arid, barren farmland for miles and miles. This building is the only structure in sight.
Where the hell are we?
I then look up at the building and notice something about it that strikes me as very odd. At first, I think my eyes are playing tricks on me, but after blinking a few times, I realize that they’re not. The building appears to be leaning slightly to the right, as if it is going to topple over.
Hal begins to walk towards the building, gun in hand. I rush over to Ian, who is laying on the road and covered in dirt.
“Are you okay?” I ask quickly, holding my hand out to help him get up.
He grabs it, pulling himself up off the ground.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he mumbles, brushing dirt off of his clothes.
We watch for a few moments as Hal continues to walk towards the building, the setting sun lowering behind it.
“I say we run,” Ian whispers.
I jump as Hal immediately turns around, grinning.
“Oh you can try to run. But remember, I have this,” Hal says, raising his gun.
He then turns around and continues to walk towards the building.
“Ian, we have no choice. He’ll shoot us if we try to run. And there’s nowhere else to go,” I murmur hopelessly.
Without any other choice, we begin to slowly walk behind Hal towards the strange, slanted building. Ian slips his hand into me, squeezing it comfortingly.
Hal waits for us at the front door, watching us with the hungry eyes of a predator waiting to attack it’s prey. When we finally arrive, he opens the door, walking into the blackness. I hesitate for a moment, staring into the darkness. Then, after taking a deep breath, Ian and I follow him inside.
“Just keep walking straight and you won’t walk into anything,” Hal says, his voice echoing.
I grip Ian’s hand even tighter as we follow the eerie sound of Hal’s voice. I literally feel as if we are in a haunted house.
Finally, Hal announces,
There is the sound of a door creaking open, and I am temporarily blinded by bright, white light. It takes a few moments for my eyes to adjust, but when they finally do, I look into the room.
It is small and bare except for the four walls, which are four plasma screens. Each of the screens display a blank white background with “The Blair Institute” watermark in the center.
“Go in,” Hal says curtly.
I glare at him, then reluctantly step inside the room, followed by Ian.
“You two will wait here until the others arrive. They should be here any minute now” Hal says.
The others. Does he mean the other kids that were on the island with us?
Before I can say anything, the door slams shut, sealing us inside the room.
I stand there for a few moments, too drained to scream or cry.
“Well this has been a great day,” Ian says, breaking the deafening silence.
He begins to pace the room back and forth, running his fingers through his messy, tousled hair. I slowly spin around a circle, observing the room. There are four security cameras mounted in the four top corners of the ceiling. Classic; they’re watching are every move. Hah, like we can even try to escape this locked room.
I lean against one of the screens, slumping down onto the floor.
“This is fucked up,” I mutter under my breath.
“Tell me about it,” Ian says, still pacing back and forth.
Time ticks by ever so slowly as we wait. And wait. And wait.
Just when I am about to close my eyes, the door opens. I immediately stand up, jumping backwards.
I watch as the door opens slowly, my heart thumping in my chest. At first, I can’t see who it is. And then, I watch as Tristan, Dylan and Nikki are pushed in.