Convergent (Part One)

Tobias: Chapter 11

"NO!" I shout as the man in the white coat yanks her to her feet. Her eyes fall from mine and I'm suddenly hurling myself forward, desperate to feel her, to touch her, to prove that this is real and not some sick stimulation. I can never reach her in the stimulation. I'm always just seconds late. Just seconds before she is taken from me again.

I'm almost there. The room isn't huge, but everything plays in slow motion, my movements lingering as the man pulls her to a door and dials in a code. Then the door is thrust open, she is pushed through, and the door is closing

closing

closing.

I slam my shoulder into it, beating my fists, smashing buttons, anything. I press my hand against the glass, watching helplessly as her figure grows dim before disappearing altogether.

And I notice I can't hear the alarms anymore. Not because they've been turned off, but because everything in me is screaming.

"No, no, no!" I barrel against it, again and again, but the door won't budge, plated in metal and on full lockdown. My strength drains away. Gone in an instant and I suddenly don't care if I'm caught. What I do care about has slipped through my fingers once more, gone so quickly, I wonder if she was even really here.

"FOUR," a voice booms in my ear, but I can't focus. Can't think. Nothing in me is listening, every part centered on getting past this door.

Then someone grabs my arm and whips me around and I'm looking at Christina, her eyes boring into me, wild and frantic. "Four, we have to go!" she yells.

"No."

She curses, raising a finger to her ear. "Caleb, I need the numbers again!"

"Back row, shelf A, located in a separate glass compartment!" his voice screams back. "Code for entry is one, six, five, nine. Samples are on bottom shelf, serial numbers 20030 and 20031."

Christina follows directions instantly, darting over to the back wall, jamming in the code before skimming the small compartment, isolated and almost unnoticeable. The glass slides open and her fingers start skimming over the beakers and vials. I hear curses as she grabs at a few of them, stuffing the tubes of liquid in her bag.

"Doors closing in seven seconds," Caleb says. "Total lockdown in thirty."

"C'mon!" Christina pushes me and my vision snaps back into focus, like a light being turned on in the dark. I propel myself forward, down the shelved room and to the door we came from, the slide beginning to close. "Go!" I say, shoving Christina through. I follow, hearing the sealing of the door shut behind.

More noise ruptures. I hear the stomping of feet, I hear orders being shouted over the alarms, I see the white walls now bathed in spiraling red, and I know we're trapped.

"Get us out of here, Caleb!" Christina shouts, the guards rounding the corners. But before he can reply, I grab her hand, my body knowing what I'm about to do before my head does. I start running. I don't head towards a door. I don't try to find a way around the in pour of guards. No, I retrieve my gun, aim at the glass wall, and fire.

The breaking of glass is somewhat mesmerizing, rippling along the surface of it until it splinters down like water. I throw myself into it, feeling glass land in my hair and scratch along my face.

Then we're flying.

Falling.

The world tunnels and my vision goes dark for a moment. Pain erupts from my back and my leg, but I ignore it, pushing up from the carting truck we land in.

"Go!" I shout at Christina again. She throws herself over the side and I do the same, sprinting after her as doors burst open behind us. The sound of bullets echo behind me, splitting my ears, making them ring. I duck, watching the bullets ricochet off the buildings we pass, disappearing as we dissolve down a dark alleyway.

Christina hisses the directions at me for the location of the car and we don't stop running, even as the sound of pounding feet and open gun fire fades away in the distance.

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