Convergent (Part One)

Her: Chapter 24

I've got five minutes.

The alarm on my watch is set and I'm running out of time. Glas directs me down the tunnels and it feels eerie when she knows what I'm going to see before I do.

"Another twenty-three meters and you'll find the sewer exit that opens up four blocks away from where the Council is being held."

I come to it approximately two and a half minutes later and reach up to the opening. It's easier to move the metal slab than I would have thought, but perhaps Glas had had it replaced because she knows I'm not strong enough to lift this amount of weight on my own.

When it's off, I disrobe my black clothing and discard them in a corner. I grab the shoes from my bag that match the rest of the outfit along with a small vial located in one of the outer pockets, then I drop the backpack and eyepiece as well. With whatever force I can, I heave myself up through the opening, shimmying across until I'm lying on the pavement.

"There," I wheeze, standing up in the blinding light. I squint at my watch again. Three and a half minutes remaining.

"Head right, pass two blocks and then left another two. The building as I already explained to you earlier is at the end of it. Hurry," she says. I can hear the desperation in her voice.

And I'm running again. Which is especially hard to do in flat shoes that slosh with every step. I can almost feel the eyes on me as I propel down the streets of Candor, even though there is no one around.

Three minutes. My heart ir racing, pumping. I can feel it in my head and my feet and it almost makes me want to run faster, as if I can escape it. In my mind, I'm trying to imagine how it feels to kill someone. To end a life. Will it feel familiar? Has the girl in me grown so accustomed to killing that she wouldn't feel anything after?

Is that person still in me somewhere?

I take a left. Run one block. Then another.

More white.

Then there's the building. It's the same shade as the rest of structures which doesn't surprise me. There's nothing overly different that would make anyone assume it was important, other than the size which is at least a few floors. Other than that, it's a farely basic sqaure building with few windows and few entrances.

I smooth down my attire and wipe the sweat from my forehead. "I'm here," I say.

I start walking.

"Yes, I will be representing Erudite at the Council today." I tell the lady who stands stoic by the door. She gives me one look up and down, probably estimating my age, when she finally hands me a name card. "Down the hallway to your right. Conference room 108."

I try to smile as I pass seconds remaining and I'm in.

I follow her directions down the hallway before I see the small group of representatives gathered in the room around a table, each with a cup of water in front of their chair, each dressed in a different color. I pick out Nathan and Charlotte instantly, her with her pale suit and him with his bony, rigid structure.

I stare for a moment longer at both of them, trying to see them as people rather than my targets.

But then I take a deep breath and step in.

They don't notice me at first. No eyes fall to the short girl in blue. I inch my way inside toward the table, reaching into my pocket for the vial I grabbed.

One drop in Nathan and Charlotte's cups. That's it. That's all it takes.

To my luck, I find that the seating arrangement is predetermined, finely printed names scrawled over small cards. I swallow before stepping toward Nathan's.

"Hello," someone intercepts me. A person clothed in brilliant colors that contrast brightly against the white walls. "Erudite representative, pleasure to have you here today. We will begin here shortly, thank you for attending."

Before I can even respond to the sickly sweet tone, the lady walks away, repeating the same action to someone else. I grimace and hurry toward the table.

Right then, my watch beeps.

For the second it takes me to pull out the vial and dribble it over Nathan Beugard's cup, my entire body is ice. And then heat floods in when I take my arm back, staring at the cup and almost wishing that Glas's plan fails. But I know it won't. I know she has everything right where it needs to be.

This meeting will never have a chance to even start.

I make my way over to Charlotte's seat, stationed on the opposite side of Nathan's. Hopefully, I look calm and nonchalant when everything in me is bound so tightly. I pause there, glancing at the others who don't seem to suspect anything.

"Now, Beatrice," Glas's voice comes in and the sudden noise makes me mentally cringe. I feel the sweat collect in my palm behind the vial.

"Do it."

Without looking at my hand, I reach over to the glass and empty a single drop into the cup.

When I do glance at the contents of it, I'm stunned that the water doesn't seem to notice something toxic in it. Nothing looks like it has changed when everything has. I watch it for a moment before stepping away, not letting out my breath as I make it to my own seat.

But I won't be sitting in it. Already, the signs of the fumes from the emitters are beginning to show. People pause in mid sentence, glancing from one to another as if some silent voice has just called to them. One person stumbles. Another asks what wrong. All look confused and concerned, but nothing else happens.

"We were talking about something, yes?" one representative asks, but he doesn't sound sure.

I squeeze my eyes shut, just for a moment because I know what comes next. Already, I see Nathan picking his own glass up and I retrieve Charlotte's, walking over to her and extending my hand. "Would you like some water?" I ignore the way my voice cracks. The way my hand wobbles slightly. The way my entire body is screaming in protest to this.

But the woman-this mother of a boy out there somewhere- just smiles, thanks me, and accepts.

I can't look at her as she raises it to her lips. I can't look as everyone else looks.

"Leave. Now," Glas says in my ear and I stumble once to the door. But I can still see in my peripheral vision and before the contents spill into her mouth, the scene seems to split. In one image, I'm seeing a woman dressed in white, and in another, a woman in black.

Her face is framed by beautiful hair, with eyes that nearly mirror my own. Then her black outfit shifts to grey but a part of it is coated in blood.

Her blood.

I stumble away from the image, back towards the doors and I nearly fall to my knees.

"Beatrice, go!" Glas yells, but her voice sounds different. Achingly familiar and full of something I can't put my finger on. "Go!"

And for a moment, I don't want to. I don't want to leave her because I have a horrible feeling that something bad will happen if I do. But the voice grows more insistent until I finally listen, turning on my heels before walking out the door.

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