My first instinct, when I saw the shattered petri dishes was to run for cover but something stopped me. I pushed Matthew’s arms off of me and dove to the floor, narrowly missing a bullet that buzzed past my ear. A small, clear box containing a handful of white pills that looked like antacids was on the floor. I recognized the pills from one of my earlier premonitions, one was being placed in a shower head. I grabbed the box, jamming it inside of my coat pocket.
I turned back toward the door and leaped head first outside, a hail of gunfire burst all around me. Hiding behind a dumpster in an alley, I waited for any sign of Matthews to come. Voices argued from inside the building, their volume growing louder with every syllable. My heart raced. It was times like this I wished I had more control over my visions. I didn’t know how this was going to end or where to go next. A loud blast ended the arguing. Matthews stumbled out of the alley, looking dazed. He looked in my direction, making a gurgling sound in his throat. Blood trickled out of his mouth seconds before he collapsed on the ground. A pool of blood soaked through the back of his jacket.
I wanted to run over and check on him, but I couldn’t. There wasn’t time. I ran out of the alley, away from the building, turning left and right – the direction didn’t matter.
Serena and Bee were dead. Chase and Lucas were double agents, working for the Division and against the Collective. Matthews was dead. Dr. Kenter was dead. I continued running toward the subway, hoping I wouldn’t see anything too specific. The harder it was for Roberts to track me down, the more time I had to figure out how to destroy this virus.
The humming of the train was soothing and helped me focus on the problem. The virus was embedded in a tablet that worked like an antacid. If it gets wet, it will dissolve, releasing the virus and making millions of people sick. Was there anything out there that could deactivate it? Was there a way of destroying these tablets without releasing the virus? There had to be something – some kind of a fail safe Dr. Kentner designed in addition to the vaccine. I pulled the box out of my pocket, holding it in my hands. A jolt of electricity sent me into another vision.
Dr. Kentner was dressed in a blue space suit with a mask over his entire head. A spiral tube of some kind was attached to the back of the suit. The other end was connected to an oxygen tank. He stood in front of a row of test tubes, pouring something from a beaker into each test tube, in varying amounts. When he was finished, he set the beaker down and pressed a button on a small tape recorder, sitting on the table. “Make note. There are limitations to this virus. While one tablet has enough power to wipe an entire state, it also has weaknesses and can be destroyed, rendering the virus harmless, if it is combined with….
A searing pain spread over the side of my face. Shaking my head back into the present, I grabbed the right side of my face, rubbing it. Chase stood in front of me, with a gun pointed at me. It figured he’d show up right when the solution was about to make itself known.
“Enough, Scout! It’s over. This epidemic is going to happen one way or another.”
“Why?” My mouth trembled as I tried to fight back the tears. “Why are you doing this? What purpose does killing millions of innocent people do?”
He sat down next to me, the gun still aimed at my head. It never ceased to amaze me how oblivious people could be. Here I was, sitting on a crowded train with a gun at my head and not one person noticed. “You don’t understand at all. This is about saving this country from the people currently destroying it.”
“Currently destroying it?” Is he serious? “Like you’re about to do when you release the virus?”
He shook his head. “No, no. I’m – we’re – saving it. Like in the Bible. This is the Division’s version of the flood. And while everyone else is drowning, we’ll be rising above the flood waters in an ark.”
“I can’t believe I slept with you.” I rolled my eyes. “You’re out of your mind. Flipped your lid. Lost your marbles. One screw short. You name it; that’s what you are.”
Chase pulled me close to him, pressing his lips against my ear. His hot breath made me cringe. “I may be nuts,” he whispered. “But I’m also the one with the upper hand and as for us.” He licked my ear and then continued. “Don’t act like you didn’t enjoy it.”
I pulled away, wiping my ear. “Gross.”
“Now,” Chase said, “We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way. What’s it going to be?”
I looked around the train, hoping someone – anyone – would help me. But there was no one. This damsel in distress was going to have to save herself. And just when I thought that wasn’t possible, I found my way out.
I reached out to Chase, pulling him in for a kiss. As our lips locked I reached with my free hand over to the red lever that was to my left. I looked at Chase and smiled. “I’ll take the easy way.” I yanked on the lever has hard as I could. The train screeched, swerving on the tracks in reaction to the emergency brake I released. Chase fell off his seat, landing in the aisle. I jumped over him and ran to the end of the car, opening the door at the far end. Grabbing on to the railing that connected the two cars, I braced as the train finally came to an abrupt stop. I climbed down and ran through the tunnel, hoping someone from the Division would find me. After all, if people like Robert’s work for the Collective, can’t someone else like that work for the Division?