Wow. I’ve never seen one this old, not even in the Gallery of Transport.
When Chance takes a set of keys from his pocket, I realize that’s what he took from the rebel leader.
Are we stealing the car?
I keep glancing behind us as Chance throws his backpack in the back of the vehicle and gets in behind the wheel. Ethan climbs into the passenger side.
After glancing over my shoulder again to make sure we weren’t followed, I watch as Aaron struggles to open the left side door before ducking through the window.
“Are you staying or coming?” Chance asks, annoyance tightening his voice.
I open the door, and it jams halfway, but I manage to squeeze in.
The engine roars to life, the sound louder than the buses in the ecocity, and a puff of black smoke explodes from the back.
“Good girl,” Chance purrs, the sound of praise coming from deep in his chest.
My eyes snap to his face, and drinking in the smile of approval curving his lips, his words make heat pool in my abdomen.
My hands fist on my lap, and I swallow hard on the weird emotion I can only describe as intense craving filling my body.
What would it be like to have him say those words to me?
Chance glances in the rearview mirror, and our eyes lock. Caught red-handed, I quickly turn my gaze to stare out the window while wetting my lips.
Our exit is a hole in the wall, like the one we jumped into last night. It’s like someone took a huge hammer to the side of the building.
It’s dark outside, but the sun should rise soon.
I don’t know what today will hold for me. I’m not sure I want to know. All I’m sure of is it will be the first time I see the sun and not just a blur moving across the sky.
I can almost imagine I’m in my bed. I can picture Dad smiling down at me, but my body has never ached this much in my entire life.
My shirt sticks to my back, and the air in the car is stuffy.
Gosh, the heat is unbearable in the car.
I look up and see Chance standing by the window with a black streak smeared across his cheek.
“No!” I dart up from where I’m lying on the back seat. “I missed the sunrise.”
“There will be many more. Come on. We have to walk the rest of the way.”
I lift myself off the sticky leather seat and shove the bag I used as a pillow out of the window. When I try the half-broken handle, the door won’t budge. I turn around and shimmy out of the window, head first. The air is cool on my skin as I climb out, and when I glance up, the light blinds and startles me, making me tumble backward. A ridiculously loud shriek escapes my lips as I hit the hot concrete road.
“Ouch,” I groan, blinking as my eyes sting and start to water from the bright light. For a moment, I can only see black dots before my sight starts to return.
“Don’t look directly at the sun. You’ll damage your eyes,” Chance mentions.
Climbing to my feet, I glance in his direction and catch him watching me. I get the feeling he’s weighing me up, wondering if I’ll be able to make it through whatever lies ahead.
I’m too scared to ask what it is, but I won’t give up. I survived my first night. I will survive today, as well, and do whatever it takes to find Mom.
Taking the tie from my pocket, I start to gather my hair.
“Don’t tie your hair. It makes you look too young,” he says, looking worried. “Fuck, Idris is going to shit himself when I walk into the ward with you.”
Who is Idris, and why would he freak out over me?
Chance wipes his hands on a dirty rag. “Idris is the head of our ward. Kenzo is your best bet. When we get to the ward–” He stops and shakes his head. “I have to look out for Ethan. Just stay out of Idris’ way. Try to win Kenzo over and let Idris take Aaron.”
I don’t understand what he means.
Glancing around us, I notice we’re alone.
“Where are Ethan and Aaron?”
All I see is wild grass as far as the horizon stretches. Heatwaves dance in the distance. It’s only us in the middle of the deserted road.
“They’ll be back soon.” Chance clears his throat, and he glances over the field to our left. “They’re out there taking a leak.”
Looking at the field, I see them in the distance, walking toward us. Then a light goes on, and I flush bright red as I realize there are no restrooms out here.
My stomach growls loudly, and I slap a hand over it. I haven’t eaten since I had dinner with Dad the night before I had to leave the ecocity.