J3 is dying.
L5, P6 and I all know it. Maybe deep down, she knows it, too. The problem is, we don't know what to do about it.
It's weird; I know I should be feeling something, but all I can do is stare at the wet, red circle that's been steadily growing on her side. The leaves and grass underneath have become stained with blood in the past few hours. This is one thing Teacher hadn't taught us about – how to stop someone from dying. We know what death is. We know what blood is, we know what a weapon supposedly is and what Doctors do. But we have no idea how to keep this "life liquid" in your body, or how to stop it from hurting or what to do about the tiny little hole that just keeps bleeding and bleeding in odd little spurts...
The sounds of P6 retching in the distance echoes slightly. In my head, Teacher's voice drones on about sound waves bouncing off objects to create different sounds.
J3 shifts, and I stroke her hair. Her head rolls on my lap, staring upward.
"The moon is so weird," she murmurs quietly.
"Yeah," I respond with a half laugh. "It is pretty weird."
After all, what could be weirder than a big hunk of shiny rock in the sky? None of us have ever actually seen the sky before. I remember teacher explaining the moon and sky and stars at some point. The facility has no windows, so we could never actually see them, but we were told what they looked like. It's just one of the things that faded from my memory a bit since we talked about it once and never mentioned it again.
I notice a wet drop of water on J3's cheek. Her nose crinkles at the feeling. When another drop of water appears not far from the first, I realize they're tears – my tears. I'm crying on her face. Strange. When did that start? Why don't I feel anything?
"You're crying on my face."
"Sorry." She laughs, but just as quickly as it appears, her smile fades. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry to my soulmate."
The escape went badly. The original plan, simply put, was for me, J3 and two other friends to slip out with the help of the new Doctor in between guard shift rotations. In reality, it involved a complicated series of exact timing periods of running and hiding.
All it took was P6 and his friends to screw it up.
In P6's defense, all he wanted was to "mess with us" a little. He hadn't realized we were genuinely trying to escape. He thought we were sneaking out to get food or something. L5 just went along with it because his friends were going, and he didn't want to get left behind. But K5 knew better. He let a guard know what was going on. I remember him grabbing R4, one of the others we were supposed to escape with. Doctor didn't let me or J3 stay to help her, and as we ran down the hallway with P6 and L5, I looked back.
Teacher had never explained to us what the long black things the guards carried around were for. She just said they were "weapons." All we knew about weapons was that they were supposed to protect people.
"Look! I caught one!" K5 had said over the sound of R4's screams.
Two of the guards raised their sticks. There were four or five loud bangs. R4's cries stopped, and she and K5 had fallen bonelessly to the ground.
I'd never known that blood was so red.
The seconds that had passed as Doctor tried to get his keycard to open the elevator were excruciating. The doors opened just as the guards came around the corner, with more bangs echoing. I heard J3 grunt. Then the other guy with us, O2, had suddenly gasped and grabbed his shoulder. A dark spot appeared on his forehead, and then he fell, too. Doctor didn't get in the elevator with us. Instead, he just smiled at us, turned and stood in front of the doors as they were closing. He held his hands out, and his body jerked with each of the bangs.
"I'll never meet my soulmate. I'll never know what they look like. I'll never get to hug them. I'll never get to kiss them."
"Would you shut her up?!" P6 cries.
My first instinct is fury; how dare he say something like that?
The look on his face is not mean, though; he's scared. J3 is scaring him, and for once, he doesn't know what to do.
L5, though, doesn't see what I see. This entire time, he's been leaning his back against a nearby tree, his body curled up into a loose ball. At P6's words, he shifts and aims a savage kick at P6's calf. P6 yells.
Then the barking starts.
This place scares me. It looks like the facility. The nice man said it was a hospital, so hopefully they can fix J3.
I'm sitting in a very uncomfortable chair and stare at my red-stained hands. A lump slowly grows in my throat, and it feels like I'm choking. Craving a hug, I turn to spontaneously embrace J3's shorter frame with my own, but I then remember:
My best friend is dying.
I might never hug her again. The emotions I somehow managed to block out for such a long time are finally threatening to overwhelm me. This can't be happening. This can't be happening. We're supposed to make it out together, and we're supposed to hunt down each other's soulmates together. She can't die now; it's not fair.
I rock silently in my seat, wrapping my arms around myself. I know I'm probably freaking out P6, L5 and whomever else might be around, but I don't care. Then I feel the familiar tingling in my hand, which means it's my soulmate. It's on the back of my hand. I stare rapturously at it, watching as lines appear. These aren't his normal Markings, his letters. This is a picture... but of what?
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.