#E - Part 3
If there is one thing that I have learned from my entire experience in living in this world, be it with the zeds or without the zeds, is that things never turn out the way you expect them to. The plans that you make for the future serve only as a guide, as you may need to tweak and change them as life throws unexpected hurdles and changes in your way. A plan can never be a hundred percent in certainty. Like how the age old saying goes, "The only certain thing about life is change."
"Traitor!" The word echoed around the hall. Mike fought hard against the two guards that held him, as he struggled to come near to me.
"You selfish traitor!" He yelled again, before slamming his head on the guard directly next to him, and rushing for me again. A third guard ran up to Mike, and struck his head with the butt of a rifle. Mike howled in pain as he was dragged to where he was before. This was the second time that Mike was bleeding from the head since we arrived. I took a deep breath, and continued my so called story. Tears were flowing down my cheek, as I finished my story about how I was betrayed by the four of them. If it was not for the disgusted look from all of them, I would have felt proud of myself for pulling off such an act. However, part of the tears came from the pain of what I had to do too. Subjecting them in such a condition, and pretending to be who I am not was not only difficult, but painful. Painful because I had to betray their trust and lie to myself at the same time. The only thing that I could console myself with, was to repeat in my head over again and over again that it was a necessary choice, despite how despicable it had seemed.
"Founder, I urge you to let me put them to death myself, in order to stop them from corrupting others!" I screamed, as I continued to force more tears out of my eyes. Even though my cheeks were wet with tears, none of them were genuine. The single tear that Mike shed so long ago as we sat on the mall's rooftop felt so much more sincere than the bucket of tears coming out from my eyes then. The founder then stood up, declared loudly that he would not allow such transgression to happen under his watch. Tomorrow noon, an execution ceremony would be held specifically for me, where I will be the executioner. The audience roared and clapped in approval. I wondered if their response was staged as well, like how my interaction with the founder was, or whether they genuinely adored the founder. Either way, I could only pity them.
With a final word of thanks to the founder, exaggerated as loudly as possible, my four friends were dragged back into the cell, as they awaited the fate that would befall them tomorrow. As for me, I returned to the table, welcomed by the founder. I took my seat next to the him, Alicia by my side. The founder was clearly happy, as he laughed and smiled throughout the dinner. He approved on how I had proclaimed the invulnerability of the zeds, and how I portrayed him in a good light. Drink! He encouraged, as he continued to pour more and more alcohol into my cup. I expected that, and prepared by wearing two layers of clothes for this exact reason. A cotton shirt beneath my leather jacket, and several other change of clothes was stashed in the toilet. It was a crazy move on my part, and I prayed for it to work. Getting drunk was the last thing that I could afford tonight, and whenever I noticed that no one was looking, I poured the alcohol underneath my jacket. The cotton shirt absorbed the liquid, while the leather jacket kept it hidden. I acted as if I was drunk, and made frequent trips to the toilet. My bladder was not working tonight, I told them. The ruse seemed to have worked fine, as no one suspected anything.
Near the end of event, and pretending to be already intoxicated, I tried to talk to the founder in my best slurred speech voice possible. Earlier, Alicia had reluctantly helped me to recount how I had talk on the first night, when I was genuinely drunk, and I practiced it several times with her. The little amount of alcohol that I had drank helped to a certain extent, but half of my mind was still alert, repeating tonight's objective. I leaned over to the founder, put my arms over his shoulder, and told him how awesome he is for giving me such luxuries even in a time like this. I told him that he was a visionary. However, I asked him if it was possible for me to ask for one final favour that night.
"Anything for my star of the night!" he cheered, filling my cup with another round of whiskey. I mumbled thanks to him, pretended to burp, and proceeded to ask him my question for the night. I made a conscious effort to pause between my words and to slur them as much as possible. I also gestured wildly with my glass, hoping that at least I would give off an impression that I was heavily drunk. Never have I been so mindful of my every move in the midst of a party while trying to stay at least half sober. My only hope for that night was that no one would see through my act.
I told the founder of how I have always wanted Julie from the start, and how it would be a shame to let her die tomorrow. I wondered if the founder would be so kind as to allow me to keep Julie, making her mine, at least for tonight. The founder laughed when he heard my request, seemingly amused by it. He called me one evil little schemer, and excitedly shared my plans with the rest of the table. All of them laughed at my plans, for what reason I do not know, but I pretended to laugh with them.
"Why not?" The founder finally replied. I certainly deserved it from the superb show that I have put up tonight, and the company of two ladies was the least that he could give. Heck, he could even give me three if I wanted to. After all, I need all the entertainment that I could get before the execution tomorrow. He wanted to pour me another drink, but his hand missed my cup and some of the alcohol went to the table instead. From how they were acting, the rest were getting drunk, and that was good. I needed them to be in that condition tonight, because I had big plans for tonight.
It was the night for our escape.
"Please at least find my sister, even if you don't come back," pleaded Alicia, as I paced anxiously around my room. The second night's party has ended, and a cheery founder promised me two armed escorts into the detention cells in order for me to take Julie. I hoped that he did not forget, or else everything that I have planned for would go to waste. I looked at Alicia as she sat on the bed, still wearing the white gown that she had chosen for the night. The gown wrapped her slender figure, exposing her perfect curves beneath it, and I could not just stop myself from admiring. Every time I looked at her, my eyes just refuses to leave. Her eyes, her skin and even her hair had a hypnotizing look to them, as if they came from heaven itself.
I had told her about my plans and my intentions, about how I faked my betrayal in order to gain the founder's trust when she asked me about why I dressed in two layers. I hesitated at first, because for everything that she said about her past, she could have very well been a spy sent by the founder. I refused in act. But in the end, she threatened to expose my facade in front of the founder, and she offered to help me, so I relented. It was impossible to escape from her gaze anyway. I told her how my entire 'act' in betraying my friends was nothing but a ploy to gain the founder's trust, to explore what was beyond the cell, so that I could think of a way to escape this place with my friends. The celebrations organized by the founder was not part of what I expected, but it turned out to be the most convenient route that appeared.
When she heard about my plans, Alicia sat down and thought about it, and said that she could help me in putting up a good show tonight. She would also ensure that I do not get drunk and forget about my mission in the midst of celebration. In exchange, she implored me to find her sister, and take her sister out with me. She said that it does not matter if she made it out or not, because the inside of her has been dead for a while now, and the sole reason that she continued leaving was because of her sister. She handed me a photo of her family, and pointed me to her sister. Her sister's name was Annie, and she could be found at the barracks next to my quarters. No matter what, I have to rescue Annie. I gave her my word that I would do it, and confidently told her that I would not leave Alicia out too. That was my promise.
The two guards finally came to my room just as I was about to storm off to the founder's room, and I was relieved that the founder did not forgot his words. Even though I could never bring myself to live with the founder's values, he was indeed a capable man. At least that was certain. I tucked the gun that the founder gave me behind my shirt as I walked towards the door. Before I stepped out, I turned my head towards Alicia for one last time. I tried to gave a reassuring look, and mouthed, "Don't worry" to her. I would get her out of here no matter what, my little heart went, wanting to be the hero, without realizing how difficult the task might be. She made an okay sign with her hand, and her lips curled slightly upwards. I promise, I repeated to myself, as I walked away.
As I followed the guards along the different building corridors and to compound of the naval base, I could not stop myself from feeling nervous. I tried to distract myself by taking mental notes about the route that we were taking, so it would be easier for us to escape later, but my brain refused to take in anything. My plans had carried me so far without any problems, but for what was going to happen later, I have no idea on what to do. All I knew was that I needed to take the keys from the guard and free the rest. Other than that, I have not the slightest clue on my next step after that. I tried to shake my mind off the worries, and told myself to let the problem work itself out when we get there. For now, I just needed to focus.
Besides, I was sure that with Mike and Jack back into the picture, things would eventually work out, like how they always did. If anything, the surroundings of the base looked relatively deserted that night, which might make our escape easier. I have the party to thank, supposed. To be honest, had the founder not organized anything like this, god knows what else I could have done, or how long it would have take to free my friends. Having alcohol flowing for everyone was one of the best accidents that ever happened since the start of this ordeal.
When I finally reached the door of the cell, with the two guards beside me, the rest refused make eye contact with me. I had expected them to be cold towards me, but I was not prepared to see it up close. To be honest, even though I kept convincing myself for the pass four days that what I did was necessary, it did not change the fact that I was outside, enjoying my life, while they were inside, languishing in their cells. No matter what reason I had, it would not justify the actions that I have took.
"Come to betray us one last time eh?" Mike sarcastically remarked. I wanted to tell him that I was freeing them, but that would have to wait. Impatiently, I asked the guards to open the door. As he fumbled for his key, I took a few steps back so both the guards would not be able to see where my hand was going. It reached for the gun that was tucked behind me, while the two guards were busy focusing my friends who were in the cell. They were all standing this time, waiting for what I may have in plan. I tried to indicate to them what I was intending, as I moved my head to try to point to both of the guards. The Glock came out from my back. Mike seemed confused, but Julie seemed to understood. I could she her hand going to Daniel's back, and his face had a momentary flash of "Ah, I get it" look. Both of them were standing behind Mike and Jack. The guard now has the keys in his hands, and he brought them slowly towards the keyhole. Using my head again, I gestured one last time towards both of the guards, hoping that all four of them would get my message. I did not know if Jack understood what I had meant, but Mike registered a confused look as he continued to stare at me. He then blurted, "What are you doing with that gun, you idiot?" as I heard the sound of the keys turning.
The guard in front of me immediately shifted his attention to me, and I was caught off guard momentarily. If they caught on to what my real intention was, this could be a real short trip. I told my brain to come up with the fastest excuse ever.
"Well, you see," I began, fiddling with the gun in my arm. There was a hint of stammer in my voice, as my brain struggled to continue the story. Speaking on the go was certainly not my strongest point.
"The reason I carried this gun... is because... in case you goons decided to do anything funny later," I went. I could see Mike wanting to continue with his question, as he was obviously still very unhappy, but Julie elbowed him from him, and he stopped. At least that was taken care of. As for my escorts, either they were naive or too trusting of me, but the both of them seemed to believe what I was saying. They turned their attention back away from me. With one final click, I heard the door unlocked. It was now or never.
"Now!" I screamed as I threw my body to the guard who was opening the door. The rest of them, who were waiting for my cue, rushed towards the door. The guard and I landed only the floor, with his head hitting the floor first. The second guard, realizing what was happening, quickly raised up his rifle and took aim at me. He was about to pull the trigger when Jack came from inside the cell and yanked him towards the bars, throwing the guard off balance for a while. By then Julie and Daniel were already out from the cell, and they went for the second guard. With him taken care of, I turned my attention back to the first guard. His hands were holding the back of his head, and he was in pain. Sensing my chance, I stood up, raised my Glock and took aim at him. A part of me hesitated as I held the gun in my hand, the barrel pointing at the guard. They made it looked so easy in movies and in games, but as you looked at the person who you are aiming at, it was a whole different story. This was a war alright, but it was not humans against humans.
Perhaps I was weak, but in the end I did not do it. Taking someone's life was not what I wanted to do. I went back to the guard and punched him a few more times, before dragging him to the others. The other guard was subdued as well, and judging from his bloodied face, Jack and Daniel must have given him quite a beating. We threw the guards into the cell, next to Mike, who was still standing there with his mouth gaping. He was obviously still having trouble processing whatever that happened.
"Come on out!" I yelled. Seeing that he was not moving, I pulled him out of the cell. He looked as if he wanted to scold me, but I told him that it could wait until we get out from here. For now we need to concentrate on escaping. Daniel locked the cell doors behind us, and we proceeded to the entrance of the building block. We were lucky that the commotion inside did not alert any of the guards who were standing outside. There were about three of them talking to each other near the guard post. The entire detention area was fenced up, so if we wanted to go out we had to past through them.
Daniel turned to me. "So what now?" I did not plan so far ahead, and I shrugged my shoulders. Jack, who seemed to be studying the situation, was the one who came out with the plan. I needed to act for a little while more, he said.