The Prism: Chapter 13

The group creeped down the stairs one flight at a time. It was suspiciously quiet. They reached floor 11 without hearing anything from the floors along the way. Clyde and Kevin stopped just before the door leading onto the eleventh floor.

“I think we should check this one out,” said Clyde.

Kevin nodded in agreement. As if they were reading each other’s minds, he finished Clyde’s thought. “If we continue going down, we risk enemies who we may have passed on the way down finding us, and then we’d be sandwiched between them and those still below us.”

“Okay,” Quin said, a little confused. “But how does checking out this floor help that? We need to find people and eliminate them. Sitting around won’t get us a better score.”

“Right,” Clyde said. “That why we are going to lure them to us. Funnel them through the door and take them out one by one, 300-style.” Clyde fist-bumped Kevin, and they both cheered. They were very confident that this plan was foolproof.

“And what if no one comes?” Sam asked.

“Better to give up a couple points than die,” Lauren answered for them. “Besides, I think we did a pretty good job already and most likely got enough points to get us near the top.”

She could be right, Quin thought. But they had no way of knowing how everyone else performed. He didn’t want to mention that it was his team who took out a majority of the enemies they’d encountered. Quin wasn’t sure Lauren and the rest would get that credit even though they were in the same group. Maybe they would though. There was no way to know how their performance would be scored.

“All right,” Quin agreed. “Let’s just get inside so we aren’t sitting ducks out here.”

Clyde carefully opened the door. They waited a few seconds, and there was no sign of immediate danger, so the group slowly entered the floor. This floor was set up like a small-town square. Shops lined the street they walked on, and lampposts lit their way.

“Keep your eyes open. People could be hiding anywhere in here,” Quin said.

The group walked slowly down the middle of the street in their formation. They approached a crossroad. A street sign was set into the concrete on the corner of the intersection. The road they were on was Jefferson St. The crossroad was Prawd Ave. As soon as the they turned left onto Prawd Ave., there was a loud bang.

The group scattered and separated to either side of the road. Quin grabbed Blair and pulled her towards a shop on the left. It was unlocked. When they got inside, he noticed that Timothy, Jordan and Sam were with him. Clyde, Kevin and Davontaye looked at them from a display window across the street. In the middle of the road was Lauren. She was in her grey suit, eliminated. She stood holding her shoulder. She winced like she was in a lot of pain. Before she walked away, she turned around and held up her middle finger in the general direction that the shot came from, then waved goodbye to the rest of the group. She rounded the corner onto Jefferson and exited the simulation.

“What do we do?” Jordan asked. “We can’t see them. We can’t get out.”

“We might just have to wait them out for the next forty-five minutes,” Sam said.

“No, we can do this,” Quin said. “We just have to think of a plan.” Quin sat on the floor against the counter for a few minutes, thinking. The shop they were in looked like a small convenient store. Shelves lined the space, and fridges sat along the back wall for drinks, but there was no merchandise to fill them. Everything was empty. Quin stood back up and walked towards the back. “There’s got to be another way out of here.”

They followed him to the back and found a door. When he opened it, it led to a small alleyway that exited to the right. Quin hoped the other three across the street would stay there and wait.

The alley was long and narrow. After 15 minutes of slow, cautious walking, it opened onto another larger street.

Quin pointed across the street to a building with an awning over it. “We need to cross the street quickly. I think the shooter will be on the street around the corner, sniping straight down Prawd Ave. If we sneak up on them, we can probably eliminate them.”

Everyone seemed in agreement with the plan. Quin started to run across the street, and the rest followed without hesitation. They made it across and then continued right to the intersection of Prawn Ave. and Vector St. Quin took the lead and rounded the corner building, but the enemy was waiting for him.

A man jumped out in front of him and punched him in the jaw. He had a knife and quickly sliced it towards Quin, taking advantage of the surprise attack. The enemy had a sniper strapped to his back, too close to use in close quarters. Quin only had a moment to react. He raised his hands, and the knife sliced down both his wrists. Quin winced in pain, but he felt no blood. It wasn’t real, he thought, trying to convince himself. But the pain was real enough. Quin backed away as the rest of the group stepped in to protect him. Blair raised her shotgun and fired. The enemy dove out of the way, but it still grazed his side. He fell to the ground and Sam stepped up to finish him off with her pistol. Just before she pulled the trigger, the enemy laughed and pointed behind them. He seemed to be playing with them, like this was just a game to him.

Quin turned around, only to be knocked down by another enemy. This time, five people surrounded them, all with the same smirks as the first one to attack. They were bullies, and confident ones at that. They looked like they thought they couldn’t be defeated and could take on anyone, and they probably have up until this point. Sam finished off the original attacker, then fired two more shots at the newcomers. Both hit their targets. Now there were only three. Quin tried to raise his gun, but the pain from the cuts were unbearable. It must have been a deep cut. Blair blasted her shotgun again and took out another enemy.

Quin could see Clyde, Kevin and Davontaye running from down the street, apparently having heard all the commotion. The two remaining enemies saw them approach as well and realized they weren’t going to win. They started running away down Vector St. Timothy took a shot at one and eliminated him. Before anyone could take out the last one, he turned around and fired one last shot out of desperation. Quin saw the bullet come in slow motion. Surely, he could jump out of the way. It seemed forever away. But he wasn’t moving, not fast enough. It was a bullet, after all.

The bullet struck him in the side of his head. He fell to the ground and watched Blair run towards him. Sam fired a shot, taking out the last enemy. Before Blair could reach him, before he hit the ground, everything went black.

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