I swallowed back panic as I squinted and tried to find Addie in my limited view. I was on a road, broken bits of asphalt and gravel surrounding me. A plain white building was to my right, a brick building to my left, and both were taller than any building I’d ever seen. Had Micah dropped us in one of the cities?
“Addie?” I yelled. “Addie!”
Silence answered me and I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Maybe she’d fallen too far away to hear me.
The pain was reaching a scream-worthy level, which must have meant I was about to start healing. I sighed and tried to concentrate on anything else. Callum. Addie. Bashing Micah’s face in.
I was suddenly able to move my hands again, and I struggled to a sitting position against the rope still tied around my chest. The impact had loosened it and I squirmed my arms free and yanked my leg back into its normal position.
I frowned at the scene in front of me. I was in the middle of a street, tall buildings with trees in between them lining either side down the block. But it was totally deserted. Micah had said, “Say hello to the humans you love so much for me,” implying he was dropping us in an area he knew was full of humans.
But I didn’t see any. I didn’t see any signs of life, actually.
I could stand a minute later, and I whipped my head around as I looked for Addie. Considering she was a Thirty-nine, I doubted she’d healed at the same speed as me. She was probably still on the ground somewhere.
Not dead. Definitely not dead.
The thought of Addie being dead made panic grip my stomach. She couldn’t be.
“Addie?” I called, turning in a circle. If she’d landed on top of a building maybe she’d be able to see me down here. I waved my arms as I turned around again. Something that looked like a HARC shuttle caught my eye at the end of the street, and my heart jumped, my fingers searching for a weapon.
I squinted. It was the wrong color to be a HARC shuttle. All HARC vehicles were black, and this one was red, and the front end was completely smashed.
It was a car. But HARC had banned all cars when they built the Republic of Texas. I cocked my head, turning around slowly. Were we in one of the old cities?
A head popped up suddenly and I almost laughed with relief as Addie raised one arm to wave at me. I ran to the corner of the brick building and sank down on my knees next to her, taking a quick glance down at her body. She was dirty, her black pants covered in dust and pieces of a tree it appeared she’d taken down with her. She cradled one arm like it was still broken and her face was bloody, a giant lump on one side of her cheek. She pointed to her face and shook her head.
“Broken jaw?” I asked.
She nodded. I let out a tiny sigh of relief and got to my feet, putting my hands on my hips as I surveyed the area. I was going to have to guess which direction—
A HARC transport van was headed toward us.
A real one this time.
It sped over the hill and zoomed in our direction, dodging giant potholes as it made its way down the street.
“Get up!” I grabbed Addie’s arm and hauled her to her feet. She stumbled a bit and winced as she put pressure on one leg. Her eyes widened as she spotted the vehicle.
I took off for the intersection in front of me, Addie at my side. I whipped my head both ways as we reached a wide street, but I saw nothing but tall buildings and a few abandoned cars. Hiding in one of the buildings seemed like a shortsighted plan, and a quick pat of my pockets revealed that Micah had taken my gun and knife.
We rounded a corner as the van swerved to my right as it raced toward us. If they jumped out maybe I could overpower them. If I could get one of their guns I might—
I gasped as something sharp hit my neck. Addie made a similar noise as a needle sank into her neck.
The van was right next to us now, the side door open. Two men hung out the opening, weapons poised.
Beside me, Addie yelped, and I turned just in time to see her hit the ground, a rope wrapped around her ankles. I barely dodged a second rope, blinking stars out of my eyes. What had they given us?
I snatched the needle out of my neck and tossed it away as one of the men jumped out of the van, gun pointed at my face.
The world spun as I grabbed the barrel of the weapon, thrusting it up so quickly it slammed into his chin. I turned it around and fired it in his general direction. Fog was beginning to invade my brain, and I could no longer see him clearly.
I caught a glimpse of Addie’s motionless figure on the ground as something crashed against me. I hit the pavement so hard I could hear my arm crack. A hand grabbed for my neck, my weapon, and the darkness was starting to seep into the corner of my eyes.
A human face floated across my vision and I pushed a hand against his stomach, aiming the gun directly for his chest.
His body made a thump as it fell. Then, silence. My eyes drifted closed.
I woke to the sun barely peeking out from behind one of the buildings. I had to open and close my eyes a few times before they cleared, and I immediately felt the pressure of something on my leg.
My arm burned as I tried to prop myself up on my elbows, and a quick glance revealed it was still broken. My neck burned from where the needle had punctured it, and I looked at the sun in confusion. It was much lower in the sky. I must have been out for at least an hour.
The pressure on my leg turned out to be a dead human collapsed on me, and I squirmed out from under him. The other human lay dead beside the van, and I quickly found Addie a few feet away. Her leg was bent at a funny angle, but it looked like her jaw had healed. I poked her shoulder, but she didn’t move.
I jumped over the potholes in the road and wrenched open the back of the HARC van. The driver had run straight into a building and was slumped over the steering wheel, dead. Otherwise, the vehicle was clear of humans.
There were two shotguns inside, and I slung them over my shoulder and walked to the humans. They each had a handgun and one had a knife, so I relieved them of everything.
My arm still burned as I slid the weapons into my pockets, and I frowned as I rubbed at the needle mark on my neck. What had Micah said about those drugs HARC had given them?
I winced as I remembered him mentioning one that slowed his healing time. Great. Why hadn’t I asked him more about that? Like how long “slowed” really was. Why hadn’t I had a conversation with him about what kinds of HARC drugs I should be on the lookout for?
Because he’s an insane person and I didn’t want to spend time with him. I sighed in annoyance. No excuse.
I ran a hand down my face as I looked at Addie again. No telling how long she’d be out, but I couldn’t sit around and wait for her to wake up. HARC might have been tracking that van.