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I held my breath and closed my eyes as I heard the two pairs of footsteps draw nearer. I opened my eyes to see a young woman pointing a torch at me.
“Who are you?,” she demanded, breathing heavily.
But I didn’t answer right away. Looking past the torch pointed at my face, it wasn’t hard to notice that the woman was very pretty. She was tall and slender, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, her black hair falling on her shoulders. Her green almond eyes narrowed, waiting on my response.
“Oh, I’m Todd. Todd Hendricks,” I said, putting my hands up in surrender.
“Errin, how did he find us? Look at what he’s wearing,” the man said, motioning to the horrendous jumpsuit the Canvas made me wear.
“Oh this? I was captured by the Patrol. I escaped though,” I said shrugging.
Errin’s eyes widened, and she turns to look at the man, “Georgie! No one’s ever escaped before. Don’t you know what this means?,” she said excitedly.
Georgie looked at me. He was a large man, about six feet tall. He had chocolate eyes and grayish-brown hair. He sighed, “Blindfold him and we can take him to the base. We’ll have a vote.”
Errin tied a bit of nasty cloth around my eyes and I felt a strong grip on my arm. After being led for around fifteen minutes, they stopped and removed the blindfold.
I looked around their base, quickly recognizing it as what used to be Grand Central Station. It was a lot dirtier than it was last time I was here, with far fewer people. Besides Errin and Georgie, there were only three other people there.
As soon as we walked in, a man in his mid-twenties, with bright blonde hair, jumped up and rushed over to greet Georgie and Errin.
“Hey Geo! Errin! I thought you guys would never get back. Who’s the new guy?,” he said quickly, his words almost running together in excitement. His blue eyes shone with anticipation.
Errin rolled her eyes and Georgie just sighed.
“Oi! What’s that on your face?,” he said turning to me.
I muttered something about it being a birthmark before he very rudely interrupted me.
“IT LOOKS LIKE ONE OF THOSE OUTHOUSE MOONS!,” he said excitedly.
Georgie shoved him gently to go away and I could feel my face actually gaining some color.
I looked around the station at the other two people I hadn’t met. There was a girl who looked about my age and and kid that looked like he was about fifteen years old. The girl looked like someone you wouldn’t want to mess with, with short hair, ending around her ears. She had dark brown eyes and a long nose. She sat on the ground sharpening a couple of knives. When she stood up, I noticed that she’s actually quite short, not that that made her any less scary.
On the other hand, the kid looked about as unthreatening as a person can get. He was short and skinny, with brown hair and sky blue eyes. He hadn’t said anything at all since I came in, but had been looking at me curiously. He looked nervous and a bit dazed, like he had something else on his mind.
“Everyone gather around please,” Georgie said, clapping his hands, “We need to make a group decision.”
The group crowded around Georgie, who had climbed on a box to be taller.
“As you have probably noticed, since you all have eyes, Errin and I brought someone else back with us from exploring,” he said, nonchalantly motioning to me.
“He says his name is Todd. Apparently he escaped from the Cage. So he knows how to get in and out. As you all know, we lost a team member recently, and Errin thinks that Todd might be able to help us bring him back.
“I have decided to have a group vote to see what you think. So, all in favor of letting Todd stay to help us get Huston back, raise your hand.”
I looked around as the entire group raised their hands, except for the girl with the knives. She stood with her arms crossed in the back, looking unhappy about the possibility of another person.
“Well that settles it then. Welcome to the team Todd,” he said with a smile, before turning back to the rest of the group, “Everyone introduce yourself to Todd. Dismissed.”
As soon as he says ‘dismissed,’ the group crowded around me, and I immediately realized why Georgie had a box to stand on. Even though there are not very many people, I felt like I was being suffocated.
Errin made her way to me first, smiling, revealing a row of straight white teeth.
“I’m Errin. I’m sorry about everything earlier. With the torch. I could’ve caught you on fire! I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. You’re fine,” I said, smiling back at her, “I probably scared you and Georgie.”
She waved and walked off, leaving me with the other three. The over enthusiastic one pushed his way to me next.
“Hi. I’m Justin. You’re Todd right? That’s a cool name. I had a friend named Todd once. Did you have a friend named Justin? That would be so weird! Wouldn’t it? Huh? Wouldn’t it?,” he said quickly, running his words together.
Before I can respond, the other girl elbows Justin in the face.
“Oh shut up Justin. No one cares about some random friend you used to have,”she said to Justin, who was rubbing his face where she hit him. She turned to me.
“My name’s Ricochet,” she spat before walking off angrily.
I looked at the last person waiting to talk to me and see the kid. His face was red and he was looking at his feet. It was pretty obvious this kid didn’t want to talk to me.
“I’m Coy,” he said softly, without looking up.
I went to shake his hand, but he shuffled off awkwardly. Errin noticed me looking confused and came over.
“Coy doesn’t like talking. The kid’s only sixteen. He was homeless before the Invasion. That’s really all I know. He’s smart, but he keeps to himself. He’s scared of everything. He’d be scared of his own shadow if we had enough light to cast one,” she said, standing next to me.
I nodded and looked at Coy, who had gone to sit by himself. I hoped silently that I’d be able to fit in here.