Sabrina Flores shoplifted a lot of things for reasons beyond her knowledge. Sabrina was caught shoplifting and instead of being reported to the authorities, she was asked a favor by the shop owner, Ms. Augustina Reynolds, and she accepted. What was this "favor?" To torture and humiliate specific people in a very cozy and offsetting room better known as The Comfort Zone. After she's done completing these tasks, instead of her leaving, Ms. Reynolds has other ideas in mind.
How did I even get into this mess? I just had to shoplift for reasons beyond my knowledge, just had to be caught. If I weren’t sure if I would go to jail for shoplifting before, I’m pretty sure I’d end up in prison for life if this horrible deed were exposed. I just had to accept the proposition. Just could not face the consequences. And now I’m knee deep in trouble and can’t get out.
My startling gray eyes flutter open at the sound of murmuring and chatter. The fireplace is lit, the tables have glasses of warm milk on them, and the fluffy beds in the room are arranged in a straight line on one side of the spacious and warm room beside the tan, soft couches. "Hmm, comforting. I hate this consistent scene, but I’ll deal," I think as I stretch my arms like I would at home in my own bed. "Okay Augustina, I guess we’re starting now." I sit up on the soft mattress lazily, looking like an innocent victim, even though I’m part of a much more dangerous situation. My hands are a little shaky, but I keep reminding myself that this was the last time, I have done this before, and I can very well do it again if it means staying out of trouble. Huh, well isn’t that ironic.
“Where am I?” I pretend to just acknowledge the other bodies occupying the cozy, dimly lit room even though I remember them from the files. There’s a very built, very husky athletic guy about 17, just around my age. "What an egotistic jock. That’s Mathias Price," I think to myself. Then there’s a disturbing male, sitting off in a corner, whose dark eyes watch me precisely. "Ugh, loner. Definitely Deacon Henderson." And finally, I acknowledge the two females conversing on a couch. "Michelle Rivera. Brunette, green eyes, looks terrified." I can’t look at her much longer because she seems completely helpless and doesn’t deserve any of this. Then I remember I’m not here to feel sorry for others, I’m doing a job and leaving immediately. My eyes adjust to the girl on her right and immediately I hate her. Hazel Ross. Curly blond hair, high-cheek bones, perky smile, those disturbingly bright blue eyes. "I hate preppy girls like that." Unfortunately, I don’t have time to waste categorizing each of them because Stage I: Comfort Zone is just beginning.
“Hey you, daydreamer.” Mathias is speaking directly to Deacon, who looks very agitated. Deacon’s chestnut hair is neatly trimmed, his eyes the perfect shade of brown, but his face seems to be clouded by a dark veil, his true features hidden behind a carefully structured wall. “How do you suppose we get out of here?”
“You don’t expect him to know anything. I mean, ugh, look at him? He’s probably too poor to afford an education let alone help us while we’re locked in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of strangers.”
"Shut up, Blondie. I have places to be," I mutter under my breath. For some reason, I’m not buying this whole dumb blond act.
“Where are we?” I ask again. As if I don’t already know.
“Don’t ask me,” replies Mathias. “I woke up like a second before you. Last thing I remember, I was at home getting ready for a major football game and then—”
“She probably wasn’t asking you. I’m sure she doesn’t want to hear a story about sports while she’s just realizing that we’re locked away in a windowless room.” Hazel decided to speak up again. Look at her, my thoughts betray me with envy. "Twirling her long, blond hair and saying things so bluntly like she hasn’t got a care in the world." Then I really look at the hair. I see the bobby pin near the edge of her hairline, barely visible, jutting up at an angle through her blond locks, but it isn’t holding back loose ends. It seems to be randomly placed on her head, but I notice the tips of more bobby pins along her scalp. Almost immediately, I see them form a jagged circle around her head. It seems to be holding something in place.
"A wig? Seriously? I’ll just call you Barbie from now on." I'm glad my thoughts aren't public because that would totally ruin the plan. I'm supposed to be a trustworthy, kind, and innocent teenager, whisked away from my beloved family. Little do they know.
“I think we need to plan to get out of here,” Deacon says darkly.
"Nope, sorry dude, not going to happen," I say in my mind. I can’t give them enough free time to explore the different options they have at stake, especially since that suspicious blue-eyed perky chick is irking my soul. “What we need to do is get to know each other a little better, to see if we have anything in common.” I speak cautiously while eying Barbie, but of course, she looks as dumb as ever.
“I’ll start. My name is Mathias Price. I’m captain of the football team at my high school. I’m a pretty important person so my teammates are probably looking for me as we speak. I’ll be outta here in no time.” Not likely.