The institute was in complete pandemonium. The ringing in Bell's head increased,along with the hot throbbing sensation in her arm. She cursed the metallic censor, implanted deep within her flesh. She wanted to go after Justin, and see that he was okay, but the throbbing in her arm, reminded her that she was constantly being tracked.

With renewed anger, she turned to face the oncoming guard. A smug smile crossed his face. “Be getting my promotion early,” he said closing in on her. Without having easy access to the equipment in her backpack, she saw no way out of this.

Bell hummed as he grabbed her arm forcefully. The humming kept her panic at bay, it kept her burdened mind from swallowing her whole.

“Are you singing for me, you little freak?” The guard grunted.

She reluctantly allowed him to drag her away. She blocked him out, along with the rest of her fears. Retreat, She thought bitterly. She really regretted not learning to issue that command before her attempted escape.

They were nearing the Lobby, and Security Area, when a high pitched squawk, echoed through the hallways. “What in the hell?” The guard turned to glare at one of Belikov's Toy birds. It had regained its glass feathers, and unsightly claws.

Bell held her breath, sure that the bird was beckoned to finish her off. To her amazement it zeroed in on the guard, but not before glancing her way. “Run” it whispered.

She blinked. Did the bird just speak to her? She shook her head. The bird dug its talons into the side of the guards face, causing him to drop her arm. She wasted no time fleeing the area. The guards screams of agony erupted behind her.

Running as fast as she could through the exit and into the court yard, allowed Bell to buy herself a sliver of time. She ducked behind the elaborate marble sculptures, reminiscent of Mary Cassatt artwork; Children holding the hands of their beloved caretakers. As if.

Quickly, she dug out her knife. The throbbing in her arm, increased, almost anticipatory. She shrunk against the cool brick wall of the building. She hugged her book bag and dug her trembling hands into the worn fabric , hoping to ease her nerves.

She hummed as she positioned the knife over the flesh of her forearm. She bit her lip to keep herself quiet. Mentally, she counted. One, two, three...

The piercing sensation of the knife brought fresh tears to her eyes. She quickly blinked them away and regained her focus. The knife went in further. She bit her lip so hard, it bled. She quickly dug deeper into her flesh and felt for the microchip with the tip of the knife. She dropped the offending tool, and removed the chip with her fingers. With her good arm, she threw it as far away from  her path, as she could.

She tore fabric from the hem of her shirt and tied it over the gaping wound. It wouldn’t hold for long, but it would work for now. The last thing she wanted was to leave a trail of blood for her pursuers. Gingerly, she climbed to her feet, and repositioned her backpack. Weakened and nauseated from the pain, she made her way out of the hiding spot. She ran, for miles, until she came across a barrier of barbed wire. She went down on her stomach , and rolled awkwardly underneath it, with her arm tucked against her chest.

Bell slowed her pace, when she entered the mouth of the surrounding woodlands. She took a moment to enjoy the beauty of it all; trees, grass, the sky!  Things she had taken advantage of as a child. Unexpectedly,  a hand clutched her wrist. She jumped as fear interrupted her moment with nature.

“Justin,” She fell into his arms, and cried out with relief.”We're free!Finally!”

The End

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