Chapter 1: [prologue]
"Woojin, please," Chan whimpered, voice muffled against Woojin's hand painfully covering his mouth. Woojin apologized, removing his beat-up fingers, checking one more time to make sure they had passed.
Chan inhaled shakily, bare feet feeling the cold concrete floor of the facility bite at his toes.
"Are we clear?" Jisung asked, voice quiet but hoarse.
Woojin nodded, Chan did a quick headcount. Four. Perfect.
Jeongin held on to Woojin’s arm as he led the way.
Jisung’s heart skipped a beat at the sudden clanking of metal.
“It's only the machinery, Ji,” Chan soothed.
“Woojin your arm!” Jeongin commented trying to clean up the blood.
“Doesn't matter,” he said shaking his sleeve over the reopened gash.
Chan watched feeling his own whip marks beginning to burn.
“Almost there,” Woojin said eagerness dancing on his tongue.
Jisung stopped to himself from being too excited, they weren't in the clear yet.
Chan started whispering comfort into Jeongin’s ear who had started to cry silently.
Woojin halted hand slapping over Chan’s lips, silencing him. the only thing covering up their wavering breaths was the distant clanking behind them. Chan tasted dirt and blood as Woojin removed his hand, beckoning them forward.
Jisung gawked at the back door perched in front of them
They could taste freedom.
With freedom so close, so tangible even, a part of them almost longed for the comfort of their cells, their cages.
Jeongin was the first to step forward toward the door, wiping his puffy eyes. Urging the rest of the group to follow him.
He pushed the heavy metal door open, thanking God that it was unlocked. The boys blinked, the door swinging shut behind them with a clunk making them all jump, slowly their eyes suggested to the moonlit loading dock. Chan held Jisung away from the deep empty pit of the loading dock, who had gotten close to the peer down. “Don't get any closer, yeah?” Jisung nodded in affirmation.
“Let's get out of here,” Woojin said, guiding the other three away from the door and into the woods, hoping they'd be long gone before for a search party went looking for them.
Once their feet at the damp, uneven ground of forest, adrenaline, excitement, courage coursed through them. They ran as deep into the forest as they could, stumbling occasionally over roots, Chan leading the way.
Chan sat next to the ash, stroking the fire, Jeongin roasting an impaled wild animal above him.
Jisung dropped the freshly cut firewood next to Chan, who thanked him. Woojin sat opposite, filling up old plastic water bottles with last nights rainwater.
A twig snap made everyone freeze.
Chan drew out a shard of glass, hoping it wasn't an Oppressor.
"Help!" a strangled voice called out, the owner of the voice was clearly dragging a body with him.
Chan dropped the glass, running to the aid of a short freckled boy, dark hair covering his eyes. He was dragging a taller figure, who had been beaten to a pulp
Woojin brought over a roll of gauze to the injured man. Many a night had he spent bandaging his group mates, mostly Chan - that loud mouth.
Jisung went over to the freckled boy as Chan removed the taller from his grasp. "Do you remember your name?" he asked.
The boy nodded, "Felix and M-Minho."
The taller, Minho, stirred slightly. Jeongin brought a cup of water to him at Woojin's request.
"What happened?" Chan asked, not wanting to look at the deep knife marks littering Minho's body.
"W-we were eliminated, an Oppressor wanted to Claw me b-but," Felix started to sob, collapsing on the forest floor, "B-but Minho s-stepped in and took it for m-me."
"Don't worry, Hyung will fix him," Jeongin said, crouching next to him, looking at the other's mangled body.
"Yeah! Better in no time!" Jisung said, hugging Felix, who sniffed, burring his face into his shoulder.
"Which district?" Jeongin asked, trying to change the subject.
"Seventh," Felix muttered, voice muffled against Jisung's thin shirt.
"We're from the third," Jisung said. Felix nodded, sitting back, eyes focusing on Minho.
"He'll be alright," Woojin said, wrapping a particularly nasty cut on Minho's bicep, "As long as infection doesn't set in."
Felix nodded again, thanking him profusely. Chan and Woojin moved an unconscious Minho into the makeshift tent. Jisung and Jeongin brought Felix closer to the fire to warm up.
"Why were you eliminated?" Jeongin asked, handing him the least burnt leg.
"I don't know, I guess we weren't good enough for them." Jisung handed him a bottle of water, humming in understanding. During his first few days at the Third, Oppressors wanted to eliminate him too.
"Felix, is that old scar on his hip?" Woojin asked, him and Chan making a reappearance.
"An old whip mark from what I've seen," Felix said, wiping his nose on his tatty sleeve.
"Looks too deep to be a whip," Woojin frowned.
"God, I hope not," Felix cried, burying his face in his hands. Chan apologized, encouraging the younger to eat.
excited for chap 2 ;)