Chapter 8, Part 2
Morning came way too soon. The clock on the wall read 7:00 am; Cassie had overslept. She bolted upright and was halfway out of bed before she remembered that she didn’t have a job at the stables anymore.
Abby was still passed out on the other bed so Cassie tiptoed to the bathroom. She’d been too tired to shower the night before, instead collapsing on the bed in her clothes. There was soap and towels by the shower. The controls took some fiddling with to get a decent temperature, but she finally succeeded and hopped in.
Ten minutes later, she was dressed in gym shorts and a green army t-shirt, and trying to comb her damp hair with her fingers. She finally gave up and rolled her shoulders restlessly. Her wings begged to be free. She wished she had a spare tank-top and somewhere with enough room to spread out.
She flopped restlessly back on her bed. She doubted anyone else was up. Not after the road trip from hell yesterday. It couldn’t hurt to look around a little, right? She slipped out, checking on Abby one more time before she gently shut the door. The elevator was down the hall to her left, so she went the opposite direction. She passed three more sets of bedrooms before the hall ended and split off into two new directions. In front of her was a railing that swept around an open rectangle that extended about half the length of a football field. She looked over the edge down into an empty training area. She glanced up and saw the same railing around the third floor. I wonder if the ceiling opens.
More doors spaced around the second floor with clear windows opening into other training rooms. What is this place? Are they training people like us to fight? If that was the case, this was the last place she wanted the younger kids.
A door clicked shut behind her. Sam shuffled up beside her, light brown hair sticking in all directions. The boys had been given the same sleeping gear as she and Abby. He rubbed tired eyes and leaned on the rail beside her.
“Think they’ll really tell us what this place is?” he asked.
“I don’t think they’ll hurt us,” she replied. “Abby said Braxton was telling the truth.”
“Yeah, but that was before they brought us to the secret army base.”
“True,” Cassie was forced to agree. But how did she explain that she trusted the officers last night. Or that she really wanted to explore the different training areas? Her body ached for action and her wings fidgeted restlessly in her back. “If Abby picks up on something, we’ll see about getting out of here. Until then, we don’t really have a choice but to stay put.”
“Yeah, I just hate not knowing what to do or who to trust.”
“I know. This has been my worst nightmare ever since my wings decided to pop out and ruin my life.”
“Tell me about it.” A tendril of fire played around Sam’s finger. He extinguished it and pushed away from the rail. “Think we get breakfast?”
Cassie grinned. She was starving herself. “We should probably find out where the food is before Abby and Caleb wake up.”
“We’d better hurry. Caleb was stirring when I left.”
Luke stuck his head out of his room. “I thought I heard voices. You guys get up early. Is the sun even up?”
“It should be, it’s 7:30,” Cassie replied.
“Ugh. Terrible hour. Give me a sec and I’ll show you where the kitchen is. Josh is probably out running to California and back.” Luke disappeared back into his room and Sam and Cassie went to wake the others.
Abby opted to stay in her new pajamas, but Cassie pulled on her jeans and boots. They met the others back in the hall and Luke led the way down a flight of stairs and through a set of double doors.
“It’s pretty hard to find,” he said seriously and pushed through a door labeled “KITCHEN”.
Two stove tops and a double oven took up one wall. Counter space seemed to go on for miles and an oversized refrigerator hummed quietly at its station against the wall. A long table with enough seats for fifteen people stretched across from the stoves.
“This place is bigger than our apartment,” Abby whispered to Cassie.
“Important rooms have to be big,” Luke told her. “The fridge is full, and feel free to dig around the cabinets.”
In short order, they were all seated at the table with bowls of cereal and glasses of juice.
“Doc doesn’t believe in eating army food, so he makes sure this place is pretty well stocked,” Luke said. “There’s also a fifty year supply of tea in that corner cabinet if you like to drink that.”
Abby giggled into her napkin and Cassie felt some of the tension release from the others. Anyone who could make Abby laugh like Luke did was all right in their book. Cassie made sure the dishes were washed and put away after everyone finished eating and then Luke led them in search of Sergeant Lattimer.