Chapter 19 by Niki Alex
Cold sweats dampened his sheets, as Rob lay in bed watching the clock slowly tick towards the crack of dawn. Was he stupid to think he could pull it off? The sheer audacity of their plan only seemed to worsen his anxiety. Ken’s reminder of the trials starting kept playing over and over in his head as he tried to figure out a change in their plan.
There was no alternative. He needed to get to the others. He rattled his brain thinking hard about their brief introductions and felt beads of sweat rolling down his back. But who should I speak to? His decision would severely alter their safety and his number was almost up. This was what it must feel to engage in a reckless game of Russian roulette. If only his brain would cooperate.
Rob sat up in his bed, his eyes closed, his fingers pressed deeply against his temples. Salt and peppered Samuel looked honest and open enough. He was warmer than the 22-year-old barbie, Melissa, who seemed to want to keep to herself. As he tried to stitch together fragments of their fleeting conversation in the kitchen, Rob fought against a wave of questions drowning his already addled brain. Who was here for the money? Who was here for a sick relative? Would either of them care if he told them their lives were in danger? Was this their last resort? Were any of them secretly in on this sick experiment and turn them in the moment he started talking about the plan? Could he barter Nadia being the cure in return for their escape? What are the answers?! The plan was seemingly turning into a suicide mission for everyone except for Nadia he thought, how apt that she was immune to the virus. His life was one big punchline.
He looked up at the wall clock ticking away carelessly a few feet above him. He had about an hour left. I’m screwed.
Rob crept towards the entrance of his door and poked his head out. Samuel and Melissa were not far away and he couldn’t hear much except the gentle tick tick tick reminding him he had a decision to make. Fast.
Rob scanned the room for something he could use to overpower Ken or even the other subjects if it came to it. He wasn’t a particularly violent guy but at this moment his mind was scanning through a catalog of items in the room, selecting contenders to accompany him down the hall. There was a single glass lying on the side table, catching the moonlight, winking conspiratorially at him. His trembling hand clenched tightly around it.
Okay, it’s now or never.
He slowly placed one foot in front of the other, his ears straining for any sound he was responsible for. Or worse, Ken. Rob was directly outside their room now. He placed his head against the cool wood for any indication that someone might be awake inside. Silence. Rob took a deep breath, turned the doorknob, and entered the room.