Author’s note: Hey, since this series is wrapping up, I won’t be adding any more characters so the POV is from a character we already know!
I also recommend this playlist when reading this story- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3UX1qcBxupCb3oQDUt8CsR
END YOUR STORY WITH SOMEBODY STEPPING INTO THE SUNSHINE
The street is dark and quiet, except for the sound of my quick footsteps. The artificial leaves of fake trees rustle overhead as I dash under them, my feet pattering quietly on the warm sidewalk.
My black tank top itches slightly as I sweat, trying to reach my legs farther with every stride. My breath becomes heavier and heavier and a stitch in my side sears with pain.
I think of Arrow, and my new mission, and I have renewed energy as I round the side of another towering building. I emerge into a large circular courtyard, in the middle of which is the huge frosted prison dome. I skirt around it in the shadows of surrounding buildings, and then dart for the huge steel door.
I pause. I curse myself inwardly, why didn’t I think about how I was going to get through the door? I draw closer to the entrance and I feel around the edge, hoping that it might still be cracked open just a tiny bit.
Suddenly the door opens and I hurriedly hide behind it. A janitor steps out, absentmindedly whistling to himself. I notice a key card sticking out of his back pocket and I slide it out, before ducking down and slipping in behind him.
The door slams and I’m left in darkness. I feel around on the wall for a light switch. “Click!” Long fluorescent lights hum into life down the slightly curved corridor. I sigh a little nervously, then I begin swiftly walking down the hallway, alert for a security droid.
I walk for a few minutes before I come to another door, this time glass. I try the handle, but it doesn’t open. I put the janitor’s card key into the slot, praying he has clearance to go here. The machine whirs for a moment, then a green light flicks on and I pull the door open.
I gasp when I see the room that I walked into.
Curved glass walls all around me, arching high, thousands of cylinders inlaid in rows ten stories high, artificial moonlight shimmering through the fogged glass…
Suddenly I hear a buzz behind me. My heart leaps and I turn in time to see a large prison drone scuttling away on its several spindly legs. Without thinking I lunge for it, and it crashes against a wall.
A few of its crushed components flicker feebly before it powers down completely. I let it fall as I wipe the sweat from my forehead. That was a close call.
I turn and hurry away from it to one of the moveable platforms that make up the edge of the floor. I bend down and press a large red button and a stand pops up with a small screen attached.
I tap the screen impatiently, waiting for it to turn on and show me where Ember and Echo are. A message appears in the middle of the screen reading- “Use security droid to activate this terminal”
I sigh in frustration and march back to the limp body of the drone. I seize one of its legs and drag it to the platform. I hoist it onto my shoulders, and insert the tip of its leg into a slot. The screen whirs into action, and I toss the droid onto the floor.
A digital display of the cells appears on the screen, a long number describing each of them. I peer closely at a few of them, remembering the number Arrow had written in his notes… ‘Ember 2187.’
I spot it after a few seconds of searching and I tap on it eagerly. The platform immediately starts to rise, and I grab onto the stand for balance.
As the platform rises it begins to make long sweeping rings around the dome, finally stopping in front of a small glass cell, just like the others around it.
I peer into the door, but the inside is so shadowy I can barely make out anything. I rap on my knuckles on the glass and there’s a sudden movement from inside.
A girl’s ragged face looms out of the darkness. Her golden eyes are empty, her wavy brown hair limp, her skin scarred and dull. She looks so young…. A few years younger than me… maybe twelve or thirteen…
She sizes me up and cocks her eyebrows at me. She shouts through the glass. “Are you here to kidnap me, like you did to Hawk?”
I shout back at her “What?! No! I’m here to rescue you!”
She scrambles to her feet. “Really? You’re not joking?” she says hopefully.
“Heck no!” I say, “Hold on…”
I tap her cell on the screen and it expands to show the pass code to her door. I type it carefully and after the last digit the door clunks open. Ember scrambles out of the cell and her thin legs collapse once she reaches the platform.
I lift her carefully into a sitting position against the stand. I murmur to myself “Now we have to get Echo…”
Ember cranes her neck to look up at me “Who? And what’s your name anyway?”
“Echo was my brother’s best friend, and she’s gonna help us get out of here. And I’m Ivy.”
She nods absentmindedly, while I think carefully.
Arrow didn’t include Echo’s cell number in his notes, obviously, because she was arrested after his execution…
I notice a search bar at the top of the screen, and I type ‘Echo’ into it.
A single cell appeared in the middle of the screen, sporting the code “7983.” I click on it and the platform circles farther up the dome.
Ember doesn't make any more conversation as we rise, and I don't attempt to revive it. I need to focus on my mission.
Finally we come to a stop at a cell identical to Ember’s except I can make out a silhouette slumped against the wall. I tap the glass and the figure stirs feebly. “Echo!’ I hiss.
She does a double take. “Ivy?!” She hurriedly crawls to the door. “What are you doing?! Is that Dune’s sister?”
Ember joins in the conversation “You know Dune?? Is she okay? “
I ignore Ember and talk directly to Echo. “Come on, I’m gonna bust you out of here, hold on…”
I type in her code and like Ember she scrambles for the platform as if it were a life raft. I make sure everyone is on the platform completely before signaling it to descend.
Everyone is silent on the ride down but I can see Echo and Ember longing for the ground. When we finally touch down, they leap off the platform and tumble to the floor.
I take Ember’s hand and we start heading for the door. Suddenly an alarm goes off! Flashing lights appear and sirens wail all around us. Ember cries out and we run for the exit.
We crash through the glass door, and the hallway immediately fills with security drones. I grasp Ember's hand tight as I smash a few of them before yelling to Echo "We need to find a safe place!"
She nods before throwing a few more drones against the wall, with a crash.
Droid reinforcements appear out of nowhere, and we turn and dash down the other side of the hallway, security hot on our tails.
Finally I spot the main doors, and I scream to Ember and Eco "We're almost there!"
We draw closer and closer and suddenly we fly out of the doors and sprawl on the cool ground with a cloud of dust.
The humming of the hundreds of droids is faint now, but I know we don't have long to rest before they get enough force to open the door.
I sit up and look around. The sirens are distant, but the flaring lights still shine through the glass. It won't be long before the soldiers are alerted to Echo and Ember's escape...
"Come on, we need somewhere to hide." I murmur to them.
Echo sits up with a groan, her white hair sticking to her sweaty face. "You're right, let's go, Ember."
I help them both to their feet, and we begin to trot down the street, looking over our shoulders every few steps. We walk for a few minutes, no one sure where to go until Ember pipes up "What about Hawk? We still need to get him!"
Echo and I look at each other. Hawk was mentioned in Arrow's notes, I think he was part of Peregrine...
Echo bursts out "She's right!"
"Hawk was a very important member of Peregrine, he'll be almost as important as Ember or Dune to Sparrowhawk. We need to get him before Sparrowhawk gets tired of using him."
I sigh. "Alright. There's only one place they would keep information that confidential. The Director's Office. "
Echo nods resolutely, and Ember whispers "What's that?"
I look around a corner and start heading in a different direction before answering her. "The Director is the woman in charge of the dome. She's the head of Sparrowhawk, and she controls everything. The clean air, the water, she could kill us all with one stroke if she wanted to. And she's the only one with access to the top secret files and such. If anyone knows where Hawk is, it's her. "
Ember nods, too, and we walk in silence for a long time. We reach the Director's towering skyscraper only when tints of grey and blue start edging along the skyline.
We pause at the intricate double doors, and I pull out the janitor's key card. I insert it into the slot, waiting for the green light. It flashes, and Echo holds the door open for us, her glasses flashing in the minty light.
I motion for Ember to stay close to me as we skirt the edges of the luxurious lobby filled with expensive paints, gold ornaments, and real plants. We get to the elevator and I look over my shoulder as the other two file in.
Once I’m in, Ember pushes the button that says “Office” and we are immediately swept upwards. I hear Echo gasp, and I turn to see the back wall of the elevator transform into a window. Everyone crowds around and watches in wonder as we fly higher than the towers and the city unfolds beneath us, a web of glimmering lights, grey in the early dawn.
We turn as the elevator announces our arrival with a ding. I feel my mouth drop as I see the elaborate office.
The back wall is all one curved window, the city sprawling beneath. The two side walls are made of whole slabs of stone with dainty waterfalls rippling down them, and misting the large ferns that lace the edge of the windows. On the nearest walls are two towering bookshelves stuffed with ancient looking, peeling-leather books. The desk itself is large, with dark supple wood and a warped marble top, golden accessories scattered across its surface. A little bronze plaque facing the door reads “Director Astrid.”
I shake my head and hurry over to the desk, grateful that the Director isn’t in, yet. I pull up her holo-computer and frantically search through the files while Echo examines the bookshelves, and Ember looks over my shoulder.
After a few seconds Echo gasps dramatically. I look up, my heart racing, expecting to see security rushing in, but there's nothing. “What did you do that for?!” I exclaim.
“I-I’ve found it.” Echo whispers.
I see she’s holding something small in her hands, and I sit up trying to see what it is. “What?”
“The Forbidden Book. It holds proof of all of Sparrowhawk’s treachery… I’ve been looking for this for so long… It was up here the whole time…”
Ember runs over to Echo, and I bend over the computer again. Immediately I notice a file titled “Sky Display.”
The Sky Display is the inner paneling on the inside of the dome. The Director can display messages, advertisements, announcements, or whatever she wants for the whole city to see.
For the whole city….
I snap my head up. “Echo! Can I see that book thing!?”
She hands it to me and I pull up the holo-camera and start taking pictures of every page of the book that isn’t totally decimated.
When I’ve taken pictures of every page I start uploading them to the Sky Display. 30%.... 50%... 70%...
Suddenly the door flies open. Echo screams.
The Director looks up from a tablet she had been holding. Her elaborately painted face stretches into an expression of pure shock, her golden robes shimmering in the reflection of the waterfalls.
Echo, Ember, and I stare at her. She stares back. The computer dings. I look down. “Upload complete, press here to Display.”
My finger selects the key the same moment Ember punches the Director’s face.
Echo yells “Ember!!”
The Director collapses, and Ember spins around, clutching her fist. “Oops…”
We look up as we hear shouts from the hallway.” Come on!”
I grab Ember and Echo and we dash through the doors and down the hall. Ember looks back “What about Hawk!”
“We’ll have to go back for him!”
I ignore the elevators, they would take too long. We fly down flights of stairs, distant shouts accompanying the thundering of our feet.
Finally I spot the glass entrance doors. We explode out of them, sunlight dazzling our eyes.
I gasp when I see what we have emerged into….
The pages of the Book shimmer high in the sky, declaring Sparrowhawk’s evil to everyone, and around us, chaos reigns….