August’s cheeks flushed. They both knew that without a chip, Micah would never be eligible to go back to the surface. But removing the chip had also saved Michal from a lifetime in the mines, from constant surveillance. “I…I’d go and make the new regions ready for us. For our family. It would be my duty.”
Micah wouldn’t dash August’s dreams. The Extraction gave August hope. There was no point in shitting all over it.
“Sure, August,” he said, pressing their shoulders together. “Whatever you say.”
A sharp buzzing noise cut through the air, and August hissed, gritting his teeth. His hand instinctively flew to his tracker, rubbing at the nape of his neck. No matter how many times it happened, the pain of the vibrations never seemed to dissipate. From within the hovel, Micah could hear the other Yellows moaning in a similar fashion. The government’s wake-up call, summoning them to another day of work in the mines.
August’s eyes met his. “Be careful,” Micah said. August nodded, pulling his worn leather jacket tighter around himself. Silently, he slipped away, heading in the direction of the mines as a stream of Yellows appeared in the doorway of the hovel, following grudgingly in his footsteps.
Then Micah was alone again, with nothing but his own thoughts to keep him company. The silence was peaceful, almost comforting. If he closed his eyes, he could pretend he was somewhere, anywhere, else. But as he gazed into the dimness of the Tartarus morning, a grunt followed by the sound of a body falling to the dirt stopped his silent contemplation.
The sound had come from the other side of the warehouse, the side that was mostly obscured by its proximity to other buildings nearby. Micah knew without having to be told who and what it was. With slow steps, he rounded the warehouse to see Booker’s unconscious form huddled in a mass on the ground. A needle protruded from his arm.
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