New Dawn Chapter Seven

“Son of a bitch!” I swore and got a look from Nate as I continued to rant, “Larry has no regard for anyone else, but him and his pleasure. I know I’m not exactly the leader here, but I’m doing the best I can to get everything organised or we would sit there starving without beds and slowly die over the next six months,”

“You’re doing a really good job, being leader can’t be helped but from what I hear you were a leader back at school,” Nate suggested.

“I thought I was a loner?” I joked, the rant out of my system.

“Some rumours had you as a loner, but I was told more than once you were involved with the Scouts as a patrol leader before you turned fourteen,” he replied.

“True, but only for a year before I joined Explorer Scouts,” I explained.

“But aren’t you helping scouts now?”

“I am,” I admitted, “I’m in the Young leader’s scheme, so I currently help run a cubs section,”

“You were also a Counsellor in Training on the Junior Ambassador Program Camp,” he pointed out.

“Ok, I get it, I’m a good leader,” I held up my hands and laughed, knowing that I was defeated, “If you can’t beat them, join them,”

“What?” He looked at me as though I had lost my mind so I indicated the screen.

“Let’s go get wet,” I suggested and understanding dawned on him. I grabbed the radio, “Mac, are you down there?”

“Sure, having a ball with the terrible two,” Mac replied sarcastically.

“Do you want a break, then?”

“Please, get me away from the mindless lists,” she pleaded.

“Fine, we’re going swimming if you want to go grab your gear,” I laughed at her.

“Oh, thank you,” she answered and clicked off. Nate made six sets of three key cards each for the different apartments and access to the VIP area.

“Did you say you had another card?” Nate asked as I got up to lead.

“Oh yeah, 0004,” I replied, completely forgetting about it. I handed it over and he swiped it through the machine.

“Ok, so this card allows access to the Research and Development department,” he concluded.

“Right, so I think that’ll have to remain locked away until we really need it,” I told him then followed Nate back up to the VIP area. I let him go off so knocked on Kelly’s door and she was soon answering with a smile. Obviously, she had not been invited down to the pool. I was invited into the front room where the four youngest, from eight- year-old George to the youngest seven-year-old Kelly, were sat in front of the TV engrossed in a cartoon. Sarah was at a glass table reading a thick book.

“What are you reading?” I asked politely.

“A Biology text book,” she replied simply.

“You know we don’t have class anymore?” I asked, not sure if what had happened had sunk in.

“I know, but I want to be ready. I was going to be a scientist when I get older,” she explained proudly.

“But don’t you like looking after the children?”

“I’ve got thousands of nieces and nephews so I don’t mind looking after them. It gives me some company,” Kelly added, “I actually wanted to be a teacher,”

“That’s why you were the CIT at the camp for the younger ones?” I asked curiously.

“Yeah, it gave me a taste of what teaching would be like and I loved it,”

“Look Kelly, this will give you access to the Research Labs, but I would like you to wait until both of us can look around before you go alone,” I handed over the Key card with 0004.

“That would be great,” She enthused then hesitated, “Not that I want to stop babysitting the kids,”

“Don’t worry, I think I can handle them,” Kelly laughed. I looked at the four and realised they are going to have to trail around some of the older teens. Maybe a school would be appropriate since we had an education department.

“Oh, before I forget, here are access cards for your apartment and the level,” I handed over the envelope with three keys in to Kelly.

“Thanks, not that I don’t trust any of the others,” she assured me.

“I actually came up to see if you wanted to go down to the Lagoon with the kids?” I asked.

“That’ll be great,” Kelly replied and gave Sarah a look who nodded. I said goodbye and left the apartment, only to be ambushed by Tobi. He grabbed my hand and led me to the conference room, where he wrapped me up in a hug. I felt his shoulders being to heave.

“Hey, hey, hey, what’s this? Robots don’t cry,” I joked, trying to get him to lighten up, but I was alarmed. I had not seen him like this before.

“I’m so sorry,” he answered with a sob. His crying reminded me he was still eleven-years-old despite sometimes acting in his twenties.

“Why are you sorry?”

“Because they’ve been down there nearly an hour,” he cried harder and I didn’t need to guess who he was talking about.

“It’s OK,” I soothed him and lifted his head up, wiping away his tears tenderly. I used to do this to my brother before he thought he was too old, “Why didn’t you radio us straight away?”

“Erm,” he chewed his lips nervously, “They asked me not to,”

“There’s something you’re not telling me,” I looked into his amber eyes, which reminded me of a wolf. He was not telling me the whole truth.

“Larry told me, if I said anything he would beat me up,” Tobi replied so quietly I almost did not hear. He buried his head in my chest and cried for longer. This was interesting; I was going to have to watch Larry carefully from now on.

“Come on, wipe those tears away and let’s go swimming,” he instantly panicked.

“But Larry will know I told,”

“Don’t worry about him, I’ll sort it out. Anyway, Nate and I found out from watching the cameras,” I explained and led him back out into the main area, he wiped his eyes and gave me a watery smile before disappearing into his apartment. I returned to my own to check if Matty was up here, only to find him standing naked in the middle of his room.

“Have we joined a nudist colony?” I asked.

“No, but I can’t decide between my speedo and my board shorts,” was the answer I got.

“It doesn’t matter, wear what you feel comfortable with,”

“But board shorts are cooler,”

“You were on the swim team and you never care in scouts, so what’s going on?”

“I don’t usually care, but I don’t want Ben to think I’m a weirdo,”

“You’ve been friends since you were five and he’s been over for countless sleep overs,” I pointed out, “I don’t think he’ll care what you wear,”

“But what if he’s different around his brother,” Matty returned pulling up a pair of board shorts. I ground my teeth, thinking how Larry intimidated everyone around him.

“If Ben makes fun of you around his brother, he’s not your friend,” I told him finally and went to get my own stuff. I returned with a robe and a towel, “Are you ready to go?”

“Yep,” Matty answered coming to his door in just his board shorts.

“Towel?” I asked and he held up one of his hands, with a towel in it. Ten minutes later, I followed Tobi and Mac into the Biodome with Matty and Tobi behind me. Talia and Izzy shuffled in behind them and instantly we could hear children yelling and making noise. As we reached the beach, I saw towels and robes strewn all over the place. Tom and Larry were closer to the waterfall roughhousing, while Noah and Ben had joined Simon and Luca, swimming around and playing a game of tag. Kelly and Sarah had already come down and were sitting in the shallows with the youngest of our group.

“What the hell are you doing?” I shouted at the top of my voice. The yelling immediately stopped and everyone stared at me. Larry lazily swam forward until he could stand up.

“We couldn’t get into the Mech Bay so we thought we would have fun,” Larry smirked like that explained everything.

“You couldn’t radio me to get a key card that worked?” I asked, “How do you know the water is not laced with chemicals?”

“Erm, there’s a control that gives readings of the water giving pH balance and everything,” Ben replied quietly. I nodded to acknowledge him then picked up one of the towels.

“What’s this? Just left in a heap,”

“Our towels,” Simon answered, having the decency to look ashamed

“This isn’t home and this isn’t a hotel, we’re just caretakers,” I responded angrily, “We can’t just leave a mess, especially not with fresh food yards away,”

“There are no adults and no rules, you need to lighten up and relax that sphincter muscle,” Larry answered, his face going red.

“You’ve got to learn to take some responsibility,” I snapped back.

“You’re not the boss,” Larry shouted.

“Boys, leave the pissing contest elsewhere and let’s just enjoy ourselves,” Mac stepped in between the pair of us, then got closer to me, “You’re not going to win every fight; they’ll soon learn when nothing happens,”

“Ok,” I sighed, trying to relax myself as Tobi shed his robe to reveal he was wearing black speedos from the school team.

“When did you join the team?” I asked.

“Just before we went away to camp, I was going to invite you to my first Gala next weekend,” he explained.

“They look good on you, all the girls are gonna go wild” I replied quietly and he gave me a tender smile and an eye roll.

“What’s with the knickers? Are you a faggot, too?” Larry called out but then disappeared under the water. We looked in wonder at where he had stood for a few minutes, before he bobbed back up to the surface coughing and spluttering. Next to him Mac emerged looking graceful.

“I’ve told you to stop using that word, especially around the children. If you ever use that word in conjunction with my brother again, I’ll surgically separate your testicles from your body,” she smiled sweetly but had a deadly glint in her eye.

“I’m s-sorry,” he stuttered and slowly edged away from her, with Tom following close by. Larry appeared scared of Mac and I certainly had not seen her enter the water. I followed Tobi into the water, which appeared crystal clear and pleasantly warm, comfortable enough to swim in.

“This isn’t chlorinated,” I commented to Mac and Tobi.

“I’m guessing they have some kind of filtration system,” I was surprised to hear Tom comment.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I’m not sure if they intended to use it as a swimming pool, but it would not surprise me if they had a filtration system to keep it clean without the use of chemicals, probably some kind of salt-based system,”

“Actually it’s a natural plant-based filtration,” Ben said as he floated past.

“You what?” I looked at him like he had grown two heads.

“The river leads to a pool that has plants that filter out all the bad stuff, then the water is pumped back to the waterfall,” Ben explained, “Though I bet they have secondary filtration for that amount of water, but it’s all natural,”

“I’ve heard of that, they’re big on it in Florida,” Tom replied, then added as an explanation, “My Uncle is a pool man in Florida, so I help when we go visit him. Plus I’m studying Mechanical Engineering for GCSE’s,”

“Sounds interesting,” I replied, translation: Boring. However, Tobi seemed to find it fascinating and began to ask the pair lots of questions. The three of them began talking about the bio-filtration or something similar so I left them to it. Larry gave a huff and left the lagoon, muttering darkly to himself the whole way. Amanda, like a puppy, followed after grabbing her stuff. I swam around the lagoon and found it was large enough that you could do laps, I did a couple of dives and realised the bottom was about twenty feet below me. The lagoon sloped down naturally from the ‘beach’, and then dropped off sharply to the bottom. There were rocks closer to the waterfall, where no beach ran into the water. I floated on my back for a little while when I realised I had company. I looked over to see Noah leisurely swimming towards me.

“How are you doing?” I asked him.

“Not bad. Just getting to know everyone, really,” he answered.

“Well, we’ve got six months to get to know each other,” I deadpanned.

“You know more than you’re telling though,” he suggested.

“I’ve got an idea of why we were chosen, but it’s just an idea,”

“You were a scout, right?” he asked, seemingly changing the subject.

“Since I was really young from Beavers to Explorer scouts,” I answered, “You were in the Army Cadet Force?”

“Well I do want to join the Special Forces!” he laughed.

“Are you fit enough?”

“Don’t let this scrawny body fool you, I’m quite fit,” he joked good naturedly.

“So what was your favourite part of the ACF?”

“The orienteering,” he explained, and then added, “I know you!”

“Well, we were at camp together a week ago,” I looked at him like he had lost his mind.

“No! I know you from the Airsoft league. We were the Silent Ninja team, weren’t you part of the Black Death team?” he asked in earnest.

“Wow, now I remember. That was in April, didn’t you guys finish fourth?”

“We would have come second if not for one of our guys, who cheated. I had scouted out the location of the enemies base, but one of our team members was shot and he pretended it never happened,” He told me and I winced knowing what was coming, “he was disqualified, so we lost some of his kills dropping us down to fourth,”

“Dang, that’s annoying,” I sympathised.

“The youngsters are going to prune, I’m going to take them for showers,” Kelly called out.

“I’ll head up with you,” Nate and Ben called out at the same time emerging from the water.

“Tali reckons she could beat you at Call of Duty,” I heard Tobi call out and realised he was talking to Simon. Simon, Luca and Tom pulled themselves onto the beach.

“We had better get started on lunch,” Simon called out and I realised they had been down in the lagoon for quite some time.

“Chicken,” Tobi called after them, but followed closely discussing the finer points of Call of Duty with Nate.

“No problems, just give us a buzz when you’re ready,” I told them and went back to swimming lazily, noting Izzy and Talia chatting to Mac up on the beach. It was very humid in the Biodome, so it was not overly cold when you got out of the lagoon. The only thing to get used to was the eerie blue light.

 

I paddled around for another half hour, just relaxing and enjoying myself until Mac called out that her and the girls were going back up to the apartment, via the showers. Soon after, Matty mumbled something about being cold and followed the girls. I allowed myself to float on my back and looked up at the dome covering us. The lake must have been deep but it still allowed light to reach us here. I was thinking about the last couple of days when I heard a splash; I looked over to see Noah floating on his back staring at the ceiling too.

“I didn’t realise you were still in here,” I spoke up and he twisted around like a beached whale, coming up spluttering.

“You scared the life out of me,” he said, “I thought I was alone,”

“So did I until you splashed about,” we shared a look and laughed at one another, “Look, when Tobi and I come down here we thought we saw a cave on the other side of the waterfall, do you want to check it out?”

“Might be interesting,” he shrugged and we both swam towards the waterfall; the noise was like thunder now that we were closer. I took one last look at Noah before taking a deep breath and dived, swimming at least six or seven foot deep until I clear the wash from the waterfall and emerged on the other side. I looked around, finding a natural ledge and what appeared to be a natural seat, but it had all be sculpted by workers. I looked back out as Noah emerged next to me treading water.

“Wow, this is amazing,” he commented. From the outside, it looked like a small cave, but it was quite deceptive as it appeared high and deep. It was a looked like a grotto.

“Yeah, I agree with you on that,” I took a few a strokes and pulled myself onto the seat. The water went over the seat by an inch or so. I looked out onto the thundering waterfall as Noah took a seat next to me.

“How long have you lived in town?” He asked after a few minutes silence.

“All my life, my dad moved us there before I was born,” I could feel the warmth coming from him, because the seat was not exactly long, “How are you feeling about this?”

“I really don’t know, I can’t believe my dad would sign me up for something like this,” he sounded frustrated. I turned to look at him and he was staring down into his lap, rubbing his hands together almost anxiously.

“We’re all in the same boat, can I tell you something?” I barely knew the other boy, but I somehow trusted him absolutely. He lifted his head and looked at me, I noticed one eye appeared to be blue and another appeared to be green.

“I’m really scared, I’m not sure if I can lead these kids,” I admitted. He hesitated for a second then took my hand in his, watching me for the whole time.

“We’re all scared, I don’t know if my parents are alive or dead and I’m stuck underground with loads of people I don’t even know,”

“We just need to work together,” I whispered. But there was something in the air, maybe it was being in a hidden cavern, I don’t know, but I felt like Noah and I were the only people in the world. His eyes met mine and I felt my pulse begin to race, however when I leaned towards him I noticed something out the corner of my eye. I looked and gasped, causing him to look to. There appeared to be a ladder built into the rock.

“Do you want to check it out?” I asked him. He nodded his head; I think he was still thinking about the near-kiss. I gave him a small smile and dived into the water and swam over to the ladder, which was just a series of bars embedded into the rock. I climbed up, probably about fifteen feet or so and found myself overlooking the pool behind the waterfall. However, what interested me was the bunker door entrenched in the wall. Unlike the rest of the doors, this one opened with just a handle.

“Should we try it?” Noah asked, startling me. I looked at him, in his board shorts like me and saw him shivering. It was defiantly colder up here, behind the waterfall.

“Are you sure you want to do this in those?” I checked.

“I’ll be fine,” he replied, trying to make his voice a little deeper though not succeeding. I laughed out loud and got a punch on the arm for my troubles.

“Ok then,” I turned to the door and pulled the long lever upwards. I heard the lock release and the door swung inwards. I stepped around it, “Don’t close the door, as we might not be able to get in,”

“OK,” We entered a tunnel hewn into naturals rocks, lit up only by small bulbs every few yards. We followed the tunnel and the air dropped phenomenally causing me to shiver. We walked for about ten minutes, trying to avoid any sharp rocks or pebbles. I noticed a few small pebbles and that we were going up an incline, and then a sudden bright light blinded us. We had emerged out of the mountain and stood overlooking the lake.

“It must be some kind of escape route,” I suggested.

“That means we can get out,” Noah seemed more animated than I had ever seen him.

“We were put in the mountain for a reason; I don’t know why we were put down there but our parents obviously though it would be safer,”

“Don’t you want to see your parents?” Noah asked quietly, seemingly deflating a little.

“I do, but I also trust that we are holed up for a reason,” I replied, “surely if they went through that much trouble we must trust them.”

“I see your point,” he agreed grudgingly, “But are we going to tell the others?”

“I don’t think so.” I answered looking across the valley.

“Why?”

“Because Larry and then the others will want to leave,” I explained, “Then our parents did this for nothing,”

“If we only knew the reason why,” he spoke quietly, as though talking to himself.

“We might never know,” I answered him and then led the way back into cave. We were both lost in our own thoughts as we made our way back to the door. As I suspected, there was no handle on the other side, so no one could get through without the knowledge and right gear. I locked the door behind us then I descended the ladder and immediately dived under water knowing that Noah was following me. I emerged on the other side and bobbed there until Noah’s head appeared. He had a frown on his face.

“Are you all right?”

“I’m just thinking about things, I can understand why you don’t want anyone to know about the exit, but I still wish we could leave,” I let out a slight breath, glad he would not tell anyone.

“I do too, but it looks too dangerous out there,”

“Someone said you tackled a zombie?” he inquired just as noise distracted me and pulled my attention away.

“Alex, are you there?” the radio echoed out a call. I swam quickly onto the beach and dripping wet I scrambled to the radio and picked it up.

“This is Alex, are you all right?” I asked concerned.

“I’ve been trying to reach you for the past ten minutes,” Mac’s angry voice returned.

“Noah and I have been playing diving games near the waterfall,” I answered.

“I didn’t realise Noah was still with you,” her voice softened up a bit, “Lunch is going to be pretty soon so you better shower up and get to the canteen.

“We’ll be there soon,” I signed off and began drying myself with the towel, “Come on dude, let’s go shower,”

“Erg, I hate being called dude,” he groaned at me as he came out of the water and began drying himself off. I just laughed at him and led the way to the elevator, it was far too cold to walk all the way up the stairs. I had already put some fresh towels in the locker room but I noticed some clothes.

“Are these yours?” I asked him curiously, pointing to the clothes as I pulled my shorts down.

“Yeah, I put them down here before we went swimming so I could get changed,” he answered.

“Now, why didn’t I think of that?” I asked aloud, not expecting an answer.

“You’ve got too much going on to think about the small things,” Noah suggested, thinking I was asking a real question. He was way too serious for his own good, he seemed fifty more than fifteen.

 

After lunch, I was staring at my empty plate, my mind a whirl of thoughts, most of them about Noah and our near-kiss, but also about the escape route and what else needed to be done.

“Alex!” a shout drew me out of my thoughts.

“Sorry, were you talking to me?” I asked looking up at Mac.

“Yeah, I was asking what the plans were for this afternoon,” she replied, “I can’t be with the List king and queen,”

“Driving you crazy?” I laughed.

“Sure are,” she replied, then added after a moment’s thought, “Did you know there is a detention centre on level One?”

“No, I’m sure I would have seen that on the maps earlier,” I frowned.

“It has four cells, a dorm for guards; bathroom and what looks like a small armoury,”

“I’ll have to check it out,” I considered.

“So what are you going to do this afternoon?”

“Well, I wanted to explore levels three and four for myself,” I told her my plans.

“Level three has the medical facilities?” she asked, “I would love to take a look at that,”

“Well I’m keen on level four, so if you want to take level three and have a look around,” I told her and thought about it for amount, “why don’t you take Sarah with you?”

“Sarah?”

“Sure, she’s good at science so you could check out the Research facilities,” I explained, “Also you might want  to take Amanda,”

“Amanda?” she asked, sounding disgusted.

“Her dad is a top scientist for the government, works at Porton Down Research Facility,”

“So why does she live up here?”

“Mum and Dad are divorced,” I told her quietly, “But maybe we can have Sarah and Amanda working in there,”

“We can try that,” she said dubiously.

“Before I forget, I have something for you,” I drew one of the cards out, the one designated 0002 and handed it to her, “This should allow access to the medical bay, Control room and VIP areas,”

“Brilliant,” her face lit up, similar to Tobi’s. While I was thinking about it, I handed out the manila envelopes that held each of the apartment’s key cards.

“Here you are Tom, I’ve got something for you,” I walked over to the table shared by Tom, Larry and Amanda. I handed him the Key card designated 0003.

“What’s this?”

“The card allows you access to the Mech Bay, VIP areas and the Control Room. Now you can check it out,”

“Great, we’ve finished lunch so Larry, Amanda and I can have a look,” he returned and got a strange look from Larry.

“Actually, I was hoping Amanda could go check out the Research department with Sarah and Mac,”

“Brilliant!” her eyes lit up.

“Don’t forget to clean your plates,” I said automatically and heard a giggle.

“What?” I asked turning back towards Matty and Tobi.

“You sound like dad,” Matty answered and laughed even harder.

“Right then, Bucky, what are you doing this afternoon?”

“I’m going to continue looking at the stores with Izzy?” he replied.

“I’m coming with you to Level Four,” Tobi piped up looking at me with interest.

“Alex must be getting bored of you by now,”

“After twelve years, I was bored of him in the first ten minutes,” I joked and he rolled his eyes at me. I grabbed my plate up and took it to the kitchen, washing it and put it on the draining board.

“How was it?” Simon asked.

“Excellent, are all meals going to be like that?” I wondered, thinking I was going to get fat.

“Eventually, we’ll be on basics unless we find proper food,”

“So, how come you’re so good?”

“Our grandma taught us,” Simon clarified, “She owns a small farm in Italy, we travel there every summer,”

“Well, I bet you didn’t need my help back at the camp,” I smirked.

“Actually, Miss thinks I’m a troublemaker in school, especially as I’m the only boy at does Home Ec,” Simon returned with a similar grin to mine.

“Well, I’m glad someone can cook,” I stated and ruffled his hair on the way out of the door. I grabbed Tobi and soon we were descending the stairs in a comfortable silence.

As we emerged out of the door onto Level Four, my jaw dropped. We could have been in a shopping centre anywhere in the UK. I had not noticed last time we come through, but the ceiling was high and appeared to be a skylight flooding ‘natural’ light into the open space filled with trees. As one of the others had said earlier, a stream gurgled merrily through the level. The area was laid with flagstone and had seating and paths leading off to various areas.

“Wow, this is amazing,” Tobi breathed spinning around.

“It’s probably for the civilians, to make sure they don’t feel like they are underground,”

“I feel like I’m in a shopping centre,” was his reply, echoing my own thoughts.

“Let’s go left first,” I suggested and we followed the path around to the first ‘building’, which when we entered, turned out to be a library.

“I think I’m in heaven,” Tobi said aloud, his eyes on stalks.

“You like books then?”

“I love books, this will make life easier for me,” We split up and I took a look at the seating area and then a quick nose around the books. They had several different sections, like a normal library from reference books to teen books. There were also some long tables set as a study area. Eventually, about five minutes later, I came to the front and found Tobi sitting on one of the sofas reading. I laughed at him and he looked up at me.

“Come on, Bookworm, we can come back anytime,” I commented. He sighed and put the book on a side table as we ambled back out and across a small wooden bridge and checked out the gym, which had its own small locker rooms. There were treadmills, static bikes and rowing machines and a couple of weights.

“Great, Matty and I will have to come down here to keep up the fitness,”

“Why Matty?”

“Well, you know he does football, right?”

“Since when?” I asked confused.

“About six months ago, he’s really good at it, you know?” Tobi praised my little brother.

“Where the hell have I been? Usually I know what’s been going on,” I shook my head.

“You’ve had your own thing with scouts and you’ve not exactly been paying attention too much,”

“I have,” I protested.

“You’ve been ignoring me lately, drifted away from my sister and didn’t know about your own brother,” he pointed out.

“Wow,” I have no idea the amount I had missed in the last six months, have I been up my own arse? I thought. I didn’t know how to answer him so went to check out the barbers, they had several barber chairs and a couple of hair washing facilities, which I checked to make sure they worked. I even found a couple of massage rooms, “Well, at least we can get our hair cut,”

“We’ll have to find someone who can cut hair,” he responded and then gave me a cheeky grin, “You do look a little scruffy,”

“Little shit,” I laughed at him, my unease about ignoring him dying down as we joked and head back across the bridge. I saw a sign for the games room but ignored that and found the canteen. Similar to the VIP canteen, though there were ‘outside’ tables’ and several inside ones. It had a vending machine and a salad bar area. The kitchen was markedly larger with a store room for dry goods and larger fridge and freezer, both fully stocked.

“We’re not going to go hungry in the next six months,” Tobi suggested.

“Depends on how much you eat,” I poked him in the belly. He laughed as I led him into the Gamesroom. In the centre were curved chairs around a large Television mounted on the wall. I also noticed there were at least three different consoles and a hundred games in shelving underneath the TV. We walked past a quiet seating area with coffee tables that had a few magazines on. On the opposite side were little cubicles with computers in them, probably for civilians and personal alike to do some computer work. Up the centre of the T-shaped room were a couple of vending machines with drinks and snacks and then in the centre were several games tables. I saw Air hockey, pool, table tennis and Fussball.

“Man, I bet I could totally beat you at any of those,”

“You really think you can?” I arched an eyebrow at him.

“I’m the King of Pool,” he boasted and laughed out loud. I glared at him, deciding whether to tickle him to death or not.

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