A/N This is the very last chapter, I'm sorry to say. I hope you like it, and an extra big thank you to all my reviewers and readers. You've all been awesome! So, I bet you're dying to find out how this ends, so on with the story!
Chapter 9 – Pizza anyone?
They reached the address in the early hours of the morning. It was a public school, from the looks of it. A bland cream coloured building with a flat roof and a football field, with a concrete parking area to the side of it. All the curtains were drawn closed and it had a rather ominous atmosphere.
Claire was the first person out of the car, strapping on her backpack and sprinting towards the doors. George slammed the car door, and the familiar click of the keys told him that the car was locked. He ran after Claire, and stopped a few feet away, staring at the sign above their heads. It was painted with a red ink of some kind, hung over the doorway:
This is the temporary prison. No visitors allowed.
"Is this a freaking wind-up?" George voiced both of their thoughts.
"Let's see what we can do." Claire walked up to one of the windows nearest to her and took a tube of red lipstick out, proceeding to coat her lips with it. A few dabs of powder, some big jewellery and she looked like a completely different person. At George's confused expression, she said "It's stage make-up. It makes me look older."
George didn't ask. He knew better then that. When Claire had a plan, any interruptions tended to have an adverse effect.
They walked into the entrance hall, Claire striding out confidently and George trying to match her pace. He'd forgotten that she went to acting classes. She marched up to the office window, which was opened by a boy in an ill-fitting guard uniform. "No visitors."
"Actually, I'm a reporter, for the Weekly News, and I'm doing a survey of all the public buildings around here. " Claire pursed her red lips impatiently.
The guard considered this. "Then who's that?" Pointing at George.
"He's my Personal Assistant." Claire rattled off the words like they were actually true.
"This is an unusual case. But I didn't let you in, alright?" The guard grimaced as he unlocked the doors.
As soon as they were in, Claire's act dropped. They had to break their friends out of prison, while pretending to be a journalist and a PA. This wasn't going to be easy.
"We have to split up." George voiced the obvious.
"Fine. Meet back here in thirty minutes. If one of us is more than ten minutes late, tell the guard we got lost and separated."
"How are we going to find them?"
"I presume they must be in some kind of order. They're keeping the prisoners in different classrooms. You check all the ones along the ground floor, I'll do the first floor and when we meet back in thirty minutes, we'll do the second floor together. Unless of course we've already found them, in which case we...umm..."
"OK, let's just stay together."
They walked along the first corridor. Because it was a school, it was simple to navigate and laid out in a simple format. The doors of the classrooms had the name of the prisoners and their tribes written on them in the same red lettering used on the sign outside the entrance hall. The ground floor was a waste of time. The second floor, however, had a door painted with Mel, Christie, Luke and Aaron, Outcasts. The tribe name was a joke now.
The door could only be locked and unlocked from the outside. The key was even in the lock. This was way too easy.
The door swung open to reveal four unsmiling people, chained to desks in the classroom. Their expressions changed instantaneously as they realised who it was.
Rushing towards them to greet them, the joy written on all their faces, the happiness of finally seeing their friends again. They all hugged and said how much they had missed each other. As quickly as they could, the rushed out and down the stairs. The door guard was walking around there. They turned into a corner and crouched there, to whisper a plan.
"That's the only way out."
"We need a distraction, something to get rid of the guard."
"I've got it!"The sound of Claire's voice echoed around the cream coloured walls. "I'll distract him with my journalist disguise, while you run into the entrance hall. I'll get him to open the doors for us, so you can run out, then we'll run out."
Nobody had a better plan.
Claire dragged George out with her. "Hi again." She smiled confidently. "I got most of the information I needed, but I'd quite like an interview with you. Front page perhaps?"
The guard looked conflicted and then, after a short pause, agreed.
Claire started to ask him meaningless questions, while George, with a notebook from Claire's backpack, scribbled random words. George was also keeping one eye on the others, who were starting to creep into the entrance hall.
His thoughts went back to Claire who was saying "So could you show me what mechanism you have to open the doors?"
The guard obliged and pushed a button, all the while explaining how this had been specially adapted so that no one could get in or out without his permission. His eyes were on Claire as he spoke to her, with his back to the office window, so he didn't see the four prisoners walk casually out the door into the parking lot.
"Thanks very much. I'm sure you'll see this on the front page of your local newspaper very soon." She flashed him a brilliant smile and walked out the door he opened for her.
They all crammed into the car and drove away.
When they were on the motorway, Claire started asking questions. "Why were you there? Who put you there? Why was there only one guard?"
Aaron answered them all. "We went to all the supermarkets, but they were all empty. And there was a house, quite near here, that was open. We thought it was abandoned, and there was a fridge full of food. We took it all, and drove away. Unfortunately, it was the house of someone who had installed security cameras, the house of the guard you were talking to. All the other people who were n prison were only there until someone collected them. We were the last people there. He knew a message had been sent to you by mistake, and so took every precaution to prevent you from getting us back."
"We need to make an agreement that there will be no stealing in the future. We're planting a garden and things like that. George and I are learning to live in this world. You need to do that as well." Claire's answer was more than they could have hoped for.
"Yes." They chorused.
"Now, I fancy going out for dinner. Pizza anyone?"
A/N So, what did you think? This was a completely unplanned chapter and I hope you liked it. Thanks for reading and reviewing, and for putting up with my writing. You guys have been awesome :)