The girl trailed silently down the hallways, the hem of her dress trailing behind her. She was nine years old at the time, but from her small stature and her small voice, one would often view her as younger; however, from her head held high at every movement  and her hazel eyes scanning the landscape as if she perceived the world differently, as if she knew more than what they knew, some would argue her being older. But nine she was. She was the kind of girl who would bring a smile to anyone's face, sprout laughs with any unwilling recluse, yet often make one question their own knowledge on a subject. Yes, she was full of wisdom for a girl her age. And with more, mysteries.

The halls were dark, except for one dim light at the end. She made her way there.

The girl stiffened a bit as she saw a shadow grow near the light, footsteps getting louder. However, it did not stop her from running closer.

A figure soon appeared at the end of the hall. A tall one, bent over a bit, long shaggy hair hanging from her head and dragging towards the floor. In its hand, a revolver.

The girl's eyes widened and she stopped. The figure stood up. "Oh my gosh, thank goodness!"

She walked a few paces to the girl and wrapped her arms around her, slowly combing through her hair with her fingers. She was quite older than her, nearly seventeen. A tall girl, with blood curling down her face and entirely a complete mess.

"What's going on?" asked the younger girl. She'd never seen her sister like this before. She always knew her as the kind, sweet young lady, helping their mother cook and clean, tend for the younger siblings, giving a sweet smile any time the girl would skip past. The one who stood on the porch, her apron covered in dust, watching her father run off to do his work every morning and excitedly hugging him when he came back. Never before had the girl seen her messy and beat up, leaving their home if it wasn't for school or an errand, let alone holding a gun.

The older girl shook her head. "I can't explain. I'm just glad you're okay, sweetie. Now, follow me. We aren't safe here."

"Not safe?"

The older girl grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her forward. "Hush up! They'll hear you."

They now began to run. The smaller girl hear a few men shouts, gunshot piercing through the air. Her sister leaned back for a moment to shoot at them. Two men dropped dead. They turned down a corridor.

"Can't let them know you're alive, or even here."

"Me being alive? Should I be dead or something?"

"You--" the older girl started, but she was interrupted by having to shoot at three figures towards the end of the corridor they were on. "Not safe here." She turned around and dragged her back down the hallway, then whipped open a door and ran in there. It was virtually dark in this corridor, save the bright red emergency lights and  a dim glow from other rooms.

"I can't explain right now. You're currently a target."

She jumped back as four bullets cut right in front of her. She instantly pulled back her sister, then shot in the direction of the bullets. "We gotta get you out of here."

"Mother, Father? Brother?"

The older girl just shook her head solemnly. The younger's eyes widened and heart sank, but the adrenaline flowing through her and the lurking murderers nearby would not allow her to grieve at the moment.

"Can't you just tell me what's going on? Why my entire family's nearly killed off? Angela!"

"I--" started the older girl, but she had to shoot five more times. A man, who was quite nearby, fell only a few yards from their feet.

Footsteps of others filled the hall. The older girl grabbed her younger sister, pushed open another door, and dragged her through it.

She grabbed her by the shoulders and looked her in the eye.

"Mia, listen. You're in grave danger here. They don't want any one alive, especially you."

"Why m--"

"I can't explain right now. I won't be able to hold them off much longer. They're after you and won't give up the chase. You can't trust anyone. You'll hardly able to tell friend from foe unless you truly decipher. You're on the run now. I'm sorry I cannot ensure your safety. The war hasn't begun. But the fight has." 

She kissed her on the forehead.

"What do I do?"

"Trust your judgement. This is a battle that cannot be won, but only compromised. It may never end, but you just have to stay safe. Now, they'll be bringing new reinforcements soon since many of them have been killed off. Escape down the corridor that's the third to the left. Go out the fire escape, I've already hacked and disabled the alarm and security cameras. You'll be escaping into the parking lot which would leave you exposed. Disappear into the thicket nearby. To any suspecter, you're a runaway from your aunt who died recently. They'll take you somewhere else. Your name is Anne Thrush and you're ten years old." 

"Won't they recognize me?" asked the smaller girl.

"Only by idenity. They don't care for faces. Now, hurry."

"And you?"

"Just go." Her sister hugged her again. "I love you, Mia. Now, run. There's another door at the other side of this room that leads to the same hall. And don't be seen."

The girl nodded and turned on her heels. The older girl stood up straight and exited the room from the door they came in.

She did as she was told, found the other door, and escaped through it.

She walked to the end of the corridor and peeked around the corner, just to see her sister firing shots at a group of--five men--while running the opposite direction.

Only a few gunshots. Only a few. Which caused blood to pool around her, which caused her to fall first on her legs and then slouch over. Which caused her to remain motionless.

Mia gasped, then bit her lip. Can't save her. Must go on. Was this how Angela had to function as she saw the rest of her family fall?

Her sister's final words to her still lingered into her mind. She recalled the directions quickly to mind.

Third to the left. Fire exit. Outside.

She made it there fairly easy, other than a few shadows of a person walking nearby. Often, she had to flatten herself against the wall until complete silence took over those dark halls. 

She escaped down the fire exit silently, then quietly opened the door to the outside parking lot. She escaped into the thicket and ran on.

Anne Thrush, age ten, orphan.

Mia Cedar was dead now.

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