Hello everyone! Sorry for the wait!

Chapter 26: Keep Holding On

"So far away
I wish you were here
Before it's too late, this could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end"

"Good night, Higgins! Hope you sleep well." Meyers sneered from the top of the stairs. He looked over the railing at me and I felt my face twitch away. He slammed the door behind him, cackling as he walked away. When the footsteps faded slowly out of my hearing ability, I ran over to the edge of my bed and grabbed my shirt that was laying on the floor.

This was the third night in a row that Meyers had come into my room and told me to take off my shirt. The first night, when I didn't do it, he hit me. Then last night, I began to and then stopped, he nearly broke my wrist. Today, with tears in my eyes, I did it. I had never felt so exposed in my entire life. The only other person besides my mother that had seen me in just my under shirt, was Spot. Even then, I was nothing more than a little girl and we were going swimming.

I pulled my shirt over my head and wiped my eyes. My throat was sore from crying and screaming. I grabbed the small cup of water that Oscar had given me earlier. As of late, he had been my main source of kindness, my only friend.

Tears began forming in my eyes again. I was totally alone in this world, with no one to protect me. No one to hold me and tell me it was going to be okay. No, I was completely alone except for on single, solitary soul.

I went back over to my bed and sat down against the wall, pulling my knees up to my chest. I gently slid my hand under a sack of mint leaves that I had transformed into a pillow of sorts. My hand closed over the photo of Spot and I. I pulled it out, taking a quickly looking at it.

Then, I rested my forehead on my knees, I let out a single sob. And then squeaked out another, and then another, until I was in a full blown sobs. I clutched the photo close to my chest, "Oh James- I am so sorry." I whispered through my tears.

I gently placed my finger on Spots face, begging to feel his warmth. But nothing came through. My eyes began to dry, and my sobs quickly turned into hiccups. I wiped my eyes and grabbed the now half-full cup of water.

I sipped it slowly and within a moment the hiccups were gone. Just as I was about to raise the glass to my lips for the second time, two frantic knocks came from the window, causing me to spill the remints of the glass all over me. "Shit." Two more knocks. I stood up, wringing out the bottom of my shirt, "Jeez hold your horses Oscar, I comin'!" Another two knocks rang through when I finally pushed the chair up to the window and unlocked it.

I opened it to find Oscar panting like he had just run a marathon, "Breathe Oscar." I said with a slight chuckle.

"Caroline… I came…as soon as I heard," he was still gasping for air in between each word.

"Oscar, do you wanna come inside and sit down?" I asked, stepping slightly off the chair to make room for him when he grabbed my arm.

"No, listen to me!" Oscar yelled. I tried to pull my arm from his grasp but he held on tighter. That was the moment I looked up at his face, it was filled with fear. "I haven't much time till I have to be home, so shut up and listen."

"Oscar, you're scarin' me…what's wrong?" I asked pulling myself back up to be face to face with him.

"He…he wants to hurt them. He wants to hurt them real bad to get to you." He said taking a deep breath in. He squeezed my arm.

"Who? And who does he want to hurt?" I asked now in a panic.

"Meyers and the crib," he said slowly. "They're gonna go after your little brother and your partner!" I felt my stomach drop all the way down to my toes.

"No," I whispered, I felt as if I was gasping for air. "No, no, no…"

"Caroline," Oscar's voice called, but it had never sounded so far away. The room was spinning and I felt myself falling. "CAROLINE!" As my feet slipped from the chair, Oscar let go of my arm and jumped through the window. Right as I was about to make contact with the ground, caught my head, leaving the rest of my body limp on the ground.

He picked me up, carried me over to my bed and layed my head on the pillow. But I wasn't feeling light headed anymore, instead, I was furious. "What do you mean he wants to hurt them?" I asked sitting up. Oscar sat down at the edge of my bed.

"I mean he physically wants to make it so that they can't walk anymore," he whispered brushing his hair out of his eyes.

"If he lays one finger on them, so help me God, I will…"

"You will what Caroline? You can't do anything without going back into the refuge! Then he will definitely beat them and you can't do anything about it." He retorted back to me. I bit my lip. He was right, there was nothing I could do. "Which is why we have to be smart about this."

I looked over him in confusion, "Whatcha thinkin Oscar?" He let on a sinister smile.

"Well, it involves you fighting again…"

"I thought you said that would send me straight back to refuge…" I whispered.

"Not if you run," he said having his smile grow. This time I smiled back.