Chapter 10: The Calm Before the Storm Max POV “Max, tell him. Just do it.

” With that I unfurled my wings jumped up and flapped. I went 30ft in the air, and heard Will calling, “Max?! Where are you going?!” I tucked in my wings and then shot off as fast as I could, using my supersonic speed to my full ability. The world was going past in a blur as I sped up. “You should have just told him Max.” I screamed out in anguish, still speeding up, knowing that no matter how fast I flew, I couldn’t get away from it. But I could try! I could fly, keep flying, fly until I became unconscious and I couldn’t hear the voice. “Max, you have to stop. I have something you need to know.” It said in its flat toneless voice. Still after years of having the voice, I could not tell whether it was a man’s, woman’s, or even child’s voice. It was so even and level pitched that it would be impossible to tell. “Why?!” I shouted out in anger. “Why do I have to stop?! Why should I listen to you?!” “Because they are coming.” It said. What?! What did it mean they are coming? “I mean they are coming Max.” I slowed down, to normal flying speed and saw a cave on the side of a cliff. I flew down into it, and sat down on a protruding rock. Ok, I thought, what do you want? “I told you. They are coming.” It replied. “I know that!” I shouted n anger. “But who is coming? Whitecoats? Erasers?” “No the Erasers are all gone. Their replacements are coming.” What do mean the Erasers are gone? Have they disappeared or“They are all dead Max. They were deemed a liability and have been replaced.” It said bluntly. Replaced? Do you mean killed? How can they just kill them off?! They may be horrible killers but they are still humans deep down. They can’t just do that! “They can and they have. And the replacements are coming Max. You need to get back to the flock and get away. They are coming for you. They are preparing and will be there in a few hours. You need to go Max. NOW!” I was shocked. The voice had never changed its tone, never raised its voice before. Something was going to happen. The Voice had never been wrong before, had always helped when it said something, so I decided to take its advice. I got up, spread out my wings, and flew out the cave. Nudge POV We were silent. We all looked confused but Will looked the most confused. I don’t think he fully understood what the voice was. “So, this voice. It told you that they were coming. That the replacements for the Erasers are coming for us?” Will asked, bewildered. “Yes. And it has never been so forward. It actually sounded like a person too. Something was going on. That’s why I got us all to leave.” She said bluntly. “Do you think they are following?” I queried, scared.

“Most likely.” Max answered. “That’s why we’ve got to get moving again.” “No.” Fang retorted. “It’s getting dark, and we are all tired. We need to find somewhere to hole up for the night.” Angel and Iggy nodded in agreement. Max looked around at us and gave in. “Fine.” Max gave in. “but we go 1st thing in the morning. Got it?” We all said “Yes” or “Got it” in varying degrees of enthusiasm then stood up, unfurled our wings and took off. It was night and I was on watch. We had found a large cave, home to pack of bats, but they didn’t bother us. I could hear the gentle drip of water at the back of the cave. It was dark, maybe around 2:00. I was sitting on the edge of the cave looking out to the large desert stretching as far as I could see. About 5 miles north I could faintly make out the Grand Canyon. It was a clear night but there were clouds on the horizon. I heard someone moving behind me. I turned round and saw Max getting up. She came up to me and sat beside me. “You alright?” she asked quietly. I nodded and wiped the dust from my eyes. “You need me to take over?” she asked. “No, it’s alright. It’s only about half an hour till Fang’s shift. I’ll be fine.” I yawned. “You can go back to sleep if you want?” “No, it’s alright. I can’t sleep anyway.” She replied. We were silent, and both looked out at the view. The cloud was moving towards us. “Did you tell Will about his parents yet?” I asked. “No, I haven’t really had a chance what with the voice and the running away.” She answered. “When are you going to tell him?” I asked. “What’s with the interrogation?” She asked coolly. “Nothing, it’s just that he deserves to know by now.” I retorted. She smiled at me and then looked back out of the cave. “I will, in the next couple of days.” She responded. I turned my head and looked back out of the cave. The cloud was coming in fast, very fast. Something about it didn’t seem right. It wasn’t changing shape like a cloud should. It was staying the same exact shape. Then I realised the wind. There wasn’t any. Surely if the cloud was heading our way, that fast we should feel the wind in our faces? I could start to hear a low drone, getting steadily louder. “Max? That cloud…” I trailed off. “Yeah,” She replied, eyeing the cloud suspiciously. “I know.” I looked at the cloud. It was getting close now, no more than a couple of minutes away. I looked closer and, squinting, saw that it wasn’t a cloud. It was hundreds upon hundreds of Erasers, flying together in close formation, heading right for us. “Max!” I said loudly, over the drone, not trying to hide the anxiety in my voice. “I know!” she replied, wide eyed. I looked back out at the erasers and saw there was something different about them, their wings were all flapping at the exact same time, and there was a faint red glow coming from their heads. “Guys!” Max shouted down the cave. “They’ve found us!” Gazzy POV

“Guys!” I heard Max shout as I jerked awake. “They’ve found us!” I stood up immediately, shaking off my drowsiness. I could hear a loud droning noise. “Who have found us?” I heard Will ask behind me as I ran out to the front of the cave and looked up at the hundreds of Erasers heading for us. “Who do you think?!” I shouted. He ran up beside me and looked up. “Oh crap!” he shouted. “I thought you said they were all dead!” He screamed back at Max. “They must be the replacements!” Max shouted back. Just then a shadow was cast over us as the erasers got closer and blocked out the light from the moon. “What are we going to do?!” Nudge shouted over the drone which was extremely loud now. “Gazzy! How many grenades do you have left!?” I heard Fang shout. “About 5 maybe, I don’t know!” I shouted back, trying to figure out how many I had. “Right! Use them! Everyone else, get ready!” Max ordered. It was very dark, and hard to see where everyone was. I ran to where I thought my backpack was and grabbed the grenades inside. Five I counted. I ran back to the mouth oft the cave, where the noise was deafening. I pulled the pin from one and threw it into the black sheet that was only about 50 feet away now. There was a large explosion and I saw a few of them were hit and then blow up themselves. But the explosion lit up the area for a few seconds, and all I could see were the Erasers. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them, in all directions. I thought I heard a voice shout “Move in!” over the droning but couldn’t be sure. There was no way we could fight all these off. I pulled the pins off the remaining four grenades at the same time and threw them out. I ran back in to the cave and then felt the shockwave of the explosions and the cave lit up. “How many are there?!” Iggy shouted over the droning. “There are hundreds of them!” I screamed back, the noise deafening now. “There’s no way we are going to be able to fight them all off!” I shouted at the flock. “Well we can try!” Max shouted back, over the noise of the droning. “We’re not going down without a-“ but she was cut short when the droning suddenly stopped. We all looked out of the cave in silence. Then we saw the 1st of them come through, walking slowly towards us. They moved with precision and accuracy, but slowly, as if they were heavy. “I can’t control them!” Angel shouted frantically. “They’re not alive! I can’t control them!” More of them were coming through the cave now, at least 20 of them and more coming in. “It’s OK.” I said reassuringly to her. “I’ll look after you.” They were 10 feet away from us now. We all tensed our bodies getting ready to fight. “Get ready!” Max shouted, as they started to charge towards us. There was no way we would be able to beat them.

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