He stood in front of the mirror, staring at his reflection. The mirror was smudged with fingerprints, cracked at the edges. He couldn’t afford something better; the rundown motel was his best option for now. Three was naked except for the towel hanging at his waist. He grew weak with each passing day; his body was filled with scars. Some of them were newly acquired welts and cuts; his right side had an angry blue bruise and a couple of broken ribs. His body throbbed with pain and exhaustion, he was a mess and so tired, all he wanted was to sleep for a very long time, but he couldn’t risk it.  He turned around to grab the pair of scissors, razors, and hair dye he bought, and headed to the bathroom. He chopped off his long light brown hair, dyed it black and shaved his stubble; after he was done he put on his pants and shirt. He tried washing them in the sink but they were too dirty for soap to clean. It was clean enough for now, so Three pulled out the hoodie and cap, he stole, from his bag.

Three moved and opened the window and as he balanced himself for the two floor jump, he scanned the outside world to make sure he wasn’t watched. He landed gracefully but his ribs burned with the exertion, he cursed his weakened state. He shook his head to get rid of the dizziness and pain, and started to move away from the motel. He had no idea where to go; money was becoming an issue as it always had been in his previous attempts of escape. Back then he didn’t understand the outside world; money was a new element that had not been part of his training. He didn’t understand that taking objects in this world meant stealing and beating another man for the so called object is called assault. There were so many foreign words he couldn’t understand, so his lack of knowledge got him and his siblings caught so easily.

Three walked focused as his brain went over the events of the past couple of weeks. He hated that he had failed to save his brothers One and Four. He hated that he trusted Two, who betrayed them; her cold eyes said it all when she stabbed Four. It took both One and Three to take her down, the crack of bones still echoing in his mind when he snapped her neck. He didn’t hesitate and the worse part he felt no need for revenge or anger towards her, it was how he was programmed. To assess danger and eliminate threats to the plan, it was as simple as that. He didn’t know what scared him more the lack of feelings toward his fallen comrade, or how easy he could snap someone’s neck.

One and Three managed to escape the institute that they were held in; they had memorized every part in it. Even though they were mostly drugged and blindfolded when moved from the training rooms and dorms, they were trained too well for it to be an obstacle in their plan. The institute was surrounded by a forest, and so they ran as fast as they could through it. Their faces were stoic with determination to survive, they had a mission and it was to leave this wrecked place. So they ran till they heard the sound of vehicles coming from both directions, they looked at each other and with a sign from One, they worked in unison. One and Three started grabbing the dirt on the ground and covering their bodies to misguide the chasing dogs, then they started to climb each a tree. As they reached the top, they started maneuvering their bodies from tree to tree and as quick as they can. It didn’t take long for the chasers to know where they were, and the shooting started. It was the expected offense, with expected losses. It didn’t take long for a bullet to pierce through One, his scream echoed as he fell to his death. Three kept moving though, unfazed with the loss of his sibling. Once he managed to reach a tree with thick bushes, he froze. Waited patiently for the search ruckus to quiet down, he didn’t take notice of the time it could have been days or could have been just hours.

The memories of his escape were of no use now, his mission was to survive and stay hidden. It had been a difficult task to achieve so far, he had done nothing but steal and sneak into places to eat and sleep. Three had to find a way to adjust to this new world, and most importantly find a place where no one asked questions, especially of his past. Perhaps he should start with changing his name, he had been thinking of this for a while. It troubled him how much thought he was putting himself through, just to choose an identity. The chosen name meant so much to him, a start of a new life. He liked the way Lucas sounded; it was a common name among the people of the outside world. He had heard it more than once. Three’s mouth twitched in an attempt to smile at his new name, as he walked down the streets and disappeared into the night.


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