Chapter Two: Arrival at Harrisburg Center

The wheelchair van pulled up to the front doors of the Harrisburg center. Inside it were Bryce Lynch, Jenny Wilcox, Paul Williams, Winston Gray, Lisa Bayer, John Brandon, and Susan Franklin. Susan was humming tunelessly to herself as she sat next to Jenny, swaying anxiously as she clutched her stuffed pillow in her hands.

Susan had suffered a terrible brain trauma from a gunshot wound. And she had immediately gravitated to Jenny when she had regained consciousness.

Jenny didn't mind. It help take her mind off her own injury. She wasn't ready to deal with it yet.

The van driver parked and opened the large doors of the vehicle.

The first one out was a boy named Winston Gray.

Winston came from a well-to do family. Until attending ACS, he had grown up in Siberus Condos. He kept his slightly wavy blond hair at neck length. His green eyes surveyed the surrounding landscape as if trying to decide if he wanted to buy the place. He had been permanently paralyzed by a shot in the back.

"Thank you," he told the driver as his wheelchair was carefully maneuvered onto the chair lift and brought to ground level, allowing Winston to wheel himself forward and clear of the lift.

"You're welcome," the driver replied with a smile as raised to lift to retrieve Bryce, Susan, and Jenny. Jenny had to push Bryce's wheelchair due to his shoulder. Susan went because she was afraid to leave Jenny's side.

"Where are we?" Susan asked, speaking as though she were talking through a mouthful of peanut butter.

Bryce cringed a little at this and Jenny glared at him.

"It could've happened to either of us," she scolded him.

"That's exactly what I was thinking," Bryce replied with a shiver.

"Oh," Jenny said. "I thought it was distaste."

"Zik Zak burgers taste like cardboard," Susan remarked. She giggled as though she thought this was extremely funny.

"Actually, cardboard tastes better," Jenny said in a conspiratorial tone.

Bryce reflected that if Max Headroom had been around, he probably would've remarked how Zik Zak burgers seemed to hold the unique privilege of being the only food to not be compared with chicken, but didn't say anything.

The rest stepped out of the van.

"Looks nice out here," said Paul Williams, a tallish and stocky young man whose grandmother had come from Tobago. His arm was draped in a friendly manner over the shoulders of a girl named Lisa Bayer who looked down at the ground and said nothing.

A squirrel ran through one of the apple trees and made little crackling sounds.

Lisa yelped and hugged Paul, seeking comfort which he was glad to give.

"Its just a squirrel," he told her. "Nothing to worry about."

Lisa relaxed, but did not look up.

"I'll get it and make a nice hat for you," John Brandon told her, speaking in a poorly done fake Texas drawl.

Bryce had to admit that it wasn't really John's fault the accent was so bad. After all, Texas hadn't existed for about eleven years. For a brief moment he smiled as he remembered his pre-ACS days in grade school where he'd learned about the Great World Restructuring in history class.

"Bryce?" Jenny said, interrupting his thoughts as she walked him through the front door. "Do you think we'll be okay?"

"I don't know, Jenny," Bryce admitted. "I hope so."

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