The Hunted. One of the most highly debated topics in history. Some believe them to be harmless teenagers, others think they want to destroy the world. I, on the other hand, know who you really are. You all are nothing more than a group of kids with a hero complex.
Even so, this is quite the team you assembled here, isn't it Osbourne? Seeming so innocent on the surface, and yet you're able to stand against me and win. No one has done that before, and I don't intend to let this continue. You may be too stubborn to die, but I will not give up just because some teenagers from New Jersey decided to take me on. Do you really think you're the first to go against me? You're just the first to survive.
You may think that you're some kind of superhero team, but I have spent my entire life preparing for this, Osbourne. The fact that you think I wouldn't have made backup plans for this operation just shows your arrogance. But mark my words, Osbourne: you will regret not giving up and dying like you should've in the beginning. You and your precious friends.
I will find you when you stop being a coward, I will force you to watch as I torture your friends in front of you, and I will finally stop you from interfering any further with a knife to your throat. I will finally finish what I started, and you will be powerless to stop me, just as it always should've been.
Sincerely, The Chairman.
Chapter 1: Crazy Beginnings
You know, I'd be the first person to say I had a good life for a standard teenager. I went to a pretty awesome private high school, with some pretty awesome people, hoping to get into a pretty awesome college. You would never see me without my three best friends, Gideon, Julius, and Matt beside me strutting the halls, and if you catch me alone that means you probably are one of my best friends. I wouldn't call myself rich, but I wasn't poor either, so I didn't have to call on my parents a whole lot. I felt independent and safe. But most importantly, I felt happy.
It would take me two years before I ever felt that emotion again.
My name is Michael Osborne, but my friends call me Oz. This is the story of how I saved the world, but lost everything.
My story begins like many other great stories do: in a biology lab.
Don't get any ridiculous ideas though. I'd like to say that I was a rogue experiment or something like that, but I'm not that lucky. Honestly, that'd probably be more believable than what actually happened. I was in the lab for my biology class, minding my own business, taking the DNA out of a strawberry (yeah, we were that kind of school). I was with two of my friends, Leo and Cade. Of course, like what happened whenever I was paired with any of my friends, things were pretty crazy. Even with my glasses, I managed to get strawberry in my eye at one point, and Cade got DNA on his tie.
I miss those days. The days where I could drive the teachers insane with a smile on my face. The days where the most stressful thing in my life was the Spanish test I had the next day. Just sitting at a desk in the back corner of a classroom, messing around with my friends. I really took that for granted.
That day, in the bio lab, we had a lockdown drill. Normal stuff, just put your stuff down and sit out of view of the door, waiting for whatever happened to go away. Only, this time was different. Normally, the intercom would say "Attention, this is a lockdown procedure." This time, though, it said "This is an emergency situation". Naturally, everyone that caught the mess up actually started to get nervous, cause that could only mean one thing.
Something was actually going wrong.
I myself realized that a bit later than Leo and Cade did, since they started looking at me weirdly, but when I did I actually started to panic. I liked to brag about how I never got scared of anything, but I'm not stupid. I didn't wanna die yet.
What happened next was a combination of skill, stealth, and just plain stupidity.
During lockdowns, you're not supposed to have a cell phone. Well, most people did anyway. Including me. Teenage rebellion and all that. My phone vibrated in my pocket since I had the decency to mute it during school, and the vibrations made the phone fall out of my pocket onto the floor. Damn khakis always had way too much pocket. When I went to put it back, though, the text that appeared confused me enough to pay attention.
It was sent to Gideon, Julius, and me. I literally couldn't think of anything else before Gideon responded and a conversation happened. I had to keep my phone out of sight; luckily, Leo and Cade (thank God they were there) noticed I was texting and got closer on either side, Leo on the left and Cade on the right. I was sandwiched into the corner, but that's what we needed.
G: Who are you?
Unknown: Doesn't matter right now. What does matter is you three need to get the hell off campus right now.
J: You're not gonna tell us why?
Unknown: Can you please just listen? The lockdown is for you! They are coming for you!
G: WHO'S COMING FOR US?
Unknown: The cops! They're coming for you right now!
M: Why would the cops be after us? We were already exonerated about the train station thing.
Cade looked at Leo after he read that, and they had a silent conversation right over my head. Those two were always closer than most people. They could read each other like twins.
Unknown: This isn't about the train station. Just get out NOW!
I knew they were reading my conversation since they had no sense of privacy, so I looked at both of them. Despite how confused and scared I was, they seemed to be keeping cool heads. It took me a second to remember Leo grew up homeless in Trenton, so they didn't exactly have a lot of faith in the police. Them being after me probably didn't even phase them.
The next text didn't have the unknown number in it, just the three of us.
J: Can we trust this guy?
I thought about it. I was always the 'ringleader' if there was one, so he didn't have to say that he was asking me for me to know it. I had no idea what the hell to think. I've done nothing wrong my entire life, and now the cops are apparently after me, all based off the word of someone I didn't even know. Quite honestly, I was scared out of my mind. Naturally, like I always did, I needed my friends opinions. I looked to my right; Cade nodded. I looked to my left; Leo nodded.
That gave me the answer I needed.
M: You know where to go. Matt will meet us there.
I gave Cade and Leo another look before I got up from the corner of the room and ran straight for the door. Everyone looked at me like I had lost my mind, especially the teacher. She even said "Michael, sit down right now!" in her stereotypical old screechy voice. I ignored her, wanting to just keep moving forward.
That was, of course, before the door got kicked down. That got me backing the fuck up.
I saw several things happening at once, so quickly I still don't understand just how fast everything happened. 1.) Six men, heavily armored and armed, entered into the room and pushed me back against the wall. 2.) The other students looked like they wanted to shit their pants. 3.) Cade and Leo had bolted towards the door the moment the SWAT men had their backs to it.
If I wasn't scared before, I was now. Whatever these guys thought I did, it was bad. They slammed me into the wall in a way that made me wonder if they were legitimately trying to kill me. Unfortunately for them, I was still facing the door, right towards Leo and Cade. When I managed to make eye contact with them they nodded. Now, I may not be the smartest person alive, but even I could tell what they were gonna do.
Immediately after they nodded the lights went off and the fire alarm went on.
The amount of confusion and fear was so strong I could taste it, but I used it to my advantage. The cops weren't exactly expecting to have all of their sight and sound taken away, so I did what any confused teenage boy would do in that situation. I shoulder charged straight through them.
It hurt like hell since my form is absolute shit, but it did its job. The cops got shoved to the side, though it didn't make them fall over like I hoped I would. Although, Leo and Cade (again, to whatever God that exists, I owe you a big one) shoved a couple desks behind me as I went, so that stopped them enough.
Of course, my school had the world's longest hallways, and I was not a track star in any shape or form, so I was freaking the hell out while running down the hallways, away from the cops and probably towards more cops. I was just hoping to get to the parking lot; if I could get there, I knew I was set.
The good news: down a staircase, right, left, another left, and a right got me out the door and running towards the parking lot. The bad news: I heard the doors open and close behind me around 5 seconds later, no doubt the SWAT trying to get me. I could even hear them talking in their headsets: "Osbourne is heading west towards the parking lot", followed by screeching tires.
With a big open space like a parking lot, and the cops right behind me, I would've been pretty screwed if I was anyone else. On the other hand, no one else had a motorcycle designed by Matt Hutchinson and Cade Rogers. Pull out my phone, press a couple buttons, and boom. Ready to go like I'd just put in a key.
For the first time, I didn’t wear a helmet (probably didn’t earn any points from the cops with that) and got the fuck out of there. I didn’t hear any gunshots, but I could see things hitting the ground next to me. It didn’t take much for me to figure it out: they were trying to hit me with a stun gun. Good thing wind resistance and swerving exist or I would’ve immediately gotten hit.
I’d gotten away from the people on foot at least, so now was my time to get the hell out of dodge. Until, of course, something had to throw a wrench in my entire plan.
Gideon. Motherfucking Gideon McCormack running out of another building.
Luckily for him, I couldn't see any cops running after him. He must’ve managed to somehow get out of there before the cops found him, so now he was running as fast as he could away from campus. I gotta give him credit; he may not be the most athletic kid, but he was definitely running at an impressive speed. Made it hard to figure out where I should be to cut him off, but I managed to get it done.
I couldn’t help but be snarky when I pulled up in front of him. “Need a ride?”
If there was a look that truly captured the words ‘Fuck you’, it was the face he gave me as he got on behind me. Gideon could be loud when he wanted, but his quiet side tended to get more points made. The only thing that made his point louder was the screeching tires coming from behind me as a SWAT van made itself known.
I took off at speeds I didn’t even know my bike could go, and luckily enough it was fast enough to make it around a corner before the SWAT van could completely annihilate us. One of us screamed; I honestly don’t know which one. The SWAT van had to take time to recover, and I took advantage of that by driving right onto Main Street.
I could hear it recovering turning to try to catch up with us, and with me not taking any chances, I kept the speed I was going. Weaving through cars the way I was was probably drawing a lot of attention, but attention was better than SWAT getting us.
I don’t know whether it was because of the van’s crappy recovery or the speed of my bike, but we actually managed to get out of sight before the van could straighten out. That doesn't mean we slowed down, just that we were able to relax a bit. Cue the most stressful five minutes of my life speeding by me at 70 mph.
Our destination came into view to our right: a trail leading into a forest. Unfortunately for us, five minutes gave me time to realize that if they found my bike, we were fucked, so I ended up driving for another ten seconds or so before I pulled over. I kicked the kickstand on reflex before Gideon and I took off back the way we came.
Apparently Gideon thought that now of all times was the time to start talking. “Do you have any idea what the fuck is going on?!”
I looked at him to my left. “Nope! Not a single one!”
Gideon groaned as we reached our destination, turning into the forest without stopping for a second. “Let’s hope that the other two have something, I guess!”
Despite the running, and the fact that I was already out of breath, I couldn't help but ask something. “How’d you get away? When the cops found me they threw me against the wall like they wanted to kill me.”
I knew this was going to be an interesting story when Gideon chuckled. “That’s actually a pretty funny story.”
So you know how I had free period on the lunch period today? My guess is the cops knew that too. It’s not like I would’ve had a classroom on my schedule, so they had to search the campus for me. When I got the text, Crystal, Matt and I were hanging out in one of the practice rooms upstairs singing some ‘Next to Normal’ songs. Literally, right when you said that we should trust the guy, we heard the stairwell door open.
Crystal and Matt opened the door immediately, peeking out to see what was happening. When they saw the cops walking around the corner towards the chorus room, they started flipping out. They looked like they were scared out of their mind. It didn’t help when Emily came from behind them and freaked them out since she didn’t know what was happening.
They told Emily what was going on, but she was really calm about it. It actually made me a little nervous how casual she was about the whole thing. The first thing she did was whisper in both of their ears, and when she finished the other two looked more determined than I’d ever seen them. The next thing I knew, Matt was running the other direction and Crystal was telling me “you’ll know when to run”.
I still had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on.
Crystal and Emily walked to the corner the police had just gone down; I could already hear them coming back. I was getting pretty apprehensive: the staircase that could get me out of the building was right behind them, so whatever they were planning was literally already blocking my only reliable way out.
I heard the chorus room open and people start talking, no doubt the officers coming back. Now, I was honestly starting to freak out. I still didn’t know what Emily and Crystal had planned, so I was really relying on them to make a good time to run. They certainly did not disappoint, considering that when they walked past them, Emily pulled out a fucking gun.
Right behind them, she fired her gun in the air and all hell broke loose. The soldiers turned around and looked like they wanted to fire, but Emily had grabbed Crystal as a human shield. The only thing that stopped me from interfering was that Crystal didn’t look as scared as someone being used as cover should’ve; that’s how I knew this was their plan.
Honestly though, with how short Emily is, it was almost kind of funny.
With the impromptu hostage situation, the cops were really stuck between a rock and a hard place: on one hand, they still needed to search for me for whatever reason, but on the other they had this to deal with. When Emily shot out the window behind her and jumped out with Crystal, though, they made a decision.
The cops followed them out the window. In the span of thirty seconds, the hallway had completely emptied.
It wasn’t exactly difficult to run to the stairwell and get the hell out of there. And of all the people to run into, you cut me off pretty much immediately.
“So, you’re saying that Emily led the cops away?”
“With Crystal as a hostage held at gunpoint?”
Finally, I had a good reason to scream the only thing on my mind. “What the fuck is going on?!”