The 100 - Day 21 / Стоте - Ден 21: ГЛАВА 6

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Whatever you do, don’t go inside the lab.


The anguished cries reached out to her, until Clarke couldn’t tell what was coming from the other side of the wall, and what was echoing in the shadowy depths of her own brain.


The experiments use dangerous levels of radiation. We don’t want you to get hurt.


The lab was nothing like she’d imagined. It was full of hospital beds instead of workstations. And in each bed was a child.


It’s our job to determine when Earth will be able to support human life again. Everyone is counting on us.


Clarke glanced around the room, looking for her friend Lilly. She was lonely. And scared. Everyone around her was dying. Their small bodies withered away until they were hardly more than wisps of skin and bone.


We never wanted you to find out this way.


But where was Lilly? Clarke came to visit her often, whenever her parents weren’t in the lab. She brought her friend presents, books she took from the library and candy she stole from the pantry at school. On Lilly’s good days, their laughter drowned out the sounds of the heart-rate monitors.


It wasn’t our idea. The Vice Chancellor forced us to experiment on those children. They would’ve killed us if we’d refused.


Clarke moved from bed to bed, each of them containing a sick child. But none of them were her best friend.


And then, suddenly, she remembered. Lilly was dead. Because Clarke had killed her.


They would’ve killed you too.


Lilly had begged her to make the pain go away. Clarke hadn’t wanted to, but she knew that Lilly had no chance of getting better. So eventually she’d agreed, and gave her friend the fatal drugs that ended her suffering.


I’m sorry, Clarke tried to tell her friend. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.


“It’s okay, Clarke. Shhh, it’s okay. I’m right here.”


Clarke’s eyes snapped open. She was lying on a cot, her arm wrapped in bandages… why? What had happened?


Bellamy was sitting next to her, his face dirty and haggard. But he was smiling in a way Clarke hadn’t seen before, a wide, beaming grin without any hint of amusement or mockery. There was something startlingly intimate about it, as if this smile exposed more of Bellamy than she’d seen when they went swimming in their underwear.


“Thank god you’re okay. Do you remember getting bitten by the snake?” he asked. Clarke closed her eyes as fragments of memory shot through her mind. The slithering movement on the ground. The blinding pain. Yet at the moment, the only sensation she was aware of was the warmth of Bellamy’s hand on hers. “We gave you the universal antidote thing, but I wasn’t sure you got it in time.”


Clarke sat up, suddenly alert. “You carried me all the way back to camp?” Her cheeks flushed at the thought of being unconscious for that long in Bellamy’s arms. “And you figured out about the medicine?”


Bellamy shot a quick glance at the door. “That part was all Wells.”


The name landed with a thud in Clarke’s chest. After Wells stopped her from rushing into a burning tent to save her friend Thalia, she’d fled the camp in a haze of grief and rage. But as she looked around this new infirmary cabin, all she felt was sadness. Thalia was gone, but she couldn’t really blame Wells for what he’d done. He’d saved her life—twice now.


On the other side of the small cabin, a girl was curled up on a cot. Clarke pushed herself onto her elbows for a better look, but when Bellamy noticed the direction of her gaze, he sat down on the edge of Clarke’s cot, as if shielding her. “So,” he said, shooting a glance over his shoulder. “About that.”


In a strangely detached voice, he told Clarke about the attack that had killed Asher, and the girl Wells had taken prisoner.


“What?” Clarke sat bolt upright. “You’re telling me that girl over there was born on Earth?” Some small part of her had expected this since the orchard, but waking up to find an Earthborn meters away was almost too much to process. Thousands of questions exploded in every sector of her brain. How had they survived the Cataclysm? How many of them were there? Were there pockets of people all over the planet, or just in this area?


“Keep your voice down,” Bellamy whispered, placing a hand on Clarke’s shoulder and gently guiding her back down on the cot. “I think she’s asleep, and I want her to stay that way as long as possible. It’s creepy as all hell having her in here.”


Clarke shook off his hand and rose to her feet. The excitement and shock pulsing through her veins left her whole body trembling. “This is unbelievable. I have to talk to her!”


Before she could take another step, Bellamy grabbed her wrist. “That’s not a good idea. Her people took Octavia and killed Asher. We caught her spying on us.” His mouth twisted into a sneer. “She was probably trying to decide who to take next.”


Clarke stared at him in confusion. Why would they speculate about the girl’s motives instead of asking her? “Has anyone tried talking to her?” There was no danger in trying, especially since her hands and ankles were bound. Clarke rose onto the balls of her feet for a better look. The girl was curled up on her side, with her back to Bellamy and Clarke. It didn’t look like she’d moved at all.


Bellamy pulled Clarke back onto the cot with a tug. “I think the girl speaks English. She hasn’t said anything, but it seems like she understands what we’re saying. As soon as we get some useful information from her, I’ll head out to find Octavia.”


His voice was calm, but he couldn’t hide the note of anxiety when he said his sister’s name. For a moment, Clarke’s thoughts left the girl on the cot and returned to the woods where she and Bellamy had been following Octavia’s footprints. She felt a stab of guilt that he had abandoned Octavia’s trail in order to carry her all the way back here.


“Bellamy,” she said slowly as another thought took shape. “That wreckage we found. Did you see the logo on it? It said TG.” Every child on the Colony knew that TG, Trillion Galactic, was the company that had originally built their ship.


“I know,” he said. “But that could mean anything.”


“It’s not from our dropship,” she said quickly, her voice rising in excitement. “Which means it has to be from something else the Colony sent down. Maybe some kind of drone? Or what if…” She trailed off, suddenly hesitant to share the spark of an idea forming in the back of her mind. “I think it’s important that we figure out what it is,” she finished vaguely.


Bellamy squeezed her hand. “As soon as we get Octavia back, we’ll go check it out.”


“Thank you,” she said quietly. “For everything. I know you lost a lot of time bringing me back here.”


“Yeah, well, it would have been a shame to lose the only doctor on Earth, even if you were arrested before you finished training. Can you remind me again which body part I should avoid injuring?” he said with a smile. “Are you better with elbows or ankles?”


Clarke was glad to see him in a playful mood, but it wasn’t enough to shake the guilt building up in her chest. She lowered her voice, glancing again at the girl across the infirmary. “It’s just… if you need to leave again, you should go. I feel terrible that you already lost a day because of me.”


His teasing smile softened. “It’s okay.” He reached up and absentmindedly began twisting a strand of her hair around his finger. “I think for now, my best chance is to see what this girl knows, before I go back looking for the trail.”


Clarke nodded, relieved that Bellamy didn’t resent her, and relieved that he wasn’t planning on leaving right away. “Octavia’s lucky to have you,” she said, then cocked her head to the side and surveyed Bellamy with a smile. “You know, I remember when I heard there were siblings on Walden.”


Bellamy raised an eyebrow. “My reputation precedes me? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. How could you not talk about someone this good-looking?”


Clarke knocked against him, digging her elbow into his ribs. He made an exaggerated grimace, then laughed. “It’s true,” she continued. “My friend Lilly remembered you guys from the care center. I think her exact words were, ‘There’s a girl with an older brother. It’s great that she has a sibling, but he’s so spectacularly attractive, no one can look directly at him. It’s just too blinding, like staring at the sun.’”


Instead of smiling, Bellamy’s face went pale. “Lilly? It wasn’t Lilly Marsh, was it?”


Clarke’s chest tightened as she realized what she’d just let slip. Of course Bellamy and Lilly had known each other. There couldn’t have been that many children in the Walden care center, could there? Lilly had rarely volunteered information about her life on Walden, and Clarke hadn’t asked. It hadn’t been a conscious decision, but she realized now that it was easier to think about Lilly as a girl without a past, without people who cared about her.


“How did you know Lilly?” Bellamy was staring at her, searching her eyes for the information she was desperately trying to hide.


“I met her at the hospital, during my apprenticeship,” Clarke said, not bothering to count the number of lies in the short sentence. “Were you friends?” She prayed he’d shrug and say something about knowing her vaguely from the care center.


“We were—” Bellamy paused. “We were more than friends. Lilly was the only girl I ever cared about. Until you.”


“What?” Clarke stared at him in shock. Lilly, her friend and her parents’ test subject, had been Bellamy’s—


“Are you okay?” Bellamy asked. “Does it bother you that I had a girlfriend back on the ship?”


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