I woke suddenly to the sound of my alarm. I grumpily shut it off and flipped around. Suddenly, my eyes snapped open as I realized what day it was.

It was the day for me to obtain information from an upper level.

I got out of bed and looked at myself in the mirror in my small room. I tried to put on a face of bravery, but my insides twisted. I got dressed in my level uniform, and left my room. I passed the bustling dining hall, my stomach not in any shape to eat anything. I made my way to the restricted part of the level, and swiped my ID at the door. When I entered, I could see the underdeveloped part of the level, the only area that could get you between levels. I saw my friend, Manny, working away at a lab bench. He looked up and saw me.

"Hey, Nicole."

"Hey, Manny."


"More like painfully nervous."

"Yeah. Fair enough."

The problem is, the only way to get to different levels was a rickety wood platform with rusty railings and a pulley system.

Apparently they were working on developing level to level transportation, but they had been saying that for the larger part of ten years. No one even needed to move between levels anyway.

"Listen," Manny said, walking over and putting his hands on my shoulders. "all you have to do is go ten levels up, grab the sample, and get the hell back down."

"Yeah, but I have to survive first."

"Oh, please. No one's died in over a year."

"Yeah... that was the last time anyone moved between levels."

Manny paused.

"You'll be fine, Nicole. Just remember that this sample will change everything. It could save us."

I took a deep breath. That was true. A sample from the surface was unbelievably rare to come by, and it would be an incredible resource to study.

I walked over to the vertical dirt tunnel, the platform waiting for me. I stepped on, looked at Manny, and nodded. He pulled the leaver, sending me upward. I cried out and held the railing until my knuckles were white. I looked down, seeing an abyss of darkness below.

That's when I felt one of the wires snap.

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