It was only when Hansel was standing in an abruptly empty field, a water bottle at his feet and his left arm shrieking and throbbing in pain, that he figured he had overplayed his hand. But when the bottle had been suddenly flung in his face, he had a jolt of fear, like it was a tomahawk or a grenade she had hucked, rather than a bottle of the stuff that he had requested that she give him.
Mallory McCormick, he thought, was sharper than he'd given her credit for.
He let the FAMAS rest by its shoulder strap around his right arm, unzipping his pack with the now freed hand. He attempted to lower his heart rate as he knelt down, snatching up the bottle of water and tossing it into his bag haphazardly. It was one more bottle than the rest of the competition, he decided.
Unlike his last encounter with other students, he could consider this one a win.
His shoulder sang again, and he rolled it as he re-zipped his pack, moving around the golf cart to ensure that they hadn't left anything behind. When the ground was clear, he set off again on a determined march.
He'd need to take care of his shoulder, stop somewhere and patch himself up properly. From there, he'd take it one day at a time.
((Hansel Williams, Stagecoach, and other vehicles