Chapter 5: Escape

Chapter 5: Escape

A Chapter by Janeece

Scarlet has found out some new things about this world. Some things that could change her forever.


I awake to a full eclipse of light and complete silence, leading me to believe my eyes are still closed, or maybe I've died. I suppose that was quite a pathetic way to die. Glock to the back of the head. Not exactly an exciting story to tell.

              The dull ache at the base of my thick skull begins to throb, proving me wrong. It seems to climb a ladder of intensity, the forgotten pain creeping back. I raise my hand to soothe it, only to find that it's restricted and uselessly tight. It seems to be a rough, insensitive material, creating a harsh friction as a struggle beneath it. My arms are wrapped tightly around an unseen object, but I'm in a sitting position, so it's appropriate to assume I'm in a chair. The feeling in my arms has gone, only my hands throb with the new scratches I have created around my wrists. I moan in pain and defeat. I'm tied to a chair, helplessly bound, and my perpetrators have already contacted some person that probably wants me dead. The Head or not, I'm in danger.

              Who knows how long I've been out for, they could be here already, pacing above my head, thinking up the perfect torture method. I'd killed their employees, outsmarted their technology and escaped in Head Kaufman's hover craft. Humiliated them, proved their very existence to be unnecessary. Young 17 year old Scarlet, escaped the authority, on the run, spreading disease wherever she goes.

             "How was your sleep?" Ugly voice from the even uglier lips. I cannot see her, but I can feel her presence strongly beside me, emanating 100% hatred. A bright light flickers to life above my head, illuminating the room. I do not know where I am, but there are no windows or furniture besides the chair my butt is glued too. There doesn't appear to be a door but there must be one behind me, out of my field of vision. The walls and floor are made of planks of bark, like their flooring inside the house, but now much more unsettling. Claustrophobic, and gloomy. I can feel it in my bones, crawling throughout my neurons, gripping my emotion of denial, and then slowing spinning towards the face of realization. This is the place where I am going to die.

     There's a hesitant knock behind me, and I instinctively try to turn and see who it is. The pain ripples throughout my side, pushing me back. It looms there, flitting about my torso.

               Susan watches me, a evil smile playing at the corners of her lips. She c***s the long gun, barrel pointed in my direction. I do not cringe back from the death weapon, I simply stare at her, eyes decline to her attempt to frighten me. I let her see I'm not frightened anymore, I can accept this fate. Can't keep running forever, Fredrick's words replay in my mind. I force myself to agree.

            The door opens slowly and I hear the shy footsteps enter at my back.

                "You can go now." It's the soft voice of Jackson, biting through the lulling silence. I can picture him now, head hanging down, hands unsure of what to do. Susan nods and walks around me, watching my dead eyes, following her path. Jackson comes into view, the same gun in hand. He smiles timidly, lips twitching and indecisive as to what they should be doing.     

             "Here," he pulls a pack from around his shoulder, reaching a hand inside the already opened bag and taking out a white shape, cased around something unknown. I look at him with a blank face, my eyes wandering down to accent the fact that I cannot accept whatever he is offering me. His lips create a perfect O: speechless understanding. He puts the gun's strap around his shoulders, taking a knife out of the side pocket while skillfully balancing the package and bag in the other hand. He moves around me. I feel a slight pressure on the binds woven around my wrists. Finally my arms are relieved of being pulled behind me and quickly drop forward.

                Pins and needles erupt inside my limbs as they're freed, the blood rushing back to its assigned place. I cry out in pain, tears spilling out of my eyes. I squeeze them shut, placing my arms on my lap and rubbing them slowly. I guess I should be grateful this is the only critical pain I've experienced since my black out, though that status may not last for long.

               Jackson holds the gun in position, standing a few feet in front of me. I could easily make a run for the door, which is closer to me, but not without taking several shots, and probably to the head. No matter how timid he is, I can see in his eyes how scared he is of being rejected by his tyrant mother.

              He places the white ball in my lap and I look up at him. He grins, that insecure turn at the edges of his mouth. I begin to unravel the paper to see an apple inside. I raise it to my lips, taking a sluggish bite out of the green fruit.

              "Thanks." I mutter, not much of a grateful tone to my voice. He frowns, offended and steps back, all signs of his usual bashful self-disintegrating.

              "Why'd you do it?" He asks sternly. His voice isn't quiet or unsure. He knows what he's asking and I better give him an acceptable answer.

             "Why are"" The gun in his hands progresses up, at eye level. My hands fly up in surrender, a dull pain leaking into my muscles. He lowers the gun slightly. "Do what, exactly?" He doesn't appreciate the sarcasm in my voice, he wants to be taken seriously. His eye twitches irritably.

             "You knew you were sick, how could you leave and risk infecting everyone else?" I shake my head out, taking a casual bite of my apple. I let out a short laugh, a piece of the apple flying from my lips and landing at his feet. He steps back.

     "I'm not sick." I spit at him after swallowing. He flinches, as though I had thrown a jab at him or something physically afflicting.

               "You're just bein selfish""

     "Do you even know what they're doing?" I interrupt, "They were going to kill me, and everyone else is next. Sick or not." I get to my feet as I talk, slowly advancing on him. He stares at me in disbelief, eyes wild with fear and hundreds of beaming questions. He stands frozen, attempting to avoid my vicious stare.

            With quick hands I grab the gun from his grasp. He doesn't see it coming but keeps a firm hold on the base. He attempts to pull the trigger, but with this, releases his strong grip on the other side. This gives me the upper hand as I spin it around, the barrel pushed inside his chest.

             "Who's outside this room?" I whisper darkly, my voice a rasp. We're both breathing heavily, his broad chest rising and descending expeditiously.

             "No one, I""

              "Don't lie to me, I will fire this gun until I can see through you." His breathing hitches.

    "I swear it. It's just my mum, we're waiting for them""

             "For who?" He shrugs his shoulders, but I'm sure I have a grand idea as to who. The only answer I need now, is how much time do I really have? So I ask.

               "You were out for 10 minutes at the most." I nod, directing him to turn around and walk out the door nonchalantly, gun pointed into his back.

              "I want you to stroll out casually... Don't act so stiff!" He tries to loosen out, but I understand the difficulty when you have a bullet threatening to lodge itself into your spine. His hand circles around the door knob and he turns it naturally, it becomes ajar and we walk out. His wide torso covers my body effectively but I begin to worry about my legs. It's hard to match his stride, his legs are so long.

              "Jackson, whut are ya doing out here?" Her voice is angry and demanding. I flick the gun out from behind his side. I hear a quick inhale as I walk out from behind him, turning his body with me, the gun back in it's original place. "Now hold on there darlin', don't go doin' anythun stupid." I take in my surroundings. We're outside. It's still dark out, sounds of the night act as a distant soundtrack to this dangerous encounter. I can see the outline of a small shack behind us, where I was being held captive. Their small house can be seen from where we stand, the lights on the front porch, irradiating the dusty sand below.

                Susan has taken a few steps towards me while I was analyzing the scenery. I pull away, dragging Jackson with me, forcing the gun deeper. He whines in discomfort, pleading for his mother to stay still. She stops, watching me with careful eyes. She knows I'll do it if I need to. "Even if I do letcha go, they'll find ya." I shake my head, trying to obviate her words of negativity.

              "Shut up," I snap, "where's my pack?" She raises an eyebrow, watching me curiously.

              "Thur wasn't much in thur..." I bite down on my lip, fighting back the rush of emotions.

             "Where is it?" I manage to get out, a venomous hiss.

                "In the house." She says indifferently. I step up and pat her down quickly, invading her personal space. She protests, but it's a delayed reaction and by then I've already finished.

               I grip the gun tightly and begin to sprint towards the house, making sure they won't catch me. I'm fast and they don't stand a chance, they know it too because I hear no footsteps pursuing me. I reach the porch steps much faster than I had expected and barrel inside, stomping up the stairs and bursting into my former room, grabbing my bags from the corner and leaping over the bed. I draw the window up and push the curtains aside.

             Swinging my legs over the edge, I place the gun over my shoulder along with the bags and land on the small part of the roof. Scuttling to the fringe where the roof slopes down, I slide with the hill, landing in a painful squat. I stand, my joints popping in several places.

                I hear the remote buzz of several hovercrafts. I can anticipate that they are quite far away, but travel much faster than me on foot. I close my eyes, sensing the right direction. My gut pulls me back towards the shack and I give in, pushing my legs in that direction.

              I approach my past prison, no sign of Susan or Jackson. It's safe to assume they've gone back to the house. I continue to run. My legs don't appreciate the long period of physical activity. I'm only good in short bursts, long distance is not my strength. I suck it up and let it sink in that I'm literally running for my life, and this is enough to fuel my speed. My legs carry me faster than they ever have, and I race out into the dark.


I know it is safe to stop running when I do, there is no hum of hovercrafts or distant calls of my name/gun shots, and I start to believe it was all just a dream. That this is all just a dream. The pain in my stomach and severe dehydration tell me otherwise. It's all too real.

             The days seem much longer than the nights. The blistering heat drawing all the water from my body and I can tell you, there isn't much left. I haven't peed or excreted for a dangerous amount of time, it begins to frighten me. My body is undoubtedly shutting down, killing itself. I can feel it, I know it, but for some reason I can't accept it.

                Getting shot, tortured to death, sure. But such a simple thing as the environment killing me? No, it can't happen. I simply won't allow it to happen.

                Right back to where you started, my mind rudely remarks, hopefully this time there'll be no hillbillies to try and turn you in. I roll my eyes at my own thoughts, sick and tired of this damn desert.

                 I feel the muscles in my legs giving up. I fight to push on. I'm going to lose this battle. They protest, no further, they cry. I fall to my knees, the weight on my back pulling me down. I can only lug so much around, my strength is diminishing rapidly. I unravel Fredrick's ID tag and add it to the small circle on my chain, given to me by my father. The magnet in the tag latches itself onto the back of the circle. I attempt to pry them apart, the circle snapping open. A small arrow spins around inside, the letters N, E, S, and W etched on four separate corners of the small sphere. A compass.

      The arrow stops moving and lands, the red arrow staying straight ahead, pinpointed on the letter W. I glance up, and then back down. I do a double take to clarify, but out in the distance is something shimmering, something reflecting off the strong sun, scattered diamonds on the horizon. Sapphire diamonds, sparkling and moving, gentle waves, rolling in, white gushing out from the tips. I clamber to my feet and stumble towards it, driven by pure instinct.

                 It takes what seems like an eternity before I reach the lip of the cliff, below is what I thought I had seen. The ocean. I've seen pictures, heard stories, but never have I seen such a magnificent body of water. The compass must be wrong. Fredrick told me there would be people here. The idea of an ocean appearing in two years is surely impossible.

               My curiosity promises to allow me to lean too far over the edge, grasping my newfound gadget. I peer out, over the lip. Loosing balance, my arms fly out in surprise, toes curling helplessly, hoping to somehow keep me from falling. I fail, as usual, flying down towards the glorious blue. Mist sprays my face as I reach my goal. I feel as though I'm not as frightened as I should be. The fluid is thankfully absorbed by my cracked lips. The water engulfs me, surrounding my body and I begin to choke on the thing I have just hopelessly fallen in love with.

            My limbs begin to lash around wildly. I'm sinking. Why am I sinking? The water is supposed to be a fun place, a place to see fish and frolic and...

                There is one thing I'm forgetting. The physical activity. The picture of perfectly synchronized arms and legs flashes in my mind, cutting through the water, carrying the individual forward. I mimic my memory, my lungs screaming for oxygen. I slowly begin to rise, my arms speeding with panic.

            Head breaking the surface of the water, I gulp the air back as though I'd never known it had existed. My lungs desperately thank me, sending the unwanted seawater back up and out my mouth. I begin to cough violently, still managing to tread the water effectively. Swimming. I am swimming. I smile to myself, proud of my accomplishment.

              A large wave rushes over my head, rolling me with the tide, pulling me out and under. My lungs panic again. My head becomes fuzzy and light, screeching at me to get more air. But I can't, there's no top. There's no way out. There's water all around! My head searches and I finally see the light peaking through the crystal waters. I reach out to it, clawing my way up. I'm almost there, my lungs releasing the last of their air, bubbles escaping my tightly held lips.

              Suddenly my legs get dragged downwards, away from the glorious oxygen. A desperate scream escapes my lips as my backup oxygen disappears completely. I feel my lungs filling up as I'm pulled further and further down. I don't know what it feels like, but it's safe to assume that I'm drowning. My hands scratch at my throat in anguish, the feeling too much. I feel as though my chest is going to explode. It's all happening so quickly, yet so slowly. If I'm going to die, just get it over with already!

              I can feel my chest expanding, can feel my lungs flooding with the intruding seawater. Then suddenly, I don't feel anything.



The heavy beating on my chest sends me jerking upright from my previous position, lungs and airway flying open, water rushing out. Coughing and sputtering, my eyes squeeze shut, my body focusing on ridding my fragile lungs of the deadly liquid. Is this what it feels like to die? Was God beating on my chest, reviving me for my eternal stay in heaven?

              My eyes slowly open, my chest rising and falling in recovery. The hazy dream begins to evaporate as I see the faces before me. They begin to materialize as I blink hastily, trying to separate this from my past reality.   

              They're all strangers, staring at me in concern. Older faces, not quite as ancient as Susan's, but still sagging more than I am used to. Creases in the wrong places, hair it's natural birth colour, eyes clear of makeup, glowing with tenderness.

            "Scarlet?" I draw away at the sound of my name, head lashing from side to side. I'm in a sort of cave, walls lined with thick metal, a strong cast door behind me with a enormous wheel in the middle. My hair is soaked, along with my formerly dirty attire. My head becomes cloudy with confusion.

               "Please," I plead, getting clumsily to my knees. "don't tell them! I'll do anything, I've been running for so long..." I become hysterical, almost reaching out to tug on the pant leg of one the four adults before me. They spring back seeing the twitch of hesitation in my wrist, then another kneels by my side. Fresh tears spring from my eyes, rolling down my cheeks. I feel the snot bubbling in my nose, fluids leaking from all the cavities of my face.

             The figure wraps its arms around my shoulders. I begin to heave and shake uncontrollably. They attempt to calm me down, whispering for me to take deep breaths. I try, my breath pausing and then stuttering quickly, air sputtering out of my mouth resulting in a harsh cough and more tears.

             "Come, child." I'm helped to my feet and guided forward. I keep my head down, watching my feet and sniffling loudly. It seems like a long walk, but I'm grateful for their thoughtful silence during the journey. I get to compose myself, stop the crying and even out my breathing.

             The ground becomes uneven and I stumble along, up and down the rough terrain, water droplets leaking onto the top of my head every so often. I don't even flinch, not bothering to look up. I'm already wet.

             I do look up when I hear a door swing open and step inside, the kind stranger motions towards a bed running length ways along the back of the small room, a bed attached to the head, hugging the wall along the width. They create an L shape, with two pillows on both sides and a blanket tucked neatly into place on each bed. There are someone else's personal belongings scattered in different locations in the limited space, but I don't pay much attention to the specifics. I make my way to the bed that looks unoccupied, falling onto it, exasperated. I'm pretty sure I fall asleep before I close my eyes.


Never gonna give you up! Never gonna let you down!  The repeated lyrics continue to play in my dream, acting as back round music for the progressing scene before my eyes. I'm sitting on that same familiar cliff, legs dangling over the edge. Only now Fredrick is beside me, I'm not startled or frightened. He holds my hand softly, squeezing it for a moment then un-clenching, smiling that heart stopping grin, his perfect blond hair untouched by the sand or sweat, barely blowing in the wind...

             "Excuse me?" He advises. I look at Fredrick confused. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe my staring is disturbing him, maybe" "Excuse me!" That's not right, that's not his voice. His lips are moving but that's not Fredrick. That's someone else. It's too high pitched, too feminine.

               Fredrick disappears and my eyes fly open. I'm staring down at a white material. I draw back to see the pillow case. Never gonna give you up! Never gonna let you down!  It plays again, the sound filling the cramped cell, flowing through my naked ears, driving me to sit up.

             "Your feet are on my shirt." I turn to see a girl. Staring at me with intensely aggravated brown eyes, steam is practically barreling out of her ears as she watches me. I follow her arms, outstretched, attached to the collar of a red shirt, trapped beneath my firmly placed calves. I lift them quickly and she extracts the shirt, rolling her eyes and turning her back.

             Long dark brown curls spill over her shoulders and down her back, almost hitting her behind. She has a slim figure and wears fairly tight dark blue pants with a form fitting brown tank top. Her arms are toned and muscular, tendons stretching as she folds the recently imprisoned shirt. I notice then her skin colour, not pale or even slightly tanned/burned like my own. She's got much more colour, a dark brown pigment. Clear copper skin, silky smooth by appearance and glistening with sweat.

               She turns around to grab another shirt from a nearby basket and notices me focusing on her far too intensely. She gawks back self-consciously.

                "What is it?" She snaps, throwing the shirt back into the container. I watch her wide eyed, not able to find my words. I don't know what it is, I've just never seen someone like her before.

              Everyone from The North is ivory coloured, not nearly as much pigment as this girl has. It isn't a bad thing, her colour, just weird. Something I am not used to, something I've heard about but never seen.

            There had been races at one point, I knew of such a thing. Asian, African-American, European, etc. But I only know of people who look like I do still, to be in existence, I've been so confined, so shut out. I realize it now, and it's there, painfully poking at my stomach, making me sick.

    "Well?" Her hand is propped on her hip, which is popped out dramatically, her poorly groomed eyebrows raised. "If we're going to be roommates you could at least answer me when I talk to you."

             "R-r-roommates?" I stutter. She watches me like I have something on my face.

"It wasn't my idea. Ask Kara, she makes all the rules around here." She rolls her eyes, clearly not liking the idea very much. She stoops down to grab a shirt, then bites her lip, in deep thought. Finally she lets the shirt fall from her fingertips and carefully strides over to me. "Raeleigh," she sticks her hand out informally, fingers extended, palm facing the wall. I look at it, then back up to her. "give it a shake?" I'm hopelessly confused at this point, but proceed anyways. Lifting my hand, I place my index finger and thumb over the top of her hand and shake it gently. She lets out a laugh in response. "No, like this!" She places her hand in mine, clasping her fingers around the backside of my hand and waving it up and down. "Handshake."

              "But why""

              "I actually don't know." She says, uncertain herself, then shrugs her shoulders.

              "Where am I?" She smiles, a set of pretty, straight teeth. Not perfectly white, but decent in comparison to what I've been seeing recently.

             "Welcome to The West."



© 2013 Janeece

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Added on March 5, 2013
Last Updated on March 5, 2013
Tags: dystopian, love, romance, sickness, cancer, anxiety, adventure, action, murder, suspense




my name is janeece, i'm 17. i live in canada and i hate how cold it is. i can't wait to get out of here. my passions include writing, musical theatre and fashion. message me, i'm super nice! more..

Prologue: Secrecy Prologue: Secrecy

A Chapter by Janeece