Chapter 9: End

Chapter 9: End

A Chapter by Janeece
"

Scarlet attends her first funeral.

"

I once thought about running away. Once thought about picking up, well nothing really, just taking myself, stepping out the door in the middle of the night and leaving. There was nothing really wrong at home that made me want to leave, and I think maybe that was the problem. My life had become so boring, so normal. But that's how it was supposed to be. With no friends to turn to and certainly not about to confide in my mother and well, a father that worked a lot, I really had no way to cure myself.

I had heard of people titled as 'therapists' and 'social workers'. They had offices that people traveled to in hopes to achieve their mutual goal; to get better. Spewing their problems to strangers, lusting after medication to solve their issues instead of mentally working through it themselves.

No one has problems anymore, everything is stable, proving no reason for these therapists and people alike to exist. So naturally, when I began to feel this way, slow, sluggish and always sad--which is where I later learned the proper collective term is depressed--I was nervous. I couldn't tell anyone how I was feeling, so I guess that's where the running away idea came from. I wonder now if that's why Fredrick decided to go on a outing. Has he become depressed and figured this is a way to momentarily run away? It is a very realistic possibility. I become sardonic with envy. How badly would I like to run away?

There’s a rift in these emotions as they’re coiffed. Suddenly there’s a bounty of remorse, an erratic flow of apologies for my past thoughts, pouring out to my invisible audience. How selfish of me to think about leaving these people in their time of need. What has gotten into me? I have been lead astray by someone, molded to the point where my porous personality is equivalent to that of a scornful human living in the dark times. I sigh aloud in aghast, resolutely stumbling over my inner excuses for the reasoning behind the boisterous sound.

"What's an outing anyway?" I turn to Raeleigh in my bed as she sits on her own, lacing up her shoes. I have learned to refrain from asking her questions, can tell she doesn't enjoy talking to me and fails to hide those feelings. But the gathering for Griffin's death is in a few hours and everyone is feeling a bit off.

   "Get more things," she pulls at the shoelace, retying her worn sneakers. "medicine, books to teach us new things, technology, batteries." Raeleigh looks up at me and smiles. "Soap." We both crack up at the necessity, able to share this moment of agreement and be grateful for the outings more than anyone else for that particular item.

             "It's not scary?" Raeleigh considers this, working on her left foot now.

  "When I first arrived here it was, my dad instantly jumped on the chance to go. He didn't have me at the age," I draw in a sharp breath, startled. I have to look down at the bed to avoid offending her.

Everyone must have their child at age 30. Studies have shown that's when your body is at its peak and the right baby carrying age, providing a more stable environment for development. To hear someone go against the rules, again, makes me want to crawl into a hole and die. Too dramatic?

"So he was young, stupid..." Her voice shakes towards the end of this statement. I hear her inhale quickly, finishing the job on her shoes. Smacking the side as if to rub off some invisible dirt, as well as the pain. "On the outing they were thinking of going into a building that was under construction and getting several materials that would've been harder to get in store. Sure they're all human and could blend in, but people age differently here. Our hair colour, eyes, everything is just different. But my dad thought because he had come in so recently, it'd be okay if someone noticed him." She shakes her head sadly, then remembers her ego and stands confidently. "No one told me what happened in between the time that he entered the half built building and when he stumbled out, sputtering blood onto the concrete before collapsing. I try to tell myself no one knows, he walked in alone against orders and got what he deserved.

No one understands why the execution was so violent, why they let him walk off, barely alive. Some say it was a warning for the rest of them. Some sort of sign to make it clear that they know who we are, that we exist and that we aren't the only ones who can show no remorse. I didn't think anyone who didn't work for The Head had it in them, to kill. But they're all brainwashed anyway and to them rebellion is a form of a virus, I guess. So he had to go." She sniffs once and puts her hand on the door knob. "I was 10 then. I've been here long enough to realize it's a cruel world and it doesn't stop to think about our feelings. Not mine, not Adelaide's and certainly not yours." She looks away quickly and whips open the door, flickering out.

 

It's easy enough to dismiss the thought of the world not apologizing for all the crap it's put me through, I've been able to see that for a while now, I've accepted it. But Adelaide? What did she have to do with anything?

     The image of her innocent, angelic face begins to flicker in my mind. Copper skin, brown eyes, long black curls and a slender, tall figure for her young age of 7. A similar face appears beside it; Raeleigh. I study the contours of their faces, the same healthy shine of their coarse hair. Suddenly the resemblance shines through. "Sisters," I breathlessly say aloud. I don't mean to but the discovery is so horrifying the words escape my lips.

I scramble out of the bed and slither through the crack of the door, no energy to open it. Glancing down both ends of the hall, I analyze before seeing what I had been hoping for. Empty. People are relieved from their duties because of Griffin's death. I assume they're in their rooms now. Catching up on sleep, or crowded in the eating chamber. I don't really care, as long as they're not here now. I race down one of the halls, looking behind me to make sure the coast is still clear.

Running and running with no particular place in mind, just needing to get away. This cult, their group of people with far too many flaws to handle. My fingers can't count the endless amount of secrets stirring within these caves. People ignoring stability, style and undoubtedly the meaning of sterile. But was I not doing the same?

A traitor. My memory screams the word at me, wrapping my heartstrings around it and permanently sketching it into the folds of my brain. This is my seed of mental deterioration, being watered by my tears of defeat, of anguish for putting such disgust behind the sound of my last name. The rippling effect of pain wracks my body, shaking my swiftly moving limbs uncontrollably, my feet promising to slow me down. I push them on, my hungry passion to lose the title of a traitor enough to fuel me.

 "Whoa!" I look ahead to see Seb gracefully dance out of the way and brace himself on the wall. I skid clumsily to a stop.

"Sisters?" I breathe, exasperated. Seb's eyebrows raise.

"What? What are you talking about? Scarlet?" I shake my head and push past him, running on. It's too much for me, the confusion, turn of events bouncing off the walls inside my head. Siblings, time travel, hiding, sand, death...

 I'm ready to leave. Runaway. I don't know where the courage comes from. Where this aching need to be out in the open, exposed at high risk of anything. Great, now I'm ready to accept the fate of death by desert. Stumble out into the unknown until I die. It's better than knowing exactly what's going to happen yet the consequences are a complete mystery, which is what my future holds if I stay here.

 Staying here means an unsterilized environment, chores, and in time, sagging skin. How had I been willing to give up everything for this group of people I hardly know? Wasn't that the case with the outside world as well? No. I didn't give up anything as a child, except my memories for a gap of my short life. In that time, had I been tested on as Griffin was? Given some sickness that forced me to be different? Become a traitor? Why would they want that? Was something like that even possible? It's all too much. Too much to think about with so little time. No one has the answers to my questions. Maybe Kara, but I'm not going to tell her any of my secrets anytime soon.

I keep going, sprinting, turning down random halls whenever the distant sound of chatter draws near. I pull away from the talking, rushing until I pass an open doorway. There's high-pitched whining and screeching and sounds of metal fighting with metal. I look in to see a large chart with a blue print on it, the same blue print from the meeting earlier on this week. A person walks by with a heavy-duty mask on, I gasp and retreat.

 Flitting down another corridor, it's a dead end with a door at the end. I push my legs towards it with what little energy I have left. I pull the handle and the door flies open. Throwing myself inside, I crawl into the farthest corner of the medium sized space and wedge myself in between stacks of silver, boxed structures, not even looking at my surroundings. I pull my knees into my chest, trying to think about nothing at all. It's a very hard task, stripping my mind of all images and words. The jackhammer pounding away in my temples makes it almost impossible to clear my head. It rattles my skull. I strain to keep my lips shut as a scream creeps it's way up my throat. The sand crunching under my feet, dust from the rocky walls gathered on the ground to create a thick carpet of fine sand.

It reminds of outside, of all the bad things that have happened and the worst to come. The previous scream almost rips out of me until the vision of golden sand begins to follow and peaking out from underneath it is a sapphire gem. No wait, two sapphire gems. And they're not gems, but eyes.

The constant pounding seems to slow to a dull tap, a sort of lullaby that rocks me to sleep.

 

 

I'm drawn out of my light nap by a loud, obnoxious creaking. A sliver of light sneaks into the room as the door opens, appearing on the crate to my right. I scoot away from it, trying not to draw attention and hitting the wall behind me. I see the familiar washed out khaki shorts that used to be pants. Fredrick. My heart screams for me to pull myself from my hiding place and reach out to him, but my joints and cramped muscles protest.

His legs travel closer to me and I watch as he settles something down, presumably more crates like the ones that shelter me. He whispers an oath and a crate crashes to the floor in front of me. I hold back a yelp and watch as he stoops to pick it up. A small circular object rolls towards me, through the crack of the boxes and lands by my left foot. I tug it in closer to my thigh, crossing my legs tightly. Fredrick moves the box and his hand moves between to grab the small circle.

Leave it, I mentally tell him, it's not important, just leave it. It's as if he gets the message because his hand just moves to the fallen box, picking it up.

"Fredrick?" He spins skillfully on his heel, a second set of feet appears at the doorway. "Gathering's in 10 minutes. We should get going." He grumbles a rough 'yeah, okay' and sets the box down, following his friend out.

I wait until I can be sure its safe, glancing at the watch. Almost 10 minutes and I have no clue where I'm going. I shove some of the towers out of the way and snake my body from in between, staggering through the door and jogging back down the hall. I turn to see lines of crates like the ones I was hiding behind down one hall, and the other is vacant. The boxes must have come from somewhere, I ponder as I climb my way over and around them. The hall turns and I follow it, ending up at a rock wall with a ladder on the running up it. It reminds me of my time at The Head and I shudder. Shaking it off I begin to climb, opening the hatch above my head and lifting myself out. In the distance I see a gathering of people, running towards them, trying to be cautious, not make any noise.

There’s a gap in the circle as I arrive, the drone of conversation pausing then continuing as I travel through. I scan the crowd for Fredrick and see him, standing closest to the hovercraft in the center. The back of the hovercraft is open, a large wooden box sitting on the ground in front of it. I take my place directly behind him, blending into the others. He doesn't even turn when I walk by.

"We can start now." He says softly, taking a step back. Had they been waiting for me? My cheeks flush at the thought.

Kara takes her stance of authority, all eyes on her. Clearly she's done this before. "We are gathered here on this very painful occasion, to recognize the death of Griffin Sentor, Chaddor Sentor's son." She continues on, the usual speech everyone's heard before. Everyone but me. And a few others but if they're even remotely effected, they're good at hiding it. I wonder why and how these people care so much for someone they barely know, yet when someone as important as our parents die back home in The North, we don't do so much as write their name on the casket card when they're shipped off to the corpse burning plant. I feel like a monster. A heartless monster.

It brings tears to my eyes but thankfully I don't attract any special attention, I'm not the only one crying. Almost everyone around me is wiping their eyes, nose, sniffling, trying to calm their heaving chests, even out their unsteady breathing. It's a symphony of sympathy as I inch my way back from the inner ring of the circle, the sounds of all their sniffles and sobbing creating a rhythm as Kara carries on her lines of empathy. I snake my way out and begin to walk away, watching from a distance.

 "I should probably say a few words." I jump at the sound of Fredrick's voice beside me. I'm always able to detect those accent affected words, from the rest. I hadn't even seen him make his way over to me. "I just don't feel right, you know? Talking to a group of people who didn't even know him. They react to death differently here. They cry like a piece of them has died, too. I know that's how I feel." I nod in confirmation.  I know this is the only thing Fredrick will say about his feelings, so I don't push him. "I said what I could before they brought him out here." I squint out into the distance, hand shielding my eyes as the sand filled wind crusts itself onto my tear streaked cheeks.

“All right?" His hand is placed on top of mine, forcing me to lower it and turn to face him. I try to smile, but only manage a toothless grin, my lips quivering in a straight line. "Hmm." He drops his hands to his sides and stares straight ahead, watching as the box is drawn all the way into the hovercraft and it begins to climb upwards.

I draw away from the harrowing sight. My feet stutter and I stumble before catching myself. Fredrick stands behind me, leaning towards the hovercraft as it races far, far away. I can no longer see his facial expression as I retreat from the scene, leaving him with his own thoughts.

Time to face my own. This is my reality. I must fight for things to go my way now.  I must fight not only for myself, but for all those who have been brainwashed and cannot think nor fight for themselves. There's a sharp sting at the thought of the word 'fight', at it's connection to violence. But I know now, what I must do.

   The weak Scarlet will burn at the corpse plant along with Griffin and the once strong Scarlet that momentarily appeared weeks ago will make a reappearance.

 

We travel back to the tunnels and my limbs attempt to drag me in the usual direction of my sanctuary. I've become my own guide in these caves, finally able to make my own way. To the places I need to go to at least. But today I usher myself towards the conference room once again, following all of the people inside.

I stride in, watching Kara as she sits. She whispers something into John's ear and his face is straight as his head dips slowly. Kara's eyes drift up to meet mine, her lips curving to make a smile but her eyes saying something much different. Negative or positive, I can't tell, but I don't think she wants to deal with my whining right now.

"Yes, Scarlet?" Her voice is mono tone, not very loud but still managing to carry over the noise in the room and reach me very clearly.

"I was just wondering," I say as I travel towards her. Eyes following me until I'm grounded at her side. "well I've been thinking, the time travel idea is the only option we have. I see that now." I can tell she's looking right through my phony line. The queen bee's stinger is pointed upwards and at the ready whenever she needs it. The threatening action of it being driven into my fast beating heart is certainly a possibility. But the others in the room seem to believe me, so she plays along. "But if we do, do this, I want to tag along and in that case I'm going to need some training. So I was wondering if I could take Raeleigh, Fredrick and maybe someone a bit older out onto the land and you know, practice." There's a murmur of acceptance, smiling faces all around as they consider the idea.

             "We have a perfectly good defense room down the hall, Scarlet. You don't need to go out there and risk expose-"

            "There won't be any exposing." I cut in, my voice rising. I struggle to lower it, too hell bent on getting my way. "I swear it. We need more room. And I'm sure I'll recognize my grandfather more than anyone else, so in a way you sort of need me." Kara doesn't want to admit it, but we both know a piece of that is true. It's been so long since anyone's seen him, because he passed away. But I've seen plenty of pictures as well as memories from my childhood and my memory is my strongest weapon. I've always been able to remember things. Maybe this talent has been derived from those years I cannot seem to recall, maybe that makes every other year so very vivid.

"Very well," she says absentmindedly putting very important papers into a very important looking folder. "every evening when the sun is setting. And every other day when it's rising. If I send my men out there, and you're not within distance of their naked eye, there will be consequences." I take the threat lightly, fighting back a smile. But there's something deeper behind her seemingly simple words. Not just like a mother warning her child. The room simply watches in interest, not wanting to interfere. "Ben here will help you with anything you need." She waves her hand in dismissal and a man to her left smiles brightly at me. His short dark orange hair is cropped weird, stray strands dangling in his line of vision. He dull brown eyes light up at the opportunity to please his master. We exit the room together, Ben lingering in the back round like a lost puppy.

"Do we have any guns?" He smiles at me, dipping his head. Yes. "Could you get me a few?"

 "How many?"

"3. And different kinds. We won't need any bullets. Meet me by the main exit." He does a quick u-turn, taking a detour.  I make my way back to my room, almost skipping in excitement. I open the door to see Raeleigh sitting on the bed, an intrigued Adelaide at her side, as they read a book together. I crane my neck to see the front cover, Madeline. I crack a smile. I'll have to borrow that one sometime.

“What is it?" Someone asks. I twitch, eyes wandering to Adelaide. No, not her. The words were must too harsh to come from her.

"Oh. Uh, training." She looks at me, cocking her head to the side, a smile teasing the corners of her lips. I'm not entirely sure why I chose her when listing off names of people who'd be accompanying me. I guess because I don't have many friends. The females here aren't exactly happy that my existence here means all the men are always on outings to prepare for the travel. But in the end I had said her name and if one of Kara's men do see us on the main lands and it's just Fredrick and I, questions will be asked. Raeleigh's presence provides security and an excuse to be out of earshot of our superiors, allowing us to discuss our plan of treason.

"What?" She asks dumbfounded, pretending to be confused; to make me look like the bad guy in front of Adelaide, the one to interrupt their annual story time. I grit my teeth.

“Just-"

 "Secrets don't make friends." Adelaide squeaks, her little face screwed up in distaste. I feel a tantrum rising as her voice climbs an octave.

"Adelaide, go find Seb and Mark and eat dinner. When I'm done we'll read the rest of the book." Her little fists unclench from the tight balls they had rolled up into and she stares at Raeleigh with rising little girl fury.  Then it fades and she crosses her arms.

 "Promise?"

 "Promise." Rae finishes, tucking the book under her pillow. Adelaide nods, squeezing her arms around Rae who returns it with a one armed hug. The ball of energy smiles at me as she scurries out of the room. Rae hops off the bed and strides over to me.

 "Training for what?" She inquires, pulling her hair back.

 "I'll tell you soon." She rolls her eyes and sticks her hand out, telling me to leave. So I do.

I figure finding Fredrick won't be as easy, but I'm proved wrong when we haphazardly stumble past him near the eating corridors. He's talking to an older lady I do not know. She has long black hair with fine grey hairs swimming amongst the others, a forehead wrinkled with time and deep blue eyes that have seen much more than my own. Her sun kissed hands are motioning something unknown as she tells a story. Fredrick may or may not be interested but pretends to be if not. His arms are crossed, lips pursed as he listens, nodding his head every few lines.

 "Him too?" Rae mumbles, dragging me out of my trance.

"Yeah." I lean across the wall, waiting to grasp his attention but not wanting to interrupt. Though Rae looks like she might. When he's done talking, he makes his way towards us. I didn't even think he knew we were here.

"All right?" He says. Rae watches him, just as affected by the eyes as I am. His gaze flickers back and forth, trying to assess the situation.

  "Uh...yeah just…we have...uh...out there is-" Raeleigh stumbles over her words, just as fixated as I am. But I have more experience.

"Training," I use air quotes. "up there." I point to the ceiling, meaning above ground. He smiles, impressed.

"Let's go then."

 

 



© 2013 Janeece


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Added on March 21, 2013
Last Updated on March 21, 2013
Tags: dystopian, love, romance, sickness, cancer, anxiety, adventure, action, murder, suspense


Author

Janeece
Janeece

Canada



About
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..

Writing
Prologue: Secrecy Prologue: Secrecy

A Chapter by Janeece