Chapter 10

Chapter 10

A Chapter by Preeti
"

The final chapter of Semantic Blends: A Chain Novel.

"

CHAPTER TEN

Written by Entity Sylvir (http://www.writerscafe.org/Entity-Sylvir)

Written for Semantic Blends: A Chain Novel Experiment

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The figure was pacing rapidly. “Damn damn DAMN! What happened this time?”

 

“I’m sorry, ma’am, he just collapsed, muttering something about a blind man. Oh, and we found a wolf-hound circling him, must have been a stray who followed him.”

 

She stopped, growling in annoyance. “It must be the withdrawal. I knew Abraham’s new batch of Elatone was dangerous, guess I underestimated the psychoactive properties. Didn’t realise it was such a powerful hallucinogen either. Damn!” she swore again. “I was going to rush out at him when he hit the forty-minute mark.”

 

The henchman bowed his head. “Should I have him moved, ma’am?”

 

“Yes you should have him moved!” she snapped. “I would have gotten him as soon as he turned up here if the stupid police hadn’t barged in. Incompetent gits, the lot of them. At least marrying Abraham put me out of suspicion, even if he does constantly stick his nose in my business.” She took a few steps then rested her forehead against a half-collapsed wall, wincing slightly as the action pulled on sore muscles. The legal system was a wonderful thing, with enough loopholes for her and her little group to reach into and wrap around themselves like a safety net. The self defence law she was particularly fond of, and in her hysterical moods she sometimes found herself imagined taking it as her personal motto; it’s not abuse if you don’t hit first. It had become almost a game to her, provoking her fiancé. And he was always the one who ended up worse for wear.

 

“Bring him in here. I don’t know what that stupid drug did, but the subconscious has a habit of noticing things the conscious mind doesn’t, even if it draws the wrong conclusions. He suspects something now, at any rate.”

 

There were a few minutes of shuffling as Josh’s unconscious body was brought into the abandoned structure, and then a few more of muttering as various people tried various ways to wake him. Finally, she whirled around with a frustrated scoff and stalked up to him.

 

“Josh, Josh?”

 

Josh stirred.

 

“Josh, it’s me, Gail.”

 

His eyelids fluttered, slowly peeling back to reveal the deep green eyes that she knew so well.

 

“Gail? What happened?”

 

He sat up, looking around the room, and gasped as he noticed the others. Fear gripped him as he recognised the two officers he’d rescued Gail from and the three drug dealers who had confronted him earlier.

 

“It’s okay, Josh, they’re with me.”

 

“But, it’s them! The ones that hurt you!”

 

Gail laughed softly. “Those uniforms are pretty convincing, aren’t they? But don’t worry, they weren’t going to hurt me. I just wanted to see how far you’d go to save me.”

 

“No! I saw them, and I-“ but no, he hadn’t. He’d come across them as they were, seen one of them swing at her and watched as the blood trickled down from a so-called injury that had absolutely no effect on her. And then he’d been knocked unconscious and when he woke, they were gone. And Gail, oh God, Gail.

 

“And, them?” He indicated to the ‘Smart People.’

 

“Oh, you’ll have to forgive them for being a bit overdramatic. And exaggerating, the drugs only fund us.”

 

“Us?” Josh scrambled up, taking a step back from the girl who he had once loved. “You’re one of the Smart People?”

 

Gail simply straightened and stepped forward, moving back into his personal space. “Not just one of, honey. I ordered them to be ready to ask you to join us as soon as you came into our little hideout " God bless the legal system, for keeping everyone out of the ruins " and then that stupid sergeant came and messed it all up.”

 

Josh’s eyes widened in horror. She couldn’t be the leader of those madmen, couldn’t be!

 

“Oh don’t worry about him,” she hastened to reassure. “I’ll have Abraham well wrapped around my finger by the time I finally convince him to go through with the wedding.” She lifted her arms, resting them on Josh’s shoulders and leaning closer. “You understand, don’t you? I lost my entire family in the quake, and the council doesn’t even let me commemorate them. We were doing well in the beginning, surviving without their help. My parents weren’t the most savoury of characters, I learnt from them. And then I got mixed up in a few things in college, and that was just the break I needed.” A maniacal smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Don’t you see? We don’t hurt anyone, we just survive. We are the smart ones!”

 

Sickened, Josh tried to step back again, but she held him fast. Lords, Gail wasn’t kidding about learning from her parents. Her strength, the dark glint in her eyes, it frightened him. “The drugs hurt people,” he ground out, all too aware of the eyes on him.

 

“Only the stupid ones.” Gail’s fingers tightened painfully on his shoulders. For the first time, Josh found himself quite intimidated by her height. It had been a thrill at first, dating a girl several years older than him, but now it just made him feel insignificant. “I love you, Josh. I remember you. I knew you’d come back eventually, to your old house, to my old house. I know you’d find my stupid pink room and my note-“

 

Wait.

 

“Uh, Gail?” Josh interrupted with a frown. “That room, that note, they weren’t yours.”

 

The young woman’s face twisted into a snarl. “What are you talking about? Of course they were mine.”

 

“Gail,” Josh said again, voice dropping in the way it would when one confronted a wild animal. “Josephine was the one who lived there, who moved to Atlanta. She wrote that note.”

 

“No, NO!” Gail suddenly screamed, taking a step back and wrenching her arms away from him. He had barely a moment’s warning before she slapped him, hard, across the mouth. His head was flung to the side and he cried out in pain, spitting blood onto the floor. “There’s no other girl! There’s only me, there’s no one else for you!”

 

“Gail,” Josh whispered through his torn lips. He looked up at the wild eyed woman towering over him, so different from the sweet girl who had taken his first kiss. “You’re insane.” He threw himself to the side, away from her, voice rising. “And they’re all insane for following you!” One of the henchmen reached out to stop him but he ducked under the outstretched limb. In the silvery moonlight shining in from the destroyed roof, he could see the fresh track marks on his forearm.

 

A beat, then:

 

“Oh, so that’s how you lead them.”

 

Gail screeched in fury, lunging for him, but Josh was faster. The Smart People may know their hideout, but he also knew his house. He was the Silent Stealer, after all, he could run. He ducked through his half-collapsed doorway " they hadn’t bothered to take him in any further than the foyer " and rushed out into the yard with Gail and her followers in pursuit.

 

Dead branches and pieces of fallen roof and wall littered the yard, but being a semi-professional thief had given him the agility to weave around the obstacles. Gail was closest behind him, and years in the criminal underworld had made her a more than worthy opponent. Josh sprinted away from the wreck, the night air whipping around his ears, pushing his legs until he heard the others drop away. Until it was just him and Gail.

 

Suddenly, a howl broke through the sound of shoes on asphalt and laboured panting, followed by a cry of pain. Josh skidded to a halt, spinning around to see a giant wolf-hound crouched over Gail’s fallen body as she lay on her back on the ground. He vaguely remembered seeing it when he had first walked up to his old house earlier today (was it only today?), and when it lifted its head Josh could see its clouded eyes. Josh communicated a silent thanks to the creature.

 

“I loved you.” Josh’s voice was quiet, still out of breath. “But I was young, and I’ve changed. And you’ve changed.”

 

Gail continued to struggle as the hound pressed a massive paw to her breast, blood seeping from gashes on her arms and abdomen onto the broken road. Josh turned away.

 

To think that less than twenty-four hours ago he had been worrying over a report card. Maybe he had been right after all; maybe he was meant for something else.

 

 

* * *

 

 

The road away from Thousand Oaks was narrow and in desperate need of repair. There was a train station a couple of miles out, illuminated by the soft rays of a rising sun.

 

“Excuse me ticketmaster, when is the next train for Atlanta?”

 

 

 

 

 

~fin~

 



© 2012 Preeti


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Reviews

Nice! I didn't see it ending this way... but it is still good.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Gail has good intentions, I think, in her head. She basically rebells against the city's rules (understandably) and with a not entirely legal upbringing, plus getting mixed up with drugs (I actually imagined dealing, not taking, though that may have happened too) lead her to start her own resistence group. And she's not entirely sane, hence her cold-heartedness and her obsession with Josh.

Josephine really was the one with the pink room and it really was her note, but Gail was unable to accept that Josh had another girl that he loved and her mind twisted it around (given that her hideout was in the ruined houses she must have come across it at some point).

And anyway, glad you liked it!

Posted 9 Years Ago


Oh wow. I was totally not expecting this! This chapter left me feeling a sense of resolution yet still thirsty for more. It practically begs for a sequel, doesn't it?

I think this chapter is well-done! It's well-penned and makes a solid attempt at typing up the loose ends. As I was writing the last chapter, I went through the entire novel to make a list of loose ends and there were a LOT. I think you've done a very good job to wrapping this story up and I know that must have been difficult so good job!

Gail's character changed considerably though I suppose that is an inevitable consequence of what you've written here. One thing I don't understand, though: what exactly is her motivation to do what she does? The drugs? I think this could be explained a little more clearly. And the whole Gail/Josephine mystery is still a little unclear.

Other than those, I think you've done a fantastic job here.

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on January 3, 2012
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Author

Preeti
Preeti

San Diego, CA



About
College undergraduate with an inconvenient tendency to drift into imaginary worlds. Half of what I think isn't original (as there is so little these days which truly is 100% original) and the other ha.. more..

Writing
Chapter I Chapter I

A Chapter by Preeti


Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by Preeti


Chapter 3 Chapter 3

A Chapter by Preeti