It's time for another installment. It's hard to believe I started writing this story six weeks ago. Once again, for those of you who've missed the prior installments, I've included the links below.
Or, if you need to read it all in one sitting, I have each part posted on THIS PAGE.
Memoirs From the End of the World
RC nearly stabbed Ollie out of panic. What in the world had she allowed herself to get pulled into? She found herself thinking that if she ran now, she could still get away. She didn’t have to go down with them.
“I’ll go stall the patrol, but you have to hurry!” Alyx announced before making a quick exit.
Her cheeks suddenly flushed a deep crimson. RC felt grateful that Ollie was unable to see her face. Alyx’s selflessness shamed her. If she left them now, Ollie would certainly be carted off to the meat locker, and Alyx might even be punished for harboring a stray. Leaving them to that fate wouldn’t be a suitable way to repay the young man who saved her from the bots.
Locking her jaw in grim determination, she rested the hot blade against Ollie’s back. “Let’s get this done,” she growled through clenched teeth.
Blood rushed up to meet the shiny metal as it burrowed through the skin. Ollie groaned, but he bit his lip, as if struggling to keep any other sounds from escaping. RC felt a wave of gratitude about this. If the patrol heard any of it, they were all finished. She continued to cut until she felt confident that the incision was long and deep enough to get the job done.
“How are you doing?” she whispered as she set the knife down on the dirty kitchen counter. It was probably a bad idea to encourage any conversation at all, but she needed the semblance of normalcy to keep her hands steady.
“About as good as I can be while someone’s carving me like a Thanksgiving turkey,” Ollie said quietly, his voice shaking.
As RC pushed the tracker toward the opening in his skin, she thought back to the family feasts she had growing up. Ham, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes. All things she couldn’t imagine eating again. Then she shook her head, trying to rid herself of the intrusive imagery. Time was too precious to let such frivolous things distract her.
“Almost there,” she assured him as the shiny metal became visible. “This may sting.” With two fingers, she plunged into the wound and snagged the tracker. She started to pull it out, aware that she was inadvertently tearing the flesh. Ollie whimpered into the crook of his arm, but he didn’t outwardly complain.
Damn it, RC thought. I might have to find a way to stitch this up later.
Then it was out. Sitting in the palm of her hand, the spherical object looked like a squashed pea, the flat side adorned with a faintly glowing red light. That meant it was still active. Still dangerous.
Placing the tracker beside the knife, RC hastily slapped a bandage over the surgical site and taped it. “I’ll fix it up properly later. Right now, we have to go.”
She tossed the remaining medical supplies into her backpack while Ollie donned his shirt. “Stay here while I take a quick peek outside,” she hissed as she slung the bag over her shoulder. “I need to see how Alyx is doing out there.”
The living room had hardwood flooring, so she moved with extra caution. These floors didn’t exactly facilitate stealthy movements. The dusty sofa and side table testified to the length of time the family had been absent. It seemed strange that Alyx and Ollie grew up here. She couldn’t picture either of them casually sitting in that room watching TV. Nor could she picture them eating a meal in that kitchen. Then again, she could no longer see herself engaging in such mundane activities either. That all existed in another life.
Pulling back the heavy green curtain ever so slightly, RC saw a patrol of five soldiers standing I front of the house. Her hope plummeted past her knees. Alyx was out there with them, and he’d been forced to his knees. Five weapons were trained on his head, and she couldn’t doubt they were perfectly willing to kill. In fact, there wasn’t any reason why they hadn’t bypassed Alyx already, except she saw his mouth moving. He was talking at an astonishing pace, trying desperately to buy them time. And he succeeded in his mission.
Now RC needed to get him out of there. At first glance, it seemed like a hopeless situation. Her legs trembled with nervous energy, begging to do something.
When the revelation came over her, she was moving before she had time to realize how crazy her plan was. She nearly plowed into Ollie as she skidded into the kitchen.
“What is it?” he demanded. “Where’s Alyx?”
“The patrol has him, and they aren’t playing nice.” RC snagged the tracker and the knife. She hoped she wouldn’t need the knife, but it felt safer to have it. She shoved them both into her pants pocket. “You need to get to the old South Street Drugstore. Tonight.”
Ollie nodded. “That’s pretty far from here.”
She smiled ruefully. “That’s the point. We need to put some distance between us and the patrols right away.”
“How are we supposed to get there?”
“If they’re monitoring the tracker and I run with it, they’ll think I’m you and follow me. I’ll lead them away. Once you’re sure it’s safe, get to Alyx and head to the drugstore. If all goes well, I’ll be meeting you there soon.” Then she reluctantly shoved her backpack into Ollie’s arms. “In case I don’t make it there right away, Alyx should be able to finish cleaning your cut.”
Ollie looked stunned, but he didn’t protest as RC scrambled for the back door. She flew down the dark stairs and into the embrace of night.
She could hardly believe what she’d done. Handing over her pack, with all of her supplies and Romero, her confidant, stored inside seemed unthinkable. What was she doing?
Then she heard the shouts, the hurried footsteps, and she knew.
The patrol wasn’t far behind her.
Go to Entry #7
Go to Entry #7