It's Friday once again, and time for another foray to the end of the world, at least as far as our main character is concerned. You can find the entire story on this PAGE if you need to get caught up with earlier chapters.
You can also find my A-Z entry for K HERE.
Memoirs From the End of the World
RC felt numb. There was no other way to describe it. Nothing had gone as they planned. Absolutely none of it. And now here they were.
After Ollie rushed in to drag her away from the wreckage, RC found herself thrust into a new world. The rebels were hidden away in a sizeable (to someone accustomed to hiding in nooks and crannies when needed, anyway) underground shelter. RC met the rebel leader Brock, who had to be at least in his mid-forties. He was ex-military and knew how to put up a fight. A series of scars on his face and neck, standing out bright against his dark skin, proved that he’d seen some kind of action and lived to tell about it.
Brock’s second in command was a woman named Becca. She was barely 5’3 and couldn’t have weighed more than 110 pounds, but her eyes let you know not to mess with her. She stood with a calm confidence that comes with the knowledge that you can stop any enemy that might try to mess with you.
Several others joined Brock and Becca in their various missions outside, while a few children and elderly held down the fort the rest of the time. RC had no idea this many people had been living under the radar of their overlords. It was almost enough to give her hope. Had Alyx been there with them, she would have actually been relatively happy, even knowing the things that had happened to her while they were held captive. As long as she could look forward, she could cope with it.
Jill was there amongst them, of course, but now she was actually conscious and capable of conducting a conversation. That also meant RC had to be the one to tell her what befell her brother Tim. She regretted having to be the one to break that kind of news to someone, but keeping it from her would have been worse. Jill didn’t look surprised, though her knees buckled, and after that she spent several hours sitting alone in the corner. Even after Jill started interacting with the group again, she never asked about the details of how Tim died. RC felt selfishly grateful of this much. She wasn’t in any mood to go over the morbid details. Seeing Jill’s face every day reminded her all too much of the terrible way she lost her brother Pete. She tried to drown out the vision of his head exploding against the house as their overlords exercised their wrath.
Ollie had the rebels retrieve Isabel and the kids from their hideout. The three of them seemed more than happy to be there. They clearly felt the hope and optimism that RC wished she could feel.
You’re alive. You’re free. You can do Alyx more good here than you could there, she tried to remind herself. Then the corresponding horror blew up in her mind like a billboard. It was too big, too distracting for her to ignore it. Unless they already killed him.
The rebels had already promised to investigate what happened to Alyx. They continued their excursions into the city center, creating mischief wherever they could to keep the alien overlords on their metaphorical toes. And each time they promised to keep their eye out for any sign of where Alyx might be. Not that RC got her hopes up. She understood the odds against finding him in this way. The rebels had their own priorities, and they were hardly likely to reevaluate those priorities over one person they didn’t even know.
One day while Brock and Becca were out, RC sat with her back to the wall. She chose this spot because she was by herself. She balanced Romero in her lap, which Ollie was sure to retrieve when he went to get Isabel and the others. Making a note to thank him for that, RC opened the book. Part of her wanted to write her feelings, as if hemorrhaging the poisonous feelings of pain might actually make a difference.
It’s been a long time since I felt this bad. This is why I was so determined to be independent in the beginning. I was terrified something like this would happen. That I might grow to love someone, then lose them, only to let a piece of myself go with that loss.
My fears have come true.
I love Alyx, but there’s a part of me that definitely wishes I didn’t. It would certainly make things a lot easier on me. I wish I wasn’t worrying about what they’re doing to him. I wish I didn’t have the gruesome images of what those monsters are capable of seared into my head. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be having nightmares about those things being done to him. I wouldn’t wake up in tears in the middle of the night.
Then I think about the good things. I think about the person he is, and I know I can’t wish my feelings away. I only wish things had turned out better.
RC paused in her writing, and she noticed Ollie looking at her from the other side of the room. Since losing Alyx, the two of them had been casting looks of pain and regret at one another, though they hadn’t spoken of it either. What was there to say?
As RC lamented the failure of words, several sets of footsteps echoed through the room. Moments later, Brock and the others appeared through a side door. He nodded to Ollie. “Hey kid, we have news for you about your brother.”
Ollie took a step forward, while RC leapt to her feet in anticipation.
“It isn’t good though,” Brock added. “He’s alive, but they’re planning a public execution two days from now. Apparently they want to make an example of him to keep others from going rogue.”