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Memoirs From the End of the World
The crowd ebbed, flowed, and reacted in bizarre ways as it tried to collectively figure out what was going on. Up to this point, RC hadn’t done anything to draw attention to herself. However, the act of running straight toward the perceived source of the disturbance was clearly arousing the suspicions of some. Whispers followed her as she pushed people out of her way, but she ignored them. If she slowed down for anything, something terrible could happen.
Of course, she glanced to the platform from time to time to keep tabs on what was happening to Alyx. She couldn’t help it. The first time she hazarded a glance, he was still standing there in shock. Part of her wanted to scream for him to run for it just in case a guard decided to come from nowhere and grab him, but she restrained herself. On her next glance, someone was grabbing him. It took a third frantic look to see that it was a couple of Brock’s rebels that were dragging him away from the scene. Relief flowed through her. Though she wasn’t yet out of danger, nor was Ollie, the main objective had been accomplished.
Just as soon as RC’s relief began, it was cut short by the sound of gunfire. One, two, three, four, five, six. Though she tried to keep track of the numbers in her head, she soon lost track. Who was shooting? Had the guards caught up to Ollie? Were they trying to stop the rebels from taking Alyx away? Neither of those options settled well. Or were the rebels the ones responsible for the gunfire?
Don’t worry about that now! RC scolded. Find Ollie first.
It seemed virtually impossible to locate a specific moving target in the chaos, but RC’s eyes finally located Ollie’s frantic face in a gap in the crowd. She pushed herself onwards with a renewed vigor, plowing through the little cloud puffs that her frozen breath left hanging on the air. She clamped her hand firmly on the gun hidden beneath her jacket, knowing that she might have to use it at any moment.
Though Ollie was moving fast, he was also zigzagging to throw off his pursuers, so he wasn’t covering all that much ground. He was currently heading in her direction, and the guards were moving to cut him off. One was raising his weapon, and it looked like he was in a position to get off a reasonably good shot. Resolving that this was the time to make her move, she whipped out the little pistol and took aim. Hasty though the shot was, the bullet buried itself in the guard’s wrist, forcing him to drop the weapon. It skidded along the ground and was soon lost as the hurried footsteps of those in the vicinity kicked it further into the horde. RC took another shot, this one piercing his knee. The guard dropped, exposing the guard immediately behind him to attack. This time, the guard aimed his weapon at her, and she only had a split second to disarm him the same way.
Ollie zagged again, and RC matched course.
More rapid gunfire ensued. This time RC’s ears told her that the sound was coming from just outside the area. Please let those be the rebels, RC thought, well aware that she could only successfully dodge so many shots.
Soon her path intersected with Ollie’s, and they were nearly running side by side. This clearly made them an easier target, but they were also nearing their escape route. Brock must have reminded them a hundred times. If they made it to the corner of Billson Avenue and 2nd Street, which was just outside the open area used for public executions, people would be there to clear off anyone who might still be after them.
Safety was in sight. Both of them were almost there . . .
RC’s leg went up in flame as something tore through her flesh. The sound of the shot arrived a fraction of a second later. She stumbled, and in that moment, she knew whoever shot her would be able to apprehend her within moments.
Another pain came, this time in her arm. Except this pain was caused by Ollie’s fingernails as he seized her arm and pulled her along. “Hurry!” he urged.
More shots rang out, except this time, RC knew for certain it came from the rebels, because one of them felled the person who shot her. This time when she hazarded a glance back, no one seemed to be following them. Surely reinforcements were on their way, but with any luck, she’d be on the way back to the rebel hideout by then.
And Ollie, of course. She definitely didn’t want anything bad to happen to him either.
Ollie pulled RC along, though she kept her legs moving in spite of the blinding pain. Soon they made it around the corner. A truck had already pulled up to take them away. It was aimed away from the mayhem to facilitate a quick escape.
RC and Ollie clambered into the back, followed by the last of the soldiers. The truck was in motion before the back doors were closed all the way. RC didn’t so much sit down as tumble into a seated position. Her heart was still pounding, though the panic associated with her mad dash to freedom was quickly being replaced by a far more pressing concern.
“Did we all make it?” she asked, unable to make out anything in the dark.
“All present and accounted for,” Becca replied.
A couple of heartbeats later, there was a hopeful voice. “Rose? Is that you?”
“Yes. It’s me.” She followed the sound of Alyx’s voice and found him leaning against the wall. She settled next to him and reached out. “I’m here.”
His hand emerged from the shadows and clasped hers. She could feel him trembling.
Go to Entry #35
Go to Entry #35