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Memoirs From the End of the Word
Isabel didn’t meet RC’s eye. She looked instead at her knees, which she’d drawn up to her chest. Something about being questioned was definitely setting her on edge.
The lack of a verbal response left RC feeling awkward, but she proceeded anyway. “Is there any way the others can track you? Were you ever injected with a tracking device? If you were, we need to deal with that before we go any further.”
She sighed. “They did, but I already took care of it.”
“What do you mean?”
Isabel held up her hands and displayed her bloody fingernails. “I dug it out of my back before I came to get you.” She shrugged her coat off of one shoulder to expose a jagged cut just beneath her shoulder blade.
RC was impressed and mildly horrified. It would have been extremely difficult for anyone to dig out something like that without help. The wound demonstrated her determination. Or maybe it proved that, after everything she’d been through, she wasn’t about to be deterred by the pain of such an operation.
“I can clean that out for you,” RC said, her suspicions forgotten. She searched her backpack and located the few remaining medical supplies. At the very least she could clean it out and get it covered. It was too dark and cold to do anything more than that.
While RC carefully wiped away the dried blood, Alyx started asking his own questions. “Are you okay? Last night, you were supposed to go with that one guy. He didn’t seem too gentle.”
“That’s an understatement,” Isabel replied. “He didn’t do anything worse to me than what he’s done before. I think he considered me his toy. He had his own room of the house where he liked to take me. He didn’t do it every night. Unfortunately, a couple of the others took advantage of those nights off.”
“How did you get away from him?” Alyx asked. “You must have been worried he’d asked questions if he saw you cutting your tracker out of your back.”
Isabel bit her lip. At first, RC wondered if she’d caused her any pain while tending to her injury, but the real reason for the gesture soon became clear. “I saw how violent he could be. I watched while he slaughtered a group of children when they refused to cooperate. Why would he show me any mercy if he caught me trying to escape? I couldn’t risk it. And I knew if I didn’t take advantage of a chance to get away, I’d regret it.”
RC stopped what she was doing and put a comforting hand on Isabel’s arm. “You can tell us what you did. It’s okay.”
A low, joyless laugh preceded Isabel’s response. “After everything he did to me, you’d think I wouldn’t feel bad. I just . . . I saw death everywhere, but I never actually killed me. Even after he fell asleep, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But then I saw that he left his knife on the table, and I knew if I would ever have a chance to get away, that was it. So I grabbed it and cut his throat.” She paused, her expression distant. “He died slower than I expected. There was a lot of blood, but it still happened much slower than I thought it would.” Her words sounded hollow.
Silence fell over them all. RC certainly didn’t like Spiked Club. She could still feel his rough hands and the forced kiss that left her feeling nauseous. Had he gotten his way and taken her for the night as he’d tried to do, she might’ve been the one to take his life. After some thought, she knew that she would have killed him to save herself. No question, and she hadn’t had to deal with him for nearly as long as Isabel. “It’s all right,” RC said as she proceeded with dressing the wound. “You did what you had to do. The world we live in makes horrible things necessary sometimes.”
“The only thing that matters now is that you’re okay,” Alyx added. “We’ll make sure you never see the others.”
“It’s odd,” Isabel added. “It’s obvious that what he did to me was wrong. It used to be called rape. Now, it’s no different than what happens in the breeding centers. More rough, maybe, but more honest. He never pretended to do it for any other reason other than that he wanted to do it.”
RC didn’t know how to respond, but she knew there was truth in Isabel’s words.
Once she was bandaged up, Isabel drifted off to sleep. She had every reason to be tired.
RC and Alyx, on the other hand, weren’t even remotely sleepy.
“The second the snow clears up enough, we need to move,” Alyx insisted. “They’ll be angry. I doubt they could find us all that easily, but I want to put as much distance between us and them as possible.”
Alyx sighed. “I can’t stop worrying about Ollie. He looked so sick when we left him, and if anything were to happen, I’m not sure if the kids can handle it.”
RC put her hand on his. “It’ll be okay. We’ll make it back soon enough, and you’ll see for yourself.” Of course, RC couldn’t be certain of this, but she didn’t want to add to his worries.
Hours passed, and they spent that time talking quietly while Isabel slept on. They avoided any further mention of the horrors they’d gone through. Instead they focused on life before the overlords. Back when life was uncomplicated. When you could be reasonably sure that you’d get up in the morning and make it through the day.
The wind eventually died down, and when Alyx went to peek out the door, he brought back the anticipated news. “Let’s wake Isabel up. It’s time to go.”
Go to Entry #23
Go to Entry #23