Waking Up

After issues that were never resolved during The Cold War, and all nuclear bombs are detonated across the globe, only four teenagers are left alive-or so they think. Secrets that the US government wished to keep hidden are unearthed as these four travel across the country to save the world. When all is said and done, will there be peace-or will a war be raged on these heroes?

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23. Birthday Surprise

Twelve Years later:

 

People: Caine, Corey, Claudia, Mindless/Conscious Mae

Location: Surburban Chicago

When: Fourteen Years after Nuclear Zombie Apocalypse, 2059:June:25

 

Caine:

 

Caine watched from the window as children raced around on their hoverboards and threw water at one another. Unbeknownst to him, a war raged on. Between his presumably dead mother, and his father. Caine hadn't seen his father, since- God he couldn't remember. He feared his father must be dead. He had lived with his grandmother his whole life, and now she was getting sick. A side effect of the cure she had been administered fourteen years ago, two years before he had been conceived. Now twelve Caine was growing restless of being inside all the time. 

 

"Caine darling come along."

 

"Coming grandmother." It was time for his morning lesson. Oh how he envied the outside children. His life consisted of nothing but training because his grandmother feared her only daughter would come and kill them both. It was ludicrous notion, because his father made sure they had a protection detail, along with the protection detail Claudia already had being a military wife. A knock sounded on the door, a door that hadn't been opened in almost twelve years. He watched his grandmother go to the door, and he hid instinctively...

 

"Corey! Oh my...its been so long."

 

"I know and I'm so sorry." There was a shuffle of cloth and what seemed like patting. "Where is Caine?"

 

"Caine dear, its alright." Claudia called out. "Its only your father. Is it over then? Is Mae finally at peace?"

 

"No, but I haven't seen her for a decade or so. What harm can a little visit do?"

 

"Is that wise?"

 

"I'm smart Claudia, not wise." Caine came out from behind the chair, and his eyes fell on a tall man, that looked much like him in bone structure, but his eyes were different, and so was his hair. But he had the same tanness to his skin, and the same mischievous glint in his eye. "Hello son." Caine recognized the man speaking from pictures, but he was still cautious. Maybe too much so, because his father looked chestfallen and stood fully erect once more. Caine couldn't bear to be the reason for his father's sadness, so he spoke up

 

"Hello father. Sorry for hiding earlier, but grandmother taught me to be weary of the door."

 

"Oh a wise woman she is."

 

"Be weary of the door because good and evil can come through its threshold." Caine finished bitterly.

 

"He got the bitterness from his mum." Corey said with a laugh.

 

"Oh I know, and the mischief is from you."

 

"I'm right here."

 

"We know dear. Oh, its your birthday!" Claudia disappeared and reappeared once more with the bags Corey had originally dropped off.

 

"What are those?" Caine asked,

 

"Memories." Corey answered,

 

"Here, I wanted you to be old enough to understand." Claudia handed over the bags and Caine emptied them onto the floor. Two journals, photographs, clothes, one thing caught his eye,

 

"What's this?" Caine said holding up an envelope with an H on the seal.

 

"A letter from your mother before you were born. She knew it was unlikely she'd survive, so she wrote before you were even born. She wasn't always evil and mindless like now." Corey said, not caring if his son saw him cry. Caine ripped open the envelope and unfolded the letter,

 

Dearest Child (Caine, or Lena),

I know I may not be there with you in body, but know that I am there in spirit. I never wished to leave you alone in the world without a mother. But I knew you would be in good hands no matter what. So many people care for you already. Your father for certain, he cries with joy and excitement each time you move little one, and your aunt is thrilled-its the happiest I've seen her since our falling out. Now, your god father, he's a tricky book to read. He's a comedian at best, but when it comes to feelings, he's a mess...but I love him so much and I don't know what I would do if I ever lost him again, or any of them. If the only option of my survival was if they were to die, I would choose them over me, because I know that without them I could never care for you, like they would without me. They would turn to you, and cherish you because you were the last of me...but if they were to die and I to survive, you would only be the last of one of them and not all of them. I know its selfish, because you could never meet me, or have me sing you to sleep. I could never hold you. But I can name you. 

 

Caine if you are to be a boy, and Lena if you are a girl. Now, if you are a boy, you were named because of the struggles I and your family had to face on the journey to you. If you are a girl, Lena because that was my aunt's name on my father's side...Just know darling that I love you from wherever I am, and never forget that you are loved, and special, and cherished. And whatever evil that may spread in my absence it is not because of you sweet angel. You are the saving grace to this family, remember that. We had lost hope long before you came...but now that you're almost here, I can feel the hope spreading through all of us. Maybe evil will not win, maybe we will all survive and live happily ever after...but that is a childish fantasy, and I know it is also a foolish, and selfish one as well. I must bid you goodbye, until we meet again.

 

I love you sweet prince/princess.

LOVE, Mom.

 

Caine looked up from the letter tears in his green eyes. He looked to his father, and then his grandmother.

 

"She knew she was going to die?"

 

"Yes, you see..."

 

"Maybe you shouldn't tell him Denton's betrayals as of yet."

 

"Your mother sustained injuries during a fall, and her uterus collapsed...she knew that following through with the birth could and would kill her but did so anyway because she loved and believed in you." Caine's tears overflowed as he looked up at his father, stoic by nature but somewhere deep inside, Caine felt that his father was once an emotional man, who cared too much and it ended up getting him hurt. 

 

"If she died, how is she hunting me?"

 

"Not you precisely, she's hunting me, and I her. She wouldn't want this. She hated the idea of resurrection-I couldn't bring myself to remind her that Owen had been resurrected."

 

"Do you know if-"

 

"He's dead Claudia, I'm sorry. I returned momentarily to be sure, and found the hotel empty and blood, too much to survive on the floor and wall. And a boot print too small to be Owen's." Tears fell from Claudia's eyes. Owen was like a son to her, and he was dead.

 

"How can she do this?"

 

"Maxwell took away her soul, her memories, everything that made her Mae Lynn." Corey said sitting down. "Caine, would you like to go for a walk with me? Outside. Claudia you don't have to come if you don't want to."

 

"Sure." Caine knew by stepping outside, his mother could easily find them. Caine didn't know how unless he had a tracking device on him. Which he supposed was possible if Maxwell had him. "Dad, did Maxwell ever hold me for long periods of time?"

 

"Well yes when he rescued us from the island."

 

"Is it possible for him to have put a tracking device on me?"

 

"Why would he want to?"

 

"I don't know." Caine said finally. "Maybe he planned for us to scatter like this." Corey looked down at his son and processed what he was saying.

 

"Its possible. Maxwell is a piece of work. You solve problems like your mother." 

 

"Thanks." Corey held Caine close to his side as they rounded a corner. "Hey, I've never had ice cream before." The food lover in Corey almost died hearing this, and steered Caine in the direction of an ice cream parlor. 

 

"Not as good as New York but it will do." Corey said happily as he ordered his son's first ice cream. "How did your grandmother not buy you any ice cream?"

 

"We've never left the apartment. Groceries were delivered to us. We feared mom would find us...and grandma is getting sick, its a side affect from the cure."

 

"Mae gave Claudia that cure, if she ever regains her old self she'll be devastated, and it would mean that Suzanne would've died anyway."

 

"My aunt right? The traitor from mom's point of view, the love of his life from Owen's, and from you, your other un romantic half. She was your twin-you would've died for her, wouldn't you?"

 

"Yes I would've. But she was stupid in her last moments and went after Mae by herself. Mae was always the more skilled fighter. I blame your grandfather, he drilled military training into her. Martial arts was her thing."

 

"So my mom is a ninja?"

 

"Yes and not in a cool way." Corey said chuckling. "Caine, what would you do, if your mother found us?"

 

"Probably hide somewhere like grandma taught me. Or kick her ass, whichever."

 

"Well maybe you should stick to the first one." Caine looked confused, "It seems your suspicions about a tracker was correct. Now hide." Caine rolled underneath the table and Corey went outside, Caine being his father's  son went out after him, keeping out of sight. He saw a woman, with long red wavy hair, and pale skin. Her emerald eyes shone with fury, and a giddy sense that she had finally found her quest at an end. Caine held his breath, that was his mother. He held a picture of her up, and looked at the real life version and the picture. The picture was smiling a friendly, loving smile, and the real life, was smiling a far more sinister version.

 

"Hello Mae." he heard his father speak.

 

"Corey I presume. I was following Caine. How perfect that two of my targets are in one place.

 

MAE:

 

Please don't kill them!

 

Shut up. We both know you're not capable of helping them

 

I spoke up to Maxwell didn't I? 

 

And have you done it since? No, that's what I thought

 

 

"Mae you don't have to do this." Corey pleaded.

 

"Why is that you guys always say that?"

 

"Because its the truth! I love you Mae, please think of Caine. I know the real you is in there somewhere. Break through please." 

 

"No. It won't work. Even if that side of me existed it is too weak to help you."Hey! I can too help them! Mae held her head as if battling something invisible to Corey and Caine, GET OUT OF MY HEAD! Mae held up a gun and shot Corey. NO, That is the last straw. You've killed my best friend, my sister, and now my husband, you are not going to kill my SON! The conscious Mae battled with her mindless self, and the body collapsed, Caine ran to his father's side, he wasn't dead yet and Caine hoped to save him. 

 

"Caine, run."

 

"I'm not leaving you father!"

 

"Run Caine, run as far away as possible." His father took a final breath before he was gone. 

 

"NO! Father, COREY wake up! Please you've got to wake up." Caine turned towards his mother's body, still on the ground as if battling something internally. She was unconscious he realized and kicked her tenderly.  The gun in her hand was twitching with it, and Caine took it from her and returned to his father's side. He watched as the bitch rose from the  ground and held her head, as if it ached. She blinked a few times and smiled. The smile from the picture was plastered on her lips, and it was directed at him, but then her eyes took in his father's lifeless body, and she let out an ear piercing scream. His mother, mindless and blood thirsty moments before was kneeling on the ground screaming like a banshee.

 

"NO! NOOOOOOOOOOO! Please, Corey no. Why wasn't I strong enough to beat her so long ago! Corey please wake up."

 

"I've tried that. It seems begging him to wake up doesn't work." Caine said dryly not believing his mother had recovered her soul so quickly. He gripped the gun tighter, as she looked up at him.

 

"You seem to have inherited his humor. Dry." Mae said cautiously, looking at the gun in her son's hand. "You don't have to worry. The monster side of me is gone."

 

"Why should I believe you? You've killed my family. The ones you would rather die in place of then let them die. You've betrayed them. You've betrayed me." Caine said angrily. "I should kill you, like you did them. Cut off your head and deliver it to Maxwell."

 

"I deserve nothing more." Mae muttered. "Kill me then Caine. Show me how good hearted you are and kill me. Eye for an eye isn't it? Kill me and you prove that Maxwell is in the right. Kill him, and the world knows he isn't perfect. But killing isn't a life I wanted for you."

 

"No, you wanted me not to have a life!"

 

"No my darling, Maxwell wanted you dead. Don't ask me why. He was angry at me because I broke his cousin's heart by choosing Corey. He was mad at Owen because Danny got in the way. He was mad at Suzanne because she loved Owen even after his many errors. He is mad at you because you shouldn't exist in his mind. In his mind I belong to Danny and therefore you should be Danny's child. He's an evil creature and survives on the bodies and souls of his enemies. He's been planning to start a Supernatural take over, the humans as slaves. He has to be stopped, and I'm the only one he trusts."

 

"Why should I believe you?"

 

"Because if I was truly still mindless, and blood thirsty, you wouldn't be alive. Now would you?" Mae said quietly looking at her son, he looked just like her love. "Oh  Corey, I am so sorry."

 

"Maybe he planned this."

 

"Its sounds like him."

 

"Oh, your mom is sick." Caine said quietly, "From the cure she was given."

 

"God damnit. Even with a soul I manage to kill the ones I love."

 

"Hey, how were you supposed the know the cure would do this."

 

"How did you get so smart?"

 

"Grandma." he said with a smile. Mae got up, "How are we going to transport him?"

 

"Denton gave me some enhancements which included enhanced strength." Mae picked up the dead, weight of Corey and hulled him on her shoulders. "I don't know how to summon a reaper. But I will try." Caine looked at his mother in awe, "Aren't you going to show me to the apartment, or do you want to gawk all day?"

 

"Sorry." Caine stood and texted his grandmother off his tablet. A birthday gift from the previous year, 

 

Dad dead. Mae found soul. coming to apartment. don't trust her. be prepared. he hit send and pocketed the device. He rounded a corner, glad his father only took him a short ways. He recognized his building by the kids playing outside his window. He entered the apartment complex and waited for his mother to follow. When she was close enough he took off once again and boarded an elevator, wanting to give her arms a break, and he knew she'd be too tired to try anything.

 

"I know you don't trust me, and I understand that."

 

"Good, because I won't trust you for a very long time." Caine said bitterly. "I only just met my father today thank you. Did you really have to kill him?"

 

"It wasn't me...I mean it was but it was the souless version of me. I had no choice, I tried for years to fight her...to fight me but the only thing I could do was bring up memories and speak out loud for a   few moments and then I would use up all my strength in those moments that I would be dormant for years."

 

"But when you killed dad, something snapped right? You had enough and you fought back."

 

"No, it was that she was going to kill you, Caine you saved me without ever knowing it. By chance did your father pack Denton's journals?"

 

"No, not that I know of, they might be in his HOVER." Caine said, "Why?" he questioned.

 

"Denton brought Owen back with a Reaper. I want to bring Corey back the same way."

 

"Why not just break into SCB or whatever and take one of those reapers?" Caine questioned once more.

 

"Because its not that simple."

 

"What if it is?"

 

"You are persistent, just like your father."

 

"Apparently I solve problems like you." Caine said with a smirk.

 

"You've got his smile."

 

"Whose?"

 

"Its silly but Owen's. Its damn impossible but that is his smirk. Unless Owen and Corey are related somehow,"

 

"Well I have pictures of uncle Owen, maybe I got it from that."

 

"Maybe." Mae said smiling down at her son. "I've missed so much, and for that I'm sorry."

 

"I've turned out just fine. I don't blame you."

 

"Who do you blame?"

 

"Denton." Caine said simply. "He's the reason behind all of this isn't he? Probably the reason behind how crazy that Biscione is."

 

"How do you know what Maxwell is?"

 

"Huh? I thought that was common knowledge."

 

"Corey didn't even know. How did you find out?"

 

"I found reports of the murders you committed and put two and two together. Grandma gave me a big book of mythical creatures, and the Biscione was one of them. Oh...huh, so if Max is that snake thing then um would that make Danny one as well?"

 

"I never thought of that. Are you sure my mother gave you that book?"

 

"Yes, she said it belonged to you. That it was a gift from a friend."

 

"What friend?"

 

"Daniel." Mae closed her eyes.

 

"It wasn't from Daniel. It was from Max. He wanted you to know what he was, how he got it into your belongings is beyond me."

 

"You don't think grandma is sick because of Max, do you?"

 

"If I couldn't find you, how did Max find you?"

 

"I don't know."

 

"And why would he want you to know what he was?"

 

"Maybe he wants me to try to stop him...or he wants to change me into something like him, and join his war effort." Caine mused.

 

"I wouldn't put it past him." The elevator dinged as Mae said it, and she picked up Corey once more. "Maybe he's faking."

 

"Yea totally. I don't think my father would like it if his wife had to carry him home."

 

"He would be awake already I guess." Mae said sadly. Caine unlocked his apartment door and let his mother in. His grandmother sat on the couch. She rose when the door clicked shut. Mae dropped Corey to the floor and took in her aging mother. Before Mae could speak, Claudia whispered,

 

"When did the apocalypse begin."

 

"June, of 2044." Mae answered.

 

"What is your son's full name, that you discussed with Owen?"

 

"Caine Rhyder Phelps or Lena Claudia Phelps. Depending." Mae answered. Caine was surprised actually, it was correct, his middle name was Rhyder, but his grandmother brought him up to believe his last name was Vincent. 

 

"Correct. Fine who was the first man to die at the hands of Denton?"

 

"My father, Joshua Vincent. Denton told us the platoon was attacked."

 

"Why did you send Suzanne to jail?"

 

"She pushed me from the Hyatt window, and I fell. Collapsing my uterus, and breaking both my legs. Denton stitched me back together, and gave me enhancements without my permission...but he couldn't fix the most troubling of the damage. I would die in childbirth no matter what."

 

"Who do you blame?"

 

"Denton."

 

"Who did you blame?"

 

"Suzanne." Mae said crying softly. "Are you satisfied now? Caine now knows everything."

 

"No, not everything just some." Claudia said in a clipped tone. "I want to be sure you're my daughter."

 

"Where were you and Owen when the bombs fell?"

 

"The park."

 

"Good." Claudia said. "Sit. I know of a way to call a Reaper. I tried to get one to bring back your father,but I had no body." Mae smiled suddenly, and dragged Corey closer. Caine sat on the far end of the couch, watching the exchange between mother and daughter, he could hear them but his attention was on Corey, his father...and the information his mother had revealed. His Aunt Suzanne had been manipulated by Denton, and she was the reason his mother had died in the first place-if his mother hadn't been pushed, would she have died in childbirth? Would they have to run? Caine sat next to his father's body-and stared at the face that would be his in a few decades. He took his father's hand in his and whispered,

 

"I hope they figure this out. I had only just met you." Caine said sadly. "Its funny, I grew up wishing to meet you, and then I grew to hate you because you never came when I called-or I would grow mean to grandma because she wouldn't tell me everything. All I had were memories that were not mine, and photographs from the past that isn't really mine. I had no memories that were truly mine...at least with you. I grew up in fear, envious of the other children who could travel outside their homes, go to normal school, and enjoy the sun's light. They could pretend the world was safe, the Mutants were no longer, that an evil creature didn't lurk close by wanting to destroy them. But I knew, I was cursed with the knowledge early on, it was my fault my family had been scattered, my fault my mother had died." Caine whispered angrily. "Then you appeared today, on my twelfth birthday asking for forgiveness, to know me...you knew it wasn't safe but still you came. You just wanted it to end. You just wanted to use me as bait. You knew I had a tracker...you lured me to my almost death. With hopes of ice cream and a normal life. Lies, weren't they Corey Phelps?"

 

"Caine, darling why don't you fetch your mother a change of clothes? I have some from that could fit her in my spare closet."

 

"Yes grandmama." Caine stood, and with one final look at his deceased father he walked hurriedly down the dark corridor and opened his grandmother's room-her spare closet was more of a shrine to her daughter and husband. It was small when he first discovered it, but it had grown. He found the clothing, and found leather pants, and a maroon turtle neck sweater. He went out to the living area and threw the clothing choices towards his mother, she smiled-the same warm smile that was in the photograph he refused to put anywhere but his pants pocket.

 

"Thank you Caine." his mother stood, and stroked his hair, "I wish I could've survived...to have raised you."

 

"I think I did a good enough job." his grandma snipped from the couch.

 

"I know mom, I just speaking out loud." Mae said happily, but her eyes held sadness, it was like a cloud in her eyes-a fog that obscured their beauty-Caine's eyes were the same color but not muddied by the emotion in her's. His mother disappeared down the hall- and closed the open door that belonged to his room. Caine sighed, and sat across from his grandmother. 

 

"Do you think she'll ever forgive herself?" Caine asked, when the silence became unbearable.

 

"No. She killed her best friend, her sister, and her husband."

 

"But it wasn't...her. I mean she wasn't herself. She didn't remember who they were to her...did she?"

 

"That's something you ought to ask her yourself Caine dear." his grandmother answered, looking up from the book she held. The same book she had given to him.

 

"Does it tell you how to summon a Reaper?"

 

"Yes...but its tricky."

 

"How? Aren't they drawn naturally to dead things?"

 

"Corey's spirit has probably already crossed. There's a chance it hasn't. I could summon him first but-its a long process."

 

"Do you know a Reaper?"

 

"Once..."

 

"Could you just say her or his name? Would that work?"

 

"Yes...get me a white pillar candle, will you?"

 

"Of course." Caine disappeared, and returned with the candle and matches. His grandmother smiled and accepted his offerings. She placed the candle on the book, and lit it, and called out a familiar sounding name,

 

"Mikail! I command thee to show thyself. You owe me a favor, and I am collecting!" The lights flickered, and Caine turned when he felt a cold wind go across his bare neck.

 

"You called Claudia?" A handsome man sat on a bar stool. His piercing blue eyes were calculating and cold. His scythe was laid across the bar and his blonde hair was slicked back, his pale skin, almost gray made him look skeletal and Caine shivered.

 

"Yes, I did Mikail. I saved your ass once, and you promised me a favor in return. I want you to bring back Corey Phelps."

 

"Anything for you Claudia Vincent, and I am truly sorry about your husband. I wished I could've helped. But know he is at rest."

 

"And Jack?"

 

"In Hell. I delivered him myself." Mikail smiled. "Josh was my friend-before I became...this."

 

"I know. You shouldn't have died Mikail."

 

"Now you tell me." The reaper smiled. The smile chilled Caine's blood.

 

"Can you do it or not?" Caine asked impatiently. Tired of the flirtatious reaper.

 

"Of course I can." The reaper stood and Caine stepped back. "If you are so afraid of me, why stand up to me the way you did."

 

"Because Corey Phelps is my father. He died protecting me. I just want him back." Caine said, it was then that Mae made her reappearance.

 

"Uncle Mikail?" Mae said suspicously. "But I thought-"

 

"He's a Reaper dear." Mae stiffened...

 

"Are you the one that brought me back?"

 

"No. I fought each Reaper that wanted to help in the ghastly plan of that creature."

 

"Can you bring my husband back?"

 

"Yes." The reaper stepped closer to the body, and started muttering a foreign language. The lights flickered once more, and a ghoulish green light illuminated the deceased form of his father. Caine stared, hoping his father would come back. "It will be a few moments before he regains consciousness. He should have all his memories." 

 

"Thank you Mikail." Claudia whispered. "Your debt has been repaid. Good luck with your after life." Mikail disappeared, and Caine rushed to his father's side. His father's eyes fluttered, and then opened. His father glanced around the room quickly, and tried to sit up.

 

"No, stay still." Caine urged. His father obeyed and laid back down. "How do you feel?"

 

"Tired." Corey answered, "Hungry mostly." Caine laughed, happy that his father was himself. 

 

"Oh Corey, I am so sorry!" Mae exclaimed. 

 

"Its alright...you weren't yourself." Corey whispered.

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