RESTORATION no longer exists. Arios made some excuse to visit me and break the news. First shock, then despair, then guilt. Like the shadow of an apparition, something from the past engulfed me; it made me feel dark and hazy. It's been a few seconds but I still haven’t worked out what's haunting me.
Arios is still here. There was something I needed to discuss with him but all other concerns have become trivial. However much I craved his company short minutes ago now I want only to be alone. I don't want to talk to him; for once he doesn't know the answer. So I need to puzzle it out myself. Despite my vague feeling that this is all my fault, I don't know why. What have I done? Perhaps I'm blaming myself because I am upset. Maybe I only feel guilty because I didn't stay with them. At the time it may have seemed that I was taking the harder path, putting myself in greater danger. Yet I'm alive whilst they probably are not. Binnin extends no mercy to those who oppose him; he needs examples to show his subjects that it is for their own good to serve him. Opposing the government leads to death- they will only take it seriously if people actually die.
The fact I am still alive is a miracle. Once I would have felt so undeservedly fortunate, now I can only despair. I know that amongst my old comrades there were people better than me. Out of all of us I was least deserving. Most the others were moved by their conscience to join REFORMATION as soon as the government proved to be corrupt. They were united in conscience; none of them would stand by and do nothing. Unlike them with their noble motivation, I remained in the new society, pretending I didn't realize what was going on. Only grief and desperation moved me enough to take action. I deserve to die at the hands of the government because I did go along with them when I had the chance to take my stand. Worst of all, I let them take my friend and my mother. They should have taken me.
Remembering Arios is still here, I compose myself. Still I can't bring myself to say anything but I can look at him. Show him I'm still conscious. Trying to look up, I bring myself back into the present, into the devastation we call reality, the monotony we call life. It's hard to face. Dizziness swirls through me and I can't resist it. Instead I just sway with it, holding myself as close to upright as possible. Now I can feel the pressure building up inside my head and I can't hear properly. I know Arios is speaking but it sounds like he is somewhere in the distance. Even in a dream.
Then I realize why this is my fault.
"Did the government find their position? Carry out a search first, before moving all their troops in for the attack?" My suspicions come back to me, that time we were nearly caught; I realized it could be a trap. Making us feel secure while they sussed us out. So when they knew our location and our size they could plan a suitable attack. I was planning on telling Mr. Edington but our interview came as such a shock I completely forgot to mention it. He angered me, I was distracted, and then I left without thinking to tell any of them the danger they were in. My selfishness has caused the death of so many. What right have I to despair when this whole situation is my fault? How can I say I care when if I really cared I could have prevented anything from happening. I have betrayed those I called friends.
"It's my fault" I had to say it, to let it out before the poison spread. Although, I think the enormity of what I've done will kill me, I must hold out long enough to take Binnin and his friends down with me. I notice I am crying. Normally I would feel weak and ashamed. It helps, I feel slightly human, nearly real.
Arios says nothing, just wraps his arms around me and holds me tight. I wonder if I would still love me if he believed it was my fault. His arms are strong and his hands firm against my back. Nothing can get to him, he is stronger than me, and less emotional I think. Actually, that’s not true, when I look up he's crying too.
"It's hard enough thinking of all the friends I've lost, but to think how nearly I could have lost you. You're so brave, so bold, one day you’re going to break my heart. I can't protect you, you need to be free." He doesn't know what I really am. Though I should probably tell him, I can't. For one thing I need to let it sink in myself and for another, I am as terrified of losing him as he is of losing me. He is the best thing I have. He is my last hope. The only chance I have to heal.
"It's not your fault Vita. They accepted, even embraced the risk they took. They always knew this could happen. Before they even knew you they accepted this as their fate. Nothing unexpected has happened. Only what is unfortunate. Times like this are full of pain and suffering. You can still fulfill their dreams; thanks to you RESTORATION has not gone completely. As their last member it is up to you know. Be strong." If only I could believe him, if only I could excuse myself so easily. On one point he is right, I have their dreams to carry with me now.
"Obviously you'll have a particular interest in Ed's whereabouts but I'm afraid I cannot tell you whether he is still alive. There is a chance some escaped.
“Ed? Who's Ed?” Ed's my brother’s name but he died years ago before the wipe meaning I barely remember him. I hope Arios doesn't think I have a lover or anything like that. I'm so confused.