To say I got mad after Alice told me about Toby is an understatement. My poor pillow... I won’t go into detail since the whole scene was quite horrific, but let’s just say, after my anger outburst, I spent a good deal of the afternoon cleaning up it’s insides before going to the shed to get one.
We decide not to tell Amelia what we know and part of that reason is because no doubt, she knows about the whole thing herself. I like her so I don’t particularly want to find out if she does or not.
Still, I can’t help but blurt it out a few nights later when we’re lying in bed. She didn’t say anything even though we knew she could hear. She just pulled her cover up around her shoulders, rolled onto her stomach and went to sleep. That was answer enough.
“Have you and Toby broken up?” I ask Alice one day as we go on our morning jog.
“I have no idea,” she bites her lip. “I don’t know what classes as ‘broken up’.”
“Well, are you two a couple still?”
“I’m not actually sure.”
Rolling my eyes, I steered us down a few trails that are familiar.
“Dude, no,” she plants her feet in the ground so no matter how hard I tug, she won’t move. “I’m not going to talk to him.”
“So you have broken up?”
She looks so confused that I laugh at her.
“I’ll do the talking for you,” I punch her in the arm lightly. “You just stand behind me and look intimidating.”
Its early morning so when we get to Toby’s tent, he’s still asleep. Without really thinking about it, I pull down the zip and step inside, Alice close behind.
“Aww,” I hear her sigh and turn to glare at her. “What? He looks adorable when he sleeps.”
“You would know,” I roll my eyes, but I do admit he looks charming.
One arm over his head and the other laying on his chest, Toby’s head is thrown back, mouth open in a soft snore. His legs stick out in every direction making him look like a small child.
I wish I had a camera so I could torture him about it.
“Wake up,” I nudge him in the ribs with my shoe lightly. His snores stutter, but than resume. “Dude, wake up.”
I nudge him a little harder this time and his eyes slowly open.
The terror that appears is quite hysterical and I clamp my hand over my mouth to stop from laughing to loud. He scrambles backwards, clutching the blanket to his chest, looking from me to Alice
“I’m not that horrifying,” I giggle.
“No, you really are,” he eyes me carefully. “Somehow I don’t think you’re one to back out on your threats. What are you doing here?”
His eyes linger on Alice who suddenly decides it would be a great moment to inspect her nails.
“Two reasons,” I declare. “One, so I can beat the hell out of you for keeping the official thing a secret, metaphorically speaking, mind you.”
“Alice doesn’t know what a break-up is,” I cross my arms and turn to stare at her. If she could blush, she’d be blushing right now. “So I brought her here so you guys can work it out officially if you’re still a couple or not so we can all get on with our lives. Since beating you up, metaphorically, is going to take a while, you guys can have your chat now.”
Turning gracefully, I shove Alice towards him, making her stumble, and climb out of the tent with a self assured smile. I am such a cruel friend.
I go for a pleasure walk, just watching the tents pass me by. People are starting to wake up now, cooking breakfasts, getting dressed and everything else you do in the morning. Some wave to me as they climb out of their tents and I wave back. I don’t mean to, but eventually I find myself lost in the vast amount of tents and am starting to freak out when I stumble upon a familiar face.
“Rose?” I call out to the girls back as she walks away from me. She stops, turns around and pushes her red hair back, peering at me.
“Please don’t hate me, but who are you? I get so confused with everyone looking the same.”
Feeling utterly relieved, I wander over to her
“Eliza Freeway,” I hold out my hand. “You injected my friend and me with snitches when we first arrived a few months back alongside Toby.”
“Oh yeah!” her face brightens and she grins before taking my hand to shake it. “I wondered how you two were getting along. Toby told me you were both fitting right in, but the boy lies all the time so I never know if I can trust him.”
“We’re okay,” I shrug. “Alice is probably the better one of us both for fitting in here though.”
“Really?” she raises her eyebrows. “I thought you’d be the more likely.”
“Nope,” I roll my eyes. “Alice pretty much made herself at home right away.”
“Where is your friend now?” she peers behind my shoulder. “I can’t see her.”
“I left her with Toby,” I wave my hand. “I’m making them have a chat about their relationship issues so they can figure out if they’re a couple. Somehow, I’ve wandered to far away, though. Can you help me back?”
“Of course. Let me just grab an apple for breakfast and I’ll be right with you.”
I wait outside her tent, kicking at a lone stone that rolls around before she pops her head back out.
“Would you like anything to eat?”
“That’s okay,” I quickly shake my head. “I’m not hungry.”
“Well, lets go find the love birds.”
Find them, we do. I’m not totally surprised when we barge into his tent to find them making out on the bed. While Alice has the dignity to look embarrassed, Toby simply rolls his eyes.
“You really have to stop breaking in to my tent.”
“Sorry,” I smile pleasantly. We both know it’s not true.
“You two have obviously made up,” Rose observes with a mischievous grin and I chuckle.
“You mean, made out.”
We start laughing at each other while Alice shoves herself away from Toby and sits in the corner, trying not to meet anyone’s eyes.
“I’ll keep barging in,” I warn him once I’ve settled down enough to talk. “Whenever she’s here with you, I’ll be barging in every minute to make sure you’re not taking advantage of her.”
“Eliza,” Alice sighs from the corner and drops her face in her hands.
“That’s what good friends do,” I throw a beaming smile at her, but she doesn’t see it since she’s doing her best to hide inside herself.
“So are you going to beat me up now?” Toby asks, smirk on his lip as he bites into an apple he’s pulled from his food box.
“Nah,” I decide on the spot. “Just, reconsider would you? I’m sure you have your reasons for not telling everyone, but you and Carmen and everyone else who knows need to work something out. We could all be in danger and I hate to break it to you, but if anyone dies, it’ll be on yourselves.”
“Don’t worry. We’re working on a plan.”
I eventually confront Amelia again about it, promising I don’t hate her or whatnot, but I tell her the same thing I told Toby. They really do need to work something out, just in case something bad does happen to everyone here.
I miss my family, I do. I wish there was someway I could get them to come down here, so we could see them again and so they could stay here with us. Surely they’d love the whole idea of this rebel camp, but you never know.
Not surprisingly, one afternoon I find myself with Jackson alone and decide to confront him about something’s.
“Are Alice and I allowed to know more about this camp yet?” I ask from my pillows in the corner and he peers over his book at me. For a main soldier, he’s sure at home a lot, but I never ask him about it
“What do you want to know?”
Everything. I don’t say aloud, but that’s the first thought that runs through my head.
“What’s the literal main purpose of this group? Of this camp? No offence, but it seems to me like we’re just living here under the ground. Are we actually doing anything?”
“Well, obviously the main purpose to have the world turned to it’s own ways again, where people were different, more than one kid was allowed, you get my meaning.”
“But what are you’s actually doing to have that happen?”
He sits up slowly, eyeing me carefully.
“Can I trust you enough? Out of you and Alice, I dibs you as the one who’d most likely betray us.”
“I wouldn’t,” I stare at him, horrified.
“I’m not sure.”
“Please tell me,” my voice comes out in a beg. “I need to know if we’re getting anywhere.”
His eyes perk up.
“You’re really a part of us now, aren’t you?”
“You said, “we’re”, meaning you count yourself in.”
Clamping my jaw shut to stay quiet, I just stare at him.
“Fine,” he sighs, “but tell anyone outside this camp and I’ll have to shoot you.”
“I don’t doubt it”
With a small smile, he tells me everything.
“We have our own people walking with the government. It’s taken a very long time to get someone in their and trusted enough to be told what we need to know.”
“Like how the vaccinations work and the lasting effects they can have on your bodies.”
“I thought Collin would figure that stuff out for you.”
“Where do you think Collin came from?” he asks me, eyes bright and I feel my mouth flop open.
“He worked for the government?”
“That’s right. Still does, really. In case you haven’t noticed, he gives half his time to us and half his time to them. They don’t seem to question it to much.”
“Wait,” I hold up my hand. “Collin doesn’t look like a member of the Chocolate Society. His eyes, skin and hair’s the wrong colour. Surely they’d notice that.”
“Oh they do alright.”
I stare at him, eyes wide.
“Did you seriously think they all injected themselves with the vaccination, too?” he asks. “Did you think they really thought of themselves as equal to you all?”
“I don’t,” the words stutter from my mouth and I quickly swallow. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that those pricks know the power they have over everyone. Funny how they inject others but not themselves, isn’t it?”
“That’s not right,” I shake my head. “You see officials all the time and they all like us.”
“Not true. You only see some of them. You don’t see the queen bee of the hive and her closest workers, trust me.”
He’s right, too. No one’s ever seen the people who actually run the Society at this part of the world. We just all assumed they were like us, but away from the eyes.
How stupid are we all? Why did I never even suspect the possibility?
I guess Jackson sees how upset I am because his voice softens.
“It’s a lot to take in.”
“You don’t say,” I try to say it sarcastically, but my voice sounds strangled. I quickly change the topic. “So you have people in their with them?”
“We sure do,” he nods his head after a moment. “They track the queen bee’s movements, learning everything there is to know about how she runs this place.”
“So technically, whoever it is that’s our spy is like her close worker bees?”
“Yeah,” he frowns, looking tired.
“Can I know who this person is?” I ask, sounding desperate. “I have so much I want to ask them.”
“Eliza,” he says quietly. “That person’s me. I’m the spy.”