Of course we don’t abandon Eliza like she requested. I knew as soon as Liliana located Amelia and I, pale faced, that she went with them.
They didn’t shoot her on the spot so that’s how we knew that they might just keep her alive.
Ideally, that than gives us time to rescue her. I just hope they aren’t torturing her again.
The three of us, Amelia, Liliana and I managed to follow the soldiers all the way to some coffee shop jumping from roof top to roof top. At first, back near the hospital, we’d have to climb up and down to move from building to building, but as we got closer to the centre of town, the closer the rooftops came to be.
We’re not in an abandoned apartment store, or some sort of office. I can’t tell anymore. Unlike the hospital where everything was clean and orderly, it’s an utter mess here.
Clothes, items, papers and yes, even dead humans, litter the floors. My stomach rolls at the blood stains on the wall. Going off of the splatter patterns and the bodies themselves, it’s not hard to guess they were all shot in the head. At least it was quick and painless for them.
I lean against one of the walls, looking out the window as I focus on the main stage set up on the square. Eliza was walked under there only moments ago and now we’re stuck in the process of waiting.
I told everything to Amelia and chucked her the papers, giving her the more than complicated task of trying to UN code the messages. Usually, she tells me, she’d ignore papers, but since it’s all coded, there’s obviously something secret in it.
We need all the secrets we can get.
“Do you know if Eliza has a gun?” I ask Liliana quietly who sits against the opposite wall with her eyes closed.
She opens them slowly and it’s only now that I realise they’re not that piercing blue anymore. They’re starting to fade.
“Your eyes!” I gasp, forgetting about the gun for a moment as I scoot closer to her. “They’re changing!”
“So is my skin,” she holds out her arms for me to inspect. I honestly can’t see any difference until Amelia moves closer and lays a hand on her arm.
Yes. She’s right. Her skin is a lighter shade.
“When were you due for a needle?” Amelia asks as she moves back to her space of the wall, grabbing at the papers with a wrinkled forehead. “I can’t keep up with the times.”
“A few days ago,” she shrugs a little. “Maybe a week. I can’t really remember. My mum came to see me in the hospital as did Toby. They asked if I wanted Collin or Rose to needle me, but I declined. We were preparing for war, after all. I didn’t see the point in it.”
Rose. I had forgotten about her. I have to wonder if she’s somehow alive, maybe still trapped down there in the tunnel along with many others who didn’t escape. Odds of her survival are small, but not impossible. If we survived, Eliza, Amelia, Liliana and I, she could have to.
“I wonder what you look like,” I say to distract myself from the depressing thoughts. “Under all the vaccinations.”
“I wonder to,” she smiles slightly. “To answer your question from before, yes. She does have a gun. I don’t think they would have confiscated it considering its location.”
“She stuffed it between her boobs so the only way they’ll know is if she’s forced to strip or something.”
Or rape. She told me she was raped repeatedly at her first capture. I couldn’t understand how Jackson could have let that happen, but at least she didn’t feel it. When we spoke about it though, her eyes got all weary and she wouldn’t look at me as I spoke to her. I didn’t expect her to be all open about it. I myself would want to hide it inside and try to forget about it.
That’s when Collin gave her the needle. She wasn’t in a state to decide whether she wanted to stop a pregnancy or keep it coming. I myself wouldn’t even consider the idea of aborting it. In the rebel camp, abortions weren’t even discussed. Some families had two to five kids. You didn’t have to abort a baby for having a sex life with your partner.
That’s something else that made me sad about the Society. My parents loved each other a lot, would do anything to protect each other. They were always stealing kisses and hugging, but when they gave me “the talk”, they told me that they wouldn’t “sleep” together anymore because they didn’t want my mum to get pregnant and ultimately have to have an abortion.
It made me so mad that I started to cry. Thinking about it now makes me want to cry, too.
“I have a plan,” I declare and stand to my feet, dusting the nonexistent dust from the back of my jeans.
“That’s good to know,” Amelia glances up briefly. “I don’t have time to plan.”
“You keep decoding,” I wave my hand at her before stopping, feeling a little guilty. “Sorry. I forgot who’s in charge.”
“No, you go for it. I hate being in charge.”
Liliana and I exchange raised eyebrows, but we let the topic drop.
“So if Liliana is correct,” I peer out the window, checking nothing’s changed, “Eliza has a gun stuffed in her bra. This plan will only work if they untie her hands, so it’s a big shot.
“We’ll get the attention of the soldiers and Margaret, someway or another. Maybe we’ll have to reveal ourselves, maybe we’ll have to commit suicide or maybe we’ll just have to start shooting them down, but as soon as we got their attention, I’m going to scream for her to do it. It shouldn’t be hard for her to guess what I mean, but just in case, I’ll touch my breasts so she’ll get the meaning of my words. Than, all hell’s going to break loose as you’d expect. She’ll shoot Margaret and than we’ll all have to make a run for it.”
They both stare at me, eyes wide and eyebrows raised.
“What do you think?” I say after a moment when the silence gets to uncomfortable. “Is it possible or what?”
“It’s a suicide mission,” Amelia says bluntly and turns back to her set of papers.
“Ugh!” I practically yell and slam my foot into the wall, sending plaster pieces flying through the air.
“Keep it quiet!” Liliana hisses and I stop abusing the wall and sink to the floor, resting my head on my knees as I attempt to shut out the world.
“Hey,” Liliana scoots over to me, resting her head on my shoulder. “It’s okay. We’ll work something out.”
“You both realise that no matter what we do, we’re going to die, right?” I ask and look up at them. “We may as well try to do something big that hits them hard before going down.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Amelia tosses the papers aside. “Hence my thoughts of bombing the square.”
“Bomb the square?” Liliana and I exchange looks warily. “Do you even have bombs?”
“I do,” she says smugly. “I just need to get access to them.”
“How do you mean?”
She throws us the papers and I grab them as they flutter through the air.
“You haven’t encoded them.”
“I have, actually,” she smiles politely. “It’s a basic coding system, used years and years and years before the society. The number of dots represents certain letters and numbers as does the squares. Toby and I found a book about coding’s on one of our first missions outside the tunnel. We broke into a locked up building and almost got ourselves killed, but it seems it was worth it.”
“What does it say?” Liliana asks, frowning at the paper.
“These are all messages between two people, discussing how they were bombing our rebel camp. Eliza was right. They knew exactly where we were for many days, even weeks. They just wanted to go about it carefully. Each bomb was implanted over the days carefully. They circled the tunnel first, knowing people would try to escape after the first bomb. Then, they hit the middle.”
“How did they implant explosions though?” I frown. “Surely we would have seen an official wandering around with a bomb.”
“That’s why I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s at least one person in our camp that was working for them,” she leans back, smiling proudly. “That was to be expected anyway.”
“So where do we get the bombs for the square?” Liliana questions.
“According to these records, there should have been more bombs exploded. The whole tunnel was meant to collapse in on itself and yet, we saw ourselves that most of it is still in tact. Therefore, I believe there’s multiple bombs down there that we can rig up and blow up the square.”
“What about Eliza?” I ask, feeling panicked.
“Don’t worry,” she raises her palms. “I haven’t forgotten about her. If we go through with this, it’s going to take some epic planning.”
“We don’t have much time,” Liliana peeks out the window. “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to have to do it while everyone’s in the square.”
“Right,” Amelia nods and stands to her feet.
She stands to her feet and Liliana and I copy, dusting the invisible dust from our pants as we eye each other warily, like we’re sizing up the situation.
“I’m going to go in search of the bombs,” pointing to herself, Amelia smiles grimly. “I’ve had experience with bombs, only once, but nether the less. While I’m gone, you two are going to do careful planning on where and how we’re going to place the bombs. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to find one, let alone five or so, but if I do, we’re going to want them rigged right away. Alice,” she turns on me, finger jabbed at my chest, “you’re going to have to come up with a safe route for us, Eliza, yourself, Liliana and I, to get out of her. Short and fast, like a maze.”
“Where are you going to store the bombs if you find them?” Liliana raises her hand, sort of like we would in a classroom.
“I saw a backpack on one the dead Society people back out there,” she jabs a thumb over her shoulder. “I’ll shove them in there.”
I blink at that.
“Aren’t bombs big?”
“Not really. They used to be massive things, but as the years passed, scientists managed to shrink them down to almost envelope sized bombs that could wipe out an entire city. Going off of the damage done to the camp, these bombs weren’t that powerful so I might be looking for something a small as a finger nail. I’ll take the papers with me since they might have it written where each are placed. Really, Alice, did you never pay attention in History class? Surely they taught about bombs.”
Looking away, I feel my face go red. Eliza would have known. She payed attention to her classes, unlike me who spent most of the hours looking out the window, thinking about my family, flying like a bird and an entirely different life.
I’m learning now that school probably isn’t that big of waste of time.
Liliana and I stand against the wall, doing our best to stay still as the group of soldiers we were previously eyeing walk past, shoving each other and laughing. I feel bad about what we’re going to do, but hey. If you’re fighting for the wrong side, you’re going to pay the consequences for it.
There’s four men in total, but they’re young things, not massive and scary like Keegan Berry or even Jackson. All look to be in their early twenties and still show signs of a little baby fat on their cheeks which peek out from under their helmets. I carefully and slowly turn my head to Liliana who stands beside me and we both nod, mouths set in determination.
With that, we shove away from the wall and attack.
I use the gun Liliana found for me under a dead person to slam into the temple of the first guy I get my hands on, pulling him away from the group so his momentum is thrown off balance.
He crumbles to the ground, clutching his head with a groan. I’m admiring my handy work when I feel the hand on my shoulder, whirling me around and slamming me against the brick wall of the building.
“Ugh!” I kick at his shins as his fist slams in my jaw, cracking my head to the side. “Get off of me!”
His hands, which were previously pressing my wrists into the wall, no move to my throat, forcing my chin up and my eyes to squint as they tighten harshly.
I kick out harder, feeling my mouth open and close as I try to take in a little air.
My eyes are starting to squinty and blurry when the man’s jolted forward, smashing his body into my own.
I shove out from underneath him, nearly collapsing as I cough, taking in as much air as possible.
“Quick,” Liliana grabs my upper arm, pulling me to my feet. “We better check they stay quiet.”
Nodding and blinking the tears from my eyes, I steady myself and tumble over to the one who choked me, slamming my gun into his temple another few times until I’m sure he’ll be out for a good few hours.
When I turn around, I see Liliana has done the same.
“You okay?” she raises her eyebrows and I nod.
“All good. Ready?”
We strip the soldiers down easily and quickly, both worried another crew of soldiers will wander by and ruin our whole plan.
I choose the soldier who seems closest to my size, slim and tall. Even so, when I pull on his trousers and leave him in his boxers, I have to roll up the hems around my boots so I don’t trip. After pulling on the button down, jacket and helmet, I turn to find Liliana’s all set, weighting a gun in her hand.
She raises her eyebrows and we exchange small smiles.
“Got a gun?” she asks.
“Definitely,” I hold it up for her inspection. “Let’s go.”