K and I left her room and made our way to mine – though I didn’t have much, I still wanted to take whatever I had left. K showed me how to make a bag from one of the shirts, and I stuffed the remainder of my clothes inside it. Even after doing that I still had enough room for K to split the food from her bag into mine.
“When I say run, you run.” Was all K would say as we made our way through the main corridor.
We stopped by the main door I had come through twice in the last few days; K looked around before accessing the door.
“If you ever need the code for this it is 97632.” K stated as she pressed the numbers.
After a second the door swung out would towards me and K peered around inside, watching and waiting before sprinting down the hall in the direction of the holding cells where I was stationed when I was first brought here.
I followed along right behind her, careful to follow her steps exactly in case Haven had begun using the tech’s booby traps on areas they didn’t want us going. K paused before turning the corner, running along the straight corridor to come to rest against a ladder that pressed against the ceiling.
From where I stood the ladder lead to nothing, but the closer I got the better I could see the finger sized indentation on two of the corners.
“Once we get up, run and don’t stop. Don’t even look behind you.” K said breathlessly and I nodded vigorously, watching as she climbed the ladder with the speed of a monkey.
After K disappeared from my sight I started climbing, taking a last look at the underground compound. I climbed slowly, sticking my head above ground to see the sun for the first time in I don’t know how long. The ground was grassy – though it looked dead for as far as the eye could see.
I could see K in the distance, running as fast as she could with her shirt-backpack swinging from her back. I took a deep breath and started running in the same direction as K. I could feel something behind me, but K’s warning made sure I never turned my head from the direction we were going. K dived rolling down what appeared to be a hill, I tried my make my legs go faster, and my heart started pounding almost out of my chest – I could feel whatever was behind me was getting closer, I could practically feel the breath on the back of my legs.
I reached the hill and executed the same move K did, sliding down the hill with my arms outstretched. At the bottom I found K sitting breathing hard, we both looked up to the sound of something approaching, and at the top of the hill a pack of dogs stood with feral looks in their eyes – as though they knew they were so close, but so far.
“Why aren’t they coming?” I asked, taking the moment to calm my heart and try to breathe normally.
“Are you complaining?” She questioned, shooting me a look and I shook my head.
“The dogs are only allowed to go so far” K explained, using her finger to paint a line at the top of the hill.
I nodded in agreement – my heart finally relenting its race to resume its usual pace. K took a deep breath before propelling herself from the ground, turning in a slow circle to assess where we were. She hoisted the shirt containing everything we needed high onto her shoulders, pointing in the general direction of the mountains far in the distance.
“We need to go this way.” She stated before turning back to me, her eyebrows raised and an expectant look on her face.
I made a noise, before slowly making my way from the ground to a standing position. K gave me a small smile before beginning our journey. I began following her before realising I didn’t have to walk behind her any more. I jogged for a second to match her stride, earning yet another smile.
“By the way, I’m Kaysee out here, not K.” She stated easily, and the name just seemed to make sense with her.
Of course she remembers who she is.
“And you know you’re Lillyanna right?” Kaysee questioned and I nodded, rolling my eyes slightly. She laughed a little and I had to smile at her.
“So, there’s a lot you need to know before going back to the Hell Rebels, but I think that story can wait until tonight.” Kaysee had this certain glint in her eye that revealed the story would be a good one.
“So how long will this take?” I asked, peering into the mountains in the distance.
K caught my eye-line and stifled a giggle. I turned to her and gave her a look as though I thought she was crazy.
“We’re not going all the way to the mountains stupid. The rebels built a town about a day’s journey from Haven.”
I raised an eyebrow. “And they haven’t found it yet?” I asked, not quite sure whether I believed her or not.
K gave me a teethy smile. “Sure they have, they just haven’t been able to do anything about us yet.”
I shook my head at her – only she would sound so positive in a situation like this. The sun was beginning to set, and I turned to face Haven – though from the surface there wasn’t sch to see, except that around where I thought the compound would be a ring of dead grass stretched on to the top of the hill where K and I had stopped not so long ago.
“What happened?” I asked, as K came to stand beside me, her eyes shot to the ground before coming to rest on me.
“The rebels did that.” Was all she would say, even when I begged her to explain.
Such a tease.
I scowled at her back as she walked in front of me, keeping an eye out for what she remembered to be the Hell Rebel hide out.
“Hey Kaysee, why the Hell Rebels?” I asked out of the blue and I could feel her smile.
“Well, we figured Eve is a name from the Bible and they even named the compound Haven, so who is better to fight against Haven than Hell rebels?” K shrugged, as though to say ‘I’m not the one who named us, but it works for us.’
I shook my head, my thoughts turning towards the so-called rebels suddenly.
Am I a Hell Rebel now?
I wondered, and was surprised to find that the thought pleased me greatly. Kaysee stopped suddenly, her eyes lighting up. I caught up to her, placing my hands on my knees and staring into the distance, but I saw nothing.
“What are you looking at?” I asked, and Kaysee simply shook her head, turning towards the disappearing sun.
“We should stop.” She said finally, her eyes looking at my bent over body.
I sighed and leaned back, letting my body weight pull me to the ground in an ungraceful heap. I closed my eyes, relishing in the feeling of the soft grass underneath me. Kaysee laughed at me, and I turned to watch as she slowly unwrapped her shirt bag picking out a few of the unperishable cans of food she had stored for who knows how long.
She looked around, her eyebrows furrowing before turning back to the meagre meal she was about to prepare.
“I hope you don’t mind cold beans in a sandwich” Kaysee smiled, taking out four slices of what looked to be semi-stale bread and cracking open a tin of baked beans.
I crinkled my nose but my stomach rumbled – at this point in time it didn’t care what I ate as long as I ate something. Kaysee passed me the sandwich and I dug in demolishing it in barely a minute.
Kaysee laughed at the way I ate and I gave her a look because honestly, with bake bean sauce dripping down her chin and around her mouth.
“So you have a story for me?” I questioned, and Kaysee dabbed at her mouth with her sleeve while nodding.
“When the adults disappeared, a single person created the Hells Rebels, sending her best friend – that’s me – into Haven as a spy to determine what they were doing and how far they were getting with their experiments. After a week with no communication, she decided to go to Haven to make sure everything was ok – the rebels programmed a kind of save file in her brain which could be accessed with a certain phrase… I’m pretty sure you know the rest.”
Kaysee suggested with a look – as though she was waiting for me to catch up with what she was saying.
I shook my head. “I don’t get what this has to do with me Kaysee.” I said rolling my eyes at her.
“Oh my god Lilly, how can you be so dense?” She exclaimed, though there was warmness to her tone.
I rubbed my head, was she really saying I created the Hells Rebels? That I had started this whole thing?
“Me?” I asked for conformation and Kaysee nodded, and I let out the breath I didn’t realise I had been holding.
Great. So I’m heading back to a group I started that I have no recognition of.
“Is there anything else I need to know?” I asked, and just as Kaysee opened her mouth to say something we both heard a noise.
The sounds of motors filled the silence, and suddenly Kaysee was smiling from ear-to-ear. I shot her a look and she simply replied by giving the thumbs up – a sign that everything was going to be okay as long as I trusted her.
Right. Trust her. My inner voice snarled at me, and I had to wonder why she expected me to trust after only knowing her such a short time – we must really be good friends. Several four wheeler bikes roared up – practically circling us.
“Kaysee?!” A male voice boomed from atop one of the four wheelers and Kaysee stood in a swift motion, her hand covering her face as she peered into the driver’s seat.
“Grant?” She called back and a resounding laugh echoed as a burly man walked down the way to pull her into his arms.
“I didn’t think we’d ever see you…” His voice dropped off as he saw me, and I gave a meek wave – this must have been the guy I left in charge.
“Lillyanna.” His voice was firm and proper and I nodded once instantly distrusting him.
“Grant.” I used the same tone, standing in a fluid motion I was suddenly proud of.
Grant turned his eyes ok Kaysee, fury burning within them as he gripped her arm. Kaysee flinched, trying to pull away but Grant wouldn’t let her.
“Why did you bring her? She could have been corrupted! You might have led them to us!” Grant’s voice got louder with every word, and suddenly his intent became clear – he enjoyed having the power, and wouldn’t easily give it up.
“She hasn’t been.” Kaysee rolled her eyes, as though it was obvious, but Grant simply wouldn’t listen to her – his hatred was plain and clear.
In the moment I was watching him stare down at her, one of my memories unlocked itself, and my eyes scanned the crowd for the purple haired girl who looked board, but I could tell she was nervous by the way she played with the simple silver band around her finger.
“Let her go.” My words where clear and powerful but Grant would only turn to look at me snarling.
I stepped closer to them, grabbing onto the hand that was holding Kaysee’s arm. I could already see the bruises beginning to form underneath. I looked Grant in the eyes, lowering my voice so that only the two of them could hear.
“I’m the only one who could know about Selene” I watched as Grant’s eyes flew to the purple haired girl, and slowly his fingers unclenched from around Kaysee’s wrist. Grant took a deep breath, taking a step away from the two of us.
I stared at him for a moment – making sure he wasn’t going to do anything before I turned my attention to Kaysee.
“Are you alright?” I asked and she nodded, tears glistened in her eyes and I knew she couldn’t trust her voice at that moment.
I turned towards the group, my eyes falling on each and every one of them in turn. I took a deep breath.
Twenty one people under the age of twenty one.
I turned my eyes on Kaysee who seemed more angry than upset now.
“Where is everyone else?” I asked in a whisper, and she simply shook her head – she didn’t know.
I turned to Grant, to find he had moved to stand next to Selene, whispering in her ear, his hand holding hers gently.
“Where is everyone else?” I asked, and Grant dropped Selene’s hand, turning to address me with caution in his eyes.
“The under twelves are back at Helf – our makeshift town – everyone else we’ve lost.”
The shock of his words confused me before the information really struck home.
That’s five kids missing presumably integrated in Haven.
I let out a breath, sadness coursing through my veins. K elbowed me in the ribs, giving me a look as if to say – talk to them, tell them everything will be alright.
I rubbed the back of my neck in a movement that reminded me of J and stared at my feet while I tried to figure out what in the world I could say to these people that would make them believe we had hope, to convince them that everything was going to be all right even though I knew there was a strong possibility that it wouldn’t be.
“Look, I only just came back so I don’t think I know the right thing to say to you all. But we all know Haven is corrupted – it is as plain and simple as that. And we’re the only ones that can make a difference. I know you’re scared – I’m scared too, but we have a chance t o change things, and I’m going to take it.”
K clapped eagerly, and the others joined in, causing me to blush furiously.
“Let’s get some sleep, and tomorrow, we go home.”