Little British Girl...

- Decide where you belong -

In a world split into two zones, north and south live separately. The sole-superpower, America in the north, and every other country lives in the south. Trespassing is punishable by death.
When Elia, a British citizen, wakes up in the northern zone she is forced to trust local cop Daniel to keep her safe. With no memory of how Elia came to the north, and no recollection of why, she and Daniel decide to try and figure it all out. But along the way secrets are uncovered, allies are made, and Elia begins to play dangerous games, with tragic costs.

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20. Chapter 20

Day seven has come at last, and I have survived the stone cell. Whether this is due to my true nature, or the fact that I wasted the bullet by shooting at a wall, I cannot tell. I don’t think the people watching me through the cctv camera can tell either. What I do know is that these four walls have changed me. Being trapped in this cage of nothing has brought out sides to me I never knew existed. I’ve discovered a powerful drive to survive inside me, as well as frustrated anger and soul-destroying loneliness. Most importantly of all, I have discovered where I belong. At the start of this week I believed I belonged everywhere, being both british and american, but now I know that I belong nowhere. Being in this cell has shown me that when I am nowhere, I find myself causing a lot less trouble than when I was out. When I’m in the south I’m living a delusion, and when I’m in the north I’m living a dream...but when I’m nowhere, I find myself at last in reality.

The sharp sound of a key turning in the lock alerts my mind and interrupts my thoughts, and I spin around. Two policemen, accompanied by both Mr Timms and Mr Dunes, enter the cell. For a few seconds we just stand there, continents apart, me with my back to the wall, them with their backs to the door.

“Well, I have to say I’m a little impressed.” Mr Dunes smiled, “I didn’t think you’d make it.”

“I did.” Mr Timms argues, “I could see it in her eyes…” He lets silence settle once more, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out the contract. “Are you ready to sign?”

“Of course.” I try to seem strong, but my knees buckle slightly as I walk over to them. They lead me out and take me to a desk, where, with a shaking hand and heavy heart, I scribble my name along the dotted line.

“Now, remember your family think you’ve been kidnapped and declared missing, so you’ll tell them the police rescued you and brought you back home. Avoid going into detail, or else the lie will get too big, just say you don’t want to talk it.” Mr Timms reminds me, pocketing the signed contract.

“You’ll return to work on Monday as normal, and life thereafter will soon settle down.” Mr Dunes adds on, he appears to be more optimistic that Mr Timms is. “I hope to never see you again Elia Watson-Smith.” And with that, he is gone. Now it is just me and Mr Timms.

“Before you go, I have one more piece of advice to give you,” he turns to me, “Your father is a busy man Elia, and he has a short temper, he’s not famous for his patience. If you want what is best for both yourself, and the other names you scribbled up on that wall, then I strongly suggest you try to forget everything about the north. Act like it never happened, convince yourself that it didn’t. Get rid of any attachments you have to it, because I promise you this, if you step so much as a toe out of line again, the penalties will be disastrous.” I look down at my feet as he speaks, his words sent shivers of fear through my sensitive spine, and vibrate vicious sensations on my soft skin. “And one last thing,” he is still not finished, “Mr Moore sent this down for you.” He hands me over an envelope with your name on it. I take it, but the paper feels odd in my palm. “This young man will escort you home.” Mr Timms nods towards a driver. I don’t speak, I just shamefully turn and begin to walk away.

Once inside the solidarity of the car, away from all the wandering eyes, I open up the envelope.

To Elia,

If you are reading this then you have survived the stone cell, and for that I congratulate you, there a many similar to you who have failed. Do not think that this however, is the end of your troubles. Both of us are now in a position of deep and unnerving danger, a danger that is inevitable, but can be decreased in it’s danger. I know there is a large part of you that probably hates me, and I don’t blame you for that, there is a part of me that hates you too, but we must put aside our differences and unite to keep this secret hidden. You are an idiot if you think that you can return to normal life after all you have seen and done, and I would be an idiot to expect that of you, so, on that basis, here is what I propose.

You will get back to work and normal life, you will avoid the topic of your ‘kidnap’ when in conversation with someone, and you will try to think about the north as little as possible. These three things however, are ever so slightly impossible aims. Therefore I shall promise you this, in return for your good behaviour and outstanding efforts, I shall budget the police program that is looking for your rebel friends up in the north, and do my best if they are found to protect them and limit their punishment. If you keep in line, then I shall move the line that your friends have stepped over slightly closer to them. That is a promise.

I hope that this shall prove a sufficient motive for you, and that you’ll make an easy recovery back to southern life.

Yours,

Mr Xander F Moore.

Reading his letter makes me feel sick in the stomach. He speaks to me not as a daughter, but as a political opponent. He bribes me like a five year old and yet expects me to do the most mature thing that I have ever done. I want to throw the letter out of the window.

In order to distract myself (and avoid making any bad and rash decisions), I look out of the window, familiarising myself with my homeland. There is some form of warm satisfaction that comes from being back here, everything is so familiar, so safe, I feel as though I could lie down on the pavement without a care in the world. Ironically, I feel free. I suppose that’s how zoning is so successful, despite all the solitude and fear, people feel so free in their own homes, that they forget that they are actually trapped inside them.

Outside the window I see memory after memory, so many good times are kept within the grass of the park, and the walls of the skyscrapers. I pass the building where I work, and for some unknown reason, I smile. Everything here fills the emptiness that I’ve been feeling for weeks, an emptiness that I’d began to get used to, but now I am reminded of...being back here relieves me from my homesickness.

The car pulls up outside my house, and in a daze I step outside. Everything I look at makes me feel light with joy. The flower bed on my left,  the pebble garden on my right, split in two by a marble pathway that leads up to the old oak door. A subtle but beautiful array of browns from the house, greens from the gardens, whites and greys from the tiny round stones...it is as if I were colourblind up to this point. My hand raises up to gently touch the rusty knocker, but as soon as I feel the cool metal my hold turns hard, and my fingers grasp it tightly, afraid to let go. I knock a few times, looking down at my feet as I do so. My heart is in my stomach, and I am finding it hard to stay standing.

Suddenly, the door swings open, forcing my hand off the knocker, causing me to stumble backwards slightly. I quickly regain myself, standing up straight and dusting myself off, when I look up again, my entire spirit melts. I look into those familiar kind eyes, and take a small weak step forward.

“Mum?”

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