Revenge

This is the exact opposite of Lauren Oliver's Delirium.

Lena had always been able to fit in. Until somebody killed her parents. She was told to just be kind and forgive, to just remember the happy times with them. The problem is, she can't hold back her all feelings.

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3. Chapter 1- Revengeful Promises

Oh, shoot. I'm late., I thought, as I raced back home from school. I was supposed to be at home right now, helping my mom cook and completing my homework but I idled a bit too long at the library. It was humongous, with countless bookshelves at my school.

Somewhere in my subconsciousness, something warned me. Stop using 'shoot'! Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions. That would be terrible and would have me shot before I shoot. My brain continued, Exactly. And then your actions become a habit and your habit become your character. Even my parents wouldn't allow me if it became a habit or character.

People were giving me strange looks because I looked so panicked but I couldn't care less. There was no time for that.

No one should be panicking, as I am now. However, my parents were different from other parents of my time; they expected me to be there on time and ace my tests. Our community revolves around love, but my parents only privately lectured me and deprived me of any care. I had watched other kids everyday jealously for their parents' support. I guess it did have some benefits though; without their harshness for comparison, I wouldn't have appreciated good parents as much.

I flew through the streets as fast as I could, legs already aching, heart pounding, attracting even more stares along the way, and arrived at our house, heart racing, breathing in pants. I looked at my watch and let out a breath of relieve. I still had a minute or so. Taking out my keys, I attempted to open the door, thinking Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up! But that only served to make me even more clumsy than I was. Fumbling with the cold metal of the keys, I was finally able to stick it into the keyhole and turn the lock, letting myself inside.

Mother should be inside, cooking and waiting for Father.

But the rooms were dark and empty. Her absence was like a living shadow haunting my vision; I expected something to jump out at me from every corner as I first walked into their bedroom. Nothing. The bedsheets were made, everything tidy. Where could she have gone? More caution and trepidation coursing through me like an unwanted river, I stepped outside, hands out and ready, bracing myself against whatever would come out at me. I laughed at myself weakly. You've read too many horror books from the back then.

Thinking about Goosebumps books did not help with the present at all as goosebumps crawled up my skin like a bug's legs were tickling it. I shivered involuntarily. Come on. Face it. A thousand heroines and heroes have faced this and worse. It was no use. I was tempted to answer, in a whiny voice, What if I'm not a heroine? Against my will, I shivered again. I should've been hot from running all the way back but I was ice cold. Where in the world did Mother go?

I couldn't find her anywhere in the house, outside or around it so I grabbed the home phone, deciding to call her. Her cell was not turned on. I tried the school where Mom worked as a librarian. She shouldn't be there or I would've seen her when I was there not five minutes ago but I needed to know. So I called anyway.

"Hello, this is librarian, Irene Guenevere Rosania, of the library of the Morcastle academy of Summermill city.", a bored lady's voice droned into my ears. That was definitely not my mother. She greeted everyone and everything with enthusiasm, forced or genuine.

"Is Melissa Lorraine Talloway" — we always had to say people's full names to let others know your closeness to the person or your job, resulting in how the other will treat you — "here?" I held my breath, waiting for her answer, to either liberate me from this worry or crush me with more.

The woman seemed to look around before replying, curtly, "No."

Definitely crushing me.

Silence settled over the line. We just stayed on the phone, Irene the bored librarian waiting for me to say something, me trying to swallow the lump in my throat and address her properly before she added, stiffly, "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

Gathering myself, I answered, strained, voice strangely high-pitched and shrill. "Um...No. Thank you."

Where could she be?

I checked everywhere she could be, the classrooms, the streets, the alleys, the shops, the schools, everywhere. There was no sign of her.

I ran back to the eeriness but safety from prying eyes of my house after giving up the search. I was left with only a few options. Knowing that my dad never carried his cell, I was probably going to distract him from his work, and he would get irritated with me, I also knew this was urgent. I dialed his number with the phone. Nobody answered. Letting out a frustrated groan, I contemplated what to do next.

Deciding that I should check with the government officials of my city and find out why and where Mom or Dad has gone, I raced out of the house, not daring to look back. My subconscious expected Mom to be back and angry at or suspicious of me for going to the officials.

When I reached the station, I slowed down, breathing hard, as I made my way inside. I rushed straight to the counter where a middle-aged man with glasses sat behind a computer screen, staring intently at whatever it was. "Excuse me?", I muttered, voice quavering, to get his attention. You would think I didn't want my voice like that when I speak, especially with our rules, but I have long ago given up on trying to be brave.

"Yes, miss?", the man answered, peering at me through his thick glasses, looking disciplinary and serious.

Trying hard not to sound like a scared five-years-old, I asked, "Do you know where my parents are?"

"Well, who are they?", he replied with the tone of talking with someone stupid. He's definitely disciplinary., I confirmed, unamused.

"Melissa Lorraine Talloway and her husband." I struggled hard not to choke on the words. I already said them once, and I wasn't rewarded with good news last time.

"Okay. Wait a sec, let me check.", the officer replied. His attention turned back to the computer and typed in a few keys. What he saw made him pale.

My heart jumped into my throat, delirious hysteria threatening to spill out in a torrent. What had happened to them?

"Young lady." The officer said, sounding grave, and paused, waiting for my attention as I struggled to put screw a lid on my panic.

"They have been reported dead this morning."

I stared at him, uncomprehending, as cold ice filled my veins and I froze on the spot. What? Realization dawned on me faster than lightning as I ran all the possible reasons through my head. Did somebody find out? How did they find out? Again, my brain scrambled to find a reason.

All the while, a part of my brain who is mainly emotional refuses to believe in this. They were good people and abide by the law, at least on the outside. My dad was a scientist who was working to save us from ourselvesfor god's sake. They couldn't kill him! Every scientist makes a difference in our quest to make sure this nation and its people are safe and secure! That's what the government said!

Maybe they were lying.

I don't want them to be.

I was so shaken that I didn't notice the officer talking to me. "Miss? Miss?", he asked, again and again, voice beginning to rise with concern.

"Sorry," I mumbled, not bothering to sound, look or even feel embarrassed that I zoned out while talking to somebody, a great offense in our country. My mind was far from this world— in the land of the dead, a place where I'd always imagined as where dead people go after they died. I imagined my parents, cold, bleak, lost, desperate. I squeezed my eyes shut in the present as if I could block the image's flashing by my mind's eye.

"I'm incredibly sorry for your loss," he said, sounding slightly sympathetic.

I glared at him and clenched my hands into fists to keep from slapping him; I knew either was not tolerated. But I couldn't care less at the moment. You don't understand! And you don't want to. So stop pretending to be! I knew I was being unjust but I wanted to take my anger out on somebody, which happened to be the man in front of me, who had tried to help me.

"You should go to your aunt or uncle's or a relative's house for the night. Their funeral would be tomorrow.", he instructed, taking my unusual and frowned-upon glare in stride.

My temporary anger was quickly forgotten as the meaning of his bluntly-stated words sank in. It couldn't be true, could it? My parents shouldn't have died. They couldn't. One minute, I was expecting them at my house with their disapproving frowns and the next, people were planning their funerals? That couldn't be true. There must have been a mistake, somewhere.

There is. You and you spilling their secret.

The man was still waiting for my answer. I nodded my head stiffly before turning tail and running, feeling the officer's stare burning into my back until I shoved open the door and let it slam shut behind me. On my way to Aunt Carole's house, I passed my home and almost choked on a sob. No, not my home anymore. You'll be living with a relative from now on.

I didn't want to hear it so I just closed my eyes and ran. The pounding of my feet on the roads and my heart furiously pumping away, the blood rushing in my ears. . .they were all familiar, even exhilarating before, but now, it sounded hollow. Dead. Broken.

Something broke as I was running across my consciousness to the forefront of my mind, from when I was about five.

I was in my room and my parents in theirs. Carefully, I listened as Dad recited something that I didn't understand at the time. "All violations of our rule to give our offspring the ideal upbringing shall result in death.", he had murmured, voice shaking.

They had asked me the next day to never tell the other kids what they did behind our closed doors when I go to school. I didn't get why but I did. Now you do know.

How had someone found out?

How?

It's your fault. Your fault. Your grievous fault.

I tried to quell the guilt. Maybe they told on themselves. . .

Tell me, Lena, is that likely?, someone, the logical part of my brain, asked, raising their imaginary eyebrows.

No., I admitted in defeat.

I reached my aunt's house and seeing her cry allow my the tears spill over at last. We spent the rest of the evening crying and I cried as I went to bed. I know it's weak, but it was all I could do, to try and fill that hole my parents left in my chest with my tears.

My dreams were of them, their possible deaths, in the afterlife, reaching for me with their now ghostly fingers. My sleep was restless and I woke up countless times, screaming and crying.

The next day, their funeral was to take place. I didn't want to get up. I didn't want to go to their funeral and see with my own eyes their bodies and know that they were truly dead. It would crush my dwindling hope that they may still be alive myself. I did anyway though I felt destroyed, as if I've been dropped by fate or whatever controls destiny, becoming completely and utterly broken beyond repair. The hole opened into a black hole that sucked every thing good from my world.

I didn't remember anything from the actual funeral, just that lots and lots of tears were shed. I didn't even get to say goodbye to them in living person., I realized mournfully as the man in front talk about what they contributed to the country, especially my dad.

I wished I had time to make up for every bad thing I did, to say goodbye, to kiss them, hug them, one last time; I had just realized how much of an anchor to the world they were to me, how frantic I was when they were gone. Now you realized? Too late.

But isn't that the thing about death? You can never anticipate it, never have a chance for you or your family to prepare for it.

Well, I hate it.

All around me, my relatives and their friends said their farewell to the corpses from afar as they are lowered into the ground, sad, mournful music ghosting through the air. Who do you say that to? They're not going to hear it anyway., I yelled in my head scathingly. I was so angry. We didn't believe in gods— whom we only recognized from books that were written before my society was established— because them able to have such powers would be 'unequal' so I was generally angry at the world for taking my parents.

They wouldn't even let me near their bodies before they lowered the bodies. I strained towards them but some guards held me back. I wanted to scream. Who wouldn't let one near the dead bodies?

I voiced the question to the officers. A woman gave me a fake smile and said, "The dead was also called the 'deceased' by the savages who lived before us, similar to the word 'diseased', which makes us suspect that there's some kind of disease living among the corpses."

How ever much I wanted to slap the official, I wanted to strangle or, at least, hurt this woman more. How dare she. I could barely think straight through my state of lightheadedness and deny but still knew better to do something rash like giving her an ice glare. Instead, I turned my back on her and walked away.

When I inquired how and why my parents died, officers reassured me that it was an accident, that my dad was working when a lab experiment went wrong and he died. Since my mom was his wife and loved him 'to death', it was only just that she died too. What kind of excuse is that? What about her sisters? Her brothers? Her other members of the family? Me? How do you get an ideal childhood when your parents are dead? It felt so good to throw their words back in their faces, even if it's only in my head.

I struggled but still kept my opinions to myself, by the looks on the officers' faces.

wanted to believe their excuses and lies, though. To believe it wasn't my fault after all. But guilt squashed that hope like a fly.

As I slept that night, the dreams reoccurred. I had a feeling they were going to be there for a long time. I didn't mind. I needed everything to remind me of my parents, their voices, their faces, what they have done for me.

When morning light flowed across my ceiling like freshly spilled blood, maybe the blood of my parents, I thought grimly, I was awake.

Paper that wasn't there last night suddenly crinkled under my pillow.

Frowning, I reached under my pillow and pulled it out.

How'd you like my little assassination, huh?, I read, a male but also female smiling voice narrated in my head, created by my own imagination.

Assassination? What? I thought the government was going to keep us safe from these crazy people! Fear spread like a fever as I read on.

The government can lie to you all they want but they knew, like I did, that your dear daddy and mommy had to go soon. It was just the matter of time. They're relieved they didn't have to do it themselves.

Hot bitter anger and hatred burned through my veins and tinted my vision red. They lied. I knew it!

But why?

Soon, your dear aunt and uncle will have to go too. Your "gentle, nonviolent" government also knew that.

No! I felt like screaming some choice words I got from a burned page of a dictionary. Why do you have to kill all these innocents?

How do you feel, living in a monster world?

Trapped and helpless.

That was the last sentence. I flipped it over. Nothing. My heart was pounding with anger and the blood in my ears was rushing like a waterfall.

What had happened to my parents?

Why did it happen?

What can I do to save others?

I didn't know the answers and didn't know where to get them, knowing Aunt Carole will think I'm paranoid if I tell her.

What should I do?

Get revenge.

I will., I promised myself.

But is getting revenge the right thing to do right now?

No., I admitted.

Exactly. You need answers and, above all, the truth.

I will get it. Somehow., I vow to myself.

That's two impossible-to-accomplish goals. But I will accomplish them. Somehow.

I got to work.

* * *

Author's Note:

Hello! *waves* Thank you for reading Revenge!

I'm not sure when I will update but you may be seeing more of Lena in the future; I'll just see how it plays out!

I really appreciate you reading!

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