Grip loosening on my wrists, I slipped out of the man’s hold and ducked beneath his arms, Moving as fast as my legs would carry me, I darted towards the door and held my breath as it swung open before me. I didn’t know what was expecting to see but it certainly wasn’t the council smiling in triumph as they stood, surrounding the machine. Frozen in the doorway, I watched as trails of black still lingered in the air. The glass windows were fixed open, allowing the virus to spread and infect all who stood in its way but I knew that it would do much more than that. It was too late; I was too late. The deed had been done, the time had already passed and now I was helpless to stop what was about to happen. But that wasn’t the worst part, no, the worst part was that it was all my fault.
As all sound in my ears was replaced with a shrill ringing, I felt a pair of arms wrap around me in an attempt to force me away from the room. I held my ground, struggling as I was held back against my will.
“No. No. No.” I whispered although I could have been shouting for all I knew. I struggled, I fought back but that didn’t stop the steady flow of tears tracing down my cheeks. Once again, I had failed and now I was considered one of the enemies instead of an ally. But none of that mattered anymore because Project Red, or in this case Project Black was loose and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. But I was sure as hell going to try.
“The virus. The virus has mutated. We may not be protected from it. It may-” I called out but my words fell on deaf ears as the smiling men and women turned to face me. Their ringleader, the one who had been presenting the broadcast stepped forwards and let a sick grin briefly grace over his features. Ignoring the twisting in my stomach, I felt my arms being tightly pulled behind my back as the General followed his orders and restrained my movement. Eyes meeting those of the leader, I finally understood what had happened.
“Why? Why would you change the virus to kill?” As soon as the words escaped from my lips I knew how blind I had been. All the signs were there; the lack of involvement, the false promises and how pushy they had been for the virus to be lethal. I had refused, I had refused until they finally accepted it or I was naïve enough to think that they had. Evidently, they had just been playing me until I gave them what they wanted and then discarded me at the first opportunity. I had given them the weapons and the ammunition that they needed before they locked me out and defiled my work.
“I believe that you already know the answer to that question, Miss Coleman.” His voice was cold and hollow but yet dangerously calm. He was the sea, calm in one moment and enraged in another but in both, he was dangerous. Making a decision which I knew wouldn’t end well, I decided to fight rage with rage and fire with fire.
“When did we reduce ourselves to genocide? How many people need to die before you realise that this needs to end?” I snarled, my voice wavering as I spoke. Empty. I felt empty and used. After everything that had happened, after everything that I had worked for, I had been reduced to nothing but an unwilling victim a much larger scheme.
“Our citizens are out there every day dying at the hands of our enemies. Every day we lose more than we can afford to and more people lose their homes and their lives in senseless bloodshed. We know that this needs to end and it will. We have made sure of that.”
Grudgingly, I understood where he was coming from but yet the flaw in his logic was prominent in my mind. The council were trying to save themselves rather than the nation. There black and white thought pattern had already discounted peace whilst those we were fighting against were alive. He was tired of the hell we were living in but acting rashly was not a long term solution. I had to try to convince them to distribute the cure.
“Look, if you give out the cure, it would be a peace offering and you could stop it without death. Please, I’m begging you. Just stop it.” Defeat was apparent in my voice because I knew that trying to reason with the council was worthless.
“It’s too late now; there would too many questions.” A red tint entered my vision as rage washed over my senses. How could he stand there, all tall and proud as he disregarded the value of human life?
“What about the innocents caught in the middle!? What about the children and the lives you are destroying?! What about the people who survive?! Not all scars fade.” I yelled at him, trying to clear the smoke from his eyes. Death and loss never faded away, the passing of my parents taught me that. The cuts made fade but they will always remain on the surface, visible and painful to all who bothered to look. When my side stepped out into the light and saw nothing but destruction, I knew the memories would not disappear.
“You’d know… Did your parents ever tell you what they were doing before they died? Which side they were on? They were creating weapons for the rebellion and so we had to deal with the threat.” For a few moments, I couldn’t breathe. As my body fell limp, I was grateful for the general holding me up.
“If that is the cost to build a better world, then we will pay it.” He simply stated in a tone filled with finality. I knew that our conversation was over as I was dragged out of the room. Somewhere behind me, I heard the leader talk, pulling the strings of the marionettes before him. He’d killed them; they had killed my family and had left me to the flames. He had taken them from my life and had left me a broken wreck only to shatter once I had fulfilled my purpose.
“Take her away and lock her up.” I heard him order as the General nodded and mindlessly carried out his task. But that didn’t matter. My weapon, my own weapon was out there, killing all who did not conform to the militaries rules and leaving death in its path. I was numb and empty but the fight was not yet over.
Even after everything, my torture continued.
Even after everything, I wasn’t done.
Even after everything, I wasn’t broken.
And even after everything, I would fight back in their name before it was too late…
Unless it already was…