Lucid

~The Sequel to 'Little British Girl~
- Decide which side your on -
Three and a half month after Luci kidnapped her birth father, Xander Moore, Elia and her friends are on the run. Both north and south are engulfed in complete and utter chaos, and the resistance and the rebellium are gaining power through an alliance. Both sides want them out of the way, and they have nowhere to be, nowhere where they belong. The four friends must choose a side, the alliance, or the government, a decision that will forever haunt them all.
Nothing is certain, nothing is safe, nothing is lucid.

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22. Chapter 22

Just staring into those grey-green eyes takes me back to the small room in the south. I can almost hear the rain bashing against the windows, the sound of the old, dim, swinging lights as they swayed back and forth...the low hum of whispers in the air. It’s suddenly a lot colder, as if there’s ice particles in the wind. She gives me exactly the same look. One of curiosity, of determination, and disgust. A look that communicates exactly what she’s feeling, all that snobbish hatred, I am left with no questions as to her opinion of me. She sees herself as above me, and purer than me. I don’t belong in her world, I’m an abomination.

“I want to help you take down the alliance.” She maintains eye contact with me as she speaks, the honesty behind her words undoubtable. Suddenly her hatred shifts off me, and into her words. I am not her biggest grievance anymore, the alliance is. I don’t doubt it for a second. She’s telling the truth. Elda straightens her back to stand up tall, and Daniel and I get up from the swingset, standing tall.

“What about Charles? Aren’t you and him partners?” I try to get more information, confused. Just because she’s not lying doesn’t mean she’s not hiding something

“No.” She replies simply, rolling her eyes. It’s as if she thinks I’m an idiot for asking, like I’m the one who owes an explanation.

“Well- then, then why...what are you doing here?” I stammer, unsure about how to handle the situation. The last time I saw Elda she knocked me out and sent me back to the North, but now she wants to team up? It just doesn’t make sense.

“I already told you, I want to help you take down the alliance.” She shakes her head, stressing her words. She speaks to me like I’m a deaf ten year old.

“Yes...but why?” I clarify, still clinging to Daniel. I try to hide it but Elda being here terrifies me, I mean, does every sociopath on the planet know how to track us down? First Luci, now Elda, are we never safe? Not to mention it’s Elda… the northern supremacist who had a personal grudge against me.

“Because your tame resistance friends have ruined the rebellium, everything so much more political now...so much more boring. Charles isn’t the same man anymore, he’s grown old and tired of the constant violence...the wimp. Essentially, the rebellium was my home and now it’s gone, so I want to destroy the thing that destroyed it. An eye for an eye, get it?” She finally explains, briefly laying it all out for us.

“Do you believe her?” Daniel subtly whispers in my ear, too discretely for Elda to notices.

“I think you’d better come inside Elda.” I answer his question, making a move to open the door, giving Daniel a quick nod as I do so. I swing open the door and step inside, parting from the doorway to let Daniel, shortly followed by Elda, through and into the house. Elda looks around, examining her surroundings, keeping her posture closed and her mind alert. “Wait here,” I tell her, “I’ll go find Annabeth and Max.” Before I go I walk over to Daniel, murmuring in his ear, “Keep watching her.”

I rush up the stairs, and once I’m safely out of earshot, I let out a huge sigh, giving my heart a few moments to settle and recover from the shock. I bend over and take a few deep breaths, panting.

“Wow Elia, you know you should really work on your fitness if going up some stairs does that to you.” Annabeth chuckles, coming out of her room. “I was just going to go down to the store, do you need anything? I need a bit of a walk to clear my head and-”

“Elda’s here.” I cut her off, not being gentle about it. Annabeth looks at me, confused.

“Elda who?”

“Elda as in Charles’s right-hand woman Elda, she works for the rebellium.” I tell her. Annabeth’s eyes widen, I can see her panic levels rising with each word I say.

“W-what? Is, is she here to...to hurt us or-?” Annabeth stammers, her rationality fading.

“No, no it’s nothing like that.” I assure her, trying to calm her down, “Well, at least I don’t think it is. You see, she claims to want to help us. She hates the alliance, and she wants to destroy it.” Annabeth takes a small step backwards, registering what I’ve just told her. She stares down at the floor as she thinks about what her next move will be, rejecting idea after idea as she struggles to find one that will work for her.

“You get Max, I’ll head on down and talk to her.” She instructs me, taking the lead. I nod, and as she storms down the stairs, I turn to my right, knocking softly against Max’s door.

“Come in.” I hear a murmur from inside, inviting me in. I slowly turn the doorknob and creep inside, knowing I’ll need to take a softer approach than I did with Annabeth.

Max is sat down facing the window, staring out towards the sky. It’s not the most beautiful view, the sky is full of dark-grey clouds on the verge of busting open, letting it rain, and with the sun hidden the light emitted is dimmer. Aside from that the view from his window is just the desolate brick house opposite, it’s not exactly fields and woodland. I walk over and sit on the edge of his bed behind him, pausing for a moment before I start to speak.

“I’m sorry about what happened with your mum,” I sigh, “I really thought it was going to work.”

“You’re sorry? Elia I know your British but you really need to stop apologising every ten seconds. It’s not your fault, it’s not anyone’s fault except mine. I waited too long, I fell in love with Luci, I’m the reason they won’t work with us.” Max argues, “It’s all my fault. Beverly’s abandoned us because of me, and I can’t change that.”

“No, you can’t,” I agree with him, standing up to walk in front of him, looking him in the eye, “But you can accept it.” I kneel down so I’m at his level, taking his hand in mine. “Beverly’s gone, so what? We don’t need her support, we can survive without her. We have already, for the last thirteen months. Sure, this is a setback, but we’ll bounce back, we always do...and sometimes it leads us to the most amazing places, I mean, I’ve met my birth father! If we’d stayed with the alliance or given in then that would never have happened. And you know what? I’m happy. I have Daniel, and Annabeth, and you, and...and well, why would I need anything else? We’re still together, we’re still all in one piece, that’s enough for me, and it should be enough for you too.”

“What if it isn’t?” He asks me, tears brimming in the corners of his eyes.

“Then it will be,” I promise him, “Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but it will happen.” I wait for a couple of minutes, holding his hand and giving him some time to think, before I speak again. “In the meantime, there’s an excellent distraction waiting downstairs in the form of an ex-rebellium soldier who wants to help us destroy the alliance.” Max looks up for the first time, I can tell the idea appeals to him.

“Why not?” He grins, finally getting up from his chair. I smile and follow after him, glad to see the life return to his eyes. As soon as we leave the room I hear muffled voices from downstairs, and as we head on down they become gradually clearer.

“...so your some kind of henchwoman? Bodyguard? Weapon? What is it you actually do?” I recognise Annabeth’s voice, and as we turn the corner I see her standing in front of Elda, her arms folded across her chest. Daniel is positioned a few steps away, keeping out of the conversation and letting Annabeth do her thing.

“I do whatever Charles wants me to do, or at least I did, until he started asking me to do stupid stuff.” Elda answers her question, her tone tired as if all this bores her. I move to stand beside Daniel, and Max stands in between us and Annabeth, resting his back against a wall.

“What sort of stupid stuff?” Annabeth pressures her for more information, leaning forward.

“All sorts, photocopying, writing up reports...all the dull stuff you resistance people seem to do. Back in the South I’d go out and beat up some thug or steal an important document. I’m bored.” Elda rolls her eyes, as if her justification makes perfect sense.

“So you’ve come here for a bit of excitement?” Annabeth checks, “Do you even care about taking down the alliance?”

“Of course I do, I hate the alliance.” Elda glares, raising her voice. I think Annabeth’s question might have offended her. “I want the alliance to end so the rebellium can be independent again and I can go back to the South and get my old life back.” Annabeth doesn’t respond, instead she turns around to face me.

“Do you believe her?” She asks, getting my opinion. I am the only one who’s ever met Elda before, I know her better than anyone else in the room.

“I-I think so,” I shrug, unable to decide, “Her reason is selfish, and she’s selfish so...yes, yes I think I do.” Annabeth grimaces, displeased by my unsure answer. She turns back around sharpyl, returning to Elda.

“We need more information,” she tells her, “Lay it all out for us, why you came, what you want, and how you intend to get it. Start from the beginning.”

“Fine,” Elda snaps, beginning to lose her patience, “Like I’ve already said, when the rebellium teased up with the resistance things got tedious. Your tame resistance friends started to change how things worked. There was so much more planning, so much more consideration, and as a result, a lot less action. It was awful. I lost the will to live inside those dreadful tunnels, I tried talking to Charles but he wouldn’t listen, he spent all his time with Grace instead, shutting me out. I realised that in this strange new organisation I was no longer needed, nor wanted. So I left. One evening I packed up my things, left a rather passive aggressive note for Charles, and ran. It was surprisingly to track all of you down, Grace had intel that Elia was looking for her birth father, so all I had to did was find him, and I knew I’d find all of you. I was going to come this morning, but I recognised Grace’s car outside, and decided I’d wait until it was gone. Now, I’m here, and I want to help you take down the alliance. I know you’re all desperate to stop it from hurting you old friend Luci Moore, and none of you are stupid, you know the only way to do that is to tear it apart. I can help with that. I have years of combat experience and a very small conscience. I can be your deadliest weapon, if you’ll let me.”

“It’s an impressive pitch,” Annabeth nods, taking a few seconds to register all the information, “But there’s still one question that needs answering. Why should we trust you?” Elda stares down at the floor, needing a moment or two to think about her answer. All of us wait intensively, wondering what she’s going to say.

“You shouldn’t,” Elda decides, failing to find a good reason, “I hate all of you, especially Elia, and I wouldn’t be here if I had any other choice. But it doesn’t look to me like you have much of a choice either. I mean, your hiding out in some old semi-detached property, showing no signs of moving on anytime soon. You’re sitting ducks. You need me, just as much as I need you, if not more. You don’t have any other options, you have to take a calculated risk and let me help you.”

“It sounds like you have a particular mission in mind,” Max steps in, taking over from Annabeth, “What’s your plan?”

“You have report A341, right? Charles wants that report, badly, I’ve never seen him want anything as much as he wants that. With that report, he wouldn’t need the resistance, he’d be able to go out on his own. If I get in touch, telling him that I have it, and arrange a meetup, he’ll come running. In the meantime Max here gives his mummy a call and tells her that Charles is planning on backing out of the alliance, we can even use recorded phone calls between Charles and I as evidence. Beverly tells Grace, and they make arrangements to storm the meet-up. The alliance falls, I get to go back home to the South, and you keep your little friend safe.” Elda explains, laying it all out for us. I have to admit, it’s a pretty good plan, better than anything else we’ve tried so far.

“We can’t risk Charles or Grace getting their hands on that file,” Annabeth shakes her head, “It’s too risky.”

“You wouldn’t take the actual file to the meet-up stupid.” Elda scowls, glaring at her, “Just take a bunch of A4 paper with a photocopy of the title page on the front. The meetup will be stormed before Charles even gets a chance to check.” We all exchange looks with each-other, silently voting on the issue. Each of us gives a small nod, knowing that Elda is right about one thing, we don’t really have any other choice.

“Okay, okay,” Annabeth agrees, “Let’s do it.”

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