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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28. Chapter 28

Luci didn’t waste any time after Xander’s heart stopped beating, after she’d taken and released a few pictures, she dragged his corpse out the door, and into a van waiting outside, probably with Elda in the driver’s seat ready to dispose of it somewhere inconspicuous. I got a glance of the outside world whilst she did it, but all I saw was an open field. I concluded I was probably either at the back of a large building, or in some sort of shed or outbuilding close to a bigger base. Wherever I was I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Throughout it all Luci didn’t seem to show any emotion, her face was blank and bored, as if she’d just stepped on an ant. I hate Xander, even his lifeless body somehow sparked rage inside me, but I still don’t think I’d be able to kill him, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it with such effortless ease. She didn’t even blink as she pulled the trigger.

Once she was done with Xander, Luci re-attached my blindfold. She didn’t bother with the gag, who would I speak to anyway? Then she left. Someone, either her on Elda, returned twice each day to feed me and keep me hydrated, but they just shoved the food in my mouth, not bothering with the blindfold, so I had no clue which of them it was. The one thing they didn’t do was clean up the blood. They let it spread across the room, they didn’t even wash it off my ankles, leaving it to form a crusty layer on top of my skin.

With no company, and a lot of empty time, I was able to do a lot of thinking...mostly about Xander. Why put me in here? Why not leave me with the others? Why give me fifteen gagged minutes with my mother's killer before shooting him right in front of me?

“Now I can finally kill him…and you’re all going to have front-row seats.”

I think back to that moment in the alleyway, and Luci’s words to us all...or rather, to me. Only I saw Xander die, only I sat there helplessly as Luci killed her father, confused about how I should react…

...because Xander Moore was a bad person.

He did terrible things, and he didn’t care. He destroyed countless lives, including mine.

But in the end, his death didn’t seem to make all that better, it didn’t numb the pain. I think it might be because he never really regretted anything; the whole point of revenge is to spark regret, but Xander never thought twice about his life choices, and even if he did, he never once showed it. His death was meaningless. Just like the death of my mother, or the deaths of those thirteen civilians in the assassination attempt against Luci. It feels wrong for his death to be grouped with theirs. That’s why I can’t stop thinking about how he died, that’s why Luci still hasn’t really won.

But what bothers me most of all, is the fact that Luci let him talk to me before he died. Why do that? Why put us in the same place just fifteen minutes before she planned to shoot him? Why gag me so I couldn’t answer back? Was it supposed to be a way of allowing Xander to resent his choices? To feel guilty for what he did to me? No. No Luci knows Xander better than that...she knew he’d never apologise. All I got out of that conversation was the consolidation of facts I already knew, that Xander Moore was quite possibly the most despicable man on the planet, and that death would always be too kind for him.

So why did she do it?

Luci’s a genius. She never does anything without a valid reason. So what was her reason this time? I can still feel his dried blood around my ankles…

I stiffen at the familiar sound of the door opening, and someone, either Luci or Elda, walking inside, approaching me. I wait for some sort of cereal bar or snack to me thrust up against my lips, but instead, I feel a tug from behind. They’re both here. There are two of them. Whilst one of them unties my ankles, the other unties my wrists, but the freedom is brief, my arms are yanked around to the front of me and I feel the click of handcuffs replacing the rope. I can feel a pull on my right, and I realise that the handcuff is connected to a second wrist, tying me to either Luci or Elda so that even once the rope from around my waist is gone, I still cannot escape. One of them pulls me up so I stand on my feet, allowing me a few moments to balance and get used to the motion, before I am pulled along like a dog on a leach. With the one who I am attached to leading in front, the second kidnapper follows behind, occasionally nudging me in the right direction. We walk for a few minutes, before the ground hardens beneath my feet and we exit the grassland, entering another building. I can hear a muffled voice in the distance, and as we get closer I realise it’s Max.

“Is that Elia? What are you doing with her? Hey! Hey, answer me. What’s going on?”

He doesn’t get a reply, we just keep walking, making a left. We seem to head in the direction of his voice, walking closer and closer, I hear another door swing open before I am shoved down onto something… a chair? Yes, it’s a chair no doubt. My ankles are tied to the front legs and they wrap rope around my waist, keeping me stiff and still. Finally, I am uncuffed and my hands are once again tied behind my back. To my surprise, however, they remove my blindfold.

The first thing I see is Elda knelt down in front of me, with Luci standing a few feet away from her leaning against the entrance to this weird cell-type room, a small window to her right. I look to my left and see Max, also tied to a chair. He looks terrible, perhaps even worse than I do.

“Sit tight, I’ll be back in a few.” Luci smiles, heading off with Elda. The second the door shuts Max speaks to me.

“Are you okay? Did they hurt you? Is that blood on your shoes? What happened?” He fires questions at me, panic overtaking rationality.

“I-I’m fine Max, it’s...it’s not my blood.” I assure him, my voice croaky from lack of use, “What about you? You don’t look too good either.”

“Me? I’m fine. They haven’t paid any attention to me, they’ve just fed me and given me water. I haven’t seen Annabeth or Daniel though, have you?”  He gets back to his questions, wriggling in his seat.

“No...no I was alone too.” I say, only realising a few seconds after that it’s technically a lie. I wasn’t alone in the beginning, and I wasn’t really alone at the end.

“Well did you hear anything? Was there-?” Max stops mid-sentence at the sound of multiple footsteps approaching as Luci and Elda return, the door swings open, and they walk in, with Annabeth cuffed to Elda in between them. As with me, they sit her down and tie her to a chair. I notice that she’d been gagged, she was probably yelling too much for their liking. Unlike me, she struggles as they pin her down, frantically trying to break free. But it’s no use, within minutes they’re done and gone. They don’t remove the blindfold or the gag.

“Annabeth, Annabeth it’s us, Max and Elia,” Max tries to speak to her, attempting to calm her down, “We’re in here too.” At the sound of his voice Annabeth turns to her left, and I notice a huge black-purple bruise spread across her right cheek...it makes me feel sick. “What happened to you? Did they hurt you?” Max sees it too, forgetting to a moment that she’s not exactly in a position to reply. Annabeth gives what looks like a nod in response, still trying to fiddle with the rope that binds her to the chair.

“I, I think they’re bringing us all together, they’ll probably bring Daniel in here next.” I guess, trying to understand what’s happening. “Look,” I notice them through the window, “There he is.” Like me, Daniel walks obediently behind Elda, in front of Luci, making his way over to this room. They tie him down and take off his blindfold, they remove Annabeth’s too, but not the gag. Elda leaves after that, but Luci stays, wanting to address us all.

“There, now the team is all back together. ” She grins, “I thought you’d all appreciate a bit of company from now on. You might as well get comfortable, you’re not going anywhere anytime soon.” She walks over to Annabeth, finally pulling the cloth out of her mouth before turning to leave.

“I’m going to get out of her Luci and when I do I’m going to-”

“What? What will you do?” Luci interrupts her, turning back around, “You should be thanking me, I’m keeping you all safe. There’s going to be a civil war, I’m keeping you all hidden away from the violence. Isn’t that what you were trying to do for me, hm? Keep me safe? Consider this a favour...I’m probably saving your lives.” She doesn’t give Annabeth a chance to reply, she exits swiftly, slamming the door shut behind her.

“That girl is crazy!” Annabeth yells, losing her temper.

“Yeah...we noticed.” Max sighs, shaking his head.

“At least we’re all together now.” Daniel tries to change the conversation topic, “I really hates not being around you all.”

“Yeah...why did they put it in different places? What was the point?” Annabeth agrees, “Where were you all anyway?”

“I was in here.” Max shrugs, “I woke up tied to this chair with a blindfold on, but they took the blindfold off after a while. They didn’t hurt me...although it doesn’t look like they showed the same level of tolerance towards you Annabeth.” He gestures to her bruise, wincing.

“Oh that? Yeah, that was actually my fault.” Annabeth confesses, “I woke up handcuffed to a hook on a low ceiling, you know, so my arms were above my head. I could touch the floor but I still sort of dangled. It really hurt my arms after the first couple of hours. When they first came in to feed me I got angry, I couldn’t reach them, but I could swing about and try to hurt myself instead, so they’d have to intervene. Anyway, long story short, they didn’t intervene, and I ended up bruised in a lot of places...my right cheek included.” She explains, muttering something inaudible under her breath afterwards.

“I think I heard you…” Daniel trails off, “I must have been close, there was some banging on the wall where I was. I was like you Max, tied to a chair in a room. They never took my blindfold off though, not even when they came to feed me.”

“They didn’t hurt you though, right?” I check, having to be sure.

“No, I’m okay.” Daniel promises me, even managing a smile, “What about you? Is that, uh, blood on you shoes?” I stare down at my feet, sighing.

“Yeah...yeah it is, but don’t worry, it’s not mine.” I struggle to put a sentence together, “You see, um, when- when I woke up I was tied to this pillar thing with a blindfold around my eyes and a cloth in my mouth as a gag. At first I thought i was alone but then I heard this voice...it, it was Xander, Xander Moore. Anyway after like ten minutes or so Luci came in a fed me, taking off my blindfold. Then she...she…”

“She killed him, didn’t she?” Annabeth figures it out, I give her a nod, bowing my head.

“So they didn’t even mop up the blood, they just let it spill out? That’s why there’s blood on you?” Daniel guesses, horrified.

“Yes.” Is all I can manage to say.

“So Xander’s gone? He’s actually gone?”

“He died right in front of me.” I nod, not able to understand why my chest seems to swell as I say it. “She finally killed him.”

“We’re going to get out of here Elia,” Annabeth comforts me, “I’m not sure how, and I’m not sure when, but we will find a way. And when we do, we’ll get those files back, because Luci’s right, there is a civil war looming, but we’re going to be those idiots who try to stop it.”

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