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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29. Chapter 29

“You know what I still don’t understand?” Annabeth asks out of the blue, rolling back her shoulders, her tired blue eyes drifting around as she looks around the room inquisitively. We’ve been in this room together for two days now, fed twice, left alone the rest of the time. We talked a lot at the beginning, but now there’s not much left to say, and none of us really have the energy to speak. In fact, I was trying to fall asleep and have a little nap when Annabeth spoke.

“What?” Max asks, probably snapping a bit more than he meant too. Annabeth doesn’t take any offense, she understands why he’s so irritable, we’re all sick of being kept in this room.

“Why were we in different places to begin with? Why not just shove us all in here together form the very beginning?” Annabeth sighs, hunching her posture to stare glumly down at the floor, unable to get comfortable in her chair.

“I don’t know...maybe to scare us?” Max guesses, “If we were all together like we are now then we wouldn’t have been as afraid as we were by ourselves.” It’s a reasonable theory, one I’m happy to buy into. If I’m honest, I’ve stopped thinking about why anything has happened since I first woke up, what difference will figuring it all out really make? I’ll still be tied to this chair no matter what I know.

“I thought that too...at first, but now I’m not so sure.” Annabeth continues to wonder, still shifting uncomfortably in her seat. “I mean, Elda’s not interested in scare tactics, she’s all about eliminating risks, focusing on the simple and the obvious to ensure success...she’s not bothered with the dramatics, and neither’s Luci...so why do it? If not to scare us then why?

“Oh please stop talking…” Daniel sighs, saying exactly what I’d been thinking. I’m surprised Annabeth and Max even have the energy to talk, I barely have the energy to think. All I want to do is sit here, lean back, and rest as best as I can, it feels like I haven’t slept in a year.

Annabeth seems to concede to Daniel, not speaking again after that, but no doubt still running through theories in her mind, trying to get to the bottom of things. I don’t think she can help it. She’s Annabeth. She always has to know everything.

The peace and quiet is short-lived however, because just minutes later Luci burst in, grinning, slamming her rucksack down on the floor and beginning to empty the contents. I try not to look at the bag, but I can’t help it, it still has bloodstains on it from when she used it before. She probably has other bags, she’s just using that one to try and get to me...either that or she likes carrying it around with her like some sort of trophy. As she unwraps the cereal bars she hums to herself, bobbing her head up and down, clearly something’s put her in a good mood. She goes to Daniel first, as he’s the closest, then Annabeth, then me. I eat it gladly, these tiny meals don’t do much for my hunger, and after days of this inadequate diet I’ve grown to feel constantly starving. When she gets to Max she has to place her hand behind his head to help him eat, he seems to be suffering the most out of all of us, his energy draining away at a much faster pace. I look to Luci as she does it, trying to find a hint of compassion in those robotic eyes. A part of me can’t help but wonder if Max’s twisted feelings for her are returned, and that perhaps, just maybe, Luci might not have been faking all of that compassion last year. The way she supports him, the way she looks at him...does Luci have a regretful love for Max too? Are they some sort of reluctant Romeo and Juliet?

Luci carries on humming as she packs back up again, curiously at ease, as if she’d just gotten away with robbing a bank only to find she’d won the lottery.

“Why are you in such a good mood?” Annabeth picks up on it too, scowling at her. None of us are in the mood for some easy-listening to to hummed tune of ‘mary had a little lamb’. Lucie just turns around and grins at her.

“Why do you care?”

She leaves swiftly, before Annabeth can come up with a clever reply, still humming as she goes. Annabeth sits back in her chair and lets out a deep, strained sigh that seems to surge up all the way from her her stomach. She rubs her ankles against the legs of the chair, not to try and break free from the rope, but just so she could do something. Most of us are too tired to even lift a finger but Annabeth has the opposite problem, she’s going stir crazy in this small room.

“...what if she didn’t do it because of us?” Max suddenly speaks out of the blue, his voice even more tired and hoarse than before.

“What?” Annabeth leans forward, as confused as the rest of us. Max slowly heaves his head upwards to look at the three of us, his eyes unable to focus as he struggles to put another sentence together.

“What if we were never meant to be like this?” He breathes his words out in long, heavy sighs.

“What? You’re not making any sense Max you should probably try to rest.” Annabeth advises him, shaking her head.

“No.” He groans, “I mean Luci...what if Luci didn’t want us in here together at first.” He tries to get his message across, staring down at the floor as if he might be sick.

“Huh? That doesn’t make any sense either. If Luci didn’t want us in here together, if she wanted us to be kept apart, then why would she bring us all in here?”

“...Exactly.” Max says, and at last the penny drops.

What if we’ve been looking at this all wrong?

What if Luci never planned to bring us all back together?

And if that’s the case…

Why did she do it now? The only valid reason would be if-

“Luci’s keeping more people than just us here.” Daniel finishes my thought, realising the true message of Max’s mumbles.

“That’s why she was so happy!” Annabeth realises, “Her and Elda are kidnapping more and more people and bringing them here, she’s kick-starting the next stage in her plan, now that Xander’s dead she’s ready to bring about the civil war.”

“But if more people are here then Luci and Elda have a lot more to handle...” Daniel’s mind begins to wake up as he pieces all the little pieces together, “Do you think that we could use that confusion to trick them and get out of here?”

“What do you mean?” Annabeth prompts him for more, getting excited at the mention of a possible escape. I’m also beginning to liven up, my heart pounding inside my chest as I continue to listen intensively to the discussion.

“Well, Luci and Elda don’t know that we’ve figured out that they’ve brought more people here, right? So if we were to lead them to believe that some of those people had escaped they’d never suspect that we might be lying. They’d decide their only option would be to leave and move us to a new location before the escapees could tell the police where they were kept, and without time to properly take us all over blindfolded they’d just do it at gunpoint. I’m sure Annabeth and I can snatch the guns, then we can all make a run for it.”

“Daniel...none of us are really in the right condition for ‘making a run for it’,” I remind him, hating to be the bearer of bad news, “Luci and Elda would surely catch up with us, we might even faint in the process.”

“Would you rather just stay here?” He questions me, “This could be our only chance to get out of here...are you really willing to just give up? To not even try?

“I...I just don’t want things to get any worse,” I bow my head, “It just seems really risky.”

“So’s staying in here and putting our fate in the hands of Luci and Elda.” Annabeth reminds me, agreeing with her cousin, “I think Daniel’s come up with a pretty good plan.” I sigh, caving in, too tired to argue to attempt to reason with them.

“So how do you propose we trick them?” I ask.

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