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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31. Chapter 31

It’s a sound I’ve gotten shamefully used to hearing by now, the ‘bang!’ of a bullet fleeing a gun, the ‘boom’ as misaimed bullets fall to the ground or hit the walls, the screams and yells of the people caught in the crossfire. In fact, I’m so used to hearing it that my heart doesn’t even seem to jump at the noise anymore. That’s doesn’t mean that it doesn’t shock me, my entire body freezes at the noise, but I know deep down that it’s not the sound that startles me, it’s the suddenness of the eruption.

It takes about one and a half seconds for my body and mind to register what’s happening and kick into action, my shock melting away as my heart rate begins to quicken, my mind searching for an explanation, trying to figure out what to do next. My fingers clutch at the rope binding my wrists, needing something to grab onto and squeeze hard- stop that! Now’s not the time for meaningless stimming, I need to figure out what on earth is going on. Why is there gunfire? Because there are guns. Why are there guns? Because the right to bare arms is in the american constitution. But specifically, because people are trying to shoot one another- which means that...Elda and Luci are in trouble! Somebody else is trying to escape, some of the other prisoners have gotten loose! This it it. This is our chance to escape.

I look around the room, now more desperate than ever to find a way out. I turn my wrists around, tugging at the rope in vain, hoping that it might just loosen and set me free. But the rope remains firm, and I remain trapped.

“We need to get out of here, if Luci and Elda stop this we’ll be stuck here forever, and if they lose then the other prisoners will leave without even knowing we’re here and we’ll starve to death.” Max sighs, reaching the same conclusion as the rest of us, scanning the room for some tool of escape.

“I’ve got it!” Annabeth exclaims suddenly, screaming in delight, “Elia...I need you to fall onto me.”

“What? Are you mad? You won’t be able to run out of here with a fractured leg Annabeth!” I yell, trying to be heard over the gunfire.

“Try to fall so most of you lands on my chair!” She stresses, and when my confused look still doesn’t disappear she says, “Look, these chairs won’t break with the weight of one person, but they might with the weight of two. If I put pressure on and you fall at the same time, then my chair should break and I’ll be able to get free, yours might even break too! Then I’ll cut you all loose and we’ll get out of here.”

“But what if I hurt you when I fall-”

Just do it!” Annabeth shouts, her eyes firm and commanding.

I take a deep breath, staring down at the back leg of her chair, trying to aim myself correctly. I take a small swing to the left, then launch myself down onto the right, toppling over on top of her. I feel an immediate ache in both my legs as they collide with the chair, bruising all over, but the legs snap swiftly, breaking right off. I feel one of the back legs of my chair break too, keeping me on the ground. Me and Annabeth lay there for a minute, coughing away and trying to regain ourselves, before Annabeth wriggles free from the rope around her waist and pulls the broken table legs out from her ankles, sliding the rope off soon after.

“That’s...good,” she pants, still gasping for breathe, “Now use your teeth to bite down and pull away at this knot here,” she gestured to the final knot, tying her hands together, “and pull it apart.” I lean over and do as she says, tugging away, using my teeth to unbind her. It takes a few minutes, but I manage to undo the knot.

Annabeth sits forwards, and stretches out her arms, groaning softly at the cramps. She brushes herself off and stands up, wasting no time in untying me. She then moves on to Max whilst I help Daniel, and before long we’re all up and standing, quickly stretching out our aching limbs before gathering by the door. Annabeth tries turning the handle, but it’s useless.

“It’s locked,” she realised, “Of course it would be locked…”

“Get my chair!” Daniel suggests, running over and picking it up, “And Max, you too. See- we can use these to force it open.” Daniel and Max lift up their intact chairs and push them down against the door, focusing on the area where the lock is, after a few tries the handle finally falls to the ground and the door swings open, revealing an empty warehouse.

There’s still loud gunfire in the distance, and muffled yelling too, but to my surprise we’re alone in this big empty open space, the chaotic noises only echoes bouncing off the walls. There are two exits about two meters away from each other, one is a door, one is a fire exit. They’re too close to tell which one will take us towards the gunfire.

“Which way?” Daniel asks, looking to Annabeth for direction.

“The fire exit,” she decides, shrugging, “At least that way we’ll be heading outside. It’s easier to get away if you’re already outside the building.”

“True.” I agree, turning to face the exit. I wrap my fingers around Daniel’s hand, holding him close as we trail behind Annabeth and Max. My legs ache sharply as we walk, my body still not used to it’s sudden freedom of movement. It reminds me a bit of when I woke up in the north for the first time, by entire body dragging down as I try to move. I lean on Daniel a bit to lessen the pain, whilst remaining careful that I don’t hurt him in the process, and he squeezes my hand in support, happy to help me.

Annabeth heaves at the fire exit door, pushing it open, and we all take small steps back, squinting at the sunlight. After a few seconds my eyes adjust, and my vision clears. As luck would have it, we chose the right door, and we’re faced with an open, deserted, grassy field which clearly hasn’t been mowed in years. With grass up to just below our knees, we begin our trek to nowhere, looking around us for any clue as to which direction we should head.

The field appears to be in the middle of nowhere, all I can see around me are weeds and trees in the distance, trees so tall that they make it impossible to see what’s nearby. We could be in the outskirts of a city or lost in a deserted area, we don’t know. Our only option is to keep walking until we reach something- anything, anything at all that might give us an idea as to where we are.

I force my legs forward, pushing on through the thick grass, already missing the air-conditioned indoors under the heat of the midday sun. Thankfully the field isn’t as huge as it first seemed, and after twenty minutes of trekking through the grassland we reach a path. We cling to the wall of the building, letting Annabeth check if the coast is clear before we turn left and begin to walk down it, trying to stay in the shadows.

I hear it at the same time as everyone else. Annabeth stops walking, halting us, Max’s eyes widen and Daniel drops his hand from mine as we all freeze, quiet as mice.

Footsteps.

Running footsteps. Rushing in our direction with an assertive speed...closer...closer...closer- they’re not stopping, and we’re close to the end of the path now, we don’t have time to turn back and hide. I grab Daniel’s hand again, holding him close, if we’re captured again this could very well be the last time I ever see him. He wraps his arm around my shoulder, holding me protectively, I know what he’s saying, he’s telling me that he’ll fight for us, that he won’t let us be separated. The footsteps are so close now that I can hear the runner panting. The sound infects my ears, those deep, heavy sighs.

But they don’t sound a lot like Luci- I’ve heard her running before...these footsteps are too heavy. I think- I think this is a man, not Luci, not Elda either...so who?

The runner rounds the corner, stopping before he sees us to bend over and cough out painful sighs, exhausted. I recognise him immediately. It’s Zacharia. Zacharia Jacobs. He slowly raises his back, and jolts when he sees us standing here, before launching himself over towards Annabeth, embracing her in a warm hug.

“Oh wow...I have never been happier to see those strawberry blonde curls!” He grins, forgetting himself in a moment of sheer joy and surprise. “You’re here...oh my, you’re actually here! Right in front of me...wow.”

“Yeah, yeah I’m here, I’m aware of that…” Annabeth trails off, easing him off of her, “What in the world are you doing here?”

“Me? Oh right, yeah...me.” Zacharia stands up tall, almost ‘coming to’ after his shock, wiping his face off all expression once more, “Luci and Elda they...they found the new base they- they leaked some gas in, it knocked us all out, next thing I know I’m tied up here. I think she got some other important Southern resistance members too. One of them got free and well, I saw my chance to get out of here.”

“Us too.” Annabeth nods, gesturing behind her to the rest of us, still clinging to the shadows of the wall, “Luci really brought you up here all the way from the South? That’s a lot of effort.”

“What are you talking about? This is the South.” He tells us, confused, “This facility was the first hideout of the resistance over here, you can sure appreciate the irony…”

“So we’re not in the North anymore? They brought us all the way down here?” I check, taking another look around me as if there might actual be a difference between northern trees and southern trees.

“Yes,” He nods, “Welcome home.”

“So wait, if this is one of the old bases, then do you know where we are?” Annabeth asks him, getting hopeful.

“Of course.” Zacharia confirms, “In fact, our emergency second base is only an hour away.”

Annabeth turns around to look at us, an honest, ecstatic grin plastered all over her face. I know it well, because I have exactly the same one on. She turns back around to Zacharia.

“Lead the way.”

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