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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34. Chapter 34

I wake up back in my own bed, although I don’t remember how I got here. All I remember is being sat in front of the stone slab, crying, sobbing, wailing away the minutes, only taking brief pauses to catch my breath before continuing on again. It felt like days, it was probably just an hour. I don’t remember stopping, but I must have. I don’t remember walking back here, but I must have. All I can remember is crying, as if my mind is torturing me by selecting certain moments to recall- selective memories.

I jump at the sound of three hard knocks against my door, sitting up with a start.

“It’s just me, Robin.” I hear from the other side of the door. I sigh in relief, my pulse beginning to re-settle.

“Come on in.” I call back, leaning back against my headboard. I’m not overjoyed at the interruption, right now all I really want to be is alone, but I know that I can’t stay tucked up in this small room forever.

A moment or so later the door opens and Robin enters, pulling a small tray behind her. As she gets closer I realise that it’s my breakfast. As soon as my eyes lay upon the glass of orange juice and small bowl of cereal my hunger returns, roaring up inside me and tugging at my stomach ravenously. I suddenly remember that I haven’t eaten since I got here, all I’ve allowed them to give me so far is a small glass of water.

“It’s not much, but it’s all we have really.” Robin sighs, passing over the bowl to me. I take a small mouthful, trying to hide my grimace as I swallow the tasteless golden flakes, quickly taking a gulp of juice there after to wash away the flavour. Either these are well past their sell-by, or Southern food has massively decreased in quality since I was last here. Robin notices my frown, and laughs. “You get used to it after a while, I know it tastes like cardboard now, but after a week or so you’ll be fine.” She tries to assure me.

“No, it’s good- thank you.” I force a smile, taking another mouthful. Truth be told I’m too hungry to really care about the taste of what I’m eating, my stomach is growling impatiently as I finish up my small meal. Robin makes herself comfortable, perching on the end of my bed, clearly not going anywhere anytime soon.

“Your friends are up too by the way,” She tells me, “Annabeth is with Zacharia, I think she’s trying to distract herself with work. And the boy, Daniel, he’s just up and wandering around the place. They’re both fine, they didn’t sustain any serious injuries.” I smile, relieved. In my mind's eye I picture Daniel walking around, unsure of what to do with himself. A part of me wants to rush off and find him, but another part wants to leave him alone, to let him grieve in peace. “How’s your leg?” Robin asks suddenly, “The medics want to see you again today if you’re up to it.”

“It’s fine.” I lie, “It’s getting better by the minute.” As I speak I become increasingly more aware of the throbbing in my muscles, the heavy ache returning at the mere mention of my injury.

“Still, it would be sensible to go and pay them a visit, just to be sure.” Robin reminds me, “That is, if you’re feeling up to it and all-”

“How about I go now and get it over with?” I suggest, cutting her off, desperate to be left alone again.

“That sounds like a plan to me, do you need a hand getting over there?” She offers, extending out her arm so I can pull myself up and out of bed.

“Probably.” I grimace, feeling slightly embarrassed as she passes me over my crutches and helps me along.

Robin gets all the doors for me and leads me on ahead as we make our way over to the first aid area. Her assistance seems to draw even more attention to me as I gradually move along, it could be all in my head, but people seem to pause and stop what they are doing to stare at me as I walk past. I just stare down at the floor and focus on not falling over, wishing I could just materialise in the office instead.

“Here we are,” Robin grins, stepping through the doorway to grab the handle and keep it open for me, “Just wait here, I’ll go and see who’s around to take care of you.” I do as she says, using my arms to push myself up onto the bed, glad to take the pressure back off of my leg again. This area is much cleaner than the rest of the base, which all seems to be coated in a layer of dust. I hadn’t had a chance to notice it all before, when I was last here I was distraught and in a lot more pain. I turn over to lie on my back, staring up at the air vent above me, breathing deeply. A moment later the back door swings open and Robin returns with a nurse. She leaves us alone after that, wandering off back to the main office to assist Zacharia.

The nurse takes my blood pressure and runs a few basic checks, before getting down to the real issue. Slowly, taking care to hurt me as little as possible, she unwraps the layers of bandages over my legs. I dig my fingers into the sides of the bed, clenching my teeth through the stinging pain. After what feels like an hour she’s finished, and she places the handful of damp red and yellow-stained fabrics into the bin beside her. She quickly sanitises her hands, then kneels done to examine the wound.

“Well it is very deep...” She trails off, talking mostly to herself, “It doesn’t look infected though. I’ll give it a quick clean up then you should be good to go.” She reaches behind her for some cotton pads and antiseptic spray, before getting to work. I’m embarrassed by how much I wince at the pain. Compared to all the other things I’ve been through this is nothing, but today everything seems that little bit more dramatic, I’m not sure why… “Are you resting it enough? Even with the crutches you should avoid walking a lot, it will heal better that way.” The nurse looks up at me for a moment, getting up to fetch some fresh bandages.

“Um...yeah.” I nod, not really sure about how much ‘enough’ rest actually is. “I mean, I haven’t done a lot of moving these past few days anyway so…”

“Just try to keep in elevated as much as possible.” She smiles, “And don’t try to exercise on it until it’s healed properly.”

“Sure.” I promise her, moving so my leg dangles out over the edge, ready for her to bandage it. Within minutes she’s done, and my wound is once again hidden. I move to get back up, reaching for my crutches, but the nurse stops me, gently pushing me back down.

“Someone’s on their way to help you get back, they won’t be long.” She tells me, her tone sympathetic. I decide there’s no point in arguing, although my cheeks do heat up at her words. The worst part about all of this isn’t the injury itself, it’s how it makes people act and behave. It seems to take years off of me, transforming me into an eight year old. I swing my legs back onto the bed and lie on my back again, hiding my glare by turning it against the air vent.

“Wow, and I thought I looked rough.” I sit up at the sound of that familiar voice, a small smile managing to curve my lips. “No offense Elia, but you look like you got hit by a buss or something…” Annabeth trails off, shaking her head comically. I lean over to her, embracing her in a secure hug, the sight of her automatically lifting my spirits. When we part again I take a good look at her. There are deep, heavy bags under her eyes, and she’s a lot paler than usual, but other than that she’s the same confident, strong woman I know her to be. “Come on,” she gives me a hand up, passing my crutches over, “Daniel really wants to see you.”

“Robin told me you’d been keeping yourself busy.” I tell her as we walk, “It must be nice to be a part of the resistance again, I know it’s like a home to you.” Annabeth sighs, looking away from me as if I’ve offended her. I open my mouth to apologise, but she speaks before I get the chance to.

“Was.” Is all she says.

“Hm?” I ask, although I’m not really sure if I want an answer.

“The resistance was like a home to me, that was before it threw me out like yesterday's garbage.” She corrects me, scowling slightly. “Now you and Daniel are my home.” She decides, chuckling a moment later.

“What’s so funny?”

“It’s nothing, I just never thought I’d use ‘Daniel’ and ‘home’ together in that sort of sentence.” She shakes her head, smirking. I smile too, not that I have any real idea what she’s talking about. All I know about Daniel and Annabeth is that they’re cousins, and that Daniel was the family favourite whilst Annabeth was the ‘black sheep’.

“I never thought I’d be hiding out in a secret emergency base, walking around on crutches because I sustained an injury when I had a tracking device removed from my leg...I guess we can always surprise ourselves.” I join in, glad to be talking about something a little bit more lighthearted for once. “You know something, I-”

I get cut off from my sentence by the feeling of firm hands around my waist, pulling me off to one side and whirling me around, followed swiftly by the feeling of familiar lips pressed against mine in gentle yet passionate kisses.

“I’ve missed you so much, I love you, I love you, I love you…” Daniel pants, whispering it my ear, finally coming up for air. “I’ve been dying to see you since we got here but they said your leg was bad and-”

“Daniel, Daniel it’s okay.” I assure him, drawing away from him slightly. He looks worse than Annabeth, his eyes are bloodshot with deep bags hanging below them, and he seems unable to focus on anything. “Are you alright? You don’t look like you’ve slept since we got here.”

“Me? What about you? I mean, you’re on crutches!” He explain, stepping back to look at me, “Is it painful when you walk? Do you need to sit down?”

“No, no I’m fine.” I lie for what seems like the tenth time today, “Don’t worry about me. Come on, let’s sit down.” I gesture over towards a small raggedy sofa, gradually making my way over. It gives my mind a bit of time to catch up with the rest of me, and my heart a moment or so to calm down. There’s something not quite right about Daniel, he’s too spontaneous, too unthinking...the man I know never does anything without properly considering it beforehand. He’s not himself.

“How’s your leg? It’s going to heal, right? You’ll be okay? What about other stuff? How are you feeling? I mean, are you coping okay and-”

“Daniel, stop.” I interrupt him, placing my hands in his and resting them on his lap, attempting to calm him down. He clings on hard to my fingers, digging his fingernails into my skin. “My leg is fine, and of course it’s going to heal, it’s just a flesh wound. And as far as other stuff goes then...well I seem to be coping well enough with it all.” As soon as I answer his many, many questions, Daniel's face brightens a little and his grip on my hands loosens.

“I- I was just so...so worried about you. I d-didn’t w-want to, to disturb you before b-but…” He murmurs, his voice only just loud enough for me to hear. I look deep into his eyes, sighing. I don’t think Daniel does shock. His grief hits him in the form of a wave of suddenly alternating emotions, a tsunami full of anger, hurt, desperation… He can’t go through it as methodically as Annabeth or I, he’s drowning in it all, instead of gradually making his way back to shore. I’m hurt, Annabeth’s hurt, but tomorrow we’ll wake up and move on to stage four, Daniel won’t find his closure as easily as either of us will.

“I know,” I nod supportively, leaning in closer to him, “I’ve missed you too.”

His lip quivers, but his eyes relax.

He raises his hand to run his fingers through my hair, gently stroking the side of my cheek on his way down.

As if pushed by an invisible hand, I lean in closer, and closer then again...until our noses are touching, and our lips are joined. And in this moment, this perfectly pure and happy moment, sprung from despair and loss, a reminder of why we’re still fighting on...in this moment Daniel comes up for air, and the waves around him are still, because in this moment, we both have hope.

And all of a sudden, a light bulb switches on in my mind, and a plan begins to form.

“Daniel, go and back our bags- gather some supplies.” I whisper in his ear.

“Why?” He murmurs back, kissing my neck.

“Because we’re leaving.” I tell him, “We’re going to go far away from here and start up new lives,” he draws away from me, happy, but confused, “It’s time we made Watson & Jackson a reality.”

He grins, getting up with the biggest smile on his face that I think I’ve ever seen.

“Really?” He checks.

“Really.”

Daniel, still smiling, helps me get up and sorts me out with my crutches, before rushing off to pack our small cluster of belongings and hunt for some basic rations.

Once I’m sure he’s too far away to see me clearly, I get to work on the other part of my plan. I make my way over to the main office, being as quick as I can. Robin looks very surprised when she sees me burst in and make my way towards Zacharia’s desk.

“He’s not in right now-” She begins to tell me.

“I just need to leave him a note.” I cut her off, fetching a piece of paper and a pen, beginning to scribble everything down.

Dear, well, everyone I guess. Zacharia, Daniel, Annabeth, maybe even Robin too.

I hate to have to do this through a note, but I know it’s the only way I’ll be able to do what I need to do. Luci is a psychopath, and Elda is a killer. I want to rush off, run away, start up a new life somewhere...but how can I? Everytime I watch the news I’ll see them terrorising this planet, and know that I could have done something about it, but selfishly chose not to. I know I never chose this life, all I did was wake up one evening in the wrong zone, but I’m choosing it now.

I’m going to find Luci, I’m going to try and reason with her. She may be crazy, but she’s not nearly as bad as she pretends to be. I know you’ll think I’m crazy for trying, but I have hope, for the first time since we first opened up that webchat so long ago and saw her with Xander tied up behind her. I'm going to the place where he died. I'm going to make her understand. I’m off to go find Lucinda Genevieve Reeds, and I have faith that I will return, even if I return unsuccessful. Then Daniel and I can leave, and at least I will know that I tried.

I won’t bother writing a paragraph on how much I love you all, because I know I’ll make it back and be able to tell you all myself. And besides, you all know that you mean the world to me. In fact, you mean the entire galaxy to me. Every single one of you.

Please don’t come after me, I’ve found what I’m fighting for, now let me use it,

Elia.

I fold the note and tuck it just underneath the keyboard, hoping that Zacharia won’t notice it there for a while, giving me enough time to get out of here unchallenged. I get back up again, making my way towards the exit, but before I go I turn around once more, casting a glance towards my stone slab.

I’m doing this for every single name on that rock.

But most of all, I’m doing this for Max.

He suffered the most, and I need to know once and for all if Luci ever did care for him the way he cared for her, if that twisted and sickening love tormented her as it did him...even if the answer is no, I need to know.

Too many people have suffered, that suffering ends today.

Determined, I make my way out of the main office. Before I leave the building, I retrieve an object from the nurse's office- the tracking device Luci put in my leg. Before I have a chance to change my mind, I storm out of the base, venturing outwards, back into the woodlands.

Once I’m a safe distance away from the building, I find the clearing, and kneel down on the dirt. I reach into my pocket and pull out the tracking device. I press my thumb against the side, turning it on.

I probably only have two minutes before Luci notices and decides to come and find me.

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