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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6. Chapter 6

“You’re both idiots, massive big great whopping idiots who don’t deserve to have survived that mission. I mean, do you have any idea what you’ve done? We’ll probably have to move again now...and don’t even get me started on why, because I don’t want to hear it- seriously guys, I thought we were a team, why’d you go behind my back?” Annabeth rants at us, pacing back and forth across the barn. Me and Max stand, slightly ashamed, in front of her, our heads hung down a little as we receive what we knew was inevitably coming. Daniel stands a meter or so away from us, leaning on the wall in the back corner, refusing to even glance my way as he half-listens to the conversation. I know what I did has hurt him, I knew it would when I left...but I still went- these files better be worth it.

“You said no, what were we supposed to do?” Max steps up in our defense.

“I don’t know, maybe listen to me!” Annabeth shouts.

“It all worked out in the end though, didn’t it? We got back safely and got a hold of the files.” Max changes the subject, knowing better than to question Annabeth’s authority over us a second time, she’s fragile enough as it is.

“And for what? So we can read the file and see what Charles was so worked up over? So we can join the alliance and go on a manhunt for someone who used to be our friend?” Annabeth raises her arms up in the air, now talking mostly to the ceiling.

“Oh so now you’re on Luci’s side...you seemed pretty careless about her safety before!” Max begins to get angry, stepping forwards. I take his arm and pull him back, we’re trying to justify our actions and apologise for keeping them in the dark, not start another fight and divide the team further.

I was being tactical! Annabeth snaps, her glare sharper than a needle, “Something everyone else seems to have forgotten how to do-”

“How about we all just calm down for a moment and take a breath!” Daniel shouts from the corner, cutting Annabeth off mid-flow. I do not dare to look at him as I shut my lips, but I do exactly as he says, and so do the others. He walks over to join our cluster, deciding at last to get involved. “How about this? How about we forget about the whole thing? Move away from here, you know, change direction? We need to leave now anyway… How about we don’t even look at those files? We just take them with us for safekeeping. We let the alliance do what they want to do, and we let the government try to stop them. As long as we don’t get involved, I’m happy. So how about that? I think it’s about time we got out of here…” A foggy silence fills the room as we all think about his words, could we really just back up and leave? Can we really remain neutral when our hearts and spirits long to fight? Could we live without danger? Or would we long to be back in the firing line after a few measly days of doing nothing? I used to live a life of naivety and normality, but after a week or so of returning to it I ended up meeting with the rebellium. I know just how hard it is to go back once you’ve seen the world for what it is, and I don’t think Annabeth or Max, or maybe even Daniel, would be able to stand a normal life for long. The world is just one great big stone cell divided in two, fighting against it is like holding the gun to your temple, thinking, waiting, wondering if this moment might be your last. Living silently inside it is like sobbing against a stone wall, silently counting down the seconds until it might just be all over. I’m a stone cell survivor, but I know in my heart the others are not.

“Where would we go?” Max finds a problem in the plan, “Nobody wants to harbour us.” Daniel rests his palm against his forehead, thinking, pacing back and forth.

“How about the South?” Annabeth suggests, “Elia, surely you know people there who would help us?” Her eyes look hopeful, and it pains me to shake my head.

“My mum is dead, and my friends- well, I’m not sure if they’d turn us in or not. They’d trust me, but there’s a reward on our heads...and some of them could really do with the money-I don’t really know, it’s just...not worth the risk.” I fumble, trying (and failing) to find the write words to voice my thoughts. Just as I finish mumbling, a new idea emerges at the back of my mind.

Elia Ryans.

My dad. Steve Ryans- he lives somewhere away from here, he quit his jobs years ago. Surely he’d help us? Surely he wouldn’t just hand us over? He wouldn’t betray me, his own daughter-right?

“What about my dad?” I look up, a plan beginning to form in my mind.

“Your dad? What? Did you have, like, a stepfather in the South or…?” Max steps forward, confused.

“No, my birth father.” I clarify, but they all still seem lost, “When I was at the facility I overheard two men talking about a man called Steve Ryans who, like Xander, had a child on that trip all those years ago. Apparently he quit a while after and left to live a quieter life. If we can find him, he might help us.”

“That’s even riskier than relying on your southern friends, I mean, we’re talking about an ex-government official here. He might be like Xander, he might shoot us the moment we walk through the door.” Annabeth argues.

“But the men at the facility described him as ‘soft’? He doesn’t sound like a bad person to me.” I sigh.

“Maybe Elia’s right,” Daniel steps to my defense, “Maybe, as long as we run some background checks first, it could be our safest option.”

“How would we run those checks Daniel? We don’t have the equipment.” Annabeth argues.

“We could do it the old-fashioned way, with paper records, photos...that sort of thing.” Max suggests, siding up with us.

“That would take forever-”

“We’re in no rush.” Daniel interrupts her, “Besides, if it works out then it’ll definitely have been worth it, right?” I can see them all getting excited, the prospect of a better future tilting their heads. Whilst they list the pro’s and con’s in their heads, I think about one thing, and one thing alone...him.

My father.

All I have is a name: Steve Ryans. That could be the name of a murderer, a sociopath, a villain, a criminal, an ecomanicac, a peodophile...it could be the name of a cold-hearted monster who only thinks of himself.

Or, it could be the name of the most wonderful person I might ever meet.

It could be the name of a man who spends his evenings sat alone thinking about his long-lost family, wondering what became of his blue-eyed daughter. It could be the name of a man who now dedicates his life to charity and goodness, in hopes that it will clear his heavy conscience. It could be the name of a man who wishes more than anything he could change the world for the better.

His name is all I have, for all I know he could be an even bigger disappointment than Xander was, but there is an equal chance that he might just be something good in this dystopian world, and, just maybe, he could be the light at the end of the tunnel for us all.

Should I really go looking for him? Should I dare to? I can’t go through the emotional turmoil of having a loveless father again, is it worth the risk to me? To everyone else the issue is trust, but to me it is love. Will my birth father love me as a daughter? Or will he reject me as an outcast?

At the back of my mind I register Annabeth’s voice caving in to Daniel, agreeing to run a background check on ‘Steve Ryans’. They all go off to get started, not wanting to waste a single second- They don’t even notice me stood, unmoving, in the center of the room, staring up at the ceiling.

Typical, I suppose, for me to stand stiffly, pausing and rewinding whilst everyone else moves on. Just over a year ago I was sat at home with my mum, watching some daft sitcom on the television whilst sipping peppermint tea, covered head to toe in a faux fur blanket, my only anxieties derived from work deadlines and last-minute birthday present buying...that was my life. Now I sleep in a shed shivering through the night, dreaming of that old life, wishing I could go back to it, but also wishing that it had never happened in the first place, because then I would have nothing to miss.

My mum took care of me.

...Will my dad do the same?

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