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*Final instalment in the 'Little British Girl' Trilogy *
One year after Elia’s death, and the entire planet is rebelling. With the news of Xander’s assassination attempt against his own daughter alarming the world, Elda and Luci are leading a powerful resistance, competing with the Southern rebellium, with no powerful government to stop either of them.
And yet, nothing seems to have changed.
Annabeth, alongside Beverly, Zacharia, and Steve Ryans, hide out amidst the chaos , unable to prevent what’s happening right in front of them. Disheartened and helpless.
Then one day, a girl turns up, a girl with heterochromia, with some interesting letters, and some even more interesting information. Could it be that Xander Moore had another daughter? And that Luci has a half-sister?

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15. Chapter 15

“I now bring you back to our top story this morning, the letters published revealing that recently deceased Northern politician Xander Moore did not order an assassination attempt against his own daughter and her mother which resulted in many casualties. This news has shocked the nation, with people across the South lighting candles this morning in memory of Mr Moore whose death was not mourned when he was killed over a year ago. These candles are also lit in memory of those who lost their lives during the assassination attempt…” The story isn’t much different from the one I sat listening to in the North, and yet, I’m not getting the same rush that I got before. It’s great. It’s exactly what we wanted. But I can’t stop thinking about Grace. About the way she looked at me- about the way she spoke to me...like I was a child being scolded for stealing a cookie out of the jar. And then there’s Daniel. My not-so-loyal cousin who’s too caught up in his own self-pity and misery to spare me a second thought. I wish they were both here right now so I could pin them down and hit them, but I also know that if they were actually here right now, I’d freeze on the spot.

“Looks like we did well,” Beverley comes up behind me, smiling, “Turns out Quinn showing up was the best thing to happen to us all year.”

“And you got to slap Grace at last.” I nod, trying to seem just as pleased as she clearly is, “It was a good night.”

“It almost wasn’t though...what did Grace say to you upstairs?” Beverley asks, taking a seat beside me, beginning to see through my happy act.

“She just said that she wanted me to surrender, to go far away somewhere as start fresh.” I shrug, not going into too much detail. Being vague means I can be honest. Technically, all of that was true.

“And what did you say?”

“I told her that she was a coward. I said I’d never give in, and that she might as well shoot me, and she nearly did...but then you came in.” Again, I condense it down. I trust Beverley, but I still don’t feel comfortable with her knowing all of my innermost thoughts that I was throwing out at Grace last night.

“Maybe next-time don’t suggest that she shoot you?” Beverley says, only half-joking. Still, I laugh, for real this time. For a second or so we’re both silent, our laughter quietening slowly until it eventually stops.

“Was there something you wanted?” I ask her, breaking the brief silence between us.

“Sort of, yes.” She reveals, “Look, I know it’s very soon and you haven’t really had a chance to recover from last night but, well, we’ve just heard about an emergency meeting between Grace and Charles this evening, and we’ve even managed to work out the location. We have the element of surprise, and this could be a chance to take both of them down once and for all.”

“You mean…?”

“Yes.” She nods, looking away and down towards the floor, “It’s the only real option...we can’t afford to let this go on any longer.” I want to agree with her and show some solidarity, or at least some understanding, but my throat swells at the thought. As much as I hate them both, my attitude towards killing people has changed quite a bit across the past few years. I’ve learnt that no matter who you kill, however despicable they may be, there’s always grief behind every bullet...every single one. “You won’t have to do it, don’t worry. I’d just need you to be there, either helping out me and Zacharia, or even keeping watch with Quinn? I mean you don’t even have to be in the room at all really-”

“No, no, I’ll be there. I hate keeping watch.” I cut her off, finding my voice again, “What’s the plan?”

“They’re meeting in an old storage facility the resistance used to use for holding weapons back when it was first set up decades ago. We wait until they’ve had some time to settle and feel safe, then Quinn kills the lights from the outside, then you, me, and Zacharia all run in from different directions and disarm them before Quinn starts the lights back up. Then Quinn stands watch outside whilst we, well, do what we have to do.” Beverley explains. I listen carefully, finding a small flaw in the plan.

“How will we attack them in the dark? We don’t have access to night-vision equipment.” I ask, not willing to go forward with this until I’m fully convinced that it will actually work.

“True, but there’s a crack in the wall of the building just big enough for one of us to peep through beforehand, allowing us to see their exact positions and work out where to run to from each of our entrance points.”

“Will that work?” It’s really a rhetorical question. This sounds really risky, after all, what’s stopping Grace or Charles from moving around when the lights go off, and what if we get disorientated in the darkness and can’t find them in time to disarm them? I’m not known for avoiding risks, but even I can’t see myself putting my faith in a plan this rushed and careless.

“Last night you were willing to die for this cause, but now you’re worried?” Beverley points out, “I know it’s not the perfect plan, and I wish it could be safer, but it is what it is. We can either go there to night and at least try to eliminate a huge threat, or we can stay here and wait for a easier, safer opportunity to arrive, but waiting could take years, and we may never get an opportunity like this again. So, are you still feeling stupid or what?”

“When do we leave?” I give in, not sure if it’s my stupidity or bravery talking.

“Sunset, about two hours from now.” She tells me, before walking off somewhere else, not giving me a chance to change my mind. I decide to get up too, getting sick of the sound of the news in the background.

I wonder out of the lounge, through reception, and decide to take the stairs back up to my room. We’ve moved hotels, just to be on the safe side, but we haven’t moved far. In fact, our old hotel is only five minutes away from here. Eventually we’ll have to find somewhere more permanent to stay, especially since we don’t seem to be moving back to the North anytime soon. But for now, crowded hotels are decent enough hiding places. There are ten of us on this small staircase alone, if someone were to come here looking for me, I probably wouldn’t even need to bother hiding.

Quinn is stood staring out of the window when I enter the room, she doesn’t even notice me come in.  She a lot less like Luci from behind, when you can’t see the eyes it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking there’s no relation there at all. Her auburn hair isn’t nearly as violent as Luci’s bright crimson red, and falls in curls, not dagger-like strands. I walk over, sitting down on the edge of my bed. She sees me moving, and her eyes dart away from the window as she returns to the real world.

“What were you thinking about?” It’s nosy to ask, but I can’t help myself, the words just slip out.

“Just...things,” she shrugs, sitting down on the bed opposite, “I guess I’m just a bit lost now we’ve printed the letters, I mean, what now? I feel like my part in all of this is done, but I don’t know where to turn to next. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah...yeah it makes a lot of sense.” I’ve been feeling exactly the same for months, I think, sighing. For the past thirteen months I’ve woken up each day to the question of what exactly I was supposed to do with myself. With no home to go to, no money or job, and two of my closest friends dead, every sunrise was met with a grimace, and a deep, unignorable dread. “But right now we are supposed to be preparing for a pretty big mission, and that’s something, isn’t it?”

“I suppose you’re right, but- well, is this a purpose, or is it a distraction?” I really want her to shut up now. No matter what the answer to her question is I don’t want to think about it. It’s just a rewording of ‘what are we doing here?’ and I don’t have the energy  for questions like that right now, and probably not ever.

“It’s a mission.” I emphasise the word, sounding more frustrated than I mean to. It comes from an anger at myself more than one at Quinn, but she still shrinks back a little, put off by my response.

“You’ve been doing this a while, haven’t you?” She guesses, a hint of pity in her voice.

“Since I was nineteen,” I nod, “But that all seems like a lifetime ago now.”

“I dropped out of university after my mom died, I came back home for the funeral and couldn't bring myself to move again. I moved back into our family home and I found a local apprenticeship instead. People could never understand why did it, why I wanted to surround myself with all the memories, but how could I not? All I wanted was to be as close to her as possible, even if that could never be close enough.” She says spontaneously, talking to the window, a few tears brimming in the corners of her eyes, “People said that I was like a whole other person, and I...I was. Her- her death...her death it changed me in ways I still can’t really explain. It was like...like a part of me d-died with her that day, and I had to rebuild myself with what was left.” She manages to draw her eyes away from the window, turning back to face me again, “Everytime I look at you I see how much you miss them, through your fury and passion in the day, your exhaustion in the evening, and your restlessness in the night...and, and I-I guess I just want to say that I get it. I get how it seems like it was a lifetime ago, b-because well...it was. And...and if you feel lost, well that’s just because you haven’t been down this route before...and it’s okay to feel a little daunted, you’ll get through eventually.”

I don’t know what to say. I don’t know where any of that came from, it was like a part of her decided to just explode out onto me. I can feel my hands shaking on the bed sheets, but I hide them so she can’t see.

“It’s a mission,” I repeat myself, my voice barely a whisper, “And I have to get ready.” And with that I grab a handful of black clothing and head into the bathroom to change, accidentally slamming the door behind me. I’m being horrible. All she’s tried to do is be kind to me, and I’ve acted as if she’s just robbed me at gunpoint, but the pounding in my chest deafens the guilty voice at the back of my mind. All I feel is feelings. Anger, grief, depression, denial, frustration….they replace sight, sound, touch, and even taste...and they overwhelm me as I sink to the floor, my head in my hands as I cry into my palms. This was inevitable, it had to come eventually...but I still feel like I’m being invaded by my own thoughts.

 
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