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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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17. Chapter 17

“Okay, are we all clear on the plan?” Zacharia whispers. We’re all crouched amongst the untrimmed bushes and weeds, hidden by the neglected garden.

“I kill the lights, wait five minutes, then turn them back on and stand watch.” Quinn nods, reciting her role with perfect accuracy. She avoids my gaze as she speaks, she hasn’t looked at me since back in the hotel room, I think she might even feel a little bit guilty. I don’t want her too. She was only trying to be kind. If anyone should feel guilty it’s me.

“Beverley will take the front door, I’ll take the back, and Annabeth will take the side entrance. We’ll go in at different angles, disarm them whilst it’s dark, and when the lights come back on we’ll get down to business.” Zacharia explains our part of the plan.

“I looked through the crack two minutes ago, I could see two shadows just right of the center. That’s where we aim for.” Beverley adds on, her tone just as clear and confident as the others. I don’t speak. I probably look fine on the outside, but I have a feeling deep down in my gut that all of this seems to be happening too quickly for it to work. It’s just nerves. I can ignore it. I just have to stay focused.

“Right then...shall we?” Zacharia manages to smile. Gradually, we all make our way towards the storage facility. I keep to the shadows, hiding behind the tall grass. I split off from the rest of the group, finding the side-entrance with ease. I hesitate for a second before stepping out from the greenland, creeping forwards slowly until I reach the door. Still clinging to the walls, I place my hand on the doorknob, ready.

Moments later, the lights flash off.

With as little thought as possible, I swing open the door and run inside, trying to keep at a good angle to reach them in time. I only run for a few seconds, but it feels like forever. I can’t see where I’m going, all I can sense is the air whizzing past me as I sprint. No sound, no sight...nothing, nothing but the air… I could shut my eyes and it wouldn’t make any difference.

I stop running somewhere close to the center, listening out for the sound of voices or footsteps.

...but there aren’t any.

I can’t even hear Beverley and Zacharia running. There’s just...silence.

Something isn’t right.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know when to trust my instincts, and this is one hell of a bad vibe. I need to get out of here. Now. Not waiting around to see if my off feeling is correct or not, I turn and run back in the direction I came. It’s not easy. I can’t see a thing, and in my panic I’m even more disoriented than before. I trip over something. A shoe? I don’t have time to think about it further, before I feel a hand clamp around my mouth and a great force is hits the back of my head, knocking me out cold.

I’m not out for long. Before I can even open my eyes I feel hands pulling my arms behind my back and cuffing me to something. The world still seems to be spinning at an odd angle, and the footsteps come from all directions, ringing in my ears...and although my eyelids are heavy I manage to force them open, not that it’s much use, the world around me is all blurred up anyway. Whoever hit me hit me hard.

As my eyes begin to focus I can start to make out my surroundings. I don’t think I’ve moved from the storage facility. There are old, broken weapons around me, attached to the walls and scattered across the floor...which is covered in dust and dirt. There are no windows, and my only source of light is the single ceiling light dangling a few feet away from me. I tilt my head to the right, and realise I’m cuffed to a pipe on the floor. I give it a small tug- but it’s useless, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. With my free hand, I feel my forehead, and when I lower it again it bares a new crimson stain. I don’t think I’m bleeding a lot though, there isn’t enough pain. I can see a woman in the distance, standing on the other side of the room, her back to me as she fiddles around. I know that I know her...but my head's still spinning and all my thoughts are jumbled. Still, the moment she turns around there’s no mistaking who it is.

Elda.

She notices me staring, and smiles. She puts down what she’s been fiddling with, and starts walking over. I look around, but I can’t see Luci. Have they split? Has Elda gone solo?

“Hello again,” she grins, crouching down in front of me so that we can be at eye-level, “Ready to begin?”

“Begin what?” I ask, still completely in the dark.

“Elda.” A commanding voice calls from the dark corner of the room, one I recognise instantly as Luci’s. So she is here too. I hear her footsteps walking over, creeping forwards until she too stands right in front of me. Elda grimaces, not happy about being bossed around, but she still gets up and takes a small step away from me. Next, Luci turns to me. It takes me by surprise, I would never expect to, but the second our eyes meet, I see a bit of Quinn in her face. It’s odd. I’ve spent the past few weeks seeing Luci in Quinn, but I never thought I’d see Quinn in Luci. Thankfully, she starts talking, and I’m reminded of who it is I’m dealing with. “You really are the most frustratingly stubborn idiot I’ve ever met.” She spits, almost growling out the words, “How many more chances did you think you’d be given until people got tired of making exceptions for you? This is war, Annabeth...don’t you understand that?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I sigh. If she’s going to rant at me I should at least know what it’s actually about.

“I gave you one in Willowbrick...Grace gave you one last night...I’m talking about getting the hell out of here Annabeth! Why do you keep on saying no when people offer you a way out?” She yells, gritting her teeth. “Well it’s too late now,” she mutters, her initial anger melting away, “You’ve used up all your chances. This has to end, today...tonight.”

“No...no I still don’t have a clue.” I shrug, no closer to clarity than I was a minute ago.

“I mean that-”

“We’re going to kill you.” Elda cuts in, sick of Luci’s rambling. I don’t mean to jump, but I do. I suppose it’s only human. I can’t believe I’m facing death for the second night in a row. Luci notices my reaction, I expect her to roll her eyes or maybe even smile, but all I can see in her eyes is pity.

“It’s nothing personal Annabeth, and I really wish we didn’t have to...but you just refuse to let go.” She explains, “When I found out what you said to Grace at the factory I knew I had to do something. You weren’t going to surrender, you’d rather die than let her, or us, win. So, die you must.”

“We planted some evidence hinting that Grace and Charles would be here tonight, and gave you such a small window of opportunity that you’d have to act fast and rush things. Then we locked all the doors except the one you were running towards, and you ended up here. Simple.” Elda laughs, clearly pretty pleased with herself. Luci turns around and glares at her, but I almost wish she didn’t. This situation would be a whole lot easier to understand if Elda and Luci were both being completely emotionless.

“So…” Luci trails off, sliding her hands inside her jean pockets, “How exactly do you want to do this?”

“You’re asking me how I want to be killed?” I check, not quite believing what I’m hearing.

“Would you rather I let Elda choose?” She raises her eyebrows, “Look, if I’m going to do this I figure I might as well do it how you want it to be done. So what do you want? A bullet to the brain? I could strangle you? We could flood this place and leave you to drown...or just leave you here altogether to starve? You choose. Slow or quick? Painful or painless?”

“I-I...I…” There are no words, what could I say? What should I say?

“If you don’t decide soon I will...we have other places to be.” Elda pushes me for an answer, already bored.

“Elda.” Luci scowls at her again, “Five minutes.” She requests, Elda nods, leaving us alone. We waste our first thirty seconds just sat here in silence, the only sound in the room being our heavy breaths. “You know I never wanted it to come to this Annabeth, I did warn you.”

“Is that what you told her?”

“What?”

“You know what.” I snap, I don’t have enough time left for these games.

“I never wanted her to die-”

But she did.” I interrupt her, shouting so loudly that my words seem to bounce of the walls and hit her twice, “And now so will I, so there, are you happy yet? Are you satisfied?” Luci doesn’t say anything for a moment or so, she just stands there in silence, stunned. She murmurs something under her breath, too quiet for me to hear. “What?” I yell, getting more and more frustrated with each second that passes.

“She- she shot herself.” She says, clear as day.

“W-what?”

“I didn’t shoot her, and she didn’t get caught in any crossfire. I had a gun on Daniel and she chose to shoot herself rather than shoot me or let Daniel die.” She explains, grinding her teeth. “You should know the truth before you...you know.”

“Y-you made her kill herself?I yell, lunging forwards towards her but being tugged back by the handcuffs. “And you think I’m the one who doesn’t know when to quit? Because you refused to let go of the past she ended up putting a bullet in her brain! Because of you! Because of your stubbornness!”

“I didn’t think she’d shoot herself, I was angry, I-I...I was frustrated, I wanted her to feel the weight of someone’s death on her shoulders. I-”

“Oh my god...oh my god!” I scream, “This is about Xander! You felt guilty for killing your daddy so you took it out on Elia. You wanted her to have blood on her hands too, just to make yourself feel better. Oh my god

“So what if it is about him? It’s too late now anyway!” Luci shouts, finally losing control and letting her temper escape her. “Xander, Max, Elia...they’re all gone! Soon you will be too so will you just shut up and show some dignity so that we can get this over with.”

“In a rush? What? Worried Zacharia and Beverley will come back for me?” I refuse to stay silent, there’s no dignity in this sort of death anyway.

“There’s no way they’d get in here anyway,” Luci shakes her head, “Zacharia, Beverley, and that ginger girl who killed the lights aren’t going to come to your aid anytime soon. I just don’t want to drag this out, for both our sakes.”

Ginger girl?” I ask, confused, does Luci not know who Quinn is? Surely she must. She’s always known everything, that’s how she stays one step ahead.

“I didn’t catch her name…” Luci trails off, “It’s not important anyway.” I can’t believe it. She’s clueless.

“You don’t know.” It’s not a question. My lips curve as I say it, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that I know something Luci doesn’t.

“Know what?”

“Times up.” Elda storms in, now more determined than ever to see me dead, “Let’s do this.”

“Wait, she knows something, it might be important-”

“No more waiting! The longer we wait the less likely it is that you’ll be able to kill her.” Elda ignores her, walking over regardless. “So, have you decided how you want to go?” She asks me.

“Just shoot me.” I shrug, “It’ll all lead to the same ending anyway.”

“I said wait.” Luci calls out, but it’s all in vain, Elda’s not listening. At least this way I’ll die knowing I know something Luci doesn’t. I shut my eyes. I’m ready.

I hear the sound of a bullet, and wait for the pain to come...but it doesn’t. In fact, I don’t feel anything at all. Slowly, I open my eyes. Elda is on the floor, her hand clamped over her bleeding leg. I look to Luci, she didn’t shoot her, did she? But no, she looks just as shocked as I do.

Get away from my cousin.” At first I think my mind is playing tricks on me, but then he steps out into the light, and sure enough, it’s him, it’s Daniel. Luci instantly retrieves her gun and aims it at him, just as he moves his to aim at her. Gradually, he creeps forwards.

“How the hell did you get in?” Luci growls, frustrated.

“I was part of the crew that shut this place down six years ago, my police ID card still let me in.” Daniel reveals, “Now let Annabeth go and we’ll both get out of your hair, nobody has to get hurt.”

“You’ve been gone so long you’ve forgotten that somebody always gets hurt.” Luci reminds him.

“And you’ve forgotten that the last time you had a gun on me my girlfriend died.” Daniel spits, “Believe me Luci there is nothing I would like more than to shoot you right now, so if I were you, I’d let us do this the peaceful way.” Luci’s distracted. She’s looking the other way.

Whilst they continue to glare at one another, I creep my leg out and kick Elda’s gun in my direction, picking it up with my free arm and aiming it at Luci. She notices me all too late, and grimaces, realising that the odds have shifted over to our side. She tosses the key to my cuffs over to Daniel, and allows him to walk over and unlock me. I keep on pointing my gun at her the whole time as I get up, it makes my head hurt to walk, but I don’t let my dizziness show. I have to maintain the advantage. Elda’s passed out on the floor from the pain of taking a bullet the leg, but even when she’s outnumbered, Luci can still be deadly. Slowly, we begin to back away.

“Take today as one final chance Annabeth,” Luci calls out to me as we leave, “The next time I won’t ask for five minutes, the next time I won’t hesitate.”

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