Authors: BT Murphy
“I’m sorry,” Giselle started, searching for the words she wanted, “but where does all of this come from? It is all so beautiful.”
Evelyn scanned the room, “This old stuff?” she replied nonchalantly, “My Zone 1 inheritance.”
Giselle gasped, was Evelyn a Zone 1 leader, sent to spy on the Could’s? With her mind racing with questions and possibilities, all Giselle could hope was that she had paid enough attention to her surroundings to be able to leave in a hurry.
“Relax, I am not the enemy here.” Evelyn sensed her unease, “You see, this is what I was left with after
father was detained for being a Could. I didn’t have anywhere to go after they tossed me out of my home, so I took what I could and left.” Evelyn explained her story to Giselle, the pain of her past visible on her face whenever she’d drift off into a memory. “They used to use this warehouse for the manual labor, you know. This is where we were kept after the first purge. Everyone here is a survivor of that first ill fated event in our history.”
“My father was detained as well, now they are investigating me. I’m sure of it,” Giselle blurted out, relieved to be rid of her secret.
“We know. That is why I sent Calvin to find you, you are more valuable to our cause than you might think, young lady.”
Peter walked into the classroom with a skip in his step. It had been a few months since the Shannon incident, and there was still no sign of any danger in his life. He didn’t need to draw any attention to himself. The last thing that he wanted was Bulldogs sniffing around him. His happiness was short lived when he looked up and saw that Giselle was still in his class. He was sure that the D.A.E would have done something about her by now. He had reported her ages ago.
The classroom was abuzz with excitement, the weather had become warmer, and the spirits were high. There was always excitement on a Friday, but today just seemed different. There must be something in the air today, thought Peter. There were no incidents in class either, another sign that he was in the clear and that the weekend would go smoothly. He liked boring weekends, where he could read and relax without the fear of anything too thrilling happening.
During class, he noticed that Calvin and Giselle had switched seats, and were sitting together now. That isn’t a bad thing at all, thought Peter, Calvin is the perfect citizen, and he’ll lead her back on the right path.
After class, Peter stepped outside into the blaring heat. It was a perfect afternoon to have a few drinks in the shade, but Peter didn’t know anyone who would want to join him. Sauntering home, Peter had gotten lost in thought – it wasn’t until he felt a cool hand on his shoulder that he snapped out of his daydream.
“Peter, darling!” The high-pitched drawl came from a well-dressed woman, who had been trying to get his attention for a while. “Didn’t you hear me calling?”
“Oh!” Peter exclaimed, “I’m sorry Beatrice, but I didn’t.” A fresh flush of red went to his cheeks. The very last person that he wanted sniffing around was Beatrice.
She waved him away, amused; “You are joining us this summer at the club again, aren’t you?” Beatrice wasn’t a woman who anyone would disagree with. Being married to the director of the D.A.E meant that she was not to be reckoned with, and few dared to try.
“Of course!” Peter replied, almost too quickly. “I wouldn’t miss another summer in the gardens at all.”
“That’s what I thought,” she cooed; false smile painted onto her tightened face. “I’ll reserve your plot for you in the meantime.”
Peter nodded, thanking her for her time before he tried to leave the uncomfortable encounter as quickly as possible. Before he could, she shouted back to him, “Oh and Peter! Next time, be sure to pay attention. You don’t want any Bulldogs sniffing around you.”
Her final jeer sent shivers down his spine. He knew that everyone was aware of his involvement with a Would. He knew that he would have the mark of this indiscretion on him for the rest of his life. He just needed to be sure that he kept to himself, kept to the rules, and made sure that he stayed unnoticed. Exasperated, Peter decided that he needed that afternoon drink, company or not.
Giselle and Calvin walked hand in hand through the park alongside the University. It had been a few weeks since she was first introduced to Evelyn, and she still couldn’t get off of her cloud. The new information that she had and the people she had met, had welcomed her with open arms. Embracing her as one of their own, Giselle had started spending more of her time sneaking around Zone 3 under the cover of darkness. Learning the secrets of this unlikely band of outcasts. For the first time since before her father’s detainment, Giselle felt free again.
Being a part of the Foresworn was a risk, but Giselle was willing to risk everything to rid the world of the D.A.E. This was exactly what the Foresworn was striving to do; they were banding together under the guise of volunteer work, to try to reignite the fire that once burned. Trying to restart the Uprising – trying to restore order the way that they saw it.
Giselle and Calvin were blissfully unaware of the tail they had attracted. Their laughter and secret conversations were going unnoticed by passersby, with the exception of one person who kept a safe watch over them.
Sybil was itching to get rid of Giselle. She’d become a problem for Sybil, that all started when she started to attract the attention of Calvin. Calvin was supposed to be hers, Sybil had planned everything for them to be together during the summer, but that had changed. Sybil was a Zone 1 princess, born and bred to sniff out lower class Zone dwellers. She knew that Calvin was unfairly zoned. She knew that children of lower Zone inhabitants could be upgraded to the higher Zones, and Sybil had been waiting for Calvin to get his upgrade. His association with Giselle would stop that from happening now. It would stop them from being together, and that was something that Sybil wasn’t willing to risk.
Slinking back into the background, Sybil took out her phone to dial a familiar number. Now was the time to take action, and she couldn’t wait any longer.
“Hello, is this the D.A.E? I want to report suspicious activity.” Having Giselle out of the way would mean that she could have Calvin all to herself. It also meant that the Leaders, helping elevate her status further, would notice her good deed.
Oblivious that they were being watched, Giselle and Calvin continued on their path toward Zone 3. Friday nights meant that there would be celebrations and happiness throughout the Zone, a week without detainments was reason enough to celebrate. Calvin and Giselle were eager to join the Foresworn family in jovial carelessness for an evening. Oftentimes, Bulldogs who were ordered to keep watch over the Zone inhabitants would join in on a Friday night. Enjoying the merriment alongside the same people that society regarded as scum. It was a rare chance for everyone to remember his or her humanity.
The two friends rounded the corner, being met by a sea of people, cheerfully collecting in the street. The smell of food and the sound of laughter filled the usually deserted streets with atmosphere. It was impossible for Giselle not to let her guard down a little bit. She was in good company and felt so at home for the first time since the move. Evelyn glided toward them with her effortless grace, greeting them warmly and offering them food.
“You must be glad that summer has started?” she said, “I heard that the University is closing its doors during the summer too, unbearable heat coming.”
“I’ve heard that as well,” said Giselle, only she wasn’t too sure that the heat was the reason for the closing. She remembered reading about all of the institutions being closed just before the first Uprising attempt was foiled. Giselle was sure that Evelyn knew this as well, but kept this knowledge to herself. Evelyn was always careful of who could be within earshot.
“I’m pretty excited about soaking up some sunshine on the roof,” Calvin pitched in. He was hungrily eating the food served to him by his mother.
“Of course you are my darling.” Evelyn smiled her warm smile, leading Giselle by the hand to the seclusion of a nearby doorway.
Giselle was unaware of what was going on around her. She felt no threat from Evelyn and knew that she would protect her secrets as well. “Is everything alright, Evelyn?” Giselle could tell that something was not right. She saw the masque worry on her face but she knew better than to press for answers.
“Giselle, we must talk.” Evelyn’s voice was hushed, laced with concern.
“What is it? What is wrong?”
Evelyn’s face darkened, scanning the crowd of people gathered in the streets with them. She had heavy news that she needed to share, but wasn’t sure of how to tell Giselle, how she could let her know that she was wanted.
“They have been asking about you, the Bulldogs. Seems that you have been reported a few times already, and the D.A.E are after you.”
Giselle’s blood ran cold, this couldn’t be happening to her. What could she have done, what could she do? She had to think of something before it was too late, before she was detained under false pretenses.
“What? What can I do?” Giselle pleaded with Evelyn. She needed a way out of this situation, but what could she do? “Should I run?” she asked seriously.
“No! Heavens no. That would only make things worse for you. We need to keep you out of their reach though, but we don’t know how. They are already circling you like vultures, any closer and they will expose everything.”
Giselle knew what Evelyn was talking about. She knew that if she stayed too close to Evelyn and the Foresworn, that she risked exposing them all. She couldn’t put them in harm’s way, not for her. She had to do something to draw their attention away from the Foresworn and solely onto herself.
“No,” she said finally, “I know what needs to be done. I know what I have to do.” Giselle placed a light kiss on Evelyn’s cheek before turning toward the crowd. She would hand herself over to the Bulldog’s onsite, that should keep them away from the Foresworn and the Uprising long enough for Evelyn and her vagabonds to make a difference.
Evelyn caught her breath, watching as the brave, young woman sacrificed herself for the sake of the cause. She knew that Giselle had the strength to withstand whatever the Facility threw at her, and that she would make it out alive. Evelyn knew then that Giselle was in fact the Chosen.
Loud thudding on her door woke up Maggie Kingsley. It was too dark for it to be her jogging partner coming to rush her out of bed. With a groan, she reached for her D.A.E issue firearm, and headed cautiously toward the front door. Her dogs had been barking frantically since the knocking had started, but they stayed hidden under the coffee table. With an annoyed snort, Maggie scoffed at her furry companions. “Chickens,” she whispered.
Peering through the peeping hole, she instantly regretted leaving her bed. The pale green eyes that were darting around the hall frantically sent shivers down her spine. Unlatching all of the security measures she had in place, she opened the door to a disheveled looking man.
“Jonathan!” She gasped at his appearance; he was never unkempt, “What happened? What is wrong?”
Without a word, he fell into her arms – full weight falling onto the unsuspecting Maggie. Struggling to keep both of them up, Maggie lowered him as gently as his weight would allow her to.
“Jonathan! What happened?” She called again, not getting any response from the now unconscious man. His breathing had started to slow down, and it wasn’t until then that Maggie noticed the sticky warmth that covered her hands. Cautiously sniffing her fingers, Maggie realized what it was, and let out a blood-curdling scream, hoping to notify her neighbors.
“Hang in there Jonathan, I’m going to get you help.” Maggie grabbed the throw cover that lay over her sofa, and wrapped it as tightly as she could around the wound. She was still unsure of what caused the injury or where Jonathan had come from. Maggie frantically tried to remain calm while trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. How would she explain this to doctors? Her thoughts consumed with what would happen to them if anything of their past together were to come out.
“Snap out of it, Maggie!” she yelled to herself, annoyed that she was so selfish. She shook off the worry and started searching for her phone. Fumbling around in the darkness sent an array of knick-knacks and photo frames flying. But she found the phone, and dialed Emergency Services. She needed help, Jonathan needed help; and the stories could wait until later.
to be CONTINUED…
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