Authors: Anthony Wade
Tags: #apocalypse apocalyptic fiction end of the world end times world war iii conspiracy theory secret societies ufo, #ya books, #dystopian climate change romance genetic manipulation speculative post apocalyptic, #books like the hunger games, #ya suspense, #dystopian adventure, #postapocalypse novel, #twist at the end, #dystopian action thriller, #ya dystopian fiction
No,” she said
It’s just some . .
Some place to keep
children and use them as slaves?” Belladonna finished. “Just a
place to keep children until they reach the proper age to be shoved
out and onto the streets?”
I nodded at Belladonna.
That’s exactly what it was.
I was an orphan, too,” she
told me. “I understand. But that’s a story to be told at a later
Wow, she definitely didn’t
look like somebody who had come from an orphanage. Like, she was
absolutely beautiful. I still couldn’t get over how she looked. Her
eyes grew stern for just a few seconds, as if thinking back to…to
whatever her orphanage experience was. I imagined it wasn’t
Edgar finally finished up
in the kitchen and returned with his sandwich and a glass of water.
He sat the water down in front of me. With everything going on, I
didn’t realize how thirsty the trip had made me. Edgar sat in the
chair across from me.
Let’s start with
Grandfather,” Belladonna said, her eyes glistening once again.
“What do you know about that?”
Just what Edgar told me,”
I answered. I took a drink of water then did my best impression of
Edgar’s voice as I said, “They have returned.” Edgar wasn’t amused.
I’m afraid so,” Belladonna
said, ignoring my manners toward Edgar. “Most people only see it as
a conspiracy as of now. But after the death of the president, I
imagine more will realize.” Edgar and Robert nodded in
How did you guys know that
was going to happen?” I asked. “could’ve stopped it.”
She placed a hand on the
placemat in front of her and straightened it up. “Trust me, if I
could’ve, I would’ve,” she said. “But we only knew that something
big was going to happen last night.” Satisfied with the placemat,
she returned her gaze to me.
You see,” Robert began
slowly. “We’ve known Grandfather has been back for several years
now. But they had such a low profile; we couldn’t tell who was
involved for sure. And even then, we couldn’t tell the officials
for fear their leader would have us killed.”
Edgar, who had been eating
his sandwich, spoke, pieces of bread flying out of his mouth. Eww.
“I was the one who figured it out.”
What do you mean?” I asked
He finished his sandwich
quickly. “Believe it or not, I used to work with the government. I
was one of the suits within the wall.”
I examined him again: his
filthy clothing, his missing tooth, the dirt on his skin.
?” I asked.
the wall? You look like . . .”
Dammit, I know what I look
like,” he barked, glaring at me. I didn’t think this guy liked me
very much. “Ya think I do this on purpose?”
Well . . . how am I
supposed to know?” I asked. “Don’t forget that I have no idea who
you people are.”
You’re right,” Belladonna
said. “But let him explain.”
Edgar gave her a nod, as
if to thank her. “I don’t always look like this,” he said. “This is
just for show. I have to blend in when I go out to gather
information. When I travel inside the wall, I wear a
I tried picturing Edgar in
a suit like Robert’s. Nope. Couldn’t do it. “Oh,” I said, looking
at the hole where a tooth once was. I was about to ask, but I
didn’t know what he would do to me if he got too angry. It was as
if Edgar could read my thoughts.
Except for the tooth, of
course,” he said. “I got caught once. Couple of guards gave me a
Oh,” I said again. There
was one mystery solved.
I was saying,” he continued, no longer glaring at me. “I
intercepted a letter by accident a few years ago. It was an
invitation, and signed at the bottom
Grand Imperial, Leader of
.” Edgar was about to continue,
but I interrupted with another question.
Grand Imperial? You’re
sounding crazier by the minute.”
Edgar’s teeth grinded
together, making me wince at the noise. He looked at Belladonna,
who, with a nod, urged him to continue. He took a deep breath and
I had concerns,” he
started again, pacing himself. “which is why I went to the meeting;
at least close enough to the room to hear it take
And?” I asked.
And I heard them mention
Grandfather. Couldn’t really recognize any of the voices. Too far
away. But I’m sure that Cornelius was there – Their Grand
I was about to ask yet
another question but, as if foreseeing it, Belladonna started
talking before I got the chance to even open my mouth.
To make a long story
short, Edgar found another letter with the date of the president’s
assassination on it.”
Last night’s date,” Robert
“Didn’t know what the date
meant, though,” Edgar interrupted. “Just knew it was something big.
That’s what they said in the meeting.”
“I ran into Edgar not long
after,” Belladonna said, smiling. “We were both spying on the
government. After combining our resources, we created
She made it sound as if
they had created some magical place. Yeah, the room was enough to
brag on. But they were living underground.
“And now you think
Cornelius is leading Grandfather, and you’re trying to kill him?” I
“We’re trying to get
enough resources and proof to expose Grandfather to the people,”
Belladonna said. “I hate violence. I don’t want it. But if it comes
to that, then it must.”
Well, at least I knew
where they were getting this ‘proof.’ But I still didn’t know if I
believed it or not. Many times, I had heard about people being
brainwashed into believing things. There were a lot of guys at the
orphanage who believed anything the houseladies told them. I wasn’t
going to do that. Then, I remembered how Edgar knew who I was. I
had one more question. They were silent. They must have known that
I was about to ask something else.
“You guys think I’m
involved. How?” I asked. “Edgar knew my name. I . . . I don’t
“It’s so complicated,”
Belladonna said. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”
“But we’re going to try
and explain it,” Robert said before I could argue.
“You see,” Belladonna
started. “Edgar, Robert, and I spy on government officials, hoping
to learn anything that can help us. Recently, w—”
Very recently,” Robert
added. Belladonna didn’t seem to mind the interruption.
Yes,” she said. “Just a
few days ago, we overheard that there was an orphan outside of the
city. Then, we got your name.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I
started. “The people at the orphanage barely know my name. I never
talk to anybody outside the dang place. You’re telling me that
people I’ve never talked to know me?”
“Are you sure you haven’t
talked to anybody?” Robert asked.
“I’m very sure,” I
snapped. “I’ve never given anybody my name because I don’t talk to
people. You guys don’t get it.”
“I’m just telling you what
we heard,” Belladonna said quietly, trying to calm me. It worked a
little, but not much.
“We called every damn
orphanage in New Dawn,” Edgar said, “Pretending to be looking for
our child. It was a longshot, but we got lucky. You’re the only
orphan named Carsyn.”
He made it sound as if I
should rejoice over that. Not gonna happen.
“And if this is true, what
do they want from me?” I asked. “I mean, what do I have to do with
. . . with anything when I don’t do
They all glanced at one
another. I noticed Edgar shake his head, annoyed once again. He let
out a deep breath.
I understand that you’re
having a hard time believing any of this,” Belladonna said. “And I
don’t expect you to believe it right away. But you asked, and we’re
telling you what we have figured out.”
“So why was my name
mentioned?” I asked.
before answering me. “Cornelius somehow knows who you are.
Unfortunately, we don’t know how yet. But what we do know is that
you for some reason. Whatever it is, it can’t be
I threw my hands up in the
air. “Okay,” I said. “This is crazy.”
“But it’s true,” Robert
After examining the people
again, there was only one explanation. No, it wasn’t that I was
these people were lunatics. “This is absolutely crazy. I shouldn’t
“Like I said,” Belladonna
said. “I don’t expect you to believe this right away. I know it
must be a lot to take in. I’m just answering the questions you need
answering. I’m trying to help you.”
“Why would they need me?”
I asked. “I’m not going to need time to believe this because I’m
never going to believe this crap. Grandfather was depowered a long
“You’re the most
hard-headed kid I’ve ever met,” Edgar yelled. “I’ve never in my
entire damn life.”
He looked at her and
crossed his arms at his chest. “I told you I wasn’t good with
kids,” he said.
Belladonna didn’t say
anything else to him. “We’re continuing to spy in order to figure
out why they need you,” she said. “But it’s going to take some
“As I said before, I don’t
“We’re trying to figure
this out,” Robert said. “As soon as we do, we’re going to let you
know right away.”
I drank the last of the
water in my glass and scooted my chair back. It made a loud,
screeching noise. I stood up. “I think it’s time for me to leave,”
“Leave?” Robert asked,
standing up immediately.
“You can’t leave!” Edgar
said, jumping up. “It’s dangerous out there for you.”
“I don’t care about any of
this,” I said. “First of all, it’s probably not true. Second of
all, if it is true, I still don’t care. What does it matter to
“Bah!” Edgar blurted out.
“How can you sit here and say you don’t care!”
“This affects everybody,”
Robert said. “You will lose everything!”
“You can’t lose anything
when you have nothing,” I argued, making my way to the
“If you –” Edgar started,
but was unable to continue.
“Quiet you two!”
Belladonna yelled. I halted. Her angry tone actually frightened me.
I turned around to see she, too, was standing up, glaring at Edgar
and Robert. Her lips trembled. Edgar and Robert held their heads
down, looking like two puppies that had been whipped by their
master. “Please,” she said. They nodded slowly. She moved her eyes
toward me. Her lips stopped trembling and she grinned again. Her
soothing tone returned. Talk about a mood swing.
You don’t care because you
feel as if you have nothing to lose. Robert said that you would
lose everything.” She glanced at Edgar and Robert.
Edgar reclaimed his seat,
looking guilty. It was kind of funny to see him like
Belladonna continued. “You
came from an orphanage so you have nothing. You feel as if you have
nothing at risk to lose if Grandfather takes over.” The room was
dead silent. I kept my eyes on Belladonna, ignoring Edgar and
Robert. I thought about what she’d said. Wow, I couldn’t believe
Slowly, I told her, “It’s
true. I feel that way because it’s true.”
There was an awkward
moment of silence. At least it was awkward for me. I don’t know
thinking about, but I was a bit embarrassed talking about such
“May I ask you a
question?” Belladonna asked slowly.
I nodded. Belladonna
motioned to the seat I had been sitting in. I thought for a second.
I couldn’t just leave because…well, for one thing I had no idea how
to get back to the orphanage.
I walked to
her, slowly, and took a seat. She and Robert also sat down
“If Grandfather didn’t
exist…and you were at the orphanage like normal, never having met
us, where do you think you’d be in a few years?”
I gave Belladonna a
puzzled look. Why was she asking that, and why did she even care?
“Why?” I asked her.
“Well, if I’m not
mistaking, you’re almost seventeen. You’ll be kicked out of the
orphanage soon. I just want to know where you see yourself in a few
years.” She ran her fingers through her red hair to remove some
strands from her eyes. I thought about the question for a few
seconds before answering.
“Nowhere,” I finally said.
Edgar and Robert looked puzzled.