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
“Oh, he’s good,” Mae
whispered. She had a sobering look on her face. “He knows what he’s
I didn’t know what Mae was
talking about. So I asked “What’s he doing?”
“He’s pretending somebody
from another region killed the president when he had it done
himself,” Mae answered quickly, not looking away from the radio.
“Somebody from another region killing the beloved president sure
does make the tracking law look good, wouldn’t you say?”
I didn’t ask any more
questions. I turned my attention to the radio again.
Bill of Border Control
prevent this! And it
go into effect within the next couple of weeks.
This bill will act as a way to avenge President Marx’s death. It’s
time we took the next step in making this country a safer place.
Thank you, nation. I hope you will stand beside me in making
President Marx’s dream come true.”
Well, that was a quick
address. But it apparently meant the world to everybody in the
room. Everybody in the dining hall erupted in conversation,
discussing what was said.
I suppose it’s official
now,” Mae said, having to raise her voice over the
“I wonder what others are
thinking,” Marley said. “You think they’ll fall for it?”
“It’s hard to say,” Mae
said. “He does sound charming. A lot of people will stand by him
just because of that.”
At the front of the dining
hall, Belladonna and Edgar were engaged in some serious
conversation. I wondered if they were planning their next move.
Perhaps they would soon so I could go with them to see what this
whole Grandfather thing was about and how I was involved. President
Cornelius just sounded like a man who was dealing with the loss of
his friend and truly wanted to protect the people of the regions.
There was a good chance that’s all he
trying to do. He probably wasn’t
the Grand Imperial.
After a while, Belladonna
and Edgar came to our table. “. . . Nothing we can do,” Edgar was
“We’ll figure something
out,” Belladonna said.
They both took a seat
across from me. “Many will support the law,” Edgar went on. “Too
many damn naïve people in this world.”
“That’s something that’ll
never change,” Belladonna said. “All we can do is hope they
Mae frowned. “Well, isn’t
that just wasting time? We know most people are going to fall for
“These damn people within
the wall have their heads up their asses,” Edgar said angrily. “And
I’d be damn if those outside of the wall just don’t care either
way.” Edgar looked at me.
I knew I was one of those
people, and it killed Edgar. What killed him even more was that he
knew there were a lot more like me.
said quietly. “Yes, people in this world are naïve. Some of them
also tend to lack patience.”
“It’s easy to lose
patience when you’re running out of time,” Edgar snapped, his face
getting a bit red.
Belladonna didn’t appear
offended. She actually seemed amused. “Well, Edgar, if you only
knew how patient I’ve had to be. It’s not fun.”
“Belladonna’s right,” Mae
said. “It sure isn’t fun. But by golly it’ll be well worth it in
the end.” Mae’s concern had completely vanished, quickly replaced
by the familiar jovial expression.
Edgar forced himself to
agree. “You’re right, Maebelle. As usual.”
Mae appeared satisfied,
giggling at him.
Belladonna stood up. “If
the people want to support the tracking law because it will appear
to stop people like the president’s so called killer, then let
them. They’ll learn eventually.” Without another word, Belladonna
left the dining hall. Edgar still wasn’t happy by the address and
said the law would make “our” job harder.
“Me and Robert will go out
tomorrow,” Edgar said. “See what the people are saying about
They were going out again.
It was my chance. “Do I get to go on this one?” I asked.
He shook his head. “No
point,” he said. “Still don’t think we should let ya.”
“You already agreed,” I
said. “Belladonna agreed. She won’t take it back.”
He looked as if he already
knew that. “You’ll get your chance,” he said.
“But I want to now,” I
demanded. I was ready to actually do something.
“Did ya not just hear us
talking about patience?” Edgar asked with a smirk on his face.
“It’s not fun, but we got to do it.”
Whatever. I would just
talk to Belladonna in the next few days. She would make him take
me. Without telling anybody “bye” I went back to my room where I
finished the book about the boy and his dog and hated it. The
author killed the dog. Who does that?
The next day, after lunch,
Marley planned on taking me to the hilltop again, just as she said.
I didn’t really want to meet another person, especially Ashton. I
hadn’t had much luck with other boys. I mean, what if Ashton was
just like the boys back at the orphanage? I was tempted to say no,
but it was going to happen eventually. Best to get it over with.
Hey, at least I’d get to see the amazing view again.
Marley led me through the
many halls, talking about how I was going to like Ashton. “He likes
it down here,” she told me. “And he really likes the people here
too.” I just nodded and listened.
We entered the familiar
small room with the ladder. I admired the view of the city as I
climbed up from the ground. I wasn’t the only one doing so. A guy
stood tall at the edge of the cliff, gazing at the buildings. His
shaggy brown hair blew in the wind. He wore blue jeans and a gray
“Ashton,” Marley said. He
swung around. His hazel eyes darted at me. My eyes went straight to
his right cheek. There, a scar ran from his ear to his nostrils. I
wondered where it came from, but didn’t plan on asking. “This is
Carsyn,” Marley told him.
He walked toward me, the
stern look on his face not leaving. When he was a few feet in front
of me, he extended his hand. I took it and shook it. “I’m Ashton,”
He turned his gaze to
Marley. “So, Marley showed you our secret spot,” he said. He turned
back around to look at the city again. I wondered if it bothered
him that Marley brought me.
“It’s pretty cool up
here,” I told him.
“A cool view of the city,”
“Yeah,” he said again.
“Just don’t tell anybody about it.”
He won’t,” Marley said
quickly. “I trust him.”
Don’t trust anybody,”
Ashton snapped at her.
Marley and I didn’t say
anything. Ashton walked toward the edge of the cliff again. Marley
shrugged her shoulders and joined Ashton. I followed.
“Carsyn never saw the city
until he came here,” Marley said.
Ashton didn’t seem
surprised. “I first saw the city here, too,” he said. “That means
you’re from outside the wall, like most of us down
Yeah,” I said. “Came from
He glanced at
My eyes caught the scar
again. I looked away, hoping he didn’t notice I was
He looked back at the
city. “If you ask me, outside any city wall is better than the
“Well, you’ve also never
been inside,” Marley said.
“I know,” Ashton replied.
“And I don’t want to. He pointed toward the buildings. “Because all
of that . . . that’s where Grandfather is planning our
I didn’t say anything.
Marley looked at me, knowing how I felt about the entire
The people inside are so
caught up in their fancy lives,” Ashton said, crossing his arms
against his chest. “I don’t want to be ignorant of Grandfather’s
existence like they are.” Ashton looked at me again. “Edgar
mentioned you before going to get you . . . how do you like it down
here so far?”
“It’s alright I guess,” I
said. “I don’t really have anything to do yet.”
“Well, it sure is
interesting,” Ashton said. “You see, down here, you get to be
around people who know the truth. Down here, we get to look forward
to stopping that evil group.”
“Well,” I started. “I’m
still working on that one.”
Ashton tilted his head and
squinted. “Working on what?” he asked.
I’m still working on the
whole Grandfather thing still.” I was honest. No point in
What do you mean? You’re
still working on trying to expose them? That’s what we’re all here
Marley breathed heavily
beside me. “I should mention, Ashton, that Carsyn doesn’t really
believe yet that Grandfather has returned.”
You what?” Ashton asked,
his eyes narrowing in on mine. “You don’t believe in Grandfather?”
I could already tell things weren’t going to go as Marley had
I just need some time to
see for myself,” I told him.
Ashton didn’t understand
that. And he just lost it. Not even kidding. His face turned bright
red in a second. He clinched his fists so hard his knuckles turned
white. I was worried he might actually throw a punch. Even Marley
seemed worried so I didn’t put it past him. “You don’t believe?!”
he shouted so loudly a flock of birds in a nearby tree flew away.
“How can you live with us down here and not believe?”
Not yet,” I said, trying
to amend the situation. “I mean, I’ve just heard about them days
Are you kidding
Ashton,” Marley said. “We
didn’t believe at first either.”
Well, at first there was
nothing to go on,” Ashton told her. “Now it’s so obvious.” He
stretched out his fingers, then made a fist again
Belladonna and Edgar have
told me things, but I just want to see for myself,” I told him,
still preparing to be punched.
“So you think we’re
liars?” Ashton said. He moved closer until his face was just inches
away from mine. “Is that what you’re saying?” he asked, his stare
so firm it could’ve burned a mark on my forehead. First meeting
with Ashton was not going so well. I was wishing I refused to meet
“No,” I said. “I . . . you
“Oh, I think I
understand,” he growled. “If you don’t believe us, then you think
we’re liars. Why else would you want to find out for
He kind of had a point. I
didn’t believe them. And if I didn’t believe them, well
. . .
that did mean I
thought they were lying . . . technically. But my point was that
maybe they couldn’t help it. Belladonna and Edgar believed strongly
in Grandfather, so I knew they weren’t just lying. Maybe they were
just being misled. Oh, I don’t know.
Come on, Ashton,” Marley
begged. She grabbed his arm and pulled him out of my face. “Just
stop. He’ll find out soon.”
“Oh, he’ll find out soon,”
Ashton said. “Let’s just hope it’s not too late.” I couldn’t take
much more of Ashton. I didn’t understand why everybody wanted to
shove Grandfather at me. Edgar and Robert were that way. I was
surrounded by them. My not believing was as if it was the end of
the world for these guys. Yeah, I was angry, and I just let it all
“I’m attacked by Edgar in
an alley. The guy looks absolutely creepy. He tells me I’m in
danger and need to go with
him . .
all in one day. I know nothing about
Grandfather. I’m sorry, but it’s kind of hard to just
Ashton shook his head. He
just wasn’t buying it. “But the clues are right there. The tracking
law. And the night the President was killed . . . weren’t you
“Yeah,” I said.
“Then what’s the
“You don’t understand,” I
yelled. “I’m not saying it’s not true. I’m saying that I
“What are you saying?”
Ashton asked. He poked my chest with his finger. I really wanted to
punch this guy. I had felt the urge many times at the orphanage,
but not once did I actually go through with it. I came closer to
punching Ashton than anybody else. It was a good thing Marley was
there. She got in between us and pushed Ashton away even
“He’s just saying that he
wants to learn on his own,” Marley said.
“So you’re on his side,
Marley?’ he asked.
“I’m on nobody’s side,”
she said. “Now stop this right now.”
Ashton turned around and
walked back to the ledge. I had nothing more to say to him. All I
wanted to do was leave and get back to my room where I didn’t have
to deal with people. I told Marley. She agreed to take me
“I’ll see you later, once
you’ve calmed down,” Marley told Ashton, her cool tone
“Don’t even think about
bringing the nonbeliever,” he told her.