Tag Archives: dystopian apocalypse

Frozen

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Photo By: Flickr/LadyDragonflyCC

Photo By: Flickr/LadyDragonflyCC

“I know that it’s not much, but I wanted to apologize again.”

“Sure.”

“I treated you like an asshole. I know.”

“Yeah, you did. You made it perfectly clear at X-Mas that you didn’t want to have anything to do with me.”

“I was giving you a way out.”

“A way out? Fuck you. You weren’t giving me a way out. You were giving yourself a way out. You wanted to put this on me instead of you—fuck you. You were doing what you always do—run.”

“…Well I’m not running now.”

“Yeah, we’ll see about that.”

~

Alexa stood outside the building, staring at nothing in particular as snow whirled around her. It caught on her clothing, speckling her dark coat with white flakes and blending with her pale hair. She scanned the small, huddled buildings across from her and then glanced down a snowy slope to where men and women played some sort of game. Their laughter and shouts filtered toward her—she looked, but she didn’t see.

Everyone makes a big deal about fire—but it’s ice they should worry about. Ice can burn if it’s cold enough. And ice can lock away secrets in a vault harder than steel when the temperatures drop.

She felt sick to her stomach, her gut twisting as she swallowed hard. It was her fault, she knew. She pushed people away. She always had—maybe always would. But when I finally realized I didn’t want that…well, it’s a pity it’s too late. Her fingers clenched as more laughter sounded up from down the hill. His words echoed in her mind, a reverberation that sounded over and over and over again like some sort of sick mantra: You died for Barnes. You fucking throw your life away, and all I ever wanted was not for you to die for me—but to live with me.

Alexa turned to look away from the people playing in the snow, her breath shaky as she slowly felt her fingers and toes become numb. In a few moments, her arms and legs would follow, and then it would turn from numbness to pain. She closed her eyes briefly, fighting back the urge to scream. Stew left. Mickey doesn’t want anything to do with you. You’re used like a tool by everyone else. And you were stupid enough to not wake up to it until now. You allowed it to happen.

You’re an idiot, Alexa. A fucking idiot.

She opened her eyes again, watching her breath puff in front of her face—white in a white world. She wasn’t sure why she’d even come here to the Grove—to the small town north of Hayven. Perhaps she was seeking some kind of solace before going into the Grave. Perhaps she was trying to find answers. Who knew.

Her eyes blurred slightly and she glanced downward, blinking rapidly. He was the one that always had my back. He was the one that helped—and I was too ignorant to see. Quickly, she passed the back of her hand in front of her eyes. She took a steadying breath before breathing out two words to herself, “Fuck him.”

She didn’t need Mickey. She didn’t need Stew. She didn’t need D.O.C. or Barnes. She didn’t need their approval.

“Fuck them.”

She gritted her teeth slightly, her lips hardening into a thin line. She was done being a tool—done being a knife and a sword. She was done molding herself to others’ expectations. She was done with it all.

If they hate me, that’s fine. I’m done seeking fucking approval for what I do. I’m done being a fucking implement. I’m a fucking person—and I’m going to live on my fucking terms. I’ll take what’s mine. And lord help whoever or whatever stands in my way. It’s my turn.

The snow continued to swirl around her as she walked down the slope, her boots making small footprints behind her. She didn’t feel the cold now; she was used to it.

~

I never lied to you. And now? My only regret is that I didn’t wake up until you were long gone.

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Pain

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To start at the beginning of this series, check out the Dystopian archives here. 

She was sitting at home beneath the earth. The comforting sound of dripping water filled her ears, a constant companion to her and her brothers in the dark. Broken and twisted metal pipes jutted out from the nearby walls, eaten by rust and decay and the prying hands of scavengers. The metal of the floor had long since disappeared. Now, it was dank earth—its faintly sour odor filling up the underground with its scent.

The metal of Danielle’s chair dug into her back, her wrists chaffing at the rope that tied her hands behind her. Terk and Dur stood over her, watching her warily. Their identical faces were shadowed, unyielding. Rak stood closer, his gold eyes as big as the moon, gleaming faintly in the dark.

Danielle found herself trying to shift in her chair. This was wrong. It had already happened. Yet Terk’s face had formed a frown as he glanced to his twin, “We shouldn’t keep her. She’s not like us. I say we kill her and use what we can get.”

Dur shook his head, “She’s our father’s daughter. She’s one of us…sort of. She even looks like us.”

“Looks like us? She’s a freak. You just need to take one look at her eyes…”

Their words cut worse than any knife, hurt more than any bullet. Danielle felt herself sinking down in her chair, trying to disappear as a faint whimper escaped her throat. She turned her face away, looking down at the soiled earth. A beetle scurried across the mud, its black carapace flickering once before it disappeared.

A different voice cut off the twins. Rak this time. Danielle glanced upward, swallowing hard as she listened, “She’s one of us. Father told us to take her in, so we will.” Rak took a step closer, crouching in front of Danielle. His eyes seemed to widen further—gold plates in a dark face. More beetles scurried behind him, “But she must be loyal. Unfortunately, she’s already failed.”

She could hear the insects chittering, their shining black bodies undulating like waves on the floor. Danielle tried to shrink back, but she couldn’t move. Instead, she whispered “I didn’t mean to leave you. I’m sorry.”

Rak smiled, his teeth shining and bloody in the dark, “Sorry? It’s too late for sorry, Danny. It’s too late for Terk or Dur.” The beetles seemed to be filling the underground, making the walls move and writhe as more and more appeared. A few plopped from the ceiling onto Danielle’s lap, and she struggled to flip them away. “It’s too late for me.”

Danielle woke with a scream she didn’t recognize as her own. It was a long wail, a sound of pain and mourning and loss. She keened into the dark as pain lanced through her body from her abdomen. Her wrists still burned like fire, her head pounded, and all she could do was lie there wailing.

A hand suddenly clapped over her mouth a whispered hiss hushing her, “Quiet.”

Danielle froze. She could feel tears trickling down her cold face, pooling on the hand over her mouth. Slowly, painfully, she turned her head to look at the owner. The surfacer looked back, blonde hair gleaming faintly in the dark. Without further word, he jerked his head to the side, toward the woods. It was unnaturally quiet.

The pretty girl sat a few yards away. Her hands were bloody, her face drawn and pale. She glanced over at them both and nodded, murmuring, “Technically we shouldn’t move her, but leaving her will be a death sentence.”

Robin nodded in return. Without further word, he gently picked Danielle up in his arms, cradling her. Another sharp pain jolted through her, but she pressed her lips together, determined not to cry out. He began to walk, almost floating over the rough terrain as Kari followed, “And where does Danielle fit in with this little plan of yours? Were you planning to leave her outside?”

Kari’s voice floated toward them, “In a sense, yes. She’s integral to making this work.”

Robin halted suddenly. Danielle noticed that his breathing had suddenly increased, his chest rising and falling against her. Anger. His voice was constrained, polite, suppressed, “She’s not exactly in a position to help.”

Danielle could see Kari’s face through the darkness, a smile curving her lips, “I promise it’s nothing taxing. All she needs to do is light a fuse.”

__

She could hear them all around her: the restless. They gnashed their teeth and moaned. Limbs shuffled through dead leaves as the snow swirled around their faces. Danielle huddled closer in the limbs of the tree, trying to ignore the throbs of pain from her new wound. The surfacer girl had given her something to dull the agony, but she could still feel it.

Danielle had heard shouts before, the sounds of the girl trying to escape only to be dragged back by Robin. It was according to plan—at least the plan that the girl had whispered hurriedly in her ear as Robin was keeping watch. Whether Robin knew all of it, she didn’t know.

Her escape was the first signal. Now Danielle had to wait for the second. She shifted on her perch uncomfortably, glancing toward the house. No light escaped from it even though it was the biggest structure she had ever seen. The roof spiked upward into a sharp point. Turrets and galleries flanked the building, providing shooters with a wide view of the surrounding area. But it wasn’t the building itself she was interested in. From her vantage point, she could just see the glint of metal set in the ground; the promise of an underground tunnel where she was supposed to throw the smallish object that the surfacer had given her.

Danielle clutched it in one hand—smooth metal melding with wires. She could ignore the girl, of course, but she couldn’t ignore Robin. She wouldn’t abandon him; not ever. She owed him a debt, owed him her life. She would repay it…

She wouldn’t leave him behind.