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End of Year News (December 2017)

Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:57 am by Adrian

(It's been one year since I made a news thread, oops)

Merry Christmas/Festivus/whatever holiday you do or do not celebrate!

2017 was a pretty busy year IRL for most of us - according to forum statistics, our busiest month was in June with 1671 total posts, meaning our post rate has been a little …

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Forum Bug

Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 am by Adrian

Hi all,

We're aware of a peculiar forum glitch that's causing some subforums to be locked.

Due to the lateness at this time, it might be a while before the glitch can be remedied, because despite my best efforts and as far as I can tell, everything seems to be working fine admin-side. It may have …

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Discord News/Update Test

Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:35 am by Adrian

Just a news, update test. Trying to get this thing to work.

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Ithaca in the Rapture

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Chapter 9: The Winter Tree

Post by ~Dylan Battle~ on Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:49 am

Hey, everyone! This chapter took a long time to write but it's probably one of my favorites so far. I'm still editing the whole first arch but I just have a little notes.
If you're familiar with Bear being called Teddy every once in a while, I changed it to Theodore, I just think it sounds even more innocent than Teddy.
----
For most of the personalities, there's a distinct pronoun for each. If you're confused I'll list them for you ('cause I'm thoughtful like that):
'I'- Refers to the personalities of either Ithaca or Mollie, Mollie is the secondary protector to Winter. Ithaca is the first, that becomes apparent within the first ten chapters.
"They"- Refers to Violetta Indigo. She hasn't been introduced yet so I wouldn't worry to much about that.
"He"- Refers to Noble
"She"- Only refers to Winter.
----
Another thing, I realized after I finished editing this chapter that I wanted to include another scene at the Winter Tree, ultimately I decided against it, the chapter is 5,000+ words long, so if you don't feel like you're getting a lot of clarity from the Winter Tree scene, don't worry about it!
----
I did take like an 8 day break before writing this chapter, and I've read this chapter over at least six times, so obviously I might miss some typos or unfinished sentences, let me know.
----
Okay that's it. Listen to Hozier's new EP and enjoy Chapter 9!
___________________

Chapter 9: The Winter Tree
~~~

She’s new and she’s terrified and she’s anxious. She hasn’t been able to live with herself long enough to understand everything that’s happened since the Camp. The rest of them know her by a different name, and while that doesn’t justify most of their actions against her, she does understand the sad reality that’s been brought on by past incarnations of herself.

There’s an aching in her head, it makes a battering noise, loud and obnoxious and not quite as natural as it should be. She’s hurting everywhere, it’s a pain brought on by unregistered emotions, and doesn’t seem to go away naturally either. She’s fostering memories of something that happened long ago, and she hates it, everything about it.

It’s unbecoming, honestly.

“You don’t remember anything?” He said, his voice was carried by a frizzy and unfamiliar wavelength, reaching something awful within her head and making her brain hurt more.

“No.” She repeated herself.

She’s tired, so she moves herself even more forcefully up against a rickety old board bed post. She tried seeing more clearly, it was still a bit odd and irregular shaped, (her sight and all that came with it,) but she was beginning to adjust.

“What’s your name?” He asked.

“They like to call me Winter.” She said.

The boy with white hair seemed to shiver in shock, his eyes blinking with sudden clarity as everything came back into play.

“Oh my God.” He whispered.

“What?” She asked, her eyes darting him up and down.

“There’s three of you?” He asked.

“What- three? No, I’m the only one. The rest of them, their something else . . . different things for different times, places. I don’t understand them, all they do is make things worse. They’re supposed to protect me.” She mumbled.

He breathed in an uncomfortable breath of air as he sat down on the rocking chair beside her bed. He looked old, young but old, as if he had lived a thousand lifetimes before this. He was aged, that’s the word, aged. She saw history in him, history that began with the Girls and ended with the Boys, and between all of that went to Hell and came back.

“I know you from Camp, don’t I?”

His eyes fluttered, pulling back tears which must’ve been held in for longer than all the years we’ve been here.

“I know what they did to you, to us. There’s no shame about it, you couldn’t stop ‘em. Hell, neither of us could. But we’re here now, Enoch.”

She moved, aching and feeling like old hinges on a door, she turned to him, resting her shaking hands on his. He looked down at them, rain pouring from his crystal eyes.

“I think I know who you are.” He whispered.

“Yeah, don’t worry about that. Just breathe.” She replied.

And there was a gentle angel in the room, a spirit which passed between the two of them and made its way through gentle ugly memories. It visited old cramped rooms, filled with bodies of children, white suits stained with blood, cold, horrific operating tables.

Then the spirit faded, with it went powerful emotions bottled up inside Enoch’s heart. In place of those emotions were new things, new plans, new history, new futures.

“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” Enoch giggled.

They laughed, wiping their tears away.

“So, about Mollie . . .”

Enoch’s smile disappeared, he nodded, remembering the reality of their present circumstances. “Bear is in the Hospital with the Boys. Mollie really messed him up.”

“No.” She shook her head. “No, I did.”

Enoch blinked in confusion.

Winter sighed. “The other’s, they might not want to take responsibility for each other, but that’s not me. Bear is in the Hospital because of me, one of the boys are dead because of me, John is suffering because of me.”

Enoch reached out to her for comfort, but before he was able to, the door swung open.

Oliver stopped and stared at the both of them. He looked like a deer in headlights, his hair was wet with sweat, his shirt was bloodied, his lungs and breath trembled with each repetition.

“Oliver? What’s wrong?” Said Enoch.

“Ford.” Oliver gasped. “He’s been shot.”

“What?”

“How?” Winter asked.

Oliver’s eyes darted between them. “EGs.”


________________________________________

There was a silence as they approached a big fenced road. Barbed wire and huge wooden logs laid in an ugly and deformed pile from one blade of grass to its opposite on the other side.

A group of kids, most familiar to us now, Gina, Charli, John, and Finn, who was one of the older kids, huddled in a circle around him. There was a terrible silence between everyone, and in that silence sat a cold, disgusting smell of foreign blood.

“Everyone get away from him!” Winter yelled.

Everyone looked up, shocked to see the risen Christ out of the tomb so early. Enoch ran to Ford, pushing away the kids in his path. Winter kneeled beside Ford, his eyes dancing ever so brilliantly in between the realms of consciousness.

“Ford, stay with me, okay?” Said Winter.

Enoch checked the damage, looking locally at the shrapnel that had pierced the side of his abdomen, some had gone a little higher, just below his breast.

“He’s got a deep wound next to his left kidney. The other shrapnel grazed his skin, if it had landed any closer to his breast, he would’ve been killed.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Winter said.

Winter took off the backpack she carried from the house. Retrieving a syringe, a medicinal bottle of vaccine, and a medical grade staple.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Enoch asked her.

“I don’t know what the Others have told you, but before the Camp I was studying for my ER certificate.”

“Who is she?” Oliver asked Enoch.

Enoch looked up at him. “She’s Winter.”

Winter quickly placed a wad of gauze on his abdominal wound. Ford groaned loudly, his eyes beginning to tear up.

“Get everyone out of here, if the EGs show up again, it’ll be like picking out ducks in a pond. Get the van here as soon as possible, this wound is too big to close without proper medical attention, and whatever you do, do not let anyone know that Ford is settling again.”

Oliver and Enoch retreat in a sudden bout of terror. It doesn’t frighten Winter, she’s too busy fixing up bandages.

“What-”

“Look, guys, I don’t have time to preach right now, do as I say. Don’t touch anything with your bare hands, get those kids back to the Ranch, bring me that van, and keep your fucking mouth shut.”

Winter stopped for a moment as she looked up at the boys, both of them scared like children, shaking even. Enoch nodded, looking at Oliver.

“Come on, let’s go.”

And they left.

Ford began to move, hurting himself in the process, Winter grabbed his arm firm. Holding him in place.

“Hey Buddy.”

“Go to hell.”

Winter lets out a flat giggle. “You’re in a lot of pain, I know. But I have to tell you something.”

Winter retrieves numbing cream from her bag, placing it around the lighter wounds on his chest. “I don’t know what happened to you, and why you’re settling again, and I’m not sure if your body is going to be able to handle the lead poisoning that’s currently making its rounds through your blood.”

“Is this supposed to be helpful? Because it’s not.” Ford grumbled.

“All I’m saying is, I’m not giving up on you without a fight.”

Winter smiled at Ford, her eyes gently engaging with the terror that radiated out his own.

“They found us out. They know about the Ranch, and the kids. They know everything.” Ford explained.

“That’s not possible. They think we’re all dead.”

Ford shook his head. “They know about her.”

“About who?”

“They know about your sister. They know about Summer.”


________________________________________

2191.

Summer looked at me and smiled, even with that white jumpsuit on, that scar against her once red blushing lips, she still smiled. She still looked like she did ballet. Her hair was down, they usually had it up, but today it was down. It was ginger red, and it fell so long and curly right down to her elbows, her freckles were like constellations, though they didn’t seem to guide me out of here.

I wish they did.

She held my hands, which were shaking. She was the Big Sister, she was older to this world than I was, more alive to this world than I was. And I was young, still so young and new, and terrified of all the things they had just done to me.

“Winter . . . Winter look at me.” Her voice fell on me like feathers, low and cracking, but oh so alive and gentle in my heart.

And so I looked at her.

She blinked, “What did they do to you?”

I couldn’t move, my lips had turned to stone, and my eyes were dried, my lungs felt like plastic bags, wet and stuck together. Forever and till this day, I can still remember the pain I felt, all over my body.

Summer sighed.

“You know, your body might have to be here, in this cell, but you don’t. You don’t have to remember any of this, feel any of this, if you don’t want to.”

I turned to her, no expression of excitement, no curiosity was painted on my face, however there was a telepathic word that floated between my eyes.

How?

“Close your eyes.” She said.

And I did.

“Picture yourself in the mirror, feel every detail. Your thick hair, your cinnamon skin, your laugh, whatever makes you your best self.”

And so I did. I pictured me in my favorite summer dress, my hair down like my sisters, I pictured myself happy and warm, in the arms of an unknown soulmate. I pictured myself back in the lab, playing around with chemicals. I was building things.

“What do you picture yourself doing?” She whispered.

“Making bombs, bombs to get me out of here.” I whispered back.

“Good, good. Keep going.”

So I picture a rainy day, my hands around a warm cup of tea, Papa’s radio playing in the background. Momma cooking something spicy in the kitchen as I sat at the table. I pictured Manny finishing up some sort of charcoal art on his sketchpad. I thought about how mad Mom was gonna be when she had to clean all of that up.

I pictured Summer, I turned around and I saw her chopping up vegetables with her husband Keith, I wondered if Keith had any gold nuggets in his pocket.

“Now, I want you to forget all of the bad things. Forget about here, forget about what they’ve done to you.”

I was losing the vision.

I shook my head, “I can’t, that means I’ll forget you.”

“Then forget me.”

And so I opened my eyes, and as I blinked to let the fog out, I saw tears streaming down her cheeks, her hands trembling around mine, she was beginning to let go of her strength. Everything about her was fading, this whole idea that she was somehow invisible to pain, it was all decaying right in front of me.

“Whatever they do down here, to me or to you. Don’t forget about that vision, it’s the only thing that’s going to get you out of here. And if, God forbid, you do forget it, make another one, and another one, until you don’t need them anymore to survive.”

I nodded, God I was losing myself again.

She let go of me, giving me a kiss on the forehead. There were footsteps approaching the cell, a ringing of the gates as the cell churned open. Two guards walked in.

“Inmate number two-two nine.” One of the guards said.

She smiled at me, as she rose, and I didn’t want to let her go, I tried to reach for her, but something was pulling me back, something was pulling me away. She was shoved over, my body became weak, and I was grabbed on each arm by a guard.

“Close your eyes, think of a better place.” She said, her voice becoming more and more distant.

So I did, closing my eyes.

I thought longingly of a better place.


________________________________________



There before the Devil’s group sat a tired girl, one of many different dimensions, she draped herself, bloodied from hours of stitching and improvising ten years of medical experience. She breathed heavily, feeling herself warm against the fire, accepting the spiked hot cocoa from Lady.

Enoch sat on the floor next to her, his eyes fixated on the flames of the fire. There was something inside those flames he was looking for. Maybe truth, maybe a reason to not fear the unknown. He probably shared the same thoughts as Oliver, who sat on the couch next to them, a joint dangling from his cold fingers.

“Do you think . . . do you think that it’s going to happen to us, too? The same thing. But this time it’ll be worse. It’ll be worse- because we don’t know if it’s supposed to kill us or . . .” Oliver’s voice trailed off with the smoke.

Enoch shifted his weight, resting his head against the exposed cushion of Papa’s reading chair. His energy was magnetic, not in a good way though, like a black hole, sucking in whole stars at a time.

“I don’t know.” Enoch sighed. His voice only slightly louder than the crackling of the flames.

“He didn’t die, guys. He’s still alive. The EGs, they caught him off guard, but they know not to come any closer to the farm.” Winter clarified.

“Pourquoi?” Lady asked.

Winter turned to Lady. She wanted an answer.

Winter sighed.

“Ithaca made a deal with the EGs.”

There was a greater silence in the room now, everyone moved differently. Enoch removed his head from the cushion. Oliver put out his bud. Lady’s ears perked up. She could feel eyes peering down from the loft.

Everyone heard her.

“She didn’t sell us out necessarily. You think they just let her go after she managed to break fifty kids out of the Camp? No. They’ve got trackers in all of us, the reason why they won’t kill us is because we’re test subjects.”


“Elaborate.” Oliver muttered aggressively.

“We all have the XN-1 virus, all of us. It’s as common as a cold or a flu or a damn hiccup. The only reason we’re immune is because our bodies are genetically stronger, harder to kill. The Scientists back at the Camp they wanted something more . . . things that couldn’t be tested in a lab, things that needed time and a veil. This isn’t just a ranch, this is the Garden of Eden.”

There’s a rumble of voices all speaking up at once, some talking directly to me, others yelling at each other.

“Everybody shut up!” Enoch yelled.

Winter was taken by surprise, sitting up criss cross on the chair.

Enoch stands up, his presence commanding the whole room, he so naturally moves from sheep to shepherd. It’s becoming of him, Winter can see it, the way he used to be, protective of the ones around him, even the runts.

“You should stop talking, Winter.” He whispered.

“Well, don’t you want everyone to know? About what they’re doing to us?”

“Winter. Stop.” He warned her.

She got up, eyes locked on Enoch, they never left each other’s gaze not for a moment.

The crackling of the fire filled the silence of the room.

“We have spent too many cold nights fearing for our lives. I won’t stand for it any longer.”

Enoch sent thoughts to her, hoping that they could reach far past her thick skull.

This is not what you want. This is not what you need.

Winter breathed in and breathed out.

The boys and the girls, wherever they were, all leaned in to hear.

“Enoch and I are-”

There’s a shake only a half second before a bang. Flames glisten brightly through the windows from what once was a home for sick boys. There’s screaming, a lot of it, loud and violent and frightening.

Everything is shaking, her bones, her mind, her thoughts. Everything is moving independently, she cannot focus, she cannot stand correctly, she cannot be brave. There’s something sharp sticking out of her arm, something ugly and twisted, something that makes moving her arm impossible.

She can’t see it clearly, she cannot move, she cannot be brave.

There’s a hand, a strong one, which grabs her. It pulls her far away from the windows, far away from the pecking and rippling of bullets. All of it, everything that she once feared, was becoming a reality again.

She heard voices.

“The hospital!”

“How did they get past the mines!”

“Run! Run! Run!”

She was carried, hauled over a back like a sack of grain, her whole body was numb. Winter was going in and out of a light. In and out of the realms of consciousness.

She saw curls.

She saw green eyes.

She saw home and dark skin.

She saw Theodore, his eyes smiling back at her, his whole body awake by her side as she slept peacefully next to him.

Her heart, slowly fading, her mind dimming, the cold went away.

And with it did the dream.

“Close your eyes.” He whispered. “Think of home.”

And so she closed her eyes.

Numb to the crackling of the fire.


________________________________________

There’s a large tree with white leaves, no flowers bloomed from it’s petals. No birds came to nestle in it’s birch. It was a lonely tree in a forest of lonely trees.

As I walked towards that tree, that lonely tree, I could feel nothing but a warm buzz, a gentle breeze between my hair, the subtle scent of honeysuckle that melted off of the flowers which decorated this holy grove.

They sat, silently so, under the large tree.

Mollie, dressed in a tie dye set of overalls, her freckles dotting the overall hue of her skin, which had tanned quite well on this side of time. She was playing with something in between her hands, no, she was smelling a pink flower.

Next to her sat the girl of the hour, Winter, her eyes colder than the evening sky, she sat in the shade of the tree, pretending to sleep, her white dress flickering ever so softly with the breeze. Her hair, it seemed to change colors, from a dusty silver to a ghostly white.

And as I came closer to the tree, so did a few other girls, girls I hadn't seen before. Girls I did not particularly like.

There was one wearing a purple dress, her hair was long and black, she had tattoos covering her arms, coating her neck. She didn’t seem to smile, and wherever she went so did Mollie’s glance.

Another one wore jeans and a jacket, their hair was covered in a beanie, their eyes a glint of coal. They sat near the edge of the grove. Far away from the rest of us.

“Ithaca. Ithaca, come here.” Called Mollie.

I turned to her, she was closer now, it was as if I had been transported just by her call. She was picking the petals off of the flower, one by one, her eyes never leaving it.

“Which one of us should go?” She asked, her voice coming from all over, but never from her own lips.

“Whichever one she needs.” I said.

“She doesn’t need any of us.” Said a voice, unfamiliar to me.

I turned to the girl in the purple dress.

“Who are you?” I asked her.

She moved without gravity, walking in a way I’ve never seen before, dancing between blades of grass as she made her way towards us. As she got closer, so came into view a crown of lilacs. Her eyes were even purple.

“Oh my god, Violetta Indigo?”

She smiled, her teeth pearls to be captured. “Nice to see you, after all these years.”

“Many, many years. Why haven’t you come out?”

“Because she hasn’t been ready for me.” Said Violetta Indigo.

“Letta, why don’t you go?” Mollie suggested.

Violetta Indigo laughed, only for a few moments, after that she turned to Winter. “She’s breaking into a million pieces. She needs glue, not blue.”

“Glue?” I said.

“Not blue.” Mollie repeated.

“She needs Noble.”

Noble was still sitting there, in his jeans and jacket. And he didn’t seem to mind the loneliness. Nobody knew him well, especially not me, but he was something different.

“Noble. Come say hi.” Violetta said.

Noble looked up, his coal eyes dotting around us, daring us to judge him. He rose, dusting off his jeans, walking over.

“Sup.” Noble said.

“Why haven’t I seen you before?” I asked.

Noble sighed, sucking his teeth and blowing a wisp of curly hair out of his face.

“There’s more to Winter than she’s letting onto, more to you than you can ever know. But if we want to get anywhere, especially in our current condition, there’s only one man for the job.” Letta said.

Mollie leaned on my shoulder, as if we were friends. She was now sucking a lollipop, assaulting my ears with the sound.

“Are you vouching for him, Letta?” Mollie asked.

“No one needs to vouch for me. I’m the only one who knows their way around the Wastelands, and if they’re headed off in that direction then there’s only a matter of time before some Juicers find them.” Said Noble, his voice rough like loose gravel.

I shrugged hard enough to get Mollie off of my shoulder.

“Fine. Take the wheel. But only until she’s safe.” I said.

We turned to Winter, she was sleeping now, her head laid rested against the roots of a tree.

“That might be a long time.” Noble added.

Noble made his way to the tree but was stopped by Mollie.

“What?” He growled.

She pointed to Violetta Indigo. “Take Letta with you.”

Violetta waved away the thought. “I’m sure he can handle it on his own.”

“I don’t know if you’ve been Outside recently, but it’s not all cherry blossoms and fireflies out there. Ithaca’s been compromised, I can’t handle myself out there without near killing somebody. You’ve gotta go.” Mollie explained.

Violetta sighed, her hair seemed to move on it’s own. She was thinking. “Fine.”

Mollie smiled. Noble rolled his eyes.

“Just for pointers. I am not taking over, we all know what happened last time.”

And so, they left, touching the large tree with white leaves. And so my vision began to blur, and everything around me seemed to melt, into a terrible blue and orange hue.

As my mind broke apart into a million different fractals.




He woke up to ash, he blinked to get it out his sight. He couldn’t move his arms, something was holding them down, one felt numb, the other felt tired and weak. His whole body ached, everything around him ached and prayed for salvation.

He slowly turned his head, it hurt so much to do such a simple thing. His eyes settled on a grey-haired figure, his back turned to Noble. He was doing something, fixing something. Next to him sat the french girl, long curly hair, dimples that popped even when she frowned, eyes of amber. She was holding a kid, rocking her back and forth, trying to calm her into sleep.

On the other side of the room, two girls held large rifles, looking out the slips of two boarded windows. There were dim lanterns all around the room, nothing too bright, more dark than could be possibly wanted.

Noble coughed.

Everyone turned to him.

Enoch turned, there was a scar across his nose, it was new and red and looked like visual agony. It had been stitched up ugly, if you consider the fact that some of it was being held together with pieces of cotton.

Lady jumped as she turned to him, frightening the baby, who she quickly began to rock again.

“You’re awake.” He said, his voice cold.

“What the hell happened out here?” Said Noble.

“The Eradication Group found their way past our mines. Tripped our security, took out some of the boys. They blew up the Hospital. It was all so sudden.” Said Enoch, never turning his eyes back to Noble.

“Winter?” Called Lady.

Noble turned to her. “Winter’s not here.”

“Again!” Enoch yelled.

He threw a glass jar, which he seemed to have been working with, across the room. It broke hard against an empty shelf. Cecile screamed, Lady rose up, her face turning quickly from ice to fire.

“What the hell are you doing!” She yelled at Enoch.

The girls came into view, Gina was here, and for some reason she looked even better when angry. Her hair was sweaty, but it dripped past her ears and brought out here green eyes. Her cheeks were red, which Noble had never seen before, red cheeks on a caramel girl.

Charli came quickly to her side, there was a huge scare near her left eyebrow. Her red hair had pulled up into messy bun.

Noble came back into the moment. Pretty girls aside, this was a shit show.

“She keeps changing! How the hell am I supposed to keep up with a girl who can’t remember anything, who’s always a different person!” Enoch yelled.

“Someone’s mad.” Noble mumbled.

“This is not the place or the time to throw a fit. We’ve lost half the group in less than a day. EGs are on our back at all our of the day, the last thing we need is you being a big baby, throwing a tantrum every time someone needs you to grow up and do adult things.” Lady growled.
Lady handed off Cecile to Charli, who quickly threw her rifle to the side to grab her.

Lady rolled up her sleeves. Exposing a plethora of scars.

“You think this is easy for her, Enoch? The only reason any of us are alive, including you, is because of her cells. She had choices, you know? She could’ve left us all behind, she could’ve been half way to London right now, but instead, she’s shacked up in an abandoned corner store with a hole in her arm the size of a pipe hole!”

Enoch didn’t counter, instead he breathed in and out with a hard heft. His eyes never leaving Lady’s scowl, his posture tense, every molecule in his brain was restrained by the innate guilt he was experiencing.

It was collapsing him inside.

“Bear is dead.” He said to Noble.

Nobody moved.

“I don’t know if you care. I don’t know who you are, what your name is, and honestly right now, I could give two shits. He died because one of you beat him within an inch of his life, then forced him to stay in the hospital, and then he blew up. Along with everyone else in that hospital. Peter, Griff, Tanner, Colby, the Twins. All of them are dead, not because one of us set a match off or accidentally set off a bomb, it’s because of you. You broke the rule, you tried to tell the truth, and now everyone in that Hospital is dead.” Enoch imparted.

Then he walked away, to what was most likely a backroom.

Gina turned to her, “You were just trying to do your job.”

Noble shook his head. “No, we messed up. So, I’m here to fix that, once and for all.”

“Do you have any plans?”

Noble sighed, looking up at the ceiling. There was a giant hole in the roof, that’s where the ash was coming from.

“Well first I’d like to be able to sit up. Move an arm.” Noble answered.

He turned to them, grinning. “Do you know where the rest of the kids ran off to?”

“Some say Uldritch, others are saying they just went deeper into the forest, near an old green town in West Valley. Either way their deep into the wasteland.” Charli said.

“Wrong move though,” Gina added, “The Reds have Wastelands covered with EG sympathizers. Going there is like going into Nazi territory in World War 2 as a gay Jew.”

“Well then I guess that’s where we’re headed next.” Noble sighed. “Where is this.”

Lady cleared her throat. “We got dropped off, some of the Girls, Leo and Casper, rode horseback in front of us to scan routes. We couldn’t get far on the truck with the gas that we had. You were bleeding out bad. Luckily, Ithaca made us a ‘medicine map’ of sorts, showing us possible drug outlets. I remember Mollie talking about it while we made supper. Took a mental note.”

“We’re in the East Garden, near Robertsville.” Charli summarized.

“That’s thirty miles away from the Ranch. We’re halfway into Red Territory.” Said Noble.

Gina shook her head. “It’s a neutral zone. The water system was deemed infected, so the Reds cleared out pretty quickly. The town’s small, Juicer’s probably cleaned this place months ago. We’re safe.”

“For now.” Charli added.

Gina gave her a look. “And now is good enough.”

Noble made a mental note. “Well, then I guess we’ve got only a few good days before we have to head out.”

“That’s not a lot of time to nurse a condition.” Lady warned.

“You said there’s more of us in Robertsville. We’ll head there for more medicine and then backtrack. Believe it or not, this body has seen worse days.” He answered.

“What about Cecile, it’s not safe for her to go with us.”

“There’s a bunker near the Ranch, Ithaca didn’t say anything about it for obvious reasons. There’s food and supplies down there. You could live comfortably for weeks before you have to resurface. It’s made for that baby.” Noble said.

“She made a bunker just for Cecile?” Asked Lady.

“Eh, she made a bunker for all the kids. But I mean, Cecile was who she mainly had in mind. We can take you there, and you can stay if you want. I’m pretty good with radios and things of that nature, I can fix together some communication, so you can talk to us.”

“Why should I be the one taking care of Cecile?” Lady asked again.

“You’re the only one she ever trusted with a gun near her kid. You’re the one of the First Month kids, she’s known you longest. But if you don’t want to take care of her, I can-”

“No, I get it. I’ll take care of her while you guys are gone.” Lady agreed.

Gina and Charli nodded silently. It was obvious they wouldn’t last a day with Cecile, let alone a full week.

“What’s your name?” Gina asked.

“Noble” He answered. “My name is Noble, and I’m a guy.”

“Oh.”

“So like, a guy guy?” Said Charli.

“What other guy is there?”

Charli blew raspberries and shrugged, patting Cecile on the back. “Just askin’ for a friend.”

“I just wanted to point out the fact that this is the first time I’ve ever seen you before? Are you new?” Gina asked.

Noble shook his head. “No, you haven’t seen me because I’m very, very old. Last time I was in control I was …”

Noble looked down. Two lumps blocked his view of his toes.

“I have boobs.” Noble announced.

They all nodded.

Noble looked back up at the ceiling, astonished.

“You get used to them. You just gotta find the right bra.”

“Gina, you’re not helping.”

“No, you just gotta … you feel the heft.”

“Gina I really think you’re being inconsiderate.”

“But you know, Lady- how the underboob sweat can really take you out if you’re not careful.”

“Gina!”

“Alright alright.”

Noble sighed.

He turned to Gina, “What’s a bra?”

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Chapter 10: His Lightning

Post by ~Dylan Battle~ on Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:43 am

I did not spell-check this. I will update this soon with grammar and spelling edited later. As of now this is not, so . . . if you have a problem with that . . . don't read it lmfao. Enjoy. Oh and this one is hella short, sorry, but Chapter 11 is gonna be wild so I mean, like, stick around (?) idk. Enjoy.


_______________________________________

Chapter 10: His Lightning


It took a long time for him to sit up, a lot of retries, a lot of mental exhaustion. Almost the hint of tear every once and while, but never a drop. Noble wasn’t one for tears, he liked things sour, he liked contrast, as ugly as it might be.

Over the three days he was immobile, he made continues strides, every hour, to move an inch. Lady yelled at him when she noticed he had made it from his cot to the food supply pile. He was attempting (keyword: attempting) to open a packet of stale almonds with his teeth.

Lady would always leave something for him to do when she left the room. Gina and Charli had been doing handiwork, making the temporary home into something of safe house. Charli had found a pack of batteries and strung together an assortment of lights out of glow sticks.

Gina told her that they weren’t going to last longer than two days, she didn’t care.

Gina had gone out hunting again, even though there was enough food at the safehouse.

“You guys are gonna forget the taste of fresh food. Fresh meat.” Gina would say.

“Fresh meat.” Charli mocked.

Enoch would enter and exit the front of the store, where Noble spent his three days, but he would never talk to him. He would come in to drop off more snacks, boil water, check the boards, talk to anyone. Sometimes he would even take Cecile.

Noble tried talking to him.

“Hey dude.” Noble said.

Enoch looked at her, his face devoid of emotion.

Noble sputtered. “You still mad?”

Enoch would roll his eyes and walk out.

Everything got a bit better once the other Girls came back, with them they brought Finn, the kid who had been there when Ford was shot. He was nicer to Noble than the rest of them, staying around to drink black coffee with him while the other’s huddled around a map of the state.

“So how is it living in a girl’s body?” Finn asked him.

Noah shrugged, he could do that now (though pain still shot through his arm every once and awhile if he tried to show off.)

“Some days are better than others. But, I haven’t been Outside in a while.”

Finn furrowed his brow, “Outside? What does that mean?”

“I haven’t been in control, it’s like driving a car, but sometimes you’re in the passenger’s seat, sometimes you’re in the back, the third row even. And if things are really rough, you can end up in the trunk.”

Finn nodded, pretending to understand. “So, who’s like- the main one.”

Noble chuckled a little, sipping his coffee. “There isn’t necessarily a main one. But the first one was Winter, she’s always been there. But she’s really trusting, vulnerable at times, it’s all in good form but-”

“She’s reckless.” Said Finn.

“Yeah, she doesn’t take time to think. We all have records, we all have things that we can and can’t remember. We try to keep track of everyone’s mistakes, everyone’s relationships, everyone’s crushes.”

“Crushes?”

“Yeah, everyone has somebody they like, except Violetta Indigo.”

“Violetta Indigo?”

“Yeah, she’s the best. She can be a bit stubborn sometimes, but, she’s not like the rest of them. The girls all like to jabber and talk about their feelings and emotions and ‘boo-hoo boys.’ It gets annoying and repetitive.”

“You’re the only boy?”

“That’s the consensus.”

Finn poured another cup for him, he turned around, checking for the other’s and rummaged through his bag. He retrieved a flask and poured it into Noble’s cup.

“Are you trying to poison me?” Noble hissed.

“Would you care if I was?” Asked Finn.

“No.” Noble admitted.

They laughed. He poured another cup for himself.

Finn had this oddly subtle radiance to him. At first glance, he’s average, average hair, average height, average amount of scars for a test subject. He wore tattered clothes and didn’t seem to care, but he always smelled clean, like cinnamon or something sweet with a sting. Noble wasn’t into boys, but there was a glow to him, it came not from his external appearance but from an internal hue that held a manifold of colors. It could attract anything.

“Can I call you Lightning, Finn?” Noble asked.

“Why?” Finn asked.

“Don’t ask why, just say yes.” Said Noble.

Finn giggled and then sighed. “Okay.”

“Do you like, you know, novels and things?” Noble inquired.

“Like literature, yeah. I guess I do.” Said Finn.

“Becoming the Impossible by Idris Iver is by far my favorite.” Noble quoted.

“Idris Iver?”

“He’s an old 21st century author, who lived through the Term Wars, after the invasion of Canada. During the beginning of the Term Wars, Americans were losing a ton of valuable artifacts, literature, all sorts of things. The Radicals were trying to destroy their history. So instead of trying to hoard all of it into private vaults and shipping it out to sea, they began to smuggle artists out of the country to Mexico. Things were better down there.”

It clicked in Finn’s brain. “Oh, you’re talking about the Poetry Brigade!”

Noble nodded with a smile. “Idris Iver didn’t want to stay in Mexico, everything there was too simple, too easy. He felt bad, American children were starving, people were getting gunned down in the streets, so he got himself arrested and sent back to America. There, he traded poetry amongst the prisoners in his camp.”

“Did he get out?” Finn asked.

Noble swayed his head. “Part of him did, the poet got out.”

Finn’s smile faded, he sipped his spiked coffee.

“Don’t be sad, he managed to get enough poetry around the country. Some of it got out with the survivors after the Canadians won the Battle of Nova Scotia. Some say that soldiers who escaped the prisons joined Canada in the fight against the Radicals, poetry can be just as good as food sometimes.”

“You sure know a lot about Post-American History.” Finn chuckled.

“My great grandfather was American, he taught Classical American Literature. One of the poems we had to memorize was ‘Becoming the Impossible.’” Noble added.

“How does it go?”

“Okay close your eyes, Lighting. Picture a green forest sitting at the top of a hill. Out past the hill are mountains, snowy peaks. Somewhere distant, you can hear the caw of a hawk. Hummingbirds flutter closer to you. There’s singing, but it’s faint. You feel calm, you feel warm, you feel better than ever.” Said Noble.

Finn breathes out. “Okay.”

Becoming the Impossible by Idris Iver.

Break the skin of a tree
See the golden honey drip down from it
It is poison
Though it tastes sweet
Sometimes the children eat it
It makes their tummies bubble
Their hands sticky
They laugh and giggle
Count it fantasy that they enjoy such pain
The thick burning of throat
The spice of a sweet thing

Feel the waves across your skin
They are cold waves, freezing your bones
Breaking against your emotions
Count it fantasy that you might enjoy such pain
Count it fantasy that you might love the pull of the ocean
The crash of ocean spray against your eyes
As your friends grab you
And pull you awake
You brace for another
You parade around in the deadly ocean
Your nostrils burning with salt
Alive in the most vicious circumstance

Feel the earth beneath you
The crumbling of dirt on gentle skin
You know not what the things below feel
You know not what creatures lay dim at your feet
Waiting to pull you under
But you run
Through thick brush
Through unsettling forest
Your mind brought into the Spirit by adrenaline
You do not mind if your naked leg catches a thorn
If your toe hits a blush rock
Because not being is careless
You are becoming something more

This gentle pain that the human feels
Brought on by stings that regenerate
Brought on by powers evil to them
They recycle it
Turning ash into star dust
Breathing air from sacks of dust
Moving body by moving mind
They are becoming something more
We are simple
But so is the universe
So, filled with terrifying beauty
We are becoming impossible things

Fin.

Finn giggled, “You said my name.”

Noble shook his head, “No I didn’t, but since the poetry is left up to individual interpretation, I guess you can think what you want.”

Finn laid his head on the ground, looking up at the tattered ceiling.

“Thank you.” He said.

Noble furrowed his brow in confusion. “For what?”

“For distracting me.”

There was a comfortable silence. It was weird how their environment worked. It was so easy to move from reality back into fiction. But even more controversial was the fact that Noble didn’t know what was real, or what was fiction. He didn’t know any of these people, not like the rest did. The Others, they knew these people, these were their people. These were the Girls and the Boys that they went on and on about. Noble hadn’t ever been observant enough to notice them, just how human these kids were, how fragile they could be. It was so easy to lie, to write them off as everlasting, when really they were taping themselves back together, piece by piece, inch by inch.

They were leaving hints of themselves wherever they went. They left memories in their homes, in the Camps, in the Invasions, in the Green towns, and in the Red towns, they left them with their parents, with their siblings, with their friends, their girlfriends.

“Lightning?” Noble asked Finn.

“Yeah, bubba?”

“You had someone, before all of this … didn’t you?” Noble asked.

Finn turned back, he was struggling to answer. Maybe, it was hard to read his face, he had a maximum of three expressions.

“Her name was Alice. Alice English, she was a Red. One of the good ones, you know- a Cherry. Her parents were brutal to me, they’d throw things at me if I came by the house. One time I slept over and I woke with a gun pointed at my face.”

“You really can’t take a message, can you?”

“I loved her.” He said so simply. “We did everything together, read books together, did homework, we had jobs at a computer program chain. She was everything to me.”

He went silent. Partially because Lady came in with Cecile, partially because his voice was running dry.

“We’ve got some news that you’re probably going to want to hear.” Lady said.

Finn sat up, Noble’s heart fluttered.

“We got a distress signal from the Ranch.”

A million different things fluttered before Noble’s eyes. Bear. The Boys. The supplies that’s still laid up there.

“We’ve got to get back there.” Noble blurted.

“It’s too dangerous, Noble. It’s obviously a trap set by some fucking EGs who think that they can get us back easier if we think that some of them are still alive.”

“Either way we’re going back, Finn. We have traps that they couldn’t have possibly predicted us setting off. There’s trip wire all along the east side of the property. We can cause distractions before we run in.”

“We don’t know where we’re running to, Noble. There’s no exit plan either, you don’t think once they find us that they’re just going to round us up and shoot us off to the next Research Camp?”

“Then we’ll make one. God knows there isn’t enough time to meet up with the rest of the kids and make our way back to the Ranch in time for us to break into the Ranch and get them out.”

“And what about all those injuries, you think you can carry two injured boys on your back through unmapped woods for hours on end? Because if so let me know, and we’ll go right now.” Enoch interjected.

Noble turned to Enoch, who was leaning against the back-room door, obnoxiously staring at Noble with disgust.

“I’d rather drag three unconscious bodies through volcanic magma than argue with your insensitive ass about what can and cannot be done.”

“Both of you need to calm down, immediately.” Lady demanded.

She pointed to me. “You are in no shape to go anywhere, you can barely stand up long enough to use the bathroom, you think you do a rescue and recovery?”

Then, without pause, she pointed to Enoch. “And you are completely forgetting Ithaca’s protocol. We stick to the plan, head north.”

“To the Butterfly Grove? We might as well walk back into Research camp with a bomb strapped to our backs.”

A loud stomping took over the floor. From the front door ran a frightened Charli. Her eyes darting across the room, scanning everything that they saw.

“What’s going on?” Lady whispered.

“Hide Cecile, stash the food, block the back entrance and don’t make a fucking sound.” Charli instructed.

There was fear in her eyes, she was hiding it terribly. Trembling with every breath.

She pointed to Noble. “You gotta come with me.”

“She can’t walk.” Said Lady.

“He can hobble.” Noble assured her.

There was a shared moment of reassurance between Lady and Noble. It calmed her spirit.

Lady and Enoch did as was instructed. Noble reached over himself and uncovered a sheathed dagger. He placed it between the strap of his jeans as Charli helped her up.

“Juicers?” Noble guessed.

“Yeah, four of them, Gina’s giving them the run.”

“Judging by the fear in your eyes, they must look pretty scary.”

“Is it really that obvious?” Charli sighed. “One of them’s wearing an old Uldritch High Jacket. The numbers are ripped off.”

“Is he deformed?”

“No, bloodshot eyes, his skins discolored, veiny. He must be new.”

Charli’s fumbled with the cloth as she tried to tie Noble’s bandages together. Her hands trembled as she pulled the cloth strings together, a shock ran through Noble’s arm.

“Ah!”

“Sorry.”

Noble gently grabbed Charli’s hand, looking into her eyes, so terrified and young.

“Forget what you’ve heard about Juicers. Their just EGs with less armor.”

Charli attempted to breathe, it’s loud and unnatural. “I think I’m having a panic attack.”

Noble braced Charli with his good arm. “Just breathe, just breathe.”

Charli tried breathing again, each moment that passed was another Gina spent alone outside. Noble kept that in the back of his mind.

“Nothing bad is going to happen to you, I promise.”

“Yeah … that’s what my Dad said.”

There was a memory that Noble had no access too, and though he tried to empathize with her, something inside him blocked him out.

“Let’s go, it’s been five minutes.” Said Noble.

“Right.”




Gina stood feet apart, her hands moving between her pistol and her rifle like a ticking metronome. She was calm, too calm, and it made Noble nervous.

Noble couldn’t make out the four Juicers, who rode of horseback, each of them had masks on. They looked like something one could get from a Halloween store, black Zoro masks and surgical mouth guards dyed in different colors.

They would’ve looked almost silly if it wasn’t for the eyes.

All of them had deep veiny bloodshot eyes. The tallest one had deep scars all over his body, and dark spider veins running down his exposed neck. The hair on most of them had greyed out, probably because of the injections they’d been given, and the ones they’d given themselves.

Gina turned to Noble, who was walking- no, limping, very stoically towards her side. Charli walked out a few second later, throwing her curly hair back to the side and loading a chamber with her gun. She cocked it up high, taking a breath in, letting one out, as she paced herself slowly behind Noble’s shoulder.

“Ease up, Meredith.” Says the tallest Juicer.

The rest of them laugh, it’s off putting how natural they sound.

“Okay, what do you want?” Noble asked.

“They told me that a guy was coming out to negotiate.” The youngest one said.

“Yeah, you’re looking at him.”

“Whatever, dike, we want the Girl.”

Noble reached over Gina’s side and grabbed her Pistol, whipping it around and taking off the safety in one fell swoop. He pulled the trigger.

BAM.

There’s a loud cry from the youngest Juicer’s mouth. Blue blood trickles down his ear, his hands shake, his horse jumps and neighs.

The others jump off of their horses and aim at Noble.

Gina takes her aim at the tallest Juicer.

Charli lets out a sigh.

“One thing I have a hard time with is folks without manners. I don’t care much for slurs, and I care less for you damn Bats coming into my domain, while I’m restin’, and treating me like a house slave, understand.”

The middle Juicer takes a quick aim for Noble’s head, but Noble aims for his crotch.

“Ah, ah, ah. Think twice before shooting because you only get one chance.” Noble warned.

“Alright.” The tallest one said.

“Riot, put your gun down.” He said again.

Riot turned to him, his frown visible even through the masks. After a moment of hesitation, he puts his gun down.

“Uldritch, get your whiny ass down from that horse.” The tallest one said.

Uldritch rolls off the horse, clutching his ear and avoiding eye contact with Noble.

“Masks. Off.” Noble demands.

“Who the fu-”

“Will you shut the hell up, Riot!” Tallest says.

They all remove their masks, one by one. Uldritch Boy looks even younger than he did before, his face was pale, and it held frightening contrast with his fading brown hair. His eyes were bloodshot, but they were blue, and though filled with a ferocious rage towards Noble, it was easy to see that he used to be someone beautiful.

Riot looked a bit older, but not by much, he was Asian, a scar went deep across his forehead, his skin was paler than Uldritch Boys, and his eyes were a sheer white. He looked bad, something about him wasn’t there.

The tallest one reminded Noble of someone, he couldn’t put his finger to it. His hair had lost color, but his skin was holding on to its natural brown pigment for dear life. His eyes were bloodshot, and his face was covered in dead veins.

“What’s your name, Bat?” Noble asked.

“I don’t have one.”

“Bullshit.” Gina replied.

“Name?” Noble repeated.

“Lady knows my name.”

There’s an uncomfortable silence between the group.

“Who’s Lady?” Noble asked.

No name gave a weak chuckle. “Tell her to come outside.”

“There is no ‘Lady’ here, Bat. You’ve got the wrong address.” Noble lied again.

Gina shot a glance to Charli, who barely moved an inch.

“Fine then, I guess she doesn’t care whether he lives then.” No name said.

No name moved with an inhuman speed, weaving behind Riot and grabbing Uldritch Boy by the nape of his neck.

Every gun pointed his way.

“Wait!” Lady yelled.

She came running hysterically from the confines of the store. Moments after her came Finn, equally as terrified as Noble was.

“Get the hell back inside now!” Noble growled.

“That’s Sebastian! That’s Sebastian!” She howled.

Lady came swiftly, colliding with Sebastian and sinking to the ground with him. Noble’s eyes darted from the Juicers to Lady and Sebastian in confusion.

As Lady embraced him, Sebastian’s hand slid from her back to his pocket. He turned her around quick, holding a large hunting knife to her neck. Lady’s eyes became wide and terrified as she struggled to find Noble’s gaze.

“Gina what the hell is going on …” He turned to her.

At point blank range, right in between his eyes, sat the aim of Gina Angelo. Her rifle was held still, her eyes stained with a piercing black gaze. Noble willed himself calm, trying to think before speaking.

“What’s going on?” He said softly.

“We’re taking Lady and the supplies, and we’re heading for the Ranch. The Eradication Group is on it’s way.” Gina said.

“And you think that the Eradication Group is going to let a bunch of Juicers and Immunes go free to the South? The only reason you’re alive is because you’re carrying my cells.”

“Exactly.” Said the tallest one. “But why would we take you with us when we could just as well leave you here for the EGs to take? Nobody wants a psychotic, ex-military, Denver-supporter as a Rode Companion. We’re taking Cecile with us instead, purest blood in all of Northern Country.”

Noble growled. “You so much as look at her and I’ll-”

Gina takes swings the shaft of her gun into Noble’s cheek, sending him sideways. The pain is overwhelming, shooting up his jaw like a scorching flame.

“Damn, Gina.” Riot laughs.

“Shut the hell up, Riot.”

Gina turns to Finn, whose hands lay cold on the hilt of the pistol on his hip.

“Finn, be a doll and go get Enoch and Cecile for me.” Said Gina.

“You’re not my boss, you fucking Cherry Sympathizer.” Finn hissed.

Gina took up her rifle again, ready to shoot, but before she could pull the trigger, Charli’s hand stopped her, resting on her shoulder.

“Don’t.” Charli said.

Gina looked at her weird. “Why not?”

“He’s got nothing to do with this? He was the Assistant Head of Hospital for Christ’s sake.” Charli argued.

“So now you’re sympathizing with this Ithaca Elitist?”

“No.”

“Then stop making excuses for pricks like him, who can’t take a direct order.”

Charli’s hand slowly let off Gina’s shoulder. Her eyes became heavy, almost as if she wanted to cry. She looked at Noble, apologizing telepathically, there was something inside of her that was hidden away. Something that Noble was sure would never see light again.

Charli turned to Finn.

“I’m sorry, Finn. You know how it is these days.” She faintly laughed, her eyes blush.

She raised her rifle and shot him right through the head.

Lady screamed, Noble closed his eyes.

Remain calm. Stay Calm. Stay Calm.

Charli stood, shaking, she turned to Gina. “I’ll go get the two.”

Gina stood over Noble, who had become aware of the fact that her arm had started bleeding again. Everything in her body ran cold.

“What’s it like, knowing that you’re the last of your kind?” Gina whispered.

“A little better than it must be knowing that you’re a traitor to your own blood.”

Gina laughed, she retrieved an injection gun from her backpack, loading it up with a white and milky liquid.

“One day, or I guess, in another life, you’ll look back and see that what I’m doing for you right now is favor. Running isn’t fun, Ithaca- Noble- whatever your name is. If you want to be a real grown up- you’ve gotta face them head on.”

“Go to hell and stay there, Gina Angelo.”

She snickered, before sticking a searing hot needle into me neck.

“See you when I get there.”

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~Dylan Battle~
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Re: Ithaca in the Rapture

Post by ~Dylan Battle~ on Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:36 am

Hey y'all, I finished this novella and cleaned it up a bit. I've been doing a lot of book work lately as October has always been a busy body month for me. This book is available on Amazon for absolutely free starting midnight tonight (10/15/18) all cleaned up and edited. It's called Greek Fire, and I hope you guys like it!


You can also check out my other books if you're into LGBT fiction, my book My Life on Earth is currently #2 for LBGT short reads and my book series High, And All So Mighty, is trending rn in the Top 10 Gay and Bisexual Romance categories. They're all free right now by the way so don't be afraid to check them out.

I'll be going away for a bit as I'm working on releasing a few other books that I'm terribly excited for, and I also have NaNoWriMo coming up, but don't be afraid to PM me for questions and I'll also give you my email if you're working on self-publishing and need help.

See y'all on the flip side,
Dylan

(p.s. I love you ♥️)

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Re: Ithaca in the Rapture

Post by ~Dylan Battle~ on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:13 pm

Due to some misunderstandings, I'll be posting the rest of my book here. I think you all need the whole story.

Chapter 11: Her Moments

“There’s zero chance we’re surviving this.”

Noble sighed, staring into the fire, he looked cold, and old, like his life had already been lived and ran through. He felt like old celluloid film, expiring with age, highly flammable, only good in low-light, room temperature conditions.

“I just want to know who got us into this mess.” Said Mollie.

“Look, no need to point fingers, darling, we’re all here for a reason, we’ve all done bad things, things we wouldn’t care to admit out loud, let alone be shamed for saying.” Violetta Indigo waved.

Violetta poured a glass of champagne, sitting cross legged on the old tree trunk, staring into the flames, wishing that she was anywhere else but here.

“Then we need to figure out what to do. You said the Eradication Group was coming at any moment, shouldn’t we figure out whose going?” Ithaca said.

“The body’s hurt. The right arm feels like a cinder block, and Gina’s got a hell of right hook- let alone swinging with a rifle.” Noble sighed.

Ithaca turned to Winter, who sat quietly, not responding to anything. A white blanket swirled around her, she looked soft reflected on those flames, like a mirror.

“If I’m being honest, we’re better off not changing. It’s easier if you just stay with her. Can you stay with her?” Asks Ithaca.

“Yeah.” Noble agreed.

There was something hidden in his eyes, something foreign and without clear definition. The Girls leaned in, trying to see it, trying to find out what was happening to him.

“What’s wrong, Noble?”

“Don’t you think …” He halted. “Don’t you think that we’re doing more harm than we are good. Half of the kids are dead, Gina turned on us for no reason, Finn died.”

Finn died. That hit everyone the same way.

Noble continued, “We can’t keep hurting the people we love.”
Violetta sucks her teeth, moving over to sit with Noble, embracing him with her free arm. “Oh darling, there’s nothing we could’ve done. Nothing you could’ve done.”

Noble’s eyes became weak. Tears began to form at the cusps, and his body began to liquify.

Violetta talked over it. “We give these children our blood. We give them food and drink, a nice warm place to stay. We give them work and medicine to overcome the terrible sickness that’s condemned millions to their deaths. And what do we get for it? A rundown grocery store, two packs of slim jims and last season Doc Martins. It’s unspeakable.”

“I’ll drink to that.” Mollie sighs, raising up her ginger ale.

“The last thing we want to do is give up, darling. No- giving up is for the weak, the people who couldn’t make it five miles without a map and a battery. Giving up is for the girls back home who could barely lay off a week’s worth of twinkies to fit in their prom dresses. We are not quitters. We make flames from ashes, we shoot guns to kill, we are apex predators. We hunt, we are not hunted. And I did not come all this way, for such a young, fantastic boy like Finn, or Theodore, or god damn Idris Ivor to die in vain.” Violetta Indigo shouted.

She looked down at him, rubbing his shoulder, as his tears dried, and he laughed a weak laugh. “Right, are you Green, young man?”

Noble sat back up, wiping off his tears and giving a restrained smile to Violetta Indigo. “Just peachy.”

“Good.”

She drank the rest of her Champagne in one chug and then sighed. She squinted as she let out a burp.

“That’s gross.”

“It’s the human body my dear.”

There was a comfortable silence.

“Ithaca?” Noble asked.

“Hmm?”

“Cecile is gone.” Noble said.

Ithaca nodded, confused, “Yeah I know. You already told us.”

“Why aren’t you mad?” Noble asked her, his voice holding a bite.

“Of course I’m mad.” Ithaca growled.

“No, you’re not.” He scowled at her. His heart breaking as the truth was revealed.

“Sorry that I don’t cry and scream when something bad happens to me like you do.”

“It’s your child, Ithaca!”

“I know!” She shouted.

There’s a settling again. Violetta added more Champagne to her cup, Mollie dared not to move.

“You don’t get to tell me how I should think or feel, Noble! Fuck you.” Ithaca spat.

“Then I guess you’ll go.” Noble shrugged.

Winter moved a little, readjusting herself. She looked up at the group, seeming to come alive again, if only for a moment.

“I’ll go.” Winter said, her voice was hoarse.

Violetta cleared her ears. “I’m sorry my dear, what did you say?”

“Nobody knows that facility like I do. By now, they’ve already got us lock and key. The closest facility in Montana is Camp Ithaca. It’s where you were born.” She turned to Ithaca.

“And you think you can just, get captured and then somehow just, walk out and leave?” Ithaca asked her.

Winter shook her head. “No. There’s a reason they left us alone for so long.”

“Why, Darling?” Violetta asked.

“Because we had a deal.” Winter answered.

“A deal?” Mollie asked.

“Yes. And if what I think is happening, is happening now . . . the Eradication Group is taking me back to finish my Evaluation.”

“You’re not saying what I think you’re saying, Winter?” Mollie sighed.

Winter nodded.

“I’m an EG.”



Since I was a child, the World has been at war.

First it was over simple things, like nationalities and races, people and towns (people and towns seemed to be the biggest problem of the 21st century.) Then it became more technical, about water, about space, both on Earth and beyond. People were starving, droughts were common, and super crops were highly viable.

During the Term Wars, America was losing trillions of dollars on reparations from it’s involvement in World War III, and due to it’s corrupt government and unavoidably high taxes, people were starting to get uneasy about the country’s future.

Europeans were affected most by the Americans in World War III, and despite great efforts by peacemakers to tie treaties together for the sake of starving people, the European National Order (ENO) vowed to never involve themselves in America’s domestic affairs for the next century.

In the midst of civil unrest, national factories shutting down, and entire states dissolving into anarchy, the Radicals overthrew the government and rallied together what remained of the people for a full attack on their very resource rich northern cousin, Canada.

After several successful attacks on Ottawa using domestic agents and high-powered bombs, the Canadian Ministry had no other option but to invoke the use of its newest weapon upon America.

Discussed and developed privately among the member nations of ENO, the XN-1 was meant to disrupt and destroy enemy states and their benefactors over the course of time. It was said to be more ‘benevolent’ and would spare the lives of millions by not allowing them to begin in the first place.

XN-1 bonds at the molecular level, taking hold of the genes in the body and reconstructing them, times vary between mutations, some take days, some take months, others take years. XN-1 acts differently for each organism, but its most common mutations are loss of color, auto-immune deficiency, and infertility.

It was placed in our bread from ‘friendly’ organizations. It was poured into our drinking water, into the showers, sprayed into the air, grown alongside our plants, even sewn into our clothing. In months, you were an anomaly if you didn’t have symptoms.

The weakest among us died out within weeks.

Canada invaded and absorbed the United States within six months.

They elected a new Prime Minister, Joseph Denver.

Denver was actually XN-1 positive, and he lost his mother and siblings to the disease months after his election. Instead of taking it out on the higher powers that delivered the curse, he took it out on a select unlucky few.

The Immunes.

Children born under the exposure of XN-1 were unique in the sense that most were either stillborn or came out ‘Green’. Green children had higher immune systems in general, had regular lifespans, and passed on their genes to their children. But they were still carriers of XN-1.
At first, Greens were looked at as God’s Chosen Few. Greens were allowed special access to Canadian provinces, they could travel, and before the Rapture, they even had children with other Reds.

It was soon discovered that unaffected people, such as the Canadians who had never came in contact with XN-1, were still vulnerable to contact through a Green. Canadians began to develop silent symptoms, which spread across the world, and soon, mass deaths were commonplace.

Denver was quick to blame the New Black Plague on the Immunes and divided us into separate towns to prevent further contamination. Most Greens at the time supported him, they believed they were meant to live separate lives in their own biological groups.

Over the course of the years, the Greens became stronger, healthier, happier. Green towns became little Utopias, filled with happy children, complete families, and adults that lived well into their Golden Years.

Though, the same couldn’t be said for the Reds. Sickness and disease plagued red towns, crime rose, riots began again, and Denver had no choice but to find a solution.

The Eradication Group was formed.

Greens were paid and usually thanked for volunteering to be tested. Samples of their blood were used to work on a vaccine for the disease. And with months and months of expensive testing, soon one was found.

The Copal’s Cure, invented by the Copal Foundation, could rebuild the immune system of affected Reds and reconstruct destroyed cells. It was a very powerful vaccine, and when it worked, it worked well.

But the side effects were terrifying. Loss of white blood cells, blood clots, blindness, deformity in offspring, insomnia, paranoia, and even death.

But even so, millions of Reds took Copal’s Cure.

A third died out, and the world started to look a little bit more like a graveyard than it ever did. Reds all across the world rallied together for a stronger cure, something that they could pass down to their future generations, something that would rid the world of the terrors of XN-1.

That something could be found in only a special few kids on Earth.

A perfect immune system.

I was unlucky enough to be one of them.

They took me to Camp Ithaca, and the rest is history.



“Adonis.” Enoch scribbled onto his E-Pad.

He sat cross legged on the floor, in a white jumpsuit, he stuck his tongue out as he thought quietly to himself.

“The god of beauty and love. Aphrodite’s mortal lover.” She said.

“Why did these Gods shag anything they came in contact with?” Penelope said.

They laughed.

“Persephone.” Enoch scribbled again.

“Also fell in love with Adonis.” She admitted.

Enoch sighed. “Yeah.”

“Imagine being that hot.” Quinn sighed.

“Oh come on, you’re pretty, Quinn, don’t discount yourself like that, darling.” Penelope giggled.

“Thank you, P.”

“Of course we all know who’s the true looker.” She turned to Winter.

Winter retreated a into her knees.

“You’re embarrassing the poor girl.” Said Royal James.

Royal James slid over closer to Winter, putting one arm over her shoulder.

Winter got chills. His touch was damn near electric.

“Ew, I think it’s actually against the rule sfor you two to be together.” Penelope hissed.

“You’re just mad because we look fashionable together.” Royal James said.

Winter giggled.

“I guess.” Quinn shrugged, massaging a pair of dice in his hands.

“You have to admit, they do have that … weird similarity. The brown hair, the eyes, the skin tone, you guys even have the same dimple- are you sure you’re not twins?” Penelope joked.

“I guess we’re all kind of the same when you think about it.” Winter said.

“Right.” Enoch continued to scribble on his E-Pad. “So right now, we have, Adonis, Persephone, Aphrodite. Hmm, we’re missing somebody.” Said Enoch.

“Eros, God of Love, famously known as Cupid, though that’s not his real name. Originally, he was primordial God, before the Titans. They said he came out of an egg and had wings. But then they made him into a little baby, said that Aphrodite was his mother.” Winter explained.

“That sucks.” Penelope sympathized.

“Yeah.” Said Winter, “Imagine being an all-powerful, brilliant, celestial god. And then some idiot comes along and decides that you’d look better with a diaper on.”

“Sounds like a Saturday night to me.” Quinn joked.

“The Greeks did that a lot, contradicted themselves. But at the same time, retrospectively, don’t we all? I mean, nations are born and then they fall, we’re born and then we die, even trees wither. I mean, what really survives in the end?” Said Winter.

Enoch put down his E-Pad, allowing himself to be entertained by Winter’s question. “I think the spirit endures. Yeah, maybe all of this end, but there’s always something else, right? There’s always something more to what we’re looking for.”

“I agree.” Said Penelope. “There’s a beauty in an ending. If everything went on forever, it would lose it’s meaning. I think that’s why we’re here. People die every day, plants die, trees wither. But there’s something interesting about us humans, we’re stubborn bastards.”

“I mean, look at society.” Royal James adds. “We’re built to last. No other animal in the history of the World has built or created what we have. We survived plague after plague, apocalypse after apocalypse, generation after generation. Hell, we survived World War III. We’re built to last, like Jelly Glue.”

Quinn smiles, nostalgic of his childhood. “Did you ever take your dad’s Jelly Glue and make little buildings out of it?”

They all smile.

Royal James sighs, “I built a ladder on the wall, my Mom wanted to kill me, if it wasn’t for the insurance policy, she would have.”

“I built a kitchen set with mine. Complete with wine glasses.” Penelope recalled. “I had evening tea with Sir Frederick and Lady Antilla with them. My father almost had a stroke when he saw me pouring hand squeeze pomegranate juice into those cups. ‘You’ll poison yourself!’ he used to shout. I didn’t listen though, I should be dead by now.”

Winter giggled, “God had other plans.”

Penelope flipped her haid. “Yes, I suppose. Shipping me all the way out here to the middle of nowhere for a summer of testing.”

“You’re doing the right thing, though, we’re helping millions of Reds.” Said Quinn.

“At least that’s what they say, sticking us with all these needles, I’m quite sore.” Penelope laughed.

“Poor Ajanie, she fell sick, I guess she wasn’t as Immune as they thought.” Penelope sighed.

“Didn’t they send her home.” Winter asked.

“Yes, I think so. She’s from the United Nation of Africa though, I’m sure she has plenty of medicine back home to support her.”

“Have you ever visited?” Winter asked.

“My grandmother says it’s lovely. But it didn’t always used to be that way. She says they were piss poor at one time. Several distinct countries, child soldiers, disease.”

“Disease? In Africa?” Quinn gasped.

“They weren’t always that rich, Quinn. If you picked up a book you would know that by now.” Enoch mumbled.

“I’m sorry that I dropped out of classes a few years early to do humanitarian work for ENO. Not all Canadians are privileged assholes.” Quinn bit back.

“I wasn’t saying you were a privileged asshole. If sending Copal’s Cure to a few American children helps you sleep at night, good for you. Some of us grew up in those towns.” Said Enoch.

“You grew up in a Red Town?” Asked Winter.

Enoch nodded. “Opal Village, Oregon. Population three thousand.”

“It explains the white hair and grey eyes. Their genetic, aren’t they?”

“Loss of pigmentation is hereditary, yeah. Both of my parents were Reds, Mom died after I was born. Dad worked for the Farmers Association for about eleven years, died last year.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Enoch.” Said Winter.

Enoch waved the apology away. “It’s fine. He was happy that his son was Immune, let alone an Eden Boy.”

Eden Boy. They all knew that name.

“Still sounds weird. I don’t think I like it.” Quinn’s face filled with disgust, as if he was tasting the words with his mouth and they were turning sour.

“That’s what they call us. Children of Eden.” Royal mocks.

“It sounds so … biblical. Kind of outdated. Eden? Really, that’s the best you got?” Quinn added.

“How about we make up our own name? Something better than blood ‘Children of Eden.’” Penelope suggests.

They all nod in agreement.

“Well, we are in a camp called Ithaca. Ithaca is a very famous setting of a story called the Odyssey.” Enoch said.

“That’s funny, Penelope, your name comes from that book.” Winter laughs.

“As long as she was beautiful, I have no notes, darling.” Penelope laughs.

“The Odyssey, then?” Quinn suggests.

Royal James shakes his head. “I don’t like it, sounds too old.”

“I agree.” Penelope chirps. “We need something we a bit of gusto.”

“The Olympians?” Royal James shrugs.

“No.” Penelope shoots up like a bolt.

“The Titans.”

Winter nods. “The Titans, I like that.”

“Titans it is then.” Enoch scribbles it into his notepad.

“So Eros is Royal James. Penelope is Persephone. Quinn is Adonis. Winter is Aphrodite.”

“What are you?” Winter furrowed her brows. “And another thing, I don’t agree with me being Aphrodite, she’s a jealous, narcissistic goose.”

“First of all, don’t talk about yourself like that.” Enoch giggled. “And secondly, I don’t need a code name, my name is already unique.”

“No, you’re not exempt love, it defeats the purpose of code names. We’re all Gods of Love, you’re no exception.” Penelope poked him.

Enoch blew his grey hair back and sighed, putting down his E-Pad. “Okay, what do you want me to be?”

Winter smiled. “Artemis.”

“Artemis is a girl!” Enoch objected.

“There are plenty of boys named Artmenis now, it’s the sentiment. You look lunar, like the moon. You should embrace it. Your name is Artemis.”

Enoch groans, and looks around the group, “Any objections?”

Quinn shakes his head.

Penelope holds back a laugh as she shakes her head.

Royal James hides behind Winter’s shoulder, making her giggle as he kisses her neck.

“Fine, Artemis it is.”

Penelope grabs her white juice box, and raises it for a cheer. “Welcome to the Titans.”

“I still don’t like the name-”

“It’s too late I already have it memorized.”



Her hands trembled slightly, her eyes couldn’t focus, she was breaking a little.

“What do you mean, ‘advanced treatment?’” Winter asked.

The lady seemed nice, pleasant enough to look at, she wore a black pantsuit, her eyes had lost their color and her hair had greyed, but she couldn’t have been older than twenty-six. There was nothing about her that made Winter terrified.

She just was.

“We’ve been tracking all of your progress, each dose we give you has more and more of the toxins that Reds are exposed to everyday. Your cells are rejecting and killing them at a remarkably fast rate. The other Eden Kids take days to recover.”

“So is that good or bad?”

She gave a weak smile. “Very good, so good in fact, that we’re asking for more time to test your blood samples. We’re designing new treatments for you.”

“You’re designing new toxins. If my body rejects them, isn’t that enough? Take my blood and do what you want with it to find a cure, but if you’re using me to find new toxins- I don’t know if I can be apart of that.”

“We here at the Eradication Group are not trying to build new biochemical weapons. We’re trying to rebuild society. Your cells are unlike any other. That’s why we need you here, to figure out what makes them so strong.”

“I have classes, Agent Ingrid. I have a job, and a car I’m rebuilding. I have things, at home. I’ve been here for three months, and that’s what it says on the contract, and that’s what I signed up for.”

“We’re willing to pay you more for your time.”

“Agent Ingrid-”

“Your brother needs a new arm? We can get that for him. You want to attend any college in ENO, you can. We can fly your family out here and they’ll be only a spell away.”

Winter was speechless. “There isn’t anyone, else?”

Agent Ingrid leaned in, “There’s no one in this entire world who can do what you can do.”

Winter sat back in her chair, angry. “I feel like I’m being forced into this. I think I need a lawyer.”

Agent Ingrid’s smile disappeared. She sits back, typing something into her watch. “Alright. I just want you to be aware that we’re trying to do the best that we can. Your sister is on-site, do you want to talk to her?”

“No, I want to talk to a lawyer.”

Agent Ingrid’s face went stone, like a robot, something isn’t computing. She rose up from her seat and puts her hand on the door.

“Someone will be in shortly for you, Miss Indigo.”

The door clicked

Winter began to grow tense. Her brows furrowed, her hands clenched.

The door opened.

Summer came in, smiling, her hair billowing down to her elbows, her red cherry lips still healthy. Winter didn’t know why, but she knew that this was fading.

“Hey, Frosty.”

Winter scowled. “I want to go home. Why won’t they let me go home?”

“How are you doing?” Summer avoided her.

Summer sat down as Winter refused to answer. She tapped the table, and it glowed blue, lines appeared. She typed in a passcode, and placed a table usb on the display. A full diagram of filled with information about Winter popped up.

Summer flipped the display so that Winter could see.

Her whole body was lighting up Green.

“You’ve been injected with doses of toxins that would kill an elephant let alone a man, and every time, without fail, your body rejects them. But for some reason, you still have XN-1 inside of you. It’s all over your body, but it’s not killing you.”

“So, I could’ve died?” Winter hissed.

“But you didn’t.” Summer reminded her. “Instead, your white blood cells are remembering the pathogens that invaded and are rejecting and killing them almost immediately.”

“I guess … does that mean that the XN-1 helped me?”

“We think the XN-1 mutated you. Instead of making you more susceptible to autoimmune disease, you’re completely immune. Your cells aren’t immortal, but they aren’t aging like normal cells. Three weeks ago they inject you with several different form of meningitis-”

“They did what!”

“You can’t get sick, Winter. You can’t get sick, and you can’t get cancer, and you age like a turtle. It’s all because of XN-1, we have to figure out why and how to get a cure from it.”

“So let me get this straight.” Winter sits back. “The government makes a disease, spreads it, it backfires, the government pays for it to be cured, and tries to sell it back to the same people that it killed. Am I right?

“The government isn’t paying for this, my foundation is.”

“Summer.” Winter bellowed.

Summer sighed, turning off the table and pocketing her USB. “We’ve spent millions of dollars working on vaccines and subjects and now we finally have the cure and it’s in my sister.”

“You’re backing Denver aren’t you? Look, Summer, just because you made it big on selling investments to companies doesn’t make me a product. I’m not a product, Summer, I’m your sister. And I might not get sick physically, but mentally I’m exhausted. They have me pinned down to a table six hours out of the day, I get fed toxin infused food, I barely have enough energy to talk to the Titans.”

“Who are the Titans?”

“The other Immunes. Speaking of which, why don’t you ask them? I’m sure they’d love to waste another quarter in here. But me? No. I promised myself I’d get Juniper up and running by this October, and we’re coming into September real hot right now.” Winter argued.
“The other Immunes already agreed to stay. But none of them are as immune as you are. Advanced Treatment is the only way we’re going to figure out how to cure millions of dying people. Can’t you put aside your ego and your car for a few months for the greater good of humanity?”

Winter shook her head, “You mean the greater good of your company? Mrs. Denver.”

Summer gave a defeated sigh.

Winter continued her bash. “I can’t believe you married his son, what kind of Green are you? Mom’s probably rolling in her grave.”

Summer’s face began to weaken, and her cheeks flushed red and her eyes.

Winter stopped. “I’m sorry.”

Summer wiped her eyes gently. “No … you’re right.”

“Eh, kinda.” Whispered Winter.

“Why didn’t you come visit me when Mark was born?” Summer asked.

Winter shrugged, pulling up her knees in the chair. “Well, Manny was hurt and you became a bitch.”

Summer gave a hurt laugh. “That’s what you think of me?”

“You left us, Summer. It wasn’t like we pushed you out. Obviously, I forgave you, or else I wouldn’t be here.”

“Well, a few months ago, I found out that Mark tested positive. He’s not Immune, I should’ve seen it coming. Xavier isn’t Immune either, I just … I had hope. We didn’t even know we could get pregnant.”

“Is this supposed to make me sympathetic.”

Summer blows her nose. “No, but I hope you can understand my viewpoint.”

“I get it.” Winter says. “But I still want to go home.”

“Please.” Summer started crying again.

She reached over the table, her hand out to her sister, begging for her to hold it.

Winter looked at her.

Summer looked back.

Winter grabbed her hand.

“For Mark.”



The room was silent, warm and silent.

Enoch sat up in his bed, drawing a new succulent for his journal. He flicked pencil dust off the page to the floor, where Quinn sat meditating, sneezing every once and while.

Penelope sat, headphones in, playing a touchpad piano.

Winter sat up in her bed, staring at the wall.

The door clicked open.

In walked Royal James, shaking, his face wet and warm. Winter ran to him, he looked like he was going to faint. Quinn carried him to a lower bunk, laying him down.

“What the hell?” Quinn asked.

“What did they do to you?” Winter patted him with a cloth.

“They gave me stronger toxins. I’m not worried.” He groans. “I recover quickly.”

“They’re gonna kill you.” Winter whispered under her breathe.

“They said my heart rates steady, I should be alright. I should be alright.”

His eyes went back into his head. He began to seizure, his body bolting up and down.

Quinn went in to touch him.

“Don’t!” Winter yelled. “You can’t touch him. Penelope, go get the medic.”

The medic arrived a few minutes later, Winter shot up, blocking him from Royal James. “We have the same blood type, I can save him. Just give him my blood.”

“He doesn’t need a blood transfusion.”

Winter shook his head. “I promise you, if you want him to live, he does.”
“Do what she says.”

Summer appeared at the door, looking anxious. Winter wasn’t happy to see her but she was thankful for the support.

Two more medics appeared with a trolley. They ran Winter down with him.

Her heart raced.

That’s good. She thought

The blood should be circulating.



There was barely a window in the whole camp. But the holes near the roof of the ceiling showed an indication of the time of day. Nighttime.

She held his hand tight, she hadn’t let go in four hours.

Royal James slept, his curly hair coming back into form as the sweat dried from his face. He looked better now, less sick, less weak. His heart rate was steady on the monitor, as was his breathing.

Everything was okay.

“I know your names not Royal James.” Whispered Winter.

“I guess they gave us all fake ones when we got here. But you had me fooled for a long time.”

Winter fiddled with his hospital band. “Your names Theodore. Theodore James Royale, that’s a pretty name. It suits you, it sounds expensive.”

Winter laughs to herself.

“Back home, I’ve got a lot of names too. They say I’m pretty intense. Different names for different moods. My real name is Winnie. Winnie Indigo.”

She raises up her hospital bracelet. “My Mom named me that, but she said that it was important that I ‘find myself’, whatever that means. I’m so used to being someone else. It’s much easier. Take less work. I don’t know why, but, with you I don’t feel like that. I feel the same, all the time.”

She looked up at his eyes, such long lashes. She smiled.

“I hope you feel the same, or else I’m just a fool.”

The door clicked open, it was hidden behind a curtain and another hospital bed. Feet pattered and a medic came from behind the curtain.

“Miss Indigo. We’ve taken you off your treatments today, but we want to keep you under close watch. Let us know if you have any problems. We need to do some more testing on James here, you can come back and see him in a few hours.”

Winter nodded. “Of course, let me know if anything changes.”

Winter let go of his hand, which felt weird to do, and wheeled herself out of the room.

Theodore.

She liked that name better.

Way more than she liked Cupid.



Theodore looked around the room, his thumbs fiddled with each other. There was always something itching him.

Winter sat beside him, arms crossed, stern, untouchable.

“No.” Winter eyed Summer.

Two agents stood behind her at the door, like she needed the protection against two teenagers.

“You don’t have to actually do the act. We just need samples.”

Winter turned to a boy who sat further apart from the rest of the group. Enoch, his eyes avoided Winter’s, his gaze sat still in the middle of the large table where Winter ineffectively argued for her freedom.

“You agreed to this?” Winter turned to Enoch.

“It’s part of the Advanced Treatment. I don’t see anything wrong with.”

“How about the part where I have a baby?” Winter yelled.

“Please keep your voice down we are indoors.” Summer warned.

Winter gave her the bird.

“I just want to understand how this is going to help us find the Cure?” Asked Theodore James.

Summer pulled up a few diagrams of chromosomes on the table display.

“I didn’t see it before, but when we introduced Theodore to a new dosage, we broke the metaphorical ‘wall’ around his immunity.”

Summer pulled up a human diagram of an immune system. Red dots flowed up and down the canals.

“The Red dots are the pathogens. This is Theodore’s body after the climax of his seizure. Of course, right after we introduced your blood to his …”

Summer pulls taps another tab. The body flows from red dots, to white, to green. “Theodore’s body adopted your white blood cells and multiplied. We took samples, side by side, his immune system a week ago is highly unidentical to his immune system today. It’s like he’s not even the same person.”

“And that’s a good thing?” Asked Winter.

“If we injected him with the same dose today, he wouldn’t so much as sneeze.”

Theodore raised his eyebrows in surprise. “So, you want to combine our genetics. That the whole point of having a super baby?”

“Super baby?” Winter looked at Theodore in confusion.

“Just … throwin’ it out there.”

“Yes. That’s the point, at it’s most basic level. And, Winter, you don’t have to carry the baby.” Said Summer

“You want a Red carrying it?” Winter joked.

Summer shook her head. “We’re going to take the stem cells from the embryo, when their most viable.”

Winter paused.

“That sounds like all kinds of illegal.”

“It used to be illegal, in America. And that was for other reasons, we’re trying to come back from the biggest loss of human life since the Black Plague. We need these stem cells for our testing.”

“I don’t believe you do.” Winter said.

Summer frowned at Winter. She looked ugly, and quite evil. The last time Winter saw her sister that mad, she was twelve and she had gotten into her makeup box.

“Trust and believe that everything I do is for the greater good.”

“Of whom?” Winter asked. “Of you?”

“Winter.”

“Because I’m sure by now, three months into this shit, you would have something to fucking show! But you don’t, you’re a scared little bitch who can’t save her own damn sun. You’re pathetic.”

Summer didn’t respond, but she stared deep into Winter’s eyes, and Winter stared back without fear.

No one dared speak.

“Oh, I’ve got more to say, if you want to keep going. Do you wanna keep going, Sum Sum? Huh?”

“You’re lashing out because you’re afraid-”

Winter slammed her fists on the table, cracking the display.

“WHO THE FUCK AM I AFRAID OF.” Winter yelled.

Theodore backed away.

Enoch bit his thumb.

“Mom drove herself off a damn cliff trying to save your drunk ass. I’m glad Dad kicked you out because I’m not sure if he would still be alive if he had to sniff up your ass for drugs every five minutes. You fucked your way into money, and with all the abortions you’ve had, I’m surprised you even had Mark. You’re a traitor, a whore, and a god damn hypocrite, and if it wasn’t for blood, I would bash your head into this god damn table without blinking an eye.”

“Winter, can you calm down?” Theodore whispered.

“Who the fuck are you telling to calm down? I’m not a dog, James, I’m a god damn woman, in a country with rules and laws, and I should be treated as such!”

Summer rose from her seat, clearly furious, but collected. She gently flipped her hair back behind her shoulder.

Winter didn’t see the hand coming until it was too late.

Summer backhanded her hard across the cheek. Followed by a choke hold, which Winter was able to get a hold of, rabbit punching her up the nose.

Her red cherry lip came clean open as she stumbles back.

Winter would’ve brought hell onto Summer had it not been for the two agents the restrained her.

Summer wiped the blood off her lip. “Fine, you want to go home. Leave. And take your friends with you. We have enough samples to last a lifetime.”

Summer swiped her card, the door clicked open.

“Maybe Mark’s better off dead. A shit mother like you wouldn’t be able to raise him anyway.”

Summer turned back for just a moment, long enough for Winter to see her red eyes.

Red eyes that dared look back at her.

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Chapter 12 and 13

Post by ~Dylan Battle~ on Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:14 pm

Chapter 12: Her Memories

“You’re mad and you’re allowed to be. But don’t let this ruin everything that you’ve sacrificed for.”

Winter blew air from her nose like smoke from a dragon’s nostrils. She clung to the bar of her bunk bed, if she held on tight enough, there was no doubt in her mind that she couldn’t bend the metal.

“I appreciate the sentiment, Theodore, but you don’t know her like I know her.”

Theodore took a seat next to her, his hands hovering over her, as not to scare an angry bull. “Then you know that she’s just looking out for her family.”

“Fuck her family.”

Theodore looked around at the empty room, he was missing lunch for this. Funny, lunch, that’s what he thinks about when his girlfriend’s on the brink of a psychotic break.

“Do you wanna talk about it?”

“No.”

“Well we’re going to, you’ve gotta process it. Or else one day you’re gonna lash out at her and there’s not gonna be any Agents holding you back. Do you wanna end up on the news for murdering the President’s Daughter-In-Law?”

Theodore laughed, he muffled it with a cough.

“Tell me about the first case. What was the first case where she hurt you the most?”

Winter’s feet began to tap as she thought about the question. “That’s like asking me to find the first needle in a room full of needles.”

Taptaptaptap.

Taptaptap.

Taptaptap.

Her foot stopped.

“My freshman homecoming.”

Theodore placed his hand on her free one. She looked at him, but then sighed, letting go of the bar.

“It was cold, like most September nights. That’s what I most remember, the cold.”

Theodore nodded.

“My mother was always the optimist. Back then, I didn’t have any friends. I grew up in Kinsington, it’s a smaller Green town on the other side of the Butterfly Grove. The kids there, they didn’t like me much, but they sure as hell liked my sister. My mother bought this beautiful blue dress for me after I told her I wasn’t going to my homecoming because I didn’t have anyone to dance with. She said it wasn’t a crime to dance by yourself, that it was okay to let loose a little. She made me sister promise to stick around me, at least make me feel comfortable.” Winter paused.

She was breathing heavy, it scared Theodore. “Keep going, Winnie.”

“Of course, Summer agreed or else she wasn’t gonna go. She was pissed, I mean absolutely livid, who wouldn’t be when you have to basically babysit your baby sister at one of the only nights where you’re not expected to have any sort of responsibility. Anyway, she said that she bring me along to dinner if I paid for my own. That’s where I met William.” Winter shook her head.

Theodore pulled her in a bit more.

“William was nice at first, he bought my food, involved me in the dinner conversation, made me feel like I was more than just a tag along. He was Junior, and I was so elfish I was surprised if Juniors even shoved me in the hallway. But William was different.” Winter wiped her nose. “So we get to the venue, and the slow dance comes on, and everyone pairs up, and I’m left alone. But I guess William saw me, grabbed me.”

Winter wanted to smile, but it was bitter to her. Theodore could see it.

“We slow danced, and he was my first kiss. His lips were soft and he made me feel like jelly. I mean, anybody in my position would’ve thought they were in paradise. But that went away. He, um … he pulled me away from the group. At first it was fun, then somehow, we ended up in the bathroom. You know.”

“Did he force you?” He asked.

Winter shook her head, forcing a smile through tears. “No. And that’s supposed to make me feel better right. He wasn’t forcing it on me, so I’m supposed to be happy right?”

Theodore shook his head. “No. No, not at all.”

Winter sniffled, Theodore grabbed the cuff of his sleeve and wiped her tears away.

“The day goes by, and soon it’s Monday. And I see him, say hi, he avoids me. And I’m confused, I keep asking myself if I did something wrong. Did I say something in our voice memos that I can’t remember?” Winter sniffles again.

She shook her head. “I cornered him, asked him why he was avoiding me. He told me that Summer paid him two hundred dollars to keep me away from her so that she could spend the night with her friends. None of it was real, it was just … easy money.”

Winter began to cry again. “Easy money? That’s what I am, easy money?”

She buried her head in his chest. Sobbing endlessly into Theo’s shirt, he held on, trying to process her emotions. Hurting like she was hurting, feeling what she was feeling. None of this was foreign to him. All of it was old things made new, and he hated the sight of it.

“You’re priceless, babe. You’re priceless.” He whispered.

Her sobs eventually regressed, and she lifted her head up, her eyes puffy and snot threatening to drop on the bed. Theodore continued to wipe it off with his shirt.

“Your shirts disgusting now.” Winter gave a weak laugh.

“It’s fine.” Theodore sighed.

He reached over and took off his shirt, exposing his skin, tattered with scars, dots and lines.

Winter dragged her fingers softly across them. “What happened?”

“Nobodies perfect, Winter. We’ve all got scars.”

Winter grinned. “Yours are just visible.”

Theodore grabbed her hand softly, looking down at it. Winter touched his chin, lifting it up to see his big brown eyes.

“They look like constellations.” She whispered.

Theo smiled, he reached over, grabbing his E-Pad. He grabbed his headphones, giving one to Winter.

“Moonlight Sonata.” He spoke into the E-Pad.

The music began to play.

Theodore stood up, placing one hand behind his back and the other towards Winter.

He bowed. “Miss Indigo, might I have this dance.”

She blushed, giggling. “Such a gentleman.”

She took his hand, he pulled her in tight, close enough to feel his heartbeat, his breath. Theodore knew she wasn’t wearing any perfume, but she smelled like daisies. It was like he was discovering something new every moment that he was with her.

Step one, step two.

“Cupid?”

Step one, step two.

“Yes, Persephone?”

Step one, step two.

“Do you want to have a baby with me?”

Step one, step two.

“I don’t know, I got to think about that.”

“Well, lunch ends in thirty minutes.”

“Oh?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.”

He kissed her, and it wasn’t like any time. It was sunset in Malibu, the skies were purple, they could hear the ocean crash. The birds were singing.

And they could pretend they weren’t two test subjects falling in love.





“So you’re staying?”

Winter nodded at Summer, who stood, arms crossed and shoulders square at Winter as she sat quietly on the other side of the table, two agents behind her.

“I’m not trying to be a detriment to society, and as long as my paycheck reflects my time here, I’m confident that I will cooperate and participate without aggression in any tests that you have for me.”

Summer nodded, unconvinced. “That’s nice that you think I need your permission, Winter.”

Winter blinked in surprise. “Excuse me?”

“I’ve been so nice to you, because you were my ‘sister.’ I thought that you’d actually be able to make grown up decisions, but I don’t think you ever got passed the third grade when it comes to common fucking sense, Winnie.”

Winter rose up angrily from her seat. “Who the hell do you-”

Two heavy hands forcibly sat her down.

“You think that any of these kids are in here because they have a choice, let alone a paygrade? All Immunes of the Northern American territories are property of the State and shall be conscripted and tested upon when needed. You couldn’t walk out here without my say-so.”

“I have rights, bitch!”

“All of rights were immediately muted as soon as you became viable for the Cure. You are property, you have no rights, and any choices I give you should be taken as a privilege.”

“I’m your damn sister.”

She raised up her hand. “Save it. As far as I’m concerned, you’re just another Radical.”

Winter glared at her.

“I will repeat myself, what we do here is for the greater good of humanity. Millions of people have a chance of surviving because of your cells. And your cooperation is needed and will be rewarded. Consider yourself a public servant of ENO.”

“You’re smart Summer. But if you’re so smart, don’t you know that it’s just a matter of time before they come for you too? You’re Immune, fertile, and very viable. I might be property right now, but you’re a pawn, dipshit.”

Summer sighs, she snaps her fingers and the soldiers grab Winter by the arms, guiding her towards the door, face to face with Summer.

“Let me let you in on a little secret, Winnie. If I wasn’t Chief of Research and Development, they would’ve shipped you out to New Eden by now. And the food there is even more toxic.” Summer growls.

Winter’s escorted out of the room without another word.

Summer’s guard drops, she lets out a breath of air.

“Boys.” She turns to her Agents.

“Give me the room.”



The days turned into weeks.

There wasn’t much to pass the time beside her little history lessons. Every once and a while one of the Titans would get sick, and she’d nurse them back to health. Sooner or later, the medics figured out that Enoch’s blood was just as strong.

Other days were spent with boredom, nobody wanted to poke a dead horse.

But Winter didn’t mind it. “Why didn’t you guys tell me?”

“We thought you already knew.”

“Why because I’m related to the witch?”

Quinn groaned. “I don’t wanna argue this late at night.”
“It’s barely an argument, Quinn.” Said Winter.

Theodore turned over in his bed, staring down at Winter from the adjacent top bunk. “I’m pretty sure we weren’t allowed to tell you, anyways. They basically glossed over all the rules on the first day. I don’t think that any of us actually remember any of it.”

“So, we’re just supposed to stay here until they decided to let us go.”

“Or until we die.” Penelope mumbles, half asleep.

“I heard their going to bring in more Eden kids. I heard some Agents mumbling about it in the cafeteria.” Said Quinn.

“New Titans.” Theodore giggled.

“No.” Winter turned back around, facing the wall.

“New slaves.”




“It’s positive.”

Doctor Yung takes off her gloves and smiles. “Though I wish the circumstances were more controlled, with your cells I doubt the baby has any chance of testing Red.”

“She still need injections of Enoch’s cells.” Summer added.

Winter didn’t look at her, whenever Summer grazed her eye, she imagined a huge blur.

“She’ll be given 12 injects over time. After the first trimester, the injections won’t be near as potent.” Doctor Yung gives Winter a bottle of pills.

“Super Vitamins. Take one before every meal and the baby should develop just find. Your injections start on Wednesday, we’re putting you on a weaker cardio plan.”

“I’d like to stay on my regular cardio plan, and lift weights.”

Doctor Yung shakes her head. “We don’t want to risk the baby.”

“My Mom chugged took a bat to the gut in her second trimester and she had me just fine. I wanna lift.”
Doctor Yung opened her mouth to speak but her eyes darted to Summer.

“You can stay on your Olympic conquest. But if we see any warning signs, we’re cutting you off.” Summer agreed.

Winter didn’t respond.

Doctor Yung resisted the urge to frown. “Alright then. See you on Wednesday.”

Winter hopped off the table and walked past Summer, bumping her shoulder as she left.

“Sorry didn’t see you there.”

Winter continued towards the door.

“Winter?”

Winter stopped, not turning back to look at her.

“I think it’s fair that you know that this isn’t your first child. We’ve already successfully incubated twenty four embryos. Eleven girls, thirteen boys.”

Winter turned slightly, her eye’s murderous even from her profile. “Are they all from the same guy?”

“Multiple people were used, but we grew your eggs. So they’re yours.”

“So this is number twenty five?” Winter asked. Her voice was muted with restraint.

“No.” Summer giggled. “I believe it’s more like one hundred and seventy two. Give or take a failed embryo.”

Winter swallowed hard, this was a game and she’d be damned if she didn’t win.

She turned to Summer, a galiant smile glossed over her face. “Then she’s a survivor, like me. If you’ll excuse me, I have to break my personal record for deadlifts, right now it’s two hundred pounds. A little lighter than the Greens you’ve killed this week alone.”

She gave mocking giggle and walked away.




Theodore lays next to me, pinned up against the wall, trying to make a twin bunk bed into a king size. He holds me close, his skins warm, it blocks out the cold that being blasted into the room.

Judging by the snoring, Winter was more than sure they were the only ones awake.

“So, I guess I’m gonna be a dad?” Theo whispered.

“Yeah. I guess.” Winter mumbled.

“Hey, I can’t see you well but what’s wrong?”

“It’s just something Summer said.”

“What?”

“No, it’s nothing.”

“Winnie, no lies. It’s just you and me.”

“There are more of my embryos … alive.”

“Oh.” Said Theo. “I’m sorry.”

“I know they're not alive yet. I know that, but. I can’t help but think about it.”

He rubbed my hair, getting his fingers caught in my curls multiple times.

“They’re not alive. No heartbeat, just a bunch of stem cells trying to make a human.”

“What if she keeps them alive?”

“Winnie-”

“But what if she does, Theo? Imagine growing up in this … fucking concentration camp.”

“Hey, stay with me now.” Theo said. Holding me closer.

I was breathing heavier, shaking, vibrating even. Something was disconnecting from me and I didn’t know what to do about it.

“Think about a place. A place far away from here, and breathe. Just breathe.” Theo whispered.

I breathed. A place, place far away from here. “Everywhere I’ve been is pretty much trash.”

“Then make it up. It doesn’t have to be real.”

I breathed again. A forest. A forest far away from here.

“You’ve got it don’t you?”

“Yeah.” Winter smiled.

“What was it.”

So she told him.

A forest, green and vibrant, echoing with the call of wild birds, butterflies. Mist from mountain rain tingling her skin. Warm jackets, boots, wandering through the forest. Not lost, but not exactly found. A wanderer.

“And then I step out into a clear.” Winter explains.

Theodore closes his eyes.

“There’s a white tree, glistening, the leaves don’t seem to change or move. Underneath the tree is our names sketching into it. All of us, the Titans. And we all call each other by our code names. We laugh about old times, talk about the new ones, cry a little maybe. We start a fire, sings songs, Penelope plays a tune for us. We drink, we sleep. And we don’t worry about the animals at night.”

Theodore giggles. “Sounds perfect. Very early late 1900s.”

“I’m a history major, Theo, it’s my dream to live a hippy day dream.”

There’s a fit of laughter. Followed by a moment of silence.

“Winnie, I don’t know what how I got this far without you.”

“Like most of us: screaming and holding on for dear life.”

He giggled.

She poked him the pec. “It’s your turn. Tell me about your scars.”

“It’s a long story.”

“I have literally all the time in the world.”

He grumbled. “Alright. Two years ago, deep northern country, me and my brother. We’re chopping wood, making a bit too much noise. All of sudden, there’s a bear on top of me and I’m screaming like hell.”

“A bear!” She whisper-yelled.

“Yes, a bear. I don’t remember much of it, just a bunch of kicking and screaming, but my brother shot at it, maybe once or twice. They said I passed out from the bleeding.”

“Oh my god, your brother’s a hero.”

He went silent. “Yeah…”

“Oh no.” Winter realized. “I’m so sorry, Theodore.”

“He did get the shot in though, I’ll give him that. He didn’t go down easy.”

Winter didn’t say anything, just held him.

“I think when I got the EG letter in the mail, my dad was more happy to send me off than I’ve ever seen. Just, like I was nothing, he didn’t even hug me before I left. My Mom did, it wasn’t the same though.”

“Well … how many people can say they survived a bear attack? That’s crazy. You know what … your name even matches. Theodore … Teddy … Bear.”Winter giggled.

“You’re gonna call me Bear from now on?”

“Only because you survived it, and it brought you here. To me. My Teddy Bear.” Winter tickled him.

“Stop.” Bear giggled uncontrollably.

“Oh you’re ticklish?” Winter mocked him.

“This is war.” Bear overtook her, tickling her wildly, making her laugh uncontrollably.

“You’re gonna wake everybody up.” Winter gasped for air.

“Congrats! You already did!” Penelope shouted. “Teddy Bear- Grizzly Bear- whatever the fuck you wanna call yourselves, let me tell you! If you two don’t shut your traps and go the hell to sleep I’m gonna strangle the both of you in my sleep.”

“You know, Penelope, maybe you should give love a chance?” Enoch croaked.

“Oh fuck off, my dreams consist of champagne and gourmet chocolates. Love has will betray you but Ferrero Rocher will not!” Penelope countered.

“If y’all don’t shut the hell up.” Quinn groaned.

“Sorry, love.” Penelope chirped.

There was silence, as everything went still for night.

“Teddy Bear, damn yanks …”




Penelope sat cross legged out in the green space.

Real sunlight, vibrant, warm beams rained down from above. They fell like dust onto Winter’s face, drowning her in golden hues.

“Picture it, the South of France right after the war. Gorgeous waves gorgeous women. Tan skin, mimosas, a the smell of coconut oil and sin in the air.” Penelope drifted.

“Sounds pleasant.”

“It was la vie en rose. Darling. I was living my best life, one without regret. I think that’s why I met her there, under the shade of an ice cream shop. She was wearing the cutest pair of daisy dukes, off white, she had these spellbinding locks that fell right down to her shoulders. Ugh, her skin glowed liked melting Ferroro Rocher chocolate.”

“What is your obsession with vintage chocolate?”

Penelope pushed her shade up. “I’m ignoring you on purpose. You’re a terrible listener, you know that?”

Winter waved at her. “Fine, continue.”

“She must’ve seen me standing there, I felt so weak in my vintage Louboutins, she was completely and utterly captivating. But obviously I was still a lady, and so I played dumb and asked her if she could help me read and order ice cream from the shop. Little did she know I studied the Roman Languages at University.”

Winter smiled.

“We ended up sipping Rose and eating strawberry frosted ice cream at the Etole until late into the evening. Skinny dipping in the Riveria, if those walls could talk-”

“I get the picture, Penny.”

Penelope giggled. “It was great. But I can’t help but feel guilty.”

Winter turned to Penelope, who sat twiddling with her surgical gloves. “Did she know? What if I gave it to her? Is she even still alive now, after all those years.”

“You can’t torture yourself, Penelope.”

“Oh, but I do dear.” She said weakly.

Winter looked back up at the sky. “What’s it like out there, in the ENO?”

“Beautiful, darling. Or at least it was, last time I checked. When I got back to Manchester, I had a government car waiting for me at my brownstone. My father didn’t say much, told me that I’d be back some day.”

“You will.”

Penelope shrugged. “For some reason, I don’t think so, darling.”

There was something clear to her, something terribly evident, and Winter couldn’t see it, because she was on the other side of a glass wall. Penelope could see what was coming for her, Winter on the other hand, she had options. Not good ones, but much better than Penelope’s.

“Do me a favor, darling. When you get out of here, remember me. Remember how I lovely I was too be around, how disgustingly gorgeous I was to the naked eye. Remember that, don’t remember what happened in here.” She whispered.

Her hand held Winter’s, a union of sisters.

“You’re absolutely unforgettable.”



























Chapter 13: My Old Ways

“Ithaca, Ithaca, please wake up! Please, please wake up.”

My eyes fluttered open, blurry, everything was blurry. My head hurt, my eyes hurt, my jaw- hell my whole body. I felt sore all over.

“Ithaca! Ithaca!” The voice became louder.

Grey hair and grey eyes came into view. A blurry figure became bloody figure, eclipsed by bright lights flashing outside.

“We’ve gotta run, now!”

Enoch pulled me up, pain surging through my right arm. “Shit!”

“Come on, Ithaca we gotta go.”

Enoch pulled me through rows of shelves as footsteps began to fill the store, he kicked open the back room, cursing himself out as he went.

“Are you conscious?” He whispered.

“I feel like I’ve been in a coma.”

“You were. For a whole day.”

Enoch reached under the bottom of a shelf ledge and retrieved a small pistol. He tossed it to me, I tried to grab it but it slipped through my hands.

BAM.

Enoch and I froze dead in unison.

“Are you trying to get us fucking killed!” He whispered.

“Sorry.”

He quickly grabbed the gun from the floor and then another one from behind a trash can. A police issue pistol.

“Why do you get the bigger one?” I barked.

“Because I have two arms!” He bit back.

Enoch kicked the back door opened, I followed right behind him, aiming as well as I could with my left arm.

The alley was clear, forest and bush stood in front of us, blockaded by a barbed wire fence.

Flashlights reflected off the gates.

“Shit.” Enoch cursed.

I looked to my left. A trash can. “In there.”

“Cecile’s diapers are in there.”

“Well would you rather us be shot dead, Artemis?”

Enoch blinked twice, “You remember my codename?”

Ithaca shrugged. “It’s all coming back to me.”

Barking dogs and footsteps came from behind them. They shuffled quietly into the waste bin.
Minutes passed, the footsteps faded, and the dogs stopped barking.

Ithaca came up quickly for air. Enoch vomited over the side of the trash can.

“Ew!” Ithaca groaned.

Enoch climbed out first, helping Ithaca as she attempted to life herself out with one arm. They stood next to each other, catching their breath, exhausted.

But then they laughed.

“I fucking missed you, Moon Boy.”

They hugged each other, maybe a minute longer than usual.

“So I guess they took everybody.”

Enoch shook his head, “We know where their going, back to the Ranch. Where we all lost our minds.”

“Enoch, the research camp is the ranch.”

Enoch nodded. “Yeah, I figured that out after they blew up the Hospital. I’m pretty sure most of the kids knew long before you did.”

“So why would we go back?”

Enoch gave a confused scoff, “What do you mean?”

“The camp is the test. When we left we went in two completely different directions. There’s no way their tracking us anymore. And if they are, they won’t be able to find us if we make it to Mexico.”

“Mexico?” Enoch shook his head. “We’d never get there on foot. And besides, Ithaca, those kids need saving.”

“They’re not gonna kill them, Enoch.”

“Exactly, Ithaca.” Said Enoch. “Think about it, why would they blow up the Hospital with dozens of Immune boys?”

“Their alive.” Ithaca’s eyes widened.

“Yes, Ithaca, those Juicer’s arent Juicers. They’re EGs, and if you remember anything from Camp, you know EGs aren’t allowed to kill Immunes, they’re government property. We’ve all got tracking devices in our arms.”

He points to my bandaged arm. “No EG would shoot you in your arm, breaking your tracker device. We’ve all been in on this. We know who Winter is, we couldn’t risk her triggering a camp retreat.”

“Aren’t you afraid of Summer?”

Enoch laughed, he was surprised at something, and it confused Ithaca.

“Ithaca, Summer implanted her memories into you, a treasure map of sorts. It’s all start with the bomb.”

“Why would Summer do that, she’s married to Denver’s son.”

“Denver found out about Summer’s plans, he’s trying to destroy her escape routes for the Greens and destroy any chance of us getting out of here. That’s why she placed us in the Ranch, sure there’s EGs all around us, but they’ll only follow us so far.”

“So we’re here to escape?” Ithaca summarized.

Enoch nodded. “Yes.”

“Then what happened to Summer?”

Enoch groaned rolling his eyes. “Ithaca.”

“What!”

“You really haven’t put two and two together?”

“Summer hid your memories before you died, scrambled them away so they’d be hard to find. They came back in different personalities, like safe guards. Summer didn’t want anybody finding out your true identity. Winter is your code name, a built in red light for all us. Imagine what the world would think if Summer Denver’s daughter was the Eden Girl.”

“Summer’s not my sister.”

No.

She’s me.






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