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Rebellion of 2018 (chapters 7 and 8)
Chapter 7: New Plan!
Cody is sitting straight up and staring deeply into my eyes. So many thoughts are running through my mind. ‘Could Imperium really have thought of the perfect soldiers? Didn’t they kill off the soldiers already? Do we stand a chance now?’ The entire room begins to spin as I think it over. There is no way we can stand a chance without changing our entire plan.
“Kat, you should go sleep for a while.” Cody says as he takes my hand. “Today has been hard for you; you look like you’re going to pass out.”
“What are you going to do?” I stare at him and then glance at Leo. I don’t want to leave them alone, but I really need to sleep soon. “I should stay with you and Leo.”
“No, you really do look tired. I promise, noting will happen.” Leo reassures me. I can’t help but smile at him. He was always so protective over me when Cody wasn’t there. I even remember having a small crush on him for a while.
“I’m going into town. I think we should invite some people to go swimming tonight.” We are having a meeting. We are going to change the plan. I know all this, but yet I’m still calm. I’m a frozen statue trapped in this human body. “I’ll be back before you wake up.” With that said Cody leaves the house and abandons me with Leo.
I don’t bother to move to my room. I lie down on the couch and close my eyes. The couch is moved a little and there is pressure added to the end, near my feet. I leave my eyes closed but I tense up a bit. I want to trust Leo again, but I can’t trust anyone except Cody and the rebels.
“Relax Kat I’m not going to do anything to you.” I hear him say quietly. I force myself to at least appear to be calmer. “Cody doesn’t seem to like me, but I don’t care. It feels great to see you again. You are so much like your father.” I stay quiet and I think Leo believes I’m asleep.
“That’s why I’m really sorry for this.” He whispers as he shifts on the seat again. My eyes snap open and I see him holding a knife right in front of me. “I’m not going to let you cause another rebellion.” He brings the knife down. I quickly reach behind myself and grab a pillow to block the sharp end of the knife. I blindly kick out and upward, making contact with his gut. I hear him let out a grunt and move back, off the couch. I roll off, hitting the ground with my left shoulder. I scramble up to my feet and turn towards Leo.
“What the f***!” I scream at him. Without a word he lunges at me again, knocking me to the ground. His knee is pressing against my chest, making it hard to breathe.
“You d*mn b****.” He snaps. He swings a left hook at me, making contact with my cheek. I can feel it swelling up already and there are black spots floating around in my vision. I punch upward and manage to punch him right in the windpipe. This causes him to stagger back and fall off of me. I take a deep breath and get onto my feet unsteadily. I turn toward Leo, ready to attack him, but find Leo gone. In his place is Cody.
My head is still spinning and I still can’t breathe easily. I hesitate, even though I see the rage in his eyes and the knife in his hand. “You wouldn’t hurt me, would you?” He asks in his gentle voice. He slowly takes a step closer to me and I am frozen in place. He is only a few inches from me now, with the knife raised above his head. I am staring right into his eyes and I see the knife come down, but I don’t even more, not until I feel the edge of the blade slice through my right shoulder. I bite my lip and hold in a scream. I fly back and clutch the cut. I stare up at Cody for another moment before I start running. I run straight into the kitchen and grab a steak knife from the rack.
“Here little Kitty,” I hear Cody’s taunting voice coming closer. I feel a shiver run down my spine. I turn towards the living room again and cautiously look around the corner and see that the room is empty. I can hear my heart thumping in my ear and I am panting now. “Found you.” His whisper comes from a few inches behind me. I spin around on the balls of my feet and hold the knife out. Cody’s green eyes focus on my brown ones and I can’t bring myself to stabbing him. His hand comes shooting up and the knife in my hand is knocked out.
“Let’s fight properly.” He says with a smile as he throws his knife aside. He holds his fists up in a boxing position. It takes me a moment to respond. I place my hands in the exact same way and try to push aside the idea of hurting my best friend. ‘This isn’t the real Cody.’ I remind myself.
He throws a right hook but I manage to step back, only centimeters away from his fist. He smiles at me wickedly and I can’t help but look away, my first mistake. He uses his left forearm to hit me in the head. I step back and just shake my head. I move close to him and attempt to kick him in the side but he blocks it easily. As he blocks it I use my palms to hit both his ears, momentarily taking away his hearing. He looks up at me in shock and I kick him directly in the knee cap. His moan echoes in the room and I feel a bit pleased with my fighting.
He leaps up and kicks me in the side, knocking the wind out of me, and causing me to fall on the ground. He reaches down and places his hand around my neck. I start to chock, begging him to let me go, trying to pull his hand away from me. Each time I push him his hand tightens around my small, fragile neck. I can see the edges of my vision already getting blurry. I blindly reach out and feel my fingers hit his eye. I start to scrape at it, clawing out his left eye. I hear the ripping sound and I have his eye in my hand. I let out a silent scream and throw it across the room.
He falls backwards, holding his eye socket and making a sickening laughing sound. I am still on my back, staring at the ceiling, as I try to catch my breath. I finally sit up and look at the body before me. Once again it has changed form. Instead of Cody’s body in front of me, I see Bobby.
“How could you sister?” He asks in his quiet voice that always makes me choke up. “I thought you loved me.” I can tell I’m not breathing anymore.
“Bobby, I’m so sorry.” I chock out as I open my arms for him. The knife in his hand is glistening in the light. I keep my eyes on it and smile at him. He makes his way to me and clutches onto me. I feel his hand move, ready to plunge the knife into my back. “Please forgive me.” I beg as I place both my hands on either side of his face and twist them, breaking his neck.
I clutch Bobby’s lifeless body close to me. I know it’s not really Bobby, but the felling is all the same. I am rocking back and forth on my knees, sobbing like the day my father died. “I’m so sorry Bobby. I didn’t mean to let them take you.” I say as I continue to sob. I can hear the door open and close, and Cody is screaming my name, but it all sounds muffled and far away. I can’t move, I can’t speak, and I can’t do anything but sob.
“Kat, Kat, what happened?” I hear Cody ask. I feel his arms grab my shoulders and shake me, but it seems as if he’s still too far away from me. I look up and try to force myself to focus. “Katherine, look at me.”
My eyes finally focus and I see Cody standing in front of me with worried eyes. I look down again and see that I am clutching a bundle of clay instead of my brother’s motionless body. “Co-Cody?” My voice sounds strained and quiet. “I k-killed Bobby; I broke his neck . . . I was holding his body.” I am sounding hysterical and crazy; even to myself.
“Katherine, calm down. I need you to tell me everything that happened.” He says as he helps me up and onto the couch. I notice that everything is messed up. All the furniture is thrown upside down and the pillows have slashes in them. The floor even has streaks of blood going along it. Cody sits me down on the tattered couch and goes to the kitchen to make me a cup of tea. When he comes back I am lying on my side and sobbing again.
“Please Kitty, I need you to relax and talk to me.” He says as he places a hand on my shoulder. Flashes from the fight with him run through my mind.
“Don’t touch me!” I scream at him as I sit up and try to knock his hand away from me. I can see the pain in his eyes and I know that this is the real Cody, but I still can’t relax. Finally he does something I didn’t think he would. Cody looks at me with sad eyes and slaps me across the face. I place my hand on my cheek, it stings a little, but it manages to bring me back to reality.
“I’m sorry Kat. I just need you to focus. Please, tell me what happened.” He begs in a sad voice that almost pains me to listen to. I shake my head a little but I tell him everything. I try not to leave even the smallest detail out. When I finish speaking, Cody simply stares at me and places his hand on my knee. “Kat, I’m so sorry I left. I should have taken you with me, or I should have just stayed.”
“Don’t apologize; it’s not your fault that I trust the wrong guys.” I say with a frown. I look up at him and we both have the same sorrowful eyes. I try not to cry, but I know it’s obvious to him. I finally decide to change the topic quickly. “So how was your trip to town?”
“It was fine. Everyone said they can come swimming.” He says quickly. I can tell he is still thinking about my fight with the mutant soldier. I smile at him and stand up once I hear the whistling of my tea kettle. “Are you going to be up for swimming?”
“Yea,” I yell from the kitchen as I pour two cups of coffee. I keep my voice light and try not to cry as I think of Bobby again. “I think we should clean up before we leave.” I hand Cody his cup of coffee and wait for him to take a sip before I finally admit what’s on my mind. “We don’t stand a chance.”
“I know,” He says with a frown. Both his hands are around the cup, holding it like a life line. “We will have to change the entire plan and approach.” Cody slowly places his cup on the floor and starts fixing one of the pictures that had fallen. I stand up to help him, but the look on his face makes me hesitate.
“Cody, don’t be mad at me.” I beg as I take a sip of my tea. I am staring down at him with a frown as I straighten up the couch. “I did nothing wrong.”
“I know you didn’t. I did. I left you alone with someone who I knew I couldn’t trust.” There it is! He blames himself once again, as if everything in the world is his fault. I let out an exasperated sigh before speaking.
“It’s not your fault. Cody, you have to understand that not everything is your mistake.” I can tell that I’m not really getting through to him. “Listen; let’s just forget about this whole thing. We need to focus on creating a new plan, not on a stupid fight I had with a mutant soldier.” With that said, I make my way down the hall and away from Cody. I stand at the window in the kitchen and stare at the garden in the back. I hear his footsteps behind me, but I am tired and I don’t want to deal with anything anymore.
“I’m sorry Kat, I just don’t like the idea that anyone can get to you.” He says as he places his hand on my shoulder. “Just today, the president has gotten to you, and now the mutant soldier. I am just a simple failure, I can’t protect anyone. Not my mom, not Bobby, and not you.”
“You’re right, but that’s why it’s not only your job. I messed up too. I couldn’t protect Bobby, your mom, you, and even my mom.” I admit as I turn towards him. I can’t look him in the eyes exactly, but I can tell he has a sympathetic look. “Don’t bother trying to comfort me, I don’t need it.” This simply ends the conversation.
The plan is simple. It takes a while for Cody to explain, but I’m sure everyone understands it. Each team will be divided into three main groups. Each group will attack at different times of the day on the day of the rebellion. Team #1-4 will make up Group 1. We will attack at dawn. Teams #5-8 will make up Group 2. This group will be in charge of attacking at noon. The last teams, #9-12 will be Group 3. This group shall attack at dusk. At midnight, the remaining rebels will all come together to fight.
We mustn’t forget about the hackers, researchers, spies, and suppliers/crafters. The hackers are in charge of sending viruses to shut down any security and communication in Imperium. Researchers will have to find us paths in order to get to the heart of our lovely Imperium. Spies will go to Imperium a month before the day of attacking and will find homes or even jobs, make it seem like they are a part of the government’s little followers, and then attack from the inside. Lastly, the suppliers will simply provide medical help, food, and weapons. This is the plan.
“We are Team #1, as you all know, so we are part of the group who are in charge of taking down the defense for the other groups.” Cody says with a smile as we prepare to end the meeting. I am standing beside him as we look at the nervous, but determined, rebels. “I will mainly be in charge of the fighters and Kat will be the leader of the spies.” This catches me off guard. Cody and I had planned on both taking charge of the fighters and leading them into battle.
“Cody, what do you mean I’m going to lead the spies?” I ask in a low voice as I pull him aside. Just then the bell rings and everyone begins to stand up and prepare to leave.
“We will all meet again tomorrow and discuss the team symbol.” Cody gets ready to leave, but I pull him back and make him face me. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m supposed to help you lead the fighters. I don’t want to take charge of the spies.”
“But you’re going to be a spy for the rebellion.” Cody says in a nonchalant voice. He can see the shock and dislike on my face. “I need you to be on the inside. You are one of the best actresses we have, besides, if you kiss up to President Cilark and appear to be a part of Imperium, than he will never suspect that we are planning anything.” Cody’s face is serious and I can tell he must have thought long and hard about this. I know he only wants the best for me, but I’m still a little hurt that he is making such a drastic decision for me.
Part of me wants to fight with him and tell him that I want to be a fighter, however the other part of me agrees with him and the idea that I will be able to fool Cilark makes me almost giddy. “Fine, I’ll do it, but only because I want to be the one to find your mom and Bobby, not because you chose it for me.” I tell him with a stern look.
May 6th, 2011
Today the taxes went up again. I hate Imperium so much. John told me his idea for a rebellion again, and this time I’m beginning to agree with him. There is no other way to end the suffering except to end the cause. The only problem is that the idea and plan is so farfetched. John simply wants to jump into the war, no actual plan but to fight.
It’s an awful plan and will, of course, need organizing and strategy. This is where I will be needed. I can’t watch my best friend act like an idiot and throw his life away by letting him believe he will get anywhere by only fighting physically. We need to attack without actually attacking them. We need to attack through cleverness. I need to come up with a plan, ASAP.
I can’t help but contemplate the idea that Cody and I are stepping right into our father’s footsteps. I am trying to organize everything and I’m going to be attacking from the inside. Cody, on the other hand, will be attacking straight on. I close the journal and turn towards my clock. My room is silent and dim. The only source of light is coming from the lamp on my desk. The clock reads almost three twenty-six A.M.
“Good night dad.” I whisper to myself as I switch off the lamp, engulfing myself in the pitch black darkness of night. I can’t tell if my eyes are still open or not, but I can tell it is taking a lot longer for me to fall asleep. When I finally do, I enter a world that is completely upside down.
“Kat can you please hand me the tomato?” My mother asks with her gentlest voice. I am only seven years old again and sitting in the kitchen. I give my mother what she wants and turn away. “Can you check on Bobby please?”
“Of course mom,” I begin to walk, but quickly remember that Bobby isn’t alive yet. I keep walking and find myself in the forest now, fifteen again, holding a knife and listening to the birds singing. Cody is next to me and is carrying my brother in his arms. “Why is Bobby here?”
“He fell asleep during the hike. I decided to carry him along.” Cody explains with a smile. I hand him the knife and take my brother into my arms. The moment I touch him I realize how cold his skin is. I move him so he is positioned with his hand on my shoulder and his arms around my neck. Cody and I start to walk again, but I stop abruptly when I notice that Bobby’s skin is a bluish- grey and he is now even colder.
“Why sister? Why did you hurt me?” Bobby asks as his arms tighten around me. My pulse is racing and my breathing is becoming shallow. He pulls a little bit away from me so that I can see his face. I can tell his neck is broken and his head is tilting awkwardly to the left. “It’s your turn.” Bobby hands move to my cheeks and he quickly snaps my neck.
I let out a silent scream before everything fades away.
I am sitting up in my bed, sweating and panting. The room is still silent but the morning sun is shining through the window. It’s going to be a beautiful day, but the images of Bobby’s corpse still linger in my mind. ‘Remember, it wasn’t really him.’ I remind myself. It is almost nine o’clock and I still feel tired. It is the sound of continuous ringing that makes me drag myself out of bed. The phone is in the living room and is ringing nonstop.
“Hello?” I ask into the receiver. There is only silence on the other end. I am about to hang up when the stranger finally decides to talk.
“Is this Katherine Renner?” The person asks on the other end. It sounds like a woman, maybe in her late thirties, and very official.
“Yes, this is she.” I say as adult-like as I can. “Who, may I ask, is speaking?”
“This is Jackie Amor. I am calling on regards of your aunt. I am her friend who she was coming to see, in the north. Well, your aunt never showed up and I got this number from her the day your mother . . .” Jackie trails off, nervous to mention the suicide. “Anyways, she said if anything happened; to just call this number. I was just wondering if you know about any plans she might have made before she was supposed to get here. I am very worried, it has been weeks and there has been no sign of her at all.”
I am silent after she speaks. It has been a month since I’ve last seen Aunt Trista. The speaker calls my attention once again. “No, I’m sorry. I haven’t seen Aunt Trista, and when she left, we weren’t exactly on speaking terms.” I explain to her. There is an exasperated sigh on the other end and I can’t help but feel kind of bad. My aunt was supposed to help this woman, but instead she ditched her. “I’m sorry, but if I see her I promise I’ll call you right away.”
“Thank you so much.” She says before she hangs up. I place the phone back down and stare at the wall. ‘If my aunt is missing, could it mean she was taken? No, Cilark would have mentioned her when he threatened Bobby. So this means she just decided to leave.’ I continue to contemplate this idea for another ten minutes, before Cody wakes up.
“Hey Kat, what’s wrong?” He asks as he walks into the kitchen. I finally snap out of it and follow him. He is leaning against the counter, pouring himself a bowl of cereal. “Do you want some?” I nod my head and try to smile.
“My aunt is missing.” I say in a casual voice as I take the bowl. I pick up one of the small pieces and pop it in my mouth. I am staring at my breakfast, but I can feel Cody’s questioning eyes. “Her friend that she was supposed to help just called. She said that Aunt Trista never showed up.”
“Isn’t that a bad thing?” I have to think about that for a moment. My aunt and I never really got along. She was sometimes abusive, did nothing for the family except treat my mom, and always thought of my as a kid.
“I guess,” I lie. “But I think she probably just went out drinking, missed her train, and is trying to find her way there. She never was responsible.” I remind him with a smile. I eat a spoonful of cereal and then look up at him. There is a hint of worry lingering on his face as he locks eyes with me. I can tell he is not going to push the matter, and I am thankful for that.
“So what are you doing today?”I can tell he is trying to change the subject. I place the bowl on the counter. “I was thinking about going into town again and selling some of the leftover meat that’s in the fridge. We need to buy some new hunting gear.”
“I’m going to visit Leo at Marie’s house. After that I might stop by Gio’s house to talk to him about some of the hacking stuff.” Gio is the leader of the hackers’ group.
“Be careful.” This is all that he says before he leaves. I can’t exactly understand his harshness, but I don’t bother to try. I quickly get dressed in my normal dark shorts and black tank top. I make my way to town, stopping ever so often to talk to some of the rebels. I finally arrive to Marie’s house, but I’m a bit hesitant at the door.
“Hey Kat, I bet you’re here to talk to Leo.” Marie says with a smile after she opens the door for me. I smile at her and nod. She steps aside and I slip into the hallway. “He’s sleeping on the couch in the living room. He seems to be doing a lot better since you last saw him.” The last time I was with the real Leo was when Cody and I dropped his unconscious body off.
“Thanks a lot Marie.” I say as I make my way to the living room. I pause at the door way and watch as Marie slips out the back door, giving me and Leo some alone time. “Um, Leo, it’s me. I came to see how you are doing and to ask you some questions.” Leo shuffles a little on the couch but doesn’t really respond to me. I take another step closer and he finally moves. He slowly turns on the couch towards me and I watch as he drags his body up to a sitting position.
“Kat, is that you?” He blinks a few times before his eyes seem to finally focus. I smile down at him and take another step. I am soon right in front of him, staring down at his now clean face. “What are you doing here? And what happened to your face?” I look at him in confusion for a moment and then turn towards the mirror on the fire place. This is the first time I notice exactly how I look.
My left eye is swollen around the cheek bone and a bit black around the edges. My lip is split down the middle and on the right corner. My neck is bruised from when the mutant tried to strangle me. I lightly graze my fingertips over the bruises and wince a little. “It was nothing.” I whisper as I take one last look at my reflection. “I came here to ask you some questions about Imperium.” I continue. There is a distant look on his face as I look back at him. I know that it must be hard for him to relive the horrible memories, but I really need to know what happened. “Please Leo I really need you to tell me everything that you remember. I need to know whatever I can about Imperium.”
Chapter 8: What happened in Imperium?
“After I was taken by the soldiers and brought to Imperium everyone was already injured and weak. The soldiers threw all of us into cells in a building behind the mansion, almost twenty feet under the ground. There were three floors of cells and fifty cells on each floor. Each cell held three people, but every night someone was taken from their cell and brought to a private room. The room was beneath the mansion; the basement.
“Every night I would hear screams coming from the cells, either from the fear of being taken or from actually being taken. Every morning the soldiers would come to the cells and take about eighty rebels at a time to go for training. There was a training ground above us, only ten feet underground. There was never sunlight, only florescent lights kept us safe from the darkness, except at night.” He pauses for a moment, becoming disconnected once again. I watch him carefully and wait for him to continue. I am sitting across for him now, leaning against the arm of the chair.
“The training was horrible. The soldiers would make us split up into four sections and each section would learn different things and then switch around to eventually learn everything. One group would have to run for three hours straight, with no rest at all. If someone tried to rest, even for a second, the soldiers would beat them with their batons. Another section learned how to use the weaponry, the third section was in charge of hand- to- hand combat, and the last section had to learn the art of torture.”
“Tor-torture?” I ask hesitantly. I automatically think about Ms. Priling and Bobby. “What did they do?”
“They made us tie a fellow rebel to a chair and at first just beat them with a baton. If they didn’t tell us whatever we wanted to know we would have to starve them. If that didn’t work, we had to hold their head underwater. Eventually the prisoner would either tell us what we want or they would just die.” I can tell my eyes are filling with tears. I can’t imagine what Bobby might be going through if that’s what is happening to him. I look at Leo and see the pain in his eyes. He went through so much, but I need to know more.
“About a month ago I was taken from my cell and brought to the private room. It was more like a laboratory, filled with computers, test tubes, chemicals, and weird capsules that held the mutant soldiers in it. At the time, I didn’t realize that that’s what they were. They looked like the normal rebels, but asleep and attached to wires and tubes. There were a few doctors and scientist in the room with me and the four other rebels.
“One of the doctors was a young girl who looked a little familiar. I couldn’t be sure because she just kept moving around the room. Her hair was a dark brown, like yours, and her skin was a caramel color, and she was very . . . mean.” He says hesitantly. I look at him with a bit of confusion but I don’t interrupt. “She took us to another room, one that looked like a normal doctor’s office. Each one of us had to lie on a separate bed and wait for her to come and inject us with a drug that would knock us out completely.
“I was the last one to get the shot, so I had a plan already set up. I watched as the doctor approached me with the needle in her hand. I thought back to the training I had and used it to fight her off. I managed to kick the syringe out of her hand and then made her fall on it, knocking her out. After she was out I went to the lab and tried to open the capsules. I didn’t realize they were the mutants. I managed to open one. That was the soldier that you fought.
“The mutant fought off the scientist and the soldiers while I managed to escape Imperium all together. I stole a soldier uniform and bow and arrow. Then I simply strolled out of the capitol. I wondered into the forest and walked around in circles until you found me.” He finishes. I am still silent and staring into his distant eyes. I feel so bad for my friend, to think that he went through so much. He was trained by the government for about three to four years and was stuck in the woods for a whole month.
“I’m so sorry Leo. I wish I could help you.” I tell him as I place my hand on his. There is a long, uncomfortable silence between us. I take a deep breath and slowly stand up. It has been almost half an hour. “Thank you for telling me your story.”
“No problem Kat. You need to know these things, and I’m just happy to help with the new rebellion.” He leisurely leans back down on the couch and closes his eyes. I guess he is done talking for now. I drag myself out of the house and make my way down the street towards Gio’s house.
“Hey Ms. Renner,” Gio says when I reach his house. He is standing outside with his dog, Antoinette. I give him a smile and pet his dog on the head, scratching it right behind the ear. “What can I do for you?”
“Please, call me Kat. I don’t want you to treat me like I’m some kind of bossy adult. I just came to talk to you about the bugs.” I tell him with a smile as I sit beside him on his porch. I keep petting Antoinette as we talk. “How are you guys doing with your practice?”
Cody and I told the hackers to practice with the computer disk that we found in Leo’s pocket. He had apparently gotten it in the capitol. “Yea we have been working hard on it. We are close to having it completely decoded. I am also working on a virus to send to all the bugs. I need to test their skills.”He says with a smile. Gio has a nice smile, and nice eyes to go with it. His brown eyes match his dark brown hair. His mom, Mrs. Giron, used to talk to my mom a lot during the festivals.
“That sounds great Gio. I’m happy that you are the leader of the bugs. I was a little worried that you wouldn’t do it because of the responsibility.” I admit with a half smile. I stand up and turn towards him. “I am going to go check on the other leaders of the groups. Thanks Gio for keeping me updated.”
“No problem Kat, thanks for choosing me for the rebellion.” He says as he gives me a hug goodbye and I begin to leave. I start to make my way towards the next house. The second person I have to see is Elizabeth, the leader of the suppliers. When I reach her house I notice she isn’t home. Her neighbor tells me that she left to go shopping with a few of her ‘friends’. I just move along, going to the next house. I skip Marie’s house and go to one of the other researcher’s house.
“Hey Susi Q, I came to ask you about how your group is doing.” I tell my friend, Susi Q. once she opens the door for me. I walk into her house and see her best friend standing in front of me. “Hey Samantha, I didn’t know you were going to be here.” I say to Samantha as I give her a hug.
“Yea, I came by to give Susi Q. the blue prints of Imperium.” She says with a smile as she waves a piece of paper in the air. I can’t help but look a little shocked. “My friend works for the library in Imperium and he snatched this for me. I got it this morning.”
“That’s awesome! So are you and Susi Q. going to go through it right now?”
“Yea we are. Marie was thinking about having a Book Club tomorrow night.” Susi Q. says with a smile. I smile back at her and nod my head.
“Ok, that sounds good. I’ll see you two tonight, don’t forget we are swimming.” I tell them before I leave. I stand outside the house for a few minutes as I think of where to go next. It is only noon, but I have already finished visiting the group leaders. So far everyone is keeping up with their groups, everyone but me. Cody is planning how to devise the attack, Gio is testing the hackers, Marie and Susi Q are already figuring out how to get us into Imperium, and Elizabeth is shopping with the suppliers. I am the only leader that hasn’t done anything at all.
I make my way to all of the spies’ houses and tell them all that we are going to be having art class in two days. All of them agree to it and seem to have no doubt about me leading them. I start to make my way back to my house and notice a trail of blood that is leading to the door. I make my way towards it and hear panting coming from inside the house. I slowly open the door and find Marie lying on the floor in a puddle of blood.
“Holy s***,” I mutter to myself. I run up to her and quickly place my hand on her pulse. She is unconscious, but I can feel her heart pounding. I look her over, trying to force myself to focus on everything. Her head is pretty messed up, there is a large cut on the top of her head; I’m guessing it is cracked a little. Her right leg looks broken and her left arm is cut up badly, along with her stomach, back, and neck.
I try my hardest to pick her up gently. She lets out a gargled scream and winces at the touch of my finger tips. I quickly realize that there is no way I can carry her. I stand up and turn towards the door, ready to run and get help, when I see Leo in front of me. “Leo, I need your help. Marie is hurt and I need you to carry her to the bathroom.” I tell him frantically. I pull him into the house and he stares down at the blood for a long moment.
Finally he musters up the courage to pick her up. We go straight to the bathroom, place her in the tub, and turn on the water. Soon the tub is completely full of cold water and I start to clean all of her cuts. I can’t help but want to cry each time I hear Marie scream out in pain. I grab the alcohol and rag from the counter and start to rub her cuts so they are clean. Once I am done, I drain all the water, try my best to dry her off as gently as I can, and bandage her up.
Leo carries her to the guest room and I leave her with him so that she can rest and he can be there in case she wakes up. I pause in the hallway and take a few deep breaths. ‘Who could have done this to Marie?’ I ask myself as I grab some more rags and go to the front of the house and start to clean all the blood. When I am almost done with the cleaning, Cody walks in.
The first thing he notices is the blood. I can see his eyes trail up and down my body, looking for any cuts or wounds. He realizes the blood isn’t mine and lets out a little sigh of relief. “What happened?” He asks in a gentle voice.
“I don’t know. I was out all morning and when I got back I found Marie sitting right here. She was bleeding really badly.” I inform him with a frown. “Leo helped me clean her up and put her in the guest room so that she can rest.”
He is silent for a moment but decides to ask what is really on his mind. “Did you really go to see Leo this morning?”
“Yea, I did. Why do you ask?”
“I just want to know what happened. Did he say anything important to you?” He asks as he starts to help me clean the rest of the blood. “Everything was fine, right?”
I pause for a moment and stare at him. There is an edge in his voice and it makes me hesitate for a moment. “Yea, everything was perfectly fine.” I tell him in a detached voice. “He told me about the prisons, the mutant soldiers, and the scientists. He also told me how he got out of Imperium. Now can you stop acting like my friend did something wrong.” I snap at him. Just then we hear screaming coming from the guest room. Cody and I stare at each other for a split second before we dash over to the room.
When we reach the room I notice Leo standing in the far corner and Marie sitting up in the bed, screaming her head off. “She-she just woke up.” Leo begins, but he doesn’t move or look at us. “She saw me and started screaming.” I slowly approach Marie and try to calm her.
“Marie, please calm down.” I beg her as I place my hands on her shoulder and sit on the bed in front of her. “It’s okay, it was just Leo.” I can see the fear locked in Marie’s eyes and her mouth is still open, but the screaming has stopped. I hesitate for a moment, but I finally bring up my hand and slap her across the face. This manages to bring her back to reality.
“Marie, what happened?” I ask once she is calmer.
“Leo, he was here.” She says in a slurred and quiet voice. She quickly looks past me and spots Leo in the corner. She pulls back in fear and I have to place my hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming again.
“Cody, get him out of here!” I demand as I hush Marie. Once Cody gets him out of the room, she seems a lot calmer. I look at her with a worried look and ask her to tell me exactly what happened. Cody comes back into the room to listen.
“When I got home from the store, after you left, Leo was staring out the window. I slowly approached him and I could see the distant look in his eyes, as if he wasn’t fully there. I called his name a few times, but he didn’t do anything.” She is talking quickly and sounds a little hysterical. “Then his head snapped up and he let out a growl. He turned towards me and looked like a raged animal. I started backing away from him, but he reached out and grasped my wrist. His other hand balled up into a fist and he punched me hard on the side of my head. I toppled to the ground and fell on the glass coffee table, breaking it and cutting my left arm, stomach, and making a gash in my head. I tried to crawl away from him, but he grabbed my ankle and started dragging me across the glass; cutting up my back and brought me outside, where he threw me on the porch and stepped on my right leg; snapping the bone.
“The whole time he was muttering something about Imperium and kept calling me a traitor.” She pauses for a moment and tries to collect herself. I can see the pain written boldly on her face. “After he broke my leg he got that glassy look again. I used the opportunity to drag my bleeding and broken body to your house. Luckily, you told me about the spare key under the flower pot in the front. I unlocked the door and passed out from the blood loss before I could get to the phone.”
I am silent and can’t help but feel a little . . . confused. ‘This can’t be the soldier again.’ I think to myself as I think over Marie’s story. ‘The clay is in my old house, in a bag, in a box, in my closet that is locked. It couldn’t have gotten out, could it?’
“Marie, I’m going to go talk to Leo. Cody can you go to my old house and make sure the clay thing is still in its box?”
“Sure, I’ll be back soon.” He says in an almost enthusiastic voice. I look over at him and give him a half smile.
I turn back to my friend and smile gently at her. “I’m so sorry Marie, but there is no way Leo did this to you. He helped me take care of you.”
“I don’t give a s***! He did this!” She yells and looks p*ssed at me for not automatically taking her side. I tell her to rest and leave the room so I can talk to Leo. I find him in the living room, facing the mirror on the wall.
“Leo, what are you doing?” I ask hesitantly. He remains silent but slowly turns towards me. “Leo, what’s wrong?”
There is a distant look in his eyes. “You traitor!” He yells, but doesn’t move. It seems as though he is having an internal battle with himself. “Kat, is that you? No, of course not, she’s not in a cell. You’re an Imperium soldier. Stop messing with me!” He screams as he takes a step forward. I step back and keep my eyes focused on his hands.
“Leo, it’s me, Kat. I’m not a soldier and I’m not going to hurt you.” I tell him in a stern voice. I stop moving and place my hands at my sides. We are both silent for a moment and simply watching each other.
“Katherine Renner,” He mumbles in a quiet voice, as if waking from a dream. I nod my head and he starts to mimic me. “Kat, I thought you were a soldier. I saw this room as my cell; I don’t know what’s happening . . .”
“Does this happen a lot?” I ask him in a puzzled voice. I am starting to understand everything now.
“Um . . . I get flashes a lot and space out.”
“Is that what happened to Marie? Did you see a soldier?” I ask gently. There is a look of confusion that passes his face, but is quickly replaced by realization.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do anything. I need to apologize.” He is talking quickly and shaking a little.
“You can’t see her. She already freaked out once.” I warn him with a frown. Just then, Cody comes in and has a creepy smile on his face. “So, was it there?”
“Oh yes, it was still in its spot.”There is something wrong with his voice and posture. I watch him carefully and then look at Leo again. He is also watching Cody with questioning eyes. “What’s wrong Kat?”
“Nothing, I was just thinking.” My voice trails off and I have to force myself to make eye contact with him. “So we are going swimming tonight, right?”
“Yea, but I want you to take charge of the meeting. I want everyone to hear your ideas.” He says with a brilliant smile. “Leo, you are welcomed to join us.”
“Okay, that sounds great.” Leo says in a quiet voice. I continue to stare at Cody until he leaves the room. There is defiantly something wrong with him.