Type: Original Stories
Status: In Progress
|The Revolution Trilogy|
|Preceded by:||I Am One Of The Rebels||Succeeded by:|
I felt the jerk of a chain on my neck and opened my eyes. Claire was sitting against a tree, with the end of my chain attached to her waist. "I don't like the chain. Can you take it off?" I complained, stretching. "You know we can't do that. If someone were to spot us..." She trailed off. She pulled out a bag full of food. "I've been saving up." She told me. "I was blamed for stealing that!" I frowned.
Claire shrugged and bit into an apple. "We need to save food for the journey, so do you mind if you skip breakfast?" She asked. I shook my head. I was used to not eating. I had been a useless, a female with hunter traits, so, like all the others like me, we worked for families who could basically do whatever they wanted to us. I got food once every 3 weeks, so I was used to being starving. Actually, I don't think I was ever full in my entire life.
Claire put the bag over her shoulder and stood, taking me with her. She started ruffling up the grass we had slept on, and rolled up the blanket she had slept under. Claire had thought she was leaving by herself, so she had only packed one. Since I had slept outside in far worse weather, she got the blanket.
Claire looked at a map, then went to the right, me struggling to keep up. We stopped at about noon, and I sat down under a tree, exhausted. Claire looked at the map, then rolled it up and tied my hands behind my back with a rope. Then we entered town.
A few people glanced up, but everyone else continued on their daily lives. Claire stopped outside of a farm.She took my chain and attached it to a loop in the ground, then went inside. She came out about half an hour later, holding her bag a little tighter than before. Claire made no other stops in town, and soon we were in the middle of nowhere again.
Claire stopped under a tree and sat down. "Can you untie me? The ropes are rubbing, and I don't see a point in doing this while we're in the middle of nowhere. I mean, we can keep the chain on, but surely you could-" I was cut off as Claire clamped her hand over my mouth and held a finger to her lips.
I nodded, and she released me. Claire huddled under her blanket, and soon I was asleep.
The next day, Claire woke me up and asked me to skip my meal again. Then she fixed up the ground and rolled up her blanket so the place looked unused. Claire covered my mouth with a strip of cloth, and tied it tightly so I couldn't talk. I looked at her, but she just ignored me.
I realized I must have looked pretty pathetic and helpless. So, no one would suspect Claire of rebelling, since rebels wouldn't be treating useless' that way. I hated to admit it, but it was pretty smart.
The same thing happened over and over again: we went into a town, Claire left me outside, and came back with strange papers she would look at during the night. Nothing changed until we got to one town. Everyone was freaking out about a house, which had been set on fire. Claire asked about it, and found out that a group of hunters had walked in on a full-scale rebellion plan. The rebels had destroyed the papers before others could examine them, and were killed.
Everyone had been warned to be on edge. Claire looked disgusted. "Rebels are idiots, but dangerous idiots. she muttered. The woman she had been talking to nodded, then said "You should get out of town, and fast." Claire nodded in agreement and pushed through the crowds, who were trying to see the bodies of the rebels.
I shook from fear. That was what happened to enemies of Leader. And I was pretty sure I was one.
We continued travelling, not making any more stops. Claire seemed intent on keeping whatever it was she was getting a secret. She also appeared to forget my needs, and I would be left chained and in an uncomfortable position for hours.
Actually, now that I thought about it, I hadn't gotten the chain, ropes on my hands, or cloth over my mouth taken off since they were put on. I didn't gt it. We were partners now, so why was I still being treated like a Useless, which was especially ironic since that was what she was trying to sop.
I decided to mention it to Claire. I found the opening when Claire put down a paper and strecthed. I tried to say something but it came out muffled. I banged my hands against the tree I was stuck to, and her head jerked up. I shuffled my feet and looked at her meaningfully.
Claire came over to me, and took off the cloth around my mouth. "What do you want?" She snapped.
"Why are you doing this?" I asked, looking at my wrists, or trying to, since they were tied behind my back. "You don't look like a Worker. It would be quite obvious as to what we were up to if you walk around unburdened." Claire said logically, turning away.
"But-" I began. "No! It's like this because I don't want to hear you blab nonstop, or read the documents. Plus, you could just run away and turn me in." She snapped, her shoulders back. "But you want to overthrow Leader." I said, frowning. "Yeah. I want my revenge. I only promised it to you because you help my image, and so you wouldn't give away my position!" Claire's voice was cold, unfeeling.
"So I'm here for convenience?" I demand. "Something like that." Claire smiles humorlessly. I started protesting, but Claire just covered my mouth again, then went back to her spot.
I felt tears welling in my eyes, but blinked them back. I had to remain strong; she wouldn't break me. I closed my eyes and fell asleep, even though I was standing.
I woke up the next morning to pain. My leg muscles were on fire, my arms had cramped from being still for so long, and my stomach was empty. I saw spots, felt dizzy, and could feel the pain in my stomach. It meant a week had passed. By the end of the second I would be immune to feeling, numb all over, which was terrifying. By the end of the third, I would be either given food or unconscious.
Claire didn't bother to offer me anything, and we set off. Claire never asked if I wanted a break; after a few hours of trying to keep up with her, I gave up. I collapsed onto the ground and let her drag me along, only holding onto the chain so I wouldn't choke.
Claire got fed up, stopped, and started yelling at me. After she hit me a few times, she calmed down enough to think logically. She didn't want me dead; it would ruin her "image". She took off the ropes and tied my hands in front before I could even feel them gone. Then she took the chain from my neck and attached it to the ropes. I tried to keep up for a litle longer, but soon let her drag me along like a sack.
We didn't stop again until we reached a line of fence. There was a gate, with guards standing around it. Claire walked straight up to them. One of the guards glanced at me, then turned to Claire. "Toll for passing," and held out his hand. Claire put a few bills in it, and he opened the gate.
"You have now left Leader's first City. I wish you the best, and return safely." His voice was dull, rehearsed for hundreds of people. We went through the gate, and the guards immediately closed it with an ominous bang. Claire walked on without looking back, not breaking stride for even a moment.
We, meaning Claire, decided to stop under a tree for the night. We, meaning Claire, decided it would be safest if I was chained to the tree. "We" also decided I should skip dinner to help our image, and I should stay away from the papers.
I tried to get comfortable, but I kept feeling like someone was watching us. I attempted to get Claire's attention, but she ignored me. A man stepped out of the treeline and clapped his hands together. Claire turned quickly, the papers disappearing beneath a tree root as she did.
"Welcome to Leader's second City! I was placed here to manage this city while he was away." The man announced. I recalled how Leader only showed up for springtime. He must have been here. Claire nodded politely, then took out her blanket. "I'm sorry, but it's getting late. I'm tired, and have a long way to go tomorrow." She told him, wrapping the blanket around herself.
The man nodded. "Understandable. Please, stop by the next city, I'll be there!" He called, walking away.
As he left, Claire took out the precious papers and straightened out the wrinkles and creases. "When I don't need these, I'll have to get rid of them somehow," she murmured to herself, thinking hard. "Burning would be a little obvious, but maybe..." She trailed off to herself.
I couldn't help but wonder what would happen when Claire decides she doesn't need me anymore.
Claire put the papers into her bag, then started walking towards the city that man had headed for. When we entered, we saw him talking to a little boy, obviously a Worker build. As we approached them, the boy nodded and raced to the school. The man smiled and said, "Hello again! Please, call me Charles!" I decided he smiled too much, although that could be because I hadn't smiled in a long, long time.
"There's not another town near here for miles. Do stay a day here." Charles beamed. "Oh, I would love to, but I'm... I'm a little tight on money, you see." Claire lied, lowering her eyes. "Not a problem! I can get you somewhere cheap." Charles told her gently. "I... I don't have any money... I really can't afford anything... Not even an apple..." Claire began crying, wiping her eyes hastily on her sleeve.
"Don't worry, then. I'll get you a nice room for the night, with a nice dinner, and get you some money. All free." Charles murmurs, patting her on the shoulder. Claire looked shocked. "Oh, I can't take that..." she trails of as Charles shakes his head. "It would be my pleasure."
"Very.... very well, then. For you." Claire nods shakily, still wiping her eyes. "Great!" Charles beams, then left to find a place to stay.
Twenty minutes later, we were in a hotel room, with a safe full of money and a free buffet downstairs. Claire decided to stock up on food first, after she protected her papers. She put them in the safe, locked it, and put the key on the bed. I felt a surge of excitement that was immediately quelled as she chained me to a bar in the corner. It was obviously designed for a Useless, since it was the right size and height.
Claire dumped out the remaining contents of the bag, and left the room with the empty bag, closing the door behind her. I sat against the wall and waited.
Almost immediately after, a maid came in and began cleaning. The maid glanced at me and wrinkled her nose in disgust. When she thought I wasn't looking, she slipped a piece of paper under the pillow, then and left again. I stared at the pillow, trying to think of a way to get there. But there wasn't any way to get to the bed when I was attached to the opposite wall.
Claire came back into the room, her bag stuffed with non-perishables, fruit, and water canteens. She had a second bag with her, where she put in all the money and her blanket. Slipping the papers into her sock, including the one from under the pillow, she walked over to me.
Claire pulled off the cloth from my mouth, and gave me a bar made of nuts. "The granola will expire soon," she told me. I bit it experimentally. It tasted like nuts, nothing more, nothing less. I shrugged and ate it, feeling my empty stomach ease somewhat with the food.
Claire flopped onto the bed. "Wake me up at 6:30 p.m." She groaned, closing her eyes. I nodded, stared at the clock, and waited.
"Leaving so soon?" Charles asked. "Yes. If I leave now, I can get to the next town by nightfall." "But you'll be travelling by night!" Charles argued. "Thank you for your help, Charles." Claire whispered and walked away, pinching herself to make her eyes water.
Clever. I thought hurrying to keep up so I wouldn't be knocked flat on my face. Glancing back, I saw Charles had already forgot, and was wandering idly to a mansion. Leader's house. Or, would be his house, if he was here.
It got dark quickly, and I was already tired. Claire had gotten sleep, so she was energized. Soon I was stumbling, blind, over every object in my path. I could barely keep my eyes open, but if I closed them for too long Claire would yank on my chain and pull me over.
We walked for a long time, until the sun came out. We stopped under a tree, and Claire dozed off. Exhausted, I closed my eyes. However, as soon as I was about to fall asleep, Claire got up and started walking again. Groaning, I stumbled after her.
We continued walking until we saw town lights up ahead. Claire spoke to a man, who directed her to a tall building. She got a room for a night and opened the door. I recognized the place as another hotel; which meant sleep. Claire chained me to another of those bars, then went to the bed. I closed my eyes, and let sleep claim me.
The next morning we left. The same thing happened every day: wake up, watch Claire eat breakfast, walk, watch Claire take a break, walk, watch Claire have dinner, sleep. My feet were constantly bleeding, since I'd never had shoes before, and probably wouldn't start now.
We had been travelling for about a month, and I was beginning to miss my old family with Michael and Sara. They were abusive sometimes, but it beat walking around the country with no shoes and a dress I outgrew one and a half years ago.
We stopped at another fence, but a guard refused to let us through. He gave Clair a list and pointed to me. "It needs to look proper in Leader's third City. It is much nicer here than the cities you come from." He says emotionlessly, like the other guard.
Claire frowned at that, but turned to the right and walked along the fence.