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   Chapter 29 Gone

After Grace By MatheusHMacedo Characters: 7929

Updated: 2018-01-05 17:26

When I was young, I thought cemeteries were a strange idea. Our dead were gone, lost, scattered and left behind as we packed and moved to a new part of the woods to hide in. We had no need of cemeteries. Why should anyone? But now, as I covered Wilson's body with flowers and brush on the hill overlooking the highway, knowing I would never be here again, I wished we had a place to go to, a place to grieve, somewhere we could stand, so we may speak to our friends and be close enough to be heard.

On the horizon, smoke rose in black braids, carving a long dark gash against the dawn. I sat on the hill, watching the scavenger birds circle above so they may finish the feast the flies had started on Elizabeth's body. I wasn't sure if the convoy would still be there when I returned. I wasn't sure I wanted it to be.

Seth had been right, we would lead Mother's entire clan right to his camp. Something terrible was coming, and it was coming not only for Wilson's group, but also for people who I had never met. People who believe themselves to be safe. However high their fences are, it won't keep Mother and her soldiers out forever.

The black smoke turned gray, then white. I wondered if Joseph was still alive. I didn't care about his lies anymore. I only wished he were here, telling me the death and destruction I had seen was finally coming to an end and everything would be okay now.

The black birds above cawed, growing impatient with my presence. I took the long assault rifle sitting beside me and stood.

"Thanks for everything, " I said to the flowers. The white petals swayed in the wind. I left the hill, walking along the highway, behind me, the birds had their fill.


Something shimmered down the road. I kept walking, watching as the car got closer and closer. It slowed and stopped when they spotted me. Annie rushed out the passenger's side, Seth held his bruised ribs as he lumbered from the driver's seat.

"What happened?" Annie asked. "Where is everyone else? Where's Marcus?"

"Travis took him. I couldn't stop it. I'm sorry." I watched as the hope drained from her eyes.

"Wilson?" Seth asked. I swallowed the lump in my throat and tried to say it but nothing came out.

Annie started walking toward the smoke behind me-- I reached out and took her arm. "There's nothing there."

"He would have come for me. If they took m

ell as anyone else that even in the best case scenario, more people would die.

"Hey, leader girl, " someone called. I turned to find a young woman about my age wrapped in body armor carrying a rifle similar to the one I'd gotten from Wilson's trunk. "Here, " she said and handed me her butterfly knife.

"What's this for?"

"When's the last time you cut your hair?" she asked. I took a chunk of hair from my ponytail in my hand, it was longer and greasier than I had ever seen it. "Can't even remember can you?"

"Feels like a million years ago, " I said.

"Long hair in a fight can be the difference between life and death, " she said. "Let me, " she took the knife back, I turned around, she wrapped her hand over my ponytail, pulling it taut before sawing the blade across the greasy strands. It came off in one thick rope.

"New look for a new girl, " she smiled and gave the knife back. "Never know, you may need it. I have a few."

"What's your name?"

"Do you really wanna know?" she asked. "Maybe we shouldn't get too attached, at least until things die down."

"I'm Grace, " I told her.

"Yeah, " she laughed, "everyone knows who you are darling. I'm Olivia."

"We can look out for each other better with names, " I said.

"Man, " she smiled. "You really are 'The One' aren't you?"

She strolled away, gone as quick as she'd arrived. A cool breath of wind brushed the back of my exposed neck. I turned to the reflection in the car window beside me. I never had a bob cut before. I barely recognized myself. "New look for a new girl, " I repeated.

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