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   Chapter 41 Reckoning

After Grace By MatheusHMacedo Characters: 7572

Updated: 2018-01-05 17:32


"Don't fall asleep now, you need to greet our guests!" the sniper said, his taunt was soon followed by a series of cackles from his companions atop the wall.

Dominic had tied my hands to the trees leading into the compound. I hung on the outside path like a sacrificial lamb. Both arms out to either side, the ropes wrapping from my wrists to high branches on low trees edging the path-- my back to the wall. Mother's group would have to go past me to attack the gates.

My eyelids felt like they were attached to anvils. My brain begged for permission to rest, but every time my head began to fall forward, the men would taunt me again, and the cycle would repeat.

"Hey sweetheart, " one of the men said just as I had drifted asleep. I tried to ignore him just as I tried to ignore the pain from the ropes which scraped tiny red cuts into my wrists. "Did you teach that little girl a thing or two before we tied you up? She's developing nicely."

The sleeplessness began to fade as the ever burning flame in my stomach grew into an all consuming inferno. I pulled my arms in, trying to slip free of the rope. More cuts scratched my wrists. I let out a primal scream as pain and rage coursed through me. All at once my legs gave way and my anger was overshadowed by my exhaustion. The men at the wall laughed. "Better luck next time, " one of them said.

I couldn't fight. I couldn't even stand on my own. I watched my feet hang loose over the dirt below me, I could feel myself giving up. I had failed in every attempt to make things better. I had failed Camden, I had failed Tom. And Joseph, the only bright spot in my life as I grew up in a community who didn't want me, had betrayed me. And I deserved it. I had been naive in accusing him of any wrongdoing when I told him he only befriended me to ease his guilt. Guilt is easily not quelled, I knew that now. Regardless of his motives for the friendship, he had been always been loyal and true, and I pushed him away. I resigned myself to whatever fate was ahead, bowing my head and closing my eyes, I waited to die.

I heard something move just ahead. I lifted tired eyes toward the sound. A shadow stood in the greenery. Silent, but solid enough to reflect the orange tint of the setting sun. They wer

thing soft, but it wasn't dirt. I feared opening my eyes, if I had died out there in those woods, I was afraid I would see Hell.

I ran my fingers beneath me and realized I was feeling a sheet on a padded bed, I was very much alive. My eyes struggled against the fluorescent lights above. I tired to sit up and found myself restrained. A loud clank sounded beside me as I moved. When my eyes adjusted, I saw that I wasn't tied down like I thought, but rather had a long plastic tube running from my arm to a bag on a thin metal pole beside me.

"You must have done something pretty terrible, " Mother said. She was standing by the window, her body bathed in the pale dawn light. "The way they tied you up out there? I wonder what it was."

"What is this?" I said, pulling out the needle in my arm.

"You're dehydrated, it's good for you."

"Why didn't you--"

"Kill you? Because I wanted you to see it."

"See what?" I asked.

"Come, " she said. I stood, and for the first time in a long while, I felt fairly healthy. The exhaustion was gone, my head no longer ached.

I walked beside her, realizing we were on the second floor. I turned my eyes down to the compound below. Her men were everywhere. Fires burned through some of the smaller buildings. Prisoners from my old camp were being led inside, their hands bound. Bodies lined the street.

"What did you do?" I asked, my heart sinking, my eyes struggling to believe.

"I won, " she said.

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