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   Chapter 43 Vanishing Grace

After Grace By MatheusHMacedo Characters: 8271

Updated: 2018-01-05 17:33


"Is this is how it ends?" Vicki asked, "lying in bed, waiting to freeze to death?" She stood at the foot of my cot waiting for an answer. Half of the people in the room were packing their things, the other half lay in bed, ignoring the noise. I was part of the latter. "After all you did for that girl? After everything you've been through?"

"I did this, " I said. "I brought us here."

"I'm not gonna listen to this bullshit! You were trying to help! You saved lives! Grace, you did more in a year than anyone has over the last twenty. Now get up, it's time to finish it." I watched the peeling chips of paint which curled off the wooden wall in front of me. "Fine, " she said and joined the others who were crafting makeshift weapons from parts of their bedframes and loose wood from the walls.

"Come with us, " Annie begged as she knelt down beside me. "Please Grace. We can make it out of here."

"There's no place to go."

"Anywhere's better than here."

"I can't."

"Why?"

"I can't watch you die, " I told her. She stayed quiet.

"Ready?" I heard Vicki ask the others. Murmurs of agreement rolled through the room.

"At least I won't be hiding, " Annie told me and moved to Vicki's group.

After a few seconds of silence, the door opened and I heard a shuffling of feet moving out. Light from outside splashed white on the wall in front of me and I saw a young girl's shadow lingering by the door before it disappeared and everything went dark again. Soft cries filled the otherwise silent room.

#

The sound of screaming jarred me awake. I sat up on my cot, the others had already woken, they hovered at the windows like moths around a flame. I jumped up and ran through them. Muffled screams bled through the wooden door, I pulled it open.

Vicki, Annie, and the others who had left were being marched through the streets at gunpoint, hands bound behind their backs. Marcus walked with the rest of Mother's men, his head hanging low. Whatever his plan had been, it hadn't worked. Snow had already begun to fall. I stepped out.

"Did you know about this?" Mother asked as she stomped her way toward me. "Did you know?"

"She didn't know anything, " Vicki yelled. The man walking behind her pushed when she stopped moving-- she fell to her knees.

"Stop this, " I began, "they were just being strong right? Doing what they had to do."

"You got away with that once, and once is all you get. " Mother turned back. "Line them up!" she sh

hered around us. The man beside Mother slipped his rifle over his shoulder and picked up the loose end of the rope. Mother took a few steps back and nodded to him.

He pulled. Vicki was lifted into the air. Her chin raised up. Her hands still bound behind her back. I ran to her but was grabbed from behind and held in place. I watched, helpless to stop it. Vicki remained as still as possible for as long as she could but, after a minute or so, she began to kick her legs. I dropped my eyes to the ground. Mother put her hand beneath my chin and lifted my face. "Eyes open, " she said.

Vicki's cheeks were wet with falling tears. Her mouth opened in a desperate attempt for air. I focused past her, to the darkened clouds sliding silently across the pale white sky. After a few more seconds, her legs stopped moving.

The man holding the rope beside us tied the loose end to a pipe half buried in the ground. Vicki's body gently swayed back and forth amidst the falling snow flakes. I looked into his eyes-- he noticed. "Remember me, " I told him. He scoffed.

The others spoke softly to one another, laughter rising quietly within their group. The one holding me in place let go. They began to disperse, some to patrol, others to their quarters.

"Tell the others, " Mother began, "tell them this is what happens when you defy me..." she turned to the two men still standing there, waiting to be commanded. "Take her back with the others."

As they wrapped their hands around my arms, I kept my eyes on Vicki. The wind picked up, dropping the temperature below freezing. Ice rained, puddles froze, but inside, I was warm, I was ablaze.

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