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The fifth chapter of Book Two of
October 26, 2010
After a series of disturbing events following their arrival, Leah and Sierra decide to escape the colony before the imminent return of the Mistress.
A swirling mess of colors swarmed all around Leah. Waiting for the picture to make sense, the colors suddenly stopped in their tracks and rushed to a specific spot. Leah watched anxiously as what seemed like her old home was constructed piece by piece around her. Everything was accurate as if she were there recently: the grass covered in footprints and fall leaves; the window panels paint chipping; and the mahogany door, worn by years of wind and rain.
Leah took a few unstable steps forward through the grass, leaves crunching noiselessly as she stepped forward. After what seemed like a lifetime, she reached the door, slightly open in the cool fall breeze. She pushed it open, expecting to find her mother having a fit about finally returning suddenly. But to her surprise, there was no one present in the entryway. Leah walked through the hallway, the wood floor scratched by mud and dirt from Leah's shoes.
She went past the kitchen, all the appliance clocks flashing on and off with different times, like after a power surge. Past the kitchen she entered the living room, the TV blaring the no signal sound endlessly. She walked again to the stairs, the steps creaking as she uncertainly ascended. She came out to the hallway with the bedrooms and the bathroom. Leah peered into the bathroom, strangely finding all of the makeup products still in there place from her capture.
Then came Leah's bedroom. She tiptoed into the room, looking around in a daze. The place seemed so unfamiliar, a great layer of dust covering her unmade bed. The drawers and closet still lay open in a hurry from her packing. Leah could almost see a small apparition of herself rushing to and fro across the room, frantically packing with tears streaming down her face.
The scene depressing her, Leah rushed out and faced the door to her mother's bedroom. She stood in front of the door for what felt like eternity, pondering whether to face her or not. Finally making her mind up, she opened the door, cursing the squealing hinges beckoning her arrival.
Sitting on the bed, facing the opposite wall was her mother, her clothes forlorn and ripped.
"Mom?" Leah said, her whisper cracking from the tears starting to stream down yet again.
Her mom said nothing, her back still to Leah.
"Mom? It's me. Leah."
Her mother slowly got up from the bed and turned to face her. Leah recoiled as her mother's face was revealed, numerous tear tracks lining her face with messy, disorganized makeup. A large patch of her bangs were missing, a bald spot and nail marks in its place.
"Mom, what's happened to you?"
"What? But I just came back," she said, unbelieving.
"RUN! GO! NOW! DON'T EVER COME BACK!"
Suddenly her mother's face shifted and the scene changed into a dark and gloomy room. With a flash of light it showed a woman sitting against a wall with bright blue flames flashing behind her, casting shadows across the floor. Acknowledging Leah's presence, the figure stood up and spoke to Leah in a chilling and haunting voice.
"Leah, my dear. Welcome back."
Leah lay wide awake in the top bunk of the double deck bed that she and Sierra shared in the corner of the barracks. Listening to the rhythmic sound of the many colonists breathing in and out, she frustratingly tried to force herself to sleep.
Three weeks had passed by since Leah and Sierra's arrival at the colony of the Rogues. Waiting anxiously for the imminent return of the mistress, they were met with a growing sense of foreboding as she never returned with her second in command. Bronson merely put it off as complications on the mission they were on, but Leah and Sierra suspected more.
Leah turned over for what felt like the hundredth time that night. Wondering what could be keeping her awake this long, her mind flashed to the chilling nightmares that had plagued her before her escape from Uluru. The fear of death. The burning, convulsing agony that came with the lightning burn. And the fear of never being able to be free. To see her mother.
Tears gathered in her eyes as she remembered the traumatic experience with the cold-hearted psychiatrist. Do you seen now Leah? She's moved on. You returning would only hurt her more.
Confronting her mother had crossed her mind several times while planning her exodus from Uluru, but the psychiatrist's words eternally cycled through her mind. What if returning really would hurt her? It has been four years now...would she actually believe that it was you? Would she think she'd gone crazy? Would she think the grief from the past had come back in some new, twisted form?
Leah's train of thought was broken as the door from the training courtyard quietly creaked open. Two Rogue agents stumbled through the door, carrying between them a large box. Leah took it as a supply box from the storage area, but was confused when the agents started showing difficulty carrying it, as if it was extremely heavy.
Putting her thoughts aside, including thoughts of her mother, she was relieved when her eyes started drooping and she slipped into blissful sleep.
"HELP!!! PLEASE, SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
Leah and Sierra bolted awake, along with the rest of the colony, at the sound of the screams and bangs coming from the mistress' chambers.
"SOMEBODY PLEASE! GET ME OUT OF HERE!" the voice sobbed.
Two Rogue agents, presumably the ones who brought in the box, rushed in from their cots to the door to the chambers. Opening the lock, they rushed in and closed the door quickly behind them.
"No, please, I'll be good, I'LL BE GOOD! PLEASE!"
The screams stopped, leaving the rest of the colony to go back to bed unfazed and Leah and Sierra to just sit in their beds, staring at the door.
Two weeks passed from the horrific outburst, and yet Leah and Sierra were still having their own nightmares about it. As soon as morning broke, according to a new enormous clock planted on the side of the barracks, Leah and Sierra bombarded Bronson with questions about the screams.
"I swear to you, it was just a little problem with one of our more mentally challenged members. We put him in the mistress chambers so as to protect the rest of you. It's nothing to worry about."
"Then why did the voice start begging for their life after two of your agents went in to fix it?" Sierra accused.
"Well, it's a she for one thing, and she was afraid of us. She thought we would harm her for speaking out of turn, and we only expelled her from the colony."
"You banished her?" Leah asked.
"We had no choice. We couldn't have a risk to the colonists staying here."
"But wouldn't she reveal your location?" Leah asked.
"And what about her safety?" Sierra added.
Bronson was cut off as a rumbling sound started coming from above the train. Bronson rushed to an intercom posted on the wall near the mistress' chambers.
"What's going on up there?"
"A BDA agent was prowling around the causeway and he dug his way into the tunnel. What do you want us to do?"
"Cut off that section and flood it immediately. Make sure he has nothing to report."
The colonists in the room listened at the sound of an earthen wall being raised on two sides, then the thundering sound the lake fighting it's way into the cut off section. A small echo of a scream escaped through the ceiling and fought through to be heard by the anxious colonists.
"The tunnel is clear sir. Nothing got through."
"Excellent work. Drain the tunnel and remove the..debris."
Another two weeks passed after the breach of security in the tunnel. Leah and Sierra began to debate the safety of staying at the Rogue's colony.
"We need to leave Leah. This is getting out of hand."
"Leah, I'm half convinced they murdered the person screaming in the chambers that night. And why she was even here is getting me nervous. Along with the breach, they just murdered that agent without a doubt..Bronson told them to without hesitation."
"He was just trying to keep us safe."
"It was cruel and heartless. We could've at least taken him prisoner or something. Something other than heartless murder. He told them to clean up the debris, like he wasn't even a human being."
"I'm sure he just doesn't have pleasant feelings towards the BDA."
"It's still wrong. And I bet that wasn't the first."
"Are you calling him a liar?"
"I'm saying I don't trust him."
Bronson came walking over from the intercom, a worried look on his face as he watched the two girls bickering.
"Hey, what's going on?"
"It's nothing Bronson, just a little argue," Leah stated, trying to hide the contempt.
"I was wondering why you had to just murder that agent?" Sierra asked without hesitation.
"Don't worry, it's okay to ask. We had to, we had no other choice. He's one of them."
"Could you not have captured him?"
"Our orders from the mistress are to kill any BDA agents that come by unless otherwise specified by her. I'm sorry Sierra, but I was only following orders."
Bronson walked away silently, a regretful look on his face.
"See that? He's upset about it too."
"I'm feeling better about him, it's just the mistress that's still giving me chills."
"What about her?"
"Leah, we've been here for seven weeks now, and you haven't been taught one waterbending move. Even Bronson hasn't offered to teach you."
"I'm sure he's just waiting for the mistress to come."
"And that's what scares me Leah. These people just keep droning on and on about their love for this woman. And if cold-blooded murder is on her orders, then we need to stay away from this woman."
"Are you suggesting we leave?"
"What other choice do we have? Staying here is dangerous."
"Will they let us?"
"I tried a couple days ago, they say that we need a member of the Rogues to escort us out."
"So that's it then? There's no way out."
"Yes there is Sierra. There's gotta be."
Two more weeks passed, and Leah and Sierra were dead asleep in their beds. Suddenly, a hand landed on each of their shoulders, jolting them awake.
"Wha? What's going on?" Sierra said groggily.
"I'm sorry, but there's no time to explain. Get up and get your things," the voice said, an anxious tone in its voice.
"Bronson? What're you doing?" Leah asked.
"Please girls, there's no time to explain. Just please get up, we're running out of time."
In a daze, the two friends rushed awake and packed their things hurriedly. They rushed out of the barracks, being careful as to not awake any of the other colonists. They ran through the training arena and storage area, coming out of the train and on the elevator. Bronson knocked on the wall of the tunnel impatiently, and the elevator began to rise.
They emerged in the first tunnel, an earthen wall still across it from the breach. Bronson tapped on the wall again and the train came crashing through the wall, scattering bits of earth and a wave of water across the floor.
"Please girls, get on quickly," stated Bronson, looking behind him.
They got on the train and it rushed off towards the airlock at a rushed pace. Within minutes, they arrived at the wall concealing it as the entrance revealed itself. They jogged through the tunnel and arrived at the cutter ship. A set of stairs constructed themselves and they rushed up to the ship. Taking water from multiple jugs on the ship, Bronson flooded the floor of the airlock with two feet of water, enough to float the ship.
Using the remaining water, he made the shield around the boat as the ceiling opened and the airlock flooded with lake water. The ice bubble floated to the surface, arriving with a mighty splash as Bronson quickly conjured some fog to cover them. By himself, Bronson manipulated the currents and made the ship speed off towards the coast.
A few rushed minutes passed until they arrived at the same coast where they had landed.
"Leah, make an earthen hill and rush us off towards the town."
Obeying his command out of the fear in his voice, they sped off towards the town in a cloud of dust. Using Bronson's directions while traveling on the outskirts, they soon arrived at a lonely airport, a lone plane sitting on the runway.
"Get on the plane. It's on autopilot, and just follow the directions." Bronson yelled, throwing their luggage through the open door.
"But why Bronson?" Leah asked.
"It's for your own good Leah. Don't ever come back here, it's dangerous. People who come here never leave, and that's not fair for two innocent girls who have already been through so much."
"But what would happen?"
"No time, just get on the plane!"
Fearful of his words and growing anxiety, they clobbered up the steps and into the cabin. Taking one last look at him, he slammed the door shut and pressed a button on a remote, starting the plane. They strapped themselves in as the plane rushed off up and above the lake.
Looking down through the window, they saw a massive cloud of fog. In the center visible only for a moment from the light of a full moon, was an enormous cutter ship, easily triple the size of the normal ones. The ship sailed at a rapid pace towards the place near the causeway where the airlock was. The sails of the ship were a deep purple and blue, reminding Leah of the dream as her mother's words echoed in her head.
"Run Leah. Run."
For the collective works of the author, go here.