The First Wave
Author: Hollie Leanne

Chapter 8
Chapter Eight

We fell quiet for a while, but the smirk never fell from his face. I wanted to glare at him but I knew he would pay no mind, so instead I kept my head down. There was no point in arguing or fighting, for he towered over me and probably had the power of a tiger compared to myself. I only had speed on my side, but even then I knew I could never outrun him. My next chance would be once evening fell, but that wasn’t something I was willing to think about just yet. 

I needed to survive the day, first. 

When the minutes of silence pushed towards an hour, I paused to grab my iPod and headphones from my pack. The fog had only grown thicker, and at first he didn’t notice me stop in the middle of the road. He marched ahead like a ghoul as the murkiness engulfed him, and I found myself mesmerised by the beauty of a natural element consuming a living human being, just like that. It was an art form that could never be captured through a photograph or beneath a pencil. Only my own eyes could capture the splendour of something so simple. 

“Hurry up! Don’t try to be stupid!” he shouted ahead, unseen but certainly heard. 

I let go of a held in breath, which sounded loud in the silence. I glanced behind me as I placed in my headphones and pressed play on the iPod. To my dismay the battery life began to flash red as the life began to drain out of the little device, and I prayed that it wouldn’t give out on me just yet. 

By the time the music swirled around me in a noise of comfort, my captor emerged from the fog again. He looked extremely annoyed, his young face twisted in an unnerving way. But with the comfort of the music I ignored him, marching forward despite the weight of home trying to pull me back. He was saying something, but his voice was an inaudible rumble, and I finally felt like I had won some kind of battle of stubbornness. Instead, he pushed me hard so that I was in front of him, almost losing my footing in the process. It was petty, like a sibling not getting their way. I couldn’t help but grin, despite everything. I kept my head down, focusing on finding a light at the end of the vastness that was beyond my comprehension. 

And then the music vanished, along with the headphones as they snatched free from the iPod in my pocket. 

“Do you even understand what’s happened?” he demanded, holding the headphones out of my reach. 

“Give them back!” I all but screamed at him, frantically grabbing for them. He held them above his head, and his other hand smacked against my chest, knocking the breath out of me. 

“You’re impulsive and stupid.” He said, his tone matter-of-fact. “I don’t understand how you haven’t been killed yet.” 

“Does it matter?” I snapped, grabbing for them again, but he repeated the same action as before. 

“Yes. What were you doing in that town? How long had you been there?” 

Seeing no other option, I huffed and folded my arms over my chest. We stood there, in the middle of the road, in a battle of pure stubbornness. He truly was tall, and his eyes were as cold as they had ever been, but there was no mistaking the curiosity that resided there. In his past life, he could have been good looking. I wondered, for a silly, naïve moment, if he had a family from wherever it was he came from. Was there a mother with his eyes, or a father with his jawline? It was difficult to ponder, what with how cruel he had been up until now. Yet, looking at him, I felt that there was intent behind the cruelty, one I was yet to get a grasp of. 

“I told you,” I said, glaring furiously. “I lived there. That was my home.” 

“They raided the affected areas almost immediately. You shouldn’t be alive, kid.” Suddenly his expression shifted, and he actually looked troubled, as if struggling to put a puzzle together. 

“They did raid it, but they didn’t do a good enough job.” I said, but found myself frowning. “Who are they, exactly? And what do you mean by affected?” 

In truth, I didn’t understand what had happened. Really, at this point, it didn’t matter. For weeks I had been alone, and given the fact I had thought I was going to die sooner rather than later, finding answers didn’t seem worth the effort. I had heard the riots, seen the news something raging throughout Europe in scattered images of my memory, but what teenager listened to the news? I knew my mother had worried, but my memory refused to allow me to remember. It was only now that I wished I could remember, just so I didn’t feel so stupid in front of this stranger.  

All I knew was that I was adapting to a new world that I didn’t understand. 

He shook his head, exasperated. “Unbelievable. It’s practically Armageddon and you don’t even know why.  Amazing!” he laughed despite himself, and it made me even angrier. 

“Tell me, then!” I shouted.

“No.” he said. “I ask the questions, and you answer them. Otherwise, you zip it.” he tossed the headphones back to me, but I no longer felt like wearing them. Instead I hooked them around my neck, and when he sauntered off, I followed. 

“How did you get away?” he asked as he walked, not looking back. I was almost jogging to keep up. 

“Well, I didn’t, really. I was in a car accident when everything went to shit.”

“A car accident?” he said, looking sideways at me. “What kind of accident?”

I shrugged. “I don’t really know. I just know that the car flipped, and that everything was on fire.”

“How long were you in the car?” 

“About two, maybe three days?” I still wasn’t sure. “I was unconscious for most of it.”

“And you stayed there ever since? No one came to bother you?”

I shook my head, answering in silence. When he stopped talking, I was annoyed. I didn’t trust him, but he seemed to know far more than I did, and naturally that made me curious. I had come to figure that if he were going to kill me, he would have done so already. Where before I was keen to get away, his knowledge only kept me on his chain, pulling me along almost against my will. It was like he was using his knowledge to draw me in and keep me interested. This was most likely true. Worse, it was working. Yet, what could he possibly benefit from helping a girl who simply fluked death? 

“What do you want?” I asked. 

“I said I ask the questions, not you.” He retorted, glancing at me. 

“You’re the kidnapper here, not me.” I snapped. 

“I’m actually your liberator, but whatever.” He said, his tone yet again sounding annoyed. “From here on, zip it. You do as I say, no questions. If you ask questions, you may find it gets you killed. The less you know, the better.”

“Will you kill me if I ask questions?” I asked quietly, slowing my pace. 

He paused in his stride, taking a breath. “No.” he murmured. “But others will.” 


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