A/N: I'm sorry I've been away for so long. Life has been really hard on me. At first issues concerning my own health. Then a family member falling ill. Alongside a large amount of stress, I lost my creativity for a long time. I hope this chapter isn't as bad as I think it is, as I haven't been myself lately. I was in a far better shape when I wrote the previous chapters. But I hope it's okay at least. Trying to give you something to read while I gather my strength.
There are more characters, some get a dive in their heads, some are only mentioned or saying a few lines. I took a liberty to make some changes.
Any mistakes, interpretations of the actual story (I do not own anything) and lapses are solely mine.
Rachel was a bit confused of her sudden freedom. She had been a prisoner for so long that she had forgotten her life before that. She felt this crazy need to be safe in the apartment she had spent so many years in. The doors locked all the time. No access to the outside world. Unless Monroe had something in his mind and tried to get some information out of her. Or to share his damn delusions about expanding his Militia to cover the old U.S. or even the whole continent. Or just simply to play games with her.
It was rare, but sometimes at night, Monroe came to her, having a pity party with himself, an opened whiskey bottle in his hand. Two glasses on the other hand.
That place was her safety, as it was the place for her slowly forming insanity and ongoing suffering. She tried to fight the urge to go back there. She knew she was a mess. So she tried to talk to herself. "You've got this."
Her own voice sounded strange to her. The worst was that she didn't even believe her own words.
She stopped at a shady corner, closing her eyes. Completely abandoning the plans of vengeance for Monroe. It was hard, after all those years. She had kept that promise for herself for such a long time. But she knew that Monroe would overpower her immediately with his men and just capture her again.
The situation changing again, that wasn't an option. She had her dear children back at last.
Charlie and Danny. Her eyes watered. She had missed years from their childhood. Remembering them now, as adults, made her happy. They had made it. Survived to this day, unscathed. A smile crept on her face.
She needed to do something else. She remembered the machine. If she couldn't kill Monroe or make him pay for what he had done, she could sabotage his plans of overtaking the whole continent. She concentrated on that. After reaching a stable mindset she opened her eyes. She started to move.
Near the old power plant, close to the East gate
Aaron was wondering why the hell he had thought he could ever survive this. Why he had left the safety of Sylvania Estates. Even teaching the sometimes annoying children was better than this. He closed his eyes and fell into his memories of the past. The time before the blackout. Everything had been so simple back then. Clean. Effortless. Clear.
He had been working for Internet company. He was living his dream with his beautiful wife. There hadn't been any violence, nor the survival fight of the fittest. No crazy Monroe and his army. And no bombs. Especially not bombs.
"You can do this, Aaron.", Nora said and he opened his eyes to see her brown ones staring at him.
"What makes you think that? I'm just an IT-guy. Without computers, I'm nothing."
"Well, today Mr. Nobody is going to blow up that wall there, when we need it.", Nora said firmly.
"How do I know when to do that?"
"You'll know, trust me.", she said and looked at Miles, who had been waiting further away.
Aaron took the bag she was handing him, with shaky hands.
Aaron was sure he would manage to blow himself up. Well, at least that would be a miserable end to his miserable life. He felt the sweat rise to his brow just by thinking about that there was some bombs in his bag and he was going to set them off later on.
He wondered if he would actually manage to sever himself, would there be a headstone on his grave? He imagined the engraving: 'Loser'."
"Enough of that.", he told to himself.
He wiped his forehead with his already dirty sleeve. Now, his head was dry but covered in brown dust.
He walked into a hideout and waited, trying not to get irritated by the fact that he was sweating like a pig again. It was the damn stress, he should try and think about something else.
"Like there are some freaking bombs in my bag?"
He gave up and sat down, setting the bag carefully down. He checked that he still had the matches with him. Then he just waited. He imagined that the sweat trickling now from his neck under his shirt, was actually water. He remembered the hot showers he used to have. It gave him peace.
He heard several gunshot fired inside the fences, probably from different kind of guns from the sound of it. "This is the moment.", he said and gathered the bombs. He moved in position to the gate and started to work.
"What the heck..."
The damn matches didn't work. They were probably moist. He ran to his backpack and took out his fire steel.
Rachel didn't have to look far to find the machine. She was alone in the room, probably for the sound of gunshots fired she heard earlier from the distance.
There was no sign of Dr. Jaffe or anyone else. She would have killed him if she would have found him. There was no room for being sentimental when there were bigger problems at hand. She needed to be as ruthless as Monroe to win him in his own game. She had no problem with that after what she had been through, over the time of her imprisonment. She needed to put things right.
Just as she was going to sabotage the machine, she heard something. She turned fast on her heels.
"Well, well, what do I find?", Strausser said with unfriendly gleam in his eyes.
Rachel felt cold steel in her stomach and she caught up her breath. She saw his muscles tense and she guessed what he was going to do. She was as ready as she could be, hyper aware of him, her heart pounding in her chest, the blood in her veins flooding into her muscles. She tried not to feel anything as it would make her more vulnerable.
Strausser attacked her. He was heavier and bulkier than Rachel and he seemed to have the upper hand for those properties. Rachel didn't manage to hit him, he averted her easily. He hit her hard, she could feel the dull pain on her face and see her vision filling with stars. The kinetic energy, with her loosing her balance, sent her sprawling down on the floor.
He mounted her, pressing her painfully against the cold, hard floor with his full weight.
Rachel felt disgusted as she felt him on herself, like he was cold and something slimy. He smelled bad and she remembered the pain by his scent. Strausser smiled at her, not pleasantly. She knew what he wanted. His evil eyes told her everything what she didn't want to hear.
"Monroe wants me alive.", she managed to groan.
"So do I. It's much more fun.", Strausser said.
The tone of his voice, combined with the meaning of those words were rising some bile in her throat. She swallowed it down. She needed to do something. And fast.
Inside the power plant
Charlie sneaked out from the stairwell, a gun in her hand. She was afraid, but also angry. Her heart pounded in her chest and the sweat was making her shirt cling on to her skin. She stepped out carefully from the opening. She didn't want to get shot. Danny followed closely behind her, still a bit dazed for everything that had happened. She felt a strong need to protect him. Her little brother.
She extended a hand for her injured brother. They took shelter from one of the machines. Once they moved, someone started to shoot them. They ran.
A man tried to stop them. Charlie saw him grow a blade out of his chest. It was Miles's.
The assembly room
Rachel wanted deliberately to remember every time Strausser tortured her. The sharp blades sliding into her bleeding flesh, burning like hell. Him causing her even more searing pain, turning the sharp knives in her flesh. His wicked smile while he enjoyed when she bled and suffered, her tears silently flowing for extreme pain. Him hitting, slicing, stinging her, with any object he could find in his pain inducing tool collection. Until she screamed. That was the point what he seemed to enjoy the most. It probably turned the sick bastard on.
Those memories gave her almost inhuman rage and cold blood, in which she grabbed whatever she could find, yet managing to smile at Strausser like she was suddenly up to what he had in mind. She felt something metallic behind her head and wrapped her fingers around it. She hit him with the metal rod as hard as she could and rolled away from him.
Many thoughts running simultaneously through her mind, like a flock of fleeing birds, hard to catch and barely touching her. Her mind on survival mode, constantly assessing the situation, remembering everything she needed to know, telling her what to do next.
She grabbed quickly one of Strausser's knives, then straddled Strausser, pinning him under her. Then, before he had the time to hit her again, she imagined the location of his heart under the sternum and hit him by full force, the blade sinking easily into his chest like it was butter.
"You had this coming, you sick son of a bitch!", she spat.
Strausser looked surprised. He was about to say something but then he didn't. A small trail of blood appeared to the corner of his mouth. His eyes started to wander, like he had trouble focusing them.
Rachel watched how the life started to flow out of him, to somewhere she couldn't follow. Although a part of her wanted to. She had been in this prison for so many years that she had lost her mind, many times already. Only the rage, the promise of sweet revenge and the coldness keeping her alive anymore.
She looked at the corpse, wondering if it was the same knife Strausser had used on her before, that was now buried into his chest. For a moment she thought about the irony of the situation. Then she left his still body on the floor and walked for the doorway.
A form emerged in the opening. A Monroe militia soldier, with a gun at his hand, ready to shoot. She stopped, cold steel forming inside her. She was still full of adrenaline for the recent fight. This was different. She was going to die. If she didn't know what to do. She saw the man, trying to look past her. The look on his face confirmed that he saw the corpse on the floor.
She braced herself when he lifted his gun and pointed at her. She wanted to see his eyes, but they were just dead. He didn't care about her life. To him she was a threat and had to be eliminated.
One shot boomed in the narrow hallway. To her surprise it was the soldier who fell, not her. First to his knees, with amazed look on his face. Then the rest of him thumped on the floor.
Rachel felt her heart racing in her chest. She was trying to breath. Another person came to the opening. This one was familiar, tall, dark hair a bit longer than she remembered. He lifted his gun barrel up when he saw her.
"Miles?", she said, her voice barely audible.
"You okay?", he asked.
"Yeah.", she says. Then pause. "Miles? Is that really you?"
"Last time I checked.", he said, not bothering to think why she asked that.
He didn't have time for that with so many things going on and their lives at stake.
He looked inside the room where she came from. Strausser laid there, dead.
"Get outta here. The kids are out already."
He lead her closer to the exit.
Rachel swallowed. Her eyes watered. She wasn't alone in this anymore. She didn't need to go to her room. Miles was here. The first thing she did, she slapped him in the face. For leaving her to Monroe's mercy.
They didn't have the time to settle that. Monroe's men came after them, Baker leading them.
"Miles, you are like a bad penny.", Jeremy said with his men.
The bullets started to fly in the air, hitting the wall and the doorway. Rachel ran away with Miles, having a new found spike of energy since finding out that he was there.
Monroe found Miles, alone. He watched as Miles shot all his guards while Monroe jumped behind some cabinet, just in time. At first they pointed each other with guns. Miles couldn't shoot him this time either.
Monroe was ready to take him back. He wanted it so badly that he wanted to forget how he had tried to kill him four years ago.
His life would be perfect if Miles would come back. They would be happy again. This time they would never part. They would rule together the Militia. Just like the old days.
He saw him put his gun down. He felt hope. Maybe he would join him. He felt happy for the first time in four years. He would get Miles back and everything would be alright.
"Come back. Join me. We were such a good pair. We could rule the Republic again.", Monroe said, wiping happy tears from his eyes.
Miles saw right through him. Things were just like he had left them four years ago. Nothing had changed in his absence. Monroe was still the same. A deluded tyrant. He could see it in his eyes. On the verge of madness, mixed with hope of ruling the country. He even felt sorry for him.
Other people had a life. They lived. They experienced different aspects of it. Accidences, found happiness in themselves, in other people. Got a family, friends. They grew as persons. Monroe hadn't changed a bit. Sometimes people only changed when it was too painful to stay in their old form. Miles only hoped there was be some humanity left in Monroe. After all these years. But he was afraid that he was too far. Cold, violent, power-seeking maniac.
Miles remembered them as kids. They were best friends. Playing, riding bikes. What the hell had happened to those two boys? Miles had gotten rid of the darkness by leaving Monroe. What if Monroe was too far to be saved? His only choice was tough love. He needed to make him feel something.
"I'm sorry.", Miles said, his voice a bit rough.
"What?", Monroe asked, still moved.
"I'm sorry I didn't shoot you the first time."
Miles watched Monroe's face change color. The hope of reunite dying in his eyes. The look on his face turning cold. Like a dark cloud had fallen upon him, his jaw tightened and the stare of his eyes pierced him with ice. Suddenly he could sense the danger emanating from him.
Monroe felt so hurt he thought he would fall to pieces on the damn floor. His eyes started to water for the pain. It was so strong it felt almost like physical. Miles was deliberately insulting him. He had tricked him into believing that he would join him. After he tried to comprehend that, he felt his old friend, the anger rising. If Miles wanted to die, he would take care of that. Monroe attacked him, consumed completely by his rage.
The fight with Miles didn't last long. Jeremy Baker was onto them with his men.
"Kill him.", Monroe said to Baker.
Miles managed barely to escape from the open window, Baker's men having their guns blaring and bullets hitting the window and the wall.
Monroe ordered the helicopter after the escaping group. He didn't care who Miles was with. He needed to die. No one would live after that kind of insult against him, the General Monroe. Not even Miles. He had no problem giving the pilot and the co-pilot their orders.
He watched from the high above, from the terrace at the side of the building, over the landscape. How they first stared at the copter, like they were not believing their eyes. Then they started to flee. Running into the forest. He stared until he couldn't see them anymore. The explosion in the distance after the short disappearance of the helicopter didn't ease him, as he had predicted. It just made him feel cold emptiness. He wiped his drying nose blood to his black sleeve, with the tears he had shed. He swore he would never let anyone hurt him like that again. Everyone trying that would be killed.
Miles, Nora, Rachel, Charlie, Danny, they all ran onto a hayfield. Then they stopped, hearing a weird sound. She guessed it was the machines. All shining like they had been recently cleaned, which was really weird. She wondered what Monroe would do with them? What were they capable of? Knowing Monroe, it wasn't anything good.
The helicopter rising from the platform made Charlie think of Aaron's stories of the flying machines, beasts and other not so nice creatures. The rolls on the sides started to turn, vicious speed, making a low noise. Miles told them to run. She knew it had something to do with the rolling machines.
She realized they were machine guns when the bullets started to hit various places rapidly, close to them.
They are shooting at us!
She couldn't believe it.
They ran like hell was closing in on them, but the bullets were swishing through the air just behind them. The copter followed them relentlessly, even when they ran through a small forest.
Miles led them to a yard of an old diner and in from the door.
The copters were ready to launch their missiles.
"Quickly, into the cold room!", Miles yelled and they ran in. Not caring if their shoulders hit the door frames when trying to escape the immediate danger. Who needed shoulders if they were dead? Miles pulled the door close, tightly. They sought shelter behind the shelves. And then they just waited in the dark. Only a dim light coming from the small window of the door.
When they had to just wait in silence, she had time to think.
How could Monroe let the copter after them, after all that they had been going through? Charlie was deeply hurt by that. She didn't understand why he would do that.
Maybe Monroe had totally lost his mind. She had done everything that he wanted. And what did he do? He sent a helicopter to kill them all.
That fucking bastard.
Without Miles and his quick thinking they would have been all dead now.
Suddenly something hit the building with a force that shook the whole place like it was a toy in a giant's hand. Simultaneously the light from the small window grew so bright, so hard she couldn't look at it. She closed her eyes. The noise was unbearable so she put her hands over her ears. Crouched behind a shelf with the others she had nothing she could do, but to wait that the firestorm behind the door would stop.
A/N: Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment if you like.