168 Days Until Faith And the Uncertain End (part 2)
Heia walked around the house that was built up to protect them. They had stripped some other rooms to better fortify one room that was smoldering in heat. Blankets were everywhere, as they were all to sleep in the one room. They were on the walls, the windows, the floor, and surrounding the space heater. Their supplies were stacked in areas to keep the food from spoiling. Everyone was moving about figuring out how to best fix the cars and bus back to a suitable living environment when they left the place. Everyone was fitted out in the best winter clothes that they had, as Uly and Rayda dialed in the weather reports. Watch had been decided, set to rotate in and out of the room. Traps had been laid to alert them of Aralax in the even that there was an approach.
Snow was piled up in the lands around them, and the chains on the tires were being checked as they breathed out white in the frigid air. Evester had lectured them incessantly over the headset about what they had to be prepared for and as the night approached, Heia felt her heart racing. Even if the Aralax were far away, had not come here in months, they were sitting ducks. They were in the most danger, because this would be the most comfort that they’d be allotted.
“You okay Heia?” Shawn intercepted her as she walked through the hall from where the food was held and back towards the warm room.
“You got first watch right?” She avoided the question.
“Are you okay Heia?” He stated this time knowing she’d avoided it. he cut off her retreat, leaning against the hall wall, eyeing her. There was no judgement in his eyes as he watched her. This was just her best friend asking her for her mental state when they’d had nothing but a fright.
“Do you think Layla and Andre are okay?” She asked instead.
“We have to believe they are.” He said, not biting the bait. “What are you really thinking?”
Looking her best friend over once more she motioned for him to follow her outside where the others were moving supplies from the bus to inside the house. Kim was directing Lynx and Onyx, her hair tied low to cover her ears. She rubbed her hands and breathed out, her breath visible. She was watching the horizon for any and all signs of movement before looking back to the house and Heia looked away. Like Kim could see her, and if she did, Kim wasn’t watching for her. “I’m worried.”
“About tonight?” Shawn asked.
“About all of this. Did those Xs survive? Did we make a difference? Is the world on fire because of our live stream?” It was the first time she had been able to articulate it. What they had done to save the people, they hadn’t seen it through. They’d left them for the wolves and the wolves could have murdered them all. They hadn’t checked back in to see what happened, because doing so would alert the world to where they were. And if not the world, then those who were hunting them.
“Probably.” He only answered the final question. “We chose this.”
They chose to be on the run. He chose to follow her and she chose to follow Evester. They were fighting against a system that was trying to save only the few. They were fighting for a people who couldn’t fight for themselves, and those who didn’t want to fight at all. And Heia couldn’t even be sure that they children survived.
She couldn’t even guarantee that they had not started a war. Their live stream would have incriminated the Stars. The Circles. The Xs. Everyone was involved and because of that everyone was going to hide it. Avoid it. Blame the other. Just when they needed to come together to survive. What if they had driven the world further apart?
“I need to help the world.” Heia answered. “I can not simply work on the space project.”
“It will save everyone.” He told her the base fact. The space program could get them off the planet. But what then? When they got to their new home? Would they kill each other then? What if there was no then? What if they killed each other in space? What if— What if they did the job for the Aralax?
“But if there is no one to save?” Heia looked out to the distance to Kim who seemed to be starring directly at her. For the smallest of moments Heia was not sure, and then Kim waved, before smiling and Heia struggled to wave back. Kim… Kim had been just as distraught as Heia had been at the sight of the children. And Kim could die because of a potential war. They had sparked something that had been simmering. The infighting. The destruction caused by humans. What if there was no one to save after all of it? That there was no one to be trusted.
“There will always be someone to save.” Shawn walked closer to her, hugging her and she relaxed into his hold. He was warm. He was safe. In his arms she had never had her fears. He took hers as she took his. “We will make sure there is someone to save.”
She wanted to believe it but as the sun set and the air grew cooler she wasn’t sure. The Aralax waste lands were proof that they couldn’t trust each other, X’s and Circles. The destruction of the cities, proved that no one cared. The stollen children proved that they cared even less than she thought. Everyone was living in their bubble, struggling to believe it wasn’t the end, and Heia wasn’t certain they could survive, if something was not done.
But what could be done? What if bringing the world to the same knowledge had started a war? What if trying to save the world, doomed them all?