Fri, 26 June 2009 - 8:37 pm

Begging

There’s still no sign of whatever is sending people in this direction. They keep coming, moving through the area, passing down lanes and alleys and hurrying across roads. There aren’t many of them now – they come in well-spaced-out clumps. The only reason we keep track of them at all is because the roof of this warehouse is higher than most around here.

Just before the rain started today, a small group stumbled into the yard out front of our warehouse. Some of the boys had slipped out to look for supplies – we’re starting to run low on some things – and the group arrived just as they returned. The clouds were gathering and they saw an open door; what happened next was inevitable.

The sickly green veil of the rain was approaching and they ran for it, water chasing at their heels. They skittered and didn’t slow down as they neared the door, despite the shouts within for them to stop. They ploughed inside, tumbling to the concrete floor in a messy heap. The rain was right behind them – we had to scrabble to get the door closed and stop the damn stuff from being blown inside and onto any of us.

 

There were huffy words as the strangers peeled themselves out of the mess on the floor and stood up again, dusting themselves down. No-one was hurt, luckily.

The last thing I expected was to recognise one of them. I heard the fuss and went to help, and found myself staring at a familiar face. I stopped and took in the sight before me, unable to find any words. It felt like someone had hit me in the solar plexus, stealing my breath.

Bree. Finally looking like she had realised the world had ended, she had drooping hair and torn tights. She noticed me with dismay and tried to straighten her jacket. She seemed thinner than I remembered from those few weeks ago. She was still wearing heels, but she seemed smaller somehow.

“They’re from the Pride,” I managed to say, and that changed the tone of matters.

The boys drew themselves up and formed a wall around the interlopers. There was only four of them but that name held a lot of threat.

“Toss the fuckers out,” Masterson said without hesitation.

“There is no Pride any more,” the other girl said. She was dressed like Bree and couldn’t have been older than seventeen.

“What are you talking about?” Jersey demanded of them.

“They’re gone, they’re all gone.” The girl was on the verge of tears, barely able to control the trembling of her lip.

“You’re right here,” I pointed out.

“This is all that’s left,” Bree said, looking directly at me. “They rest are dead. Faith, it’s just us. Please.”

Of all the times I dreamed about her apologising to me, begging me for something, it wasn’t like this. It tasted a little too much like blood for my liking. Conroy pulled me out of my thoughts by giving me a surprised look and asking, “You know her?”

 

For once, I was determined not to make the decision for the group. We told the Pride remnants to hand over their weapons, all of them. They were reluctant but they did as they were told. Between Thorpe’s looming and Masterson’s wild looks, they didn’t dare not to.

After firm instructions to stay exactly where they were, we drew back to consider the matter. Masterson was ready to beat them all to death himself; there was more venom in him than I’ve ever seen before. Sally was silent and wouldn’t meet my eye. I can’t imagine what it was like for her, after what she did with them. What she did for us.

Matt was the one who voiced the question that has always driven these choices: do we want to become killers, or do we take a chance on these people? Our options were limited because the rain was pounding on the roof; throwing them out meant killing them. We could let them stay, in various stages of freedom, but between the hate and the danger, no-one was eager to do it.

That step was still a big one to take, though. I don’t think anyone here has ever intentionally killed another person, not even the Wolverines. We all had that same look, the one that was afraid to know what murder felt like.

Imprisonment was the best choice. Strip them of their gear, lock them up in the warehouse’s office, and the watches can keep an eye on them through the night. We talked it around for a while, but we kept coming back to the same thing, so that’s what we did. I had to send Sally away to check on Dillon and Dale, and then Masterson to make sure she was all right, but we managed to get the intruders cowed and into the office without any problems.

They’ll be cold tonight, but that’s tough. All things considered, they’re lucky. From their faces, I think they know it. I wish that was a comfort.

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