Sun, 18 January 2009 - 3:25 pm

Sally

I should have paid more attention.  I should have known that this place has a different meaning for one of our number.  I should have known not to let her look after the doctor, not to let her go off on her own.

Sally has been missing since yesterday.  It’s hard to say who noticed first; I was just starting to wonder why the group seemed small, and then Sax said she wasn’t here.  No-one can remember when we saw her last.

As soon as we realised she was gone, I knew where we’d find her.  I remember the way she used to claw at her arms and shiver, even though it’s not cold.  She had always hung towards the back of the group, but when we got to the hospital, she was up at the front.  I hadn’t thought much of it at the time, but I should have.  I should have noticed her more, the way she looked around here with alert eyes, the way she offered to help me find supplies.  The way she was quiet when we found the doctor and his fellow escapees.

I guess I was too wound up in myself, my problems, and the shattering of my own hopes to notice hers blossoming.

 

Thorpe said that we shouldn’t bother to go get her.  That she’d made her choice and to hell with her.  And as awful as it sounds, I agreed with him.  Sally’s an adult (though I don’t know how old she actually is), and can make her own decisions.  But she’s still one of us.  She might need our help.  And if we leave her up there, she’ll die; they don’t have any supplies beyond the drugs.  Nothing to live on but plenty to die with.  I couldn’t live with that, with just leaving her to a short fate up there.

There was a huge argument.  I think the only one who didn’t get involved was Nugget; the girl hasn’t said a word yet and I don’t know if she even understood what was going on.  Even Dillon weighed in, defending me when Thorpe started to loom over me.  I think he was trying to protect me, a terrier against the tiger.  The tiger ignored him, of course, but I appreciate that he tried.  And as much as Thorpe might tower over me, I don’t think he’d ever actually do anything to hurt me.  Either way, I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me.

It’s not like I’m going to go up there and drag her back down here, or lock her in the next room until she’s clean again.  I just have to try.  I have to try to get her back, to pull her out of that stinking place, to save her from starving to death while she’s too high to care. 

Ben backed me up, and Sax said that Sally had to make her own choices.  And he’s right!  I don’t want to force her.  But I don’t want to give up on her.  I can’t.  What if she was duped?  What if this isn’t what she wanted?  What if she ends up like the girl with the empty eyes?

This group, the seven of us, we’ve looked after each other through this nightmare.  That’s how we got this far, that’s why we’re still alive.  Thorpe might ask what the hell it matters, but we’re here and we’re doing all right.  Not many can say that.  So many were lost, so we have to hold on to everyone we have while they’re still here.  We have to.

He went quiet and just stared at me as if I had just said something terrible.  “Fine, do what the hell you like,” he said, and walked out.  I wanted to go after him, I wanted to fix it, even while I was still angry with him for trying to write her off.  I don’t know why he was so angry with me.  Sally is a person, not an asset.  There was no point pursuing it with Thorpe, not then, so the door closed behind him with an empty swish.

 

Ben and I are going to go upstairs, to see if we can find Sally.  He’s feeling well enough and says that he wants the walk.  Sax disapproves and is scowling, but he won’t get in the way.  I think there’s something personal about this for him; I’ve told him that I’m going to leave it up to her, but he still doesn’t want us to go up there.

I’ve asked Dillon to stay behind and look after Nugget.  I don’t want the kid to see any more of what’s up there and he likes to have responsibility.  I told him to go look for Thorpe if he isn’t back in the next half an hour, too.  Just in case.

Almost time to go.  Time to see if our group is splintering.  Time to see if we’ve lost one more of our already small number.  I put the knife in my bag; that’s not what I’m going to do up there.  I don’t need it.  I just need her to come back.

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