Saturday, 19 December 2009 - 4:54 pm

The weight of maybes

Now that the saboteur has been found and dealt with, attention in the group is turning outwards. The foraging party is going out armed. Of those who stay behind, we have to spare a couple of bodies from the work to keep watch on the roads.

Everyone is wired tight. It doesn’t help that we have a constant reminder of the threats around us, as one of the men strong-arms Warren around the greenhouses. The ex-soldiers aren’t trusted to watch him; there’s an under-riding suspicion that he didn’t act alone.

The saboteur is unhappy and resistant, but he works when he’s instructed to. He has bruises today that he didn’t have yesterday. I haven’t asked where they came from, and if I’m honest, I don’t want to know.


He pulled a gun on me. I thought he’d do it, I really thought he’d kill me. The intention was right there in his face. Warren would have killed three of us with one bullet – me and the baby, and the part of Matt he had allowed to love us.

I heard the tremor in Matt’s voice: he was scared, truly terrified that I was about to be shot in front of him. I’ve seen him hurt before, I’ve seen the roughness of his scars and how he armours himself. This will be worse. This is so much more than that. He talks about family like it’s something he wants, and he hates his own. He always has.

It hurts every time I think about that. All the damage that might have been done piles up and tries to suffocate me. Even though it didn’t happen, the weight of maybes is there, waiting for me.

I don’t think I’m dealing very well with what happened.


Whenever I look at Warren now, there’s an odd flutter in my chest. There’s a memory caught inside that wakes up in the face of the reminder. When he looks at me, it pounds and I can’t move. Someone has to come along and pull me out of it.

The first time I froze, Thorpe shook me by the shoulder and asked if I was all right. Then he saw who I was staring at and scowled as he manhandled me out of the greenhouse.

“You all right?” he asked. He looked honestly worried, beneath the frown and the grip on my arm. He let go when he realised he might be leaving marks.

“Yeah. Yeah,” I said. I don’t think he believed me; I barely convinced myself.

I gave him a little smile, then stepped in and squeezed him around the ribs. He wrapped a big arm around my back and I felt safe. Better. I breathed out and something inside relaxed. There was awkwardness in the way he patted my shoulder and that peeled me off him in the end; he doesn’t handle this stuff well. It pleases me no end that he lets me do it, though. Even Dale doesn’t get hugs in public.

“You’re the best big brother,” I told him. He blinked at me, startled, but it’s true. He is like a big brother to me. I’ve never had one of those before.

Poor Thorpe didn’t know what to say to me, so I thanked him and went on my way. I couldn’t think about work; instead, I went to find Matt and surprised him with a kiss. He asked me what was wrong and I didn’t know what to tell him.

“I’m sorry I scared you,” I said finally. He gathered me up and I held on tight.

“We’re all right,” he said into my hair. “We’re both all right.” It was something more than mere bodies to hold onto.


We’re still waiting for more maybes. We caught our saboteur, but now what? We don’t know if Haven’s coming after us or not; Warren was prevented from sending any signals, but we can’t be sure that’s enough. We’re still waiting for Iona’s nebulous threat to turn up as well – we haven’t forgotten about them. Between moments of comfort and levity, the waiting presses on all of us in heavy silences. In a way, we wish they would get here already, so that we can get it over and done with, one way or the other.

I guess there’s nothing we can do to hurry it along, though. We could let Warren go, but we don’t want Haven here, so that would be crazy. All we can do is wait and watch. Watch and wait.

And hope that somehow, we escape everyone’s notice.