I looked over at Nicolette, who looked so small crouched into the corner of the alley. The hand holding her gun was shaking and she was staring frightfully up at me, because in this society you could trust absolutely no one, even your friends. Her jeans were ripped and her shoes half falling apart, we had been running from the Silencers, because of our parents mistakes for three weeks now. Running had certainly not been fun. Her fiery red hair was blowing around her face creating an orange halo. Silently, tears slid down her face from her bright green eyes.
“Adrian?” my little sister said with a wobbly voice.
“Yeah, don’t worry Nikki, they’re gone now,” I say trying to calm her. I looked into her eyes that were like mirrors and saw myself in them. I looked terrifying with my ripped clothes, bloody face, and M-16. I reached out for her and she comes forward and embraces me tightly. She is still so young, I cannot believe how well she is keeping it together. I check if the streets are clear and then we both start walking along the falling apart road, back to our hide out in the abandoned building. We barely see any people, there must be something going on in the capitol. As we come nearer and nearer to our place I hear a small noise. I look up and listen closely again.
“Do you hear that Nikki?” I whisper.
“What?” she asks in confusion.
“There it is again!” I exclaim, “It almost sound like someone crying.”
She looks around puzzled. That is when I notice a young boy hunched over in an alley.
“Over there,” I say while pointing. We both hurry over to the young boy, who looks up at us frightfully with tears in his eyes.
“Are you okay?” I ask gently. He shies away, looking afraid from my gun.
“Who are you?” he says with fear in his voice.
“Someone who wants to help,” I respond, “Are you okay?”
“They’re after me,” he says worriedly, “They shot my sister and their after me now!”
“Don’t worry,” I tell him, “You can come with us, we have a similar problem.”
What’s your name?” I ask him.
“Julian, and what’s yours?” he responds.
“I am Adrian, and this is my sister Nicolette,” I say, “Come with us Julian, we have a spot to hide.”
I see his head dip a bit, and that is all I need before, I take them both by the hand and lead the rest of the way. It is starting to get dark and that means curfew is soon, another one of the society’s stupid rules. We sneak up the steps trying to make little noise, and then we squeeze through the tiny opening to the attic. We have a small stove here and I start heating up one of the cans of soup I stole from our pantry before we left, and Nikki shows Julian where to get comfortable. I get the soup moderately hot and ladle it into the two bowls we have. Nikki and I will have to share.
“So what’s your story Julian?” I ask as I hand him a bowl of soup.
“Uhm, well my sister Katja and I were living in a foster home. And one day the Silencers came for us, they said that they needed us for something. My sister thought something was wrong and she said that we should try to escape. They brought us into a car and told us it wouldn’t be long and everything was okay. She wanted to run as soon as they opened the door. So when they did she punched the guy in the nose and we started running, we didn’t get too far before she was shot. To run and hide was what she told me, and she told me that she would find me again. But the last thing she told me before her eyes closed was, “Find them Julian, find the rebels,” and I’ve been running ever since,” he concedes in a rush. I nod along sympathetically, I have heard many stories like this, that the children are taken away and given to the society.
“Julian, what did your sister mean, “‘Find the rebels?’ ” I ask curiously.
“Our mother told stories before she died, of people who fought against the cruelty of the
society. She said they lived in the mountains,” he says quietly. He must be talking about Mt. Diablo, there is only one mountain that could hold an organization like that. Suddenly hope shoots through me, there are others like us! I have been searching for a place for us and now we have one. I am guessing that it would take us two day to get there. I look over at Nikki and motion her over to talk to me.
“What do you think, Nikki?” I say excitedly, “This could be people that can help us!”
“Well,” she says dubiously, “It might take us a very long time to get there.”
“I think we can make it there in 1 day, “I say confidently.
“I do like the idea, though I think we should ask if Julian is actually planning on going there and if we can join him,” she replies. We both walk back over to him and sit down quietly.
“Julian, are you planning on finding them?” I ask.
“I was planning to,” he says.
“We would like to go there with you, I say, “Would you like that?”
“You would come with me,” he says in surprise.
“Of course!” I hear Nikki say.
“We were thinking they might be on Mt. Diablo,” I say, “What do you think?”
“Yeah, that’s where I was heading,” he replies.
“We should best leave now, it’s more dangerous for us to stay here now that there are three of us here,” I say as I get up.
“Go pack your stuff, Nikki let’s try to leave as soon as possible,” I state. She nods and gets up quickly to go get her backpack and some clothes. I do the same, but pack food, too. I look around to see if the place has a map that someone might have left and I find one in a back cupboard. I lay it out and see that we are going to have to take a train. Good thing one runs right by here. I see my sister is ready and talking to Julian who is also ready to go. I smile, I am glad that Nikki has someone her age that she can talk to. I come over to them and show them the map and what I think we should do.
“We are going to have to sneak onto a train to get there faster, ”I tell them, “So stay quiet, follow me, because we are trying not to attract attention,” I look over and see them nodding along. I go out to the stairs and sneak down them quietly and when I get down I look back to see if they’re following. We walk along the dirty sidewalks heads down, trying not to attract any attention. Every few seconds I will look back to see if they are still there, and after 20 minutes of silent walking I start to see the train station and point it out to the others. They both looked up and I could see excitement on Nikki’s face and wonder on Julian’s. We went up to the station where a couple other people waited.
I told them, “We are going to try and get in where the luggage is so no one will see us, okay?”
“Remember,” I tell them, “As quiet as a mouse,“ they both nod and stand there quietly. A few minutes later we hear the hoot of the train as it comes in the station. I see the compartment where the luggage is kept and move over towards that section, I can feel them moving behind me. The door opens for people to get there package, we pretend to go get our things, but then stay there hidden in the corner. The room here is small with no windows. I almost feel as if I am in a prison cell. We all bunch together and make no noise silently waiting for this dangerous and scary part to be over. I see a small smile on Julian’s face and I know that I made at least one person happy today. Suddenly, there is a jerk and then we lurch forward. We feel the train starting to move faster and faster until it reaches a steady pace, and we start relaxing our tense bodies.
“Do you think we’ll be safe here?” Nikki whispers.
“Of course, we’ll be there in a couple hours, here let me look at the map,” I reply.
I shift so that I can reach the map that I have in my back pocket. I pull it out and unfold it onto the ground. Nikki leans close to see, and in the corner of my eye, I see Julian hunched over not paying attention.
“Look,” I say as I point to the map,” We are here right now, and now we’re going to ride the train along here.”
“And where do we get off?” she asks.
“Here,” I respond, “And then the mountain is right there. We’ll probably have to walk a bit, but Julian will know where to go. Right?”
I look over and see Julian whispering something under his breath.
“Are you okay Julian?” I ask.
“Yeah, yeah,” he murmurs distractedly.
“You two try and get some sleep, before we get off the train, it’s late now,” I tell them.
I see Julian shift and try to get comfortable immediately. A couple minutes later I hear his deep, even breaths. He must have really been through something tough. I look over and see that Nikki is still up.
“Can’t you sleep?” I whisper.
She shakes her head a bit.
“I don’t trust him,” she says so quietly I can barely hear her.
“What do you mean?” I say confusedly.
“He just showed up, and he has a weird story,” she says.
“Why would the society want foster kids?” she asks.
“I don’t know, it does seem strange,” I reply.
“Come on go to sleep, you’ll feel better when we get there,” I tell her.
She leaned over and laid her head on my shoulder and I put my arms around her. I started to stroke her hair, and after a while she was asleep to. Now that I had no one to talk to I think about what Nikki said. It does seem a bit strange, what use does the society have for foster children. Before I know it a couple hours have gone by. We stopped a couple of times, and I made sure to count how many we had left. I woke them both up when we were approaching where we were going to get off.
“So here’s what we’re gonna do, ”I say,” We are just going to walk out of here like we just came of a train ride with nice seats and act like nothing’s wrong. Remember try to be quiet and not attract attention.”
They both nodded mutely at me. Finally, the train came to a jerking halt and we stood up and went to the door. We heard the stairs lowering and waited for the doors to open. We stepped out and started walking to the exit, when I hear Nikki scream. I turn around and stare confusedly at her, that’s when I notice all the Silencers coming towards. I rush over to Nikki and hold her close.
“What do you want?” I ask with a shaking voice.
“We are here to collect Adrian and Nicolette Kahler, “one says in a monotone voice.
“What?” I say confusion written all over my face.
“Julian is one of our kid helpers, he has been helping us collect all the others we can’t seem to get,” the same guy says.
“What?” Nicolette and I gasp.
We look around and see Julian standing by some of the other Silencers, guilt written all over his face.
“How could you do this to us?” I cry, “We helped you!’
He just stares unfeeling at us.
“What’s going to happen to us? Why are you taking us?” I ask angrily.
“We will answer your questions later, “they say, as they come forward and capture our hands and handcuff them.
They pull us roughly over to a car and shove us in. And I am feeling shocked with betrayal. I thought that we finally had the chance.
I look over at her and whisper, “I’m sorry.”
She just gives me a sad look and turns to watch the window. To sit, and stay quiet is our only option. I feel sad and shocked. I wish I had listened to Nikki. From then on I knew I would never trust a stranger again.