“Gloria, we aren’t here to cause any trouble.” Christian said softly, his voice closer to what I thought it should have been. “We are here because we need your help.” The other two made noises in their throats of disagreement, but they don’t say anything to stop Christian’s plea.
“We were found by some AMEU agents a few weeks back. We’ve been running since then. We don’t know who told them where we were or why they did it. The three of us have been on our own damn near ten years, only going to towns, I guess you would call them, when we absolutely have to.”
Everyone knew about the Anti Music Enforcement Unit. They were the dirtiest of the dirty. They did the things not even monsters would do. Most people think they are just that, the boogey man from stories. I know better. I’ve seen the AMEU once. They wore white suits with black ties and black sunglasses even though it was night time. And then long blonde tendrils cover my vision as my mother tucked my head under her chin and brought me down here.
“Billie here has some awfully sticky fingers. It’s the demon in his soul, brought on by music” Tre added with a smirk. Clearly he was the comedian of the group.
“Anyway.” Christian cut him off with a disapproving look. “We need food, water, some safe haven for a while. And…” His voice got even quieter as he leaned in towards me, a new emotion playing across his face. “I thought it would be good if the two of us met. I mean, we are basically generation zero for the rebellion. I wanted to see if you were… real.”
I knew what he meant. Depending on where you were, there were different rumors. Some people thought Jimmy, Jesus, and my mom were just characters, fake faces added to the revolt for a humanizing effect. Other places didn’t think I was real. I had heard rumors of Christian, and I felt stupid for not recognizing him for who he was instantly, but didn’t know if he was actual fact.
“I don’t know, Christian.” I said softly, unable to look him in his incredibly green eyes. “If AMEU is after you… It could bring a fight here we aren’t prepared for. And even if I was ok with it, and I’m not saying I’m not ok with you three staying here. I might be the daughter of Whatsername, but I am not Whatsername. I’m a child still, I’ve only just graduated-“
“If you don’t help us, if you turn your back, what will that do for everyone down here? What will that mean to everyone who has lost their lives for the cause?” Mike leaned into me, accusing me of things I hadn’t even dreamed of doing yet. He seemed to think I was telling him I was switching sides.
“I’m not turning my back. I’m just saying, while violence is an energy against the enemy, it isn’t the only thing that can be done. We’ve lived down here, quiet and happy, for years and years.”
“Maybe you’ll understand our urgency when you’ve watched people die. Maybe then there won’t be so many lies in your eyes, maybe you’ll see that silence is our enemy and hiding away is as good as letting them win.” Christian wasn’t fighting me like Mike tried. He was resigned to let me do whatever I thought was right. He just didn’t think that what I wanted was right.
In the back of my mind I realized I kind of liked the fact he was here. Selfishly I wondered if he would be staying. If we were going to team up and be the son of the Jesus of Suburbia and the daughter of Whatsername. An unbeatable force. With these comic book fantasies dancing behind my eyelids I said something I wouldn’t have in my right mind. I told them they could stay.
“I’ll do what I can.” I told him earnestly, standing again. “Food, water, even temporary shelter I can provide without hassle. But help beyond that? It is up to the individual what path they take.” I stopped, waiting for them to stand to follow me. “At least that’s what my mom used to say.”
I headed down the hall, the three of them following me a bit of a way behind. For some reason I was embarrassed by using one of my mom’s sayings with Christian. He came to me for help, not to her. SO I should help him. I felt a hand on my shoulder and when I looked up Christian had caught up to me.
“You do that a lot, don’t you.” His tone was low, he knew this was a private conversation. “Say what your mom used to say.” I nodded, ashamed he had caught me. His hand was still on my shoulder and when my gaze dropped he used it to control me, stop me where I stood. His hand went under my chin, lifting my gaze back to his own. “I understand, I do it too. It makes most people feel better.” He gave me a real smile, one that made me smile back. I’d just met Christian, but I felt like I’d known him my entire life.
“My dad had one that I really like, even to this day.” Christian’s tone was reassuring, making me feel better by relating. “Know your enemy.”