After an attack on the killjoys, who has survived? Will they ever find the other killjoys? Will a confession change everything?
When I woke up the taste of sand lingered in my mouth. I bolted upright. I wasn’t dead, I was pretty sure of that. Unless I had died and this was heaven or hell or wherever I’d been sent. I heaved a breath and felt an ache in my chest. If this was death, it wasn’t the pain free paradise that had always been promised.
Why hadn’t the Dracs killed me? I looked around me; I was out in the open, still next to our car. I wasn’t tied up, or injured any more than I had been before I collapsed. But… why did they leave me? I stood up, slowly, a sharp pain in my left leg, which caused me to limp as I took a few steps, looking for the others.
They wouldn’t have killed or taken them and left me… would they? Unless they assumed I was dead… But no, they would have wanted to make sure. They had been searching us for years; they wouldn’t have left me without putting a gun to my head to make sure I was gone.
“Poison?! Kobra?! Jet?!” I yelled. “Fuck.” I whispered, doubling over at the pain somewhere in my ribcage. I hoped it was a broken rib and not organ damage causing it.
I heard a gurgling noise followed by a grunt coming from the other side of our car. I stumbled towards the noise, hoping it was one of the others and not some sort of trap.
I saw Poison and Kobra, both lying in the sand near to each other, and collapsed in between them.
“Wake… up… guys.” Talking made the pain worse.
I swivelled my head around, trying not to move my chest, looking around for Jet Star.
I heard a cough from beside me and noticed Poison had opened his eyes.
“Poison… we’re alive… are you okay? ... Where’s Jet?” There were too many questions that needed answering.
“They… They didn’t kill us? They didn’t take us?! What the FUCK is going on?!” Was Poison’s response. I half crawled towards Kobra, and nudged his shoulder when I was close enough.
“Wake up… wake up.” Poison had run over to join, his hand holding on to a deep wound on his head. It didn’t look like he had any serious wounds anywhere else, except for the painful looking burn on his other arm.
My heart seemed to be thumping much harder than usual, but I tried to ignore all of my pain and discomfort until I knew Kobra and Jet were okay.
“Kobra… Come on…” Poison whispered, leaning over him. Suddenly he turned onto his side and spat some blood into the sand.
“I’m okay.” He said meekly. He had busted lip and a bloody moth, and a nasty looking gash on his right leg, but he otherwise looked fine.
“Where’s Jet?” My heart was beating somehow even faster as I scanned the desert once more only to see no sign of him. Poison jumped up again and began running around, calling out for Jet; Kobra slowly stood up and began hobbling after him.
There were a few minutes of calling and searching, I stayed on the floor just trying to keep myself from crying out in pain. It felt like someone was trying to wrench my chest open.
Poison soon ran back to me, out of breath.
“Ghoul… I think… I think they’ve taken him.” He whispered with tears in his eyes.
That was when I puked before blacking out once again.
I drifted in and out of consciousness, unsure of how many days were passing. I could only remember snippets of what was happening, the rest was masked too much in pain for me to pay attention. I remembered Poison and Kobra lifting me into the car, me lying on the back seat whilst Poison drove. They were talking about something each time, but I couldn't understand what they were saying. The next time I woke up, I wasn't in the car anymore, I was in a small room with a low ceiling and white walls. Someone else was there... But I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to see them properly.
"It's a cracked rib, a head wound and a fractured ankle. He needs plenty of rest... He'll be bedridden for a few months unless we can improvise a cast and some crutches." I could hear a woman talking... Was I in hospital? No, that was impossible. The only running hospitals were in zone 1...
I slowly opened my eyes. I was still in the small room I had last woken up in.
I went to sit up and groaned.
"Ghoul!" Poison was suddenly at my side, staring down at me, with tears in his eyes.
"You're okay... You're okay!" He gave me almost the same smile he had just before we had left for zone 6... But it didn't meet his eyes. That's when I felt my stomach plummet. Jet must still be missing... Or worse.
"Kobra? Is he okay? And... Jet?" I gulped. " Where is he?!"
"Kobra is great! We found the other Killjoys! We found them!" He smiled once more, but I fell with his next words. "And... Jet... We haven't been able to find him, we've had patrols out every night."
"Every night... How long have I been out?" I wondered aloud.
"About a week. We... We've been planning an attack on the city... But you're gonna take a few months to heal... Oh! Oh, this is Venom Rose!" He said, grabbing the woman who had been speaking earlier and bringing her over to me.
"She was a doctor before all of this, she patched you up really good. Thank fuck we met her." Poison gushed as she stood next to him smiling at me.
"Hi. And thanks, for everything." I said. She smiled at me and nodded. She looked like she was in her early thirties, with bright blue eyes which lit up when she smiled, and long blonde hair which flicked up at the end. She was thin, really thin - but then we all were from lack of food.
"It's no problem. Um. Your chest is tapped up, so you won't be able to move that much. You're lucky it feels like only a small, clean break, which will heal itself within a month or two. You're ankle however... We don't have x-ray equipment, obviously, but from what I could see and feel it had been displaced where the break was. I had to try and put it back to where it should be... It's a painful procedure under normal circumstances, but you were unresponsive to most things whilst you were unconscious, so I'm hoping you didn't feel it."
I was definitely glad she was one of the thirteen. Someone with medical knowledge and abilities was invaluable to us.
"Wow... Er, no I didn't feel anything."
"Great." She smiled once more. "It will take up to six months to heal, though... And while you were out, there have been plans for an attack... All of which occur before you'll be fully healed..." She bit her lip and looked over at Poison, who nodded ever so slightly.
"I'll er... Leave you two to talk. Remember, campfire in a couple of hours. You can wheel him out to meet everyone but he is not allowed to get up because he has no cast or crutches." She gave me another small smile, then left the room.
Wheel me out? Where had they found a gurney? I twisted my head to have a look around the room, careful not to move my chest. Then I realised. If we had found the Killjoys, we had found the school... And I must be on one of those hard beds in the nurse's office. No wonder I had assumed I was lying on a table or something...
I looked back up to Poison, surveying his injuries. He had a bandage around the top of his head and around his arm, but he wasn't showing any signs of pain.
"Frankie..." He leaned down and whispered.
"Gee..." My stomach fluttered as he leaned down so close, our faces were only about two inches away from each other's.
"Promise me you'll never do that to me again. Frankie... I thought I was going to lose you." His voice cracked at the last few words.
"I'll try not to..." I had a strong urge to lean up and close the gap between us, but my cracked rib said no.
I stared into his eyes, they glistened with tears, but the deep hazel shone through. Too soon he lifted his head and went to sit down on the chair about a foot away from my bed.
"We're going to have to leave you behind... We don't know... What they've done to Jet." I gulped, thinking about how I'd left the radio on... Led them to us. This was all my fault. "But he could still be alive." He continued, hopefully. "And if he is, we need to go as soon as we can."
"No, you can't leave me. I need to come. I need to fight." I couldn't let anyone else get hurt or... I couldn't even think of the possibility that I'd... Killed him. No. No one else was going to suffer because of me. I'd die fighting, it was what I deserved after what I'd done.
"No! You can't even walk. How are you going to help? You'll get yourself killed!"
"Good." I mumbled. I couldn't live with the guilt if I'd killed him, and if other people got hurt because of it.
Poison was back at my bedside in a flash.
"Frankie. This isn't a game. I forbid you to go."
"Forbid me? Forbid me?! You don't understand, I NEED to fight, Gee."
"Stop being childish. We'll go and try and find him, and hopefully bring him back... Then we'll attack again with our full forces in a few months to try and kill Korse. But this time... You can't come. We have to go soon to find him." He put his hand on mine, rubbing circles with his thumb, trying to calm me.
"No." I could feel tears in my eyes. "I need to fight this time. I'll get what I deserve."
"What are you talking about?" He asked incredulously.
"I... I led them to us. It was an accident... But this is all my fault. I didn't deserve to be saved."
"You... You what?!" Poison asked, leaping away from me as if I was going to explode and take him down with me.
"All my fault..." I sobbed, trying to sit up. I needed to be close to Poison, if he hated me... I didn't know what I'd do anymore.
The pain in my chest quadrupled and I flopped back down, struggling to breathe.