from jenny's p.o.v. and how she came into such a rebellious frame of mind.
I knew Johnny wouldn’t help me, save me or try to come with me, he was just a drone like everyone else. Well, not everyone. It had all gone perfectly to plan really, except I was half hoping that Johnny would value our friendship and bother to listen to my plan, but the pills seemed to take away morals too. My feet were making uneven scuff marks as the dracs pulled me along the clinical corridors, I put up no resistance but it wasn’t to say I would make it an easy task for them to take me to the holding cell. This was where they kept all the rebel children until the BLI/ND reform squad came to collect and correct them, however, that would not be the case with me.
Three Weeks Earlier
‘Another perfect day coming to an end’ I thought as I crawled into bed, the killjoys hadn’t been sighted in weeks and everything was wonderful. Suddenly I heard loud car tires screeching and an engine revving up, it was getting closer. I was sure my parents wouldn’t be awake at this hour so I grabbed my torch from the hallway as I walked to the front door, it creaked open but there was no noise upstairs. In the distance I could see headlights coming closer so I stepped out onto the path and ran towards the white picket fence that lined our perfect green lawn. A large colourful car skidded to a halt in front of the house, I ducked down, I recognised that car, everybody in the city could. The killjoys got out, bandanas covering their faces, I was merely meters away from the rebels. I stood up boldly, performing my duty as a citizen of Battery City, and marched out to the gate where they stood. I had forgotten my attire, a long white nightdress, and felt it gently blowing around my calves as I stood with my fists clenched.
“I’ll report you, you know.” I kept as calm as I could in the presence of such dangerous men, being seventeen they could easily take advantage of me, but I had a duty here. Their faces snapped up from the map of Battery City they were reading and became fixed on me. The one with long black hair, Fun Ghoul I think, lowered his bandana and stepped closer to me, we were less than a meter apart and I could see up into his eyes a colour, no one had coloured eyes here.
“You don’t want to do that.” He said in a velvet voice and smiled at me, stretching an arm out and placing it on my shoulder.
“Get away from me!” I jerked back and hit the gate, trapped.
“We don’t wanna hurt ya, kid.” Came the voice of who I guessed was Jet Star judging by his curly brown hair. “We want to help you.”
“Help me? That’s a lie, you want us to feel pain!” Their lies were so obvious but this seemed to make them all laugh.
“But experiencing pain makes you appreciate happiness, without sadness there is no joy.” I thought on this, I hadn’t taken my medicine yet and I could feel emotion building up in me and there was no way I could retreat to the house now. I looked at them, their weather beaten faces and dirty hair but they didn’t look angry and full of sadness, they were right here laughing.
“Stop. I can’t… But I…” I tried to articulate my thoughts, how wrong they were, but I couldn’t. I felt a horrible mixture of emotions swelling up inside me like a balloon, my breathing got heavier and I was clutching on to the fence for support, my knuckles turning white. They had warned us about this, withdrawal. This was why we stayed on the pills, this feeling was unbearable, it made me want to curl up in a ball and forget everything. It was growing stronger, we had strict pill schedules to prevent this because the decline is rapid, I felt like screaming, I could feel moisture on my face, spilling from my eyes. A set of strong hands lifted me up from the ground where I was slumped against the fence, I heard their voices but the words just drifted around, not going in. This was a new waves, a kind of wash of calm spreading over me and leaving me a whimpering mess in some rebel’s arms.
I opened my eyes to see the roof of a car, I was splayed out on the back seat across two laps, my head resting on someone’s leg and I could feel reassuring hands on my head. As scared as I should be, I felt safe, it was still dark but it was very hot and I had the feeling we weren’t in Battery City anymore. I closed my eyes and let them think I was still asleep while taking big, calming breaths, I’ve never been in more danger but I’ve never felt more safe.
I really had fallen asleep in my state of calm because I awoke when the car abruptly stopped outside a strange looking wooden shack in the middle of a scorching desert. I opened my eyes and looked up into the face of Fun Ghoul, whose lap my head had been resting on, he smiled down at me and said something but I couldn’t make any sense of it, the pills were still wearing off and my head was a mess. I tried to tell him I couldn’t hear but I heard a chorus of faint laughter from around me as I must’ve garbled something incoherent instead. Some strong arms pulled me from the back seat and carried me into what must’ve been some killjoy hideout, looking up at his hair I saw that it was the infamous Party Poison carrying me. I could see the moon, the real moon, not the fake one in the city but the actual moon and it’s so much more beautiful.
The night sky disappeared as we entered the cold, dimly lit shack.
“Dr. D? You here?” I heard someone calling and we followed the voice through a doorway, I could feel my eyelids growing heavy and was set down on an old couch before I blacked out again.
“What were you thinking, guys?”
“We couldn’t leave her passed out, she’d tell the authorities.”
“She’ll them anyway and it’s worse now!”
“She won’t do that, she’s off her meds now.”
“What? It takes twenty four hours to decline like she has!”
“Maybe she never took them yesterday, anyway, there’s no way she can go back-“
“What do you mean I can’t go back?” I sat upright and looked at the five men gathered around a small wooden table, they matched my stare with a look of bewilderment clearly not knowing I could hear them. “You can’t just keep me here, I want to go back to Battery City right now, I have friends and family who’ll be worried sick about me when they find that I’ve gone and you had no right to take me out here anyway and-“
“You’re right, there’s no going back now.” Said Kobra Kid bluntly.
“What?” I snapped.
“Listen to yourself, you’re shouting, you’re angry. You feel loss from being away from your friends and family, you can’t go back on the meds, you’re one of us now.” He said.
I was not one of them, they were outlaws, they left the city. I’d left the city. I was in the zones. Kobra Kid had a point, I felt angry at them for taking me and I missed the people back home, but did they miss me? Perhaps their drug induced lives left them unaware of my absence and they would forget about me, only to see my face again on a wanted poster with a large red cross and exterminate on it.
“I’m Jenny.” I smiled, my first genuine smile in years.
“You probably know who we are but I’m Jet Star and this here is Fun Ghoul,” he gestured to the shorter of the five killjoys who smiled at me, “Party Poison,” the red head that had carried me from the car gave a small nod in my direction followed by a smile, “and his brother Kobra Kid.” The tall blonde guy that had just spoken to me gave a small smile.
“I’m Dr. Deathdefying, I run a special radio station out here in the zones to help out the killjoys, we can communicate which helps on food raids.” He said, he was a strange looking man, sat in a wheelchair dressed mostly in black with sunglasses, he was nice enough though.
“Do I ever get to go back? All I have with me is a nightdress you know…” I suddenly felt very aware of how I was dressed and so did everyone else as they didn’t really meet my eye.
“You’d have to pretend like nothing is wrong, lie to everyone, forget any emotional ties with everyone in the city. And if you run to the authorities we’ll have to kill you. We’ll have Ghoul monitor you just in case.” Said Party Poison, of course, he was the leader, what he says goes.
I hadn’t been here long, but long enough to know that I felt more free out her in the desert with these strange men than back in the city with no emotions, here I could be real.
“Johnny…” I murmured as I realised I would have to leave him too.
“What?” asked Jet Star, clearly having heard me.
“My friend, Johnny, if I explain the day I leave what’s happening, could he come too?” It was a long shot. The men exchanged glances before I heard ‘Okay.’ from Poison’s mouth.
“I’ll drive you back to your house where you will climb in through the window and pretend that nothing is wrong, I’ll stay undercover for three weeks and then, when I give the signal, you will be able to tell Johnny the plan. You’ll write our phrases and stuff on your hand, the propaganda stuff, and get caught in school, they’ll send you to a holding cell in the school office. The second you’re in the cell press this buzzer,” Ghoul handed me a small red button which could easily be concealed in a sleeve or pocket. “this will trigger a light in the car which will be near the school. There aren’t many dracs in schools so it’ll be easy to get away before they send backup, I’ll drive you back to our diner where we’ll meet up with these three, okay?” he gestured to Poison, Jet and Kobra and smiled at me, knowing it was a lot to take in. “And if you can sneak me some decent food, that’d be great.” He winked. I could tell Ghoul was the easiest one to talk to, but maybe he just trusted me more, either way, I could tell we would be great friends at some point.
“You two had best be heading off, I’ll see you soon the, Jenny.” Smiled Poison and we drove off back to Battery City.
Ghoul and I had checked the buzzer a thousand times, there was no way for the plan to fail, I felt it securely in my skirt pocket so when the dracs finally threw me in the holding cell I only had to click it once before I heard an engine start up not too far away