Hello all, apologies for the lateness in posting part four, but I've been hit by a nasty bout of flu. Anyway - better late than never. If you need to catch up on the story, please see my previous posts. As always, thanks for reading!
After The Revolution - Part Four
The second week after Alex’s incident, Annie started going out. She couldn’t bear being in that house anymore. All that silence and tension was driving her insane. She would spend most evenings going from pub to pub, dousing her worries in a thick blanket of alcohol, dancing and laughing – even though her heart was breaking.
But no matter how drunk she got, or how late she stayed out, she always had to return to that house. That house. Where he was waiting; haunted by his private demons, saying not a word.
It was a Wednesday when she came to give him the news.
‘Alex.’ She called out to him from the threshold of his workshop with a confidence which had been vacant from her voice for some time. ‘Alex.’
He didn’t move. He didn’t even blink. He just sat, as usual, staring into space.
‘Alex… you can’t ignore me for ever.’ She waited for a reply, but got none. ‘It’s been two weeks. You need to talk to me. You need to tell me what has happened to you!’ She fought back the tears. ‘Why won’t you let me help you? You need to see a doctor about your back.’
Alex gave no reaction. He sat, motionless, staring out of the semi-circular window at the top of his lab.
‘I can’t live like this anymore…’ Annie’s sentence trailed off into tears and she wiped her eye with the palm of her hand. ‘You need to talk to me… you need to let me in… because… because…’ she took a deep breath. ‘Because I’m pregnant.’
A sudden burst of motion flew threw Alex’s body, like he had been electrocuted for the briefest of seconds. Slowly he began to turn his head and looked Annie straight in the eye. Alex had avoided making eye contact all week, but now he was staring right at his wife through bloodshot, terrified eyes.
‘No…’ He shook his head. ‘No.’
Annie battled with her tears. ‘I did the test this morning.’
Suddenly, Alex stood up and became the most animated Annie had seen him for two weeks. His expression turned from fear to rage. ‘Whose is it?’
Annie burst into floods of tears. Not content with ignoring her all week, Alex had also decided to accuse her of having an affair.
‘How can you ask that?’
Alex turned around, holding his fist to his forehead. ‘I’ve seen you,’ he said. ‘Going out every night. Off drinking… don’t think I haven’t seen you.’
‘Would you rather have me sit here in silence whilst you stare at the wall?’
Alex didn’t reply.
‘We’re having a baby, Alex.’
He began walking in circles and muttering under his breath. ‘No… no… no.’
‘We’re having a baby, so you you’re just going to have to get used to it. We’re gonna take you out, find you some help, and-’
‘I don’t need help!’ Alex shrieked at the top of his lungs, his words echoing around his workshop. ‘I don’t need a doctor. I’m in trouble… right. We’re all in trouble, but it’s nothing a fucking doctor can fix. I don’t want any help and I don’t want a fucking baby!’
Alex picked up a glass beaker from his workbench and launched it across the room, shattering against the far wall.
Walking towards the door, he barged past his wife.
‘I’m going out.’
(After the Revolution)
‘Morning sweetheart; time for processing.’
As the guards opened the door, sunlight poured in and Alex saw his cell, and Ralph clearly for the first time. He hadn’t slept, of course. He’d sat awake all night staring into the darkness.
Ralph had fallen asleep hours ago. He’s probably used to sleeping in here by now.
As the guards marched in and grabbed Alex, the boy began to stir. Upon seeing the two men in black, he shot, almost instinctively, back up against the wall, and as the men pulled his new cell mate out, Ralph smiled kindly and waved to his new friend.
The men led Alex down a long, bright corridor towards a room with bars on the window at the end.
‘Sit down.’ One of the men gestured with his gun towards a wooden chair. Alex sat, looking down the barrels of two guns.
‘Okay,’ said the other man, ‘you know how this works.’ He picked up a device from the table next to Alex. It looked like a barcode scanner. ‘Show me your chip.’
Alex looked around the room, not sure what to do; not quite sure what they expected of him.
‘Is he drunk?’ said one guard to the other. ‘C’mon, we don’t have all day!’
Alex sat, confused, unable to admit that he didn’t have the faintest clue what they were talking about.
‘Your chip. Show me your hand, prisoner.’
My hand? Alex held his hand out in front of his face, and the man held the scanner up to it.
‘Where the bloody hell is it…’ he was muttering to himself. After several seconds, the man stopped.
‘Jesus Christ, he’s a defector. He’s not chipped.’
‘Well well,’ said the other guard. ‘A traitor. And here was us thinking you were just some bum.’
Placing the scanner back on the table, the guard pulled a walkie-talkie from his hip. ‘I’m calling HQ. I’m guessing Wilson will want to talk to this one.’
Alex felt the cold steel of handcuffs around his wrists. ‘I’ll take him back to his cell.’
‘You think it’s safe? Putting him in there with that kid? He could be dangerous.’
‘You got a better idea? The place is already bursting at the seams.’
Alex was lead back down the hall towards his cell.
‘Well mate…’ said the hulking guard, ‘…looks like you’re going to visit Wilson…’
‘Wilson? They’re taking you to see Wilson himself?’ said Ralph, when Alex had been returned to the cell, ‘whoa, what the hell did you do, mister?’
‘I don’t have a… chip?’
‘Did you remove it?’
‘I’ve never had one.’
‘Never? But you must be like… forty? How the hell did you slip through the net?’
Alex shrugged, and not even convincing himself, he replied: ‘I dunno. Just lucky I guess.’
‘I never had a chip up until two years ago. My parents kept us in hiding, away from the POLA-’
‘POLA?’ interrupted Alex. ‘What’s that?’
Ralph laughed. ‘Those men in cloaks, the men who brought you in…? That’s the POLA. Wilson’s Police force. Licensed to do… pretty much anything.’
Alex muttered to himself. ‘All’s fair in love and war…’
‘My parents kept me as far away from his men as possible,’ continued Ralph, ‘I only finally got chipped when they died.’
‘What is the chip?’ asked Alex.
‘The chip is how they find you. The chip tells them every thing they need to know… who you are, what you’ve done. They can track you and find you like that.’ The boy clicked his fingers. ‘Everybody has a chip, and if you don’t… you’re a defector.’
‘Which is why Wilson wants to see me… they think I’m a defector.’
Alex Sighed. ‘I don’t know…’