Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hyperion 7 Volume 1 Chapter 5

A building falling here, an explosion there and monstrous roars echoing everywhere.

Shots fired in rapid succession, the sound of screams, glass breaking and fear came from the unseen distance.

This is too crazy!

One minute we were all just talking, making small conversation with each other and the next we were brought back to reality.


But as I thought more about it I guess it only made sense that we should be kept in an alert state of mind considering our current situation.

I of course wanted to follow Angelica as she led the others away but I was stopped.
Of course he would.

Zack kept me behind and looked at me with a serious face.

“Follow me,”

He didn’t even wait for me to respond and I was immediately forced to chase after him.

Whether it was my curiosity that won over or something in his voice I could help but follow him, making sure to understand that I was willingly putting my life in danger by doing this.

We crouched behind a car that had been flipped over.

Fortunately the area was still barren, any civilians had long cleared the area and those that remained were not alive to witness what was going on.

“Who could they be?”

Zack asked quietly as I knelt next to him.

Through all the smoke and rubble flying about we could just make out the form of several armoured men, shooting what looked to be a monster made of stone.

To be perfectly honest it looked like any generic fps game but I doubted now was the time to say such a thing.

Lost in my thoughts for a moment I didn’t even notice when Zack left, making his way closer to the ongoing battle, leaving me to wonder whether he was mentally stable.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Zack turned to face me as I asked my question, but I was surprised as he regarded me with a very serious expression.

“Sorry, I was lost in thought for a moment. It’s clearly too dangerous let’s head back.”

Nodding, as he finally made sense, I followed as he retraced his steps, careful to remain out of sight.
Before I knew it the sounds of battle were quietening and it was dangerously quiet, an odd feeling considering the bustling and chaotic nature of London.

As Zack started treading faster I matched his pace, surprised by my ability to keep up with him despite the events that had been happening today.

It was obvious that I was exhausted, something the other boy noted as he slowed his pace.
“It’s just a little further, bear with it and you’ll be able to rest for the night.”

I nodded, the thought of sleeping giving me the energy to continue for however longer we needed and rightly so as it turned out our destination was a mere 10 minutes away.

We entered an abandoned sandwich shop, the ones that charge absurd prices for small portions and exited the back, finding ourselves in a strange alleyway that seemed out of place in the city where every wall was grey, silver or white.

This singular road was paved with old brown and red bricks, several black doors on either side of the road and a large hanger right at the end.

Betraying my expectations Zack took me to one of the black doors which had been left slightly ajar and opened the door, turning as he realised I had a baffled expression on my face.

“The big one is just a fake,”

I see.

I followed quietly as I started thinking of ways to keep my thoughts hidden, the idea of using all those techniques I saw on the internet suddenly justified the time I spent browsing websites and watching all sorts of shows.

The hallway we went through was poorly lit, several staircases heading downwards until we could hear the faint murmuring of voices.

When we finally reached the holding area I was surprised to see that there were around 100 people in the room, many of them adults wearing suits who looked at the younger evacuees with disdain.
“There are your friends.”

Zack pointed towards Samantha and Judy who were busy sharing their rations with Lillian.

“Thanks,”

I quickly thanked the boy as it seemed appropriate to and made my way to the small group as I saw Zack start walking to a place where Angelica was busy talking to various adults, his face seemed worried though he hid it well beneath a mask of indifference.  

The first to greet me was Judy.

“Hey, what happened to you? We didn’t realise you left until….well we got there.”

I shrugged nonchalantly before explaining what happened.

“Zack kept me behind and we got a brief look at the people who were firing those guns. They looked like marines or something.”

“Don’t you think that’s dangerous?”

“…”

I didn’t know how to respond to Sam’s question as she gave me a half worried glare.

“Exactly, what are we to do with you if you go and disappear on us?”

I looked away in guilt as Judy questioned me again, my heart slightly fluttering to think that these people cared.

“We do need our meat shield intact.”

Or so I thought.

“What!?”

I couldn’t help but exclaim in shock as Judy sneered towards me, clearing picking up on my mood.

“He he, it’s too easy.”

The girl that could see things a mile away simply laughed and walked off, leaving me to wonder whether I’d ever get the chance to have revenge or if such a thing would be the death of me.

“Well…..at least some of us are glad you’re not ok.”

Sam gave me a sincere nod that Lillian reciprocated.

“Thanks.”

The next hour was spent sitting around, counting and repacking our supplied so that we could move out at a moment’s notice if needed.

Zack had come to our small group telling us that he didn’t plan on staying here tomorrow since he didn’t trust the adults in the room, saying something along the lines of them selling us out, which was odd as I too shared that sentiment.

Before returning to his other tasks he told us that one of the adults, Angelica’s uncle, would be speaking in a few minutes and it’d be best to pay attention no matter how much of the truth really is obscured.

I wondered how such a thing would work, usually in these scenarios it’s the police or military that ensures the safety of the people but apart from those oddly dressed soldiers nobody had come and it’d be a stretch to think that the people in this room would know anything.

“Can I have your attention please?”

The man who I presumed to be Angelica’s Uncle stood atop of a small crate and waited as people started gathering round.

I stood at the back, next to Sam, Judy and Lillian as Zack joined us, his eyes as distrustful as ever.

“I appreciate that we can have some sort of order in such a situation and I now that I’ve taken the time to speak to everyone I can inform you all about what is happening.”

I noticed that Zack grimaced as the man spoke, his words not coming off as antagonistic until I realised that when he meant he’d spoken with everyone he was talking about the adults only.

In such a time, thinking teenagers to be your lesser would benefit no one, or so I’d like to justify but in all honesty I was completely clueless about what was happening and I’d doubt any of the adults would believe me if I started saying I could see things by asking question to my mind.

It was at this same time that I noticed that none of the younger people, those I’d seen easier, were carrying any weapons or lethal objects with them.

Angelica must have warned everyone.

I made a note to ask Judy about it as the man continued speaking.

“My name is Michael Bedviel and I work in the IT security department for the Ministry of Defence as well as my brother who’s not here with us who works with the weapons analysts which is partly why we’re here today. From what you know and seen on social media and the news, the meteorite that was on a collision course with London was destroyed by a newly developed missile today.”

Various people nodded as they remembered how franticly the spectacle was covered.

“From what I’ve gathered the missile was only partially successful, evident by the mass debris that hit our cities surface. What we have learnt is that upon collision an energy wave has caused multiple abnormalities to occur, this was the last piece of information that left mission command until it went silent.”

“How do you know that with all the phone lines out and no reception?”

Someone asked a valid question which I found myself nodding to.

“Of course, these strange fluctuations were already hypothesised by scientists when analysing the composition of the meteorite’s metallic properties. You see, today wasn’t the first time this has happened. Five years ago a much smaller meteorite hit the southern parts of Scotland and was retrieved for inspection.”

“Why wasn’t that covered by the news?”

Another person asked angrily as the crowd slowly became agitated.

“I can’t say I know, I’m only an IT administrator but I presume it’s because no one thought it was that important at the time. You see the occasional report about a meteorite but they only gain proper coverage when they do damage.”

Michael went on to explain that he proposes the group stay there for a week, stating that there were plenty of resources to share as well as a month’s supply of goods stored for such scenarios.

From the way Zack shook his head and lost interest I knew that we would end up following him, it wasn’t that I wanted to but for some reason Michael and all the other adults in the room unnerved me, a feeling that Sam and Judy seemed to share whilst Lillian remain indifferent.

Due to a lack of heaters, blankets were shared around as someone with a mechanical watch told us it was late in the evening and the group should get some rest.

I quickly learned from Judy that Angelica had told them to hide their weapons, she insisted that if any of the adults saw them they would try to confiscate them on the grounds that it was done to protect them.

No one argued with that logic as we all knew how parents or any adult could be, especially when talking with teenagers.

Just as I thought things couldn’t get bleaker when we all sat down in our small groups Judy started acting weird.

“Your bag isn’t fully packed.”

“Make sure those containers are sealed properly.”

“Don’t make that armour of your appear tonight.”

She suddenly became unreasonably annoying.

“Will you quit it?!”

I almost shouted but kept my voice low as I spoke back to Judy who gave me an apprehensive look.
“Why are you so out of character?”

Lillian hadn’t spoken in quite a while, or at least she didn’t speak to me but the way she asked seemingly snapped Judy out of whatever mind-set had got a hold of her.

“I’m perfectly fine, don’t need to worry.”

She crossed her arms and looked away, the low light and the way she frowned gave off a solemn feeling to those around her as Sam reached out with one hand and touched her knee.

“You can tell us.”

Her words were stronger than usual, this time I felt whatever force she had at work as I almost spoke myself.

“I…..”

Judy almost spoke, although she was hardly moving it seemed her mind was battling off Sam’s command, the one who issued it not ever realising what she’d done till it happened.

“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t me-”

“I said don’t worry about it.”

Judy sighed in defeat, knowing that Sam would keep on pestering her if she didn’t say something, the look she gave me said more than enough that she wasn’t happy about their arrangement either.

“A long time ago, 6 years to this day to be accurate, my sister got into an accident and was paralysed from the waist down.”

“That’s terrible,”

Lillian’s comment came about too blatant but Judy didn’t seem to mind as she gave the small girl a sad smile.

“Don’t worry, I’ve mostly forgiven myself now.”

Hold on.

“Was……it you that caused the accident?”

I asked, fearful if I was stepping into territory that far exceeded whatever boundaries we’d set in the day we got to know each other.

Surprisingly Judy only looked at me with a serious face as she shook her head, putting to rest any doubts I had about what happened.

“You see my family went to visit some relative out in the countryside and when we left the hotel we stayed in there was this road that we had to cross to reach the car. Usually it was empty so I ran across like usual and Steph followed, I……um, saw a blur and…..”

She drifted off slightly, her eyes watering as I put together the rest of the story.

“You saw it coming but didn’t know so couldn’t warn her in time?”

Judy nodded, apparently thankful that she didn’t have to say it herself.

“I am so sorry,”

Sam gave Judy a pitiful look but Judy stubbornly shook her head as she wiped away any tears that threatened to fall.

“This is no time for that, if I can prevent any of you guys from getting hurt I will.”

She chuckled, rather darkly but in better spirits than before.

“These eyes of mine are better now anyway, they allow me to see anything so you can rely on me.”
I smiled at her confidence as both Lillian’s and Sam’s mood brightened.

“That still doesn’t explain why you're so…..abrasive?”

Lillian asked, ruining the mood.

For a moment I forgot what the word mean, but found myself agreeing as I realised that Judy was rather rude despite what she told us.

“Heh, I grew up in South East, that’s what happens to ya.”

I couldn’t even argue with that logic.

Sam laughed despite the confused look Lillian was giving us, her knowledge of South East London clearly absent which thankfully didn’t give away just how bad Judy’s behaviour could have been.

I took a quick look around and saw that few people were sleeping, others eating and every so often the sound of whimpering and crying could be heard, followed by the consoling words of someone who was powerless to change their situation.

What could I do exactly?

I’d been thinking that simply question for hours now but nothing came to mind, the image of people more capable like Zack demonstrating that it’d be better to leave it to them but as I looked towards Sam, Judy and Lillian I knew I couldn’t.

As I was busy trying to come to terms with these thoughts Lillian asked a question that we’d all been subconsciously trying to avoid.

“So…..how come no one has said anything about their parents?”

Sam, who had been drinking some water, gulped too fast for her own good and started spluttering, startling those that were nearby.

 For several moments no one spoke, Judy tried to avoid any eye contact and Sam was focusing on her breathing so I decided it was best to say something first.

“Well, my parent are out of town. They went to Spain and I was supposed to meet my uncle today…”
My voice drifted off as Lillian regarded me with a pitiful look.

“But don’t worry, I’m sure he’s fine and once we can use phones or something I’ll be sure to contact him.”

I couldn’t let this young girl feel depressed for our sakes, especially when we don’t know where the next day will take us.

“He’s right.”

Sam finally smoke, giving Lillian a soft smile.

“My…..um, parents well they’re probably ok…..or at least I hope they are.”

“I don’t think my ones care, they never looked at me the same way they used to anyway.”

“…”

“Ouch!”

I flicked Judy and gave her a look which she reciprocated before realising that she’d said those things in front of Lillian.

“Oh…..right, yea well my family is really stubborn so I doubt they’d let a little bad weather spoil their day.”

Sam started laughing as did some others that were nearby, even I gave out a weak laugh.

It wouldn’t help to think only negative and once in awhile a sadistic joke might just be what we needed.

I sighed, pulling up the blanket I had been giving and contemplated shutting my eyes to rest for night but as I should have long expected a loud, screeching noise alerted everyone inside.

The sound of explosions could be heard in the distance, bullets being fired and the same sound of metal scratching metal that graced our ears.

“What the hell is that!?”

I could barely hear as someone shouted out painfully, my ears trying to block out the painful noise as it echoed into the safe room we are in.

Before I even knew it the familiar sensation of weight on my body alerted me to the armour that formed again, taunting me with its ability to show itself despite my will not to be seen.

It didn’t help that in this dark room any light was quickly reflected off the gold sheen of my helmet which I embarrassingly took off.

Fortunately the upside to my sudden armour meant that Zack, followed by a small group of others including Angelica came up to me and gave the signal that we’re leaving.

I almost cried in exasperation but forced to endure it as another screeching sound reached our ears, this time much louder than before.

Angelica lead the group, this time with Zack not keeping me behind in a silent answer to my prayers.
Without the slightest bit of hesitation she led us down a hidden doorway into what could only be thought of as the city’s sewer system, an archaic and dreadful place that one couldn’t breathe in without choking on the disgusting air.

“This way,”

Although her voice hinted that she wasn’t pleased with what she was doing her face betrayed nothing as she expertly moved about, taking us down paths that hadn’t caved in and were relatively dry.

I felt guilty, immediately abandoning all those people that were back there but I honestly couldn’t imagine a scenario where we’d survive by staying with them.

“You’re right.”

I was surprised when Zack spoke, before realising I must have been thinking too loudly.

“If we did stay behind we’d likely have had to face whatever was making that noise and I doubt we’re in the condition needed to face it.”

“It’s true, I’m exhausted,”

I heard an unfamiliar voice agree, most likely one of the others that Zack had brought along with us.
It took some time, at least an hour in my mind, but we made our way without anything eventful happening and as we climbed out of the sewers we found ourselves in front of Bishopsgate Police Station, a building near Liverpool Street Underground Station.

Of course that information wasn’t important for our current situation but we sighed in relief as we noticed that the building itself was intact, it was a well-known fact that this particular location was especially secure and would certainly serve as a safe location for the night.

“Hello, is anyone alive?”

Well that was stupid.

Zack almost smacked the person who asked aloud as the rest of us cringed quietly.

Fortunately no one had responded to the persons call and we were left to explore the building along with additional fortuity that the power was still running.

With some surprisingly sketchy techniques Zack and another who I learned was called Chuck had gotten most of the doors open with skills that would have suited high-stake criminals.

“Here’s a good spot.”

Zack decided for the group as he found a staff lounge on the first floor, fit with a running fridge, microwave and enough sofas for the group to comfortably relax on.

I didn’t know whether I could get used to this lifestyle or not but it seemed some of the others also had similar thoughts as Chuck spoke aloud to the group.

“Is this how it’s going to be from now? Finding shelter, waiting for….who knows what to come and fighting with super powers……..well I could get used to it!”

“That’s the spirit, be a sheep and accept whatever situation we’re put in.”

Really?

I wanted to scold Judy for saying such a thing but in all honesty there was truth to her words, enough so that even Chuck himself simply scowled quietly and sat on his spot amongst those he came with, evidently too tired to argue.

One by one the others fell asleep, Zack as suspected, wanted to stay up and presumably take watch.
I took the chance to study some of the others, none were older than me from what I could tell and there was a healthy mixture of boys and girls which made me sigh in relief for the safety of the girls I came with.

My only concern, or at least the only one I could think of, was Lillian.

She was far too young to be with us but so far she’d bared it all and come quietly, putting on a brave face despite not knowing any of us.

Where could her parent be?

Where they truly dead as others had been near the site we found her or have they been abandoned and left to die, despite how we found a perfect place to rest for the night.

Too much to think about, too many emotions to consider and not enough hours in the day.

Unfortunately sleep didn’t come easy.

!?!

“Everyone get up!”

Of course Zack saw something.....damn it!


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