March 11, 2015

The Last Ones: Chapter 5

 - not mine-

Chapter 5


Charlie pulled them to the farthest corner of the deck, where the fewest passengers were, and they sat down behind some old net and wire. Peering through a hole in the side of the old metal boat, Nate could see the reflection of the steel-factory on the water.

The sky was on fire again. Burning like the rest of the world he knew.

Did he want to say goodbye?

Yes.

Somewhere deep down.

“I got on your stupid ship, so it’s time for someone to explain.” He said quietly, checking for fishing hooks before he sat down.

Charlie looked to Iris, who was wrapping her jacket around Jet. Underneath, she wore the same grey cloth that factory workers were used to having, and she smoothed it conscientiously as she caught Nate’s gaze.

“You don't need to be surprised. Almost all of us worked in the factories before we found out what we could do.”

Something hard entered her eyes.

“What you could do? What does that even mean?” Jet piped up, looking particularly angry. He never liked being left out of conversations, and he was only now regretting leaving Clara behind.

Clara.

If the boys could’ve known, they would’ve jumped off the ship and ran back to her.

But they didn’t know.

So they stayed.

Iris nodded at Charlie, watching the boy pull out the broken pieces of the gun. They were red. Old. Tired.

Then the boy's eyes focused.

And as the blast of the sea boat’s horn split Nate into two, the gun healed. Gears clicked into place. Seams melted back together. Charlie fired it into the air, mixing it with the horn.

Jet stared in horror and awe.

“How?”

Charlie shrugged, tucking the gun back into his coat. But his eyes were gleaming, like he was the healed gun. Like he was the machine that could still work.

“We don’t know. But we’re some of the last people on earth who can do it.”

Nate picked the dirt from under his nails, trying to think. Trying to make sense of it.

“So, there are others, like you?”

Iris nodded, a pale strand of hair falling in front of her eyes.

“No one is the same, and every one’s power is the last of its kind. That’s what we call ourselves. The Last Ones. The Sentries try to lock us up, the Watcher wants to kill us, and the people secretly love us.”

She lifted her chin, a proud look plastering itself on her features, but Nate knew it was fake. Maybe it was the tremor in her eyes, or the sudden sadness on Charlie’s face.

The Last Ones, eh?

The last people with any shred of honesty or hope.

The last people to admit they were broken in too many places to fix.

But from the look of these two, they didn’t have the power to do anything but stay lost and broken. And the people who “loved” them were too scared to admit it.

“We thought there were more here…but it appears we were wrong.”

The pride left her face, and she looked alone.

“What can you do?” Jet asked Iris, wiping his nose.

A golden laugh came from her lips, and she sat down cross-legged beside him, the loneliness leaving her face.

“I, my friend, am a dreamer.”

His eyebrows raised, and he stopped in mid-wipe. Obviously, for all of her virtues, she had to be crazy. Dreaming wasn’t a power. Everyone did it.

“You’re right. But my dreams are different. I dream of the sky, and the sea, and the green earth. I dream about people I’ve never known.  And most importantly, I dreamed about you.”

She pointed to Nate.

It was his turn to raise his eyebrows.

“Me?

Charlie had taken out his knife, and was slowly checking his reflection in it.

“Yeah, mush-brain. Sometimes she dreams about the future, sometimes about the past. It’s hard to tell which, but she’s always right. When she dreamed about coming here…we knew we had to go.”

“But what about Jet? The gear…the test. It only worked partly on me. And what do you even need me for?”

He shrugged, slipping the knife back into its case.

“I don’t control my power when it comes to tests. It picked both of you. And as for what we need you for, you’ll have to see when we get there.”

Nate and Jet looked at each other. Brothers, was what they had been. Then things changed, and they had come to something different. But perhaps it was where they needed to be.

The light above them flickered gently, and the sound of the horn rang out again.

“We’re leaving. Time to say your goodbyes, boys.” Charlie motioned to the edge of the ship.

Nate rushed to the railing and grabbed on for all he was worth. The Brick House, and Clara, were slowly being swallowed by the evening fog. It softly wrapped around the smoke-stacks. It gently pried into the black, yawning doorways.

It quietly put the city of ghosts to bed.

And then everything he knew was suddenly gone.

“We have to let her know we’ve left.” He said, turning.

“Once we get to the mainland, you can send a transmission. I know a guy who has an old, unlisted set. He can get a message here in two minutes.”

Charlie didn’t even want to know who she was.

“Alright, time to take a look around. We’ll split up. My boy Jet and I will look for something to eat, and you two look for a place to sleep. Try not to get caught.” He sneered.

Nate rolled his eyes, feeling a quiet sinking in his stomach as the boy pulled his coat from his bag and stalked off into the night. He even caught the flash of Jet’s eyes as he disappeared, fog closing in the gap he left behind.

Iris tightened the straps on her backpack, eyes looking past him into the gloom.

“I’ll take point.” She said briskly.

“What does that even mean?”

“It means that I’ll lead. Who knows what kind of trouble you could get me into here.”

“Well, maybe I’ll just take that as a compliment.”

He grinned, clambered up the railing towards the second deck, and leaned out into the misty night.

“You know you could get yourself killed like that?” Her silver voice followed him.

“That’s what makes it so brilliant, don’t you think? At any second I could fall overboard into the ocean, leaving you here to weep over my sudden death!”

Iris started as he dropped down beside her again, cocky and proud, and much too bold in her opinion. He leaned casually against the rail, the bitter wind ruffling the gold in his hair.

“Makes me feel alive, doing that.”

She knew about wanting to feel alive. Wanting to feel something other than numbness. She used emotions like bandages, trying to stop her heart from bleeding out to nothing.

But when the night came, she was always left feeling dead.

She, however, was not about to tell this boy, this mere child, those things. She liked him, it was true. He was brave, although stupid, and he had a strong heart. But he was afraid.

She had never been afraid.

And that made him weaker.

“You won’t feel alive when you fall to your death.” She muttered.

“They’re always telling me that.”

His eyes were taunting, hiding the fear, and it irked Iris.

“You, even you, in all of your glory, must know what it’s like to want something more than what people say.” He said quietly.

A tremor ran through her.

They stood alone, separate and quiet, and Nate hung his head.  She didn’t like to see his brown eyes gone, as much as she hated to admit it. They were steady. Warm even. Almost like he trusted her.

She turned with a flash of silver hair, climbing up the slippery railing onto the crowded dining deck, and Nate followed, wishing he had the guts to say something.

When they reached the deck, Nate nearly choked on his next remark. The sudden smell of food made him dizzy, and his stomach growled furiously.

He wasn't even aware his mouth had fallen open until Iris shoved it closed.

“That’s a good way to catch flies, city boy. Besides, we’re not here for food.”

Pulling on the strap to his bag, she led him up the flight of steps that led to the smoke-stacks. Nate knew this smell. Instead of the wild, fearsome breeze of the sea, he was breathing the blackened bitterness of coal.

Iris coughed suddenly, her eyes watering from the smoke.

“Maybe we should find a different place.” He muttered.

She didn't belong there. Not in the smog and the brokenness.

She turned her eyes on him, peering out from the deepness of her soul.

“We burned the world for our own uses, Nate. Because of what we’ve done, we must now live with our ashes. I’m not afraid of this place.”

“I didn’t say you were. I just said-“

A noise in the shadows.

It was more like a sob than anything else. A moaning wretchedness that made his blood stop running. Nate grabbed Iris, pulling her by the arm back into the light. She tried to resist, wrenching and twisting her wrist, but he was stronger than she gave him credit for.

As they watched, a small, black cat dragged itself out of the darkness.

Nate nearly yelled as it moaned again, a haunting, unearthly noise that echoed in the walls of steel.

“It’s legs are broken.” Iris said, hurriedly, reaching down towards the miserable creature. It yowled at her, trying to move away from her thin hand. But she was too quick, and too gentle.

“Maybe Charlie can fix them.” She whispered, slowly lifting the cat and looking around.

“His power works on humans too? No wonder you guys call yourself the Last Ones. You’re going to be the Last Ones forever if you can’t ever die or get hurt.”

“It doesn’t. But we are not scared of death.” She sniffed, turning her face away.

“People who have nothing are not afraid to lose things.”

Nate didn’t bother telling her that she didn’t have to tell him about being poor.



xoxo


p.s. thanks for sticking with these rough few chapters! i'm excited to get to the real awesome stuff. ;-)



5 comments:

  1. How I love this story. I say this every time but...man. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "People who have nothing are not afraid to lose things" is very very true. ^.^ Can't wait for the awesomeness. XD

    xoxo Morning

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  3. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??!?!?? THIS IS THE REAL AWESOME STUFF. It just tears me apart and throws me into the sea as if I was just a mere nothingness. *dies of love* Also that cat. XDDD <3 <3 <3 This story. Clara. Nate. Jet. Oh my boys. *hugs them all* CHARLIE AND IRIS. AGAHAGAHAG. I can't even.

    ReplyDelete

be kind.

xx