April 3, 2015

The Last Ones: Chapter 8



Chapter 8

Jet and Charlie watched them quietly, sitting on one of the boxes near the engine room. The little boy would look over now and then, watching the older one’s face. 

“Are you mad?” 

Charlie heaved a sigh and ruffled Jet’s hair.

“Mad about what, pal?” 

“Your best friend talking to Nate.” 

He looked down at the questioning face, and realized. Jet was a tough boy, but this was hurting. The only friend he had ever had was distant. The only life he had ever known was slowly fading out of view. 

“Iris is a big girl. She can pick and choose her friends as she pleases, and Nate, as much as I’d hate to admit it, isn’t a bad kid.”

Jet nodded, but it was obvious he didn’t believe a word of it.

Charlie chuckled, slowly realizing he didn’t really believe it either.

Don't go back.

You'll drown in there.

You'll drown in the memories you hate. 

“But, you want Nate back, don’t you?”

The obsidian eyes flashed and Jet's swinging legs stopped.

“No. He’s always treated me like I’m an idiot who is going to get himself killed.”

Charlie smiled quietly. He wanted to agree. Tell the kid he was right, and that Nate was just a scared boy who wanted to hold him back. But he couldn’t. 

“He was trying to protect you, Jet. It was for the best.” 

“He’d say that, but I know. He just doesn’t trust me.” 

A laugh rippled in Charlie’s stomach. Jet was a copy of himself.

“Sometimes we have to earn the trust we want, kiddo. Nate hasn’t seen you prove it, so he worries. Like a mother hen, yeah, but at least he’s there. I’d kill to have someone worry about me.” 

Jet snorted, but he started swinging his legs again. They both turned towards the other two coming slowly up the stairs. 

“See anything yet?” Iris said quietly, looking towards the dining area. He knew she was worried, but not about him. Maybe once she had been.

But she knew him now. 

He wished she didn’t.

He wanted her to look at him like she had that first time they met.

Like she wasn’t alone.

The thoughts creaked like old boards in his mind, and shook his head to clear the cobwebs. Wars long since fought and lost. He was different now, and so was she. 

She didn’t need him, and he couldn’t make her.

“Not at all. But that’s about to change. Jet, hold my bag. It’s time for the master to go to work.” 

He was back in a few moments with his arms full of food, two teenage girls red faced and swooning over him from the other side of the deck.

He winked at them, and they hid their smiles behind white handkerchiefs.

Charlie tossed a pear to Nate with a smug look. 

“And that, is how it’s done.”

Iris and Jet clapped softly, and Nate shook his head in disbelief. 

“You are unbelievable.” 

“If it works, don't break it. Or something like that. However, we should probably get moving, in case my audience comes looking for me.” 

But as they turned to leave, a hand clamped down onto Nate’s shoulder.

A strong hand. 

He whirled around and stared into the white smile. 

---

Captain Abram sat at the controls of his vessel staring out into the open sea, his cigar hanging loosely in his fingers. 

Something wasn’t right.

Even through the waves of smoke lingering in his cabin, he could feel it. 

He was an old man, he would admit that. He had known nothing but ocean water for as long as he could remember.

But even though his mind was warped with years of whiskey burning through his body, he could still feel.

He turned to the old generator running noisily in the corner, and checked over the recent hiring’s. Two factory workers from Rosland to watch the meters down in the hull, one extra assistant for himself, and that gauge inspector. 

No one knew where the last had come from, and no had cared. They had needed an inspector. 

They had needed one.

Hadn’t they? 

He slumped back in his chair and pushed the blinking red button for his assistant. 

“Yes, Captain?” The man was too thin in Abram’s opinion…all smiles and no muscle, and he always seemed to be lurking around, just waiting for someone to do something stupid. 

“Send in the gauge inspector, if you would. Ah, by the way, did you happen to catch his name?”

The man shook his head, and entered something on the small electronic pad hanging from his belt. Before the Captain could say more, he had dashed off down the stairs

“Curse that boy.” 

Captain Abrams went back to smoking his cigar and worrying, neither of which actually comforted him.

---

Nate edged backwards, trying to get his bearings.

That smile was too bright, and the face too familiar. 

“Easy there, friend. I mean you no harm.” 

The man released him, eyes looking cautiously over him as if he might try to run. Which was exactly what Nate was planning to do. Charlie stepped forward, so softly that he barely noticed it. But he felt the presence at his shoulder.

He even felt glad.

“What do you want?” Charlie asked quietly, unconsciously straightening up. He was as tall as the man, and more menacing. 

But the man’s blue eyes stayed fixed to Nate’s face, and they scared him. They were calm now, but there was panic behind them. A desperation.

They bordered on madness, and he had the feeling it was growing.

“Only to ask if the smoke-stack is keeping you warm enough.” 

A smile trembled on his lips.

“It’s fine, thanks.” Nate’s voice came out steadily enough. 

A silence descended, thick as smog, and it choked the life out of the blue eyes. He nodded…steadily enough. 

Iris moved closer, face soft and open. She had tied up her blond hair, and her white face seemed more pale than usual. 

“I’m sorry but…do we know you?”

The man looked at her, tilting his head like an animal. The look was so gentle and still. It nearly broke her heart. 

“Not at all, dear one.”

His voice caught, and he checked himself. His hand came up quietly and rubbed his neck.

“I’m sorry.” He murmured.

Charlie flicked a piece of apple peel away forcefully, and there was murder on his face. The man must’ve noticed; he lowered his gaze quickly. 

Iris simply stared at him, her own blue eyes moving along the lines of man’s face.

Like he was a memory.

Like he was a part of a past the others hadn’t lived.

At that blessed moment, a man in a red uniform ran up, his face matching the color of his jacket. He stared at everyone for a moment, and then wiped the sweat from his forehead.

“Mr.…um, gauge inspector? The Captain has asked that you come to his cabin immediately.”

The inspector smiled at him gently, a tinge of hidden fury in the handshake he offered the man. 

“I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

He turned, nodding to them all, and left. 

The man in the red uniform watched him go, trying to catch his breath. He wasn’t used to running up and down so many stairs, and his lungs had always had problems when he was younger.

An image of his old house flashed through his mind, and he swallowed hard.

It had been too long.

Too long since he had been where he belonged.

The cold seared him back to reality, but when he turned to see the people the inspector had been speaking to, they were gone.

Oh well.

Wouldn’t be the first time he had found himself alone.


xoxo



6 comments:

  1. SO FIRST OFF.

    "and he always seemed to be lurking around, just waiting for someone to do something stupid."

    WAS THAT THERE BEFORE AND I DIDN'T NOTICE IT????????????/ I AM DYING. XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

    oh my gosh what even. XD I LOVE YOU ADDY.

    And also, this is amazing. As always. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I died laughing because that was my favorite part of the whole couple of first chapters. XD

      xoxo

      THANK YOU. ♥

      Delete
  2. Know what

    huh huh do ya

    This was when I laughed with joy and those dumb boys. When they didn't break my heart and leave me more alive. This was when I was careless and happy and... alright. I was okay before this story.

    BUT THEN THE WORLD HAPPENED AND I BROKE AND CHARLIE BROKE AND NATE BROKE AND IRIS BROKE AND JET BROKE.

    AND THEN WE WERE A BROKEN FAMILY LEARNING TO HEAL.

    IT HURT MORE THAN WORDS. MAN, IT STILL HURTS.

    BUT IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. *hugs them sososososo much*

    *gives you a big ol' hug*

    P.s. HAHAHAHAH HANNAH JOY XDDD That was like the ONLY thing I ever noticed when I read it XDDDDD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I KNOW. IT'S LIKE...ENJOY THIS PEACE WHILE IT LASTS.

      xoxo

      Delete
  3. Incredible as always! :)
    Also your new blog design is perfect I can't even

    ReplyDelete

be kind.

xx