Chapter 16:

Value of Life

Don't Die, Will

"Jaaaames!!" Nia ran over to his dead body and started to shake it, "Wake up, babe, wake up."

But he was spot dead. His head was bleeding like a river in storm and there was no coming back from that.

"Oh...shit." Brad mumbled. His body started to tremble.

The table was turned in just a split of second. David was the one who did it. He lowered his gun and slowly walked towards James dead body. Everyone was looking at him as he was approaching him with slow steps. That look in his face, it was the face that a lion make when someone tries to hurt his cubs. David approached James and stood there. His body was covering the shadow that fell upon the dead body and crying Nia. She slowly raised her crying face and looked the beast. Those cold eyes, with no words, sometimes a twitch on the face started frightening her.

"Please don't kill me." She was barely able to finish the sentence with her trembled voice.

David took a glance at her and moved away with his few steps.

"Nolan, are you okay?!" Emma sat beside him.

He didn't reply. His face was pale and his temperature was dropping quickly.

"Ethan! Help me carry him to the doctor!"


They carefully carried him.

"Wait, I am coming too." Olivia said and looked back for a moment. At Will and his family.

They got out of sight with Nolan.

Will couldn't stand up. His legs weren't letting him to. The shock from earlier hit him really hard. His body was still trembling. But his was ice still at his father. When he went to coma, Will always had this feeling that he would never see his father move again, talk like before, smile or rage like he used to. All this, was still unreal to him.

"D-dad." Julia covered her mouth and started to cry.

David looked her only daughter. His cold eyes warmed up with tears. A little smile was put on that old face.

"Julia." That heavy voice of his.

"Dad..." She looked him from head to toe, "I-it's you."

"It's me."

"You're awake."

" I here? I can't remember anything."

"You were in coma."

"Coma..." He paused, "For how long?"

" For 2 whole years."

"I think I've slept enough."

She hugged him tightly and burst into tears.

"D-David?" A voice came from behind.

Julia and David looked. Lucas was standing there holding one arm with another with an awkward pose. He was as shy as ever.

"Lucas." David approached him and grabbed his both arm, "You've grown really tall."

He looked down and scratched his right eyebrow.

"But, I think you're still shy like before."

He didn't reply but raised his and and looked at David's smiling face. The sunlight hit his face and left it all shiny. 

"Hey, why are you crying?" David asked.

"I-I am?" He touched his eyes.

I-I am crying...Wh-what is this? Why am I crying? Come to think of's been a while since I cried. I think, I didn't cry since my parents died.'s been 5 years.

"Look at you. Still a baby."

Lucas smiled a little. So was David.

"And finally..." David turned around and looked at Will sitting there a bit far.

He was still possessing what was happening. But he calmed down a little. His mind started to come to it's normal self. He saw his father coming to him with small steps. He had a smile on his face. A cold breeze started to blow and took away the dead leaves from the ground.

David down in front of Will and straight look into his eyes. Will still couldn't believe what he was seeing.



As James was dead. Rust was again taken over by Grace. She collected the weapons from the discussion room and giveaway them to their owners. She had Brad, Nia and Diana locked up for time being. She also called out for a meeting that night to decide their fates.

As for Nolan, his bullet was removed. Fortunately, it didn't hit any vital spots. So, he should be okay after taking rest for few days.

David spent the day with his family. They told him what happened after he was beaten down by Arnold, how they rescued him and how he was been to coma for 2 years and what happened in that time. It would take a while for him to get used to the changes.


The time had come, to decide the fates of the remaining trespassers. They were gathered in the middle of the front yard. The whole people of Rust was standing circling them. And they were shouting with hate and disgust. They were throwing cans, bottles. Some of them even spitting on them. Before the situation got out of hand, Grace took over.

"As you all know!" She started to shout to reach the voice to everyone, "3 days ago! These strangers came to our territory and forced us to become hostages!"

Everyone shouted.

"Their leader, James, who is dead now, treated us with bad manners as we were not humans! They took over our home! Our protection! Our food! They took our freedom! They took everything!"

Everyone shouted again. But this time even louder.

"This morning, thanks to our savior here." Grace raised her arm and showed David, "David Jones, who killed that cold blooded man and saved us from the nightmare!"

The shouting continues. David felt a bit uneasy with the situation.

"And all that! leaded to this! Now, here!" She pointed at the ground, "The God gave us the chance to decide these human's fate!"

Will looked at the criminals. One of them was looking down, losing all her hopes. She was the who acclaimed for being James's girlfriend. The other one, if Will wasn't mistaken, his name was Brad. He was the most frightened one. He kept looking the people surrounding them with fear in his eyes. And the last one was a 3 months pregnant lady. Her action was also not unexpected. She was holding her head down and was constantly calling out for help.

"So, what should we do now?!" Grace asked for the jury to give their opinions.

"Kill them!"

"Burn them in fire!"

"No, feed them to the cannibals!"

"boil them in hot water!"

"Skin them!"

"Hang them with the trees!

"Make them suffer!"

"Don't let them live!"

Many more people gave their opinions. But none of them was to set them free or free them. Will noticed the anger between the people.

"Everyone! Keep quiet!" Grace screamed.

The people of Rust shut their mouth and was looking at each other. Discussing the right choice, the only kill them.

"Please don't kill us!" Brad cried out, "We never had the motive to do this! I-it was all James! He forced us to obey his decisions and do what we did. We are not at fault. P-please spare our lives. I b-beg you."

Acting innocent now?  Will thought.

"All lies." Grace said, "Feeding us lies to survive. Is that what you're trying to do?"

"N-no no." He waved his hands to make the negative sign, "I-I am telling you the truth. We were forced to do this. My suggestion was to ask you people to let us join you. B-but it was James. He was the one who forced us to do all this. It's him, not us."

"Well either way, you all were a part of this." she said, "You all are guilty."

Yes. They are. No matter what they say now. No matter what they show to proof their innocence. It's all useless now. Then why even bother? 

Will thought.

Humans. We are really strange. We look for hope when there is none. We don't understand the value of a person's life unless he is someone close to us. We would fight for our lives, for our family, for the close ones. But when it comes to people we don't know. Then we don't even hesitate to end the life of his to survive. But the table will turn if we find the person useful to us somehow. We will keep him alive for the right time to use it and throw him away just like a can. A friend can turn into a foe in no time. A foe can save a foe for no reason. People will kill an ant just to see it suffer. So will do the same with humans. Why do we that? Why do human do that? What's so fun in seeing another human suffer. In which was does it bring pleasure for a person.'s not about pleasure. It's about killing. Humans like to kill. It doesn't need any reason. It can be a reason itself. Killing a living just to kill them. Am I making sense? I am. Humans...we all are stran-

"Will." A hand touched his shoulder.


"Are you okay? It looked like you were lost in the moment."

"N-no. I am fine."

"You're face looks pale."

"N-no, it's just the temperature. It's hot among all these people."

"You're right." She said, "I am feeling hot too."

"Emma, you are hot." Ethan said.

"Ethan, not now." Olivia said from behind.

All right, all right."

Everyone again looked at Grace. She was about to share her decision. People were still gossiping about killing them. It was sure that no one was willing to let them live. And the criminals knew it better than know one. They were screwed from the beginning.

"You're fate." Grace said, "It won't be decided by me."

What does she mean?

Everyone kept to talking about what she said just then. They were waiting for her final answer.

"Their fates...David Jones will decide them."


David was as surprised as the others. He didn't see it coming either.

"David, I am sorry to put you in this kind of situation." She said, "But it's all for a reason."

"What?" He asked.

"I am retiring from being the leader of Rust."


"And I am putting you in charge of this place." She said, "Now, you and Jack will run this place together. You're the new leader."

It was a turn of event. Everyone started to talk about the incident.

"Grace is retiring?"

"David Jones will take over?"

"Is she making the right choice?"

"I don't mind David being a leader though."

"I can't believe Grace is retiring."

"What would Jack say? Why hasn't he returned yet? I bet he would be pissed."

Everyone was talking about them. And David could hear them loud and clear. He wasn't scared or anything. It was just he wasn't prepared for anything like this.

"David." Grace came closer to him, "Will you take the ownership?"

"Why are you doing this, Grace?"

"I am not cut for a leader." She added, "it was my fault to begin with behind all this. I can't do this."

"Grace, you..."

"Please, David." She hold his hands, "I beg you. Take the leadership and put me out of my misery. Please."

"Grace, if you say like this...I..."

"Will you do it?"

"I-I don't want to, but..."

"Please, David."

David looked at his family. Will, Julia and Lucas. They were as shocked as everyone. But he knew one thing, everyone was rooting for him. He exhaled and turned back to Grace.




"Thank you. Thank you so much!"

She brought David at the front.

"From now on...David Jones will be your new leader!!"

Everyone started to scream with excitement. But some of them were silent as they still preferred Grace.

She made David come forward and backed off herself. Her duty was over. David stood there with an uncomfortable look in his face. He looked at everyone. They were looking at him with excitement for the decision. He looked at the criminals now. They were doing the same. 

Come down, David. He said to himself and exhaled deeply.

"A human's life." He said, "Can someone explain me what that is?"

Everyone looked at each other.

"I know. I am talking rubbish. But before deciding their fates, I need to hear your answers."

Nobody said anything. They just kept gossiping among themselves.

"Fine." He said, "If you don't answer this. I will."

A human's life. Will thought.

"All life forms have one essential purpose. To survive. This is even more important than reproduction. Little children, old people...they don't reproduce." He added, "To be alive is more than passing genes along."

Brad and the other were looking at the killer of James.

"We...are humans. Our top priority is to survive. We would do anything to survive, anything. We wouldn't even hesitate to kill to protect our existence. To protect our close ones. For us, that's all it matters. To keep living what we seek. Am I not right?"

Nobody responded. Will was feeling like his father was repeating the thoughts from his mind.

"But..." He looked at the people, "What really make us humans?"

What...makes us humans?

"This woman here." David pointed at Diana, "She is carrying a child. An innocent child."

Everybody looked at her.

"I-I am the father!" Brad tried to take advantage of the situation.

"We are all gathered here to decide these people fates...that also includes this child's existence. An innocent child."

Everyone was getting the point he was trying to make. Some of them were not happy with it.

"I can't take lives of four people. I don't want to make my hand dirty." He raised and looked at his hands, "I...don't want to carry more dead souls with me."

Everyone got quiet and was trying to listen to him. Brad was seeing some hope to get out alive from this.

David looked at everyone.

"I am handing this over to you people. You humans will decide now whether they should live or die. Whether the child should get a chance to see the world or leave." His heavy voice was heard loud and clear, "Do you want to make your hands dirty...or not?"

Leadership; the action of leading a group of people or an organization. It might sound easy but it's a lot harder than it sounds. All people's fate get decided by a person's decision. A single person, who has the power to do anything. Also carries his mistakes and the costs with him.

Nobody likes to carry those burden. So, people usually avoid leadership. David turned the table. Nobody likes to get their hands dirty. He knew that. The decision was already final. It was just a matter of time to settle this. He looked at the people. They were confused and hesitated at the same time. 

People who will stand behind not killing them would come forward, but people who didn't want them to live, they still wouldn't come forward to give their votes to kill them off. That's how humans are. Humans are selfish. We don't like to carry burdens, they don't like to make their hands dirty. Not at all...we are strange. Humans...are strange creature.

"Now, who will vote to kill them off?" David asked, "Raise your hands."

Everybody was looking at each other. But nobody was raising their hands.

"I'll ask again." He said, "Raise your hands if you want them dead."

Still no response. Not a single hand was raised. And a few minutes ago, their blood was boiling just to kill them.

"If that so...who will vote to let them live?"

It didn't take much time. People with good thoughts raised their hands at first. Seeing them others also started to raise their hands too. One by one, not a single hand was down.

"It's decided then." He said, "They live."

Some people were shouting out of joy, but the amount wasn't much. Others were still gossiping among themselves. Some of them did regret there choice. But that didn't matter anymore.

"They will be taken care of here, just like any other person. But they won't be given any weapons or whatsoever. They will also given the freedom to leave the place. But if they do once...they won't be welcomed again. That's all I have to say."

"You're so full of shit." James's girlfriend said with a low voice, "Those things you said...tell me those all were bullshit."

"Why do you thing that?"

She raised her head and looked at him, "You say human's life matters. Huh?"

"What if I said that?"

"Then why?" Her tears started to fall down, "Why did you kill James? Why?"

He looked at her hopeless face and said, "I also said we are humans. And humans try to protect what is dear to them." He also added, "As I said before...nobody messes with my family."


Ruby was bisexual. She found it out when Olivia first came to Rust. She had a little crush on her. But she never had the courage to express her feelings. So, eventually she gave up and moved on. Recently, she had a crush on someone else. This time, she decided that she would not hesitate. For days, she gathered all of her courage and finally got ready to confess. It didn't matter to her whether she got rejected or not. All she wanted to was confess her feelings.

The night after the decision of those three criminals, She was finally ready. People of Rust usually went to sleep early. So, she waited for them to go to sleep. When all of the people blew away there candles and went to sleep, she made her move. Ruby was living in the top floor of a two story building with lots of rooms. It was kind of a hostel building for students, but the size of the building was smaller than most other hostel buildings. And fortunately, the person she liked, their room was also in that building, on the first floor.

She carefully came down the stairs. The corridor was dark and no light was coming through the gap of the rooms. Except one. Turned out, it was their room.

Still not asleep, huh.

She carefully took small steps and reached the end of the corridor without making any sound. A thin line of light was coming through the door. She assumed that the person was still not asleep. She knocked two times.

No response.

She knocked again. Still no response.

She waited a bit and knocked again. But no one was responding back. Without having no choice, she grabbed the door handle and moved it. The door got opened making a small clicking sound.

I-it wasn't locked? S-should I go in? I...don't think so. I don't want to violent a person's privacy. But...I don't want to keep standing here either. What if someone sees me?

There were only four bathrooms in that whole building, two for each floor. So, people always busy leaving their rooms. There was a high percentage that she would be discovered.

After thinking a bit. She went in eventually. The person's room was messy. Their clothes were all over the places. The table was filled with papers and other stuff. She looked around.

Not here. Maybe went to the bathroom? Should I wait here? I can't think of anything.

Then she decided to stay there and waited for them to come, which she knew was wrong but she had no other choice. While waiting there, her eyes caught something. She got closer to the table. There were a lot of paper with written stuff on them. But what caught her attention was a paper which was peeking out of the closed drawer. It had something written in the corner of it. Ruby got closer and tried to read it.

"This is all I have so far." What's that suppose to mean.

It made her curious. She tried to open the drawer. But it was locked. She looked for the key but the person's table to messed up to look for. But still, she tried her best but couldn't find anything. When she was about to give up, an idea knocked the door of her head.

I can slowly pull the paper. And it will slip through and come out of the drawer. I am a genius!

That was what she did. She grabbed the part that was out of the drawer and started to pull slowly. The paper was coming through the gap of the locked drawer. And she was finally able to get her hand on to that paper. She started to read it.

Sorry, I didn't write you for few days. We had a situation here. Few days ago, some people took over the place and was torturing us. We had to go through that and we weren't allowed to leave the walls. So, I didn't get the chance to carry the information to you, Arnold. But yesterday, something unexpected happened. You remember, I told you about David? He woke up from coma. And killed one of the trespassers and took over again. Grace quit from being the leader and David got the leadership. Now, I finally have the chance to write you.

This is all I have so far. I'll be carrying out my mission as usual. Let me know in the next letter if you have anything you want me to do specifically.

Ruby finished reading the paper. Her hands were shaking.

What-what is this? A-a spy? A-a t-traitor? I-is this a joke? It's not. I am in trouble if I get caught. I shouldn't have pull out this paper. I...I shouldn't have touched the table, shouldn't have touch the drawer...shouldn't have opened the door. She thought, I shouldn't even be here. I-I am sorry. I am sorry I touched your property. I didn't mean to. It was a mistake. I swear, it was.

She was so scared that she didn't notice the door opening slowly. The footsteps came closer to her slowly. But she didn't notice. She was still lost in her mind. When she came back to reality, it was too late. A hand covered her mouth tightly. She was too scared to move.

A-am I going to die here??


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