Don't Die, Will
Nolan didn't remember how long had it been. All he could remember that he was shot in the stomach area. He had some faint memories of getting carried by Emma and the others, getting the bullet removed by Juan but nothing more. When he opened his eyes, he found himself on a bed. He looked around. It was the patient's room. The remaining beds were empty but one beside him. Arthur was lying down asleep the bed next to him. Nolan tried to get up, but the left side of his stomach area suddenly hurt. He groaned out of pain.
"Don't move, dickhead." Arthur said, "You're not healed yet."
"You're awake. I thought you were asleep."
He didn't said anything. He kept staring at the ceiling.
"How long has it been since I was moved here?"
"I heard what happened." He ignored Nolan's question, "You've been shot...by that James."
Nolan looked at him.
"Will's father, I heard he's awake now."
Arthur exhaled and closed his eyes, "And here I am, resting after getting fucked up by that asshole."
Nolan didn't said anything back.
"Look at me." Arthur turned to Nolan.
Nolan almost didn't recognize him. his lips were cut, the left eye was in it's worst condition, one of the eyebrows were cut, not to mention the broken nose. Overall, it was a total mess.
"Jesus, what I've been doing here? Nobody gives a fuck about me. Back then, I had everything. All the fame, hot chicks, followers, attention...what didn't I have? But now..." He raised his both hands and looked at them, "Look at me, what am I now? I am a mess. These hands...these hands once had everything, everything. But not now. Now...I am just like a washed up trash can, left empty inside. I lost everything along the way...and now my face. My fucking face." He touched his face with his both hands.
Nolan felt pity for him. But he didn't say anything back to show him sympathy. He knew that Arthur didn't like sympathies. He never did. Because he never needed that.
"Nolan." Arthur turned to him again, "Look at me. Do you see this face?"
He didn't say anything back.
"Tell me, do you see this face?"
Nolan still kept quiet.
"Why aren't you saying anything? Tell me you see my stupid face?"
He still didn't replied.
"Tell me! Do you see this fucking face of mine!" He screamed out.
"Arthur." Nolan looked away, "I know you're going through a lot now. But you need to rest now."
For a moment there, it got quiet.
"Yeah, you're right." Arthur turned the other way, "Sorry that I disturbed you."
The room got filled with silence. Two friends were lying down awkwardly. Nobody said nothing. A minute or so passed by like this. Just then, the doctor entered the room.
"Nolan, you're awake finally!" Juan noticed him.
"How long have I been sleeping?"
"Roughly for 4 days." he pulled of the bandages, "Let me see how's the wound. Hmm...it will take a few more days. Then you would be able to walk. For now, I'll change the bandages."
Juan cleaned the wound area again to avoid infection and bandaged him again.
"So, Arthur. How have you been?" Juan got to him.
"Umm, you should really learn some manner, young man." He looked at his face.
"Tsk, stop touching me."
"Hmm...you're wounds are completely healed. I think it's time, I'll be discharging you now."
"Finally." He sat on the bed.
"Don't go doing anything stupid again. You know your mother worries about you a lot."
"That has nothing to do with you." He slowly got off the bed and left the room.
"kids these days." Juan sighed, "Ellos nunca aprenden."
Nolan didn't understand what he said.
"But, you don't worry. You're a good kid." He smiled.
Nolan didn't say anything back.
"Oh, I forgot to mention." Juan said, "Your friends come to see you everyday."
"They'll be here." He locked at his watch, "Soon."
He looked at Nolan.
"You rest. If you need anything, just ask Ru-" Juan stopped, "Ruby...huh..."
"What about Ruby?"
"Yeah. For almost 2 days now."
"How did this happen?"
"We don't know either. She just disappeared."
"Did she leave the walls or something?" Nolan said to himself.
"Marco said he saw nothing." Juan still heard it, "Oh, I totally forgot!"
"I was ordered to notify David after you wake up."
"Oh, David...he came out of coma." Nolan mumbled. His brain ran a flashback of David shooting James in the head.
"A lot happened since you were asleep."
"Grace has retired from the leadership." He said, "David is the new leader now."
"I know, it's hard to believe. He also gave a great speech and passed his judgement to the remaining attackers."
"Remaining attackers? Are they...dead?"
"No. They are being taken care of."
"What do you mean?"
"They live here now."
"David made that decision?"
"What if they attack again?"
"They can't. They don't get to carry weapons or knives. And we have people watching over them."
"I see." Nolan looked the ceiling, "As long as it's safe, I don't mind having them here."
"I don't think they would attack again."
"Why do you think that?"
"Their leader is dead. Their will is crushed."
Nolan shook his head lightly, "I won't be so sure about that."
"You never know what one thinks." He said, "People's will don't get crushed so easily."
"Hm? I will get back at this. But first let me know David that you're awake."
Nolan said nothing. Juan left the room. He raised his head and tried to look at the door for a little. Then went back to his normal position. He let out a deep breath. Few days ago, they literally died because of the misinformation and now Ruby was missing. Something wasn't right. It was all leading to something, something horrible.
"Horrible". This word...it brings back memories that I don't want to remember.
He closed his eyes and tried to forget about his past memories. But no one can escape their pasts. He knew it well. No matter how hard he tried, no matter how fast he ran, his past, it always caught him. Tried to bring him down with it.
He saw quick flashback in his head. A body hanging with the ceiling. He was standing there frozen. The body was slightly moving.
I could've saved him. He said to himself, But it's too late now. There's no point in thinking that.
He slapped himself and tried to forget about it. After a while, Juan along with David and Will.
"Nolan, I heard you're awake." David said.
"David, glad to see you again." Nolan said, "Just heard that you've become the new leader of the place."
"Ehh, it's nothing."
"Are you feeling okay now?" Will asked.
"I am. It still hurts though."
"Don't push too hard." Will replied.
David said to Nolan, "I didn't want to disturb you so I won't take much of your time."
"What is it?"
"I was told that you guys hold a winter mission every year."
"You heard right."
"I was also told that it takes about 2 to 3 days to complete the search, am I right?"
"Grace told me and as It is clear that, You and Ethan, Julia and Emma, Will and Olivia were teams."
"What are you getting at?"
"This mission had 5 teams with 2 people in each team." He said, "Beside you guys, 2 teams haven't returned yet."
"Wait...you're saying, Jack hasn't returned yet?" Nolan looked surprised.
"No." Will replied, "It's more than 1 week but Jack, Rodriguez, Katie, Synthia...they haven't made it back yet."
"I don't think so...at least not Jack." David said, "He's tough."
"How can I help?"
"I want you to tell me what places did Jack choose to search." He said, "Seems like no one knows. Do you know?"
It doesn't matter. My instinct says that all the maps were filled with wrong information. And as what happened to my map and Emma's, Jack's map could be corrupted too. Someone is behind this. But, I can't tell that to David. At least not for now. I have to investigate it myself. What should I tell him? Should I lie to him? No...but it won't matter either if I give him the correct information or not. As they all could be wrong, it depends on Jack's map.
"I do know. But..."
"Are you...going by yourself to find him?"
"Yeah. I'll go and search for him."
"I think you should rest." Nolan said, "You just woke up from coma."
"Yeah, exactly." Will said, "That's what I was trying to understand him. But he won't listen."
"It feels like my body started to rot after all those sleeping." David said, "I need this. Don't stop me."
"Will, are you going too?"
"I guess so...he just came out of coma. I can't just leave him."
"Don't." He quickly grabbed Will's wrist, "Stay here."
I need you here...for now of all time.
"Ahh...Nolan..." He was shocked.
David was also shocked a little with his quick behavior.
"N-no, I mean...you can't just leave an injured friend here and go away. Who'll take care of me?" He laughed a little. He knew that it didn't sound like him at all. But he needed Will to stay.
"Well...you're not wrong. But..." Will tried to say.
"Nolan is right, Will. You should stay here and take care of him."
"Will, don't worry about me. I am tougher than you think."
He sighed, "All right, I'll stay."
"Good." He looked at Nolan, "Now, tell me what location he was planning to explore."
"I'll need one of the maps."
"Oh sure." Will gave the map he was carrying, "It's the map I and Olivia got."
Nolan carefully sat down and spread it on his lap. What he saw didn't surprised him at all.
As I thought, this map is also corrupted. The place's names are completely different from mine and Emma's. And the circles...they are misplaced. It can't be a coincidence.
"What's wrong?" David asked.
"Oh, n-no nothing." He looked at the map again.
Let's see. 5 teams, 3 locations each. But I am not so sure about that. Emma's map had 4 circled locations. Wouldn't be surprised if other's maps have that too. But for now...
"What locations did you and Olivia search, Will?"
"These 3." Will pointed out, "I've marked them with pencil."
Yeah, right. So, I chose these, Will chose these and Emma had other locations. Overall, it leaves us with these 6 locations that are meant to be searched by the other 2 teams...unless there are some more miscalculations.
"David, look." Nolan said, "If I am not wrong, these 6 locations had to be it. I am not accurate where Jack actually is, but if you get lucky, you'll find them without having searched all areas."
David took the map and looked for a while, "Thanks, Nolan."
"So, when are you planning to leave?"
"I am thinking about tomorrow morning."
"Good luck and be safe."
"I'll try to." He said, "Okay, I won't disturb you anymore. I'll be taking my leave. Come on, Will."
"Actually, Will." Nolan said, "Can you stay for a while?"
"Oh, o-okay." He turned to David, "Dad, you go first."
"All right." He left the room.
Will sat to the seat next to Nolan.
"What is it? Do you...want to talk about something?"
"Yeah, I need to tell you something."
Nia was sitting on the floor in a corner of the room she was given. Her mind wasn't in the right place. She still couldn't believe that her life was turned upside down in a split of second.
James is dead.
She grabbed her head and started to tremble. As the new leader said, they were given "freedom".
A person or two are always watching them from somewhere. They didn't have privacy, nothing to protect themselves. She couldn't blame them for doing that. After all, she and the others messed with their business. But it wasn't the right time for taking the blame or feeling guilty.
They killed James. That David killed James.
She wasn't able to think straight. Her brain was having the flashback of James getting shot repeatedly.
Why did this even happen? What went wrong?
She looked the door and stood up. Took few steps and touched the door softly. Tried to open the door. It wasn't locked. She opened it slightly and looked through it. Just as she thought, a person was guarding her.
"You need anything?" The person noticed and asked.
"N-no no." She muttered and closed the door again.
Brad and Diana were given another room, the room in front of hers. Since two rooms were in a place. Only one guard was on duty.
Bunch of stupids. Taking us lightly.
But as she saw before, Brad's will was completely crushed. The way he behaved on the "Judgement Day", it was rubbish. Even after that, she didn't see him leaving his room. James death hit him hard. Diana was shocked too. But she brought herself under control in a day or two.
Nia went back to the place she was sitting earlier and wrapped herself. She made up her mind about what she was going to do next. But first, she needed a plan. And the right moment to apply it.
"Oh my God!" Julia pulled Himari's cheeks, "She's so cute!"
"Ouch ouch! Nee chan! It hurts!"
"Nee chan? What does that mean?" Julia looked at Lucas.
Lucas shrugged his shoulders, "D-don't look at me. I don't know."
"Nee chan means older sister." Himari rubbed her cheeks softly.
"Older sister?" Julia's eyes were shining, "Nobody called me older sister before. By the way, how old are you, Himari?"
She counted with her fingers and raised them at Julia, "Himari is 7!"
"Aww, so cute!" Julia grabbed her and hugged her tightly.
"Ah! Himari can't breath! Himari can't breath!" She said.
I used to do that too. Counting with fingers. Bring backs memories. Lucas thought.
It was decided that David would go to his journey with Himari's father, Ren Takahashi. He was recommended by Will. When he was asked whether he wanted to join or not, Ren accepted the offer warmly. In Ren's absence, Himari would spend time with Lucas, Julia and the others. So, she was getting to know them beforehand. Turned out, she was getting really well with them. Specially with Julia.
Julia. Lucas looked her.
He had a crush on her when she and her family moved to their town. He, Will and Julia were in the same school. He was 4 years older than her. But he found her more matured and smart than himself when they got into conversations. Now that he thought about it, it had been more than a decade since he was fallen in love with his childhood friend. Julia never noticed and Lucas never let her to. He was always overprotective when it came to things like "Who do you like?". Lucas always ignored the question. He remembered, once he, Julia and Will was playing truth or dare at his house. Julia hit him with the question out of nowhere. He didn't answer the question no matter what. In the end, he had to ask his mother "How does it feel like to have sex?" as a dare. He still couldn't even remember how he brought up the courage to ask the question to her. She was really shocked at first. But answered it professionally. That was the actual funny part. But he had to endure his laugh and was listening to his mother as he was really serious. Will and Julia was hiding behind the sofa and was continuously giggling.
Those were the days.
Lucas smiled a bit after remembering all these.
"Why are you smiling?" Julia noticed that.
"Ah? N-no n-no." He felt embarrassed as she found out, "I-I am not laughing."
"Umm...tell me, why were you smiling like that? Did something happen?"
The truth is, Julia...I actually like you. I like you since the day I saw you. But I am not brave enough to say it out loud. I am not very confident of myself. I am also afraid that, if it doesn't turn out well, it might have negative effect on our current relationship. And I wouldn't want that. I like the way things are now, I really do. But I would like to have more. I know, I am saying all these stuff in my mind...b-but I really like you. I promise, I will confess to you someday. I-it just not the right moment now. But I will. Then maybe...just maybe, you would accept my proposal and we would become girlfriend and boyfriend. We would go to see movies after all these things are over. I would buy you you're favorite earring on your birthday. You would become really happy. W-we would spend a lot of time together. You would cheer me up when I would feel down. I would do the same. Then someday...maaaybe someday...I would get down on my knees and tell you to be my wife. You would say yes to that and we would have a big wedding! We would live together. C-can you believe? W-we would live together. We would get a pet dog, the one you like of course. We would go on many trips, we would take a lots of pictures together. And eventually....w-we...w-w-we...I am still feeling shy to say it, even in my head...w-w-we might even have a little girl like Himari. We would become paren-
"Nee chan, why onii chan is blushing?" Himari asked.
"W-what! I-I am not blushing at all!" He finally came back to reality.
"Hmm...You're acting weird today, Lucas." Then she looked at Himari, "You really need to teach me these words of yours."
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