Eight – 02

[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]

My heart started hammering faster, like it was trying to batter its way through my breastbone to reach open air. “Where? Why?”

“Dad said to take you below where it’s safe.”

Below. She meant the old steam tunnels, the ones that had been our shelters from attacks when we were young and remained shelters now when the weather got well and truly foul. Bile slicked my tongue and burned at the back of my throat. There was nothing wrong with the weather.

“Why?” I asked, my stomach dropping. “What’s going on?”

You already know.

I tried to ignore the voice at the back of my thoughts, slowly getting out of bed. It was harder than I thought it’d be. I’d known that everything hurt, but I hadn’t been prepared for exactly how much, or for the alternating chills and fever that didn’t seem to want to quit—not at all.

Was this what it was like for Mom and Dad?

I tried to shove the thought away. Kailey just stared at me, starting to seem a little impatient with what I’m sure she mistook for recalcitrance.

“Kay,” I said quietly. “Tell me what’s going on.”

“I don’t think I should. Come on. It’s not safe.”

“Why not?”

She almost punched the doorframe. “Dammit, Lin! Can’t you just for once in your damn life do what you’re asked without it turning into some kind of game of twenty questions? You’re not always entitled to every godsdamned answer you want.”

Swallowing hard, I just stared at her for a second.

Then I sat back down on my bed.

“Go below,” I told her. “I’m staying here.”

It was a lie, though not a bluff.

If she wasn’t going to tell me, I’d just have to go find out what was going on myself.

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