Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Rising | Chapter Three


We don't need anybody when we're down
We don't really find it hard to get around
We'll find our own way back to town

- Lana Del Rey

I wake up in a puddle of my own sweat for the third time this week. I must be down with the flu or something. I manage to pull my legs to the edge of the bed and struggle with the remaining part of my body. I don't want to move; what's the point anyways?

As I finally push myself out of bed, I notice that Maggie's bed is empty. She's normally awake and at it before I even finish my dreams but this morning something catches my eye; the old woman's bed is untidy and the blankets seem just thrown about. Maggie never leaves her bed in this state.

I tiptoe towards the door and peer out, listening for any odd sounds from the hallway or below - but there is nothing. I check in on Phillip and see that he's still as ever, his shiny black hair glued to his forehead with sweat. It's a shame his eyes are closed because he was blessed with the most beautiful blue eyes; the colour of the ocean. I sigh and bow my head. Poor Phillip, I think to myself.

With that thought in mind, I close the door and make my way down to the main floor. I half-expect to see Maggie resting in the living room, with a generous helping of Mapleroots, the only thing that is still eatable in this God-forsaken wasteland. It's a tedious process to extract the juices from - I guess you could call it a fruit - but Maggie had excelled at it. I also suspect she may be out exploring for hidden treasures, such as canned goods. Those are a gem nowadays.

Knowing she may be out for a few hours, I decide to tidy up the place before her return. Maggie does alot for us - Phillip and I - and the least I could do is help her with the chores. The cabin is small and we don't do much to dirty it, but  soon before long I find myself dusting the place and whistling my favourite Nancy Sinatra song.

I get lost in the nostalgia and begin to dance while cleaning, even giving in to bursts of laughter here and there. I'm spinning in circles in the living room when a male voice catches me off guard.

"Who are you?!"

I stop, search for Elvis, but when my attention rests on the staircase, I realise it isn't he that is talking. It is Phillip.

"I can't believe you're awake..." A lump forms in my throat and tears well up in my eyes. Phillip hasn't moved a muscle since we found him let alone utter a single word. He looks so distraught, scared.

"Where are my parents?" His voice is cracked and strained. Regardless, it carries with it a certain worry. I look into into his eyes, blue against blue, and I try to form a smile.

"Whoa, Phillip! It's okay, let me explain."

"What is this strange place?" He backs up as I approach, tears forming in those beautiful blue eyes. "Who are you?" Phillip asks again. I know him but he doesn't know me. The feeling is strange and now I understand how Maggie must have felt when she found me, when I awoke to this new world.

"I don't want to hurt you. Maggie and I found you. There's been a terrible tragedy, Phillip. We're all that remains, and you must trust me." I extend my arms forward in sign of solidarity. He keeps backing up, afraid and skeptical. "Look outside if you want, there is nothing left but fissures and ghostly figures that prey on the livestock."

Phillip remains still on the third step, his big blue eyes locked on mine. He doesn't look away, doesn't blink. My heart flutters with excitement and fear, as I cannot predict what Phillip will do next. It must be hard for a thirteen year old to process this much information. To come to the conclusion by himself that his entire family has perished.

"What are you thinking about, Phillip?" I ask, taking a few steps towards the staircase. He keeps his sight on me but doesn't move. I'm only a few years older than him, surely he doesn't feel threatened by me?

"Is this hell?"

I can't resist. I rush up the stairs and wrap my arms around him. He buries his head in my embrace and begins to sob. I can't help but to imagine Louis in my arms - my adorable six year old brother.

The sun sets as Phillip and I cry in the creaking staircase, waiting for Maggie to come back.

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