October prep, October 4th contest, round 1
A screaming woke me
“She’s dead.” I look over at the door of our little apartment and Catia is screaming over and over again holding her head and rocking back and forth. Each time she screams she grips her head a little tighter, she rocks a little faster. Her muscles are straining. Everyone in the apartment is sitting up and staring at her. No one moves to help her, to hold her. I get out of bed and go to her. No one should cry alone. I know how she feels, we all do. There is none who have not felt the sting of pain, the loss of a loved one. Sometimes when I look around at the thirty-three girls in this little apartment built for three I wonder if we are all broken. I wonder if any of us will ever feel whole and alive. I got to get us out of here. I sit next to her and wrap my whole body around her. I can feel her trembling.
"Breath Catia, Breath in," I inhale deep, "and out" I exhale. "keep breathing, Crystal would want you to live." I wait to feel her ribs expand wide. They don't.
"it 'urts..it 'urts so much. I cant brea've." Catia says
"Shhh, just breath. I know it hurts. I know it does, but it gets better. You will always miss your sister but I promise this gets easier." Catia is gasping for air between sobs. Our body's still rocking in unison. I can feel her nails digging into my arm as she tries to pull life and air from my body.
“She shouldn’t a’ died……it ain’t right…..it shoulda been me. I’m the oldest I shoulda protected her.” She looks at me now her eyes are wild and desperate “Why didn’t I protect her?”
"You did everything you could. She knew you loved her. Crystal ….. Something inside Crystal broke that night. You held her all- night she knew how much you loved her. We will escape this place Catia, “ I give her shoulders a squeeze, “We will. And when we do no one will ever be given to the twins again. But you have to work with me. You have to sleep."
“I want revenge, I want him ta’ pay for what he did.” Catia’s voice is so torn I can barely understand what she says.
“You can’t do anything to Linus.” I brush the hair out of Catia's eyes and rub her back “I know you want to hurt him. He hurt you but you have to let that go or it will eat you alive.”
“I found somethin. I’m goin to get it Galina. I 'ave to, for my sister” Catia has stopped rocking now and her breath is steady. I let go of her and sit beside her. I look at her and her gaze is steady. She isn’t shaking anymore; her breathing is strong and even. I know she is going to go no matter what I say. So I will at least give her, her best chance.
“Ok,” I say “Where is it?”
“It's in the lab on the north end. They’re taking it in the morning. I have to get it tonight.”
I feel my lungs catch with her words “You can’t go at night, if they see you, you’re out after curfew, and you will be arrested.”
“It'll be gone first thing in the morning. It’s leaven the city.” Catia says getting to her feet.
“Catia there will be other times. That’s what the rebellion is all about. We will find a way. Don’t do this just wait and help us. Linus’s day of judgment will come.” I can tell she is not going to stay; her gaze is still stead as she stares back at me. She hasn’t made eye contact with anyone since Crystals death.
“ Thank you for everything Galina. I'll see you tomorrow.” Catia walks to the door.
I know I won’t see her tomorrow, this is a suicide mission, I know it, she knows it. “Go in through the south servants entrance, wrap around on the east side to the north lab. Sometimes Gus drinks to much and sleeps at his post. It’s not all the time but it’s your best chance at getting to the north end.” I hug her and she slips out the door.
The next day we are assigned a new resident. Catia never shows up at her post and there is whispering of a scuffle in the east hall. I know Catia was caught, but I still look for her in dinner hall.