Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Chapter Twelve: On the Mend

Allyson awoke to a heavy knock on her door. She rose and answered it, slowly remembering where she was as the dank odor of the underground world she now lived in reinhabited her nostrils.

"Sorry Allyson, but it's time to get up," It was Archer, come to get her for the meeting Tyler had arranged. Despite her condition, he felt it was necessary to have her in attendance as well.

"What time is it?" she asked.

"A little before five in the morning. Come on now, Tyler won't wait long."

She dressed quickly in some clothes left by Sandra, then stepped out of her room, realizing she had no idea which way to go. Archer was still standing there, waiting patiently. A smile grew across Allyson's face as they began to walk up the long hallway.

"Good morning, James," she said. At that, Archer stopped. He began to say something but paused, as though unsure of how to say it.

Finally, he said, "You...You have no idea how long it has been since have heard you call me that." Archer flashed Allyson a smile that was almost too close. Clearly old wounds had been scarred over between members of the Returners and herself, and even amongst each other. If only Allyson could recall any of those memories.

Were they happy memories? Did she love any of these men at some point? Did she still, somewhere inside her? Did any of them still love her?

"How are you feeling?" Archer asked her.

"I'm not sure. I haven't been since I woke up."

"Probably just getting used to a new place all over again. This isn't the easiest place to adjust to. None of us had it that easy when we first..."

"No, I mean since I woke up from the coma," she said, cutting him off.

"What do you mean?"

"I've felt numb this whole time. I should be more frightened by the fact that I know so little about what's going on, but I just kind of let it slide off of me."

"It's probably the sedatives and pain killers from The Inn. We grabbed some with us in case you're still hurting when these completely where off," Archer explained.

"I feel empty inside too," Allyson continued, not sure if she should be revealing this information to Archer. "There's something missing that I feel must have been there before any of this happened. Something big in my life that made it whole, or someone..."

She stopped there. She knew she probably should have stopped before that. Archer began to say something when he heard something behind them in the hallway.

"Good morning Allyson, James." It was Dorian. He had apparently been walking behind them, perhaps following them.

Allyson quickly cut off whatever Archer was going to say. "Good morning Dorian. Are you on your way to meet Tyler as well?"

"Of course. I hear he's made some important decisions that he's going to relay to us. I'm excited to hear what the Returners next move will be."

The three of them continued into the large hall, which seemed to have been carved out of the rock underground. They filed in, seeing Sandra and Anderson sitting across the way, ready for things to begin. Some others were also there, who Allyson did not know, or remember. She consistently forgot that she was supposed to be one of the four leaders of the Returners.

"Ladies and Gentleman, let's get started. There is much to discuss," Tyler said, his voice echoing through the cavernous hall.

"As you all know, we've been without a mole inside the government for over a year now," Allyson knew Tyler was referring to her, recalling the serial number still tattooed on her foot. The essential brand of the enemy was on her forever. A sacrifice she had made for the Returners. She began to remember it being the most difficult part of transforming herself from an anti-authority, underground type to portraying the motivated and social government employee who had worked her way up through the ranks, only to have it all come crashing down when...

"Lancastle Sector has almost completely insulated itself from those opposed to the government during that time," Tyler said. Allyson had lost herself in thought.

"What do you plan to do about it?" Anderson asked eagerly. He had acted as a mole himself, but quickly disappeared from sight after Allyson's tragedy.

"Destroy it." Tyler responded.

"How will that make us any better than the tyrants running the place? There are innocent people living there still," Sandra demanded.

"The Vanguard has bought up almost all of the land in Lancastle Sector. Everyone in there is government, and we know that none of our people are there right now. The few people we've reinserted as spies are still at the lower levels. None of them work in that sector."

"Think about it my friends. The guise of this dictatorship is that there is no dictator. The Committe runs the show as a whole, benefitting themselves and their friends, as we all know. How do you decapitate something with no head? Chop off the neck. Take away their ability to congregate. Make them scramble. They will lose control quickly."

"We don't have the manpower to defend this hole if it is found, nevermind take Lancastle!" Anderson said heatedly.

"We're not going to take it, we're going to convince them to give it to us."

"I thought you wanted to destroy it," Archer said.

"I want to destroy Lancastle, not the beautiful Gladefall land it sits upon. I want to destroy the idea of it," Tyler answered. "We need to create the illusion of insecurity in them that they have drilled into the heads of our fellow citizens. Make them think they are as unsafe as they let on to the public. Make them question their own loyal colleagues and as to their true allegiances. They will crumble before your eyes, my friends.

"How did you conceive such a clever plan?" Dorian asked.

"It wasn't his," Anderson answered, then looked directly at Allyson.

The entire time Tyler explained the plan, memories came crashing back. The images she recalled, drawing up the scheme she and Anderson devised while on the inside. They would be the last to leave Lancastle before it went down.

A knowing smile and sense of accomplishment appeared on Tyler's face as Allyson displayed no signs of confusion from Anderson's revelation. Somehow he knew exactly what to say to bring her memories back.

"So Allyson," Dorian asked, "when do we begin?"


Madison said...

This writing reminds me of the way Dan Brown writes -- all his plot is explained through dialogue. This can be both great and problematic and I'm interested in seeing what you and your fellow writers do with it.

Kristi said...

I also wanted to comment on your use of dialogue: it works really well for this piece and moves it along at a good pace.

The only criticism I have is it seems to be a lot of telling rather than showing... which might be a drawback of writing in this style (because your team has to have somewhat of an idea of your intentions in order to carry to the story forward).