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  • ramblingreader3

Ocean's Rising.

The water was smooth in front of them as they glided across the river. The sound of the engine cut into the silence as she knocked the invader in the jaw, hard, with her elbow. Bending down she lifted the scaly leg, tossing him off the boat and back into the water. She breathed heavy as she looked at her crew. They had all been badly beaten, gauges in their weak flesh weeped blood. They were broken and beaten, the tinges of blue hues seeping to the surface of their fair skin. She got up and stood beside her general, he was the only other one still standing.

“That was close.” He stated as fact, keeping his eyes straight ahead to scan the river and shore line.

“Too close.” She responded.

“We’re not far now.” He turned the wheel smoothly taking the left fork in the river.

“They won’t be far behind.” She said taking a look behind them. Just because she couldn’t see them didn’t mean they weren’t there…


In the Beginning


William was twelve years old when an uprising between man and the scaly skinned bottom-feeders walked on land and began a war. A man, now he managed and organize the survival of his people. He sat in his living room looking out at the mountain view, the memory of that first day was vivid holding fear and uncertainty over his future. His terrified mother had made them run and hide in the upstairs closet of their three level split home. His mother and two sisters, shaking in fear of the images on the television. The warnings to hide, to run. The military falling short of the necessary requirements to fight a sudden enemy. His mother cooperated in fear of not knowing what else to do. Before that night he had never seen his mother afraid of anything. She had always been strong and self-assured. That evening she held onto them, frozen in fear. After nothing happening for a long while he finally took over his courage and bravely stood bravely from the closet floor. He didn't want to die hiding in a closet.

“Mom, you need to move.” She looked at him in confusion.

“MOM! You need to move, now!” He yelled at her. She got up, the clothes dropping from the hangers covering his two younger sisters curled at her feet.

“Now what?” She looked at him, it wasn’t disrespectful, it was an actual question.

“We survive mom.”

“Where do we go?”

“For now we block all the exits. Just until nightfall. Find some dark clothes, pack some bags to get us through thirty-six hours. We won’t be the only ones heading up the mountain, hopefully they will believe in sticking together. We will see about more supplies then.”

“Okay.” She said quietly, he opened the closet door and they got to work. The screams and chaos within the boundaries of their harbour city were distracting but they managed to get it all done. By nightfall they were in black from head to toe and all three of them had supplies split between four backpacks.


“Everything is ready, the evacuation to our knew village is underway.” She stated, startling the memory from his head.

“Do you believe they are the ones to inherit the earth, that our time here has past?”

“What do you think?” Jules stood behind him, watching his reflection in the window.

“I think they want to kill us and they're succeeding. But I also know we can be better if given the opportunity, it would be inappropriate of me to think they weren't capable of the same things.” Will sighed heavily turning to face Jules.

“We’re still alive. Which means there is always room for improvement.” Jules looked past him. Clouds were beginning to peak over the top of the mountain. She always felt calm looking out this particular window. She knew she would miss it. Will sipped his tea and looked over at her.

“Look at what we've accomplished.” Jules put her arms out like she was trying to sell a piece of real estate.

Will chuckled at her exaggeration. “Honestly, what we've created here is amazing, I’m just afraid it isn’t going to last long. See the smoke over there?” He pointed towards a small amount of smoke seeping up into the sky through the tall trees. “They burned that camp down to the ground.”

“When did you find this out?” Jules was a bit shocked that he hadn’t told her until now.

“We got word early this morning. Luckily, five survivors made it here.” He sighed looking to the window again.

"They were too close to the river. Rae warned them many times."

"Yeah, I know."

“She was suppose to come back yesterday afternoon ya know. They’re now almost twenty-four hours late.”

“I know. Is there anything that I can do?” Jules picked up the left over tea cups from the night before.

“No. I will be fine and you don’t need to clean up after me Jules. I can do it myself.”

“It helps me keep my mind busy and off other things. I will start packing our bags as well.”

“Thank you.” Will poured himself another tea giving her a tender smile before he resumed staring out the window again. All he could do was hope she was okay. She had always been, by far, the strongest warrior they had with them. He avoided entertaining any thought of what they would do without her.


***

“Captain, we have a situation.” When she looked up he nodded up ahead. The smoke was thick and white. Her lips thinned in dissapointment.

“Well shit. Guess it’s going to be a bit tighter than originally planned. They were going to give us cover to come inland. We're on our own now."

“What do you want me to do?”

“Head in and stick to the plan. If we are quick enough the smoke should give us some cover.” She looked at her General as he nodded. She turned and continued packing up what they could carry. Everyone was in rough shape but luckily she supplied her pack with a decent med kit. She checked on everyone assuring herself that they could make the hike in, pending no more disasters. She shook her head at the thought forcing out numerous worst case scenarios.


“Captain, what happened?” One of her most trusted men put his hand on her shoulder to steady himself.

“Well, Austin, it looks like they took the villiage while we were out and about. I did mention to them that they should move further from the water, but they didn’t want to take any advice from me, unfortunately.” Rae looked back up and assessed the shore line. “Are you ready to book it soldier?”

“Yes Ma’am!” He smiled even though she had just put twenty-one stitches into his arm on a bumpy boat ride. He was arguably one of her favourites, as well as one of the most loyal. always quick to have her back. His only downside was his love of cats. She smiled back at him clasping his shoulder.

“Let’s head home then, eh?” They nodded at one another and quickly put the gear back together.


“Rae! Fifty seconds!” Her second in charge yelled to be heard over the engine.

“Got it!” Rae yelled back tossing her pack on and strapping it tight. She began helping the others, methodically tightening straps to help everyone prepare for land. By the time she reached her Second and slid on his pack they were at the dock. It looked like the only thing that hadn’t been set on fire. She was the last one off the boat as she covered her crew heading inland constantly sweeping their retreat with her rifle. Her crew stopped suddenly making her look straight ahead. She caught what had them stuck. The villagers were hanging from the trees by their ankles. Hundreds of them. Wrapped in seaweed and vines and hung upside down, their lifeless bodies dangling like Christmas decorations within the tall pines.

“We don’t have time to take in the scenery here guys, keep moving, I don’t want to join them.”

Rae passed them, urging them to follow.

“We need to cut them down.”

“We need to regroup and come back. We are in no shape to burry the dead right now.”

“They were helping us.”

“They were also stupid. Maybe it's survival of the fittest, a natural selection.” Everyone stopped. Rae sighed heavily. “Look. They chose to be this close to the river. We have been fighting this enemy for seventeen years. We know they do not give an inch. They do not leave survivors and they leave nothing behind. I told them not to set up their village here. I told them to move far inland and they dismissed it. They thought they were safe. What we need to do is realize that none of us are safe, and we will never be as long as they are alive. We are on the endangered species list and none of you are acting like it!” Rae was yelling, she hadn’t meant to, but, she was getting fed up with their denial. “Start moving or stay the hell behind!” Rae headed into the forest in a slow jog. She wasn’t lying when she said she hadn’t wanted to stick around. She didn’t even look behind to see if they were following.


By the time Jules had packed some things Rae was coming in through the door. They could tell she was angry. “Anything I can do?” Will asked as she began peeling off her pack and tossing weapons onto the table.

“Tea…Please.” She requested letting herself fall into a chair.

“I have a feeling I can cheer you up, well, we can cheer you up.” Will smiled at Jules. Rae looked up at him, an eyebrow raised. “Did you guys do it?” Rae sat forward in her chair, trying not to get her hopes up.

“We think so.” Will and Jules stood silently smiling at Rae. Rae stood up grabbing both of them into a hug. They stood there for a long moment appreciating each others contact. Jules was the one to break the hug and begin making some tea. Rae and Will sat at the table.

“Now what?”

“We were hoping you would know.” Will said rubbing his forehead. “This is a game changer. I don’t know if this will wipe them out or just a significant number of them but it will definitely do some damage to their population. We have made an antidote if they should choose to sign the agreement.”

“Wait, we are still letting them have a choice? They have killed billions of people, our friends and family. We have given them many chances. We live in the trees for christ sake."

“They are still living creatures who stood up to protect the world. You cannot deny the fact that they have changed everything. The world isn’t dying anymore.”

“At the cost of billions of people.”

“Yes, but if we wipe them out, how are we any different than them? How have we learned anything at all. Many believed them to be our karma for treating this world poorly. Twenty years ago we could barely breath the air. They rose from the ocean and six months later the air is clean. Animals have come back, water is drivable again.”

“I'm not saying I want to go back, but....they should pay for their crimes.”

“Maybe their own self preservation will change that thinking. You also need to remember that they have lost family as well.” Will walked over to the desk and opened a drawer. He pulled an arrow from the desk and placed it in front of Rae.

She picked it up admiring it's colour, “It was their self perservation that made them come up on land.” Rae sighed, "It's oddly beautiful." She said as she gazed at it, twirling it through her fingers.

“It’s a virus. It will turn the tables of this war. It was Jules idea to make it blue in colour.”

“Thought it was fitting since they are ocean dwellers.” Jules set the tray of tea between them and took a seat.

“No, they’re bottom feeders. You should have made it black.” Rae spat the words out angrily and then quickly gave an apologetic look.

Jules ignored her bitterness, “You just have to hit one of them.” She stated calmly placing a hand on Rae’s shoulder.

“Okay.”

“You’re the best. We leave with you tonight.”

“Neither of you are coming.”

“But—“

“No." Rae cut him off. "I can’t do this anymore. I can’t continue to protect those around me and continue to watch people die. I need to go alone. I have places to sit and wait. It will be simple. I should be back by morning.” Rae sipped her tea.

Will hesitated, “Fine, we will help with the evacuation. The new camp is ready. You remember where right?”

“Yes. Leave me some supplies. I will head out to the new camp after I rest when I return. Give me forty-eight hours.”

“Understood. We will leave you to prepare then.” Rae grabbed Will’s hand as he stood. He looked down at her, placing his other hand upon hers. He kissed her forehead. “I love you. Be careful.” Rae nodded. “I will.” She remained at the table while they collected their things and left. Jules nodded as she closed the door behind them.


She bent over the water basin splashing cool water onto her face. The water slowly turning a murky colour the more she scrubbed off her skin. Drying her face she looked at herself in the mirror. It wasn’t common for her to see herself. She didn’t pay much attention and mirrors were difficult to come by. She followed the scar from her temple down to her chin. It wasn’t as bad as it should have been. She just happened to have an ex surgeon on her crew who took the time to stitch it up as nicely as he could. It hadn’t deflected away from her beauty, instead it added an air of mystery and strength to her features that she grew too like. She sighed heavily looking into her own green eyes. She was trying to keep her hopes at bay. Having too high of hopes could mess up her mission, having too much riding on one moment is too much for any, one person to handle. She had never been formally trained, she was a survivor like everyone else. She was a child when the military had fallen from the threat that rose from the bottom of the ocean. They had been biding their time and watching from afar for long enough that they new how and who to eliminate first. She shook her head, “I doubt they thought regular people would rise to the challenge.” She said to herself. She sighed one last time and then took a deep breath and began pulling off her dirt encrusted clothing. She did her best to clean up before putting fresh clothes on. She savoured the feeling of being clean for a moment before heading out of the washroom. She slowly packed her weapons away, clipping things carefully, sliding knives into the made gear strapped to her side. She took her time ensuring no mistakes were made, nothing forgotten. She wanted to come back from this. Finally she picked up the blue solution arrow. It seemed to sparkle in the light coming through the window.


It took four hours to reach the perch she had set up months before and she was grateful nothing had disturbed it. This would be the last stop before reaching the bridge that crossed over the river. That is where she planned to set up the ambush. The bottom-feeders were frequently spotted there and she felt confident it would only be a matter of time before she had a decent shot at hitting one of them. She pulled the cap from her water bottle and took a long pull. She sat watching the birds settle back into the tree she disturbed and listened to their chirps and whistles. She had a quick bite to eat and then began packing back up when she heard branches snapping. She quickly ducked down into her little tree house. She waited listening for the anything unusual. Then she heard it again, and then some whispers.

“I’m telling you I saw her come this way.”

“There isn’t a village out this way, why would one walk this way by themselves, that’s absurd!”

“It was the one they call Rae.”

“If it is then there is no hope for us. She will kill us quickly.”

“Maybe she will listen.”

“We need to find the one named Will. He is the one that can change this all.”

“We have been looking for him for years, it is a lost cause. We need to try to speak to Rae. She is a warrior, but she isn’t stupid. I have watched her with Kale for many years.”


Confused by what she heard shifted making two birds take flight. She silently swore. ‘Well, guess I should just get this out of the way’ she thought to herself. She slowly stood and peered down into the forest. Two bottom-feeders were frozen starring up at her. She aimed her rifle.

“Please, hear us out.” One of them yelled up at her.

“Why?” She startled herself with her own question making her brow furrow.

“We have information, we have a way, just please listen.”

She hesitated as her aim drooped slightly, she heard a snap of a branch to her right, catching a dweller out of the corner of her eyes and it was too late. She felt the whack to her head and then nothing but black.

“That could have gone better.”

“She was going to kill the both of you, you’re lucky I was with you.”

“Yeah, yeah. Fine. Pick her up, grab her gear, lets go. Hopefully we can make her see.”

“Kale is going to be angry with us. You know she is their star warrior, she has killed more of our people than any of the other humans.”

“Guess you better wrap her tightly then. I will deal with Kale. This is our last hope.”


Chapter 2


Rae was five years old when her mother plucked her from playing with her blocks in the living room. She ran with her older brother and sister up the stairs and into the large closet of the master bedroom. She couldn't remember much before that day. Her brother and sister had told her about their father, a long haul truck driver madly in love with their mother. He seemed too good to be true. Will would reflect often on what a great man he was. They never did find out what happened to him but they all believed he was fighting somewhere. She remembered Will making their mother get out of the closet. She remembered him making her feel special by sending her on little missions throughout the house to find things they needed to pack. He had always been more like a father than a brother and they were only seven years apart. William made them get ready and out of the house, and it was good he did. Their small harbour city fought fire as they made their way up the mountain. They watched the flames kiss the stars from the lookout about the town before heading further into the forest.

Rae couldn’t remember what it was like before the bottom-feeders walked on land. She often tried, occasionally getting glimpses of her dad’s laughter or her mother and father holding one another in the kitchen while they made dinner when he was home. They were fleeting glimpses and she often wondered if they had simply been her brother and sisters descriptions that had left impressions within her mind.

The last time she had seen her mother she was eight years old. They were hiding with a group of people deep in the west mountains range when the attack happened. Will and Jules had pulled Rae out of camp just in time. Their mother had made noise running the other way to cause a distraction for them to get away. It had been the worst day of Rae’s life and she loathed the bottom-feeders more than most. Her mother had been a wonderful and kind women and it brought tears to her eyes whenever she thought of her.


Rae startled awake. Her head ached. The light made her blink repeatedly as she tried shaking the fog from her head. The pain slowly abiding to a dull ache. Bringing up her hands to her face she realized she was bound, legs and arms with braided seaweed and lake weed.

“Fuck.” She whispered to herself.

“Indeed.” A voice behind her replied. She startled, shifting to the side to see behind her. The man who sat behind her was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Her breath caught in her throat.

“My name is Kale.” His long dark hair was wavy with curls at the end passed his shoulders and down his muscular chest. His eyes were bright green like Rae’s. He was topless his muscles detailed like a sculptor had molded him from clay. His bar feet shuffled in the leaves. Rae sat up, confused. Her hair stuck to her face. She attempted to huff it from her vision without success.

“Rae.” She shifted her wrists in obvious discomfort.

“I know who you are.” He moved closer to her. She caught a whiff of his scent, a combination of ocean, sweatband sand. She looked him over more carefully. He stood and she caught it, gills under his jawline, hands were webbed, feet too. She shifted herself back. “You don’t look like the others.”

“No.”

“Why?”

“Some are not as against you as you may think.” He stepped closer, making her shuffle further away. “I’d like to take the bindings off, if you could sit still.” Rae spat at his feet. “Fuck you.”

Kale looked down at her, his impatience etched on his face. “Fine” He stepped back, “Have it your way, but there are some difficult things that I need to share with you. You might want to get comfortable.”

“Why would I listen to anything you have to say?”

“All I know is that you should listen to what I have to say, I would like to offer you tea, maybe even some food. You must be hungry? Water?”

“How do you know I won’t just kill you and run away.”

“They must have hit you on the head harder than I thought. Look around, I don't even think you, with all your talents, could get out of here.” He took another step back to make her comfortable. Shaun took a quick check around her. She couldn’t begin to count how many bottom-feeders surrounded her. They gave her a wide circle, but she was definitely surrounded. He was right, even her skill set wouldn’t get her far. She nodded towards Kale and her bindings

“Please.” She lifted her bound wrists. Kale stepped forward and cut the ropes holding her in place.

“Why are there so many here?”

“Because you are a very important person.”

“I think you have me confused with someone else.”

“No, we’ve been watching you for a long time. I’ve been watching you for as long as I can remember. We are getting ahead of ourselves though. Please come.” He gestured for her to go first down towards the beach. She rubbed her arms and stood up, nodding as she headed down, the bottom-feeders moved away from her, carving her path to a small picnic that had been set up. She sat down as Kale sat across from her and began to pour tea handing her a cup. She took a sip and was surprised it was delicious.

“You have been difficult to get a hold of.”

“I didn’t know I had been requested. Maybe if someone had given word I could have arranged something.”

“I expect you would have, though I imagine we would have walked into a trap.” He looked over at her. “You are a very beautiful woman.”

Rae stopped sipping her tea. “Did you bring me all this way to tell me this?”

“No. I’m simply surprised. I knew you were attractive, I just feel that you are much prettier up close.” He sipped his tea.

“I don’t understand.” She shook her head. “I really don’t have time for this, my team will be looking for me.”

“Yes, they already are. You have been out for a little over forty-eight hours.”

“We were hoping to get to Will. We thought he would be better at conversation than you but here you are. We have to work with what we have.” He took a deep breath. “I am the result of our species loving one another. My father was human, my mother was what you would call, a bottom-feeder. They met before the war. I am two years older than you are. We lived in secret, but the future is fickle isn't it? The most relevant memory of my life was the day we took your mother.” Kale looked over at her. Rae froze for a split second before she gained her composure and managed to put her cup down before her hands betrayed her.

“My mother is dead.” Rae started to slowly shake her head, trying not to cry.

“Your mother fell and broke her femur. I’m told it is very painful. My mother took her in and helped her heal. My people have been fighting to survive for as long as yours have been. In others eyes we are not so different.”

“I don’t understand. If my mother is still alive then why didn’t she come back for us? We had no one else to take care of us.”

“She will. She is on her way. She has been getting updates on you and your siblings all this time. Her biggest regret is not being able to reach you all sooner.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“That’s fine, you don’t need to yet.” Kale leaned forward and looked past her out over the water. “My people are called the Orcs. We are the products of humans and water-dwellers. There are many variations of us, just as there are of your species. I’m from a long line of peace keepers, on my mothers side. We wanted to keep our people from the land that your people inhabited. Unfortunately there were others that felt it was unavoidable. Many of our people were becoming sick from the polluted waters that your kind helped to create. We had many of your kind on our side but it didn’t seem to matter. Things became worse and a sickness spread through my people. Our numbers have increased in recent years but that only feeds the darkness in others. They believe that humans need to be wiped from the earth. My people do not. We believe we can live together again and we would like to take your William up on his offer of peace.”

“How do you think the bottom-feeders would react to your betrayal?” Rae looked over at Kale. She was still a bit struck by his beauty. She had never come across a man that had elicited such a reaction in her brain. She took a deep breath.

“Unfortunately, my idea is to work together to fight them. It is time that we pick a side.” He sighed heavily as he returned her stare.

“You. You, want to, team up?” Rae found it hard to believe.

“Yes. Your mother has worked hard for this moment to happen. Maybe it’s time she tells her side.” Just then Rae could hear a boat coming up the river. She turned to look. A women with long grey hair down to her waist was at the wheel guiding the boat in. She hopped off a couple feet from the beach. Water to her knees as she passed a rope to another human. Rae stood. She was older, in her fifties and looked like William. Rae was always told she looked more like her father and now she knew they were right. The women walked up to Rae, her hand pressed to her heart. Tears streamed down her face as she took a breath in. “My beautiful baby, you are so big now” Rae melted forward falling into her mothers arms with large sobs holding her tightly. “I am so sorry Rae. I tried to make it back to you many times, but I was met with hostility every time. Our own people attempted to kill me in order to keep the truth from the rest of you..”

“Kale is telling the truth?”

“He is someone who cannot lie.” She gestured for her daughter to sit back down. Kale had taken a blanket from another and placed it around Rae as she sat starring at her mother. The women who was suppose to be dead all this time.

“Jack saved us. He took all of us in when we thought you died.” Rae held her mothers hand as tears welled up again.

“I know he did honey, it seems we have similar people on all sides. There is more, I found your father.” Rae’s head began to swim. Voices became muffled as her eyes closed and all went dark.


Rae woke up in a bed. The sheets were soft and smelled clean. A sheer netting dropped over the bed billowed out with the slight breeze. Light was fading. She slowly sat up. The room was simple. The large bed took up most of the room with two small bookshelves on either side stuffed with more books than it looked like it should hold. Across the room was a small writing table with an oil lamp. A small rug on the floor had a worn path through the centre. Beaded strings hung at the door. She could hear people talking but couldn’t make out what was being said. She could hear the wood of a fire crackling out there some where and she could smell something glorious cooking. Her stomach grumbled in protest forcing her towards the door. She peeked through the beads. “You should come have some food. It has been more than two days without. You must be hungry.” Rae recognized the voice. It was Kale. She stepped out of the small room into a larger, but simple living area where more bookshelves held even more books. Another table with another oil lamp.

“Honey, please eat. It has been a lot to take in.” Her mother, still beautiful as the day she watched her run through the forest. They guided Rae outside where a large fire was in the centre of a variety of made cabins. The variety of individuals Rae was looking at took her by surprise. Children laughed and ran passed, Rae stepped back and looked over at them. A couple bottom-feeders playing with humans, all children. Kale stood beside her. “Children are funny creatures. They love regardless of what you look like. Hate is taught.”

“Or bred through experience.”

“My understanding is that you didn’t hate anything until you believed we killed your mother. At least that’s how your mother sees it.” He looked down at her. He easily stood at six foot five, towering over Rae at only five foot two.

"I was eight when I last saw my mother. I didn't understand the way of the world yet."

Kale shrugged, “Maybe. It is incredible to me that you have killed so many of them. They say you are the one who is feared the most.”

Rae snorted, “I find that funny.”

“Why? You are smart, seem to always have a strategic plan of attack and your crew comes back with you regularly. You’ve had the same people with you for a number of years. From what I've heard you have single handily kept them alive on numerous occasions.”

“We work as a team. We've all adapted for our survival.”

“Hmm, I guess so have I.”

“You said something about your parents, are they dead?”

“Yes. Your mother took care of me after my grandmother past away.” Kale caught Rae as she stumbled backwards, he lifted her back up. “Let’s get you some food. Maybe you should just sit and watch the fire for a bit. We have time to talk later.” Rae nodded as he placed her near the fire, a bowl of food was placed in her hands. She ate as she watched the things talk to one another. She caught site of her mother who was knelt down talking to an older looking ocean-dweller. She couldn't shake the feeling of being in a dream. The knot on her head was probably part to blame, but it also helped ground her in reality.


Chapter 3


“What the hell do you mean she’s gone?” Will was furious. Jack sat across from him, his sister passed behind him.

“I mean we can’t find a trail at all. It’s like she vanished.” Jack watched Jules pace back and forth. Her curly hair bouncy across her back slightly with her walk. The freckles on her face distorted with her worrisome gaze at the floor.

“You are going to wear a hole through my floor soon.” Jack said making her stop and look up.

“I’m sorry. This is unlike her, she has never just vanished. We get messages, she marks trees she has always found a way. She’s been late before but this is too late” Worry lines etched her forehead as she attempted to sit in the chair beside her brother.

“I have sent her crew out to look numerous times. They found her bag in her lookout but nothing else. We might have to come to the conclusion that she might be gone.”

“No, I won’t think of it. She is still out there. I know she is.” Will spoke softly though he was filled with pain. His baby sister, what would his mother of thought of him? He placed his hand on his sisters. “We’ll find her.” He reassured Jules and she nodded. "She's the strongest person we know." Jules took a breath to hold the tears at bay.

“In the meantime we are going to have to come up with another batch of that virus.” Jules and Will both looked at Jack. “I don’t think you understand. We can’t. It was the only one.” Will sat up in his chair trying to straighten his back. He was in more pain than he wanted to admit.

“The flower used to create the virus is extinct as far as we can tell. We have yet to find another.” Jules poured some tea for Will noticing his discomfort. “You should go to bed. There is nothing more you can do tonight.” Jules looked at her brother pleadingly. Will nodded and took his tea with him.

“Is he getting worse?” Jack whispered to Jules.

“Yes. I hope we can stay here for some time. I need to grow some plants and make some more teture for him. It helps. He’s spreading the last of his stash out. By the time I can make more he won’t be able to move again.” Jules looked down at her hands. William was with Jack the day he was almost blown up. Too close to a land mine that went off. It tore through Williams body. It took a series of surgeries for him to have functioning muscles in his legs and up the left side of his body. He managed to survive but not without consequence. Jack was the one to bring him back, but at the cost of William spending the rest of his life in pain and never being able to fight again. Sometimes Jules wondered if it would have been better if he had died out there. She shook her head clear of the thought.

“Can I pour you another tea?” She stood up to put the kettle on the fire again.

“I should probably go. I am waiting to hear back from Rae’s team to see if they found anything more. I will give you word when I have heard anything.”

“Thank you sir.” Jules stood near the fire looking into the flames.

“I would have hoped we were passed the ‘Sir’ part of our friendship.” He stepped towards her. She looked up at him lost in thought. “Pardon?” She looked at him confused.

“Jules you have known for some time my intentions. Are you still denying me an answer to my question?”

“Jack, this is not the time, my sister is missing. I have expressed my wishes. You were more of a father figure to us than anything else. I have made that clear to you. I have not changed my mind. Please find my sister.” Jules walked to the door and opened it.

“As you wish my dear.”

“You would need to end the war to make me think of a future.” He caught a glimmer of hatred across her face. He wasn’t sure if it had been towards him or the war in general. He simply nodded and walked through the door. Jules closed it lightly, though she would have liked to slam the door shut in his creepy face. She despised him. There was something about him that she knew she couldn’t trust. He withheld information from them and she tried to piece things together, but it didn’t make sense. If she had to hazard a guess she would think that there were people and ocean dwellers alike that didn’t want anything to do with the war. She had once found some correspondence on his desk that could attest to it, the only reason why she noticed in the first place is because it had her fathers name on it, William James, she hadn’t heard the name in a long time. He had come back too soon for her to look further and he'd been careful ever since.

Making herself a tea she sat at the table. She was sick of the hatred of this war. She wanted it to be over. William had to be right, there had to be people and ocean dwellers willing to find peace but how could she begin to prove it? She looked up to see Will staring at her.

"What?"

"He's still making advances toward you?"

She shrugged.

"There is something up about him."

"There's an understatement." She smirked at him.

"You okay?"

"I will be when we find our tough baby sister." She smiled, but it was full of sadness. Will walked over to her and hugged her tight.




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