Chapter 1: Knock, Knock...
As I bolt the last lock on the basement door, I wipe the sweat from my brow. I lean against the wall to the left of the door, and close my eyes. I make my way up the stairs to the kitchen when there’s a knock on the front door. “Who could that be?” I mutter to myself, “It’s two in the morning,”. I answer the front door, to see two police officers on my doorstep. My heart quickens. “Can I help you, officers?” I say, kindly.
The officer doesn’t answer, and just pushes his way inside, followed by the other officer.
I follow, faking being flustered. I’m actually more terrified than flustered. I need to stop them…but how?
“We’ve gotten reports of refugees in the area,” the first officer says, “and as the People-of-New Rapture Act passed yesterday, they need to be sent out of the city. Do you have any idea where any refugees could be?”
I shake my head no.
The police officer sighs. “That’s not what your neighbors say,” he states, “they tell us that you’ve been having a lot of visitors lately, but...the visitors never leave. And you stay up late in the night. You’ve also been getting a lot of food deliveries. Stocking up for the apocalypse?”
The other police officer chuckles. “Well,” I say, “You saw what happened to Colombia. I like to be prepared,”
“Either way,” The first officer says, “we still need to make sure. And we have a warrant, so we’ll be taking a look around, Ms. Ryan. We’ll be quick,”
I just sigh and nod.
They start to head for different parts of the house, and I follow one.
“You have a nice place,” I hear the officer mutter.
“Thank you,” I say, grabbing a cricket bat from a closet.
He stares at a door for a second, and reaches for the handle.
“That’s the study,” I say, and he stops.
He nods, still not looking at me. He starts to walk toward the kitchen, and I hide the bat behind me, in case he actually turns around to look at me. “What’s that?” he asks, pointing to the basement stairs.
“Wine cellar,” I say, quickly.
He turns around to look at me, and he squints. I can hear footsteps behind me, and someone slightly gasps.
In one motion, I spin around, swinging the bat, hitting both officers in the head, knocking them out.
They fall to the floor with dull thuds.
I drag both of them out onto the curb before locking my front door. Afterwards, I return the bat to the closet it came from. I then hear harsh knocking, coming from the basement door this time. I go to the basement door, unlock all ten of the bolts, and open the thick iron door.
A tall, thin, dirty man with a half-mask is standing there, looking at me worried. A small child hides behind him, holding the hand of a surviving Little Sister from Rapture.
“What happened?” The man asks.
“Police,” I say, “I’m going to have to find a safer place for you all, Jeremiah,”
I look past the man at the crowd of refugees from Colombia and the Rapture that I have helped, and wonder… where can they go?
Then, there is another knock at the front door. It's more frantic this time.
"I shall be right back," I say, going back up the stairs, and as I pass through the kitchen, I grab a filet knife. I look through the window in my door to see a man standing at the door, looking around as if he thinks he's being watched. He doesn't look like he's from around here, and the main thing I notice is that he's armed with a hand gun and a sawed off shotgun.
I open the door. "Can I help you?" I ask, keeping the knife out of sight.
"Yeah," he says, "I'm looking for someone. Well, two people,"
"May I ask who you are?" I say.
"Booker," he says, "Booker Dewitt,"
I nod, not recognizing the name.
"Who are you looking for?" I ask.
"A man and a woman," he says, "They're both about this tall," he puts his hand an inch or so above his own, "And they're both ginger. They dress exactly the same, finish each other's sentences, talk very cryptic,"
I think for a second, none of those descriptions fitting anyone here. I shake my head.
"No," I say, "I haven't seen them. Are they from Colombia?"
Booker shrugs. "No clue," he says, "But I think so,"
I sigh, and step aside from the door. "Would you care to come in?" I ask, "I just knocked out two policemen, and, since all of my neighbors are filthy snitches, more police will be by soon,"
He looks at me, a look somewhere between amazed and confused on his face, and walks into my house.
I check both ways, and close the front door, locking it. "What's the names of the people you're looking for?" I ask Booker.
"Robert and Rosalind Lutece," he says, "they're...twins,"
I nod, think for a bit, and then shake my head again. "Yeah, I haven't seen them,"
Booker sighs, and sits down on one of my couches. "I need their help," he says, "That's why I need to find them,"
I sit across from him, and nod.
Then, suddenly, two of the surviving Little Sisters from downstairs runs into the room. "He's here!" they cheer, skipping around in a circle, "The man who saved us all! He's here!"
I look from Booker, who had grabbed his shotgun, to the girls, and I kneel in front of them. "Who's here?" I ask.
They both just take my hands, and drag me toward the kitchen, which is being pilfered by people from the basement. I forgot that I left the basement door open. They pull me down the steps, and as I glance behind me, I see that Booker has been following us.
They pull me over to a cot that I had set up down here, where a man in a dirty, white sweater, dark pants, and wing-tip shoes lies on his back, eyes closed.
"He crawled out of an air duct," Jeremiah says, "and as soon as his feet hit the basement floor, he passed out,"
I nod, mildly recognizing him, maybe from stories from the people of Rapture. I grab one of his hands, and flip it over, looking at his inner wrist. I gasp, staring at the chain tattoo.
"It's Jack," I mutter, "my half brother..."
Chapter 2: Evacuation...
"Get me a wet rag," I say to Jeremiah, "And a glass of water,"
Jeremiah nods, and leaves the room.
"What do you mean 'half brother'?" Booker asks.
"We're both children of Andrew Ryan," I say, "I was actually from him and his first wife, while Jack was...illegitimate. Ryan gave Jack to a scientist for experiments in Rapture, while I was sent to an orphanage in Colombia. I haven't seen Jack in years,"
Jeremiah returns and places both a bowl of water and a glass of water on a table next to the bed. The bowl also has rags in it.
"Thank you," I say to him, and I grab a rag, and wring it out, so it's not dripping wet. I place it across Jack's forehead, and stand up. I look around, and a group of refugees have gathered around us. They're all looking at both Booker and Jack.
"Can I have everyone's attention?" I ask in a loud voice, "This is Booker," I gesture to him, "and Jack," I gesture to the bed, "and they are going to stay here for a bit. They are both from the surface, but Jack was in Rapture, while Booker was sent to Colombia, for reasons not even know by me. Please, show them the same respect that you show each other, no matter what they've done in the past. Also, if you have any information about the whereabouts of two people named Leutce, please, share it with me,"
Everyone either nods at me, or stares blankly. They then amble away, off to do…whatever.
"Why are you helping me?" Booker asks me.
"Because," I say, "You asked, and I didn't see any reason not to help you,"
Suddenly, I hear Jack gasp, and when I turn around, I see that he sat up. He's standing up as I face him.
"Jack!" I say, "I so glad you're alright! You probably don't know me. The last time we saw each other, you were five. I was seven. I recognized you because of the markings on your wrists. I'm your older sister,"
He stares at me, confused, for a second, and then he starts to back toward the door. He turns around and breaks into a run.
I sigh. "Would you kindly, stop," I say, loudly.
He instantly stops in his tracks, mid-step, pauses, and then stands up straight.
"I actually didn't think that would work," I mutter to myself, "Would you kindly, turn around," I say out loud.
He turns around to face me.
"Would you kindly, walk to me," I say.
He walks up to me, and stops right in front of me.
"Now," I say, "little brother, you'll listen to me, right?"
He nods. "But..." he says, "What do you mean? How are you my sister?"
"You're Andrew Ryan's bastard son," I say, "he gave you to those scientists so you could be part of those experiments that make you obey any order, as long as the phrase 'would you kindly' is in the sentence. Then, somehow, Fontaine got his grubby hands on you, and used you to take down Rapture, my father's pride and joy,"
"I'm sorry," he says.
"You don't need to be," I reply, "I hated Father. He left me in Columbia in a Home for Girls, while he was in Rapture. He was supposed to be there for me, but he never was. I never had a proper father, and I've never needed one,"
Jack just nods.
"What a lovely reunion," a woman says from behind me.
"Yes, I would say it's..." a man says, from behind me as well.
"Ironic?" the woman finishes.
"I was going to say 'heart warming', but 'ironic' works," the man says.
"Ah," the woman says, "but, 'heart warming' doesn't really fit, does it? Which is why I said 'ironic',"
I turn around to see two clean-cut people, a man and a woman, despite the grime of the basement. They look exactly how Booker described them.
"Are you the Leutce siblings?" I ask.
"We prefer twins," Robert says.
"But, siblings works," Rosalind says.
"Where the hell have you two been?" Booker says, "I've been looking for you everywhere!"
Both of them look at each other, and then look at Booker.
"We've been exactly where we're not wanted..." Robert says.
"...but where we're needed," Rosalind says, "You wanted to find us..."
"...but you didn't need us." Robert finishes, "Understand?"
"I...I think?" Booker says.
I huff, and cross my arms. "But, how did you get in here?" I ask, "The front door was locked!"
The twins look at me. Robert looks like he feels attacked, but Rosalind looks amused. "I'm fairly sure the door was unlocked," Robert says, "How else are we here?"
"I don't know," I say, "but I remember locking the front door after I let Booker in,"
"You surely must be mistaken," Rosalind says, smiling.
I scrunch my nose and frown at the same time, a little tick I have when I'm confused or frustrated. I cross my arms, and stare at Rosalind, trying to think of what to say back to her.
Rosalind just raises one of her eyebrows, continuing to smile. She has her hands behind her back, and she leans her head back slightly. She seems to be enjoying this.
Suddenly, Jeremiah runs up to me, panicked. "Anne Marie!" he pants, "The police are here! They found us! It seems like they brought the entire station!"
My chest tightens, and I look at the people around me. The refugees I've helped, the families I've kept together. I need to get them to a safer place. To my safe house. I also need to keep the police away. But I need help to do that. "Booker, Jack," I say, "Come with me. You're going to help me keep the Police at bay,"
"What about us?" Rosalind says, gesturing to Robert, "We can help,"
"Gather all of the refugees," I say to her, "Tell them to gather only what they can carry, and meet you at the back wall of the basement. Then, all of you, wait for Booker, Jack, and me,"
She nods to me, and I turn to Robert. He nods as well, and they both set to gathering the refugees, helping young children and elderly people get to the back wall.
I turn to Booker and Jack, and lead them up the basement stairs, to a room that I always keep locked. The room I told the police was just a study. My emergency supplies room. There are weapons in this room, all prepared to fight at a moment's notice, and a locked shelf of plasmids. I'll never use them, except in a dire emergency. Which, still, is not now. I grab a cross-bow and a quiver of bolts. I then grab two of my emergency supplies bags.
"Grab a weapon," I tell Booker and Jack, "and two emergency supply bags. Then meet me in the basement,"
"What about these plasmids?" Jack asks, pointing to the shelf, "Why are they locked up?"
"Because," I say, "They were a mistake. I only have them in case of the apocalypse,"
Booker just stands at the doorway, loading his sawed-shotgun. I forgot he already has a weapon.
Jack grabs the shotgun I had in the room, and loads it, checking the sight as well.
I load a bolt into my crossbow, and I turn to Booker and Jack. "Grab two emergency supplies bags, and then meet me back in the basement,". I then leave the room, and find Rosalind standing near the entrance to the basement. "Is everyone at the back wall?" I ask her.
"Not everyone," she says, "I saw a little girl before, but now I can't find her. Do you know who she is?"
I instantly become worried. "Is she brunette?" I ask, "And is she wearing a periwinkle dress, but no shoes?"
"Yes," Rosalind says, "Sounds like you do know her,"
"Her name is Julia," I say, "She's my adopted daughter. I need to find her, but I'll open the emergency door first,". I walk into the basement, and to the back wall. As I walk, I take a bolt from my ammo, and I cut my left thumb, and squeeze it so blood pools at my thumb-tip. I draw a R and a C overlapping on the back wall. The wall starts to tremble, and I hear people behind me gasp. The wall pivots away from us, lining up with the ceiling. I turn to Rosalind. "Lead down the tunnel," I say, "You'll reach a canal. Turn left, and when you reach a bridge cross it, and head into the tunnel it leads to. You'll come to a three way split. There are a lot of these in the escape tunnel. Follow this sequence: left, right, left, middle, left, right, right. You'll come across a large building. That's the safe house," I take a key out from under my sweater, and take the chain off from around my neck. I hand it to Rosalind. "This is the key for the front door. Just let them pick their rooms, and wait fro me, Booker, and Jack to catch up,"
Rosalind takes the key, and looks down at it. She puts it around her neck, and then takes out a handkerchief. She rips it into little strips, and grabs my left hand. She wraps the strips of fabric around my thumb. "There," she says, "Now it won't become infected,"
I just stare at my thumb for a minute. I then look up at her, and I smile. "Thank you," I say, "Now, protect the refugees,"
She nods, and walks into the tunnel, the refugees filing after her, some of them glancing at me nervously.
When Jeremiah passes me, he nods, and I return the silent salute.
I turn around, and join Jack and Booker in the kitchen. "Where are they?" I ask.
"In the living room," Booker says, "and it sounds like they're talking to someone. A little girl,"
I grit my teeth. "Julia," I mutter.
"They're trying to get her to tell them where we are," Jack says, looking over the counter we're hiding behind, "but she won't say anything, other than, 'I hate you', 'go away', and the like,"
I nod. "We need to help her," I say, "Just…follow my lead,". I start to stand up.
"No, wait," Booker says, pulling my back down, "They're surrounding her. If we go in there, guns and crossbows blazing, there's a chance that we could hit her,"
I sit back down and think. Then, an idea occurs to me. It would mean me losing all of my things in my house, but, at least, I won't loose Julia. "Do either of you have kerosine on you?" I ask.
Both of them look at me like I'm insane.
"Yeah," Booker says, sarcastically, "I keep kerosine on me all the time,"
I sneer at him, which makes Jack shudder. I glance at him, and he looks slightly scared.
"You just looked a lot like Ryan," he says, "like father, like daughter, I guess,"
I feel my chest sink. I don't want to be anything like my father, but…I guess you can't cheat genetics. "Okay," I say, "I think I actually have everything we need in the kitchen". I quietly creep over to a cabinet, and grab three empty bottles, and I also grab a rag, and a bottle of kerosine. I put each bottle on the ground, and fill them equally with the kerosine. I then rip the rag into three equal pieces, and put one in each of the bottles. "I'll light them when we're over there," I say, "but try to throw them at the corners of the room,"
"But…" Jack says, "You'll burn your house down,"
"To save my daughter, I'll do anything," I say, "The only thing that matters to me is the humans I'm helping. No amount of riches or property is worth even a single human life,"
Booker nods, and grabs a bottle. Jack grabs a bottle as well, and I grab the last one. We all creep over to the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Booker and Jack stand on one side of the doorway, I stand on the other.
I look at Booker, and put up three fingers. I mouth three, and I count down, putting down my fingers as I go. When I reach one, I point into the room, and we all rush in, throwing our bottles at different corners. Flames erupt almost instantly.
Almost all of the police officers turn to look at us with amazement, then they all scramble to put the fires out.
I rush at one, who seems to be the one interrogating Julia, and punch him in the stomach. He doubles over, and I shove him aside, grabbing Julia and putting her on my back. "Hang on, Love," I say to her, "I'm going to have to run,"
She clutches onto my shoulders, and buries her face into the back of my neck.
I turn around, grab Booker and Jack, and I break into a run, down into the basement. I wait for Booker and Jack to run past me, and I throw a switch in the escape tunnel, closing the wall behind us.
Chapter 3: Settling In...
By the time we get to the Safe House, I notice that Julia had fallen asleep on my back. I take her up to the room I had already decided was mine, and I place her in the bed, and cover her in the soft down comforter. I change out of my dirty sweater I was wearing, and I put on a long sleeved shirt and a black vest. I roll my sleeves up to my elbows. I go downstairs to the main hall to find Jack, Booker, Rosalind, and Robert all waiting for me. "How about we make food for everyone?" I ask, clapping my hands together, "I'm thinking soup would be a good idea,"
Jack, Rosalind and Robert nod, but Booker is staring at me with a very strange look on his face. "You changed your clothes?" he says, exasperated, "Wha-…"
"My sweater was filthy," I say, straightening my vest, "That is no way to host people,"
He rolls his eyes.
"Soup sounds like just the thing the refugees need," Rosalind says, getting me back on track, "I can help you,"
"Alright," I say, "How about you and Jack help me, and Robert and Booker can set the tables in the dinning room?"
"Sounds like a plan," Robert says, "But…you said, 'tables', as in plural. How many tables are we talking about?"
"We have two very long tables," I say, "Each one can sit about one hundred people. I've really planned for everything here,"
"How many Refugees do we have?" Jack asks.
"A little over one-hundred fifty," I say, "So both tables will be needed,"
"One-hundred sixty-seven, I do believe," Rosalind says, looking up at the ceiling. She then looks at me. "I kept count as we evacuated," she says, "in case we lost anyone. That's how I knew Julia was missing,"
"Alright," I say, and I turn to Robert, "You just need to set one-hundred and seventy-two places, which includes all of us,"
He nods, and looks at Booker. "I'm sure we can find the dinning room on our own,"
"It's the room before the kitchen," I say, "So you'd have to follow me either way,". I turn to my right, and walk through the large double doors into the dining room. "Although," I say, "it is rather easy to find,"
Rosalind chuckles, and she and Jack follow me to the kitchen as Robert and Booker open cabinets of china in the back of the dining room. As soon as I enter the kitchen, Rosalind grabs my wrist, and looks at my thumb. "You're bleeding through your bandaging," she says, already unwrapping my thumb, then she glances at Jack. "Jack," she says, "would you kindly find some gauze?"
Jack stops in his tracks, and exits the room, heading toward the hall. He's back in less than a minute with a roll of gauze and an angry look on his face. "Did you have to use the phrase?" he asks Rosalind as he hands her the gauze.
"Only way I could get your attention," she says, "And the only way to get you to do it almost immediately,"
She drags me by my wrist over to the sink, and runs my thumb under the water for a minute. She then dries my hand, and wraps it. "There," she says, "but it doesn't seem to be bleeding much anymore. I just wrapped it to keep it from getting infected,"
"Thank you," I say. I then turn to Jack. "You can pick what soup to make,". I walk over to a wall, and start turning a crank. The wall next to the crank revolves, revealing a shelf of cook books, all from different cultures around the world.
Jack stares at the shelf for a second, and then pulls out a smaller book. He flips through it, and then stops on a page. "This looks good," he says, showing me the page, "and, it looks fairly easy to make a lot of it,"
I look at the recipe page, and nod. "Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup," I say, "I haven't made this in a while. I'll make the Gnocchi if you'll cut the chicken, okay?"
Jack nods, and I go into the freezer. I grab a large bin of chilled, but cooked, chicken breasts. "We're going to need a lot of soup," I say, putting the chicken on the table, "since there is a lot of us,". I turn to the black board in the back of the kitchen, and I start to write down the multiplied recipe. "I'm not even sure that I have this much chicken stock," I mutter.
"We could use vegetable stock when we run out of chicken stock," Rosalind says, standing behind me. She had taken off her coat, and rolled up the sleeves of her shirt. "Or if you prefer beef stock, we could use that,"
"Vegetable stock would work better," I say, "could you chop vegetables?"
"Of course," she says, grabbing a cutting board and putting it on the table. She goes to the pantry, and comes back with a bag of onions.
I go to the pantry as well, and I look around. "I think I may have some pre-made, un-cooked gnocchi," I mutter, "where are they?". I see a large, air tight bin, in the back of the pantry, where it's coldest. "There," I say, grabbing the bin. I take it over to the stove, and put a large pot of water on to boil. I join Rosalind and Jack at the table, and I grab a knife and an onion, and start to chop. "Tell me when the water starts to boil, Jack," I say.
Then, Booker and Robert walk into the kitchen, and just stand at the doorway.
"Well," Rosalind says, tossing an onion to Robert, "Make yourself useful,"
He walks up to the table, and starts to chop onions. "How many of these do we need?" he asks, wiping his eyes with a handkerchief.
"Eleven," I say, blinking tears out of my eyes.
"The water's boiling," Jack says.
"Thank you," I say, turning back to the stove. I add a few cups of the uncooked gnocchi. "Tell me when they start to float at the top," I say.
By now, Booker is cutting onions as well, and we're just about done with them. After the onions, we move on to the celery, which we need twenty-two stalks of. The cooking process goes on like this, until we have two pots of soup, both holding seven and a quarter gallons of soup. We've also gathered as much bread as we could, and Rosalind made lemonade as an alternative to just water. We have two tables set up near the kitchen, one for the food, the other for the drinks.
"Let's split up jobs," I say, "I'll serve soup. Who will serve bread?"
"I will," Robert says, nodding.
"Okay," I say, "Who will serve drinks?"
"I'll do that," Rosalind says.
"Alright," I say, turning to Booker and Jack, "You two can help seat people,"
They both nod at me. We all go to our work stations, and Booker goes upstairs to let people know that dinner is ready.
"I hope he knows that I have a PA system through out the house," I say to Robert, "And I could have just talked to them through that,"
Robert chuckles. "Mr. DeWitt marches to the beat of his own drummer," he says, "even if he knew that, he probably would have gone upstairs anyway,"
I chuckle, and notice that all of the refugees are seated now. I walk over to a wall, and grab the microphone for the PA system. "Hello, everyone," I say, "I'm so glad everyone is okay. I would like to thank you all for being patient and cooperating with us. I am fairly sure that we will be safe here. So, to get you all comfortable on your first night, we made soup. We'd like to serve the food and drink in a very orderly way, so, let's start with the elderly, young children, and the disabled. You can have your family members come up and get your meal, or if you don't have anyone, tell Booker and Jack: they'll come up and get it for you. Don't forget drinks. We have water and lemonade,". I put the microphone back, and stand behind the table again.
"Very well put," Robert says to me, "And, very smart, getting food for the people who can't get it themselves,"
"I do a lot of charity work," I say, "So I've gotten down a few strategies,"
The first few people have arrived at the table for soup.
"Oh," he says, "But don't you also invent things for the good of the people in the city of New Rapture?"
I laugh, "You may have developed the technology to make it fly," I say to him, "but I built New Rapture,"
Robert pauses while giving a young man a slice of French Bread. "That…that was Rosalind who developed the technology," he says after a bit.
"Oh, please," I say, "Do you really think I'm that stupid? You're her, aren't you? From a different reality?"
He stares at me, eyes wide, awestruck. "You really are a genius," he mutters, "Aren't you?"
"I'm no genius," I say, "I just have a keen sense of detection. You look and dress exactly the same, but you don't like to be called twins. Just siblings. No man is his right mind would dress exactly like his sister, and vice versa. Then, I remembered that last thing Rosalind Lutece was know to have been studying before she disappeared for a few weeks. She was studying the possibility of there being parallel universes. So, I just…did the math,"
Robert laughs slightly, and he shakes his head. "You are…astounding," he says, "I do believe we're going to get along nicely,"
The rest of the people are served with out much more chatter from me and Robert, and then we all get our own food and sit down at a table. I sit at the head of the table, with Julia sitting on my lap. Jack sits to my left, while Rosalind sits to my right. Robert sits next to Rosalind, and Booker sits next to Jack. As we eat, I notice Jack glancing nervously at Julia, and then glancing around at the rest of the refugees, like he's trying to find someone. Finally, after a bit, I sigh. "You won't find her," I say to him, "because she left a while ago,"
Jack stares at me, eyes wide. "Uh…" he says, "how did you-"
"You've been looking at Julia," I say, "and, yes, as you have noticed, she was a Little Sister. She was brought here by Dr. Tenenbaum, and, as a 'thank you' for helping her, and other refugees, she let me choose a Little Sister to adopt as my own. I chose Julia, and she took the other girls with her,"
"Oh," Jack says, quietly, "do…do you know where she went?"
I sigh and set my spoon down, a slight feeling of longing blooming in my chest. But I suppress it, and look at Jack. "No," I say, "She said that she wouldn't contact me, so she doesn't compromise the security of the other refugees. I never expected her to tell me where she is,"
"Why are you talking about her like that?" Booker asks looking at me weirdly, "It sounds like you were good friends or something, even if you probably first met when she came here…"
"She came to me for help, true," I say, "and we…we were kindred spirits,"
"How?" he asks, "Was she a rich woman who was on the run from the police because she had a heart bigger than her bravery, and she do-"
I slam my fist against the table so suddenly everyone jumps, except Booker. Jack, bows his head, apparently too scared to even look at me. Rosalind and Robert look at each other, and then they both stare at me. Julia had nearly fallen off of Rosalind's lap. At some point during the meal, Julia had moved from my lap to Rosalind's, and Rosalind doesn't seem to mind.
"Don't besmirch Brigid like that, Mr. DeWitt," I say quietly, squeezing my fist tight, "she…she was a scientist who helped those poor children out of the kindness of her heart. Yes, in the past, some of her experiments may have been…questionable, but that doesn't mean that she can't try to fix her mistakes! So, I think that tunnel minded people like you, Mr. DeWitt, are worse than people who had made mistakes, but made up for them!!". As I had spoken, my voice continued to raise as I stand up, leaning across the corner of the table toward Booker. I slam my fist against the table again, "So what if she was one of the people who made Jack the way he is, so what if she was the one who did what she did to the Little Sisters, in my eyes she is a charitable woman!". I slam my fist on the table again at the last word, and, for some reason, Rosalind reaches over and puts her hand on my fist.
"Calm down, Anne Marie," she says.
I stand up straight, and I look around at the rest of the people in the dinning room. Almost everyone is looking at me, most of them scared, others sympathetic, others still are looking at Booker with anger. I clear my throat, and I glance at Rosalind. "I apologize," I say loudly, "Continue with your meal, please. Excuse me," I push my bowl toward the middle of the table, and I walk out of the dinning hall. I sit down on the bottom step in the front hall, and I rest my head in my hands, resting my elbows on my knees. I sigh, still trembling with anger.
"Are you alright?" I hear someone say.
I turn my head to see Robert walking into the room, and he sits on the stair next to me. He hands me a handkerchief.
"What's this for?" I ask.
"You're crying," he says, "You need it,"
I stare at him for a second, confused, and I reach up to my face. It's dripping with tears. I was so angry I didn't know I was crying. I wipe my eyes on the handkerchief, and I sigh again.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asks, quietly.
I reach into the breast-pocket of my vest, and I take out a small picture. It's of a woman with full, dark hair, and beautiful, soft facial features. She has a slight reproachful look in the picture, and she's not even smiling.
"She gave this to me," I say, "the day she left. She told me that it would keep us connected, in a material way, at least. Mr. DeWitt doesn't know what he's talking about. She was the most loving, caring woman anyone could ever meet,"
"You miss her?" Robert asks quietly.
"Painfully so," I say, putting the picture back in my vest.
"So…" he starts, "You prefer…women?"
"I do," I say, "Is that so wrong?"
"No," Robert says, "That isn't what I meant. I was just curious,"
There's a short silence between us.
"Both you and Rosalind seem to have taken a liking to me," I say, "Rosalind especially,"
"Yes," Robert says, "It's hard to find kindred spirits in this world. You seem to have even a slight idea of what we see the world as. The question is, though: do you fancy Rosalind?"
I pause for a second, and I look at Robert. He is staring at me, almost expectantly. I sigh.
"I don't know yet," I say, "We've only met today. Ask me again in few days,"
Robert sighs. "Alright," he says, "I'll make sure to,"
"I'll hold you to it," I laugh.
He laughs as well, as the first few people leave the dining room.
"I'll take dish washing duty," I say, walking back into the dining room.
"But that's a lot of work," Jack says, who is already collecting dishes, "I'll help,"
"It's really okay," I say, "all that I'll need to do is collect the dishes, and…you know what, you can help me collect the dishes, and I'll show you what we do with the dirty dishes,"
Jack nods, and I start collecting dishes with him. We put them on a cart we find, and I wheel the cart into the back of the kitchen.
"This," I say, motioning to a bin on the wall, "Is the start of my Washing Machine. All I have to do is add one dish at a time, and the machine does the rest. We would just need to get the clean dishes before we wash dishes again tomorrow morning,"
Jack nods, and we start loading the machine. After we had put all of the dishes into the machine, I pull a lever, and the machine on the other side of the wall hums to life.
"And now we can go to bed," I say, "It will shut off automatically,"
Jack stares wide eyed at the wall, and then looks back at me. He nods, and we walk back through the kitchen, into the hall, and up the stairs. I enter my room, and see that Julia is already asleep. There's a note on the night stand. I pick up the note, and sit on the edge of the bed as I read it. It reads:
I put Julia in bed for you, since you were busy. I helped her get into her nightgown and I read her a story.
I apologize for Mr. DeWitt's behavior at dinner tonight. He's…a difficult person to get used to, but he'll come around. I do expect that he'll apologize to you, but that may ot be for a while, so I wouldn't hold my breath.
I hope you aren't too distressed, and I hope you get a good night's sleep.
I smile, and I put the note back onto the nightstand. I change into a pair of silk pajamas, and I get into bed next to Julia, and I hold her close to me, feeling much less angry than I had at dinner.
Just remember, I think to myself, Don't let one rude person make the kind people you know seem worthless.
I close my eyes, and I drift off to sleep, wondering were Brigid may be...
Chapter 4: Quarantine
The next morning, I go downstairs and unload the clean dishes from the Machine. As I take the cart-load of dishes from the kitchen, Jack walks into the kitchen.
He stops in his tracks, staring at me. He had changed out of his cable-knit sweater and dark pants, and is now wearing a white button-down, black suspenders, and dark blue jeans.
“Yes?” I ask.
“You…” he mutters, “You’re wearing a brown suit…just like what Andrew Ryan was wearing the day I…I…”
“…killed him,” I say, looking down at the suit I’m wearing. I never wear skirts and blouses, like other women, including Rosalind. They always get in my way. So, I choose to wear suits, often sent to me by mail from my father, or bought from Columbia. “I don’t blame you. He was an atrocious man,”
“But, I didn’t want to kill him…” Jack mutters, “…Atlas…I mean…Fontine made me…”
I sigh, and place a hand on his shoulder. “You’re fine now,” I say, “You’re nowhere near him,”
Jack just nods, but he still looks very distraught.
At breakfast, I notice that Julia isn’t downstairs yet. “Rosalind?” I ask, turning to her, “Did you check on Julia before you came down?”
“I thought she was already down here with you,” she says, and then she glances around, “Obviously not, or you wouldn’t be asking, would you?”
I shake my head. “She must be sleeping in,” I say, “I’ll go get her,”. I stand up, and make my way upstairs. When I reach the room, the light is still out. I enter, and turn on the light. “Julia,” I say, sitting on the bed next to her, “get up, honey,”
She crawls slightly closer to me, and she rests her head on my lap. “I don’t feel good, mommy,” she mutters.
I’m slightly surprised by her calling me “Mommy,”. I smile slightly. “What doesn’t feel good?” I ask.
“It hurts when I breath,” she says, “and I feel very hot, but when I take off a blanket, I feel cold,”
I furrow my brows, and I lean down, lightly placing my lips on her forehead, to take her temperature. She feels hot to the touch. “You are running a fever,” I mutter, “and the pain when you breath is slightly worrying,”
I help her sit up against a pillow, and I hang my coat up out in the hall. I roll my sleeves up, and go downstairs to the kitchen. I grab a rag and a bowl, filled with water. As I pass through the dining room, Rosalind places an hand on my elbow.
“What’s wrong?” she asks.
“Julia’s sick,” I say.
“I’m coming,” Rosalind says, standing up, placing her napkin on the table.
“No,” I say, “finish your breakfast,”
“No need,” she says, “you and Julia are more important,”
I’m taken slightly aback by this, but I don’t protest any more.
As Rosalind walks past me, I catch sight of Robert staring at me, one eyebrow slightly raised, as if to say, “Well?”.
I sigh, staring him in the eyes, and say, “Yes,” I say, “That’s my answer to what you asked yesterday. Yes,”
He smiles, and then turns back to his own plate. “It is rather obvious,” I can hear him say as I walk out of the dining room.
I make my way up to Julia’s room, and I find Rosalind hanging sheets between the high posts of the bed.
She has a cloth tied around her mouth and nose, and is wearing a pair of leather gloves, with her sleeves rolled up to her elbows. “Ah,” she says when she sees me, taking the bowl and rag from me, “good. There’s another cloth mask and pair of gloves on the dressing table. After you put them on, can you hang this cloth over the doorway, pinning it to the top and sides of the doorframe?”
I stop for a minute. I’ve seen this done before, at a makeshift clinic. Surround the patient with cloth curtains. Block the doors and windows. Reduce the risk of a deadly illness spreading. Not only have I seen this done, but I’ve seen it from Julia’s perspective. “W-…Why?” I ask, worried about her answer.
Rosalind’s expression does dark. “She has Tuberculosis,” she mutters, “Which is highly contagious, so, if you don’t want to catch it, I suggest you put the mask and gloves on. We’re going to help her as much as we can, but I make no guarantees,”
I sigh, and nod. I walk over to the dressing table, and as my eyes drip with tears, I tie the cloth mask over my nose and mouth and pull on the leather gloves. I grab the white sheet of cloth that Rosalind indicated, and I set it near the door. I go to a hall closet, and grab a hammer and a bucket of nails. I return to the room, and nail the cloth into place.
Rosalind walks up to the cloth stretched across the doorway, holding a pair of sewing shears, and she cuts it up the middle, making a doorway. She then takes my sewing kit, and sews a series of buttons and loops onto the fabric. “There,” she says, “It will still keep the room quarantined, but we can move in and out of the room. It’s also a good thing that we have a bathroom adjacent to this room,” she waves a hand at a door covered in fabric, like this one, “We can wash before and after treating her in there,”
I nod. I feel almost numb. I’m well aware that Julia could die from this illness, and if we’re not careful, it could spread to the other refugees.
Rosalind stares at me for a second, like she’s aware of how I feel, and grabs my hands. She holds them for a minute, and then she pulls me closer to her. She wraps her arms around my neck, and rests her forehead on my shoulder.
I pause for a second, then I wrap my arms around her waist, holding her close to me. I lean my head on hers, and we stand like this for a bit.
“I have no idea how hard this could be for you,” she says, “but, we’re in this together, alright? I’m going to help you in whatever way I can,”
I nod, tears dripping from my eyes.
Rosalind stands up straight and looks up at me. She’s half a head shorter than me, but doesn’t seem to mind. She wipes the tears from my face with her gloved hands.
I smile at her, but I don’t think she can tell through the mask.
She turns from me to the bed Julia is laying in. She sits on one side of her, douses the rag in water, and lays it across Julia’s forehead. “You won’t be able to sleep in this room anymore,” she says, “for your safety,”
I nod, holding Julia’s small, pale hand. I start to shake, tears dripping from my eyes. Still holding Julia’s hand, I break down into sobs. I hang my head, shoulders shaking with each exhale. I place my right hand over my eyes. I can feel someone pat my shoulder.
“Anne Marie,” Rosalind says, “I think you should go downstairs, alright? I’ll ask for help when I need it,”
I nod. I let go of Julia’s hand, and I walk over to the dressing table. I take off the cloth mask and gloves, and set them back down on the table, and I leave the room. I close the door behind me, and lean against the wall next to the door. I bury my face in my hands, tears spilling down my face.
“Is everything alright?” I hear someone say from down the hall.
I turn to see Robert walking toward me. I wipe my eyes on my sleeve. “Julia’s sick,” I say.
“That’s not what you’re crying about,” Robert says, “How sick?”
“Tuberculosis,” I mutter, “Rosalind is treating right now. I couldn’t hold myself together in there,”
Robert sighs. “I’m sorry,” he says, “should I help in any way?”
“No,” I say, “let’s just go downstairs. Rosalind will come get us when she needs help,”. I grab my coat from the hanger in the hall, and I start downstairs.
Robert follows me, silent.
I go downstairs, to find Booker talking to Jack in the main hall.
“…sure she’s your sister?” Booker whispers.
“She has no reason to lie,” Jack says, a mixture of fear and anger in his voice, “Why can’t you just be grateful that she’s helping you?”
“Because, I’ve seen this kind of thing before,” Booker says, “With Comstock. He builds a city, acts ceritable, and people follow him blindly. For all we know, she may be plotting to take over the world,”
I clear my throat loudly. “Mr. DeWitt,” I say, “If you don’t trust me, why do you stay?”
“So I can find out what you’re planning, you manipulative witch,” he spits at me, “You have everyone trusting you, eating out of your hand. I don’t fall for your charade for one second. ‘Adopting a Little Sister’? HA! You probably killed the other Little Sisters and Dr Tenenbaum, but kept one alive. You are twi-”. He isn’t able to finish his sentence, due to the fact that I have punched him square in the nose. He stumbles backward, blood dripping from his nose. He raises a hand to his face, and, feeling blood, looks at his hand, enraged. He swings his left fist at me.
I dodge it easily, and kick his right foot out from underneath him while taking off my overcoat and tossing it at Robert, who catches it lazily in one hand and drapes it over one of his arms.
Booker stumbles forward, almost falling onto his face. He catches himself, and glares at me. He grabs a vase from a table and throws it at me.
I dodge it and catch it at the same time. “That was Ming Dynasty,” I say to him, “I would have killed you if you broke that,”
“You seem to want to kill me either way,” Booker pants, “so why not?”
“Because it costs almost twenty million dollars,” I say, “and I would rather not lose such a fine piece of art,”
Booker just huffs, and runs at me. He lowers his shoulder, poised to tackle me.
I toss the vase lightly over him, and Robert grabs it out of the air, placing it back where it belongs, a bored look on his face. I spin to the side, dodging Booker like a matador.
“Olè!” I can hear Robert laugh.
Booker slams into the wall, and bounces off, nearly falling backwards.
“I’ve been taking self defense and martial arts classes since I was five, Booker,” I say, “You’re not going to win this fight. You can’t even touch me,”
“I would listen to her, Mr. DeWitt,” Robert says, “You’re just setting yourself up to be knocked down,”
Booker doesn’t seem to be listening, though, because he makes another charge at me.
I dodge him again, both Jack and Robert saying, “Olè!”. As I glance around the front hall, I see that more people have gathered around to watch the fight. All of the refugees are staring at me, amazed, and some are cheering me on. I laugh.
“What?” Booker pants, wiping crusted blood from his top lip, “You…You having fun? I’m…I’m just getting started,”
“Really,” I say, cracking my knuckles, “ I was almost finished,”
Some refugees laugh.
Booker charges at me again, but instead of dodging him this time, I punch him in the stomach.
He gasps, and falls to his knees.
I bring my arm back to punch him in the face.
His eyes open wide in fear. “Jack!” he calls out, “Would you kindly, stop her!”
Almost instantly, I feel someone catch my elbow, and hold it in place. “I’m sorry, Anne Marie!” Jack says, letting go of my elbow, “I…I tried to fight it…I…”
“No need to apologize, Jack,” I say, “It’s Booker who should be sorry,”
“Why?” Booker says.
“How… dare you,” I say, slapping Booker hard across the face, “How fucking dare you! Using my own brother unwillingly against me!”
Suddenly, the front doors burst open. “Mr. DeWitt!” a young woman in a blue dress yells, seeing the situation. Her dark brown hair is cut short.
“How…” I mutter, “Who…what?”
“Elizabeth?” Booker and Robert say at the same time, but Robert more states the name.
Elizabeth levels a revolver at me. “Let Mr. DeWitt go,” she says, cocking the gun.