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Something like Hope

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The cold, metal bed-frame dug into Alana's neck. Good. If it hurt, she wouldn't be able to sleep. When she slept, she remembered, and remembering led to nightmares and screams. Collin was no good at comforting her.

She sighed, wishing for a light, but the council had decided no power would be used at night. She was trapped, locked in. She missed the sun. She hadn't seen it in almost two months.  No one had. The sickly shade of white her skin was turning made her stomach turn.

Their world's balance had been wrenched away, and she was expected to put it back together. Fuck being one of the last Guardians left.

She needed Rhiannon, best friend, cousin, and fellow Guardian. Not that being one nowadays was worth anything. Nothing but stress.

Alana sent a silent plea out to the gods. Please don’t let Hope be one. The last thing she needed was to be a cool aunt and mentor.

She reached over to the nightstand and brought the cup of lukewarm water to her lips. Warm, but bearable. From beside her, Collin stirred. "You okay?" He propped himself up on an arm.

"I'm fine."

Dark strands of hair hung over his eyes. "If you were fine you'd be sleeping, or at least trying to. You're too busy thinking."

Sometimes, she found herself wishing things were different, and not in the end-of-the-world-way. More to do with him. "There's nothing wrong with that." But she loved him. Probably. She was sixteen. How was she to know what love felt like?

"It makes you sad."

Of course it did. "I'm sad without thinking about it. I haven't been outside in over a month. That's enough to make almost anyone 'sad'."  She burrowed her face into her hands.

"Come on, don't be like this." He awkwardly ran his fingers through her hair.

She pulled away, and slid off the bed. "I'm going to take a walk." She paused by the door. Part of her wanted to see if Collin would offer to follow her. Like always, he remained still and silent.

She left.

The halls were silent at night. Eerily so. While the council hadn't forbidden anyone from leaving them, almost no one did.

"What are you doing up?" Rhiannon’s voice broke through the quiet.

Alana wheeled around. "Jeez, you scared me."

She chuckled as she pushed herself away from the wall. "That's what I'm here for." She pulled a hair band from her pants and shoved her brown hair into a ponytail. "Seriously though, you okay?"

Now that Rhiannon was there? A familiar, older face? The closest thing she had left to family? "Yeah."

"Does yes mean no?" Rhiannon sat down. Alana did as well. "So?"

"Just thinking,” she admitted. Rhiannon knew her too well.

"We all think about things, Alana. It's kind of hard not to."

She sighed. "Collin doesn't get that. He thinks that I should just forget, and move on." She wrinkled her nose. "He can be such a jerk sometimes."

Rhiannon gave Alana's arm a weak punch. "We told you a long time ago to ditch him, kid."

Alana punched her back. "Don't call me that."

"What?" Rhiannon shrugged. "You are a kid."

"I'm sixteen."

Rhiannon nodded. "See, a kid." Alana stared at her. "Alright, you're not really a kid anymore. I'll give you that one." She rested her head on her knees. "Do you want to talk about anything? I'll be more than happy to lend you an ear."

Alana smiled, the pressure in her chest loosening its hold. "I feel better. Thanks. And just so you know, I don't want to talk shop right now."

Rhiannon slung an arm over Alana's shoulder. "I didn't want to. We can save that for another time."

"It still needs to be done," Alana forced out.

"Don't worry, I know."

Alana stood up and stretched. "I'm going to try to get some sleep."

"I'll probably walk a little longer before I turn in." Rhiannon gave Alana a quick hug. "See you in a few hours."

 

#

Rhiannon stormed down the halls. She couldn't stand being caged in. She wasn't an animal. That's what this place did though, cage you in. Fucking bunker. It would have been easier to remain in this place if she had the option to leave. She didn't though; if she tried to leave, she'd be ripped apart the moment she left their hideout. The Veil had torn.

"Some Guardian I turned out to be," Rhiannon muttered.

She missed her home. Sure, she’d had a tendency to travel, but it had been nice to have a place to go back to. She wasn't the only person who felt this way. Some of the more bold people spoke of going to the surface. A few of the foolish ones had tried. Those who had made it out hadn’t survived. The exits didn't need to be guarded anymore. No one dared to leave.

Rhiannon leapt up from the floor, and continued down the white halls. She needed to talk to Alana about getting some color in there. All of this white was going to drive her crazy.

"Excuse me, Miss Rhiannon?" a voice interrupted her thoughts.

Rhiannon turned to see who was there. "Hey there, Terri." She paused and waited for the younger girl to say something. When she didn't, Rhiannon added, "Is there something you needed?"

Again, no response. So, she walked. Terri followed. Finally she said, "I was, um, wondering if you'd like to...spar, or something."

Rhiannon eyed the younger girl. "If you'd like. I didn't think that was your kind of thing." She knew Terri was lonely and had chosen her as a sort of 'big sister', or maybe crush, which was new and sort of nice. The former, not the latter. She didn’t need a kid pining after her. Terri probably thought she was a bother, but she wasn't. Terri gave her something she'd never had before, someone to look out for. It made her feel useful. It was a different sort of useful from the way she felt with the other survivors. This was a good useful. It could also have had something to do with how, aside from her and Alana, Terri was one of the only other people fluent in Spanish there. "We could just talk for a bit."

Terri sighed in relief. "Yeah, okay."

The two walked into the recreational quarter. When they got there, Rhiannon lazily flopped into a chair. "So, what's on your mind?"

A flush appeared over Terri's face. "I was, um...wondering if we were going to be able to go up to the surface any time soon." She ended her sentence as a whisper. They both knew the answer, it was just a question that needed to be asked. There was nothing they could do to change their situation. "I know it's stupid to ask. Sorry. I just need to hear another no."

 "Teresa..." Rhiannon stopped a moment, trying to find the right words. "I...don't know if things will ever change. I don't know if there's even a world for us to go back to."

Terri looked at her through unshed tears. "I know. I told you before. I needed to hear it again. It has to change someday, right?" Despite everything, there was still hope left in Terri. "Things don't stay the same. They change. Maybe those things up there will go away."

Rhiannon gave her a sad smile. Poor kid. If they had the supplies, she and Alana could whip up a feast to celebrate…being alive or whatever. "I hope you're right."

"Maybe the Veil will fix itself," Terri added.

"I don't think so," Rhiannon said.

"Why not?"

How long was Terri going to stay in denial? "That's not the way the Veil works."

"Well, how does it work? Do you really know?

Rhiannon frowned. "I thought you knew."

"The Veil separates worlds. It broke. End of discussion.”

"What's it made of?" Terri asked. "Some sort of fabric? That can be fixed.”

"We don't know. Some sort of energy maybe. Not fabric though, so no, we can’t just sew it back together." Rhiannon sat down. "What it's made of doesn't really matter. The important thing is that it doesn't tear, something we've all seen the effects of." She gestured around her.

“And no Guardian can mend this.”

"So how does this Astrid fit into all of this? Is she a Guardian?" Terri tugged at the old shirt she was wearing.

"How do you know about Astrid?" Rhiannon's smile vanished.

"I heard you and Alana mention her a few times." Terri cracked her knuckles.

Rhiannon’s lips pulled downward into a scowl. "I hate it when you do that." Terri stared at her. "She died when the Veil broke. Like everyone else."

Terri nibbled on her lip. "Sorry."

Be nice. "It's fine. You didn't know." She rose "I've got to go. I'll see you around." She walked away from the younger girl. "Hope. I'll check on Hope," she mumbled to herself. It only took her a few minutes to walk to Alana's room where the baby was kept.

Rhiannon opened the door and walked over to Hope's crib, taking the baby into her arms. "What do you think of all this, Hope?" She laughed. If any of the others ever saw her talking to a baby - Summer's baby, at that—her reputation would be ruined. "We'll keep this our little secret, 'kay?" The baby gurgled in response.

She set Hope down onto the floor and attempted a game of patty cake. It didn't work. Hope's attention was elsewhere, and she was still too young for actual games.

Rhiannon looked around but saw nothing of interest. It really wasn't that strange though. Hope did it often.

They'd had to rush the whole pregnancy so that Summer could join in the fight. Hope was part demon and a possible Guardian, the child of Summer Matthews and Damien. "You'd better be a Guardian, kid," Rhiannon grumbled.

She shook herself out of her reverie. Almost all of the people she had known were dead now. Now all she had were Alana, Collin, Terri, and Hope. She would not let herself lose them too.

Rhiannon pulled herself away from her thoughts. It was best not to dwell on the past. Good things rarely came from that and it only saddened her to remember what she'd lost. It was better to focus on the now. That was all that was left.

#

"Any ideas?" Alana sighed. "We need to get everyone involved in this place. Humans and demons."

 "None here, and I still think that's a bad idea. What about you Rhiannon? Want all your demony friends in charge of this place?" Collin sneered.

Rhiannon leapt from her seat and angrily slammed her hands onto the table. "Would you just shut up? And Alana said nothing about giving them free reign over the place."

Collin glared at Rhiannon. "Can't you try for once? Can't you—”Alana ran her hands through his shaggy brown hair.

"Shh. Calm down sweetie," Alana murmured

Collin looked at his girlfriend. "I still think she should try harder. I think she's just lazy."

Rhiannon glowered at him. "I don't see you coming up with any brilliant ideas!"

"That's because I haven't had any!" he snapped.

"Nobody's had any ideas,” Alana said, rubbing her temples. “We've barely left where we started." A pause. "The only reason we've even been able to take those few steps is because we've got two Guardians. The only ones left as far as I know."

 "I don't think that the people fully understand what we are." Rhiannon stated.
Collin sighed. "I'm not really sure that I do. I mean, what exactly are the Guardian? The Order of Light did a fine job protecting people."

Alana sighed. "We protect the Veil. We fix the tears and take care of anything dangerous and gets through. We don't want realities bleeding. I've told you this before."

"Some job you did there," Collin grumbled. The girls glared at him.

"It runs in a few select families, not that every person born is a Guardian,” Rhiannon said. “Next to that, we know nothing. The people don't even understand that. They expect us to be much more knowledgeable."

"They know you're stronger than most people." Collin was determined to hold up his end of the discussion.

Rhiannon glared at him. "Not by much and that doesn't make a difference. Whether we have power or not, we're still stuck."

"The people are divided." Alana said. "They're just accepting it or they're in denial. Hardly any of them are willing to help us though. They're too untrusting."

"Of course they are!" Collin wasn't sure where they were going with this conversation. "We have demons working with us! The Order would have cleansed them the second they set foot here.”

Rhiannon’s nostrils flared. "We've made a pact. As long as each end holds up their side, we work together. Not all of them are bad."

"They'll turn on us!"

Alana spoke. "Some will, but as Rhiannon said, not all of them are bad. All that makes them demons anyway is the aura they give off." A pause. "But we can't afford any more enemies. The surface now means death for us. We do not need a war to begin here."

Collin sighed. "I get that. Really, I do. It's just...I don't trust them.

"We trusted Damien," came Alana's small reply.

He glared at her. "You trusted him! Me? I barely knew the guy!"

"Whose fault is that?" Alana frowned. "I've known my fair share of good demons. There are bad people and there are bad demons. The higher the intelligence of the life form, the more of a choice they have. We can choose whether or not we want to obey the dark side of our desires." Alana stared at him.

Collin pouted. "That sounds really lame." Alana whacked him. "I get that. Really, I do. Logically at least."

Rhiannon felt the need to cut in. "At least our demons down here fit. They belong here. Those things above us....they make all of my senses go nuts.

"Those are the animals." Alana rested her head on Collin's shoulder. "They don't have the intelligence to even begin talking to us. They're just," she shuddered, "hungry."

 

 

#

Survivor Archive 387- Teresa Rodriguez- age fourteen

If you're watching this and you know who I am, you probably don't realize it's me. Well, I'm sure if you know what I look like you do or if you know me when I'm still this age then you do but if you're watching this and I'm old or dead and you've never met me then...You know what, never mind. I'm babbling. My point is that pretty much no one calls me Teresa. Everyone knows me as Terri.

I guess I'm supposed to tell you about me. I don't know what I should say. Um, I'm a witch. I hope you don't think I'm weird or dangerous or something. With everything that's happened, that seems to be what the 'normal' people think about anyone who had anything to do with magick.

People must think I did something. I see the way that they've been looking at me. They think: How did she survive? She's only a child. Clearly a kid couldn't have survived without doing something. They're probably right. I am only a child. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. It's more because of Jamie that I'm alive. I didn't really do anything. I just followed her.  She just called me one morning and said that we needed to get to ******. I don't know why. I still don't. I never asked.

I had no idea what to do. The world pretty much ended and I had no idea what to do. I felt pretty useless.

 

<Silence>

 

I felt better when Rhiannon showed up. She gave me something to do. I know to some that it may seem like I'm some kind of groupie or something. I'm not! It's just...I dunno how to explain it.

She seems to have things under control. She's under control. Or at least she can let people think she is.

She's a Guardian. I think that most people can't help following her, her and Alana.

What am I? What can I do? I'm just me.

 

<Recording End>