Chapter 10


            The next morning couldn’t have come fast enough; I spent the entire night in thought.  Thinking about the events of the past few days, thinning about how Fiona and I were the same.  We have both spent our lives protecting ourselves from others; we were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to protect anyone else, just as my parents were unable to protect me when they died.  We used the world as an excuse to distance ourselves from others.  Now I know that we can’t live like that, we need people in our lives, they give is meaning, they give us a reason to live.  As for Fiona and myself I don’t know or understand how it happened; all I know is that we do care about each other.  We confirmed that last night when our emotions took hold of us, when we were compelled to be close to one another.  Up until that moment I always thought that if I lost control of my emotions I would die, or turn into a creeper.  This however was different, at that exact moment in time I knew I had to just follow where my feelings would take me.  Perhaps this is the only true way to live, just go with your gut and jump. 

            Fiona and Velvet have spent the morning telling people to meet at the town center, that there was going to be a celebration and that they would be deciding the fate of Haven.  I spent the morning planning out what I was going to say, in the end I decided I would go with this new idea of following my gut, seeing where my emotions would take me.  Once the time had come I made my way into the town center.  People were already spreading rumors about what was going on, once I enter the center I could tell that the rumors started to lean heaver on the topic of the Brotherhood. 

            “Everyone.” I say trying to get their attention, “Everyone, I am sure you are wondering what is going on.”  I continue on, “I have heard some of the rumors, and I am sure you are wondering why I am here today.”

            “Where is Hyde, shouldn’t he be addressing us.” A townsman by the name of Jack Stevens shouts. 

            “Is he dead?” Another adds to the shouts, “Let’s see his body.”

            Almost immediately people start to shout demanding answers.  “Look, I know you all want answer and that is what I am trying to give you.” I say, “Please if you would just quite down.”

            A rock flies past my head missing only by a few inches, “What you think because you are with the Brotherhood you can boss us around.”

            Another town person continues, “What did Hyde just hand Haven Over to the Brotherhood.”

            A few more rocks are sent flying in my direction.  Followed by two shots in the air, “Everyone can it, let him speak.” Fiona says her rifle still pointed in the air.

            My mind draws a blank, what can me day to these people.  They are scared and unsure of what is going on.  The book, “Dyami give me the book.”  He hands it to me and I begin, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” I read out loud, “This is what we are here to do today, Hyde is no longer in control of Haven you are.”

            “What are you saying?” A member of the crowd shouts.

            “I am saying that the Brotherhood is seeking to gain control of Haven, there is no stopping them, but you have the choice now to stay and welcome them or leave form a new settlement under yours and only your rule. 

            “That is not a choice.” A voice in the crowd says, only this one I know.  It is Nevada’s, “We will fight.”  He makes his way next to me, “That is a choice; we either decide to welcome them or fight them.”

            “You can’t fight the Brotherhood, they will slaughter you.” I say.

            “You have to either stand with them or leave.” Fiona adds, taking her place next to me.

            I can tell the crowd is starting to get divided about what to do, some people shoot for the Brotherhood, others plan to leave, and still others say they will fight.  This is not the outcome I expected.

            “The only thing we have always had in the Wastes was the fact that we were free of the Brotherhood rule, it is who we are as Wastelanders to stand against them.” Nevada says.

            The crowd is starting to get restless; people on the two sides are starting to turn on each other.  Each side declares there are right and that the other seeks to destroy Haven.  Even Nevada can see that this is not good, “Look, we can’t fight we need to decide peacefully.” He says as a bottle smashes into his mask causing him to stumble backwards. 

            “Back to the Mansion.” I say, grabbing Nevada as we push through the crowd. 

              Once back in the safety of the mansion I grab Nevada by the collar of his jacket and slam him into the wall, “What are you trying to do get everyone killed?” I say.  He pushes me back and takes a swing catching my across my mask.  I charge in spearing him to the ground within moments I am on top and return the punch across his face followed by a second.  I can feel the others pulling me off; I give in and allow my scenes to return to me.  Pulling off his mask Nevada stays on the ground revealing his naturally tanned skin.  His face is already changing colors and the signs of bruising are apparent.  His salt and peppered hair is moist with blood from where the bottle hit.

            “I wasn’t trying to start a riot.” Nevada says.

            “Well you sure as heck started one.” I say.

            “Running never solves anything; you should know that better than anyone Riley or did you forget already.” Nevada says.

            Everyone’s eyes are beating down upon me; they are wondering the meaning of his statement.  My breathing is fast and short; the room starts to close in on me.  I have to get out of here, away from everyone’s eyes.

            “What is he talking about?” Dyami says.

            “Clean him up.” I say, “Once that is done we can figure out what to do.”  With that I leave the room and head into Hyde’s office. I long for the days of loneliness now gone.  I should have left when I get the chance, I probably would have if it wasn’t for them, but I swore long ago I would never run, not from anything. I wasn’t mad at Nevada for suggesting they fight, I was mad at myself for suggesting they run.  He had done what I should have, that is why he stood up there today.  Not to start a riot, but to show me what I was supposed to do.

            “You ok?” Fiona says.

            I turn to her my face hidden behind my mask.  I don’t want her to see me, I feel ashamed of what I have done.  I am supposed to be the leader, I am just a kid who messed everything up, “It’s nothing, and I shouldn’t have hit him.” I say, “It’s just that he is right, it should have been me to do what he did.”

            “I don’t understand, what do you mean?” Fiona says shaken her head.

            “My parents ran, they left me and ran.” I say, “Left me to die, and that is what they did.  The Haven Militia found them a few days later in the Wastes.”

            She moves closer to me, placing her hands upon my mask.  Slowly she lifts it from my face.  Compared to her I look like death, my eyes sunken, tired.  Unlike hers which are full, bright and beautiful.  Her hair seems to always fall down over her eyes, its poetic in a way. Dropping the mask to the floor her hand raises to my face, she rests it upon the forming bruise.  It stings and once again I feel that feeling deep within me, only this time it does not feel awkward.  It is welcome and warm; I haven’t felt comforted by another’s touch since I was a kid, since before my parents left me to die. 

            “I can’t run I have to finish what I started.” I say.

            “I know.” Fiona says, with that she reaches in and kisses me.

            Our lips met for only but a moment, but it is one that will last a lifetime.  Fiona pulls back for only a moment, in that moment I feel as if perhaps she has come to regret what has happened. 

            “What the heck do you think you’re doing?” Fiona asks slapping me across the face.  Standing there confused and trying to make sense of what just happened.  Watching as Fiona storms out of the room a bewildered look upon my face.  As Fiona reaches the door she stops and turns towards me, “You know I don’t know where you got the idea that you can kiss me."  She strides across the room, there is fire in her eyes.  She moves so quickly there is nothing I can do except brace myself against her wrath.  However, I am wrong and once again our lips meet.  We stand for a time our arms wrapped around each other.

            “Well that is just about the sweetest thing I have ever seen.” Velvet says, once again standing in the doorway.

            “I really have to start closing the door.” I say.

            Fiona turns to Velvet, releasing her arms, but standing close to me, not wanting the moment to fully end.  My eyes now focus on Nevada; someone has stuffed paper up his nose to stop the bleeding.

            “You ok?” I say.

            “I will be fine, you?” Nevada says.

            “She hits harder.” I say as I motion in Fiona’s direction, receiving a rather wicked look from Fiona.

            Nevada can’t help but laugh at the idea of me being taken out by Fiona, she may be small, but she packs a lot of power.

            “Ok then what do we do?” Nevada asks.

            I turn to look out the window; people still fight in the streets, “First we take care of them.” I say, “Then, we fight!”

The End

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