Inside the cool walls of the library, discord had abruptly shut out all sanity.
“Quickly now, gather all you can.” Peter gently spoke as he himself gathered books for the journey ahead.
“Why bother running when she's going to find us.” One of the young boys muttered as he tossed his clothing into his knapsack.
Peter ignored the comment, focusing only on the task at hand. Eris had found them and would leave hesitation behind as she charged at them once more. She was a powerful sorceress, one not to be underestimated.
“Are you prepared to leave?” Bluebird strolled forward, her face offering no hint to the events prior. It was a stark contrast against Jane's eager, questioning eyes as she surveyed what was happening.
“We are nearly ready, yes.” Peter did not meet her gaze.
Jane watched silently as Bluebird offered a comforting touch.
“You are doing a fine job, Peter. You should be proud.”
A ghost of a smile touched his lips and quickly passed, leaving fear in its wake. He had lived his life well, never seeking revenge for those who had wronged him. He carried the values of his parents proudly, but he knew he had disappointed them now as he looked around him.
“I have done nothing but cower. Jane, I'm afraid you are right. An old man such as myself never has much of a fight left when all has been lost.”
“Not all is lost, old man.” Bluebird smiled slyly. “There is much left to be seen yet before the end.”
“You speak in riddles, Sister B.” Peter chuckled. “Not necessarily unlike myself.”
“Give me a break.” Jane muttered under her breath. This love fest was doing wonders for her gag reflex.
“If I may speak to you in private. Only for a moment.” Bluebird lowered her voice as she spoke.
“Certainly. Please, follow me.” Peter gestured, turning away from Jane without acknowledging her farther.
She looked on as they walked slowly away, heads bowed towards one another as if they were sharing a secret. She had to hand it to Sister B., the woman had charm beyond anyone she'd ever met. Shaking her head, Jane focused herself on the gathering of supplies.
Many of the young people near her age were orphaned after the war. They had banded together before stumbling upon Peter, living off of scraps and violence. Most had adjusted successfully back into what they called normal now. It hadn't been an easy fight for them; The war between worlds had crushed all hope of redemption in those that survived it.
The older survivors like Peter quoted scripture daily, instilling the belief that something good was at the end of the treacherous road they had been placed upon. Jane had chosen not to believe it. She had chosen not to believe in their God, as she found him horribly contradictory.
If He was so powerful and righteous, why had he not come to save them from this? She thought to herself. Some merciful God he was turning out to be. Still, she admired those who prayed and held onto their faith that it was going to be better in the end. She envied them, wishing she could make sense of things enough to still believe it herself.
“You look awfully deep in thought.” Franklin nudged his friend. She stumbled a little, catching her balance on the cot.
“Yeah, just working on getting all this together.”
He sat thoughtfully on the edge of the cot. She hesitated when he patted the spot next to him lightly. She was in no mood for this conversation.
“Rumor has it we're heading south. I'm not sure why, though. It doesn't make any sense, I thought that was where Eris was gaining ground in the first place.”
Jane nodded. She too had noticed the discrepancy. “Maybe we're not really heading south.”
“It's possible.” Franklin stroked his chin dramatically, evoking a laugh from both of them. “They must not want us to know where we're headed.”
“Why would they need to do that? It's not like there's a mole or something here telling Eris where we are and where we're going.”
Franklin grinned. “But what if there is?”
She hadn't considered that aspect. Truthfully, she hadn't imagined anyone capable of such a thing. The group had been tightly knit, each person offering all they had to the rest. None had withheld food from the others, nor had they deliberate sought out each other in greed or malice.
“You think you know who it is.” She whispered at the look on her friend's face. Franklin grinned widely, looking around him to ensure they were unheard.
“All I know are rumors. Still, I have to wonder why all of this began happening—the attacks, I mean—after Sister B. came into the picture.”
Immediately offended, Jane stood. “That is a horrible thing to say, Franklin.”
“Hey, I'm only telling you what I know. Think about it,” He put his hands on her shoulders, looking her straight in the face with sincerity. “No one knows where she came from or if she's even really a refugee. She doesn't have any family or friends here. She's a ghost, Jane.”
Something inside her boiled.
“You think what you want to think. I know she is no traitor.” She turned on her heel and marched away, leaving Franklin looking more than slightly dismayed at the exchange.
She paced back and force outside, running her hands through her hair.
There had to be an explanation for all of this.