Chapter 2: A Fear of Spiders
When I woke back up I didn’t recognize where I was. I rubbed my eyes, thinking that maybe I was still asleep but when I reopened my eyes I was still in a strange place. I was instantly on high alert after realizing that I wasn’t dreaming. I did a quick scan of my surroundings, starting with myself. I was still wearing the same clothes so that’s a good sign. I examined the room. There were two beds side by side they were separated only by a nightstand; there was a pad of blank stationary on the topside. I checked the drawers for a pen or any sort of writing utensil. I heard a door open before I saw anything. I froze, and my survival instincts kicked in. I grabbed whatever was around me and jumped off the bed, I ducked around the nearest corner. I strained my ears and listened to the footsteps coming closer, I waited until they were almost passed me before I jumped out poised to attack. I closed my eyes and swung but something stopped it or should I say someone because when I opened my eyes I was relieved to see the person standing in front of me was familiar.
“Spencer, oh thank god it’s only you.” I said feeling weirdly relieved. His eyes narrowed playfully.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked. I shrugged.
“Not sure. I guess I’m just glad you’re not a random creeper.” I answered. His features unexpectedly became serious like he was ready to teach me a real life lesson.
“What if I had been?” his face got playful again as he pointed to my weapon “Were you planning to fluff me to death?” I looked at what I was holding, a cylinder pillow that was pretty much the size of my forearm. I scowled at him.
“I wasn’t planning; I just grabbed whatever was near. Besides I’m a Hunter, I’m pretty sure I could have held my own.” I smirked like I had won the battle. He rolled his eyes unimpressed.
“You’re a Retriever not an Apprehender.” I was surprised.
“How did you know that?”
“You were sneaking around my house looking for something; also it’s on your uniform.” I looked down at the patch on my right shoulder and looked back at him he was smiling at me.
“Okay I guess that makes sense.” I took a deep breath and tried to relax a little bit. He chuckled and pulled a few things out of one of the pouchs he was holding. He then tossed them at me.
“Here a fresh pair of clothes.” He said. I caught them gratefully and ran to the bathroom. I changed in to jeans and a tee shirt. The jeans hung low on my hips and the shirt was a size two big so it hung low in the front unless I pulled the back down. When I came back out of the bathroom he handed me a pair of converse, they were a little lose. After tying the shoes I asked.
“So where am I?” He smirked.
“We’re at the famous Abbey Creek Barn… obviously.” Notorious Rebel hideout, no one knew exactly where it was though. I scrunched my nose up in confusion why were we here of all places.
“That doesn’t explain how I got here.” I said. “I don’t remember walking here.”
“I transported you, after I teleported out of course.” I sat down on the bed and put my head in my hands.
“Of course because being teleported makes so much sense.” I said which caused him to start pouting. I rolled my eyes at him.
“Your sarcasm isn’t appreciated.” He said while sulking.
“I’m sorry…” I said genuinely. Right now he was the only one who might be able to save me. in order to get back to headquarters alive I need him to trust me. I looked up at him “I guess I’m trying to process everything.” He gently put a comforting hand on my shoulder. Sudden contact caused me to tense up. He recognized that I was uncomfortable and took his hand back.
“It’s okay and I guess it’s mainly my fault I should have been more understanding.” He said.
“But the question I was really asking was how did you teleport me?” I asked, fearing I already knew the answer but I needed to know the truth in order to escape.
“I’m a Rebel.” my eyes widened, that wasn’t what I expect him to say. Now the barn makes more sense and it also makes sense that WO would want him. I quickly stood up.
“Oh no, that’s not good.” I said hurriedly. He looked confused by my reaction.
“Wait you really didn’t know I was a Rebel? Why were you sneaking around my house if you didn’t know what I was?” I scoffed.
“We were looking for the rings. Besides we only know the name of one Rebel and that’s your leader.”
“How is that fair…” I looked at him unsure of what he was talking about. “I’m the second in command shouldn’t my name be famous too.” He said pouting. I looked at him like he was insane.
“That’s what you care about?” I nearly shirked.
“No, that’s unimportant of course…” he said quickly “But before you completely freak out please hear me out.” he pleaded with me.
“Why should I listen to you of all people? You’re a Rebel the very reason the World Order hired Hunters. My job is pretty much to kill you and I should.” I answered.
“Then why haven’t you?” I didn’t answer “Because you trust me… right? You don’t even have to answer because I know it true. You trust me even though every instinct is telling you not to, you trust me.” As he said it I knew it was true but it wasn’t, I didn’t trust him and now I trusted him even less. But I needed him to help me escape later so I had to at least pretend like I trusted him. I heaved a heavy sigh.
“I know but that still explain what happened.” I answered as I sat back down. He pulled out of his pocket a tiny box, which was just a little bit bigger than the grey pouch, it looked like a button.
“This, beautiful piece of rebel technology is how I was able to disappeared. It scans DNA and faster than the speed of light it safely breaks down every molecule in someone’s body and transports them to preset location. This is a Clicker; the head held version of course, all the Clicker does is transport. It has to be plugged in to the Molecular Atom Carrier or M.A.C for short. The M.A.C has the power to preset locations, convert atoms and all that fancy jazz.” He held the Clicker towards me as if he was expecting me to grab and hold it. I shook my head not wanting to go anywhere near it.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because you’re a Rebel accomplice…”He smirked “or at least you are now.”
“What?” I shrieked my eyes going wide “I would never betray—” he cut me off.
“Whoa, whoa calm down…” he chuckled “I never said betray I just mean that you helped me escape.” I scoffed shaking my head at him.
“Get your facts straight no I didn’t.” He shrugs
“I know that but if you rat me out that’s what I’ll say.”
“They’ll never believe you.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Once they find out that you withheld vital evidence from them, they’ll arrest you and you’ll be a traitor for the rest of your life.” I hadn’t forgotten about the rings burning a hole in my back pocket.
“Oh shit I’m so screwed.” I sat down on the edge of the nearest bed “Emerson is going to kill me, if Boss doesn’t beat her to it…” I muttered. He tried to put a comforting hand on my shoulder again but I shrugged his hand off, still not comfortable with physical contact.
“Hey no don’t worry as long as you don’t tell anyone with authority then you’ll be safe. Now come on cheer up.” I thought everything over before reluctantly nodding.
“Okay let’s say I trust you. Answer me this why exactly are we just sitting here, shouldn’t we be on the run?” He chuckled a small half smile appeared on his face.
“We’re waiting for a ride which probably won’t get here till later, that’s why I got us some food to eat.” It was then that I noticed that he had a pouch in his hand which he handed to me. I went through picking out the stuff I liked, he picked his and we sat down on either bed. We made small talk while we waited.
“Why did you kidnap me, I mean why didn’t you just take the ring?” He gasped pretending to be hurt putting a hand on his chest.
“Kidnap is such a harsh word.” He said dramatically
“Spencer, please be serious?” I said harshly.
“I couldn’t just leave you there.” He shook his head.
“Why did you take such an unnecessary risk?” I scrunched my nose in confusion. Why would anyone not follow the rules exactly? Rebels must have a different set of rules.
“Your safety is not an unnecessary risk.” He said genuinely.
“What do you mean my safety? I’m a Hunter, I was perfectly safe.”
“I mean as soon I disappeared they started lock down…” when I still looked confused he elaborated “being on lock down would have meant they would have searched you and they would have found the rings.” It dawned on me suddenly that he had protected me.
“Oh.” I looked down at my food feeling my cheeks heat up “Thank you… I guess.” I muttered uncomfortably. If he had noticed my embarrassment he didn’t say anything.
“You’re welcome.” He said with a smile on his face. I waited until my face felt normal before I looked back at him. He was squirming in his seat like he had something to say but was trying not to. I narrowed my eyes realizing he wanted to say something.
“Just ask me already.” I huffed. He pretended to be clueless.
“What are you talking about?” I glared at him for a little before he sighed “Fine… I was wondering if I could ask you a personal question but if you say no that’s totally fine.”
“How personal are we talking?”
“I was wondering if you would tell me your side of the fire. I’m just curious as to how you and Milo got separated. If it’s too personal I understand.” I shrugged. This wasn’t a deeply personal topic by now I had become accustom to talking about it.
“I don’t mind, I mean I’m used to talking about that because everyone would always ask. I don’t actually remember much due to shook and the fact that I was young.”
“So how old were you when the fire happened?” he asked hesitantly
“I was ten or actually I was turning ten. The fire happened early in the morning, before the sun was awake and on that the day I was going to turn ten. Milo was eight years old.” His eyes widened
“It happened on your birthday.” I nodded sadly
“Yep… that’s the reason I don’t celebrate my birthday anymore, let alone tell anyone. It’s kinda too painful to think about.” Or at least it should be, to me I just don’t like the idea of celebrating a day that someone had been born, it was an Olden Days concept that only the Civilians still used.
“And you were ten?” I nodded “What happened?”
“Well I woke up suddenly. Like I was fully awake and I had jolted in to a sitting position. I wasn’t sure what had woken me at first; I briefly though it was just excitement, but then I realized it was smoke. I could clearly see the thick black smoke but I couldn’t smell it, which worried me. So I shot out of my bed and ran to the room across the hall from me. Milo’ room or at least I tried but I couldn’t even see his door, there was so much smoke billowing out. I tried not to think about it and ran to my parent’s room but it was the same situation. I tried to go back to my brother’s room but something hit me on the back of my head, knocking me out cold. When I woke back up I was in the arms of one of The Engine Workers. He was rushing me out as the others worked hard to try and put out the flames. I remember fighting to try and escape the Worker’s grip, my throat was sore but I was still screaming at him to let me go. One of the Healers later told me that I had been shouting my family’s names along with let me go but I don’t remember that. After that I kind of became numb, I was in shock. I vaguely remember a Healer picking me up and strapping me to a stretcher. They rushed me to a sanatorium because I had major burn and scorn marks all over me or at least that’s what they said. It was the Hunters who took me in and did everything they could to find out what had happened. They declared in an accident and had told me everyone in my family had died. I now know that was a lie.” He was silent for a little, which I have come to see as strange, before he frowned
“I’m sorry but at least you know Milo is alive now… right?” I nodded a small smile on my face
“Yea at least I’m not totally alone.” and maybe one day Milo would be forgiven for being a Rebel.
“So tell me, what was life like having the safest Hunter’s job out there?”
“Just because I’m a Retriever doesn’t mean I haven’t been through the ringer.”
“What are you talking about?” he arched an eyebrow “What does that even mean?” I shrugged
“I’m not too sure I read about it from an Olden Day’s novel.” His eyes widened.
“Those are illegal.” I nodded sheepishly.
“I know but it’s not like I went out of my way to read it. I had to read it as part of evidence surveillance.” As part of my training we were given Olden Days novels to read so that if needed we would be able to blend in with the Civilians because most of them still speak as though they live in the Olden Days. But of course I easily forgot what the novel was called.
“Uh huh… I’m sure that’s all it was.” He gave me a look that very obviously said he didn’t believe me.
“Hey!” I chucked the pillow at him, playing along “Don’t be mean.” He chuckled an caught the pillow
“I’m sorry Walker. But anyways since you’re a big bad Hunter that means you don’t have any weaknesses right?” I would obviously have to lie again. So I played the part of someone who was nervously about to reveal a secret. I bit my lip nervously and looked at the floor.
“That’s not entirely true.” I muttered.
“Oh… do explain.” He smirked.
“It’s not a weakness per say it’s just a fear…” I lied
“What is it?” he asked a small smirk growing on his face.
“I really shouldn’t tell you.”
“Oh come on you can trust me.”
“Can I really?” he nodded “Prove it.”
“I haven’t asked for the rings back have I?” I again was reminded of the grey pouch sitting in my back pocket.
“This is true…” I chewed on my lip as I acted like I was thinking about it before I sighed “Okay I’ll tell you.” I said with fake nerves.
“Yes!” He cheered.
“But only if you promise to keep it to yourself.”
“I promise.” He held up one hand.
“Okay so I’m afraid of… spiders.”
“You’re afraid of spiders?” I nodded “Hmm never would have guessed.”
“Well I guess you could say I’m full of surprises.” And that was the truth.
It wasn’t long after I said that, when the ride showed up. Spencer suddenly sat up in his seat, like he had heard something, before shot up out of his seat and ran to the nearest window.
“They’re here.” He started cleaning up the room making it look like no one had been here before reaching out for my hand. He smiled when I grabbed it without hesitation or at least that how he saw it I guess and together we walked out of the room. It was a truck, an old truck from before the New Ages started. I remember learning about them in history class; I think it was from the year 2017 AD. It almost looked like it would have been able to pass off as a modern day car if it didn’t still have wheels. Spencer leaned down and whispered in my ear “Don’t tell anyone you’re a Hunter, okay?” I nodded even though that had been my plan from the start. When we reached the truck, there were four other guys that piled out and started hugging Spencer. Two were from that picture and one of them was extremely familiar. Spencer caught my eyes and smiled. “Hey guys I want you to meet someone.” He gestured at me “This is my friend Monroe Walker; she helped me escape WO Headquarters.” I glared at him, which only caused him to smile wider.
“Walker?” someone asked curiously, he started pushing his way to the front. When he saw me he came to a dead halt “Monroe?” I nodded and he rushed forward engulfing me in a hug. When he hugged me it was as if for ten years I hadn’t been able to breathe and suddenly air was rushing in to my lungs. I wrapped my arms around him tightly.
“Hi Milo…” I was struggling to not cry. He pulled away and I could tell he was also fighting tears.
“I missed you sis.” I chuckled but it sounded vaguely like I was chocking, Spencer stared at me.
“I missed you too little brother.” He laughed and smiled.
“I’m not so little anymore.” I nodded he was almost a good two heads taller than me.
“I can tell. At least you’ve been eating well.” That was the lamest thing I ever could have said. He smiled and opened his mouth to say something but Spencer interrupted throwing his arm around my shoulder smiling cheekily at Milo.
“He’s been eating more the well.” The guys started laughing, I wanted to show my confusion but I didn’t. Why had that been funny? Milo pretended to look angry.
“Shut up Spencer and leave my sister alone.” Milo punched Spencer on the other arm.
“Owwie…” Spencer whined “Monroe he punched me.” He started pouting. I rolled my eyes.
“Oh shut up you drama queen.” I said bravely. Milo pointed at Spencer teasingly.
“Ha.” said Milo teasingly. Spencer feigned hurt feelings before chuckling.
“Okay Monroe theses are guys that you’ll living with—” Milo interrupted.
“Not in the same room or anything, just the same house.” Spencer rolled his eyes.
“The one with the black hair, grey eyes and the angry scowl is Shadow Fields.” I recognized him, Shadow glared at Spencer; he had been in the group photo. He was also the one that Emerson had brought in thinking he had been Spencer. “The silent one with the scar on his right cheek is Church.” Church waved shyly, I smiled back nervously. Spencer chuckled “The one curly brown hair and giant brown eyes who looks like he can’t ever stay still is Blaze Carter.” Blaze was hopping from foot to foot with a giant smile on his face. Milo smiled proudly.
“And you already know me of course.” Milo said. I laughed happily and hugged Milo again. Once we were all in the truck and Blaze was able to mildly sit still, Church drove away. I must have fallen asleep because next thing I knew someone was poking my cheek trying to wake me up. I instinctively said
“Piss off Emerson.” When I realized what I had said I quickly sat up. I came face to face with a very surprised looking Spencer. I blinked a few times before realizing I was way too close to his face, our noses were almost toughing.
“We’re almost there.” He mumbled. I felt heat rush to my cheeks as I scooted closer to Milo who thankfully hadn’t witnessed what had just happened. But after the shock wore off I was confused as to why I was embarrassed
“Who’s Emerson?” asked Milo, looking over at me curiously. I opened my mouth to say WO partner but stopped myself, I looked at Spencer, and he was watching cautiously waiting for my answer
“She was a friend.”
“You say was, did something happen to her?” I shrugged
“Not sure.” Which technically was the truth, he nodded and for the rest of the ride everyone was silent. We started slowing down when the truck came to the edge of a large vacant plot of land. A very dense forest surrounded the land and when we got through to the clearing there sat a huge farm house in the middle of the clearing
“Welcome to The Lake View Hotel.” said Spencer. We pulled into the driveway and they all started piling out. When I finally got out, a crowd had already formed around us. Everyone was excitingly clamoring for Spencer’s attention welcoming him home.
“Okay everyone, move aside.” said a deep very masculine sounding voice that sent chills down my spine. Whether it was in fear or excitement I couldn’t tell. Everyone parted obediently and through the gap stepped a very handsome, rugged, looking man. He was also taller than me but he was also taller the both Spencer and Milo. His hair was the color of a wheat field and it sat on top of his head in. His eyes were a beautiful dark hazel blue. His skin was naturally sun kissed. and he had muscles that were obviously due to hours of manual labor. He had also been in that group photo. When he reached Spencer an unexpected grin broke across his face.
“Spencer it’s about time you rejoined us. We missed ya dude.” Spencer smiled cheekily
“Sorry I got held up.” The man waved a hand dismissively
“Doesn’t matter you’re home now.”
“By the way…” Spencer gestured to me “This is Monroe Walker.”
“…my sister” Milo happily interjected
“And this is Atlas Hemingway…” my eyes widened because I recognized that name “the Rebel leader.” Spencer continued. Atlas looked at me; he scanned me once before quickly looking away. Atlas’s eyes narrowed at Spencer.
“Why is she here?” he asked coldly. Spencer and Milo looked confused.
“To be a Rebel.” answered Milo, as if it was obvious.
“We don’t need any more recruits. Send her away.” Before either of the two guys standing next to me could protest I spoke up in my own defense.
“Excuse me, I’m right here. If you’re going to talk about me so rudely, could you at least pretend to care about someone other than yourself—?” Atlas cut me off.
“What was that?” he glared down at me like I was a pest. I matched his glare with a stare of my own.
“Don’t act like you didn’t hear me, that’s childish and your better than that or at least I hope you are otherwise you wouldn’t be a good leader. But maybe you aren’t because the way you’re treating me is awful. You have no right to be so rude to me, you just met me.”
“I can treat you however I want. You mean nothing to me so why should I care about your feelings.” I scoffed shaking my head at his disrespectful attitude, if only he knew who I was.
“You are the leader of Rebels; you might as well be fighting a lost cause with that attitude. The only way you can win against the Hunters is with numbers. No amount of strength is going to help because they have more weapons but if you have a large enough group then you might have a chance to overpower them but you won’t get anyone to join until you suck up your pride and pretend to be nice.”
Everyone in the crowd was gaping at me with wide eyes and shocked expressions. Atlas looked pissed, Milo and Spencer looked impressed.
“It’s about time someone stood up you but never in a million years did I picture that someone being tiny little Monroe.” said Spencer as he chuckled and Milo nodded. Spencer continued “As second in command I put this is a majority rules vote. Everyone who thinks Monroe should stay say aye.” It was unanimous, even Atlas said aye, which again shocked everyone. Atlas spoke up.
“I’m only saying aye because I’m impressed and I’m willing to give her a trial period. But that means you guys” he pointed at both Milo and Spencer “are responsible for her.” He then turned around and walked back in to the house. A tall blonde female darted out from the crowd and followed after him. I frowned for some weird reason, when they walked in to the house together. I turned to face Spencer
“I’m guessing people don’t stand up to him that often?” He nodded.
“You’re actually the first person to ever insult him and question his authority.”
“And you did that all in the same breath too.” added Milo “I’m so proud you’re my sister.” I smiled gratefully. I looked at the ground when my cheeks started heating up but for no reason.
“You should be thanking me Milo.” Spencer said as we all started towards the house “I mean I was the one who found her.” Spencer smiled with pride.
“You mean kidnaped right?” I smirked trying to play along. This caused Spencer to scoff.
“Oh how you hurt my heart Mo, I saved you.” I rolled my eyes, faking a giggle.
“I wasn’t in danger.” I said.
“No one’s ever safe in the WO Headquarters.”
“That reminds me why were you at the Headquarters?” asked Milo. I shrugged
“They never really told me.” Technically that was true Emerson never told me why we went straight to Headquarters. Spencer smiled down at me and Milo opened the door ushering us in. Everyone was rushing around, getting ready to settle down for the night. Since it was late they promised to take me on a tour tomorrow. Spencer promised he’d find me a room, hopefully sooner rather than later. But for now I was bunking with Milo and Spencer who was his roommate. We got to the room and Milo offered his bed to me. before I could refuse he was making himself comfortable on the floor. I started towards the bed, as my eyelids started drooping. I yawned and snuggled under the covers. They had a nice earthy smell to them, a familiarly trustworthy smell. As I let sleep wash over me I recapped the day. It had started out so normal but somehow it ended really weirdly.