Written by Sorina Șchiopu
It was the sound of rain that woke Eric up. But he was thankful. There was this bad dream that kept tearing at his internal peace and there hadn’t been any night in the past few weeks in which he had gotten any quality sleep.
So that dull sound of rain that he usually disliked… was for once like a gentle caress. He had wanted so badly to escape that neverending chase in his dreams, that loop of losing her to them over and over again.
Speaking of her… .
Panic suddenly taking over him, he looked around. He remembered falling asleep with her by his side, but it was too dark and his eyes weren’t accustomed to this lack of light. He couldn’t see a single thing.
Too scared to let other seconds pass, he reached out to his left. His fingers brushed against slightly colder skin. He exhaled relieved . She was still there. Nothing had happened, they were both safe and they were together.
Wanting to enjoy this newly acquired feeling of temporarily safety, Eric closed his eyes once again, using the momentary calm of the world around him to imagine scenarios. To imagine himself and his little sister…free to live however their hearts desired. To imagine their state ruled by a wise leader, someone who had the courage to go against the monarchy’s ideals. He began imagining how everything should be. And how hard it actually was for everything to change. Their little organization was all alone among wolves in this fight. They were destined to rebel against the system, but die trying to protect something that was too grand for them, too ambitious.
He nearly didn’t realize that he sighed with such suffering inside that even the darkness around got scared.
Or he wouldn’t have, if she hadn’t said what she did.
“You’re the death of all sunshine and rainbows in this world.”
He let out a soft chuckle and turned on his side to face his sister, even though he was still able to see pretty much nothing.
“Why would you say that? I’m the most cheerful person I know…”
He couldn’t see her expression, yet he felt that she was smiling.
“Eric, come on, if you’re supposedly cheerful, then I swear to-”
A loud noise echoed suddenly around them and Eric’s hand flew accurately right over her mouth. This had all happened so fast that it had been enough to harvest silence from both of them. Something was happening.
“I think someone is searching for us…”, Eric whispered.
There were, indeed, footsteps to be heard and by the sound of it, they belonged to more than one person.
“What do we do?”
Eric was scared, but his sister’s inquiry got his mind racing again. It was searching for a way out. Because there had to be one, there always was a way out.
Holding his sister’s hand tightly, he forced both of them to move their almost numb feet and reach the only window in that room. It was a basement and that window was their only other connection with the
outside beside the door. Right when he was about to tell his sister to escape first, a thought struck him brutally. If their followers were truly who he believed they were, members of Serenity, then they must have thought about blocking their escape route… .
“Eric?”, the girl spoke.
His eyes brushed lightly over his sibling and then got lost in the distance visible through the window.
“I don’t know what to do, Maya. This time… I really can’t think.”
His kid sister gave him a frightened look and let go of his hand. The steps were getting closer and closer and Eric could only feel time passing him by. He was wasting precious, vital moments, but he couldn’t think of anything.
And then, the inevitable struck. Those footsteps materialized into people who opened the door that lead into the basement. For a brief moment, his heart stopped and a cold shiver ran over his spine.
It was only a few heartbeats later however that he realized what was happening. The people were all members of their organization. Right, they had planned to return tonight… . They were not the ones chasing after them. He could hear his sister mumbling something about him being an incompetent and he could also hear one of his best friends giggling his way through all of his sentences. Everyone seemed in good spirits, cheerful even.
Tired, Eric only gave a little sheepish smile and retreated into the tiny room they had arranged as bathroom.
His hands dropped on the margins of the sink and he hung his head. Everything had scared him greatly. He was getting more and more paranoid as this battle of theirs continued and he was, sincerely, starting to lose heart. He gazed into the mirror and noticed the dark bags under his eyes.
“You look terrible”, he told himself. “And you are going to lose it if this continues….”
He needed to find a way to ensure their safety, but…not by sacrificing himself. Eric, the leader of the Anti-Monarchic Faction, was in need of a new plan. And as soon as possible.