World of Radiation

City Blood

Continued from ‘Tension

“What do you mean I can’t see her?” I demand. My fists clench at my sides as I hold back my anger.

“I’ve been given orders not to let anyone see her,” the blonde man standing in front of me explains. He holds none of the aggression I hold, but rather the stoicism of a man doing his job.

“She’s my friend. You can’t keep me from her!” My hands slam forward into his chest.

He stumbles back a step before catching himself. The stoicism melts. Anger flares in his eyes. “You don’t tell me what to do!”

“What’s going on here?!” Kalla runs over to us, stepping between the guard and I. She places a hand on my chest as if that’ll prevent me from attacking him, but I let it control me.

I step back. “He won’t let me see Alice.” I glower at him over Kalla’s shoulder.

“No one’s allowed to see Alice.” She just repeats what he said.

“Why not?” I demand, lowering my gaze to her pale eyes.

“Because-“

“Because I said so,” a woman interjects.

Behind me, she strides up with long, graceful steps. Her blonde curls bounce as she walks, but her dark green eyes watch me. “So you’re the boy.”

I straighten myself, insulted by being called a boy. “I’m no boy.”

A smile tugs at her lip as she inclines her head to look down at me. “You’re sure having quite the fit like a boy,” she comments.

My jaw tightens. I resist the urge to cross my arms over my chest, realizing it’ll make me look like I’m pouting. “Very well.” I gnash my teeth together a moment, trying to control my anger. “Why am I not allowed to see Alice?”

“Because she’s unstable,” the tall woman responds. “She needs to heal. As soon as she is though, you may see her.”

“Promise?”

Her light eyebrows flicker up in surprise. “Promise?” Her head tips to the side as if perplexed by my question. “Yes… I suppose.”

The response does little to settle my anxiety. What if she’s in danger? What if they’re hurting her? My fists clench at my sides.

“In the mean time, I’d like to speak with you.”

“Fine. Speak.” The harshness of my voice startles me, but it’s too late to take it back.

Her green eyes pierce into me, as if surprised that I would challenge her. “No, I don’t think we’ll talk here.” She wanders away, back through the center of the strange camp of make-shift houses.

“Oh stop pouting already!” Kalla shoves me in the back hard.

I stumble forward. Dust kicks up around me as I gather my balance, keeping myself from tumbling into the ground. Catching myself, I glare back at her, but I follow the tall woman anyway.

She leads me into a larger room with the same flimsy cloth walls. Blankets scatter the floor around a fire pit. She settles on one before gesturing me to do the same.

I sit across from her. “Who are you people?”

One light eyebrow raises. “You mean, you don’t know yet?”

Should I?

“We’re electricity adaptations.”

My mouth gapes. The sizzling and burning of the Shredders when Kalla and Julian rescued me. The way Julian lit the torch. “But… how’s that possible?”

“You mean because we’re supposed to be dead?”

I clamp my mouth shut, realizing my foolishness. “I’m sorry,” I manage through my clenched teeth.

“No need.” She waves her hand at me as if wafting my words away while her head turns to the side. “I have no need for the apologies of one whose veins run with city blood.”

“City blood?”

She ignores my confusion and continues on. “While those with city blood may think they wiped us out, while they think they’ve managed to destroy any occurrence of the sparked God, they’re wrong. We left.”

“But… that was years ago.”

“Decades, in fact,” she agrees. “Before you were even born.”

I stare into the dark green eyes of the woman and she stares back, probably calculating me as much as I calculate her. “Then, how are you here? I mean, how have you survived? The Unknown is dangerous.”

The woman barks a single, sharp laugh. “The Unknown is only dangerous to those with weak adaptations.” Aggression clings to her words. “Electricity adaptations have nothing to fear from The Unknown. We are stronger than anything that would dare face us out here.” Her eyes flicker over me like she’s sizing me up, scrutinizing me, deciding my worth.

I don’t shy away from her gaze even as heat flushes my cheeks.

“But those with city blood don’t survive out here.” Her eyes narrow on me, a warning, a threat, something.

“What… are you saying?” I manage, my mind spinning to unravel her words myself.

For a moment, she watches me. Her green eyes bore into me and my heart races under her gaze.

I swallow hard, trying to center myself.

“We can’t have you go back to Buffalo.” She ends with a high intonation, indicating she has more to say. “But you can’t stay with us.”

Next Installment: For Your Safety

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