A/N: I cannot take credit for the entirety of this story. My AP Language teacher assigned us in groups to write an alternate ending to The Handmaid's Tale (that's right, it was a requirement to write fanfiction!). So, this piece is a result of my group's work, not solely my own.
As the men pull me up into the back of the dark van, it seems an abyss is engulfing me. With eyes closed, I tell myself to breathe as the back doors shut with finality, echoing in the empty expanse in the van ominously as it rings in my ears. It seems the Red Center had been good for something after all- the pattern the aunts had engrained into our heads of breathing in and out comes back with ease.
My eyes open but it's too difficult to see, taking in the unnatural darkness of the tinted windows. Unnatural, like the society they'd created for us. It only adds to the fear that's threatening to overwhelm me, and I realize they must have done this on purpose to foreshadow the darkness of the exile people like me are about to encounter.
Soon, though, my eyes adjust to the dim light and I see two bleak emotionless faces examining me- a single tulip wilting in their presence.
"That's the third one this week," one says, breaking the oppressive silence.
"The broads aren't very smart," another replies, the humor in his voice contrasting with his grim face.
"What do you think, Luke? Should we do it now?" The driver asks, his face turned half to the side to address the man behind him.
"I think we should kill the fucking whore like we've been ordered to," the man in front of me replies flatly, taking out something dark from the inside pocket of his jacket.
Thoughts race through my mind as I hear their conversation: Luke? I ignore the man's hand as my eyes scan over the back of the driver's head. It can't be, I think to myself. It must be another Luke, a man that changed his name during the purges to seem zealous. Or another Luke from the time before. Nevertheless, the name fills my mind, purging all other thought as it dances around in my head, refusing to leave as my eyes widen in fear and curiosity.
I know I should do something. I know I have been betrayed. I know Nick must have been an Eye, but all of that seems meaningless now. Nothing else takes precedence as the inevitable question fills my mind: Could this be my Luke?
"Are you going to do it, or not?" The driver asks, turning around for a split second, his face draining of color as his eyes lock with mine.
No, I find myself insisting, No, this can't be him.
"Yeah, I got it," the man in front of me says, raising a gun to my eye level.
It can't be him. My Luke would never…
But then I hear the gun cock just inches from my forehead, and as I close my eyes and brace myself for the deafening shot that I know will fill my ears, I find myself praying to a God I swore I didn't believe in.