Chapter 4

Sorry for the wait. I wasn't sure how to write this chapter to include all it had to have. Two year 10 kids interrupted our planning. They looked similar with the same tan skin, brown eyes and light brown hair. The girl was tall and slim. She had a pretty face and seemed genuine. I had seen her around the school and she seemed shy. The boy on the other hand, was the complete opposite. He was tall and well built. I knew that he was on all the sports teams and was always bright and energetic.

"Excuse me," the boy said as they approached the group, "My name's Sam and this is my twin sister, Grace. We did a bit of stuff like you in the war and want to help you get rid of these guys."

Grace looked nervous and glanced around the group.

"How do you know we're planning on doing anything?" Homer asked suspiciously.

"I read your books," he said looking at me, "and you always did something. You didn't wait around to see what would happen. You can't just do nothing. Especially with all these people depending on you."

"No pressure or anything," Kevin muttered sarcastically.

"Suppose we were planning on doing something. How could you help us?" Lee asked.

"Like I said, we did some stuff like yours and managed to survive. Our Dad was in the army before the war so we picked up some stuff off him. We know what we're doing and with us working together we should be able to come up with a great plan."

"What sort of stuff did you do in the war? Were you caught or did they miss you?"

"We escaped from the showgrounds after we knocked out two guards. We took their guns and stole a Ute. We were chased by one truck but escaped them and killed them. We basically lived in the bush. Just the two of us but we picked off some soldiers here and there. We lived on a farm most of our lives so we knew how to use anfo to blow up a factory that was manufacturing ammo in the city," Sam said.

It was then that I realised Grace hadn't said a word. She just stared at her shoes, glancing up occasionally and looking around the group.

"Ok sit down, Ellie's come up with a start of a plan. You can help us fix it up," Bronte said, taking charge.

Sam and Grace sat down, with Grace next to me. She didn't speak much, except to her brother who then told her idea to the rest of us.

"I'm Ellie," I said quietly to her.

"I know," she said with a slight smile, looking down at her shoes.

Wow, she is shy. I thought.

"Your brother said it was only the two of you living in the bush during the war. What about your parents?"

There was an expression of pain on her face when I mentioned it, but it disappeared almost immediately. She didn't answer and I decided to leave her for now.

I got back to the conversation and heard Bronte saying, "So when Ellie and Gavin reach the oval, they'll escape through the trees to the right, jump the fence and get the police."

After we finalised our plans, we separated to prepare ourselves for what lay ahead. Grace and I were sitting on the steps of the stage hidden by the curtains. We sat in silence going through the plan in our heads and worrying over what would happen.

"I'm sorry about your parents," Grace said quietly, breaking the silence. "I heard what happened to them."

"Thanks."

After a short pause she asked, "Do you… Do you ever feel like you could have stopped it from happening?"

"All the time. Every time I think of them I just think 'What if I were there?' I could have saved them or they could have just killed me instead! I'm the one they wanted! I'm the one they were after! Not them. It's so unfair! They never did anything!"

After my outbreak, there was silence and I realised how worked up I had gotten. "Sorry," I said.

"No, I know how you feel. You know how you asked about my parents earlier? The soldiers killed them too. I saw both my parents die in front of my eyes," She had a calm face with no emotion but her eyes were full of pain and grief, "We were at home and the soldiers came in. We didn't know we had been invaded yet. It happened so quickly. Dad went off his head at these guys breaking in and acting like they owned the place. They began pulling me and Mum into the back of the truck but it was hard because we were struggling so much. Dad was yelling and attacking the soldiers but two of them eventually stopped him. Sam wasn't there, he was at a mates and we found him at the showgrounds later, so he didn't see it but I remember it clear as day. Dad had knocked one guy around pretty bad. He was lying in a pool of blood and unconscious, so they took Dad and held him near the back of the truck in our view and shot him. Just like that. He stared at me as he died. His eyes were so sad and regretful just before they shot him. I know he thought he failed us because he couldn't protect us. I feel like I should have been able to stop them and help him, but I couldn't. I felt so helpless."

"I'm so sorry. I felt the exact same way when I found my parents. Like it was my fault and I could have stopped it," I said, devastated for Grace and Sam.

"It was hard but at least I still had Mum and Sam. We helped each other bear the pain. But a few months later, Sam was beat up by some soldiers for having a go at one of them. Mum ran over and threw some hard punches. They grabbed her and tried to stop her but she kept going. She was trying to protect Sam but again it didn't work. They shot her when trying to break her off one of the soldiers and she was gone. My brother and I were alone. After that the soldiers targeted us. They beat us for no reason and gave us the worst of everything. Clothes, food, toiletries. They kept bashing us up for no reason and Sam was worried for me so we escaped."

"I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say."

"I used to be more like my brother. Outgoing, fun, brave. But I'm not any more. I just feel guilty. I can't be myself. I feel like I can't have any fun or do anything besides think about my parents. It's all I can do for them."

"I know what you mean. But-"

Our little deep and meaningful conversation was interrupted by Sam running up to us.

"You have to come quick. The others are starting another meeting."

We ran over and Homer began.

""It seems as though we're going to have to get this started sooner than planned…"

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