A/N: Hey everyone! I'm ba-ack! And in the time I took a break from, I had the opportunity to plan this out a bit more. I've decided to change up the direction a bit from my original drafts—I'm hoping to make the story a bit more cohesive. From this point onwards I will be including very little of the adults' perspective. I'd like to tell this more from the kids' points-of-view. Every so often Hal or Maggie or Ben may have a chance to narrate but those will be few and far-between. As for where we left Hal and Ben, that'll remain unresolved for the moment but I PROMISE that you'll get to see the aftermath of that as well. I've also revamped a few characters that haven't had much exposition yet and I've also planned out arcs for some new characters. I know there's a lot of people but (hint, hint) the herd will thin out as we go along. So get ready to bid farewell to some people (I won't say who but no one is safe…) As for Dai, he's still alive because I didn't feel like writing him out of previous chapters post-season finale. So that's that. I hope you'll review and enjoy. Updates may still be sporadic as my life is pretty hectic right now. Follow me on twitter (at JustoMath) if you want a glimpse into that…Anyway that's all. I'm done blabbing so let's go and jump into the story now!
Chapter 10: Rebecca Mason
When I woke up, Dr. Delgado was standing over me. Her voice sounded distant and I couldn't quite make out the words. She looked concerned and she was dabbing at my forehead with an alcohol swab. Why did my head throb so badly? Then I remembered. The house shaking. The sky falling. Emmanuel. My brother's look of horror. The bookcase collapsing. Darkness.
My vision cleared up a bit and I tried to sit up.
"No, no, no!" Dr. Delgado gently guided me back into a lying position. "Not yet, Rebecca. I'm not done treating that gash on your forehead. You have a concussion."
I ignored her diagnosis because a new, more pressing concern had materialized in my mind. "Is Emmanuel okay?" I asked.
Dr. Delgado's face wavered a bit and then she smiled in a relieved way. "Yes. Yes, Emmanuel is safe thanks to you."
"Good," I smiled feebly.
There was a lapse in the talking. "Thank you…so much," the doctor spoke softly, like she would lose her composure if she said it any louder. As it was, moisture was gathering in her eyes as she wound a gauze wrap around my head. "I just…I can't believe I was so careless. I thought he would be safe in the house and my first instinct was to run outside and help the others that I forgot my own baby could be in danger. If you hadn't done what you did…" she trailed off as she applied a strip of surgical tape. "I'm just sorry you got hurt."
"If the baby's fine," I tried to reassure her, "then that's all that matters." I saw Emmanuel's little face in my mind, his brown eyes and dark, curly hair. I couldn't bear to imagine what could have happened to such a sweet looking baby.
"You saved him," the woman told me. "You saved one of the few good things left in my life." I could tell she wanted to say more. I was hoping she would because Dr. Delgado always seemed like the type of woman who had a story to tell. But she closed off again, wouldn't elaborate. "Thank you," she repeated.
"It was no trouble," I assured her, though my absent-minded rubbing at my temple probably didn't help much.
"Get some rest," she patted me lightly on the shoulder. "I don't want you moving around too much until you've had a bit of time."
I looked around, taking in the sights for the first time. I was in my room, but everything was dark. The emergency lanterns were lighting the room. "Dr. Delgado?"
"Yes, Rebecca?" she turned to face me as she packed some things away in a first aid kit.
"What time is it?" I was dying to know how long I'd been out of it. When the first quake hit it had been around four in the afternoon.
"Almost eight, I'd guess," she told me.
It was also eerily quiet. "Are they…"
She nodded solemnly. "They hit a couple miles outside the city. Our first squad went out to intercept them. We're gearing up for casualties."
"Where's my mother?" I suddenly wanted her close now, needed her to feel safe. "And my dad?"
Dr. Delgado knitted her brow, as if trying to decide whether or not to tell me something. "Your mom's outside prepping the other squads and your dad is…missing…"
"He, Ben, and some other scientist went to recover the Overlord body. They haven't returned." She swallowed. "We're starting to think they may be…"
"No!" I cut in, sitting up so quickly I felt dizzy. "He's fine! He'll be back!"
"You're right," Dr. Delgado concurred. "I'm sure he's fine."
"Where're Gabe and Jimmy?"
"Your brother is wandering around among the people outside and Jimmy…come to think of it I haven't seen him in a while. I'm sure he's around someplace."
A dark haired, slim man ducked his head in. He looked a bit jumpy. "Lourdes?"
"What's wrong, Charles?" she asked, grabbing the first aid kit instinctively.
"Part of the first squad is back. Two dead, four injured. Anne's already tending to them but she needs help."
"I'm coming! Rebecca, lie down and try to rest a bit, okay? I'll come check on you in a bit."
I nodded as well as I could and lay back. My head was swimming. In the span of a few hours my life and the lives of everyone around me had suddenly changed. And I was frustrated that I couldn't even look around. I briefly tried getting out of bed but the room started spinning so fast I had to sit back down again. "Damn it!" I shouted, angry with the situation I was now in. Not that I would have changed my actions for a moment if I had the chance. I could hear shouts in the street outside and wished I could just catch a glimpse, know what we were up against. Clearly the first squad was holding them off pretty well if the aliens hadn't made their way to our camp yet. I grimly thought that that could change any minute.
My thoughts turned to my brother first. Where was he? Probably milling around sulkily, petulantly cursing my mother for not allowing him to fight, too. And then I thought about Jimmy. Where was he? At a time like this, who knew? Maybe he had wandered off, found a better way to deal with the problem. And then I thought about my dad. What happened to him? It wasn't like him to just vanish or get lost. They must have gotten delayed. But by what? Had the aliens caught them? Oh God.
A light tapping at the door shook me out of my thoughts. I turned my head to see a dark-haired figure leaning on the doorframe. I squinted and made out Jesse's features. He was eyeing me with concern but he didn't enter any further.
"You can come in, you know."
He slowly pushed off the frame and stepped a bit closer, still shy evidently. "You're…you're okay, right?"
I nodded. "Concussion, but not the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I thought you'd be on the front lines for sure."
Jesse shrugged, coming up to the side of the bed now. "I'm part of the fighting unit but they didn't want me to be part of the first wave. Thought I was too young." He smirked a bit. "Tried to tell them I was almost thirty-five but they wouldn't believe me."
"Guess we're both in a rut," I sighed. "What's it like down there?"
"A mess," Jesse snorted. "You don't want to see, trust me. All dark, people shouting. They just brought back some of the injured from the first wave. It isn't pretty."
"I'll bet," I murmured absently. "Is it like the first time?" I wondered aloud.
Jesse was silent a minute, as if remembering. Or maybe trying to remember. "Yeah," he finally said. "They cut the power again. Only this time it was much quieter. The explosions were far away…it's like they weren't targeting people this time."
I frowned. Wasn't their goal to try and kill people? "Why wouldn't they target the people?"
Jesse shrugged again, sitting down on the side of my bed. I didn't consider the significance of that until much later. Was I getting close to Jesse? "Maybe they're toying with us."
I liked the way he said that. Us. It meant he felt no connection to those things. He considered himself human. And that meant it was safe to be friends.
Chapter 10: Gabe Mason
I really shouldn't have gotten my hopes up in the first place. When the blue lights started coming I thought I'd have my chance to show my mom I could really do something, that I didn't need to be babied all the time. No chance of that. She'll happily go get herself blown up but when it comes to me, no way. Not happening. She was out lecturing the squads for what was coming while Dai led the first group out to intercept our malevolent alien overlords. Jimmy was off…someplace. Aunt Alexandra had gone off looking for him. He was probably just sitting someplace close by and observing. I wouldn't blame him if he wanted to be alone.
But I didn't. My dad was still missing, along with Uncle Ben and this blonde scientist lady. I wanted to be out there looking for them but Mom told me to forget about it, that Dad would find his own way back, and that they were all fine but we had bigger things to worry about. I didn't buy it for a second. Mom was really worried behind that brave face she likes to put on. It bothered the hell out of me that she couldn't just admit it. But I guess that's just my mother.
The streets are dark. The aliens must have used one of those EMPs to disable all the technology again. People are running around, screaming, shouting. It must be just past eight. It bothers me to not be able to tell time. Everything seems so endless without clocks or watches. I think about checking on Rebecca but decide against it. Dr. Delgado said she had a concussion. She's probably out like a light. Besides, there's more important things to deal with. I've taken to running errands—delivering medical supplies or weapons to people. Uncle Matt is running from place to place, fixing up motorcycles. I helped him push Dr. Delgado's car into somebody's garage earlier. He said he plans to swap out the engine with that of an older car so we have some four-wheeled vehicle that works. It's weird how the initial panic has died down and now everyone's acting like it's some sort of slumber party instead of considering we may only have a few hours 'til we all die. The sounds of gunfire ring out a few miles out and I know they're getting close. The wounded and dead have slowly made their way back—eight dead and nearly twenty wounded.
I had just finished delivering a first aid kit to the other doctor—Charles Prim—when I saw a frantic boy running up to me. He looked about Rebecca's age, slim with dark hair and a beanie on. Who wears a beanie in the middle of summer? He was carrying something.
"Help!" he cried. I saw what he was carrying—a girl. She also looked about Rebecca's age, her auburn hair fanned around her. My eyes widened when I saw the blood soaking through her blouse at her slender side. Then my suspicion took over. What if it was a trap?
I shook my head. I'm a Mason, after all. We help those who need it. Period. "What's wrong?" I rushed over, not seeing a doctor or anyone more qualified.
"Help her!" the kid exulted, practically collapsing on the ground and cradling the girl close to him. "Please!"
"What happened?" I asked, kneeling down next to them. I could see the hole in her side.
"The creatures!" he exclaimed. "One threw her into a pole—she got impaled in the side!" She looked bad—there was almost no color in her face.
"Dr. Delgado! Dr. Prim! Grandma! Someone!" I cried. My grandmother was at my side in moments.
"What happened?" she asked calmly, taking over. I don't know why I lingered but I did.
"The thing…it threw her into a pole," the boy repeated.
"Okay," Grandma breathed. "I need you to lift up her blouse slowly for me so I can take a look at the injury." The boy nodded vigorously and slowly lifted the girl's shirt up. I wanted to hurl with the amount of dark blood that was spilling thickly and slowly from her side.
"What's your name?" Grandma asked him.
"Adam," he replied frantically.
Grandma was already packing gauze on the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding. "Is she your sister?"
"Girlfriend," he corrected. "Can you help her? Please?"
"I'm doing my best," my grandmother answered, shaking some of her graying hair from her face. "Audrey!" she called to the girl. I saw her eyelids flutter weakly. "Audrey, I'm Dr. Mason. I'm going to help you but you have to work with me alright? I need you to stay awake for me. Squeeze my hand once if you understand what I'm saying." I watched the auburn-haired girl's fingers twitch feebly. Grandma breathed a sigh of relief.
"She's conscious. She's not out of the woods yet but that's a good sign. How long ago did this happen?"
"I don't know. Not too long. We were running," Adam replied. I felt bad for him. His brown eyes were panicked and watery as he practically fell all over his prostrate girlfriend. I've never had a girlfriend before, but I know I'd probably do the same thing if I were in his place.
"Does she have a family?"
Adam nodded. "But they live in Cambridge. We were out at dinner."
Grandma nodded as she continued tending to the wound. "Where is yours?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. We live in Roxbury. Is she going to make it, Dr. Mason?"
My grandmother sat back on her heels and looked at Audrey. "That really depends. I've done everything I can at this point. Hopefully she'll be strong enough to fight it. I think you two better stay here for now, though. This is my grandson Gabe. He'll help you get Audrey into the house." Grandma turned to me. "Gabe, can you help Adam take her to Rebecca's room?"
"But Rebecca's there," I reminded her.
"I know. Maybe she can keep an eye on her."
I agreed and helped Adam take his girlfriend into the house.
"Thank you," he said to me gratefully. "If you hadn't stopped to help us I'm sure she would have died."
"No problem," I replied proudly. "Welcome to the 2nd Mass."
"The what?" he questioned.
"Second Massachusetts," I answered. "We're fighting the aliens." No one had officially called us the 2nd Mass yet but I knew that before long we'd all start referring to ourselves as that.
Adam nodded. "I'd sure like to get in on that."
I'm sure you would. Everyone does. Only your mom's not stopping you.
I knocked softly at the door, unsure if Rebecca was up yet. I nearly gasped when Jesse opened it. What was he doing in there, alone with my sister? I saw Rebecca sit up in bed. "I brought you some company," I said kind of coldly. We carried Audrey into the room and Rebecca looked her over.
"This is Audrey," I said, laying the girl down on the bed beside my sister. This way Jesse can't climb in even if he does get any ideas. "She got impaled running from Skitters. This is her boyfriend Adam. Grandma asked you to keep an eye on her while she recovers."
My sister nodded mutely.
"How are you feeling?" I finally asked.
"Better," she touched the gauze on her forehead. "Jesse's been keeping me company."
I looked at him with my fiercest glare, but I'm pretty sure it did nothing to intimidate him. "Well anyway, I'm going to go. Take good care of Audrey."
Adam interrupted. "Um…I'd like to stay with her if that's okay…" He looked uncomfortable in the room of strangers but I understood he only wanted to be with his girlfriend. I deferred to Rebecca. It was her room.
"Yeah," she smiled. I knew she'd secretly be thinking of how romantic it was.
I fixed Jesse one more cold look and then left, hoping I'd catch my mom and convince her to let me fight now that I'd handled a mini crisis of my own. Fat chance, Gabe.
A/N: Extra long chapter to celebrate my return! How's that? Protective Gabe, injured Rebecca, two new characters…I wonder how they'll fit in? Are Adam and Audrey a trap? And what's up with Jesse and Rebecca in a dark room with the door shut? Hmmm... And where's Jimmy? That'll be revealed next chapter. Where's Hal and Ben (and Dr. Peters)? That'll come in due time. When will the aliens make landfall at the new 2nd Mass? Well that's coming up too. Please leave a review and let me know if you like this new direction I've headed down. And what you think of Adam and Audrey, too. Thanks guys. As I said, updates may still be sporadic but don't let that get ya down! I promise there's plenty more!