Sci-Fi Novel : An Other World Episode 9
“I’m hungry,” Kathy complains in a hollow voice. I nod in understanding. My stomach is empty as well. We search the kitchen area for anything edible. This is an enormous two floor mansion where wealthy people must have resided long ago.
Now it’s empty, with looted rooms, broken windows and crumbling walls. We find nothing but trash. Exhausted, we plop down on the floor to collect ourselves. “So, what happened earlier?” Kathy asks. I tell her about the robbery and killings at the bank. She listens attentively, offering no comments while I’m speaking.
Her pale face is stone cold and insensitive. I have no idea what’s going on inside her head. “Let me get this right,” Kathy says after I finish telling my story.
“So the life of that silly, stupid girl meant more to you than mine.” “Kathy, please,” I protest. “Why are you talking that way?” We remain silent for a few minutes. Kathy bites her lower lip, deep in thought. Actually, she’s right. I chose to protect others instead of protecting her. Guilt burns through me like fire. “I’m sorry,” I say. “I really screwed up.” “It’s okay,” Kathy answers. “I’m actually pleased that it’s turned out this way.” “What?” I can’t believe my ears. “I’m sick and tired with all this hiding,” she says.
“Now we can do whatever we wish. True freedom! Just like I’ve been dreaming about.” “What are you talking about?” I exclaim. “Our lives are ruined and we’re on the run. How in the world is that your dream?” “Our lives were pretty miserable before,” Kathy answers. “I hated that stinking apartment we could barely afford.
I hated going to that nasty school where all those idiots were making fun of me every day just because I was poor. Hated to watch you counting out our last penny and tired of being scared all the time.
That’s all over with now. We don’t have to lie or pretend to be people we aren’t. We can fight them now and finally be ourselves.” “Are you insane?” I ask. “Whom are we gonna fight? Elimination?” “Whomever stands in our way,” Kathy says. I just shake my head. “You’re out of your mind,” I say. “An entire army of well-trained resistant soldiers are looking under every rock for us now.
We need to find a safe place to hide and become scarce.” “Oh, my goodness,” Kathy groans. “Why do you always have to act like this?” “Like what?” I ask. “Like you’re afraid of being a breaker and hate trying even now, when it’s time to soldier up,” Kathy answers. “Of course, I hate it,” I say with exasperation. “I’m sick of being a freak of nature. I just want to be normal.” “I don’t!” she yells. “We’re not normal, Ben.
And the time for worrying about it has passed. I love being a breaker. I enjoy having power to control people. Now that they’ve come for us, I’m gonna put that little gift to good use.” “Forget about it, Kathy,” I say. “No more fighting. Tomorrow we’ll head south toward some small town where we’re not recognized, and start all over again.”
“Oh, really?” Kathy questions. “And what if I don’t want to go?” “You’ll have to go anyway.” “What makes you think you should be the one to always make every decision?” Kathy asks, her voice trembling. “Why should I have to do only what you want?” “Because I’m your older brother and know what’s best!” I answer in anger.
“You’re not really my brother!” Kathy snaps. Wow, I feel like somebody just dumped a bucket of ice water on my head. “Don’t say that!” I protest. It takes all my effort to keep my voice lowered. Kathy jumps to her feet and stomps away as if she’s frightened. Her eyes sparkle in the darkness, becoming moist. “It’s true!” she shouts. “I’m so sick of playing this stupid little sibling game. I won’t pretend to be your sister anymore, Ben.
Your real sister along with your mother betrayed you long ago. I’m not them and I’m nothing like them. I’ll never abandon you.” Having spoken from her heart, Kathy turns and runs off. I don’t follow. Being so angry, I could lose self-control and say something even worse. We both need time to cool down.
I sit on the floor, holding my aching head and trying to think. Kathy is the only family I have left. Four years ago I found her homeless in the street, scrawny and hungry. She was using her breaker abilities to steal money and food. I remember like it was yesterday. I was on my way home, deeply immersed in thought.
It was my first year in a new and sometimes hostile city. I was close to utter despair, having been rejected by everybody I had known before. I could trust nobody. No family or friends. A wall of distrust and fear separated me from all normal people. I felt like a freak and was lonely all the time.
She stepped out from the shadows walking toward me, tiny and pitiful. I stopped, stunned. Some features in her bruised hollow face resembled my lost sister. Her tangled filthy hair had the same reddish color. She had the same green eyes. She actually tried to rob me, not knowing that I’m a breaker as well and not subject to her hypnosis.
When she understood, Kathy turned and ran. I chased her for a long time. When finally I caught up to her, she hissed and scratched at me like a feral animal. “Let me go,” she pleaded. “I didn’t know you’re like me.” “Calm down,” I suggested. “I won’t hurt you.” “Yes, you will,” she said accusingly. “Everybody tries to hurt me!” I had no idea what she had gone through before, being homeless and facing dangerous strangers every day.
Eleven-year-old Kathy was an orphan. Maybe her parents just abandoned her, upon learning she was a breaker. It happens often in our world. I offered shelter and food. Kathy accepted, although she didn’t trust me at first, even being scared to walk into the apartment. I had to bring food for her outside.
After that first evening, Kathy began coming to me every day. “You’re like a Kathy cat,” I joked. “You come around only when you’re hungry.” That was how she became known as Kathy. She never told me her real name, saying only that she hated it. Kathy suited her much better. One rainy night she knocked on my door and when I saw her my heart ached with pity. My Kathy could barely stand on her own two feet. Her eyes were watering and face was pale.
She had the flu. Passing out, she fell straight into my arms. So needful of shelter and care, Kathy couldn’t remain cautious anymore. She chose to trust me, entering my apartment for the first time. She was wordless.
Her face had a strange expression of hopelessness and fear. I could do whatever I wished to her. And all I wished was for her to become my sister. I bathed her and put her to bed. I offered her all the food I could round up.
Then I ran down to the drug store and bought all the medicine I could afford. I was caring for Kathy as if she were my own child.
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