Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fallout Chapter 8

Voices snapped him awake, coming from somewhere outside the shed. The bluish light of early morning was seeping through the door; cold mist clung to his skin.

His throat was still dry, but he felt much better, despite the nightmares he'd been immersed in the whole night. Strangely, he hardly felt any pain. He was sprawled across the floor on a mat, one ankle chained to the sturdy pinewood leg of the tool shelf.

He struggled to sit up, tugged experimentally at the chain, which didn't budge. Meanwhile, he listened to the voices, hoping to pick up any clues that might help him escape.

"Are you working for me, or not?" said Nadira.

"Of course I'm working for you," Akim replied. "But I am also employed by…another party."

"I don't understand why we can't just use a truth drug. He's had enough punishment—"

"Enough? After all you've said about him, Nadira?"

"I've lost my….appetite for it, Akim. It makes me feel sick, doing this. I can't just keep pretending I'm not acting like our enemies. I want to be better than that.

"And I don't see why our contact cares so much about the secret. It's not the one he wanted in the first place, but he seems to want it just as much, even though he doesn't know what it is."

"We want it just as much."

"That's because we can't go back empty-handed. I have to have something to give to our people."

"I see," said Akim. "So you want me to ask our contact for some kind of truth drug?"

"It'll probably be more effective than what we've been doing. And when we have the information, we can leave this place for good."

"Are you sure you'll be okay here by yourself?"

"I'll be fine. You left me here yesterday, and nothing happened."

"I don't like leaving you alone."

"I have my gun. And as long as he's chained securely—"

"He is."

"Go on, Akim. The sooner you leave, the sooner you can come back."

The rustling of footsteps diminished into the distance.

A few minutes later, Nadira appeared in the doorway.

"You're awake," she said. "How are you feeling?"

The raging, consuming pain had faded to multiple aches. "Much better. What was in that syringe?"

"All I know is that it has a lot of restorative powers."

He tried moving the arm that had been stabbed. That hurt, and he resolved not to attempt it again. "Where did you get it?"

"What does it matter, as long as it works?"

"Did you get it from your contact?"

"You heard."

"Yes. I also heard that you wanted to ask him for a truth drug. Why the change in tactics?"

"It's not what Noor would have wanted." She slung the pack off of her shoulder, carefully sat down opposite him, and leaned against the wall. She opened the pack, took out two water bottles, and rolled one over to him. He reached it with his left hand, and twisted the top off. With difficulty, he was able to drink it. She took out some bread from her pack, and tossed a piece to him. He tried to catch it, but it fell onto the dusty floor.

He leaned over to pick it up; his shoulder sparked with pain. He snatched it from the floor, and took a bite. It was hard to eat with his still-swollen face, but it was worth it. Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, it tasted better than any other bread he'd had in a long time.

He finished it, and leaned against the tool shelf leg. Even eating was exhausting.

"I must look terrible," he said, half to himself, wondering what he looked like. He rubbed his jaw; there was a day's growth of a beard there.

"You do, kind of," said Nadira, tipping her head. "But you look a lot better than yesterday."

"Not that there was much to look at to begin with."

"Even when I saw you the first time, it was hard to think of you as a hardened criminal."

"Appearances can be deceiving."

"But I can tell you're not all bad. You have probably done some good things in your life." She smiled wryly.

"I have tried. But lately, I have gotten lost, and all that I was entangled in resulted in–what I can never forgive myself for. All that you have done to me—it's not enough to make up for what I've done."

"But I shouldn't have…hurt you anyway. It was wrong to let myself get so carried away, I didn't even care what Noor would have wanted. I suppose you could say I got lost too. I'm sorry for—" she waved her hand in his general direction—"this."

"Well—I can't say it was fun. But I do understand, a little."

"Unless you're really trying to manipulate me, Jason Whittaker, you sure aren't what I expected." She took another drink from her water bottle. "Are you sure you don't want to just tell me the truth? It could save us a lot of trouble. You want to go home, don't you?"

He longed to be back in town, to see his father again. For a while there, he'd thought he might not make it. But now, hope dangled in front of him, a tantalizing prize.

"Very much."

"Do you have family in Odyssey?" asked Nadira.

He hesitated, though he didn't know why he couldn't tell her. "My father. He owns an ice cream shop called Whit's End."

"Maybe, when I'm done here, I will go see what it is like."

"Maybe I will show you around." Though the very idea of it struck him as odd—him showing Whit's End to the one who'd had him tortured. It was true; they were not likely to become fast friends.

"Is your mother in Odyssey too?" she asked.

"She died a long time ago."

"How old were you?"

"I was just out of college—somewhere, off gallivanting around the world. I always regret not being there during her final days…She was very sick, at the end."

"I'm…sorry." She looked down. "I was there when my mother died. She was having my sister…For a long time after she was born, I refused to even look at her."


She nodded. "My other two siblings died in childbirth. I…wished the same thing on Noor. I hated her for killing my mother." Grief haunted her face. "I tried to resist her for a long time. But she loved me even though I hated her. And she had such a wonderful smile—it lit something up inside me. And then, even though we were eleven years apart, we did everything together. She was so much a part of my life…. I don't think you could understand how close we were."

"Maybe more than you think. I mean, our relationship was different, and we were eight years apart, but my brother and I were close too."

"You have a brother?"

"Had. He died in Vietnam. I still miss him so much. Part of me still wishes that I would have been able to convince him not to go… There's so much about him that I should be…but I could never measure up to."

Nadira leaned forward. "It's the same with me and Noor. She was a born leader. She was just as smart as me, even though she was so much younger. And such faith she had! That's why it was so shocking when she became a Christian."

"She became a Christian?"

Nadira nodded. "I've never told anyone this. Most people never knew…

"She'd been hanging around some Christian friends; things like religious barriers didn't bother her. Then one day she told me the secret, and…well, it took me a long time to get over it. That was about a year before…what happened.

"Anyway, she was even stronger in Christianity than Islam, reading the Bible every night. I tried to keep it from my father; we both knew how he'd react if he found out. It's not that we're such devout Muslims, but what it would do to our reputation… Well. As far as I know, no one else ever knew, and I'm not about to tell my father."

Something struck him. "She was living out her faith that day."


"She must've known what would happen if she stepped in front of the man with the gun. But she did it anyway. She was showing her love for your father by giving her life in his place. Like Jesus did."

"Don't turn this into some sermon."

"I—don't mean to. It's just that—she knew where she was going.

"And I don't have any right to preach to you…I just…have heard that the ultimate test of love is sacrifice."

"And I have heard that the Bible says to love your enemies. That is asking too much."

"Jesus died for the ones who hated him."

"And I suppose you would follow in the footsteps of the great Prophet?"

"I can't compare myself with him. But I hope that if it came down to it, I would give my life for someone else. Even for my enemies."

"You would die for me or Akim? If anything, we qualify as your enemies."

"I hope that I would."

"Ha!" She stood. "I'll believe that when I see it. Maybe you are trying to manipulate me into sympathizing with you."

She stepped over to him, looked down at him. For a moment, he thought she'd slap him again. Then, she turned on her heel and walked out the door.

It's true, he thought. I can't know what I'd do in that situation unless it actually happened. Would I die in her place? Or would my sense of self-preservation kick in?

In any case, I have no credibility. There's no way I can convince her of anything without actions to back it up—and I can't deny it, I hope it would never come to that. It's looking like she might actually let me go, though there's no way I'm going to give her that information. If the truth drug's as potent as that restorative drug, though, I may not have a choice…

He pulled himself to his feet and shuffled back and forth, as far as the chain would let him, getting his strength back as the mountain air filled his lungs. He almost felt…normal again.

The sun was nearly at its zenith by the time someone stepped into the shed.

It was Akim and a strange man, Nadira trailing them both, breathless.

The man stepped forward, looked Jason up and down. He was tall, lithe, with dark blond hair and tanned skin. His gray eyes were cold.

"So this is the man who has been giving you all this trouble."

"If could have some more time with him—" said Akim.

"No offense, Akim, but you are not a professional at this. You might eventually get the intel, but things have changed, and we are running out of time."

"I still don't understand why we can't use a truth serum of some sort," said Nadira.

"We have our reasons. Do what I tell you, or stay out of my way."

The man rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, which complemented his tan pants and polished shoes. Jason wondered how he'd gotten this far up the mountain without getting so much as a speck of dust on his clothes.

He reached in his pocket, and pulled out a cigarette. Touched it with the flame from a lighter, and the toxic smell filled the room.

"Now," he said, "I think it's time we begin."


  1. To you, Evelyn Weibel, I give you my congratulations. The talent is tremendous, and the writing captivating. However, it is pivotal to copyright it.

  2. Thank you Micah! I love to write about Odyssey, especially Jason. I don't think I could copyright it, because it is fanfiction, based of of a copyrighted work, and so I can't make money off of it, so there's no real reason to copyright it. It's enough of a reward to write it and have it be enjoyed by other fans. :)

    1. I was merely suggesting it before someone else simulates your fabrications. Yet, I mentioned your stories in this week's K-LUTZ Radio (my podcast of a sort to be aired in 2015). To view them, type in either my name or K-LUTZ Radio in the Google+ searchbar for posts. You will see two mice on the cover.

  3. Hey--great podcast! I will be listening to more of them. Thanks for talking about my story! I hope you will like the rest of it just as much. Things will be getting interesting. :)

    BTW, my last name is pronounced like the y in bye, but don't worry about it, a lot of people say it that way. It's German origin. I learned to pronounce your name correctly from the podcast. It must be French? :)

  4. You would be correct on my last name. It is Cajun, as of half my family(the other segment comprises of Italian--the arguments sure do become interesting!) Most individuals pronounce my name as LeClerk, as I assume you did, instead of LeClair. I am deeply sorry for the mispronunciation of your name, and if you savor K-LUTZ Radio as implied, you will enjoy our upcoming production late November-"The Return of the Hitchhiker". It is a reenactment of Lucille Fletcher's drama "The Hitchhiker". Keep tuning in!


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