The End Of What We've Known (The Final Book Of The Known Series)
“I can’t do this.” Crystal says, tears filling her eyes.
“I’m here, it’ll be okay.” But she doesn’t hear me. She can’t hear me.
“You can do this Crystal. I know you can.”
I look at Blue, who was holding Crystal. Blue...Just like his hair. I would say it’s stupid, but Crystal’s hair is purple.
“It just hurts that he’s gone.”
“But I’m not gone!” I shout.
“I know it hurts, but he’s not gone Crystal.”
“How can you say that?”
“Because he’s still in your memories. He always will be.”
Okay, so Blue’s an okay guy, considering I did tell him to watch over her for me. But hearing that actually meant a lot.
“Thank you Blue.” I say.
I leave Crystal and Blue alone, though it tears me apart knowing I can’t do anything to help her. If only I had one more chance. One more chance to be by her side. To make her smile.
“That is so not fair! You’re such a cheater!” I hear Sunny shout.
“Me? You can read minds!” I hear Mason shout back.
I follow their voices and their laughter to the Explorer’s courtyard. They were sitting in a circle playing a game of cards. I stopped short as I took them all in.
Sunny...Josh...Matt...Mason...They’re all now Explorers. Sunny now had hot pink hair, one side of her head shaved. A green eyebrow piercing glows when the sun catches it. Josh dyed white streaks through his hair, the white shining against his dark hair. He had a red lip piercing. Matt and Mason looked just the same. They both had red hair with black streaks, black gages in their ears.
They may be new, but they’re still the people I know and love.
I walk up to them, and I sit beside Sunny. She had a small tattoo on her wrist that said ‘Stay Strong, Keep Moving’. I smile a little. That is a good Reminder.
Reminder...That’s what I still am.
“I wish Chris was here.” Josh says.
“But I am here.”
“Yeah...I do too.” Sunny says.
“He would’ve said something funny by now.” Matt says.
“Unlike you.” Mason and I both say at the same time.
We all laugh, our laughter filling the night.
“Now that’s what Chris would’ve said.” Josh says once our laughter died down.
“Yeah…” Sunny sets her cards down, so do the rest.
“Ha! I still would’ve won!” Sunny shouts.
“Oh, whatever!” Mason shouts back.
I get up and walk away, a smile on my face.
As soon as Crystal’s mind is opened to my world, I take the chance. “Crystal.”
Crystal whirls around, eyes wide. “Chris.” She whispers.
“Hi.” I say with a smile.
“Oh, Chris!” She runs to me.
I open my arms, and I catch her once she jumps. She cries against my neck, holding me closer. “I’m here. I’m here.” I whisper into her neck. She moves her face away from my shoulder to look at me, tears still falling. But she could never look more beautiful.
“I love you.”
“I love you more.”
She kisses me deeply, sending shivers down my spine. Dream to her or not, this is real to me. She pushes herself away from me, causing me to let go.
“Blue, I-.” She stops, shakes her head.
“Oh.” I feel my shoulders sag, my heart dropping.
“I’m sorry. I just...He took control over my emotions. That’s his ability.”
“And you let him control you, I get it.”
“I couldn’t fight him back. Besides, you had that girl-.”
“You mean Day?”
“Day was a girl from my past.”
“A girl you fell for.”
“But then I found you.” Which is true. Crystal’s the one. She’s always been the one. Day forced herself onto me. But when she told me about Blue, what else was I supposed to do?
“But you loved Day.”
“I loved Day. But I love you…”
Crystal looks at the ground, her shoulders shaking.
“Crystal…” I place my hand on her shoulder.
“I tried getting over you by going to Blue, but it just didn’t work. But when she came to me that day, telling me that you were over me...I just didn’t know what else to do anymore...And then you told Blue to watch over me...That just gave me more reason to try.”
I lift her face up to mine by her chin. “But I’m still here trying for you.” I say, looking into her caramel eyes.
“No...I’m not mentally Crystal.”
“Okay?” I lean in.
“Okay.” She says, leaning in as well.
As our lips meet, I’ve never felt more safe.
I watch Crystal wake up. Her purple hair was everywhere, the layers sticking up. She was wearing a blue tank-top and black tights, just like in her dream. She was so beautiful. As soon as she sat up, she smiled. “I love you Chris.” She whispers to her empty room.
“I love you more.” I say with a big smile.
She stretches before getting out of bed. That’s when I realized she also had a tattoo. It was an open rose, small water droplets on the petals. The best part? It was lying on open palms. It was pretty amazing. Just like her.
I turn as she changes, giving her her privacy. A knock on the door made me turn back. Crystal opens it.
“Oh, uh, hi Blue.”
“Goodmorning Beautiful. How’d you sleep?”
“It was okay. May I come in?”
“You better not.” I walk to Crystal’s side, glaring Blue down.
“Um, I was actually thinking I want alone time right now?”
“Oh. Sure. Are you sure though?” Blue leans in.
Crystal squeezes her eyes shut, and says, “I’m pretty sure, yeah.” She opens her eyes, and smiles. She fought back. That’s my girl.
“Maybe later?” He grumbles.
“No, sorry. I was planning on hanging out with my friends.” She spat the last word out at him, trying to make him put two and two together.
“Is this about Chris? If so, I could help you with that.”
“By seducing me? Hmmm, no thanks. Maybe another girl would need that, don’t you think?” She closes the door in his face, making me laugh.
“God, you’re amazing.” I say.
Crystal and Sunny hug, laughing as they do.
“Hey you.” Josh nudges her, and she does it back.
“Hey Crystal!” “What’s up?” Matt and Mason say.
“Just trying to live life.”
“I know. So hard. By the way, what’s up with Blue?” Sunny asks.
“Yeah! He cussed us out.” Mason says.
Crystal rolls her eyes. “He just can’t handle the truth, is all.”
“About Chris?” Josh asks.
They all go silent as they look at each other.
“Well. He needs to grow up!” Mason says.
“Right!” Sunny shouts.
We all laugh.
“I was thinking about getting another tattoo.” Sunny says.
“I’ll go with you. Maybe I’ll find something too.” Crystal says with a smile.
“We would, but we’ve got some dates later.” Matt says.
“With the floor?” I ask. Even though they can’t hear me, they still laugh.
“Only if you want me to.”
“I want you to.” Sunny says, blushing.
“Then I’ll be there.” He says, smiling at her, making her blush more.
“Could I take a nap before we go?” Crystal asks.
“Please say yes.” I whisper.
“Sure. I’ll come get you when we’re ready.”
“Do you have any idea how amazing you are?” I ask once she’s in my world.
“Beyond amazing.” I give her a kiss. “It was quite hilarious when you slammed the door in his face.” I say against her lips.
Her eyes widen. “You were there?!”
I laugh. “I told you I wasn’t gone.”
“But how come I couldn’t see you, hear you?”
“I don’t know…”
“Are you okay?”
“Trying to be.”
“Stay strong, keep moving, alright?”
She smiles. “Sunny’s tattoo, huh?”
“It’s a pretty good reminder.”
Her eyes glaze over.
“Just remembering of being a Reminder.”
“But you’re an Explorer now. That’s even better.”
“Yeah...I guess it is.” She looks up at me with a smile.
“So. What kind of tattoo are you getting?”
“I was thinking of a saying, but I don’t know what.”
“Kinda like Sunny’s?”
“Where do you want it?”
“Right here.” Crystal traced her collar bone.
“Wouldn’t that hurt?”
“I’m meaning below it.” She rolls her eyes.
I pull her close to me. “How about… ‘I’m Glad You Came’?”
She thinks it over before nodding. “Sounds great. Any other options?”
“‘I’m Nothing Without You’?”
“Okay, I love them both. I’ll just have to put them somewhere.”
“Double the pain, huh?”
“Maybe.” She kisses me slowly, passionately. “I love you.”
“I love you more.”
“We need to destroy them.” His voice was in a whisper, but it was clear to who it belonged to.
“But how are we supposed to? They’re Watchers everywhere.” A girl says back.
“We have to use our abilities. That’s the only way out.”
“But what if it doesn’t work?”
“It has to work!”
Silence takes over for a minute.
Then Blue clears his throat. “We need to get everybody ready. We leave before sunset.”
“Yes Sir.” The girl walks around the corner, her blue hair glowing in the dark hallway.
I look around the corner, finding Blue hunched over the table, his fists clenched.
Blue wants to destroy the Watchers. But why? I mean...Yes, they basically ruined our lives, but...They’re still human like we are. But what they truly need, is a plan. And they can’t exactly make one without me.
“Chris.” His voice stops me cold, sending shivers all through my body.
“Blue.” I finally manage to say.
“I need your help.”
Of course he does. I should’ve seen this coming. “If it’s a plan you’re looking for, you might as well wake up.”
Blue stares me down, and I could feel the urge to help him take over me, but I fight back.
Blue seemed surprise as I did. “I need that plan.”
“So you can destroy the Watchers?”
Blue’s eyes widen.
“You may believe I’m dead, but I’m not, and I’m not going to help you.”
“Think about what they put us all through. They used us. They played with us. We are no longer their prisoners, but we are still their victims. We have to fight back Chris. And you’re the only one who can help us.”
I take in his words one by one. He’s right… “Fine. I’ll help you. But on one condition.”
“Stay away from Crystal.”
“Everybody up!” Blue’s voice says through the intercom. “Get dressed and come to the courtyard!”
I’m the first one to the courtyard. Blue’s standing near a podium, a sheet of paper in one hand. A sheet that holds the plan that will destroy the Watchers. Funny thing is, I made a plan for the Watchers to destroy the Explorers. A lot of people on both sides died that day. I was one of them.
“Separate into your groups!” Blue says once everybody arrived.
There was so much more. Now there’s only two hundred or so.
“I have called this meeting today, because we have a plan.”
“What?!” My head turns to Crystal’s voice. “What do you mean you have a plan? How could you-.” She stops, realizing how he could.
Blue grins before carrying on. “The plan is called ‘The Revival’. We will revive who we are!”
“Let’s do it!” The Explorers cheer.
“We will leave before sunset. Are you ready?”
“Yeah!” the Explorers leave to get prepared for battle.
The only one left standing was Crystal, who was staring Blue down with hatred.
“How dare you use Chris against me.” She says coldly.
“I didn’t. He gave it to me.”
“I don’t believe you.”
Blue laughs. “Well, you should. Because I must leave now. Chris’s orders.” Blue leaves the courtyard without a glance back at Crystal.
“I’m sorry. There was nothing else I could do.” I say to her.
Crystal looks at the sky, her hands balled into fists. “I will only fight for you, Chris.” She walks away from me.
“And I will fight for you…”
“Group A: Destroy any cameras you see! Group B: Build anything you believe you could use! Group C: Gather every weapon you find! Group D: Gather supplies for this journey! And Group E: Get ready to fight!”
I watch as each group works, amazed by their abilities. What group are you, Blue? I wander. As I watch him, I realize that he isn’t in any particular group, but all of them. That’s when I realized what he truly is. He’s someone more than a Explorer ever will be.
Blue’s a Reviver.
I stay by Crystal’s side as we follow the map to the Watcher’s Headquarters. Crystal was quiet the whole way.
“There’s a camera!” Mason yells.
A knife flies, the camera shatters. The Watchers better be prepared. They probably are…
“Time to rest!” Blue says at the front.
Crystal lays beside Sunny, holding onto a-I look at what she’s holding close to. It was my favorite hoodie. The dark blue one with a white plaid hidden pocket. The pocket where I hid Edgar. Edgar...How I miss him.
“Chris?” I turn to find Sunny.
She takes a step forward, but stops.
“It’s okay, I’m here.”
She only nods, but doesn’t move. “I always knew you were still around.”
“My mind hears static sometimes…”
“And you believed it was me?”
“I knew it was you. Remember that day we were playing cards?”
I answer with a smile.
“I could hear you, just not as clear.”
“That’s amazing Sunny.”
“Yeah, I guess it is.” Sunny chews on her lip, then she asks, “You’re the reason why Crystal gave up on Blue, aren’t you?”
“I mean...Is it that noticeable?”
“Not quite to everybody else. Just to me, Josh, Matt, and Mason. Because we knew how much you two meant to another.”
“How does Josh feel about it?” I ask, feeling uneasy.
Sunny’s eyes widen, then she shrugs. “I mean...He still feels something for her, but they aren’t as strong as they used to be…”
“Because he found you.”
She blushes. “Yeah…”
“Yeah, well. Josh and I never actually got along, but...He’s an okay guy.”
“Yeah, thanks. I’m just okay.” I whirl around to find Josh grinning at me. “Long time, no see.”
“Back at you.” We shake hands.
Sunny’s face is red when I look back at her. Josh only smiles at her.
“How’re you?” Josh asks me.
“I’m doing okay. Just looking out for ya’ll.”
“Wait...That was you?”
I raise an eyebrow.
“How did he get the plan?”
“By coming here.” I raise a hand to my world.
“Chris!” I hear.
Then I’m tackled to the ground.
“Mason!” I yell back.
Then they kiss my cheek, my head. “Okay, okay you guys!”
We all laugh, filling my world. I get up, wiping my face.
“We missed you Dude!”
“I’ve always been here.”
“Okay, that just sounds-.”
We laugh again.
“Hey you guys.”
Crystal comes to me with a smile. God, she’s so beautiful...She kisses me gently.
I roll my eyes. “You’re just jealous it’s not you.” I say.
“Hmm. You right, you right.” Matt says.
“Okay then.” Josh says.
We all look at each other.
“We’re finally us again you guys.” Sunny says.
“We’ve always been us.” I say.
A scream startles me.
“No…” I say.
Explorers wake up, confused.
“Fight back!” Blue screams as he stabs a Watcher.
“No.” I say louder.
“Find him. I need him.”
I turn to his voice. “Marc…”
Marc looks around, searching. Searching for what, exactly?
Blood splatters the ground, bodies fall, people scream and cry. This is all my fault...I should’ve never made those plans. Everything that’s happened is my fault. I’m the one who started the Operation. I’m the one who made the serums. I’m the one who made everybody victims.
“Crystal!” I scream, searching for her.
“Sunny!” Josh yells, shooting a Watcher.
Sunny was on the ground, she wasn’t moving.
“Sunny!” He screams again. He wipes tears away, then he screams out in rage. Josh shoots every Watcher he sees, using his ability to kill them faster.
I kneel down beside Sunny’s body. Her chest was covered in blood. A dagger was deep in her chest. “Oh, Sunny…”
Her eyes were still open, looking at the sky. Why? Why her? I hold back tears as I look for Crystal.
“Matt, behind you!” Mason says.
Matt throws his knife at the Watcher, his eyes closed as the knife makes contact. “Come on!”
I follow Matt and Mason. They stab and shoot any Watcher they see.
“Where is he?” Marc’s voice asks.
“He’s dead.” Blue’s reponse.
I follow their voices.
“He can’t be dead. You had a plan to attack us.”
“He is dead.” Blue says.
Marc laughs softly. “You can’t fool me that easily. Round them up, bring them back home.”
No...No! I run at Marc, I punch him in the face.
“Ah!” Marc’s eyes roll back as he stumbles. “What the-?”
Watchers raise their gun towards Marc.
My hand stings from where I hit him. But...I’m dead. How could I-?
“Ha. You see? He isn’t dead. His new cells have been created.” Marc tells Blue.
Blue’s eyes were wide, mouth open. “Chris? Can you hear me?”
“Of course I can.” I growl.
“Son of a -.”
“Quiet now.” He orders. “Chris, I need you.”
“No, you don’t. You only want to use me.”
“Stay back!” I order.
I hear her gasp. “Chris.”
“Exactly where I was getting to. Chris, my boy, you’re an Explorer now. But much more powerful. All you have to do is go through the Operation.”
“No!” Blue says. “You can’t!”
“Silence. This is his decision.”
I look at Marc. The man who took me away from my father. The man who used me for my plans. The man who erased my memories for what I’ve done. But...He was also the man who took me in. The man who trained me how to fight. The man who made me who I am today. “I’ll do it.”
“Only if you do this one thing for me.”
“Name it my boy.”
“Let all the Explorers go through the Operation. We will be known as the Revivers.”
“When did you being somewhat alive again start?”
“I’m not exactly sure. All I remember is getting angry, then I hit Marc’s face.”
“But the Operation will bring you back, right?”
“I think so.”
“Hopefully. Can you touch me?”
“I think so.”
I reach for her hand. She jumps at my touch. Our fingers intertwine. I’ve never felt more complete.
“Are you ready?” Marc asks.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Please lie down.”
I lay down on the table, the sheet crinkling.
“See you on the other side.”
“Hopefully.” I mumble once the tube closes around me. I keep my eyes open as the scanner goes across my body.
I then realize that I’ll look different, new. What will I look like? What will I sound like?
That fast? Or is it just me? I close my eyes with relief. Then I realize that that was a mistake. I couldn’t open my eyes.
“Give him the serum.” I hear Marc say.
I hear the tube open, then a pinch. The serum runs through my system, sending my thoughts to crash and burn.
“My boy...You’re back.”
I could barely hear him as everything went black.
“We need your help.”
“Who are you?”
“We’re the Unknown.”
“I know who you are...You belong to no one.”
“Yes. And we need you.”
“We need you to help us get out of here.”
“Help you out of the Unknown?”
“Go to George and my Dad, Scott. They’ll help you.”
“No, they won’t.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because we’re prisoners here.”
“Yes. They watch our every move. They’re afraid of us.”
“Why are they afraid of you?”
“Because we’re getting stronger.”
“But how? Your new cells never developed, right?”
“They didn’t at first. The Watchers were impatient with us. They threw us out when our cells didn’t develop fast enough. But we all have developed over time.”
“What stage are ya’ll at?”
“Most of us Becomers. The rest are Reminders.”
“I still don’t understand why you need me.”
“We need a plan.”
“Yes. A plan to escape.”
“He’s beautiful.” I hear Crystal whisper.
Me? Beautiful? Wait...That means I’m back!
“Oh, Chris...You made it.”
I wanted so much to hold her close to me. To kiss her. To love her.
“Whoa, he does look pretty hot.” Matt says.
“Really Dude? How gay can you get?” Mason asks.
“A guy can compliment a guy, like, chill.”
They all laugh softly.
“Josh? Would you like to say something?” Crystal asks softly.
My heart went out for him right then. He lost Sunny. And it was all my fault. Me and my stupid plans.
“Let him rest. He will wake up soon.” Marc says.
I hear shuffle of feet, then a closed door. I thought I was alone until I heard a sigh.
“I’m sorry my boy. I never meant for any of this to go this far.” Marc tells me. “It’s only a matter of time until…” He trails off with a sigh, leaving me to trying to figure out what would happen.
But my mind was blurring, and my breathing was getting softer.
“Please wake up soon my boy. We need you.”
“Is the plan ready?”
I turn to find a girl with black hair and gray eyes. “Um. I’m sorta still knocked out.”
The girl gasps. “What’re you now?”
Her eyebrows scrunch together, her gray eyes looking into mine. “I’ve never heard of them.”
“Yes...Me, Explorers, and Watchers.”
“You can’t trust them. The Watchers.”
“I know. Trust me. They killed me once.”
“Then how’re you alive?”
“My cells are more powerful. I revived myself. That’s why I’m known as a Reviver.”
“My stage? I’m a Becomer.”
“Just two more operations, and you’ll be like me.”
“But that’s what we’re trying to stop.”
I raise my eyebrows. “But you told me that you only wanted to escape, not destroy the Operation.”
“We do need to escape. But we also need to destroy the Operation.”
Her gray eyes look away from me. For some reason, her eyes remind me of someone. I just don’t know who.
Her eyes meet mine again, and she says, “Because it’s destroying who we really are.”
“Hey Chris, it’s me.” Josh says. “I’m the only one here at the moment.”
I feel a hand on my chest.
“I know you and I never actually got along, but that needs to change, you know?” His hand balls into a fist. “I just really need someone right now Chris. Yes, they’re others, but they just won’t understand like you will.” Josh’s voice was on the verge of him crying.
I wish I could do something, anything, to let him know that I’m here.
“I lost Sunny Chris...It was all my fault. She pushed me out of the way when that Watcher came after me. She didn’t deserve to die like that Chris...Nobody does...Not even the Watchers, but-.” He was sobbing now.
I wanted so badly to lay a hand on his shoulder.
“But...I want them to die now Chris. To suffer. Just wake up Chris. Just like Sunny, we have to stay strong, and we have to keep moving…” He cries silently for a while.
I cry with him silently. Because he’s right. I have to stay strong when all else fails. I have to keep moving when no one else will.
They need me.
“Are you awake from the Operation yet?” The girl with the gray eyes asks me.
“Uh, no. Still knocked out.”
“How long until you can make the plan?”
“I don’t know.”
The girl looks at me. “Do you even want to help us?”
“I don’t know…”
She sighs. “Well Christopher. You need to find the answer before it’s too late.”
“Too late? What do you mean by that?”
“There’s no time to explain. You just need to wake up Christopher. Wake up.”
I open my eyes, a bright light shining down on me, causing me to bling several times before sitting up. Everything around me seemed different. So new. But it was still the same as it was before the Operation. I stand up. The floor...I barely even felt it underneath me. It felt like I was floating. Like I was part of the air.
The door opens.
I turn to find Josh, his expression blank. “Josh.”
“I, uh...I just…”
I stop him by holding him close to me. Josh stiffened up, but he relaxed as he held me back. “Stay strong, keep moving, right?” I say.
“Right.” He tightens his hold on me before letting go. “Come on. Everybody’s waiting for you.”
“Chris!” They all say in unison once they see me.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m here, I’m here.” I give Matt and Mason a hug and a noogie, making them shove me away, laughing. I hold Crystal close to me like I did Josh. “I missed you.”
“I missed you too.” She gives me a kiss before sitting down.
“So. How was your sleep?” Matt asks.
That’s when the girl with gray eyes popped into my head. “It was interesting.”
“How?” Josh asks.
I give them all a grin. “Are ya’ll ready for another adventure?”
“Are you packed?” I ask Crystal.
She doesn’t say anything, just stares at the wall.
“Crystal?” I sit beside her on her bed, unsure what to say or do.
“Are you sure that it’s not a trap?” She asks eventually.
“Well...I never actually thought about that.”
“Well, if it is?”
“Then we fight.”
Crystal only nods.
“I love you.”
“I love you more Chris...Now let’s go. The Unknown are waiting for us.”
How I love her.
“Are there any cameras around Mason?” I ask.
Mason looks around. “Not that I see Dude.”
“Okay, good. But keep a look out.”
“On three, we run..One...Two...Three!” We run from the Watcher’s Headquarters to the forest. “Hand me Edgar.”
Crystal gave me Edgar, the feel of him on my palm made me feel safe. I pressed the ‘on’ button.
“Good day Sir.”
“Where to now Sir?”
“Show me the way to The Unknown.”
I read the map, and sighed.
“What is it?” Josh asks.
“It says it’ll take us two days to get there.”
“If we just keep walking, then we’ll get there faster.”
“Uh, guys?” We need to run.” At Mason’s word, we run.
“Stop!” A voice commands.
But we don’t stop. We keep running like there’s no tomorrow.
Then I realize: I know that voice. “Stop!” I command.
“Are you crazy?! Let’s keep running!” Crystal says.
She seemed taken aback by my response.
“You followed me, huh?” I ask the girl with gray eyes.
“Yes, I did.”
“I was coming.”
“I see that. But you’re going to need my help.”
“Who is she Chris?”
“I’m not sure yet.”
“Yet?! You’ve met her before?”
I could sense a hit of jealousy in Crystal’s tone. “In my dreams, yes. During my Operation, she asked me for help.”
“I did. Do you have the plan?” She asks.
“I do. But I won’t give it up until you lead us to the Unknown.”
“Okay. Follow me.” She turns in the opposite direction, and I follow her.
I turn my head to Crystal. “What?”
“It’s a trap.”
I roll my eyes. “You-.”
“You’re only mad because I’m right. I’m going this way.” Crystal starts walking the way we were originally going.
Crystal stops in her tracks, but doesn’t turn.
“At least take this.” I shove Edgar into her hand. “See you on the other side.”
“Was that your girlfriend back there?”
“And my best friend.”
“Hmm. That’s the best.”
“I’m guessing so. If you kiss one day, and fight the next.”
“I can understand that feeling.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
She snorts. “Um, no. I’m lesbian.”
“Oh.” I suddenly feel stupid. Highly stupid “What’s her name?” I finally manage to ask.
“Her name was Lindsey.”
“Was?” God. I’m such a horrible person.
“I mean...She is but she isn’t alive. I get to be with her in my dreams.”
“That’s how Crystal and I were at first. But here I am.”
“You mean...If she goes through the Operation, she’ll..?”
“Yes. She’ll be alive again.”
She goes silent as we carry on. “Was there a guy named Blue there, by any chance?” Her question startles me.
“Uh, yeah. Why? Do you know him?”
“Let’s just say him and I have a past together.”
Did she used to be straight because of him? Or did she become lesvian because of him? Okay...Those questions are for another time.
“By the way, my name’s Grey.”
Grey… “It suits you.”
“Thanks. And Christopher suits you.”
“Please, call me Chris.”
I follow her silently, thinking about Crystal. I wonder how she’s doing. I should’ve never left her behind. But she’s got Josh, Matt, and Mason to keep her company. Besides, she needs time away from me. To cool off.
“What?” I stand beside her, confused. “But Edgar told me that it’d take two days to get there.”
“This is a short cut.”
“Oh. Um.” I look around, nothing but trees surrounding us. I’m grabbed from behind, startling me. “Let me go!” I try to pull away, but whoever was holding onto me was stronger than I thought.
“Did you really think we’d let you come with us?”
“What’re you talking about?”
“The new generation is our’s.”
“See you on the other side, Reviver.”
A blow to my head knocks me out cold.
“What is he?”
“He calls himself a Reviver Sir.”
“Reviver? Interesting. Does he have the plan?”
“He told me he did, but there’s no trace of it on him.”
“Then he must’ve known it was a trap. But how?”
“I’m not sure Sir.”
“We’ll ask once he’s fully awake. And didn’t I say no damage to our prisoner?”
“Deeply sorry Sir.”
“Crystal! Where are you?”
“I told you it was a trap!” Crystal appears, fury in her eyes.
“I know, which is why you have the plan.”
“Edgar.” Crystal’s eyes soften. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. But I’m being held captive. How far are you from the Unknown?”
“About another day. We literally just got a break.”
“Lemme guess: You were walking off anger?”
“More or less...Okay, yes, I was. It just made me mad that you decided to go with her, and I thought-.” She broke off, trying to fight back tears.
“Crystal. I’m not going to leave you again...Ever. Not in a million years. Not even after that. I love you.” I say all in a rush, without meaning to. But it’s all true. I would never trade her for anybody or anything in this world. I would turn down the world for her. She’s the only one I need. The only one I want. Crystal’s eyes light up as she smiles.
“I love you more Chris.” She pulls me to her, and she kisses me deeply.
I open my eyes to find darkness surrounding me. I sit up slowly, trying to get used to the dark. Lights flash on, causing me to wince, shielding my eyes.
“Reviver, you say you are. Now. Tell me: Why such a name?” A deep voice says through an intercom.
I look towards the intercom, reaching for my knives. But they weren’t there.
A laugh rings out in the room. “Did you really think we’d let you keep such weapons?”
I grit my teeth, anger flaring in my heart.
“Answer my question, Reviver.”
“The name comes from battle scars.” I spat.
“Battle scars?” Another laugh. “How pathetic.”
I close my eyes and think of Crystal. I think of Josh. I think of Matt and Mason. I think about Sunny...And her tattoo. I have to stay strong for them. I have to keep moving for them. “Where am I?” I ask once I’m calm.
“Why, you’re in the Unforgiven.”
“What?” I open my eyes, jerking my head to the intercom. “I thought I was in the Unknown?”
Another laugh. “Did you really think we’d send you there? Where your father is? I don’t think so.”
My heart drops. How’d they know my dad was there?
“Here’s the serum Sir.”
“Hello Chris.” The tone in her voice was full of coldness, sending chills down my spine.
“I see you two have met again. What a reunion.”
“She’s just a fake.” I say through gritted teeth.
“You take that back!” Day screams.
“Why should I, when it’s true?”
Day screams out in rage.
“Now, now children. Let’s settle this like adults, shall we?”
“I say we kill him.” Day spits.
“That could be a good decision,” My heart starts to pound at his words. “But: We need him.”
“For what?” Day asks angrily.
“We need him to make us a plan.”
“No.” I say firmly, but softly. I’m done making plans. Everything that has happened-deaths, destruction, betrayal-is my fault. And I can’t forgive myself for that. Now now. Not ever.
“But if he doesn’t, then we’ll have to kill him.”
I lay my head in my hands. Why? Why does this always happen to me? I raise my head slightly, and say, “I’ll do it.”
“Very well. Day? Put the death serum away.”
What am I doing? I think angrily.
A door to the left slides open. “Come. Let’s get started.”
I look up to find a man a few years older than me. He had black hair like me, a few gray strands through it. And his eyes...Piercing blue…
“I know you…” I trail off, shocked and surprised.
The man smiles, sending memories flashing before my eyes. I blink them away, forcing the truth away. But no matter how hard I try, the memory still lingers.
“Welcome home, Brother.”
I glare at David from across the table. So much hatred filling my body, trying so hard not to deck him out right then and there.
“So. About the plan.”
“How dare you come back into my life. You already ruined it once before.”
David only smiles, his eyes not wavering from mine. “How did I ruin your life once before, my dear Brother?”
“Stop calling me that.”
“Answer the question Brother.”
I ball my hands into fists underneath the table. “You left me when I had no one else to depend on.”
At my words, David’s face softens. “I didn’t leave you...I had to go.”
“No, you didn’t. You could’ve chose to be a Becomer. Maybe something more.” Like me, I about say. “You left me with May. She never cared for me. And when she did become a Becomer, what’d she do? She left me to survive on my own. I was the one who still wanted to be a part of her life, even though she only saw a Starter in her eyes everytime she looks at me.”
I’m crying now, but I carry on.
“I don’t even know where she is right now. She’s probably still living her life without me. She’s probably dead, for all I know. And now here I am. Sitting before the very person who I depended my life on most, who only searched and hunted me down for my ability.”
I slam a fist on the table, trying to clam down.
“How do you think that makes me feel? You probably don’t even care. You probably wish I was dead, like May always wanted.”
I’m sobbing now, not even caring if I look like a wreck at the moment. I bury my head in the palm of my hands, forcing myself to stop. I feel a hand on my shoulder, making me tense up at the touch.
“I don’t want you dead, Chris.”
Hearing him made me stop crying.
“If anything, I’d want myself dead...You’re right. I did leave you. And I’m sorry for that. I just wanted to escape. But it never really did anything for me. It brought me here. A place where everybody looks down on you. But I’m one of the leaders here. I have to keep moving for them, not let the world tear me down.”
I don’t move when he’s finished talking. A part of me wants to accept the life he’s trying to create. But the other part reminds me what he’s done in the past. The past...The past is the past...I look up at him through blurry eyes.
“Okay…” I say weakly.
But David heard me, because he gives me a small smile. A small smile that could only mean one thing: Forgiveness.
“We’re here.” David points at a map, a blue tack in our place. “Here’s the Watcher’s Headquarters.” He points where a red tack is. “We need to get all the Explorers out of there.”
“Explorers?” I give David a confused look.
“Yes...Marc didn’t keep your promise.”
“How did you…?” I trail off.
David grins. “I’ve been looking over you little Brother.”
I only nod, hard to believe after all these years, he still looked over me. Like a brother should. I put my attention back to the map.
“Marc’s trying to turn them into his slaves. To where they will only listen to his commands. Like he taught you.”
“Yes. He never took you in Chris. Not the way you think, anyways. He stole you when you were young. And he trained you how to fight to the death. But you refuse to kill, unless you have to.”
He’s right. Of course he is. Others seem to understand me more than I do.
“Once he realized that you wouldn’t, he took a different course. He targeted what you do best: Your ability to make any sort of plan.”
“Clearly.” I mutter. “That’s all what people want me for.”
“That’s not true. Crystal doesn’t. Josh doesn’t. Matt and Mason don’t. And I bet you Sunny never did.”
“Don’t you ever say her name again.”
“Taken. But yes: Many people want your plans. And correct me if I’m wrong: You are the one who started all this, am I right?”
Hearing the truth roll of his lips like it was nothing stabbed through my heart like a knife. “You’re right…”
David nods before continuing. “That’s why they all want you. They know you won’t stop, no matter how many times you try.”
“Is that why you hunted me down? For a plan?”
“Yes and no. There are also many who want you dead.”
“I know that.”
“But do you really know why?”
“Because I started all this?”
“You don’t sound that sure about the truth.”
“I’m done.” I start to walk away, but David grabs my wrist.
“You can’t hide away forever Chris. The truth is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. Even through death. You need to stop running from it. You need to face it...The end is coming Chris. Sooner or later, the end’s going to hit you harder than you’ll ever expect. You need to be ready for the end Chris.”
I close my eyes, taking in all his words. “You’re right David. But you should listen to your own advice once in a while,” I turn to face him. “I’m not the only one living in fear, am I?”
David sighs. “Everyone lives in fear Chris. It’s one of the reasons that reminds us that we’re still human.” David lets my wrist goes.
My arm dangles at my side like it’s lifeless without him. Maybe it is, I don’t know. “Come to me when you’re ready for the plan.” I say, walking away.
Whether I want to believe it or not, I have to let David face his fear.
His fear is me.
Crystal whirls around, fright in her eyes. “You need to get out of the Unforgiven. There’s someone-.”
“I already know.” I say, cutting her off. I stand before her, my heart beat picking up pace as I look at her. Her purple hair framing her face. Her piercings making her more beautiful than ever. And her eyes...No. I can’t let myself be distracted. “I know. It’s David. Him and I have talked more than my liking.”
“He wants you dead, Chris.”
I slit my eyes at her. “No. He wants a plan.”
“Then he’s going to kill you.”
“How is it that I have the plans, but you already know what’s going to happen?” I snap.
“Because it’s my ability-.”
“Then keep your ability to yourself. I’m tired of you always ruining what’s best for me. You took me away from my dad, because you wanted to do the whole escape plan. You left me for Blue, knowing how I feel about you. You let Sunny die, because you ‘clearly’ know everything!”
I was in her face now, but I couldn’t control my fury.
“You let Marc’s men take me away, while you ran, and I hoped you’d follow, but you didn’t! You forced me to go back to Day, because you had Blue!”
Crystal was crying now.
I turn my back to her, my chest heaving. “Just like I told David: Come find me when you’re ready.”
I wake up. Sweat was drenching me. I push myself up, and I punch the wall. Pain shoots through my hand to my shoulder, but I ignore it.
I search for paper and pens.
Once I find them, I start what I do best: I create plans.
“Chris.” I hear.
“David.” I say coldly.
“I’m here for the plan.”
“Of course you are.” I don’t turn around as I speak to him.
“But that’s not the only reason why I’m here.”
Crystal’s words ring out in my ears. “I know.”
I hear footsteps come closer towards me. But they weren’t heavy. Not like David’s.
“Give me the plan.”
“And what if I don’t?”
“Then that death of your’s will come soon.”
“Bring it.” I hear myself say.
But before he could do anything, I whirl around, and I stab my knife into whoever’s chest was creeping up on me. My eyes widen.
Day’s eyes look into mine, her mouth open to cry out.
“I’m sorry Day. But you’re better off this way.” I sink my knife in deeper before pulling it out.
Day’s body falls to the floor. Her breathing starts to slow. Then nothing.
“Here.” I hand David the plan.
David doesn’t move, just stares at me.
“Take it, or leave it.”
He slowly takes it.
“Remember what you said about fear?”
David slowly nods.
“Well. Letting someone else kill me won’t make your fear go away.” I push him aside. He moves without a fight.
“I’m leaving. It’s your choice to come with me or not. Brother.”
I run through the forest with as much speed as I can force. I bring the map up to my face. I take a left. I hear David grasping for breath behind me, but I don’t stop. I take a right.
I try to avoid tree branches as I go. But a few cut me here and there.
“We’re almost there!” I yell over my shoulder.
I can’t believe the Watcher’s Headquarters was only five miles away from the Unforgiven. Did the Watchers know this? Or did the Unforgiven trick them? So many secrets hidden in this small world. I stop once I see the building.
David catches up two minutes later. “You’ve been trained well.”
“Blue!” I yell.
Blue’s head jerks towards my voice. A few other Explorers look my way as well. Blue raises a hand, and everybody turns away. Except Blue. He carefully makes his way to me. “Long time, no see Chris.” He says lowly.
“Sure has been.”
He pretends he’s looking after something as he speaks to me. “Where’re the others?”
“Good. You’ve got a plan?”
“I do. And I need everybody’s help.”
An alarm goes off from the headquarters. “Let’s go.”
David and I run to the back door. I knock once. The door opens, an Explorer with white hair gives us a nod. We rush carefully to the main office. The alarm was still blaring in our ears. I knock once on the main office door. The door opens.
“Come on.” Blue says.
We walk in and lock the door behind us.
“Who’s this?” Blue stares David down, which I respect him for.
“David, David, David.” Our heads turn to Marc’s voice, who was strapped down to a chair. “You couldn’t kill him, could you?” Marc asks with a smirk.
I raise a knife to David’s throat, making him gasp. “He might not, but I’ll kill him.”
“Then do it.”
David tenses up underneath my hold on him. “Not quite yet.” I say. “Blue.”
Blue takes David from me and holds him.
“I’d like to ask you some questions.”
“Go ahead my Boy.”
“First of all: I’m not your boy. Never have been, never will be. Second of all: I’m not going to just sit here and watch you kill innocent souls. And third of all: Do not talk unless I ask you a question. Are we clear?” I growl.
“Clear as can be.”
“Okay...Why do you want us to die?”
“Because of your abilities.”
“What about them?”
“It’ll destroy you.”
“From what I learned, it’s the people who destroys more than the abilities.”
“I didn’t ask you a question.”
Marc goes silent.
“Now. Yes, some abilities are hard to control. But that’s because of the people who wants them. Am I right?”
“So. I’m I’m right, why did you use my ability against the people?”
“Lie again, or so help me.”
Marc clears his throat. “I used your ability to make something great.”
“But it didn’t work, now did it?”
“Any last words?”
Marc’s eyes widen. “You can’t kill me.”
“There’s no one here who’ll stop me.”
“You can’t kill.”
“You see...Weren’t you the one who trained me to fight to the death?”
Before he could answer, I throw my knife to his chest.
Just like he taught me.
“Are all the Watchers dead?” I ask Blue as we make our way through the building.
“As far as I know, yes. I sent Group E to kill them.”
“Let me go.” David says.
“Why? So you can finally kill me?” My question shut him up the rest of the way to the entrance.
“It’s Crystal! We need you.”
“Keep him in your sight.” I tell Blue, pointing at David.
Blue gives me a nod.
I run after Josh, my heart pounding. Please not Crystal. Tell me she’s okay. The words I said to her swarm through my head, making me feel regret. “Crystal!” I bend down on my knees, pulling her to me.
Crystal’s face was pale. Blood caked her side.
“Crystal. I’m here.”
“Chris?” Blood slowly runs through her mouth.
“I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.” I start to cry as I hold her.
“Take me to the Operation.” She says weakly.
“What?” I say, my voice cracking.
“The Operation...It will save...Me…”
She’s right…”Josh! Help me carry her!”
We carry her inside the Watcher’s Headquarters.
“Blue! Show me the Operation Room!” We follow Blue as quickly as we can. “Start the machine.” I order.
We lay Crystal down on the table.
“It’s okay. We’re here. We’re going to save you.” I kiss her bloody lips. “I love you Crystal.”
The tube closes over her.
“The Operation is now starting.” The machine says.
I look away as her eyes close.
“She’s going to be okay Chris.” Josh says for the third time.
“I know, I know. Just seeing all that blood...I really thought I was going to lose her.”
“But you’re not.”
I look up at Josh. Josh, the one person I used to hate most. Josh, who came to me and broke down. Josh, who’s trying to stay strong, to keep moving, like Sunny wanted. “You’re right. Thanks.”
The door opens, and in walks Matt. His face was plain, expressionless.
“Are you okay?” I ask him.
“You didn’t tell him?” Matt looks over at Josh.
“I never had time…”
Matt looks at me, his eyes full of pain. “Mason’s…”
My heart drops. No...Not Mason… “I’m sorry Matt. I knew how much he meant to you.”
“Yeah…” Matt leaves the room without another word.
“How’d it happen?” I force myself to ask.
“When we finally found our way here, Mason was guiding us around, away from the Watchers. But…” Josh clears his throat. “Apparently one of them was following us. Mason saw them, and...And the Watcher’s gun was aimed at Matt...Mason pushed Matt out of the way, but…” Josh wipes his eyes. “The bullet hit his ribs. We tried to save him, but Mason made us stop. He told us thank you...He told Matt he could never ask for a better brother…”
I could only nod.
“That’s when Crystal went on a rage...I’ve never seen her kill so much, so quickly. But then she got shot.”
I nod again.
“I kinda wish none of this never happened, you know?”
A pain stabs me as I hear his words. Because I also wish the same thing sometimes. But in the end, it all led back to me.
I bolt out of my chair, and I run to the Operation Room. And there she was. “Crystal…”
“Hello Chris.” Her voice sounded like a song.
“You’re alive.” I couldn’t believe it, but here she was.
“I am a Reviver.” She says with a smile.
I pull her to me, and I kiss her like I never had before. She smiles underneath my kiss, making me smile as well.
“Okay you two love birds. We’ve got business to take care of.”
I turn to find Josh grinning. But there was pain behind his eyes. He misses Sunny. I know he does.
And I’m going to change that.
I turn to find Sunny sitting, her arms wrapped around herself, staring into nothing.
“I want to bring you back.”
“Then why won’t you reach out to me?”
“Because I’m better off this way.”
“To be surrounded by darkness?”
“It’s a never ending world Chris.”
“That may be true, but there’s people out there that love you.”
“I don’t have anybody.”
“Oh for God’s sake! I love you! Crystal loves you! Matt loves you! Mason loves you! And I know that you know that Josh loves you more than anything else in this world.” I say in a rush. Mentioning Mason hurt, but it was true.
“That’s a different kind of love.”
“Then what love are you wanting?”
Whatever I was going to say stopped in my throat. I sit beside her, and I take her hand. “We are your family Sunny.”
Sunny stayed quiet, her eyes looking everywhere but me.
I let her hand go and stand up. “You’re my family Sunny.” I say quietly. And she is. Yes, I do have a father, a brother, a sister. But they haven’t been there through it all with me. But Sunny has.
Sunny gives me her hand. I look at her. “Take me home.”
I smile as I pull her up.
“Where’s Josh?” I ask Matt.
“He’s in the room next to me.” Matt says softly.
“Okay. I brought someone for you.”
I look behind me, and nod. I watch Mason creep up behind Matt. He raises his hands over Matt’s shoulders.
“What the-?!” Matt whirls around.
Mason bursts out laughing, the sound warming up my soul.
Matt tackles Mason to the ground, and they wrestle. I can’t help but laugh. Once I catch Matt’s eye, I nod at him. He gives me a smile before putting his attention back on his brother.
“Come on.” I lead Sunny gently behind me. I knock on the door.
“Oh, hey Chris.”
“How’s it going?”
“Okay. I brought you someone.”
“What?” Josh raises an eyebrow.
I push Sunny into view.
Josh’s face lights up.
“Hi Josh.” Sunny whispers.
“I, you, he-.”
I laugh. “You’re welcome.”
Josh pulls Sunny to him, and they hold another close.
I walk to the next room. I look behind me to Josh’s room.
They were still holding each other.
“What you did was amazing Chris.” Crystal tells me.
“Well. I had to fix what was broken.”
Crystal’s eyes waver from mine.
“No, no. It’s okay. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs.”
“I still feel bad for going off on you though.”
“I deserved it.”
“Yes, I do. Because you were right.”
I stay silent as I look at her. She runs her fingers through my hair, making me smile. “You do know I love you, right?” I ask her.
“I do. And it’s a love that I will never trade.” She kisses me softly. Then deeply.
I pull away with a smile. “Now. I was thinking about a tattoo?”
She raises her eyebrows in surprise. “Really now?”
“Sure am. Right here.” I point at my wrist.
"What will it be?"
"More like, what will it say."
"Okay. What will it say?"
"'You are my rose.'"
Crystal gives me a smile that turns my world upside down.
"Come on you guys!" Sunny says excitedly.
We walk out if the headquarters to outside.
"It's beautiful." I hear Crystal say beside me.
"Well duh! We fought our battles." Josh says, taking in the view.
"We are Revivers." Mason says, winking at me.
"And we have our battle scars to prove it." I say.
"I can't believe we created this." Matt says, picking up a flower that was white with blue swirls inside it.
"It's the new generation. The one we've all been waiting for." Sunny says, dancing around, pulling Josh to dance with her.
"May I have this dance?" Matt bows to Mason.
"Why not?" Mason takes his hand, and they start twirling around like the idiots they are.
"Shall we?" I give Crystal my hand.
"It'd be a pleasure."
We dance together, the trees swaying, the flowers prancing, the clouds bouncing. We all fall down together, laughing like there's no tomorrow.
"I love you guys." Sunny says once the laughter died down.
"I love you too." I say.
"No way! I love you that much!"
I laugh as I listen to them.
This is us. This is the way it was supposed to be. We all started out as Starters, who were just trying to get by. Then Becomers, if we were brave enough to take the chance. Reminders, for the ones who remembered what their life was. We all became Explorers, when we thought we had it all.
But here we are: Together once again through all our battles. We are known what the world has always known us by: