Born to Fight (Born 2) (The Born Trilogy)

By: AE Watson

The Born Trilogy Book Two

Chapter One

The music doesn't make the dream better. Everything in my dream is grey, except the blood. The blood is red and running throughout. I don't know the song playing, but it makes me feel like I should be dreaming about children playing or couples dancing, like in the old movies I watched with Granny. It's a happy song.

I hear a whine through the music and look around for Leo. I smile when I see him next to me, until I see he has his worried look in his eyes. I want to tell him everything is going to be okay, but I'm not sure.

Seeing him, I know it's all a dream. That realization hurts. It makes me miss his sloppy-wolf face. The dream starts to hurt more when his wet nose is against my arm, shocking me. But when I reach for him, the dream won't let us touch anymore. It's keeping us apart. The blood flows on the ground like rivers do. I don't want to cross it. I'm scared for some reason.

I hear my dad calling me.

I turn and look back at him; he's standing next to the bunker lid in the yard, where we hid when everything ended.

"Em, I told you, it's us and them. I told you not to trust anyone." His words sound funny, like he's under water.

My eyes open. The light blinds me momentarily.

I glance around the room, as the memories of it start to fill in the blanks I have.

I hate that things have changed.

I hate that my rules have changed… that I have changed.

Months spent living with others has aged me more than the years I've spent alone. More than the years I spent with my dad. The memories of everything still feel so new and fresh. They hurt, like it all happened yesterday, which scares me.

How long will everything else hurt, if my childhood still pains me?

I look around the stark room and feel darkness settle in. I knew I would feel it eventually. You can't spend as many years alone as I have and not expect the feeling would come for you. I have spent too much time alone in my head to not know I would be able to sense it, like I am now.

The feeling that has finally arrived makes my hollow insides tremble a bit. Almost a decade alone, and it has chosen now to come. Perhaps because things don’t seem like they can get worse.

The feeling is my impending death.

I'm going to die today. I feel it. I sense it in the air, like a pig smelling its final moments before being taken to the slaughterhouse.

It burns inside. It’s desperation to change the way my life will end. I hate that he isn’t with me. I hate that I'm here. I hate that I am focusing on every detail, as if the next one will truly be my last moment. I wish I had one of those balls the gypsy lady at the fair had. The one she could see the future in. I wish I knew which moment would be my last.

I sigh and look for a solution. It’s not like I haven't already spent hours investigating every detail of my time spent in this room. Some of it has been tied to the cold, metal table, like I am now. All of it has been spent in this lonely, cold room, with a man I am planning to kill.

If I had to guess, I'd say he has the same intentions as I do. It feels like an unspoken race between us, to be the one to live through the unspoken battle.

There are things I am certain of.

Firstly, I know I am going to die escaping. I am too exhausted for it to be a perfect escape. I know I will die today. I can feel it in the air. I will escape today and die trying, and that is a better outcome than remaining tied to this table with this man. I've been too lucky. Way too lucky. I have no lives left. As long as I die free, with the wind in my face, I don't care about the other details. But I will not die strapped to this table.

Secondly, Leo is near me. I can sense him. He is looking for me. He is pacing. I can feel the cold of the floor on his paws. Maybe it's the drugs they've been putting in me. They make me feel funny, thick, and foggy. Maybe, it's the fact I have nothing to do but stare at the ceiling and the nineteen pinholes in the plaster directly above my head. They form a constellation. I don’t know which one, but when I've camped out in the summer, I know I've seen it in the sky. I don’t know the names of the constellations, but I know when I will see them, and what they remind me of. This one is the donkey. He reminds me of Will. Will the ass.

Will, who has a nice ass, as Meg always says. Damned kid. I grin, weakly. My chapped lips bleed when I do it. The blood trickles down into my mouth. It's the first thing I've tasted in a while.

Lastly, I know the devilish doctor will slip up. Today is the day. Just as I sense my death, I feel his exhaustion. I can see it. He seems more tense than normal. He's upset about something. He's human, after all. I have spent a lifetime watching humans. We make mistakes. When he does, I will kill him with whatever means I can.

He moves about the room in a white coat and a light-blue mask. He touches my arms and pokes me. He likes his job. I can see that, in his squinty eyes behind his mask. He squeezes my flesh to tighten it and stabs extra hard. I cried out the first time, but it made smile creases around his eyes. I don’t scream for him anymore.