“Eve?” I hear my mom’s voice saying softly. “Eve darling, are you waking up?”
I blink my eyes a couple times to find them struggling to gain focus. However, through the blurriness, I can tell that my room is filled to the brim with people.
My dad’s voice. I can hear and see the people in the room all moving to get closer to my side. A few more blinks and things begin to come into focus.
“Water,” I gasp out. My throat is so incredibly dry. A straw touches my lips and I suck greedily. The water burns as it goes down my throat but feels amazing at the same time.
“Thanks,” I say after I’ve managed to drink all the water in the glass they gave me. “How long was I out?”
“A week, sweetheart,” my mom says.
I can see enough now to recognize the other three bodies in the room who haven’t spoken. Billy and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes. I look at them and a feeling of sadness crosses over me.
“I’m sorry,” I say to them.
“For what?” Mrs. Rhodes responds in confusion.
“For Cyrus. For getting him into all of this. For—”
“Don’t be silly, Eve,” Mr. Rhodes answers. “This was all Alvin’s doing. No one else’s.”
“Hank’s right,” Dad says. “It turns out this has been an ongoing thing with Alvin and Miss Nile. But most importantly, we found out that once he realized that Hank and Charlotte’s son was a Runner, he decided he had to use him to get to Miss Nile.”
“But why?” I ask, feeling confused.
“Because he knew that would force Golden Dawn to get involved,” Mrs. Rhodes answers. “And if we were involved, he felt he had a better chance in succeeding.”
“But…” I begin, not sure how to continue, but feeling the need to get it out. “But, he’s still dead.”
All the air is sucked out of the room. A week is obviously not enough time to get over the loss of Cyrus. But the way they were talking made it sound like all that mattered was who was to blame. And no matter whose fault it is, he’s still dead. And I have to live with the fact that I played at least a small part in getting him to that point.
“He is dead,” Billy says, finally. “But his spirit isn’t. You’ll see. When you finally get out of this bed, you’ll see that even in the small time since his death, people have taken a real shining to their new freedoms.”
“But are they really free?” Eve asks. “Won’t someone else just come in and take over? Or maybe M&L are still hiding, waiting for their chance to attack.”
“Maybe,” Mr. Rhodes answers. “But we’re keeping an eye out for them. And with the United Nations here helping out, we should stand a much better chance toward building a better future. Or at least building one that doesn’t involve M&L.”
“So, what does that mean for us?”
“For you,” Mom says, sitting on the bed next to me, “it means rest. And plenty of it.”
“Fine,” I agree. “But they’re going to need someone to be out there on the road,” I say, gesturing to the Rhodes.
“Let’s talk when you get better,” Mrs. Rhodes answers. “There will be plenty of world saving left for you to do then.”
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