Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Thirty-One: Lies, Lies, Lies

With Mel and Pierre

"Pierre, how far out are we?" Mel asked quietly as she and Pierre plodded along a narrow cow path in the middle of the country. She had no idea where they were at, though her friend seemed to know more about their location. He seemed to recognize this area and she wanted to ask him if he had ever come along this path before. But she knew that if she asked him that, he might have answers she wasn't ready to hear. She knew he'd brought other people from the Hospitals to Canada before; she also knew that a few times, there had to have been failures. At some point in time, she was certain that some of the people Pierre had been trying to help had gotten caught, and she didn't want to know about it. It would only make her more paranoid than she already was and right now, she definitely didn't want that.

"We're close to Scottsbluff," Pierre told her with a small smile. "It's too light to see it now, but later tonight you'll smell burning wood and...well, buffalo poop. It's how they keep warm at night since there's no furnaces in the villages."

Mel nodded, not fazed at all. If buffalo poop was all they were burning, they were doing good. She'd read books on the American Indians when she'd been little; back before Schlagger's regime had really taken hold, and she remembered that they had used every part of the buffalo in their lives, that way there was no waste. She knew that these days, people needed to live much the same way. There was no shame in using buffalo excrement if it was going to keep them warm, no matter the smell.

"That's where Mara's aunt is at, right?"

Pierre nodded, not saying a word as they continued moving along the path. He hadn't told her that he was going to need to go into Omaha alone for a day or two so that he could do a debriefing with the Terrorist Task Force. He knew it would worry her and he didn't want her to feel frightened. She was already worried enough, and he wasn't going to add to that.

"When we get there, there'll be a warm place for you to sleep and there'll be food," he told her in an attempt to deflect her from asking anymore questions. "I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

Mel nodded and then bit her bottom lip, knowing that Pierre wasn't in a talkative mood tonight. She couldn't blame him, she thought to herself. He had so much weight on his shoulders right now and she knew that it had to be weighing down hard. The fate of America was essentially on his shoulders. Even if it was her testimony that would help end Schlagger's regime, she knew that there was no way in Hell that she would ever get to Canada on her own without Pierre. Everything was hinging on him and he had to know that.

She wondered if he had family back home that worried for him; a girlfriend, perhaps, maybe parents. She'd forgotten what it felt like to have parents. She hadn't seen hers in so long. She knew what it was like to feel worried for; she had plenty of friends who spent their days worrying about her and wondering if she was alright. But even more than that, there were people she didn't even know that worried about her.

Pierre had told her that she was an everyday topic of discussion in the Canadian embassy, even before the whole plan had started. They knew that there were other options to get America out of Schlagger's oppression, but they knew that Melissa Baker would be the best one to go to. She was the one who'd witnessed firsthand what he did to his opposition and she'd seen and heard what he wanted to do to the youth of America. It was hers and her brother's testimonies that would help get Canada's help, though she knew that in order for Zack to be able to help, she would need to get to Canada.

She was worried about Zack. She always worried about him because she knew that it had been a few weeks now since she'd seen her brother; a month or two, perhaps. She wondered if he was even still alive. Would Pierre tell her if he'd died? And what about her sister and her niece and nephew? Were they still alive like she hoped they were?

She wanted to believe that they were. She wanted to believe that at the end of all this, her family could go back to life the way it had been before Schlagger. But even she wasn't naive enough to believe that could ever happen. They had been living under his rule for so long it would be hard to go back to life the way it had been. They wanted it and they'd fight hard to get it, but in the one was ever going to forget what Schlagger had done to the American psyche and the people who made up the country.

"Mel, stop thinking about it. It's just going to stress you out more," Pierre told her softly before he gave her a small smile. "Just think about getting yourself to Scottsbluff with me, alright? Think about food and sleep and all those things. But don't think about Schlagger."

She sighed, biting her bottom lip as she tried to figure out how Pierre had figured out what was going through her mind. She definitely didn't want to worry Pierre, but she was certain that that was exactly what she was going to do. She knew that he was constantly worried about her.

She never smiled anymore the way she had when Matt and Jimmy had been with her. She couldn't remember the last time she'd laughed, and God only knew when was the last time she had felt good. All she thought about anymore was the fact that her family, as well as the whole country, was waiting on her to get to Canada. It was something that frightened her.

"I'm sorry, Pierre. I just can't help it," she whispered, reaching up to brush some tears out of her eyes.

All she wanted was to feel Jimmy's arm wrapped around her again, holding her safe and secure. She always felt completely at ease whenever he was around and now she didn't have that. She wondered every second of every day whether or not he was alright, and whether or not he was going to survive the trip to Canada with Matt. She was scared that he was going to die.

"They're fine, Mel. We're fine and you're fine. Everything is going to be okay, so there's no reason to keep worrying yourself over nothing," he told her reassuringly once again before he touched his hand to her shoulder softly once they stopped. "Now, we're about a mile out of Scottsbluff, okay? And when we get there, I'm going to help you find Louise before--"

"Before what?" She cut him off quickly, her heart rate speeding up slightly.

Pierre sighed, knowing that she wasn't going to like what he was about to say. "I have to go in to Omaha for a debriefing at the Terrorist Task Force, Mel. But it won't take long. I just need to make sure I check in."

Immediately, Melissa shook her head, not wanting Pierre to do this. "You can't. You can't keep doing this, Pierre!" She told him softly, biting her bottom lip. "What if they asked Sean about what happened in Colorado? What am I supposed to do then?"

Pierre did the only thing he could think of co convince her that everything was going to be alright. He pulled her in for a hug and then he pressed his lips soothingly to the top of her head.

"It'll be alright, Mel. They don't think I'm a double agent and they don't think I had anything to do with what happened in Colorado. They have no idea that I was even there," he lied to her softly.

The truth was, he knew he was coming close to the end of his career as a double agent. He knew there was no way he could keep thwarting Schlagger's regime from knowing about his trips to and from Canada, just the same as he knew he couldn't keep checking in to Terrorist Task Forces for his debriefings when there were sightings of Mel so close by. The regime knew he was damn good at tracking, and they'd probably already started suspecting something.

He knew that leaving Mel alone in Scottsbluff was a risk, but he knew he needed to take it. He couldn't keep going unless he did at least one more check in. If he did one here in Omaha, it would throw them off his trail for at least a few more weeks and they could get a head start on their way through the Dakotas and towards Canada. He just hoped like hell that it worked, because he didn't know what he'd do if it didn't.
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This week, I will be updating today and on Friday. However, next week (October 9th through the 15th) I will not be updating at all, as I am going to San Francisco to see Avenged Sevenfold. After next week, updates will resume as normal, hopefully. :)