‹ Prequel: Martyr's Run

Storms in Utopia

Beyond the Girl


The meeting with Hurricane and Arjan had left me feeling almost physically exhausted. And yet, leaving the room and going back to the bedroom I shared with Jake, I realised that I actually quite liked her. Well, not ‘liked,’ as such; maybe ‘admired’ was a better word. If ever there was going to be a revolution, she was going to be the one to lead it. I knew that much. And I was planning on staying wherever the revolution was taking place, even if that meant putting up with a somewhat moody and unpredictable woman.

I could see that Jake wasn’t so happy.

‘She’s crazy,’ he insisted, dumping his jacket on the end of his bed. To be fair, I didn’t exactly argue.

Jake left the room shortly after, leaving me alone to ponder my thoughts. Sure, Hurricane was a little...eccentric, but being normal never got anyone very far, did it? And Arjan seemed like a nice guy. And Amy and Casper had been pretty good to me ever since I’d arrived. I could get along with them if I had to. Whether they would get along with each other or not was another matter.

Walking back down the corridor ten minutes later, I found Jake in a room full of computers. To be honest, he was probably thinking the same thing as I was.

‘Nuremberg,’ he mused, confirming that thought.

‘How far away is it?’ I asked.

‘Few hours’ drive,’ he said vaguely. ‘The distance certainly isn’t the problem. What matters is what we do when we get there.’ We both knew that the only thing more important than inciting an uprising was the need to rescue Tim and Rina. If nothing else, it was the simple idea that we were only here because of their sacrifices. The Soulless had been running towards us, and if Tim hadn’t distracted them, we would be the ones currently behind bars, and they would be here; free people still. In fact, without them, Jake would be facing the Operation, to put things simply. And I would be on my way to Germany all alone. If I had been able to live with the guilt long enough to get on the plane.

‘Can you get a picture of the actual Institution itself?’ I asked.

‘I can search for one on the internet,’ Jake said, ‘but if you want an actual CCTV version, I’ll have to hack the network. And that’s not something I’ve really had any practice with.’

‘Good thing we’ve got Carl then,’ I said.


‘You know,’ another thought occurred to me, ‘we could just ask Sonja. She’s the one who’s actually been there.’

Jake laughed resentfully. ‘I’m not sure she would be too happy to be disturbed.’

‘You don’t like her.’

‘She’s crazy!’ he insisted. ‘I told you already.’

‘Who’s crazy?’ Carl appeared in the doorway from out of nowhere, walking into the room.

‘No one,’ Jake and I said simultaneously, both of us looking almost comically shifty. Carl just laughed at our awful cover-up.

‘Carl,’ I began, changing the subject, ‘have you ever been to Nuremberg?’

‘What, the Institution?’ he asked.


‘Nope, thank god.’

‘Would you be able to hack in to the surveillance cameras around the Institution, d’you reckon?’ I asked.

‘Been there, done that,’ he said lightly, laughing. ‘Surveillance cameras are my speciality.’


After Hurricane had helped me sort out my room, we went to get lunch. By common consent, neither of us spoke very much. I asked a few questions about the base, and she answered them all in a perfectly civil manner, but we didn’t ever go beyond that.

I could feel it though; something unspoken between us. It was omnipresent. It wouldn’t go away. And as we finished lunch and Hurricane walked back towards the sleeping area, I followed her. Not to go to my room, but to talk to her in a place where we could be alone again. After all this time as just the two of us, to be so constantly surrounded by other people felt wrong.

She didn’t notice that I was planning on staying with her until she stepped into her room and I waited in the doorway.

‘Lost your way already?’ she smirked. ‘You’re room’s down there.’ She gestured left.

‘No, I...wanted to talk to you.’

I could see she didn’t like it, and the tiny sadistic part of my mind liked that a bit too much. I should get a chance to make her feel uncomfortable, just like she had done to me.

‘Well come in then,’ she said stiffly. I pushed the door shut behind me as I stepped inside.

Her room was...not what I had expected. For starters, it was surprisingly plain. All the rooms I had walked past today had had walls covered in graffiti or posters or all manner of artwork. But Hurricane’s walls were fairly simple. There was a large picture up on the wall; an intriguing photograph of a city at night. I could see by the artistic style, though, that it had to be something she’d got from the Vaults. The rest of her room was equally simple—she had a cream coloured quilt with patterns on it, and basic furniture. A few clothes were scattered across the room, including the leather jacket which she often wore, which was thrown across the end of her bed, and a handgun looked ridiculously out of place on the bedside table along with a clock and a lamp and a few books.

Perhaps this was more proof of the emotions she liked to hide away. Most people seemed to write their thoughts on the wall or their wardrobe, or put up posters that showed off their personality, but she kept hers hidden well beneath the surface. To the untrained eye, Sonja Vilkas was a completely ordinary girl.

But my eyes were no longer untrained. They had been open for far too long. And I could see beyond this simple, emotionless girl who had nothing to love, nothing to fear and nothing to lose.

‘Well?’ she prompted.

‘You kissed me.’ I hadn’t meant it to come out so soon, but my patience was running out.

Hurricane didn’t answer, moving across the room, not meeting my eye as she picked up her jacket, opened the wardrobe and hung it up in amongst her rather eccentric clothes.


That made her look up.

‘I did,’ she responded, giving nothing away. She walked back to the bed and picked up a t-shirt that was strewn across the quilt.

I was growing exasperated, but I dared not show it. ‘Why?’ I asked.

This one took her even longer to answer. I could see in her eyes that she did not like it so much.

‘Why not?’ she eventually responded infuriatingly. This led to another silence, and her words hung in the air.

‘Hurricane—‘ the change in my tone must have been obvious, because this time she looked up and stopped her tidying. ‘You don’t pick and choose when to love someone. You either love them, or you don’t. And on that night, you loved me. You wouldn’t have come back for me if you didn’t.’

Her face hardened at this. ‘I came back because I couldn’t stand to have another dead person on my conscience,’ she said. ‘That was not love; that was remorse.’

‘Then why the kiss?’ I challenged, bitterness poisoning my voice. ‘Why did you tell me all your secrets? Why were you so happy for me to come back here with you?’

Hurricane’s response was surprising, not least because it was the closest she had really come to admitting that there may have, at some point, been something between the two of us.

‘Do you love me, Arjan?’

‘What?’ I replied. ‘We’re not talking about that!’

‘Do you?’

There was a long silence in which I formulated my response.

‘I...don’t know,’ I finally admitted in a whisper.

She took one step closer to me, and her voice was hushed when she spoke.

‘So if you don’t know, then how do you expect me to have a clue?’ she asked, raising her eyebrows ever so slightly.

And that was that. I was beaten.
♠ ♠ ♠
Please comment! :D