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Sunrise Beyond A Barricade

By Kelly Berry

Drama / Romance


Éponine watched in despair as Marius climbed atop the barricade; torch in one hand and a barrel of gunpowder in the other. He would kill himself let alone everybody else. It was the soldier with the gun that worried her the most and she scrambled up the broken furniture to try and save him. She grabbed onto the barrel of the musket that was pointed at her love. Éponine wrestled with all of her strength and shoved the musket back. As the gun fired the bullet flew past her. She cried out as she felt the burn of the gunpowder as it grazed her. Had she been shot? She wasn't sure but her chest was on fire. Éponine fell backwards down the barricade and her head hit the pavement. Her cap fell off and her auburn hair splayed across the cobblestones. Enjolras climbed back down the barricade with Marius' torch in hand still slightly shocked at his bold attempt at getting the soldiers to retreat. He spied the girl lying unconscious on the ground.

Marius caught up to him and Enjolras asked "What is she doing here?"

"Who?" Marius was confused.

"The girl that pines after you at all of our meetings. The barricade is no place for a woman." Enjolras pointed at her and Marius knelt down beside her.

"Éponine." He gathered her up in his arms but she did not stir. "She's hurt. Good God 'Ponine what are you doing here?" She was dressed as a boy; had she been here the whole time? Marius cursed himself for not noticing her earlier. He turned and looked at Enjolras. "I need to take her away from here."

"Be my guest Marius, where will you go? You cross to the other side of the barricade and you'll both be shot." Enjolras was not intending to be so cold; only realistic. He was a realist where Marius flitted about talking of love and other such silly banter.

Marius looked upwards towards the windows of the houses. They were all pulled closed. As soon as the fighting began so too did the women and children take cover. He carried her over to a door and began pounding on the wood ferociously. "Help me please Madame."

The barricade was quiet so she opened her window. "Monsieur no; we cannot. You can't bring the fighting in here." It was the sad truth. When the barricade would be inevitably overwhelmed she would have to keep the door closed to all of the frightened young men looking for refuge.

"I have a woman; she is hurt. Have mercy she doesn't belong here. Please take her." Marius had a way with words and the door opened. The lady hastily took Éponine from him and closed the door. As he handed her over an envelope fell from her coat pocket. Marius snatched it up as it fell. It was addressed to him. Had 'Ponine come back here to deliver his letter? He read it with interest and then went to find the resident street urchin who had made a family with the ABC.

"Gavroche, will you do something for me?"

Make them pay through the nose! Make them pay for every man!

The second wave had begun. Enjolras fought with valour but it was clear to him that they were all going to be slaughtered; just so long as they could take as many of the bastards down with them.

Let others rise to take our place...until the earth is free!

They couldn't fight the cannons. They tried, all of them. Marius especially but shrapnel was flying everywhere. Enjolras was trying to get the men to retreat but they were running everywhere. Terrified they tried to get the women to open their homes but none of them would. He knew their only chance was to barricade themselves back into the Cafe. He stood on the falling barricade and went to pull them back but a cannon blast went off behind him. He fell into the broken barricade; it knocked the very breath out of him. After a moment he realised he had wood and furniture crushing his lower back. He was half-buried. He tried to move, tried to get up. The metal taste of blood tinged his mouth. It was then he saw the soldiers walking through the courtyard with their musket's, running anyone left alive through with their bayonets. Enjolras knew he should rise, keep fighting, but he didn't want to die. Their was too much work left to do. The people needed help! The people...the people were supposed to come to their aid, the people were supposed to fight. And now his friends were dying all around. He closed his eyes tightly and held still; hoping the soldiers would think he had been crushed. It was a feasible plan. Blood caked his golden curls. He was also quite certain that a piece of wood was piercing through his side.

Enjolras lay there for hours; hoping to be spared, waiting for a chance to crawl out from the debris when everything became still. If he waited too long the women would come to retrieve the bodies of the dead and he would be found; thrown to the National Guard and executed for sure. He began to wriggle out from underneath what used to be an armchair when he saw a woman rush out from one of the houses. Enjolras became as still as the dead. It was the young woman that Pontmercy had carried from the barricade. She certainly looked better; they had cleaned and dressed her wounds as well as given her a loose workers dress to wear instead of the boys clothing she had been wearing previously. Éponine ran from body to body turning them over; clearly hunting for somebody.

"Marius..." She whispered as she turned over each lifeless body. Éponine heard voices coming from beyond the rubble and they were moving closer. She was afraid they were more soldiers and she didn't want to be found here. She checked every body she could but found no sign of the man she loved. When she couldn't risk another second she fled into the shadows.

Enjolras took the chance as soon as she had fled, he could also hear the approaching footsteps. He reached down to where he felt pain and sure enough there was something foreign through his body. He had left it up until now as it had stopped him from bleeding out. Enjolras took a few deep breaths and then gritted his teeth as he snapped the rotting wood in order to lift himself off of it. He wanted to cry out in pain but knew he would only attract attention. Adrenaline set in and with all of his remaining strength he crawled out from the barricade, collecting his pistol on the way which had fallen just out of reach. He stumbled towards the cafe hoping to find medical supplies. Instead he tripped over a body lying in the doorway still grasping his wine bottle. It was Grantaire. A tear slid down Enjolras' cheek.

Éponine wasn't sure where she was going. She couldn't go home; not back to her father after the disturbance she caused at Rue Plumet. Perhaps she could go and squat in Marius' flat until he made it back. If he made it back. She stumbled through the alleyways for a while trying to stay out of sight until she came across somebody she didn't want to see. It was Montparnasse; one of her father's men.

"Éponine is that you?" She heard him call. "It is you. Your old man is looking for you; wants to take to you with a knife he does." Montparnasse grabbed her around the waist. She winced as it was the same place where the bullet had grazed her.

"Don't touch me!" She tried to break away but his grip only tightened. "Give me a reason why I shouldn't gut you with my own." He ripped the front of her dress trying to expose her breast and as she struggled even more he lifted her skirts.

'Ponine refused to be raped. Not after everything else she had survived. She bit down hard on his skin; wherever she could reach. Montparnasse cursed and threw her forward. "You little Whore you'll get what's yours." He hit her across the side of the head sending her sprawling onto the pavement. He continued to beat her, kick her and hit her until she could not move. He swooped down and unbuckled his belt.

She cried as it happened and tried not to move. It was painful, she had never lay with anyone before and hoped it would be Marius who took her virginity. She could feel the blood as he thrust in and out. It didn't last long and as he shuddered in delight above her she writhed in disgust hoping he would die. When it was over he stood up and zipped his pants and was gone into the shadows.

Éponine rolled over into the gutter and began retching. She wasn't sure how long she lay there but she had no intention of moving anytime soon. It was then that she was found by the handsome student leader of the ABC. He recognised her almost immediately and the fact that she had been attacked in more ways than one.

"Mademoiselle." He picked her up as gentle as he could.

She struggled against him but was too weak to accomplish much. "Please Monsieur leave me be. I have nothing left now; let me die here."

"There has been enough needless death this night. Who has hurt you like this?"

"If you leave me there he might come back to finish the job."

"That is precisely what I am trying to avoid."

"You're Marius' friend." It was a statement; not a question.

"And you are his shadow." He tossed back.

"Have you never loved before Monsieur?"

"My love is reserved for Patria."

Éponine wasn't thinking clearly. "Did she break your heart too?"

Enjolras grinned in slight amusement at the thought that Patria was a woman of flesh and blood.

"She did tonight." He answered the young gamine in his arms.

How had the revolution gone so wrong?
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