+ Chapter Two
Megan woke up gasping for air. She looked around at her surroundings and blinked a few times in confusion.
This wasn’t my house, she thought. Where was I?
Megan looked around taking the room in full. The room was modern, with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. The bed was large with white sheets, chrome, and mirrored bed stands and accent furniture next to white couches and black and grey chairs with light grey walls. It looked like she was in a penthouse apartment, overlooking the city.
She started to try to remember what happened last, how she could have ended up here and remembered the hospital, and felt a sense of panic. Then she looked out the window at the busy city in the darkness of the night. The lights from the buildings reflect like jewels against the metal and glass. She didn’t know where she was but she felt safer there than at the hospital.
There was a door in front of the bed that Megan assumed led to a bathroom and another few doors on the other side of the room that she thought must have been closets. Suddenly the door in front of the bed slammed open and Liam ran in looking panicked, scared, and angry. He yelled, “Jesus Christ are you alright? Where the hell is your phone? I’ve been calling you for hours Megan. Why didn’t you pick up?”
Megan looked at him confused then shook her head at his anger. She had no idea what happened to her, but she didn’t want him to be mad either. Since things had changed, she had become afraid of men. Any words laced in anger made her feel anxious, and fearful, even coming from a man she loved and trusted with her life. She looked down, her hands fidgeting with the sheets. Megan said “I don’t know .. I don’t remember what happened to me last... let alone where I am now. I just... I remember the hospital... and then I ... the doctor gave me a shot… and I texted you... I don’t remember.”
Megan looked up at Liam and saw that he was more afraid than mad. That fear must have made him mad. He must have been afraid when she didn’t answer. It looked like he was trying not to say that he was afraid. Realizing that he was afraid, made Megan afraid. She felt her blood grow cold. He wasn’t easy to scare. And It didn’t look like he was scared about her not picking up… or being missing… but there was something more. On top of his fear, she still had no clue where they were. That escalated her fear tenfold.
Something must have happened. they must have done something… something wrong.
Megan looked down in thought trying to think of anything they could have done wrong. Liam had driven her to the women’s hospital. He did not go in. He did not wait in the parking lot. Maybe it wasn’t from today?
She remembered the doctor being so stressed and panicked. The doctor knew something. That behavior had to be related. Liam had made his way over to the side of the bed while Megan was deep in thought. He gently grabbed her hand and squeezed it. She looked up at him in fear and panic. He said, “it’s going to be fine.“
Megan looked up at Liam. She wanted to dive into his chocolate brown eyes. Wanted him to hold her tightly in his strong arms and just disappear. Instead, she asked, “Where are we?”
He said “You were put in a holding house... In the second fraction. They said you were infected with something that could harm others or spread so they wanted to keep you in quarantine until they knew exactly what was wrong with you or until you get better.”
Megan looked at him in confusion “That doesn’t make sense. I….I swear it was just a sinus infection…. Wait how did we get into the second fraction? How is that possible?”
Liam shook his head and said, “I know as much as you do. I was surprised when they let me in the gates to come to find you… honestly, that is what throws me off the most.” Liam leaned over the bed to her and kissed her on the forehead. He said “It’s going to be fine. Whatever is going on here.... we will figure it out. You should rest.”
Megan wanted to protest. She wanted to figure this out. She wanted to ask him more questions… what he knew….. Why he was so afraid. But, she was tired. Megan looked at him through heavy eyes. He nodded as if he knew she was asking him if it was ok. “He said I’ll be here.” She nodded, closing her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
A laugh. A booming laugh that shook the room awoke Megan. She sat up, looking around the suite looking for the owner of the laugh and saw no one but Liam. He was standing off to the side near a couch, looking up at the ceiling in confusion. Then he looked at Megan in concern. As if he knew something bad was about to happen. Megan’s heart rate started to accelerate at the almost desperate look he was giving her. She looked around trying to figure out what danger she was in and how she could defend herself.
The voice stopped laughing and said, “I’ve let you in here. You’ve seen she’s fine. Now it’s time for business. I will not wait any longer. You have gone under the radar for long enough. You do not belong in the 4th fraction. And as so, you will be sentenced to be the new governor of the Sorrows under me.”
Liam yelled, “How does that make any sense? What do you mean I have been under the radar for too long? What is going on?”
The voice said, “Don’t play coy Rodríguez. You know exactly what I am talking about. We have been having this discussion for months. You know you don’t belong in the fourth fraction. You never did. And since you had been ignoring my calls, I am not going to mess around with you anymore. You will do as I say.”
Megan looked at Liam in confusion.
What did this all-mighty voice mean by that? Where was this voice coming from? And why did Liam already know him?
As they talked the confusion grew. She looked at Liam as if trying to get some sort of explanation but he didn’t look her way. He continued to yell out into the room, staring at the wall in front of them or the ceiling.
Liam said “I can’t put her in that position there. Are you kidding? She would be miserable and on top of that, they would go after her. She would never be safe. If there is a debt to pay, let me pay it. Leave her out of this.”
The voice chuckled and said “She’s one of the reasons you slipped by. With her income and status from before, and where you were living… that’s the only reason why you have come this far. She is equally responsible for you being in the wrong fraction.”
Liam yelled “How is she responsible for living how she has her whole life? I’m the one that doesn’t belong. Not her.”
The voice said “You both lied. You were to get married. You were engaged. That was one of the reasons you were passed in. But alas, instead she is dating someone lower than her class. Lower than her fraction. Which is a crime punishable by death. Would you rather die?”
Megan started to panic. she didn’t know how this happened.
What had led to this…
But, she couldn’t help but think all that good luck Liam had been getting had something to do with it. His luck had run out. He had become enough of a well-known figure in the 4th fragment that the dynasty fragment took notice. And now they were going to die for it. Megan’s head started to spin from the confusion of it all. And that’s when she noticed, she didn’t have any symptoms of being sick anymore. She was just really tired. No runny nose. No dizziness, headache, cough, sore throat. Nothing related to what she went to the hospital with.
This had to be a big elaborate dream.
Liam said “The Sorrows is a death wish. There has to be another solution. We have added to the community. We have earned our place. I decline. We decline your offer.”
Liam knew he was playing with fire. He knew he shouldn’t argue with whoever was on the other side of this voice. But if he could get Megan out of any punishment that he deserved for living in the wrong fragment for so long, he would take it. He just prayed it worked.
The voice said “Ah, that is not an option to decline. I can give you another option though, you can rule separately. In different fragments but will never see each other again.”
Liam ran his hand through his hair and said “Where would you put her?”
He said “In The Sorrows, I’d put you in Palm Valley. That is the 8th fragment. I believe your family resides there.”
Liam hesitated, knowing his family was there was tempting… but Megan would still be sent to The Sorrows. He wasn’t going to let that happen. In that trade, he would be getting the better half of the bargain by a long shot. He shook his head and said “No.”
The voice said “Well let’s see you want to try what it might be like if you didn’t have to worry about her? I mean wasn’t that the point of the changes we made? Not having to get involved with women beyond our pleasure? Let’s try something, shall we? Megan!”
Megan looked at Liam, panicked, and confused. He didn’t know what to tell her. He didn’t know how to protect her either because he had no idea what this man was about to do. He started to walk over to her, thinking that maybe if he was close, whatever was about to happen he could at least try to protect her from it. As he got closer a look of excruciating pain crossed her face. Her forehead creased in confusion. She started to gasp for air. She grabbed for her chest, desperately.
Liam yelled, “Stop!”
Megan fell, lifelessly, eyes wide open on to the bed as if she was a rag doll. Liam ran to the bed and gathered her into his arms, desperately looking for a sign of life. He kept looking down at her, running his hands over her, muttering her name over and over hoping for a response.
“Megan… Megan… no… no… no!”
He held her lifeless body close to his chest. Her limbs hanging loosely from his grasp. Her eyes staring up at nothing. Not blinking. No life to be found. Liam’s heart broke. He was panicking. He had to get her back.
She couldn’t be dead. She couldn’t be.
The wave of sadness hit him like a brick.
Liam looked up at the ceiling and yelled, “No! Bring her back you fuck!”
The voice said “So? You will rule The Sorrows”
Liam was desperate. At that point, he didn’t care where they were as long as Megan was alive. This was all his fault. He had to get her back. He wasn’t going to lose her. He said, “if you bring her back.”
The voice said “Perfect” It sounded as if the man snapped his fingers. Suddenly, Megan inhaled sharply and blinked, looking up at Liam in panic. She blinked again and then her head bobbed as if she was tired. She curled her head into his chest and seemed to pass out. Liam held her tightly to him, watching her chest rise and fall with tears in his eyes.
He muttered to the voice, “You can’t just kill people. We are not toys! We are human beings! You can’t… you can’t play with our lives so freely!”
The voice laughed and said, “I can do whatever the hell I want. If I want to kill her, I will. When I get bored with you, I’ll do the same.”
Liam snarled, “You will regret this.”
The voice laughed again and said “I’d like to see you try to make me regret a damn thing. You leave for The Sorrows in two days. Make the most of your last days in the 4th fragment!” and then a high pitched sound went off and the room was silent.
When Megan woke up, the room was dark except for the lights coming in from the city outside the window. She looked around the room in confusion and spotted Liam. He was sitting on a chair in the corner of the room between the wall and the massive window. He was dressed nicely in navy suit pants, a button-up white shirt that had the top few buttons undone to reveal his strong chest. He had the sleeves rolled up to his elbows showing off his toned caramel forearms. His Jet black short hair was slicked back as if he had been continuously running his fingers through it. He was hunched over, his elbows on his knees. He had a beer bottle hanging from his hand.
He looked really mad. Megan didn’t know whether to ask him what was wrong or just leave him be, so instead, she hesitantly called out his name. He said “I’m here”
She said, “I had a terrible dream... this… this...mad man killed me and… and.. told us to live in The Sorrows.”
Liam chuckled as if he was in disbelief and said, “Wasn’t a dream. That’s what happened”
She looked at him in fear. The weight of his words pushing on her body like a truckload of bricks. Her stomach dropped. She felt the blood start to drain from her body. He had to be joking.
Megan couldn’t wrap her mind around it… she stuttered, “H...how… no that...that’s not… possible… that’s… he just… you cant .. just… how ... did he… he killed me… how?... and The Sorrows? I… I don’t understand.”
Liam just shook his head as if he was beside himself and took a drink out of the glass bottle in his hands.
The Sorrows were the bottom of all the fractions. The abandoned people. It was poverty at the highest level. There were gangs and riots. Deaths everywhere. if you were put in the sorrows you were stuck there for life. and so would your children and their children. The people were so outcasted, they couldn’t even sell their goods across the walls. The hive’s food traveled downstream. By the time it got to the Sorrows, there was hardly anything left. And if they starved, the people in the dynasty didn’t care. They tortured them. The fraction system treated dirt better than they treated the people cursed to the sorrows. She had heard rumors of people not having any access to medical attention dieing in the streets. About people killing off pets for food.
The last few people that had been assigned to The Sorrows as the governor had been killed off by rebellions. The last one, a gang had kidnapped the wife and the children of the governor and had held them at ransom. The governor begged the government to give them what they wanted for his family, but they shrugged and ignored his pleas. Eventually, the gang brutally killed them. This did not bother the people at the top. They would just replace them. recruit new leaders. They would get killed off and they would do it again. The people who lived in the sorrows blamed the governors and their families for their misery when they were more like the messenger. They did not live as the people there did. They had a big fancy property with guards and good food and the newest technology. While the people there suffered. The people felt like it was a slap in the face to them, salt in the wound so to say, and made that known in the way they would kill off the governing power and their family.
Megan’s fear grew as her thoughts digested what Liam had said. As she started to get her thoughts in order, her gaze at Liam got more panicked. “But why us? What did we do?” Liam shrugged and took a drink of the beer he was holding. “What did you do?”
Liam said “Nothing, why would that be your first thought? That’s, just stupid.”
Megan said, “There has to be a reason… there has to be a reason why they suddenly want you out of the fourth fragment.” Liam stood up and started walking around the room mumbling. She muttered under her breath “I don’t understand”
Liam yelled angrily, “I don’t know, what do you want me to say? Do you want me to say that if I wasn’t with you I wouldn’t already be there? Because I’m not going to say that. That’s not fucking true. Maybe they think I understand the people there, who knows. But what probably happened is they saw an opportunity and picked us randomly.” He flopped down on another couch not the other side of the room facing a tv and took another drink.
Megan said quietly, “It’s a death sentence.”
Liam shook his head and muttered, “No shit”.
The room remained quiet after that for a while. They both sat there on opposite sides of the room, silently thinking. Megan was the first to break the silence, she said “Who was that man? Who told us we had to go there?”
Liam said “I don’t know. He has been calling me for a few weeks. He was the one that told me you were here……. The hospital didn’t even know where you were. They just gave me his number.”
Megan put her hand on her head feeling a headache coming. She muttered, “We were targeted. I doubt I’m even actually sick…… The doctor must have drugged me….. Has he been asking you to go there this whole time?”
He said “No, he was asking me to go to a different segment but didn’t tell me which one. I told him no. He kept calling”
Liam sighed and looked up at the ceiling and said, “Uhh… for about three weeks. Since the day after we went to that gala you were all excited about.”
Megan thought about it and muttered to herself, “Maybe you met him there…”
Liam heard her and said “I seriously doubt it. I think I would have remembered a douche bag trying to send us to our deaths.”
“And he never gave you a name when he was calling you?” Megan thought about it… maybe Liam didn’t remember the man. But she had tabs on most of the people at these events. She might know the man if Liam knew his name.
Liam didn’t answer. Megan repeated herself. He yelled “No, he did not give me his name. How is this helping?”
Megan said “I don’t know. I am just trying to figure out what’s happening…. maybe there’s a way out.”
Liam said “No way out. We don’t have a choice. He has too much power.”