Awakening: The ALPHA Generation

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Chapter 57

A void stretches in front of me. My mind is a fog.

Consciousness returns slowly at first, a small trickle. Then, all at once, it comes gushing back.

I wake up with a sharp, panicked gasp. My heartbeat doubles instantly. I’m lying face-up, with cold metal pressing against my back.

I cast a frantic glance around my surroundings. The air carries the pungent aroma of disinfectant, a scent that stings my throat when I breathe. The walls are tight and the same shade of white as the tiled floor. There’s a door across from me, also white. It’s almost impossible to distinguish it from the wall, but I can make out the outline.

It’s dead silent. There are no muffled footsteps or voices from the other side of the door. Just quiet.

I raise a hand to rub my eyes, but my arm stops short. I look down and see a metal cuff clamped around my wrist. I shift myself, wincing at the pain as I realize that I’m laying on a metal bench, with my wrist cuffed to the wall.

…I’m in a Hub.

Suddenly, everything comes rushing back. I let out a strangled breath as the pain of memory returns.

Xander. Xander.

My best friend. The person I swore to protect. Dead.

I feel my heart breaking, shattering in my chest, and a dry sob ebbs in my throat. It’s all that comes. I can’t breathe, can’t wrap my head around what’s happened.

He can’t be gone. He can’t be. Xander is alive. Living. This is some sort of bad dream. I’m still at the colony, having a nightmare. He’s not dead. He’s not, he’s not.

But he is.

I watched him die. I saw the life leave his eyes.

And I saw my own brother pull the trigger.

Darren. He killed my best friend.

But he meant to kill me.

I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to keep myself together. But I can’t. I can’t.

Darren. A traitor, all along.

It hurts. It hurts more than anything I’ve ever experienced. More than Pamela leaving, more than Dad’s death. It feels as if a knife is wedged in my chest and is twisting, ripping, forcing itself deeper.

I shrink into a ball on my side. I lie there motionless, drowning in the grief, the anger, and the devastating hurt that sinks deeper and deeper.

I don’t know how much time passes. It could be hours. It could be minutes.

Then a muffled creak comes from the other side of the room - the door opening. I don’t move.

There’s the sound of a person’s footsteps and the door closing. They speak. The voice is cuttingly familiar.

“Hello, Nat.”

I force myself to sit up and meet Darren’s icy blue eyes. I can’t find any emotion in them. He stands with his hands behind his back, examining me.

My voice is hoarse when I speak.

“You killed him.”

My brother raises an eyebrow. “He jumped in the way.”

“You were going to kill me.”

“That’s true.”

I stare at him, looking into his eyes. “How could you?” It comes out as a trembling whisper.

“I’m a Redeemer, Nat. I pledged myself to their cause.”

Anger sparks within me. I jump from the bench, going as close as to him as my cuffed hand will allow. The chain tenses.

“You lied to me,” I spit. “To everyone. You made me trust you.”

“Oh, I didn’t make you trust me. You did that all on your own - you’ve always been naïve.”

I look away.

“For what it’s worth,” he says. “I didn’t mean to kill Xander then.”

I turn back to him, eyes flaring. “You meant to kill me! Your own sister!

“A Flawed.”

So that’s all he sees me as – Flawed. “We’re still family. Even if you think I’m-”

“Family means nothing, Nat. Not now.”

I stare at him. “What have they done to you?”

He laughs softly. “It’s not anything they’ve done. I’ve just chosen to accept reality. You should, too.”

Reality?” My muscles quiver with righteous anger. “What reality? That innocent people can be slaughtered because they’re not ‘perfect’?”

Darren shakes his head. “That the world needs to be purged. Cleansings are the only way to keep us safe. It’s how we find peace.”

“Cleansings are killings. Murders.”

He sighs quietly. “I wish you understood, Nat. It would make this so much easier for you.”

I take in a deep breath to keep the tears of anger back. “You’re…you’re not the person I thought you were.”


“So it was you all along? Leading the Truth into traps? Alerting the Redeemers?”

He nods.

“Warrick’s death?”


“What about Miller? He was a Redeemer – you killed your own, then.”

“It had to be done.”

I shake my head in disbelief. “It’s been you. All of this time, it’s been you! I can’t believe you…I can’t believe you deceived me, this whole time. Your own flesh and blood.”

“You’re clearly Flawed,” he says, as if that explains everything. “I didn’t believe it at first, but now it’s obvious. You hacked into ALPHA’s network. You rebelled against the Redeemers. It doesn’t matter if we’re related – my job is to exterminate people like you.”

“You’re…you’re a monster.” It’s all I can manage to say.

“I’m a Redeemer.”

I turn my eyes away, “I’m in the Hub, aren’t I?” I ask.

“You are.”

“And the others?”


“All of them?” Gray, Carper. All the men and women who charged into battle with me. Even Ivan.

Ivan. So he was never the traitor - another thing I was wrong about.

“Not all. Carper and Gray are still alive, along with a few from Group A. There needs to be at least one proper Cleansing to completely purge you. As for those at Pamela’s colony, they’ll be dead soon.”


“I’ve told my superiors about the colony. It will be bombed before sunset.”

Elle. Pamela.

“No! You can’t do that!”

“Worry about yourself - you only have a few hours left.”

I go still. He can’t mean…

His next words confirm it. “You’ll be Cleansed like the others.”

I fall onto the bench, stunned. This isn’t real. It can’t be.

“I’ve asked that they use a gassing chamber,” Darren goes on. “It will be painless, but the room will be tight.” He watches me, waiting for a reaction. “And dark.”

Panic bursts in my chest. “You’re…you’re evil.” I frantically look up at him. I long to find remorse, a hint of kindness, a crack in the icy walls. But I find nothing.

My panic rises to rage. It bubbles in me, reaching a boiling point.

“It’s the only option,” he tells me. “You’re Flawed – it has to be done.” He pauses, as mulling over his next thought. “Xander was Flawed, too,” he says slowly. “The world is a better place with him dead.”

That comment is the final blow, the thing that breaks my control. I lunge at him, wanting to hurt him, to make him bleed. The cuff on my wrist jerks me backwards, snapping me towards the bench. I pull at it, cursing at him, trying to break free. He just watches me with an amused expression.

I fall back, breathing hard. Rage and hurt burn through my veins.

“Are you done?” he asks.

“I’ll kill you,” I hiss, my eyes boring into his. “I swear, I’ll kill you.”

“You won’t have the chance to.” He says it coolly. Before I can respond, he steps back and crosses the room. He opens the door.

He looks over at me one last time. His gaze is cold and unfeeling.

“Goodbye, Nat.”

He leaves, sealing the door behind him.

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