Inspired by Dystopia Rising and the wonderful characters in Hayvn. A scene from “The Adventures of Emily and Jeanie: A Trip to the Beach.” Not exactly my best writing, but I enjoyed writing it and I enjoyed having Jeanie try to work through her actions and finally start looking at how she behaves and treats people. Hope you all like it. Written a long while ago on Facebook (April 4, 2012)
There are two Carthage units outside of town.
Her brown eyes scanned the darkness of the forest around her as she walked.
Two Carthage Units.
She shivered and pulled her worn out blue back pack off her shoulders. Quickly unzipping the bag, she pulled out the green jacket and slipped her arms into the sleeves before returning the bag to her shoulder. With a deep breath she continued walking on the worn dirt road outside of town.
Carthage units outside of town.
Eyes darted from tree to tree, peering through the darkness. Each step thundered loudly, drowning out the sounds of crickets and forest animals. But, the blackness did not change. The only red glow that she could see, was her own.
Outside of town.
She paused and took a deep breath. There was silence. Absolute silence. No crickets. No zeds. No raiders. Nothing. Complete silence, aside from the quick in and out of breathing.
Something grabbed her shoulder. The Iron Slave spun around quickly and her eyes widened. She shook her head as she stared up into the faces of the two Carthage units. They grinned evilly as they each took an arm and dragged her toward their fifth reich traveling companion, dropping her at his feet.
“We caught one. Looks like another runaway.”
Jeanie shook and dropped her eyes to the ground. Her gaze darted from rock to rock and her breath came in quick, short bursts. Her gaze caught the man crouching down to her level and his gloved hand raised her face so their gazes could meet, revealing the familiar face of 731, Carthage himself.
“I have always been good at completing my mission,” the familiar Iron smiled. “A malfunction, like yourself, cannot hide from me for too long.”
Jeanie screamed and sat up quick on the bed where she had been sleeping. She panted as she looked around the room. The walls were patched up wood with various warning signs hanging on the walls. “Warning: Radiation Exposure” hung next to the bed where she slept. Her eyes darted to the other side of the room where Emily sat at a small table. There was a candle on the table and an old magazine in her hand. She was staring over at Jeanie, her eyebrows raised.
Jeanie nodded and ran her hands through her hair. “Yeah. Bad dream.” She reached down to her bag on the floor and grabbed a piece of string to tie her hair back with. “What you looking at?”
“Some old world stuff. Found it on a dig awhile back. I’m amazed it lasted so long. But I can’t make sense of some of what I’m reading here.”
Jeanie slid out of the bed and walked over to Emily. “Maybe I can help? What’s confusing you?”
“This! I just..” Emily shook her head. “I’ve seen a few people wearing them here. Then there are pictures of people wearing them back before the fall.” Emily handed Jeanie the magazine and pointed to the picture. A young woman was at, what Jeanie could only assume was an ocean since the water stretched out til the sky in the picture. The woman wore barely anything. Just a small scrap of fabric tied around her bottom and another around her chest. “What is the point of this?”
Jeanie’s eyebrows raised looking at the picture. “Um… So you don’t get your clothes wet? But then, that doesn’t make any sense because she’s still wearing something. If you don’t want your clothes wet, you just don’t wear any. It gets cold but, if that’s what you want…” Jeanie shrugged.
“See what I mean? Except some people still wear them here and will just sit outside in a chair or lay on the ground in it. There is no point to this! Okay, maybe they are just trying to follow some pre-fall tradition or something, but.. but… What is the point of this? Really? Why would anyone wear this kind of thing?”
Jeanie shrugged again. “I don’t know.”
“Sometimes I wonder about the people back then.” Emily sighed and placed the magazine on the table. “What was your dream about?”
“Before I left Hayvn, Carthage told me that there were two units outside of town but that he would try and save me if anything happened. In my dream, I was walking to meet up with you… And the two Carthage units got me. They brought me to the Nazi they were travelling with, except it wasn’t a Nazi it was Carthage. As in, the one that lives in Hayvn and thinks the whole town owns him.”
Emily’s eyebrows raised. “Carthage was a Nazi?”
“Yeah. It was weird. Especially because, Carthage isn’t a Nazi. Heck, I don’t think any Nazi’s would ever let an Iron actually be one of them. They’re like Pure Bloods like that. Stupid ‘look at me, I’m better than you’ Pure Bloods. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were actually Pure Bloods.”
Emily sighed. “About that… We need to talk.”
“Why do you hate Pure Bloods so much?”
“That’s easy. Because they are manipulative jerk wads who think nothing of themselves and how great they are and how everyone in the world should worship them for being great even though they really just are power hungry ass hats who don’t want to admit how weak they actually are.”
Emily groaned. “You do realize that when you say stuff like that, it’s kinda mean, right?”
“So? It’s not like they’ve done anything nicer for any of us.”
“What about Sofi? Do you realize you made her cry?”
“Who cares? It’s not like she did anything unless it got her something in return. Besides, she’s not a problem anymore.”
Emily’s eyebrows scrunched together. “And why not?”
“Cause she died last month. Now I don’t have to deal with her anymore.”
Emily’s eyes went wide. They darted across the table a few times before she got up and shakily went to the door. “I… I’m gonna get some fresh air. I’ll be back.” She opened the door, slipped outside, and shut the door quick behind her.
Jeanie shrugged and looked around the room a little bit. She saw a book on the mantle over the fireplace. She carefully pulled it down and looked at the cover. It was called The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. Jeanie shrugged and put it back. She knew that Darwin was important. Disco had said so. But right now, she was not in the mood to read. She looked around the small room of the church before sitting down in Emily’s chair and placing her chin in her hands.
Why was she having this dream? She clearly remembered the conversation that she had with Carthage. He was just as afraid of the other units as she was. Why then did she picture him as the Nazi? Besides, he was very clearly not a Nazi. Okay, so he spoke with the same funny accent. And he was a Carthage unit, which worked with Nazis. But he was different. He drank hooch. He didn’t want to go back. That was the big thing. The not wanting. Besides, he had said he wanted to save Jeanie and the other Irons in town. That was like, the most anti-Nazi thing ever.
Jeanie shook her head and leaned back in the seat, staring up at the ceiling. Besides, it was clear Carthage didn’t want to hurt her. He had taken off every single weapon he had and left it at the bar for their conversation. He even took off the Iron Works recording device thingy. Not to mention the fact that every time they passed he would put his hands up for some reason. Though, with his hands up they were very clearly no where near his weapons. Except for the one on his wrist. But shooting that into the sky is dumb and Carthage is definitely not dumb.
Jeanie thought back on all the times that she had ever interacted with Carthage. In fact, he had never really done anything. Ever. The only times that she had ever seen him take out a weapon to use was when zeds or raiders were around. Even when they were in the casino together, he had never ever done anything. Heck, he even stayed on the opposite side of the room.
He never did anything to Jeanie ever.
Jeanie groaned and closed her eyes. “Great. Just great. I am a horrible person.”
“No, you’re not,” Emily answered as the door opened up to the room.
“Yes I am. I treated Carthage like crap. And he never ever did anything ever.”
“Wait, is this about your dream?”
Jeanie opened her eyes and looked over at Emily. Despite the red glow that surrounded the Iron, Jeanie could still see that her friend’s eyes were red. Though, Jeanie was not surprised. It was really windy outside. “Sorta. I was trying to understand the dream… which I don’t… but it got me thinking about Carthage and how much I’ve kinda been a douche bag to him.”
Jeanie sighed and rolled her eyes. “Every time I was around Carthage I got freaked out by him and ended up being really mean and nasty. Even though he never pulled out his weapon and never did anything. In fact, he promised to protect me and help me stay free. I mean, yeah, he still says things I don’t like, like how I’m a malfunction and I hate when he does that. But at the same time, he never actually did anything mean and the stuff that he says I guess is kinda like me in that it’s how he knows things. Just like me when people start talking about breeding in confusing ways. I get things my way. He gets things his way. But he never did anything… And I was a jerk.”
Emily paused a moment before walking over and taking a seat on the table. “Yeah, it kinda sounds like you were.”
“I am a horrible person. No one believes it. But it’s true.”
“No it’s not. Like you said, you get things your way. Doesn’t mean you’re bad.”
“But it’s not the first time I was horrible! I made Oddfellow cry! And he’s really nice to me! He gave me my knuckles and I made him cry! See, I’m horrible!”
“Um… Why did you make him cry?”
“I didn’t mean to! Roland was saying bad things about him and it upset me so I told him that I still cared about him even if others didn’t and then he cried. And Blackgrass said I didn’t do anything wrong, but I made him cry and I didn’t want to.”
“I’m not sure who Blackgrass is, but he’s right. You’re not horrible. You weren’t trying to upset him. And when it comes to Carthage, at least you know what is wrong and now you can fix it. You can apologize to him. And then you can try to stop being a jerk. No matter who the person is.”
“Pure Bloods included.”
“Why? They’re always shit heads.”
Emily sighed. “No. No they’re not. And you seriously need to stop. You know you made more than just Oddfellow cry right?”
“You made Sofi cry.”
“Jeanie, she wanted to be your friend! She tried to help you. She was hurt because she thought you hated her.”
“She’s a Pure Blood. I just wanted her to leave me alone. But she wouldn’t. She always wanted to take over for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“When Jigsaw decided I was gonna play his game…”
“Wait, Jigsaw?” Emily’s eyes were wide.
“Yeah, he wanted to play a game with me, which freaked everyone out. But he was a stupid coward and chickened out. Anyway, Sofi freaked out about it too. She kept writing me letters. She wanted me to have guards. She wanted me to not go anywhere alone. I’m sorry, but I hate guards. So I said no. I said leave me alone and she wouldn’t stop.”
“According to Sofi, you said some really mean things to her.”
“She wouldn’t leave me alone. Besides, that was it. I never did anything to her. I mean, the town thinks I killed her the first time she died. But I totally didn’t! I swear!”
“Wait what?!?” Emily slid off the table, her eyes were wide and her face white. “You did what?”
“No!” Jeanie stood up quick. “I didn’t do anything! I swear it! The Aezir did. They came and she wouldn’t enter the church building at all. I tried to hold the door open. I tried. But she ran away and they came to the door and I couldn’t keep it open. They would have killed us! I don’t want to go back to the gravemind ever again! I couldn’t keep it open. But I tried. It’s not my fault! Just because I don’t like her, doesn’t mean I’d kill her!”
Emily was shaking. She turned around quickly and took a deep breath. Her hands moved up to her face, but Jeanie couldn’t see what she was doing. There was a sniffle and a deep breath and Emily turned to face Jeanie. Her eyes were red again.
“Sofi tried to be your friend. She wanted to help you when Jigsaw was around. She wanted to protect you because she realized that you are still learning about everything. Instead you made her cry and…” Emily paused and quickly wiped her eye. She took a deep breath and shook her head. “Sofi couldn’t understand why you hated her so much. She never wanted to hurt you. Ever.”
Jeanie paused. “Emily, are you okay?”
Emily shook her head. “I just wish I had the chance to say goodbye to my friend. I… I will be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes…” Emily shook her head. “I’ll be back. I’m going for a walk.” Emily turned and once again quickly headed out the door. Jeanie heard a sniffle as her shaking friend shut the door, once again leaving Jeanie alone in the small building.
Jeanie sighed and sat down on the floor, leaning back against the table leg. Now Emily was upset. She closed her eyes and bounced the back of her head against the table leg. She made Oddfellow cry. She was mean to Carthage. And now she upset Emily. Jeanie couldn’t quite figure out why Emily was upset. Okay, that wasn’t entirely true. She couldn’t quite understand why Emily had cared for Sofi enough to call her friend. There had to be a reason. Jeanie just couldn’t find it. Maybe Emily would explain it when she got back from her walk. If not, she’d ask a few people in town. Doc Thomas or Medic might be able to explain it. They did a great job at explaining lots of things.
Besides, she didn’t want to be a horrible person anymore. Especially since the town thought she was even worse than she was. Jeanie sighed. If only Blackgrass were here. He had done a great job calming her down the last time she felt like this.