tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Convenient Truth

The Convenient Truth

byPrincessErin©

I have a great respect for those that have done scientific research into climate change. I didn't mean for this story to become a 'doom and gloom' type prophesy but just the same I felt it was appropriate to write a story such as this for the Earth Day contest.

*

Avalon's heart was racing. She stumbled through the inky darkness, trying to find the opening. She knew this area, but the stinging in her leg reminded her that she was only half thinking. They had shot at her, like some wild animal. The tranquilizer had entered her blood stream before she ripped the tiny needle from her leg, but the minute amount of drugs had caused her brain to go fuzzy. Her nails were being ripped off as she slid along the sun-baked ground.

"It's here somewhere," she muttered.

She felt the ground pitch forward, and it was evident that she had reached the opening. She crawled on her hands and knees, feeling the metal scraps dig into her skin.

"I can't give up," she whispered.

Avalon tried to stand up but couldn't. Her legs were limp and heavy.

"Please," she panted, not to anyone in particular.

The fear consumed her whole body and she lay still on the burning hot ground. It had been almost forty-eight hours since she had last slept. It felt like much longer but one thing she had learned from Jake was to keep track of time. Mentally it felt like much longer and considering everything that had gone on in those last two days, it was a surprise she was still in one piece.

Avalon had experienced many horrifying things in the last four years of her life. She had lived almost four months in a cave, surviving on bugs and stray animals that had made their way into the same shelter. That time alone was perfect for Avalon, as her mind needed time to come to terms with her situation.

Now she was struggling. It was the emotional pain that hurt the most. Jake was gone. She had fallen for him. It was unexpected but she knew that people did crazy things in stressful situations. Avalon's stomach was doing flip-flops. She needed to rush but her body was not moving as fast as her mind. It frustrated her.

She had only once before entered the tunnels. It was with Jake. He had taught her so much. Things she needed to know for survival and things she wished she never needed to know. He had explained why travel was prohibited and why she had spent her first fourteen years of her life in the same house, with the same friends. It was mind boggling to realize that her whole life had been a lie. Her parents had paid a large sum of money to shield their only daughter from what was going on.

Jake had been both a lover and a friend. When she was alone he had been there for her. Now he was gone.

"Fuck," Avalon hissed.

She reached down and felt cold metal pieces digging into her leg. They were round and smooth. Her body's senses were in overload and every little touch, smell, and sound was overbearing. The tranquilizer was doing its job perfectly. Jake had explained that they were not allowed to kill anyone. Morality still existed in its twisted way. They would never kill her. If they did they would have to contact her family and bury her. It was easier to shoot a dart at her and assume she would die.

The needle had contained a potent combination of drugs. They affected her gross and fine motor control by making her mind fuzzy. Out in the exposed areas no one survived long. This just was to guarantee that she would die from exposure.

Avalon lay in the tunnel for minutes, trying to will the fear from her body. She imagined it as a puff of smoke, wafting away from her. She would not survive if she were scared. Her only hope was to recover in one of the small rooms that Jake had told her existed. Then she could decide on her next step.

The light that shone into her eyes was only a dim flashlight but she squinted in pain. The muted light felt so much brighter then it actually was. She pressed herself against the cold wall, hoping that she wouldn't be noticed.

"I've found her," a loud authoritative voice boomed. "She's right here."

Avalon closed her eyes and held her breath. She forced herself to go to her happy place. The wonderful place before she had become a rebel. She remembered every part of her past life as if it had just happened.

She had lived in Niagara Falls, Canada. Once a big tourist town, it had become an escape for those with enough money to live there. The Niagara Falls were gone, of course. The water levels had increased dramatically, flooding the falls to create one large flowing river. The hotels, the casinos, everything that had made the city its identity were gone. Years later when the water evaporated from the heat, the city had become once again a go to place, but for all the wrong reasons.

Avalon remembered her house. It was a small bungalow perched on top of a hill. There were four other houses, all the same. Each one had two bedrooms and one bathroom. She had lived there with her mother and father. She remembered the swing set she had in the backyard. Until she was fourteen her life had been perfect. She squinted harder, remembering those memories and images before her fifteenth birthday.

Her dad worked for the government. All her friends' dads worked for the government. She didn't realize it at the time but it was quite weird. Her mom stayed at home. All her friends' mothers were stay at home moms. They all went to the same school and the routine was the same every day. Avalon remembered the bonfires, roasting marshmallows, and playing outside until the wee hours of the morning. Those were the memories that helped her to live through what was going on right now.

"Get up."

Avalon's whole body shook. She felt the man's strong arms around her body and was surprised when he picked her up easily.

"Move."

Avalon at first thought he was talking to her but even though she kept her eyes closed, she sensed another person with them. Two sets of footsteps echoed in the passageway and soon she felt them walking deeper and deeper into the caverns. The air was cool. Something she was not used to feeling. The burning hot temperatures were the norm in this area and to suddenly feel cool air was a relief. She felt the man's heart beating fast against her chest. She didn't dare open her eyes. She knew what was going to happen. She had heard about it. Although the tunnels were a safe haven for runaways like herself, they were also filled with government officials, those who wanted everyone to align themselves with the new environmental policy.

There was suddenly a bright light. She opened her eyes and was shocked in what she saw. She could barely contain her emotions. Her brain, overloaded with senses, blacked out.

***

"It's her, isn't it?" Simon asked.

He had spent the last four hours staring at the young woman. Being new to the organization had been rough, but being told he was to watch her until she woke up was probably the only perk of his position.

"Yes it is," Andrew stated.

He was older then Simon and much more cynical. He had been around when the first wave of disaster had hit. He had survived and continued to survive. Simon was young, inexperienced, and clueless.

"Shouldn't we, like, help her?" Simon eagerly asked.

He was naïve enough to see Avalon as a beautiful black haired woman who was whimpering in her sleep, shivering as her body recovered from the tranquilizer. He didn't know the whole story and was pleading with Andrew to enlighten him.

Andrew ran his hands through his thick blond hair. Things had gone from bad to worse in such a short period of time. What was he to tell Simon? She was dangerous. Not in a physical way but mentally she knew way too much. The government was hunting her. She was a risk and he was putting his whole organization at risk simply by holding her here.

"She's fine. She's been up top for so long her body is not used to normal temperatures." Andrew smirked.

Thirty years ago the temperature in this tunnel would be considered hot, thirty degrees Celsius to be exact. Now with the earth's temperature hovering around fifty, this was cool, and definitely a drastic change. Andrew stared at the young woman and tried to figure out the best course of action. He prided himself on being a rebel, and helping those that had stood up to the government. It had been hard at first.

In 2040 when it was clear that a catastrophe was about to occur, no one wanted to listen to him. He was just crazy. He had gone around telling people that it was a conspiracy and that powerful companies were behind this so-called catastrophe. Had the world not been in turmoil, preparing itself for the massive water level increase, which would occur when Russia's secret nuclear plant would explode in a so-called accident. The heat from the explosion would melt the polar ice cap, creating a tsunami that would flood most of the northern hemisphere. No one wanted to know why the top officials from the G20 governments had conveniently decided that inland Australia was a good place for their next meeting. When the plant had exploded and the water levels rose, panic set it.

"Andrew?" Simon asked for the third time.

He had a slight fear of his boss, partly due to the circumstances of his job, but also because at times he wondered what was going on in his mind.

"Do you actually know who this is?" Andrew stated.

"No," Simon said quietly.

Andrew had a way of making Simon feel like an idiot. Simon knew that this was the girl they had been hunting for days. They could not go up top to find her so it was a waiting game until she came to them.

"This is Avalon Heart. Unfortunate name I know. When that oil refinery blew up she was there."

"The one in Sarnia?"

"Yes. Pay attention. They think she did it. If they catch her, she'll be killed. Immediately." Andrew's voice emphasized the last word. He took a deep breath and continued.

"If they found out we had her we'd all be dead. You only see part of the work we do. It's a fucking disaster up there. The government is letting private industry charge whatever they want for basic services. The initial flood took out forty percent of the world's population. Those that were left were at the mercy of the companies. Your parents were part of the problem, which is why you survived. Her parents were part of the solution and were killed."

"She's cute," Simon blurted out.

He wanted to know more about her, but being so close to a woman was having an effect on him in the wrong ways. Andrew rolled his eyes and walked away. Simon was smart but definitely needed to learn a few things.

***

Avalon's head was pounding as she began to wake up. Her whole body was sore but part of her was happy that she could finally feel her whole body. The light in the area was a dull flicker and she realized it was coming from a lantern. As she sat up she saw how dirty and beat up she was. Her arms were covered in black and red streaks. Her jeans were ripped and caked with mud. She examined her body, taking inventory of her injuries. She ran her hands down her muscular legs and felt only dampness. She didn't know if it was sweat or blood. She lifted her pant legs up and felt only small scratches and cuts. Her shirt stuck to her body like glue. She pressed on her ribs and winced as she figured her ribs were bruised. Falling down on the sun-baked ground had probably caused that. Her arms felt fine but she knew the red streak was from a large cut on her lower arm. She pressed down hard, feeling a hard piece of material. She pulled it out, seeing that it was a piece of glass. Her black hair was tangled. As she tried to smooth it out chunks of dirt fell from her hair. She ran her tongue along her teeth, thankful that the bloody taste in her mouth was from a missing tooth and not internal injuries.

She was a wreck. A shower and clean clothes were necessary; as if she tried to go up top she would be noticed right away. Avalon made a mental list of things she needed to do. The first was to make sure that she hadn't been hallucinating when she saw Andrew. She looked up and saw a young man, trembling as he gripped his gun that was tucked in his belt loop. He looked to be no more then her age, eighteen. He looked inexperienced and worried.

"Don't be scared," Simon said quietly.

He didn't want her to run away but at the same time he didn't want to scream out for Andrew like some idiot.

"Get Andrew," Avalon said hoarsely, realizing her throat was dry.

Simon nodded and rushed trough the tunnel to the makeshift office. He rushed in and then stopped. Andrew was in a deep conversation with a man who was large and tall and very muscular. He knew he should have knocked but he was too excited.

"We'll finish this conversation later, Rhys," Andrew stated, before walking down the hall.

He entered the small room and saw the black haired girl stretching out, examining herself. He knew he was making a bad decision for his company, but in the end it would be a good decision for her.

"We finally meet. I'm sorry we scared you in the tunnel. We had to move fast. You are one little dangerous girl, you know that right."

"It's not my fault I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Avalon began to blurt out her rage and anger but Andrew simply put his hand up, making her shut her mouth.

"The less I know the better. You'll be transported to a safe area with one of my friends. He's very trusted. There is a cabin near the Great Lakes. Settle down and wait."

Avalon opened her mouth to object but realized she had no voice. She had chosen to ask for Andrew's help. Not consciously, but her subconscious had searched for the most trusted help and Andrew had come to her rescue. It had been so shocking for her to see him. It had been almost ten years since she had seen him last and although the details were fuzzy, she remembered.

"I remember you," Avalon said quietly, standing up for the first time in a few days.

"I know you do. I remember you, as well. I never thought that my son's best friend would turn out to be such a powerful rebel," Andrew smirked.

"Where are we?" Avalon asked.

Andrew nodded and led her down the tunnel to the opening. Rhys was waiting in his office and would follow as they walked by.

"The subway. Toronto was smart enough to build the subway tunnels with a drainage system. When the water receded the tunnels returned to their original condition. Of course without a power grid the cars will never move but it's a perfect hideout for us."

Rhys heard voices and stepped out in time to see Andrew and Avalon walking towards the exit. From the outside he remained composed, but inside his heart was racing. Avalon was exactly the girl he had been looking for and now she was in front of him, but for all the wrong reasons.

"Rhys. This is Avalon. Let's go."

Andrew was all business as he rushed to the opening. As planned there was a car, a dark Ford with the proper license plates. Avalon was rushed quietly into the backseat and Rhys got into the driver's seat. Just before the car pulled away Andrew leaned over and whispered something to Avalon. He then handed Rhys the important documents and watched as the car took off. It wasn't until he was safely in the tunnel that he took a deep breath of air, calming himself. Simon was smart enough to give him some space, which was good. It had been a dangerous maneuver and he was glad that he was free of her. Avalon Heart was way too dangerous. Unfortunately so was Rhys.

***

Avalon stayed perfectly still and quiet the whole drive there. She tried to gather as much information about Rhys as possible. She trusted Andrew. She always did and so part of her knew she could trust Rhys. She knew nothing else about him and that made her nervous. The drive was long, over four hours. They never stopped once. The car went up hills and down. The speed was consistent except for a short time when Rhys slowed down, swearing quietly under his breath. Avalon could make the assumption that the road he had been on was being tracked and it was easier to go another route then stop and explain the purpose of his travel.

Travel was almost completely prohibited now. You worked where you lived. You lived where you worked. Cars were a luxury for the rich. Even then you needed documentation showing how and why you purchased the car and that you had the means to charge the car and keep it working. It was a complicated process that meant most people simply gave into the government's demands.

When the car finally stopped Avalon stayed perfectly still. She didn't know whether he had stopped to hide or whether he was being inspected. It wasn't until she heard the car door open that she breathed a sigh of relief.

"Not a word," Rhys said.

He picked her up and carried her quickly into the cabin. Avalon opened her eyes and saw they were in a clearing in the forest. A gravel road ended at the building.

The bungalow cabin was modest. The moment they were inside he dropped her and went back out. From the screen door window she watched him grab the blanket that was covering her as well as a briefcase of documents. He locked the car and then entered. "You need a shower. There are clothes your size in the bedroom on the left. Place your dirty clothes in this bag and I'll wash them." Rhys stood in front of her, waiting.

Avalon opened her mouth to speak but then decided against it. She really wanted a shower and the idea of being in clean clothes was more of a pull than asking him the hundred or so questions she needed to ask. The bathroom was tiny with a stand up shower, toilet, and sink. The towels were blue and looked brand new. She locked the door out of habit then undressed. She didn't even look at herself in the mirror. Denial was easier to deal with.

The water was hot and she watched the water flow down her body. It was colored red and brown and then finally clear. She washed her hair three times then scrubbed her body, cleansing the cuts and scraps. When she finally stepped out of the shower the room was filled with steam. She wrapped one towel around her head and the other around her body. She opened the door and saw that Rhys was sitting at the dining room table looking over the documents he had brought in.

Avalon stepped into the bedroom and closed the door. The room was small and had two single beds with a small night table between. The window overlooked the forest. She opened the dresser drawers and indeed found clothing that fit her. The items had been washed and folded neatly. She grabbed panties, a bra, pants and a t-shirt. She stopped and took a deep breath, enjoying the feel and smell of clean clothes.

When she stepped out of the room Rhys grabbed the bag of dirty clothes. He threw them into the washing machine and then sat back down at the table. Avalon had yet to say a word to him. She was fearful of his reaction. She wasn't going to admit it out loud but she was physically attracted to him. She had washed herself and lingered a little longer then needed on her pussy. Her stress level had decreased in those few minutes and although she hadn't had an orgasm, she knew that her body was reminding her of the fact it was a sexual being.

"I can cook you something if you can wait five minutes," Rhys said quietly, not looking up from his papers.

He sensed that Avalon was standing there, staring at him. He needed to act as professional as possible.

Avalon walked over and sat next to him. She glanced at the papers and realized her name was written all over them. She wanted to ask but didn't. Instead she decided to finally thank her rescuer.

"I want to thank you___" His hand planting itself firmly against her mouth cut her off.

"Read this while I cook dinner. I hope pasta is fine."

Avalon closed her mouth and watched the gentle giant make his way through the kitchen and begin to cook. His back was to her, which helped things a bit. She looked down and spent the next twenty minutes absorbing all the information.

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