In response to DeviantArt Flash Fiction July 14 Challenge
“JUPITER!” The name resounded in the tunnel. They were coming. Damn it! No one was supposed to be there today. There was no choice. And there wasn’t much time left. One more.
The engineer was already keying the coordinates in the Traveller. When the slide appeared, Jupiter called.
“Guys! Let’s go! Let’s go!”
The group came running and they all jumped. Jupiter counted: all had gone through. Jupiter exchanged a glance with Mercury who nodded. She jumped too. With one last look at the tunnel, Jupiter stepped back into the passage while pushing on the detonating device. Just as the door closed the tunnel exploded.
Jupiter found the group lying low among the forest where Mercury had them land.
“Chief?” One of the men asked.
Jupiter shrugged. They wouldn’t know until Iris gave them news. It would require someone to stay behind to ensure that their attack fulfilled its purpose. They couldn’t risk it. Mercury looked up, excitement and fear on her face.
“Message from Mars. It’s for today.”
Jupiter took a deep breath. She’d prepared for this. She knew it was coming. But her heart raced anyway. Fear, excitement. A tinge of sorrow? Regret? She couldn’t tell and she couldn’t afford trying to untangle the feelings right now. She must prepare.
“You ok Chief?”
She nodded. Taking a life was never easy; in fact, she’d always insisted on leading missions that attacked military or economic infrastructures. Always empty. Today was a mishap. But in this case, murder was a necessary evil. She’d come to term with that.
“Do you need me to key you in?”
“No. You guys go back to base. I’ll walk to the nearest station.”
Mercury checked her maps on her wrist device and pointed due North.
“Half a mile.”
“Perfect. You go.”
Mercury’s face whitened. She’d only just realized what this could mean. The others didn’t seem to. Then again they weren’t supposed to know. Only the 12 did. Mercury keyed the coordinates closest to base in. She let the others jump and turned.
“We’ll come and get you Chief.”
She nodded. Jupiter knew very well it was unlikely she’d get out. But the others needed hope. If she could give them that, then she’d die happy. Hope for a better life, for a free life. That was what she fought for, like many did 500 years ago in the country that once was called France.
The only truth is reality. It was a means for the tyrant to maintain control. The truth was that thanks to his rule, the country had food for everyone. The reality was that criminals were condemned systematically and that this was the safest place to live in the world. Terrorists were only trying to destabilize their perfect system.
The truth was that Jupiter believed there were other possible realities: they’d include freedom and democracy as once existed in their country. So she’d rebelled and joined the Freedom Fighters. And the truth was that she was going to kill a man today. It dawned on her that she was used as the sword, with all its consequences.
She stopped at five different travelling stations and travelled twice with groups, before she made it to her final destination. Nobody could know where she’d been. Once home she burnt her clothes. After a shower, she changed into a dress. It was a little tight but there was nothing to it. Nobody would notice with the shawl. She placed a row of pearls around her neck and pinned her hair into a coil with a two-pin set.
“You’re perfect Geraldine.” Smiling, she faced her husband. “No wonder they all look at you when I speak.” He kissed her deeply. She loved him. With all her heart. She loathed his ways. With every fibre of her being. She would kill him today. If she could. Now that he was here, holding her, she wasn’t sure she had the strength. Her breath caught in her throat.
“Are you ok?”
“A little nauseous.”
He let his hands rest on her belly.
“No surprise there.”
“I’d hoped that I would be spared.” Her pregnancy was irrelevant here but she wouldn’t tell him that. She bit her lips to prevent the tears from gathering in her eyes and betraying her.
He comforted her and led her into the great hall where his staunchest followers were gathered. Among them she knew were members of the rebellion, even though she couldn’t have recognized them. Such were the necessities to keep everyone safe; besides like a hydra, if one of the twelve disappeared another could step in. Some form of disruption was planned that would allow panic and thus…
The commotion started faster than she’d expected. Stones, bullets coming through the windows. A group of people had gathered around them, pressing against her and Julian. He tried to push them away from her, protecting her from the crowd. Tears ran down her cheeks, as she pulled one of the pins holding her hair. She reached for him and he cradled her giving him direct access to his heart. He’d given her his heart over the past ten years. But he broke hers long before that. He should have recognized the girl whose parents he killed. She hated him; she loved him. Crying she plunged the sharp pin into his heart, fast as she could. If she thought about it, she wouldn’t do it.
His eyes widened as he looked down at her; understanding and sorrow, so deep she could have killed herself. She’d betrayed him. He fell slowly and she knelt by him.
“You?” Betrayal cut deep; but there was no accusation in his voice. It hurt her more than if she’d cursed her.
“I’m so sorry love. But you were wrong.” She was crying, holding onto his hand.
“And I never listened.” He said as understanding dawned. “Is it vengeance?”
“No!” She exclaimed in a whisper. “Once, it might have been. Not today. Today is for freedom.”