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WARNING: This story contains graphic content such as sex, violence, death, and derogatory slang.  

Imprisoned - 7. The Lost Civilization

Hey guys!

Sorry for the long wait on this chapter! Life has been super crazy these past few weeks, not to mention I hit a bit of writers block. But I hope you enjoy this chapter and I look forward to hearing all your comments!


This chapter could be triggering for some, there is a conversation about suicide and a scene in which one of our characters is tortured.

“Los Angeles.”

My heart dropped at those words, a lot like how my body dropped on our jumps. A bio-weapon being released in a city like Los Angeles could prove devastating, not just for the citizens that lived there but the entire Republic.

After the Pacific Revolution the governors of what used to be the Western United States decided to designate Los Angeles as the capital of our newly formed Republic. It was the center of everything for the Pacific Republic: Government, financial, the president, all of it was in LA, not to mention 5 million innocent civilians.

“What about the antidote I was promised?” Dr. Grimm peered through the glass at me.

We had no where to put him where we could keep an eye on him, keeping him tied up to a chair would have sat fine with me. However, that seemed a little more inhuman for the teams liking. So we found a room to place him, in one of the other labs. It wasn’t a very large room, maybe the size of a standard bedroom, but it had a large impenetrable glass wall so we could keep an eye on him. I could only imagine he and the other scientists used this room to observe their “test subjects”. I shuddered at the mere thought.

“Yeah?” I heard Alex behind me. “What about his antidote?” I turned around and the look she had on her face was one I could not quite pinpoint. It was almost disappointment, maybe with some anger mixed in there.

“He’ll get it… soon enough.” I smirked as I brushed past her. I felt a hand on my arm and I turned around to meet her gaze.

“Is this what we do now? Play judge, jury, and executioner?” There it was, the look she had earlier in the lab. The disbelief at what I had done, like she was looking at someone she didn’t recognize.

I reached into my pocket and withdrew the piece of paper that I had given to Cody earlier. She snatched it from me and held it up eye level. Her face scrunched up as she tried to decipher the words.

“What the hell is ‘3 ml NS’?” She asked with a bewildered expression.

I grinned at her. “3 milliliters of Normal Saline. Otherwise known as water, with added salt.”

Alex gaped at me. “Salt water? You injected him with salt water?”

“Mmhmm.” I nodded.

“You tricked him?” She gaped at me.

I laughed, although there was no humor behind it, and I folded my arms across my chest. “Ya know, I’m not this monster that you think I am.”

“I never said-”

“Save it. I saw the way you looked at me earlier.” I accused.

“Eliott.” Alex had a pained expression on her face.

“I don’t blame you. I lost control-hell I didn’t even recognize that person.” I admitted letting my arms fall to my sides.

I could see her eyes begin to well up slightly. It made my own sinuses burn so I turned my gaze to the floor before I spoke again.

“Even now. You would have believed that I would have injected that man with a deadly pathogen just to get the truth out of him. How could you think I would do something like that?”

“You were so angry… I thought you lost it.” She took a step toward me and I took a step back. Making it clear where I stood.

“I’m not a monster like him.” I jerked my head in the direction of Dr. Grimm, who was pacing in the glass cell.

“I never said you were.” She tried to explain but I put a hand up to stop her.

“You don’t have to, Alex. It was written all over your face.” And with that I turned around and headed out of the lab, eyes burning from tears that desperately wanted to come out. I needed air, I needed to get out, to be alone.

I headed for the stairwell near the elevator bank and came face to face with Boomer, who was doing his guard rounds.

“Whoa, where’s the fire boss?” He asked, stepping aside slightly.

“Just need some air.” I grumbled, avoiding his eye contact. I pushed the metal door open and climbed the stairs two at time until I reached the last landing. I pushed the door to the roof open and inhaled the fresh air, letting it settle deep into my lungs.

The sun was setting and the temperature reflected that, the only thing keeping the roof cool was the calm and even breeze. I walked to the edge of the rooftop and rested my hands on the ledge, looking out over the city. From up here you could see everything from the bay to the ocean. The bridges that used to carry exuberant amounts of traffic in and out of the city were collapsed, leaving only two towers sticking out of the glassy water surface. I wondered what it must have been like to feel left and abandoned in this city after the Clayton Outbreak. How Boomer’s family must have been so scared and helpless.

“Penny for your thoughts?” I heard that gruff southern drawl behind me.

I wiped my face and turned around. Ryan stood there, arms at his sides, his muscles rippling below his t-shirt. He noticed the redness in my eyes and a look of concern washed over his perfect features.

“What’s wrong?” He bridged the gap between us until we were mere inches from each other. That same woodsy scent I had caught earlier wafted into my nostrils. I felt a sense of calm wash over me, something that seemed to happen when I was in his presence.

“It’s nothing.” I waved off his concern and concentrated on the gravel under my boots, kicking at the tiny pebbles.

Ryan didn’t say anything, instead I felt his strong arms wrap me up into a warm hug. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face into his shoulder. I felt his hand rest on the back of my head and his face nuzzle into my clavicle. I wished that I could stay this way forever. Forget about the mission, forget about this fucked up world we lived in, forget about rebellions and their plans to wipe an entire city off the map.

“You’re not a monster.” Ryan’s voice was firm and concrete, like the embrace that he had me in.

“You heard that?” My voice broke slightly.

“Yeah.” Ryan pressed his face into me a little more.

I went to break from the embrace but Ryan just held on tighter. “Let me hold you.”

“The mission…”

“Can wait. You need to take a breath, clear your mind.” Ryan stated. I felt his warm lips make contact with my neck and I closed my eyes, letting myself go, letting myself fall into his embrace even more. Ryan was kissing my neck and then my cheek, and then he was holding my face in his hands, locking eyes with me. He wiped the tears off my cheeks with his thumbs which only made my bottom lip tremble slightly.

“You don’t have to be strong for me. You can let me take care of you.”

Could I? Could I just give myself over to him so easily? I wanted to, wanted to just let Ryan in, let him kiss all of my wounds and make everything feel better. But it wasn’t that simple, it wasn’t like you read in the books or see in the movies. Emotions are fucking complicated, especially when you have a ball of ice where your heart should be.

A part of me knew that Ryan was telling me the truth, that he could take care of me. But I flashed back to James and the day that ice creeped in, the day I found him dead on the floor. I couldn't - wouldn’t, go through that again.

Before I could respond Ryan pressed his lips against mine, warm, inviting lips. It was soft and caring, making warmth spread across my chest, and that ice melt ever so slowly. My lips parted and a deep moan escaped my throat as I felt his tongue slide into my mouth. I could taste him, taste that unique thing that was Ryan.

“I… I want.” I said between heavy breaths and kisses.

“Tell me… Tell me what you want.” Ryan breathed hard.


“You have me. I’m not going anywhere.” Ryan broke the kiss and pressed his forehead to mine.

Was that true? Was he really going nowhere? I mean James said the same thing too multiple times. But in the end people left, whether they wanted to or not.

“Stop.” Ryan said, like he could hear my thoughts.

“Stop what?” I tried playing stupid.

“Stop spiraling. I mean it when I say it.”

“Everyone leaves.” My voice was just above a whisper.

“Then I’m gonna fight like hell not to.” Ryan stated, and I believed him when he spoke those words.

I pulled him into a kiss and I could feel Ryan's body vibrate in response. His hands left my face and rested on my chest, the warmth of them radiating across my torso. I pushed him against a high wall to our left and grabbed his hands, interwinding our fingers together and holding them above his head. Ryan let out a surprised gasp, and I broke from the kiss to look into his eyes, which were dark with lust.

“Is this okay?” I kissed him on the neck and he arched his back slightly, moaning.

“Mmm, yeah… it is.” I grinned at how his southern drawl was more pronounced when he was turned on. It was sexy as hell, and cute at the same time.

I moved to his Adam's apple and kissed slightly which was greeted by another moan. Adjusting my grip on Ryan’s hands I used my other hand to snake it up his shirt, finding his nipple and giving it a slight flick. Ryan let out a low moan and arched his back towards me, feeding the grip around his nipple.

“Fuck, Elliott.” He moaned.

“You like this?” I leaned in and locked his lips on mine and Ryan moaned in response, parting his lips and letting me snake my tongue into his mouth. I rocked my hips into Ryan’s and our hard cocks rubbed together through the rough fabric of our pants. I cursed internally at the layers of fabric between our bodies.

I began fumbling with his belt, needing to feel more of him, more of Ryan. I was able to get the belt undone and his gear fell to the rooftop with a thud. I reached into his pants and grabbed a hold of his girth, which made Ryan tilt his head back with a low moan. I took the opportunity to kiss his exposed neck which resulted in a gasp from him.

Elliott.” Ryan moaned.

“Yes?” I responded, my lips hovering slightly above his neck brushing the skin softly.

“I-I…” Ryan struggled with his next words, squirming slightly in my grasp, pushing his hips into my hand, his cock throbbing in response to the pleasure I knew he was experiencing.

I moved my head to brush my lips against his, his breathing was ragged with pleasure.

“Tell me.” I whispered, staring intently in his eyes.

“I, need…” Ryan’s eyes were thick with desire.

“Is this what you need?” I gripped his cock and began stroking it slowly. Ryan bit his lower lip and moaned.

“Tell me…” My pace was slow and almost tortuous. “Tell me and I’ll get you there.”

Ryan growled in frustration and I grinned. He was so fucking adorable when he was frustrated.

“If you didn’t have my hands pinned…”

“What? What would you do?” There was a slight humour to my voice.

“You would be the one pinned against the wall.” Ryan growled.

“Is that so?” I swiped the tip of Ryan’s cock with my thumb, which was coated in pre-cum and brought it up to my mouth. “Maybe next time.” I licked my thumb and moaned. Ryan tasted so damn good. I leaned forward and kissed him deeply, returning my hand to his cock. This time pulling it out of his pants. Ryan sucked in a breath and I continued my slow strokes.

“Please…” Ryan pleaded, which only made my own cock get harder.

“Tell me.”

“I want to cum, please make me cum.”

I grinned and quickened my strokes. I don’t know why this was getting me off so much, it was like this primal feeling deep down within me. All I knew was that having this weird power over Ryan was so fucking hot, but at the same time I wanted to take care of him, show him affection.

“What about you?” Ryan asked between breaths.

“Don’t worry about me, just seeing you like this is so fucking hot.” I kissed his exposed neck.

“I want you to cum too.”

“You first.”

Ryan didn’t argue, instead he intertwined his fingers with mine above his head and kissed me. It brought out this weird feeling that I hadn’t felt in a while. It was warm, and it radiated from my chest, and made my sinuses burn.

“Oh fuck. Elliott.” Ryan moaned.

“Yeah you gonna cum?”

“Fuck yeah.”

“Cum for me baby.” I ordered.

Ryan let out a moan and I felt his cock throb followed by warmth as Ryan unloaded in my hand.

“Ohh, fuck.” Ryan gasped as the last wave of his orgasm hit. I kissed him and let his hands go, which he wrapped around my neck. He slouched against me, resting his head on my shoulder. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and he gave a groan, meeting my lips for another one of those kisses that I just couldn’t get enough of.

Ryan grabbed a fistful of my shirt and spun me around, pushing me against the wall. A low growl escaped his throat as he pushed forward with a hungry kiss. If my cock wasn’t rock hard before, it sure was now. Something about being dominated by this man was such a turn on, I thought that I would shoot right there.

Ryan reached his hand into my pants and grabbed my cock, I let out a moan and bit my bottom lip fighting the urge to cum right there.

“Not… gonna… last long.” I gasped in between those addictive kisses.

“Good.” I could practically hear the evil grin in his voice. He pulled my pants down to around my thighs and began stroking my length, slowly, like I did to him. Fucker.

“Fuck Ryan.”

“Yeah? Tell me what you want.”

He was toying with me, like I did to him, and I liked it. He bit my lower lip lightly and I almost lost it, instead letting out a moan and arching my back towards him.

Please.” I begged, something I never did.

“Please what?”

“Please, let me cum.”

Ryan grabbed both of our cocks in his hand and began stroking them together. I moaned at the feeling of our skin rubbing together, my precum giving us the lube necessary to let Ryan’s hand glide down the sensitive skin.

“Fuck, Ryan oh fuck.” I moaned, thrusting my hips towards him.

“Nuh uhh.” Ryan placed his opposite hand against my navel, preventing me from moving my hips. I growled out of frustration and Ryan chuckled.

“I love it when you get all frustrated.” He teased.

It was like everything was happening in slow motion, Ryan was stroking our cocks together, both of us moaning into eachothers mouths. That warmth that I was feeling seemed like a sun about ready to explode in my chest, and melt that ice surrounding my heart.

“Oh shit, I’m gonna cum.” I announced.

“Fuck, me too.”

That enough was to make me cum. The feeling lit up my insides and traveled down every nerve ending as warm cum shot out of my cock coating both of our dicks in the warm fluid. Ryan let out a moan and pressed closer into me, kissing through the orgasm.

“That. Was. Fucking. Amazing.” I said between breaths.

Ryan chuckled and nuzzled our noses together. “Yeah it was.”

Just then reality set in and that ice quickly began to form again, like there was a formidable blizzard in my chest. The only casualty being me, and the feelings that I had for Ryan. I reached down and pulled my pants back up around my waist, the feeling of guilt coursing through my body. Ryan followed suit all the while not breaking eye contact with me.

“What is it?” He finally asked, after a moment of silence.

“Nothing.” I grumbled.

“I can practically feel your brooding from here.”

Was it that obvious, was my guilt showing that bad? I shook my head and looked down, averting my gaze.

“I can’t.”

“You can’t what?”

“Nevermind.” I said shortly. I turned to walk away but he reached out and grabbed my arm, turning me back around to face him.

“Tell me.” He had a demanding tone.

“There’s nothing to tell.” I replied defensively.

He rolled his eyes. “The guilt is written all over your face.”

Shit, apparently I’m not good at hiding my emotions around him. How was I supposed to explain to him why I felt guilty? The reason why I couldn’t but desperately wanted to keep this thing going with him. The idea of turning my back on what we had going was enough to make me hurl. But what would that look like? Me the leader of the team, dating someone that was supposed to be my subordinate? Yeah that spelled disaster. Maybe before Ryan came on the team we could have had something, but now that future looked uncertain and I didn't like uncertainties.

“Elliott…” And there it was, the feeling that I got whenever Ryan said my name. This invisible force that drew me to him. I placed my hands on his chest and pushed him away lightly, shaking my head and looking at the ground, trying desperately to avoid his eye contact but failing.

“This was a mistake.” I said sharply.

“Oh,” There was a hurt in his voice that made my sinuses burn. "I see."

“We need to focus on the mission, get out of here, and then we can talk when we get back to base.” I don’t think my voice was ever this flat and to the point with Ryan. I looked up and his expression was stoic, tears fighting to be released. There was a lump the size of a peach in my throat seeing him like that.

Ryan cleared his throat and stood straighter, placing his hands behind his back. “Yes Chief.” He dipped his head slightly and turned around, walking towards the roof access door.

That was a sucker punch to the gut that I so desperately deserved. Why the hell was I being so difficult, why couldn’t I just let this thing happen the way it was supposed to happen? I desperately wanted to run after him, apologize, tell him I was an idiot. Something to make things right. But as he passed through the door and it closed shut I knew it was going to take more than that to make things right.

“God you’re a stupid motherfucker.” My thoughts rang out.

The rest of the evening Ryan didn’t really talk to me, in fact he tried to avoid me all together, unless it had something to do with the mission. Now that it was his turn to patrol I didn't feel like there was a massive elephant in the room, waiting impatiently to be addressed. Boomer, Riley and Cody had seemed to have forgotten about the events that occurred just a few hours ago. It was nice to know that I hadn’t completely scared off my team, although Alex, seemed to be a different story. Speaking of.

“Hey there slugger.” She had a nervous lilt to her voice. I gave a puzzled expression and she quickly spoke up. “Y’know, because you have a mean right hook.” She playfully punched the air in imitation.

“So what? Now we're joking about this?” I responded flatly.

“No,” Alex perched herself on the counter I had made into my desk, looking over Dr. Grimm’s files. “I wanted to apologize.”

I peered at her over the notes. She was sincere, it was written all over her face. I closed the folder and sat back in my chair.

“You don’t have to apologize.”

“But I do,” Alex shifted uncomfortably on the counter. Apologies were not her strong suit. “I lost faith in you, something that should never happen. We’ve known each other ever since I came onto the team. Not once have I ever seen you act like that.”

“Like what?” I crossed my arms over my chest and a frown split across my face.

“Like you were gonna kill someone.”

I gave out a hearty laugh that reverberated off the walls.

“It’s not funny,” She slapped my arm. “It was scary seeing you like that.”

“Alex, in the time that you’ve known me have I ever killed someone without provocation?”

“Well… no.”

“Exactly. It was about getting information, that’s all. I knew he wouldn’t talk willingly-”

“So you decided to beat it out of him?” Alex cut me off.

I gave her a curt nod. “When I saw what he did to that kid I knew that we were no longer dealing with someone with any sense of morality,” Alex gave me a confused look before I continued. “He’s a monster, someone who has done terrible things for a group of people who are going to do more terrible things.”

“What are you saying?

“We’re at war now Alex. With an enemy we know nothing about, and in war, we have to do things that are questionable.” I sighed and stood up from my seat. “As the leader of this team, I’m shouldering these responsibilities so none of you have to.”

“You don’t-”

I held up a hand and cut her off. “Yes I do. It’s my job, a job that I signed up for, and I can handle it.”

Alex nodded slightly and slipped off the counter.

“I really am sorry Ell.”

I placed a reassuring hand on her arm. “I know.”

My watch beeped and I looked at the display.


“You should get some rest with the others, we head out in 4 hours.” I stated.

“What about you?”

“He’ll be fine,” Riley stepped around the corner. “Captain Insomnia at your service.” He gave an elegant bow as he finished.

Alex rolled her eyes and chuckled. “Alright boys, don’t go causing too much trouble though.” She joked.

“When have we ever caused trouble?” He asked incredulously.

Alex cocked an eyebrow at him. “San Diego.”

Riley and I blushed two shades of red at the mention of San Diego.

“Touche.” He admitted in defeat and Alex passed by him to go join the others in the living room area. “What about you?” He gave me a direct look and I shook my head.

“Sleep hasn’t been agreeing with me lately.” I admitted.

He nodded his head and sat in the chair next to mine. He patted the armrest of my chair and I took the hint, pulling the chair out and sitting across from him. I had the feeling he was about to pry, something I wasn’t looking forward to. He wanted to talk about Ryan, and more specifically the reason we had been avoiding each other ever since we came back from the roof.

“I know what you want to talk about and frankly, I don’t know what to say.” I got the first word in before Riley could.

Riley leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling tiles, I thought for a second he wasn’t going to say anything but then…

“Did you know that I lost someone close to me?”

I gave him a questioning look. “Like recently?”

Riley grinned. “No, this was way back. Way before the outbreak, way before I left Philly. Hell even before I joined the Army.”

Riley had never mentioned this before, in fact, Riley never talked about his life in Philadelphia. I always knew there was something dark surrounding that subject, but I never brought it up. I didn’t want to open up old wounds if there were any. All I knew about Riley’s past was that his Mom was a Nurse and his Dad was a beat cop in their rough neighborhood.

“Gregg Moretti, the first boy I ever loved.” Riley smiled at the mention of the name. “He was a funny guy, and could always make me laugh. We met when we were thirteen after his mother and him moved in next door. We became instant friends. Skateboarding at The Foundry, getting cheesesteaks at Spot’s, causing trouble every now and then. I had my first kiss with him when we were seventeen.” Riley’s smile didn’t fade as he went down memory lane. “He took me to this rooftop downtown, he knew a guy that worked in security, and he told me that he needed to get something off of his chest...”

“What was it?” I asked.

Riley smiled and his eyes glinted with joy. “He told me that he was gay and that he loved me, and with that he grabbed my hands in his and he leaned forward and kissed me."

I smiled at that. “That sounds really romantic.”

“It was fuckin’ ballsy was what it was, and yes romantic. Gregg had no idea if I was gay, bi, whatever. But he kissed me anyway and it just felt right, like every piece of the puzzle finally came together, why every relationship I had with a girl failed miserably.”

“So what happened then?” I asked, anxious to hear more. However, Riley’s smile faded and a hurt appeared in his eyes, something I had never seen in him before.

“It was the summer after our senior year and we were bound to make it our best one. Gregg got a full ride to Penn, he was wicked smart. He wanted to be a Doctor, to help people. Unfortunately for me Ivy League wasn’t in the books, so instead I was going to Penn State, which meant we weren’t going to see each other as much as we wanted. We were supposed to meet at Fairmount Park, they were doing one of those movies in the park things, but he never showed. So I left, and I was pissed, he had never stood me up in the two years we had been together. When I got home our road was blocked off, my parents were there, my dad was in uniform working the scene,” Riley took a ragged breath in and exhaled before he continued. “When I saw Gregg lying in the street, I just wanted to die. Apparently he was hit by a drunk driver who fled the scene, killed him instantly.”

I couldn’t control my jaw muscles as my mouth fell open in shock. In that moment my heart went out to Riley, feeling his pain, his sorrow. How had he never told me about this before, especially when he knew about James.

“What happened after that?” I asked, not being able to contain my questions.

“All I remember was my Mom holding me on the sidewalk while I bawled my eyes out, the rest of the night was a complete blank. The days after that I was depressed, didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to eat. I thought about killing myself multiple times, I didn’t know how to get rid of the pain. Eventually my parents got so scared for me that they put me in a center. I was there for a month and it helped, slightly, but I was angry at that point. When I got home I revoked my admission to Penn State, and a few months later I joined the Army and left Philly. Haven’t been back since.” Riley finished, taking a drink from his water canteen.

“How come you never told me this before?” I asked.

“It didn’t seem relevant until now.”

“But you know about James.”

“But Gregg’s death isn’t holding me back.” Riley stated, and his words cut deep like razors.

“You don’t know what you're talking about.” I replied.

“Oh but I do, because I was in the same position as you a few years back. Unfortunately for me though, I didn’t have a friend to kick me in the ass.”

“I don’t need a kick in the ass from anyone.” My annoyance level was at its peak.

Riley laughed and shook his head. “Denial is not a good look on you.”

“Fuck off Riley, what do you know?” My annoyance had slipped into anger and I pushed up from my chair, muscles rippling, fists clenched.

“Oh I know a lot more than you think.” Riley stood up and faced me, his jaw was set and his voice was stern. “I know you’re scared, I know that you have a wall so thick around your heart that it would take a construction and demolition crew to knock it down. I know that everytime you look at Ryan, you think about James and that makes you feel guilty because having feelings for another person isn’t honoring his memory. I know because I have felt every, single, one, of those feelings.”

“That’s not even the half of it.” I growled as I began pacing next to the counter. I needed to hit something, but I didn’t want to hit Riley, I could never hit him.

“Then what else? What else could you possibly be scared of?” Riley raised his voice slightly.

I punched the countertop. “I don’t want him to leave!”

Riley blinked. “What do you mean?”

“Everybody leaves me Riley! My parents, my siblings, James!” I leaned against the counter, eyes burning.

“Ryan," My voice was raw and I didn't know what to say, so I spoke from the heart. "He's such a good person. He makes me smile. When I see him it makes this world seem less shitty. The feelings that I feel with him I have never felt before, not even with James.”

Everything that I had been feeling about Ryan just spilled out of my mouth and lay displayed before us. I could trust Riley, I know he would never say anything. But admitting it out loud lifted a weight off my shoulders that I didn’t even realize was there.

“I don’t deserve him, I would ruin him Riley.” My voice broke slightly.

“Ell,” Riley took a step towards me. “You are one of the most good, caring, and loving people that I know. I mean you can kick some ass when you need to, and man are you scary when you're mad,” I scoffed at that, thinking about the beating I gave to Dr. Grimm. “You are the best of us, and you would not ruin Ryan.” Riley finished.

“Yeah, you sure about that?” I challenged, my thoughts going back to the rooftop and how I practically all but physically pushed Ryan away. No wait, I did that too. I felt a twinge of guilt erupt in my stomach, I hated the fact that I had hurt Ryan.

“Well, except for earlier when he came in looking like someone kicked his dog. What happened up there?”

“I’m a fucking moron that’s what happened.” I responded.

“It’s not too late to fix things man. He would understand if you would just explain things.”

“I told him that what we did was a mistake, and that we needed to focus on the mission. You should have seen the look on his face.”

Riley reached out and squeezed my arms. “If anyone can make it right, it’s you. Tell him how you really feel. If not now then when we get back to base. I’m telling you that you will regret it if Ryan gets away.” The look on his face was something that said he knew from past experience what I was going through. That he also had a Ryan, someone that he desperately wanted to be with, but couldn’t for some reason.

"It could never work though," I sighed. "I'm team leader, and there's the whole fraternization rule."

Riley considered that for a second before he spoke. "Cross that bridge when you get there. Everything has a way of working out."

I nodded my head and Riley patted my shoulder, giving it a slight squeeze.

There was a light clatter coming from the hallway and we both jerked our heads in that direction.

“Did you hear that?” Riley asked.

“Yeah.” My pulse quickened.

We both began making our way towards the hallway when a small metal canister about the size of a soda can came tumbling in.

“Shit!” Riley wrapped an arm around me and threw me back, we both fell to the floor, Riley landing on top of me.


The flash grenade went off, blinding me and the percussion knocked my hearing out slightly. I could hear voices, muffled, like trying to talk through thick glass. I felt arms grab me and I fought trying to break free. I felt something hard hit me on the side of the head and if I could see anything I would probably be seeing stars.

My vision slowly came back into focus and I looked up at my two captors who were people that I didn’t recognize. They were dressed like the Army, and they had American Flag patches on their shoulders. Upon closer inspection I noticed the flag was the old flag, before the civil war, not the new one.

They dragged me into the living room where I could see Ryan, Boomer, Alex and Cody standing in the center of the room, wrists restrained behind them. My gaze landed on Ryan who was bleeding from his nose, which definitely looked broken. He looked at me with a worried expression.

“I’m fine.” I tried to convey with my eyes. Which he seemed to grasp as the worry dropped from his face a little.

I braced my feet underneath of me to stand up straighter and one of the men restrained my wrists behind my back with zip ties, before pushing me towards the others. I fell in line next to Boomer who looked like he was about to hulk out from these zip ties and start splitting heads. They brought Riley in and he settled in next to me, he had a cut below his right eye and an angry bruise that was starting to develop.

I looked out in the hallway to see 3 other men, all talking in hushed tones. One of them noticed me trying to eavesdrop and ordered the two who were standing guard to close the doors. Which they did, leaving us alone.

“Damn, that looks like it hurts.” Riley said in a hushed tone staring at a spot on the side of my head.

I could feel a warm liquid running down the side of my face, which I soon realized by the smell was my own blood.

“What do you think these assholes want?” Boomer asked.

“I don’t know but did you check out their uniforms? The flag on the shoulder is old, Pre-Civil War.” I pointed out.

“I did notice that.” Boomer said.

“You don’t think-” Alex started but Boomer cut her off.

“What? That they're rebellion?”

“Shit.” Riley responded barely above a whisper.

“What are we gonna do?” Cody asked. He seemed nervous, I felt bad for the poor kid.

“We’re gonna keep it together, we’ve been trained for this kind of stuff.” I stated and everyone nodded in agreement.

Ryan was quiet all the while, the look on his face told me that he was thinking of ways out of this. I didn't know how we could get out of this. Looking around I didn't see any of our gear, and without that I didn't see how we were supposed to get unrestrained, and then take out five armed people.

Our captors walked in and one of them stepped forward. He was shorter than me and stocky, tan complexion and brown eyes, with a short brown crew cut. His face was hard, and stern he was clearly their leader. He made eye contact with me and then spoke in a deep gruff tone.


Two guys came forward and grabbed me. I didn’t fight and instead let them guide me towards the hall.

“Hey! Where are you taking him!” I heard Riley shout.

They led me into the room that Riley and I were in previously and set me in a chair. They turned around and stepped out into the hallway closing the door behind them. It was just me and their leader, who stood about a foot away from me with his arms folded behind his back.

“We’ve been following you and your team since you came into our city. Who are you?” His voice was deep and had a slight dialect to it that I recognized from hispanic culture.

“My name is Doctor Elliott Pierce. I’m with the Pacific Republic Army.”

“Okay Doctor Pierce. Why are you here?”

“Our mission was to find Doctor Jason Grimm and escort him back to LA.” I explained.

“Ahh, so your rebellion then?”


“Then why would you and your team be here to extract a known rebel scientist?”

Fuck, this could completely go sideways if I didn’t convince him I’m telling the truth.

“We didn’t know he was part of The Order. In fact we didn’t even know a rebellion existed, it was always just a rumor.”

He smiled and chuckled lightly, shaking his head. “Do you think I was born yesterday?”

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you, I’m telling you the truth.” I put as much convincing as I could into that last statement.

He nodded his head and knocked on the door. “We’ll see.” He said ominously. The door slid open and a man handed him a satchel, the leader took it and began speaking to him in Spanish. I could understand them, having learned Spanish in college, but they didn’t need to know that.

“Take the red head, get her to talk.”

“What about the others?”

“Un-restrain them, stand guard. They won’t do anything seeing as I have their leader.”

The man nodded his head and shut the door, leaving us alone again. The leader walked over to the table where Dr. Grimm’s files were still sitting and set the satchel down. He brought a smaller brown piece of canvas out and rolled it out on the table. The metal of surgical instruments glinted in the light, and right there my stomach dropped. This man was going to torture me for information.

“You know, before the second outbreak I was a Paramedic. I wanted to help people, it was my purpose. I’m sure you know something about that?” He glanced at me, before returning back to his tools. “But then, your government left us to rot in this hell hole and all of that changed.”

My breath caught at that last bit of information. They weren't part of The Order, they were people left behind during the Clayton Outbreak.

He pulled a scalpel out of its designated spot and turned to face me.

Every fiber in my body was telling me to freak out, to beg, plead, but instead I shoved it down and remained calm. Sure I was scared, but I couldn’t let him know that.

“What do you want from me? I already told you the truth.” I kept a cool tone.

“For some reason I don’t believe you.”

“Well then you must be a shitty questioner.”

He punched me in the face and I grunted, the pain radiating from my cheekbone. He smirked at me and held the scalpel up.

“Keep up the sarcasm and see what happens.” His voice was cold, and stern as he spoke. I swallowed hard and for a split second that fear showed itself, and he grinned at the sight of it. “Ahhh, there it is.” He said slowly, making a chill run up my spine.

I’ve been in the Army for four years now, and in those four years I had not once been captured nor had I been tortured. The fear of the unknown wrapped it’s icy fingers around me and made my bones shake.

“What’s your name anyway?” I asked, courage rising up in my throat. He chuckled and walked back over to the table and pulled out a pair of trauma shears.

“What does it matter?” He began cutting from the bottom of my shirt up the center. “It’s not like it’s going to help you anyway.” He pulled my shirt off, sleeves and all and tossed it in a tattered heap on the floor.

“Maybe I wanna know the name of the man that’s going to torture me.”

He leaned in closer to me, he smelled of sweat and citrus, his brown eyes had flecks of green in them and the corner of his mouth upturned into a slight smile. He was definitely the type of guy I would go for, if torture was my thing.

“You can call me Diaz.”

"Diaz huh?" I straightened up in the chair more, if I was going to be tortured I was at least going to take a page from Riley's book. "Well how about you un-restrain me and we can go get a beer, maybe watch a Mariners-" The rest of the sentence didn't make it's way out as Diaz punched me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me.

"Your either stupid, or you have a death wish." Diaz replied in an icy tone. His eyes settled on the rings resting in the center of my chest. He reached out for them and every muscle in my body tightened.

"These look important." He smirked and began lifting the necklace from around my neck. I tried to move my head to make it more difficult for him but all that earned me was another punch to the face. My head lolled forward and Diaz removed the necklace the rest of the way, my heart feeling like it went with it. I watched as he examined them closely and then tucked them in the front pouch of his uniform.

"Maybe this will give you some incentive to talk."

And with that he dug the scalpel into my right peck. White hot searing pain spread across the right side of my chest as he went slow and deliberate. It hurt like hell. I choked down a yelp, the only sound was a whimper that came from somewhere in my throat.

“I’m gonna ask you again,” He retracted the scalpel, which was now coated with a thin layer of my blood. “Why are you here?”

“I-I told you,” My mind was racing from the pain. “We’re here to escort Dr. Grimm back to LA.” I looked him in the eyes, which were searching mine for the truth.

He nodded slightly and brought the tip of the scalpel back to my chest, just above the fresh cut he just inflicted.

“Are you a rebel scientist?”


But apparently that answer wasn’t good enough as he dug the scalpel into me again and began carving a straight line, perpendicular to the other one. I gasped at the searing pain, squeezing my eyes shut, bearing through it. I had been shot once, so I wasn’t a stranger to pain. But this pain was slow, relentless and it lingered long after he lifted the scalpel back up.

“You're only doing this to yourself.” Diaz said and with that he kept going.

Another question, another truthful answer, another cut.

Another question, another truthful answer, another cut.

I lost track of time, my mind only focused on the pain that Diaz was inflicting on me. It had to have been at least an hour, maybe longer? My mind wandered to the others. Were they okay? Were they going through the same thing? I hoped not. There was a knock at the door that jerked me back to reality.

Diaz straightened his posture. “Enter.”

The door opened and one of his men stepped in. “Sir, we got orders from the fort. He wants us to bring them in.” Why did they insist on speaking Spanish around us? Spanish, like English, was practically a universal language in the Republic. Everyone spoke it, or at least understood it. But maybe they didn’t know that, I mean they were shut off from the rest of society after all.

“Very well.” Diaz replied. He turned his gaze back towards me. “Consider yourself lucky Doctor Pierce. You get to meet our leader.” There was that smirk again, the one that sent chills up my spine.

“Take him to the others, then round up the other Doctor. We head out in thirty minutes.” He commanded in Spanish to the guard.

“Yes, sir.” He and another guard walked into the room and grabbed me under my arms, hoisting me to my feet. I felt weak from adrenaline crash due to the torture, but I managed to make my feet walk in the direction they led me. Once we got outside the doors to the living room they cut my wrists free, opened the door and pushed me inside where I fell to the floor.

“Oh my god Elliott!” Alex was immediately at my side.

“What the fuck did they do to you?” I heard a shocked Boomer ask.

“I’m fine.” I grumbled attempting to stand up. Alex and Riley helped me up and sat me in a chair. The soft cushions hugged me and I sank into them willingly, wishing the chair would just swallow me up so I could avoid all of this needless attention.

“He needs dressings for these.” Cody appeared in my sight as he inspected my chest.

“Fucking savages.” Riley spat.

Where was Ryan? Did they take him? Did they torture him too? I began to panic at the thought of him in my position. I attempted to stand up but Bommer grabbed my shoulder and forced me down.

“You need to relax.” Boomer commanded, and at that moment I hated him. I felt a warm, familiar hand grab mine and I looked over to see Ryan crouched next to me. I relaxed under Boomer’s grip, knowing that Ryan wasn’t in imminent danger. Fuck the mission, it was practically FUBAR at this point, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that knew that. Now all I wanted was to focus on getting the hell out of here and getting back to Bakersfield.

I felt a sting course through one of my cuts as Cody applied an antiseptic, but I didn’t budge. Instead I concentrated on Ryan, his blue eyes, his perfectly soft lips. My gaze drifted to his nose, which was still very much broken. It made him look even more rugged and tough, if that were even possible.

“You look like hell.” I joked.

“Look who's talking.” Ryan shot back. I chuckled and then winced at the pain in my chest.

“Could you not make him laugh please.” Cody sounded annoyed.

“Sorry Doctor Park.” I retorted.

Cody rolled his eyes. “I’m not a Doctor yet.”

“You will be. Even if I have to go to the Medical Board myself.”

Cody gave a sheepish grin. “Thank you Doctor Pierce.”

“For the love of god Cody, enough with the Doctor Pierce business. It makes me sound like a total stiff.”

“Would you shut up so I can work please?”

“Better.” I replied.

Cody had laser focus as he dressed my wounds. There were five cuts total, stacked in neat intricate rows in a sideways motion across the right side of my chest.

“What did they wanna know anyway?” Riley asked.

“He just kept asking me who we were, why we were here, who I was.”

“What did you tell him?” Alex piped in.

“The truth. It’s not like we have anything to hide anyway. Besides, I don’t think it’s us they’re after anyways.”

“They’re after Doctor Grimm.” Boomer said.

“Exactly. I think this whole thing with me was just a power play. To let us know that they’re the ones in charge here.”

“What makes you say that?” Boomer asked.

I glanced over at him, he was wearing a scowl, hands on his hips. “Because he knew I was telling the truth, but he kept going anyway.” I felt Ryan’s grip on my hand tighten and I looked over to see a fire of rage behind his eyes, jaw clenched, face turning slightly red.

“Don’t do anything.” I gave him a knowing expression and Ryan exhaled sharply. He understood me. It was weird how I could communicate to him with just a look.

"What about you Alex? What did they wanna know?" I looked in her direction. She was sitting on the edge of the coffee table, clearly lost in her own thoughts.

"How did you know they took me?"

"Diaz told them to. They were speaking in Spanish, I don't think they know that we can understand them."

"Well that gives us a slight upper hand." Riley chimed in.

"They asked me the same thing as you. Then they wanted to know where we were keeping Doctor Grimm, so I told them. I figured they would find him anyways." She explained, a sense of worry in her tone.

"It's okay Alex, your right. They would have found him anyway. You did what you had to do." I tried to ease her worry, letting her know that she wasn't in trouble for telling the truth.

The door opened and Diaz walked in followed by the guards and to no surprise Dr. Grimm, who looked like he was about to melt into a puddle of fear.

“Time to go.” Diaz spoke brashly.

Cody didn’t glance away from my wounds, he only had one left. “I just need to dress this last one, I’m almost done.” Cody’s voice was flat and assertive.

Diaz rolled his eyes and tossed a shirt at me. “Make it quick.”

Cody laid a piece of gauze over the last cut and taped it down. I pulled my shirt on and stood up, my strength having slowly returned.

“I’m fine, stop hovering.” I grumbled at everyone who gave me a look of worry and questioning. I hated being waited on and fussed over. They all gave me some space except for Ryan, who remained close. I felt a skip in my chest at the thought that he still cared, even after I acted like a complete asshole. Maybe I didn’t mess up things as bad as I thought?

“Get a move on.” One of the guards said impatiently.

“Patience is a virtue.” Riley gave a snarky response and one of the guards shoved him on the back through the doorway. “Rude.” He muttered under his breath.

We all stuffed into the elevator as best as we could, which was a challenge but we made it work. Riley was pressed up next to a taller guy with a lean build, handsome features, dark auburn hair which was styled into a faux hawk, and dazzling green eyes.

“You have really pretty eyes.” Riley joked in a flirting manner. The man didn't say anything, instead giving Riley a smoldering look.

"Keep it in your pants Riley." Boomer grumbled. Riley gave him an astonished look.

"What? I can't pay a guy a compliment?"

Boomer scoffed and shook his head.

"Shut up, both of you." Diaz ordered.

Riley rolled his eyes. "Someone's got their jock in a knot." He muttered under his breath. The man with the green eyes stared straight ahead, but a crooked smile broke across his face.

"At least this guy thinks I'm funny." Riley jabbed his head in the man's direction.

The elevator doors parted and we flooded out, I was grateful for the extra room as we made our way out of the building and into the night.

The city was dark, and quiet, which in other circumstances would have been peaceful and cool but now it just seemed eerie and creepy. The jagged and crumbling skyscrapers looked nothing more than tall and giant silhouettes. We were heading uphill, climbing higher and higher through the streets, turning down a dark alley here and there and then back onto the street.

“Boomer? Do you know where we are?” Alex asked out of earshot of our captors.

Boomer looked around. “We’re near Chinatown.”

“God, these hills suck.” Riley grumbled.

“Try living in Seattle.” I retorted.

“At least you guys could drive. Driving here was practically worthless.” Boomer shot back.

“Yeah, you got me there.”

We came to a large gate, which I recognized as the famous Dragon's Gate landmark, proving Boomer correct about where we were. The framing looked almost the same, except for a few pieces missing. The center was retrofitted with two large, and heavy looking metal gates, practically sealing off whatever was behind it.

Diaz gave two hammering knocks and a floodlight shined down on us from above the gate.

“Open the gates!” I heard a woman shout. There was a click and then a screech as the gates were pulled apart.

“Holy shit.” Ryan had a shocked tone as we took in the sight before us.

I had been in Chinatown before the earthquake, so I knew what it looked like, but it was different now. Streetlights lined the narrow cobblestone street, and most of the buildings were relatively intact. Most likely due to reconstruction on their inhabitants' part. I glanced at the buildings as we walked by and saw people peeking through curtains and blinds, trying to get a look at what was going on. I don’t understand how our intelligence couldn’t have picked up on this on satellite imaging.

“Oh my god, more hills.” Riley whined as we climbed another hill towards a dilapidated, mission style, church.

“How did we not see this on the satellite images?” Cody asked, just as bewildered as the rest of us.

“Maybe your government didn’t want you to know there were people here.” One of the guards said.

Those words didn’t set well with me, because then that would mean we had someone working against us in the higher ups.

We walked through a large archway and into a small courtyard. On the other side were two large oak doors with two guards standing idly by on either side. The guards opened the doors as we approached and us and Diaz filed in, except for the guards who were escorting us, who stayed behind outside.

The inside of the church looked like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. It was dimly lit and the walls were made of sturdy stone, which amazed me that the church withstood an earthquake at all. The trimming and columns were made of dark oak that gleamed ever so slightly in the light. The pews were pushed to the sides against the walls, leaving a vast open space that stretched all the way to the altar, where a large crucifix hung on the wall in front of a dazzling stained glass window. A man walked out of an entryway to our right and met us halfway stopping in front of Diaz.

“Are these the visitors who dropped in earlier?” The man had a rough and thick voice. I couldn’t quite make out his face in the dim lighting, but I could see his bright brown eyes sparkle ever so slightly.

“Yes, sir.”

The lights slowly got brighter and I could now get a better look at the man. He had a tan complexion, and was large, like Boomer. His curly black hair was pulled back into a messy bun, and he had a five o’clock shadow dusting his chiseled face. His eyes shone even more now that the lights were brighter, and they were truly captivating.

“Griffin?” Boomer had a shocked tone in his voice, his eyes the size of dinner plates. The man looked at Boomer with an equally wide eyed expression and stepped around Diaz to get a better look at Boomer.


“Grayson?” Riley gave Boomer a bewildered look.

“Do you know this guy?” Cody asked, pointing a finger nonchalantly at the man.

Boomer paused for a second before he spoke. The shock never leaving his face

“He’s my brother.”

Copyright © 2020 zanoGreen; All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for reading! Please comment below and let me know where you would like to see the story go or what your favorite parts are so far. Please note that this story does not revolve around a killer virus, that's just what sets up the events that lead to the story.

If you enjoyed what you have read, please leave a reaction and/or comment for the author!

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Chapter Comments

Wow, I  never expected that. I figured they would and up knowing someone in that group but a brother, that was a surprise


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8 minutes ago, CLJobe said:

Wow, I  never expected that. I figured they would and up knowing someone in that group but a brother, that was a surprise


Well if you think about it Boomer is from San Francisco and he never knew what happened to his family after the Clayton Outbreak. So one of them was bound to survive. I figured it would be a good plot twist.

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3 minutes ago, zanoGreen said:

Well if you think about it Boomer is from San Francisco and he never knew what happened to his family after the Clayton Outbreak. So one of them was bound to survive. I figured it would be a good plot twist.

I agree, it was a good plot twist.  I knew he was from the area, I expected he would meet someone who he knew. Good story, looking forward to reading more.

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1 minute ago, CLJobe said:

I agree, it was a good plot twist.  I knew he was from the area, I expected he would meet someone who he knew. Good story, looking forward to reading more.

Thank you! And hopefully I can get chapters out more quickly in the future 🙏 

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you made it really clear that Boomer was from/had family in SF.

but wow, never saw that coming! should be interesting to hear who Griffin is and what he leads/is part of.


hope life smooths out and you are safe, healthy and engaged - justice is not justice (nor blind) when it's predicated on skin color, language, orientation or economic status (and many others...)

thank you for sharing!


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Well, figured that we would run into some member of his family at some point, but the leader, what are the odds.  I agree that the interrogation was idiotic, the man obviously knew that he was telling the truth but just kept going.  Way to much personal time and issues in a situation that definitely doesn't call for it.  Well written and the pacing was good, can't wait to see what happens next...

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And the plot thickens!!! Wow! I have been really enjoying this story, but it just got even more exciting! Great chapter! Thanks. 

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