If I catch her up wandering one more time I'll tie her to me with lengths of chain. I know why she's doing it, understand she almost can't help herself right now, but if she doesn't get some rest she is going to collapse. Roland has talked to her. Even tried sleeping in the same room to try and soothe her but he's as exhausted as she is. They've been through a lot, and then to put themselves through that too.
Can't believe they would risk it after all they've been through but to a one they all volunteered. I suppose in a way they've been doing it for so long that they didn't think it any big deal but to us, to us it was a huge deal. And to think that first Georgie and then Roland had been planning a way to do it long before the battle even took place. All because they consider us theirs, part of them.
I wish the canisters and equipment hadn't been destroyed but the Director sabotaged them. Bastard. If he ain't assassinated by the end of the week by one of his own I'll eat my pillow.
Tired of going over it in my head. Don't have room for it really. Don't apparently have room for the old nightmares either. Head is stuffed too full of all the new worries to have time to replay the old ones.
Dammit, there she goes again. I'm going to tie her to me. I swear I am.
"Move! Get out of my way! Georgie! Georgie?!"
Johnson rushed the door with gun drawn only he was unable to find an enemy to shoot. What he did find was Georgie sitting at a desk with old style paper files opened in front of her. Her hands were over her eyes and she was rocking and wailing.
"Kid. Kid, are you hurt? C'mon tell me something ... use words already ... Georgie ..."
Georgie uncovered her eyes, looked to the ceiling and screamed a battle cry only there was no battle. It was over. Done. Nothing she could do. Years too late for most of them.
"Dammit ..." Both Johnson and then Peterson tried to grab her but she fought them off and stumbled over to a row of medical cots in the darkened end of the room. That's when the men saw them.
"Dear God in Heaven," Peterson mumbled as he made the sign of the cross, looking like he himself was in danger of having a meltdown.
Waverly limped into the room sighing. "I'll take her."
"You touch her and I'll rip your face off. Who the hell are those ... those people?"
"Ol' Neville is the woman kneeling by that bed over there. The woman on the bed is the Director ... former director. It was an open secret on the Staff side that Neville was the Director's bio-mom. Neville wouldn't leave her side and they ... they executed them ... first the Director then Neville. 'Course the Director really didn't realize what was going on."
"What do you mean by that?"
"She'd already been made like the others, been lobotomized."
The word hung in the air and shocked everyone like a demon's curse at the Virgin Birth.
Johnson tried to speak but couldn't. He slowly made his way to Georgie's side where she was looking at the tags and charts hung on the end rails of each medical cot. The bodies in the beds were emaciated, barely more than skeletons with skin stretched over them. Only a few showed any signs of life. Living cadavers so pale they nearly glowed.
"Georgie ... Kiddo ... come ... come away. C'mon Kid ... let me ..."
"They're us. They're us." That's all she could bring herself to say as tears finally began to fall.
Johnson looked around helplessly but no one seemed to know what to do or say. Waverly carefully made his way over, but was very careful to head the soldier's threat to not to touch Georgie. "Johnson, she needs a blanket, coat, something. Check her skin. She's going to go into shock if we aren't careful."
"We?" Johnson growled.
"I know how it looks," the man said. "I'd think the same way. Just give those of us left a chance. We've been just as much prisoners of Pickering as the children have. We ... we survived the only way we knew how."
Hearing his words Georgie looked up and her eyes bore into his and said, "Say it again."
"Uh ..." then Waverly did all the while Georgie stared at him and through him.
The girl continued to look at him for a moment before allowing her expression to soften slightly. She looked at Johnson and said, "He's the same Mr. Waverly he's always been. He believes what he claims and ... and I'm going to need the help."
"For what?" Johnson asked.
"They're dying. They drained them to the point that their hearts are struggling to pump. And I don't understand everything that was done ... yet. With the Directors both dead and most of the Staff he's the only one left that I can ask and be sure to get honest answers from." Johnson started to say something snide but Georgie interrupted him saying, "I know, but I can read him best. And while I may not like his honest answers, I still need them. Especially now."
"I'm not sure what 'especially now' means but right now in the here and now you need to sit down. You're the color of the shower room tiles. Peterson, find a coat, sweater, blanket ... something. But I want it something clean. Make sure she uses it for herself and doesn't give it away. Then I want you to sit and guard her. No one goes near her. No one touches her. I don't want anyone even breathing in her direction. Any of the prisoners - and that includes former Staff - looks like they are going to make a move you put a bullet in their gut. Got it?"
Peterson snapped a salute and said, "Sure thing LT."
Georgie barely heard the men as they started what they called Clean Up. The Director's people were separated out from Pickering Staff and they were placed in two separate and secure holding cells ... formerly known as Isolation ... and before that the old drunk tank. The only difference was that Georgie demanded to be allowed to look over the Staff to make sure none of them would be turning into medical emergencies and to patch the wounds up that couldn't wait. The man that had been one of the Janitors at Pickering for as long as the children could remember and whose IQ was nearly as low as some of theirs waddled forward and said, "This is my home. Don't send me away. Don't make me leave."
She got him calmed and told him to sit down so that she could reach the cut he had on his head. "None of us are leaving right now. It's too dangerous out there. But if we do leave some day you can choose to stay here or come with us."
"You'd let me come with you some day?"
"Yes, you're one of us." The old man nodded and then went to stand beside Peterson who gave him the once over.
The old man said, "I went to war. Got my head blown off. They sewed it back on and I came to work here."
Johnson and some of the others glanced over and the man stood straight and tall for the first time in years and slowly brought his arthritic hand up in a salute. It tugged at the thing in Johnson that was also tugged on by the children. He looked at the old man and returned his salute, causing if possible the old man to stand even straighter.
Johnson turned away thinking this was the damnedest war he'd ever been in. Then wondered if the war was over or if these was merely the first of many battles to come.