Fiction: The Deemed – Part 2 (by Chris)


The conclusion Raith and Joanna’s post-apocalyptic adventure. Well, maybe not post-apocalyptic. Post-virus? If you’re just joining us now, check out part one here.

The tale continues. Follow me after the break to see what happens.


Joanna said no more. Raith was determined and what he said made sense. No one came to help you when you were in trouble. She’d only found Raith by chance and she only knew he wasn’t one of them because he was alone. They were never alone. When they finished eating, they left, locking the door behind them.

The journey began just as Raith’s had the day before. Nothing moved, no sound was made. The town was a scene of destruction but empty. Raith shielded Joanna’s eyes from the man in the wrecked car and hurried along towards her home and the business district. When they passed, Joanna wouldn’t look at the house. She watched her feet and made a face that looked like crying. But there were no tears.

They walked into the business district. The road arced downwards into town and, from this angle, they could just make out top of the hospital past the quarantine line. He wouldn’t be surprised if a path had been made just to get the towns people to the hospital without letting them any further. They were like caged rats. They walked on. Raith, again, shielded her eyes as they passed the bodies, acting strong by will alone.

As they neared the church, they heard voices. Real, human, voices. Joy surged through him.

Come on!” He told Joanna and tried to pull her along but she stood frozen in fear. “What’s the matter with you? There’s people. Come on!” And tried to pull her again. She wouldn’t move.

Joanna, what’s the matter?”

It’s them.” She said. Her voice strained. She shook her head and Raith could feel her tremble. Footsteps approached them somewhere from the direction of the church but they couldn’t see anyone yet. “They’re coming! Come on, Raith! Come on!” She pulled frantically on his arm, trying to pull him into a nearby store. Her terror persuaded him and he allowed himself to be moved. They hid behind a display case.

Who are those people, Joanna? What’s gotten into you?” He whispered.

They, they think God did this to us. There’s this crazy woman and they all do what she says and she’s bad. She thinks she can talk to God, Raith, and Mommy said that only Jesus could do that. She’s not Jesus.”

But they might be able to help us!” He said, forcing his voice to remain whispered.

They won’t. They won’t. They saw me one time, when I came out after Mommy and Daddy died. They grabbed me and took me to her and she said that if I was pure God would have taken me. She said I had to be punished, that all children had to be punished because we had sin on us. She’s crazy Raith. Don’t let her get us.”

What happened?”

The man holding me had his hand on my mouth. They took me to a tent and it was only her and another man there. When I heard what she said, I bit him. Hard. I got his blood in my mouth but I ran as fast as I could. She was screaming for people to get me and that she would find me. That’s why I didn’t come out when you passed my house the first time. I didn’t know if you were one of them.”

He considered her words. Had people gone that mad where they could believe such a thing? He’d watched documentaries about people believing insane things when they were scared. He wanted to believe her.

We have to get to the hospital either way. We’ll have to sneak by them.” For a moment, Joanna looked as if she might refuse. “We’ll try to move through the buildings. We’ll hide. They won’t find us Joanna. It’s going to be okay.” Two men passed outside the store.

She’s right.” One said. “We fell too far and now it’s our time.”

She can talk to him man!” Said the other. “Can you fucking believe it? She can actually fucking talk to him.

The rest of their words were lost as they passed beyond the store. It was enough for Raith.

They made their way into the street and quickly moved behind an abandoned car before moving into another decrepit building. It used to be the town florist. Dead flower petals were strewn across the floor. They continued sneaking onwards until they could see the church.

A crowd of twenty people stood grouped around the stairs. Atop them, before the defaced doors stood a woman with disheveled hair and a ragged floral dress. Raith recognized some of the people in the crowd. Mr. Sands, Mrs. Waltson, he even thought he saw Mr. Beaweather, his fifth grade math teacher. A man stood at the top of the stairs holding an elderly man on his knees before him. The old man was gagged and already bleeding from a cut above his eye.

Sinners!” She shouted. “A world full of sinners! And their price has been paid. But we remain.” The crowd murmured in ascent. “Oh yes, we are the chosen children. We know the word. We know to strike down the unclean as God himself has shown us of late. The world has forgotten the lessons of our Lord and we enter into a new Old Testament.” Cheers erupted from the standing. “Yes, my children, I am your mother. Mother Madeline and I hear the words” her voice echoed of the sweetest revelry as she drunk herself deep on the indulgence. “And God shall speak to the mother, as she to her children. The power is unto me. Not all that remain are clean, no. Let us not forget the child,” Joanna tensed. “that escaped us. God told me, ‘Madeline, strike her down. Children are without sin but I leave her here as a test to you. She is unclean. Many are unclean.’ And so it is! God has told me that this old man,” she pointed at him. “has not accepted his word. The time has come and passed, old Bartholomew. Repent now, lest you find pain everlasting when you art loosed from this world.” The man holding him removed the gag. The crowd around shouted obscenities. Sinner, they called him. Filth.

I…” he said. “I… have made my peace.” He closed his eyes and lowered his head.

Then so be it.” She removed the knife from the waistband of her dress.

Raith grabbed Joanna and covered her eyes against the scene that followed. Mother Madeline killed the old man on nothing more than whim and the onlookers cheered. The hospital wasn’t far now. They had only to get around the church and they could make a run for it. No matter which way they chose to go, they could not pass the circle that surrounded the building without exposing themselves.

Joanna, we’ve got to go now, while they’re distracted. See that road in front of us? All we have to do is run across it into the next building and we can sneak around them. This is our only chance. Do you hear me? Then let’s go. Come on! Go! Go now!” He pushed her forward and grabbed her arm as they made a break across the road to the left of the crowd.

They had almost made it but it was too late. Mother had seen them and shrieked unearthly.

Children!” She yelled. “The girl! Get them! Get them, now! It is our test! They must die!”

The crowd surged after them. There was no point in hiding. It was only a race now, twenty adult versus two children. They avoided the store they’d been aiming for and went into the circle where the church sat. It was open and their only chance was to make a bee-line for the hospital. Raith didn’t know whether they would make it or, even if they did, whether anyone would be there to save them. He only knew that in this town there was only death.

He started running holding Joanna’s arm but quickly scooped her up in his arms. They had a head start but not much. They ran out of the circle and back into another street of businesses and apartments buildings. They could hear the ragged screams of the crowd that hunted them, their breath as they wheezed pursuit.

You can’t run!” One shouted.

You’re going to die, little sinners!” Shouted another.

Joanna buried her face in Raith’s shoulder and cried outright for the first time since they’d met. A gunshot rang out behind them and streetlamp burst above their heads.

Don’t!” He heard one yell. “They are for her.

Rocks and other objects flew at them, some striking Raith painfully. He was so close now. They chased him but he was faster even with the weight of the girl. The businesses and buildings faded away and he approached a tall barbed wire fence. On the other side, he could see the hospital completely just a short distance away. There was a single gap in the one surrounding the town, where the road passed through, but it was blocked with several large army vehicles. Dead men, soldiers succumbed to the virus, sat in the seats and lay propped up against their sides.

They were gaining on him and his heart sank. He would fail. There was no way through. Then he felt it. She pressed her face against his neck, wetting him with her tears, and kissed him. It was so sweet, so small, that in the terror of the moment he knew that he couldn’t let go.

Hold on,” he said. “I’m going to need my hands.” She gripped him with all her might.

No!” A man behind them screamed. It was Mr. Beaweather.

He clambered onto the hood of one of the vehicles and nearly slipped. It was an old army Jeep, the kind with no roof, and he tumbled from the windshield into the cab. He fell half into the lap of a long deceased soldier, still in his Army regalia but with no pride left with which to wear it. He kicked and grasped his way upright, knocking the body with a sickening softness and causing it to slump over. Raith’s hesitation cost him dearly; they were already on the vehicle by the time he jumped out.

It was now a matter of success or failure. Nothing more stood in his way. Open road and grass lay between him and the hospital. The building, he noticed, had its own barbed wire fence surrounding it. But the main road into the parking lot was cut off with two chain link doors. Two watch towers stood on either side of them. Could there be people there, up in those towers?

He had no time to think about it. They were over the car now and gaining. He was out of breath, slowing down even though ever fiber of his being told him to push onwards. Their feet stamped the beat of he and Joanna’s demise into his ears. Closer. He was getting closer. But so were they.

No!” Mr. Beaweather screamed. “No! They’re ours!”

Yes, there were people in those watch towers. He could see their silhouettes moving against the morning sun.

Help us! God, please help us! Please!” Raith screamed, tears streaming down his own face. He put his head down and put forth a final burst of speed. They were so close.

Gunshots rang out from behind them. Their regard for Mother Madeline now forgotten, they wanted only their prey. Seconds afterwords, more shots rang out but not from behind them. The men in the towers were shooting at them. This was it, they came seeking salvation to find their own end. Shot after shot pierced the air and Raith closed his eyes against his fate. Joanna screamed.

And just like that the footsteps behind them stopped pounding. There was only quiet. Raith reached the gate but it didn’t move. He grasped the chainlinks in his fingers and collapsed. When he opened his eyes, he saw his pursuers lying dead on the ground behind him. He grabbed Joanna, she too was unharmed. He closed his eyes and rest his head against the fence.

Are you sick?” A voice called out from above them. When he looked up he saw a man in a rubber suit and gasmask, that reminded him oddly of a beekeeper.

I’m… immune.” He panted and looked at Joanna. “We’re immune.”

Let them in.” The man on the tower issued the command, the gates opened, and they were saved.

* * *

In the days that followed, they found out that similar destruction had ravaged most of the country and parts of the world. Most of America’s biggest cities had turned into the world’s biggest graveyards in a matter of weeks. The military had done their best to stem the spread of the disease but, in the end, most had contracted it and died themselves. The American government was in tatters.

Three months after the first cases of the illness were reported, a vaccine was created. It was mandatory for all citizens but, in truth, amounted to nothing since most of those that remained carried a natural immunity anyways. The country moved on.

In time, the crazy’s and fanatics, like those in Raith and Joanna’s town, were cleared out and held to bear for the atrocities they had committed. Many escaped, it is true, but America retained little law enforcement and there was nothing that could be done. It could only be hoped that few of these escapees returned back into society separate from where they had left. Mother Madeline was put to death by firing squad within a week of Raith and Joanna’s salvation. Ten separate bodies had been found within the church where she held execution. The others in her brood looked on before being sentenced themselves.

Joanna and Raith grew up together as brother and sister. Raith took her with him, wherever he went. He never left her but, in time, she left him.


Return to Part 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge