This story was inspired by a prompt by K.J Chapman who is a fellow blogger on WordPress (Kj86Chapman). Please check her blog out and I assure you won’t be disappointed.
The prompt was a couple of lines from a conversation in which two characters were talking about love. I tried to write a story involving work colleagues but it felt I was force-feeding them words. Then I scrapped it and just wrote the prompt as the beginning of a story and then it blossomed.
This is just the beginning, as the story that transpired was too much to tell in just one post and will continue on over three (perhaps four). It was refreshing to write as I did not need to think about it, the words just flowed. It is also slightly different to what I have written about before.
I hope you enjoy the story and continue on the journey with the future posts until the climax.
Please feedback and let me know what you think.
Operation: The Siblings
“Why are you so afraid to love?”
“I’m not afraid, just suspicious. Why do our souls crave the one thing that can hurt us most deeply?”
“Because it is natural. Fighting it is futile, love will always win.”
Jest jumped to his feet, placed his hands on his hips and looked out towards the vast land. It was beautiful. The green fields stretched out for miles with no sign of activity with the exception of cows and sheep grazing in separated areas. Each piece of land was segregated off with six foot wooden fences and a different colour flag to signify the farmer it belonged too.
Jest’s favourite area was the bluebell field to the left of the grazing area. They stood three feet tall, were vibrant and wonderful. He could recall the days spent wading through it with Fer, trespassing the farmer’s lands as it was the quickest route through. A lot had changed over the years, much for the worst, but there was still the view, and soon that would change. The farmers had already neglected their property and their cattle, they were of no use anymore.
Jest looked down at his sister and a pang hit his stomach. Fer was two years his junior but she sat on the grassy hill a grown woman. She would always be a little girl in his eyes, naive and optimistic, with the daisy chains she continued to braid in her hair and the dresses she wore even on a gloomy day.
“This I can love,” Jest said pointing out towards the beautiful fields.
“You, I can love. We are bonded by blood, we have been together since you were born, but a stranger, a friend, an acquaintance or someone that warms my bed, I cannot. There is nothing natural about loving someone and giving them your heart and soul, only for it to be lost so easily. That is stupidity.
“Life is about survival. We eat, drink, run, hide, sleep and wake. We repeat. That is all relatable as we do it on a daily basis. Love is intangible, that what makes me suspicious.”
There were too many evils in the world for Jest to concentrate on anything but survival. There was the Operation, a force that formed shortly after the government was overthrown and the world was left in disarray. The country was segregated into sections, leaving much of it unpopulated. The Pit, formerly known as the City of London, was where the residents of the country were rounded up and sectioned. They were known as the Protected, everyone outside it, the Diseased. That was what Jest and Fer were. The siblings had escaped the purge and slid off into the outer lands for survival.
They were not the only ones, they knew that, but they had not seen another human in the two months that followed. They were the most susceptible to the sun rays that had been growing stronger each day. The heat had been increasing but was still bearable.
The sound of a firecracker could be heard in the distance, causing Jest and Fer to flinch. They knew it was coming, that was why they had spent the morning on the hilltop. To survey the land before it was destroyed. The solar flares would soon shoot through the atmosphere and end civilisation. There was no difference in being in a controlled state or out in the countryside, there was no escape. The world had been warned about it for the last year, but only when it was late did anyone act. A second and third sound went off and golden embers rained down across the land.
Jest shook his head and sat next to his sister, putting an arm around her as he placed his free hand in hers to protect her one final time.
“Is this It, you think?” Fer asked.
Tears had started to roll down her cheeks as she looked out towards the embers. Jest choked up, unable to speak, and ignored the question. There was no need to answer it.
“Do you have doubts?” Fer sobbed.
Jest held her tighter.
“No. Do you?” Jest managed to cough.
Fer rubbed her stomach in a soothing manner, something she had done a lot as of late.
“I just wish Joss could have been here with us.”
Jest nodded. He was the reason why Fer had questioned Jest about love. He was her soulmate, lost in the bundle and snatch that was the Purge. They did not know if he had survived the stampede, he was caught under the feet of the Operation soldiers and lost in the sea of residents and army alike.
Jest had survived the ordeal with scratches and cuts, Fer had left with emotional and psychological trauma. She suffered nightmares on a nightly basis, her screams, for Joss, for freedom, waking Jest who then soothed her back into a peaceful rest with calm words. He was the rock, she was the optimist, but occasionally he was needed to be both. He would offer her encouragement that life would be better if they continued on, but something nagged at him that maybe he was wrong.
The sound of solar flares roared high above them as the embers rained down across the land in bursts of golden light. Golden flakes begun to fall over them as the sobs of Fer grew louder, her hand caressing her six month in the making bump.
Maybe it is for the best, maybe this life isn’t suited for a new generation, Jest would think anytime he thought of his unborn niece or nephew. This made his stomach lurch but he managed to hold his composure. It was a rarity but he was thankful for a light breakfast.
Jest felt a cold metal cylinder dig into his neck. He noticed Fer tense up which he took as the same thing had happened to her.
“Stay calm and stand,” a male voice said.
Jest gave Fer a gentle squeeze and nodded. He let go of his sister, pushed himself up and held out a hand to Fer to pull her up, which she accepted. She was short at five foot and her bump was visible.
Three armed soldiers stood with their rifles directed at them, two on Jest, one on Fer. That made sense as he was the one who would have put up more of a fight. Jest noticed they were part of the Operation, their emblem was emblazoned on each of the soldiers blue uniforms.
They were all men, in their thirties, black hair, a tan present on their face and a nonchalant expression. Jest knew they would fire on demand.
“How may we help, gentlemen?” Fer said, taking hold of Jest’s hand.
An explosion erupted above their head. They all looked up, shielding their eyes partially from the bright spectacle, to see a blistering fireball roar through the sky and hit far in the distance followed by a billow of smoke. The once placid farm animals were now acting irrationally around their part of the land. A second explosion sounded shortly after with a third and fourth following. The sky lit up with solar flares engulfing the land in a shower of golden light.
“We need to move. Now,” a soldier shrieked.
A solider waved their rifle for Jest and Fer to walk ahead and without any fight they headed down the hill as quickly as they could, hand in hand, with the soldiers following close behind. In the distance Jest could hear explosions. Jest wondered what brought the members of the Operation out at such a precarious time, but found no answer in his thoughts.
“Through the forest,” a solider ordered once they reached the foot of the hill.
Jest held on to his sisters hand tighter and continued on, following the soldiers orders.
“Everything will be okay, sis.”
Fer squeezed his hand in acknowledgement. The forest was overgrown and debris of fallen trees sprawled across the ground, so they had to be careful of where they stepped. The sound of explosions continued in the distance, a golden light spread throughout the forest. Any other time, Jest would have stopped to admire the beauty, but this was a horror he had no time to bask in.
“To the right, follow the path,” the soldier screamed.
Jest pulled Fer to the right and the pathway was clear. They trundled on, Fer slowing as she was tiring, but the soldier behind urged her on with the nozzle of the pistol. A few minutes on, after stepping over a fallen tree and past a log they reached a clearing. Several jeeps, around twenty soldiers all with weapons and a man a in a white suit and trilby stood waiting for them.
“I see you found them, just in time it seems,” the man in the suit shouted.
An explosion hit behind them causing a tremor along the surface. Jest fought the urge to look back and instead kept his focus on the main in the suit. The dapper dressed gentleman removed the trilby from his head and held it to his chest. He was bald with heavy scarring on his scalp. Jest stopped and held his sisters hand tighter.
It was Logan Johnson, the leader of the Operation.
“What do you want?” Jest spat, not hiding his hatred.
“We came for the girl,” Logan said.
Jest and Fer glanced at each other with confusion. Logan clicked his fingers and two of the soldiers that had escorted them took Fer by the arms. Jest tried to hold on for as long as he could but was struck hard by the rifle of the third soldier and he released his grip.
His vision darkened and nausea settled in as he collapsed to his knees. The soldier followed up with a hard kick to the stomach. The blow left Jest winded and unable to breath. He could hear Fern scream but was powerless to stop the Operation as he dropped to the ground. He could see Fern dig her heels into the soil in resistance but was lifted off the ground by the soldiers and taken to a vehicle.
Jest started to fight the pain, digging his nails into the ground and clawing towards his sister. Logan stepped towards Jest and knelt in front of him, his forearms resting on his thighs to balance himself. He held Jest’s chin in his right hand and applied pressure.
“In a few short hours, the land you have come to love and call your own will be nothing but ashes. You will pay for your disobedience, you will regret ever crossing me. You will die alone, but be happy, for your sister will be fine, for a little longer, anyway. Fer will too pay for your actions.”
Logan pushed Jest back to the ground and sneered as he cocked his head to the side as he stood. “Let’s move out.”
“Fer!” Jest cried out, but to no avail.
She had been pushed in to one of the vehicles and was no doubt gagged. Jest would not put up without a fight and continued his crawl to the jeeps. Logan had caught eye contact, shook his head in disbelief and turned towards Jest. There was nothing he could do as Logan swung his foot and caught Jest in the temple. Pain and nausea struck instantly, the urge to vomit overwhelming as he groaned in agony. Jest could do nothing but hold his head, on the verge of unconsciousness. The vehicles roared and disappeared in the distance as Jest laid motionless on the ground. Soon there would be darkness to cure Jest’s pain, but not before hearing explosions nearby and having the feeling that he was being dragged across the hard ground and hearing strange voices barking orders.
“Fer,” Jest mumbled, as he fell unconscious.