They Walk Among Us
I jerked when Raven touched my hand with his fingers. I shot him a glance, and saw sympathy in his gaze.
::It’s hard to find out your parents weren’t who you thought them to be.::
“No, that isn’t it,” I protested.
He tilted his head to study me. ::If that wasn’t the problem, what was?::
“It was the fact everyone lied to us, or at least, the governments lied to us. They told us your were coming to take over our planet. You weren’t interested in negotiating or anything like that. You were only interested in hostile takeovers.” I shook my head, and sighed. “We’re trained to believe everything our government says. Why would they lie to us for their own personal gains?”
::I don’t know much about my own history and what my people were really like, but I do know we were taught from an early age to always question things. Our adults and leaders expect us to doubt them. It leads to better understanding and more intelligent Opalites.::
“Yeah, well, at times I think the earthly governments want their people to be as dumb as possible, so they don’t have to work as hard coming up with good lies.” I studied the liquid in my mug. “Anyway, as I began to learn more about the Opalites, from any source I could find, I discovered other things our government was doing to keep us under control. Other ways they were lying and exerting their power.”
Raven stood, and moved toward the refrigerator. I watched him open it, and peer inside before he shot me a glance over his shoulder.
::I have a feeling this is going to take a while. Why don’t I make us lunch while you tell me about the rebels?::
I had to share more with Raven, but I couldn’t share too much. The rebellion had so many different branches. It wasn’t just about rescuing people the government wanted to make disappear or capture. There were members who were trying to get the truth out to the people, no matter the consequences. We all knew the risks we took, and our lives were the price we would pay if we were caught.
“We run a type of Underground Railroad for people the government wants. Sort of like what the abolitionists did during slavery in our country. That was over two hundred years ago, but the idea is still the same. We help those who don’t have power or freedom to get away from those who do.”
I didn’t have a problem telling Raven that, since it was obvious we did that. He hummed in encouragement as he heated up some water for pasta, and opened a can of spaghetti sauce.
::How did you get recruited? What made you decide to take action instead of simply accepting what you were told?::
Sadness filled my heart at the thought of Killian, my first love. Raven must have caught the wave of sorrow, because he set the spoon down, and walked over to me. I looked up into his eyes, and he leaned down to brush a kiss over my cheek.
::I’m sorry, and you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I can tell it’s a painful memory for you.::
“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you. I just haven’t really talked about it before. I don’t have a lot of close friends. Mostly because I don’t want them to get swept up in something dangerous.” “Thank you though.”
Raven dipped his head in acknowledgement before returning to the stove. I watched as he moved around the room, a low level hum of attraction building between us. Repeating all the reasons why I shouldn’t indulge my desires didn’t seem to work on keeping my hands from wanting to run over his body, and learn all the places that made him gasp.
“Killian was my roommate my freshman year at the university. He was bright, and beautiful. Everything about him practically screamed happiness and joy. He was a history and political science double major, so he was learning all about the government and how it’d evolved over the centuries.”
I laughed and took a sip of tea.
“I won’t bore you with all the details. I learned more than I ever wanted to know from him. I fell in love with him, but he wasn’t interested in me as a boyfriend. We became best friends, and, as the year progressed, I watched as all the joy seemed to drain out of him. I couldn’t get him to tell me why or what was wrong. He’d taken to spending hours in the library, researching his papers, or so he told me.”
Guilt swamped me like it always did when I thought of Killian.
“Maybe if I had known more at the time, I could have seen the danger, but I was young, and still wasn’t totally sure about what I believed in. One night, we were sleeping in our dorm, and the door burst in. There were all these men in suits, yelling at us to stay down. They shot me with some kind of drug to paralyze me while they ransacked our room.”
I closed my eyes, and breathed, trying to tamp down on the terror threatening to steal me away from the present, and throw me back to that night.
“I heard Killian yell, screaming at them to stop, but they didn’t. I wasn’t knocked out or anything like that, but I couldn’t move. All I could do was watch as they beat him bloody. He kept protesting about not doing anything wrong, and it being his right to know things. By the time the chaos ended, and I could finally move, they were gone. Along with Killian and all of his research.”
Opening my eyes, I found Raven crouched next to me, his hand resting on my knees. He reached out with the other one, and wiped the tears off my cheek.
::You never heard from him again.::
I shrugged. “Authorities found his body in the river, downstream from one of the bridges on campus. The official story was he committed suicide because he was failing his classes.”
::That wasn’t true?::
“Killian was a genius. There was no way he failed any class in his entire life, and if he did, he wouldn’t have killed himself over it. He would have gotten mad, and studied harder the next time. They killed him for what he found out, and I vowed to discover what the government wanted hidden so badly, they would kill an unknown college student to keep it secret.”