Chapter 17: Few Over The Many

Nickolas Parkingsons

I pace in the room as I await the return of the General and her soldiers. Suddenly, the phone rings. Almost instantaneously, the cord phone is at my ear, “Hello?”
“Nicky!”
“Good god, Amanda,” I nearly slammed the phone down on the receiver.
“Wait!” She yelps on the end before I am able to cut off her voice. “Kaitlyn isn’t in Philadelphia!”
I grip the phone tighter as I return it to my ear, “What?”
“Kaitlyn isn’t in Philadelphia,” Amanda repeats. “I don’t know where exactly, but they took her to one of my Mom’s apartments.”
My eyes narrow even though she can’t see me, “How did you get this number?”
“I’m not a part of Nexis for nothing,” she scoffs, but doesn’t explain further. “Soon the lackeys will return empty-handed. I’m just trying to provide you some information to share.”
“Why?”
She sighs heavily, “Look, I don’t exactly agree with what Mom is doing. Killing Kaitlyn, and slash or the public is quite extreme.”
I don’t comment, but ask, “Do you know where Crystal’s apartments are located?” She answers with a no, explaining that Crystal didn’t exactly share this information with her or her father.
“She wasn’t around a lot,” she murmurs under her breath, but I hear anyway.
“Thank you,” I say sincerely and she hums, before hanging up. With this new information, I return to my computer and begin a search for these supposed apartments.
The soldiers and their leader stumble in hours later. They’re covered in dirt with matching scowls on their faces.
“What happened?” I ask, my eyes wide as General Wynn slumps into a chair beside me.
“The building collapsed while we were inside,” she says angrily. “It was a false tip. Nexis led us there.”
My own anger bubbles, but it’s overrun with the excitement I have. “I might know where they are.”
General Wynn’s eyebrows rose up, disappearing under her bangs, “Oh really?”
I hesitate, “I received a tip while you were gone.” General Wynn looks wary, so I continue on. “Someone believes that Kaitlyn is being held at one of Crystal’s apartments. I’ve compiled a list of three such apartments in the United States.” I shove the list toward her and she glances over it, her mouth in a thin line.
“Parkingsons,” General Wynn pauses as she surveys the room. The other soldiers meet her eyes, but when a few flick their eyes to me, they quickly look away. “I know that you care for her, but Kaitlyn isn’t exactly our priority. We’re looking for where and how they are planning on distributing the plague.”
I take a sharp intake of breath at her admittance. “Even if Crystal is with her?”
The General takes a moment to ponder, her onyx eyes staring into my own. “Do you think if we capture McArthur that she will tell us where it is?”
“I—”
“You don’t.” She states, standing from her chair. “Our priority is the plague.”
“So, you’re just planning on letting an innocent girl die?” I cry out incredulously, standing up as well.
“A few over the many,” General Wynn says solemnly. She then orders all the soldiers to clean up and begin their sleeping and researching shifts over again. It is all I can do to not attack someone as they file from the room, leaving the General and I alone.
“Nickolas,” she says softly, placing a hand on my arm. “I am sorry.”
I shove her off and storm from the room. The three apartments addresses are engrained in my brain.
If they won’t do something, I will.

Kaitlyn Jarred

Halfway through the night, I’m jolted awake with the immediate feeling of nausea. I rush to the bathroom, before unloading the wonderful dinner I had into the toilet. As I lean against the counter, Crystal slips in. She shoves a thermometer into my mouth and tsks at the results.
“Fever, nausea, these are the first signs of plague,” she explains, leading me back to my bedroom. A trashcan has appeared beside my bed and I am thankful as I empty stomach acid into it. She leaves and returns with a cool washcloth. Placing it on my forehead, she gives me a small smile, “I’ll bring a bowl of water so you can replace it after it gets too warm.”
My voice is shaky when I ask, “Why?”
“Why what?” Crystal pauses in the doorway.
“Why are you being so nice to me?”
“If these are your last days, I thought you should spend them comfortably,” she says briskly before leaving. Crystal brings a bowl of cool water that she leaves on my bedside, and places a fluffy blanket over me on the bed. My fever makes me shiver and the extra blanket is much appreciated.
“Crystal,” I call out weakly and she turns, scowl now returned to her face, “thanks.” She seems slightly taken aback, but spins on her heel and marches out, closing the door softly it her wake.
I fall into a restless slumber, fever dreams plaguing my thoughts.
Ha, plaguing.
This ordeal is even making my jokes awful.
When I awaken the next time, I feel weaker. I stumble to the bathroom, and after using it, I collapse in the hall.
“Kaitlyn!” Jonathon comes running. I allow him to help me up and back to bed. “The plague is hitting you hard, huh?”
I huff, but soon my body is wracked with a coughing fit. “Please, leave.” Jonathon stares at me for a second before complying to my wishes. Crystal comes bumbling in after he’s left, warm tea and new pajamas in hand.
“Drink this, it should soothe your throat for at least a little while,” she explains, handing me the mug. I feel like my hands can barely hold it, but I’m able to just long enough for a deep drink. I embarrassingly except help from Crystal to put on the new, less sweat-soaked pajamas, before once again returning to bed. “I hope for your sake that they give me what I want,” she says softly on her way out. Once again, I’m stunned by this new behavior.
But I can’t help but agree with her.

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