Mercy lay as still as her body would let her. As frail and easily snuffed out as that body was it was a gift nonetheless. The new sheets she had just put on her bed were soft but smelled foreign, like plastic really. Mercy hated the smell of plastic. She allowed a subtle turn of her head so her nose could bury itself into her shoulder and inhale a familiar scent.
The rain pounding away on the roof only added to her sense of comfort. It was a hard and steady rain, her favorite. When it came down like that, the sound of a constant downpour created a sort of white noise that Mercy liked to imagine is what her mother’s womb had sounded like. Not loud and grainy like TV static or the harsh tones of an empty radio channel.
It would be soon now that simple pleasures like listening to the rain peacefully in a quiet room would become uncertain. The Others were so close to Earth and moving closer every day. Late at night when Mercy felt everyone asleep in the building around her, she often crept up the fire escape to the roof and lay down on a sheet. Her eyes strained and swept back and forth across the black sky trying to pick out any sign of a ship from the obvious stars and planets.
This was not one of those nights. One more week in this apartment is all she could afford. Not financially speaking but for safety purposes. The group here with her had decided she had to be moved again. The logistics of her movement and the time between them was not something Mercy worried about.
She had faith if not complete trust in those given her life for protection. There was little else she could do but have faith. Contemplating on it at all made Mercy squirm a bit under her sheets and she frowned at breaking her meditative stillness. Across the room her door squeaked just the slightest bit. Mercy didn’t even move her eyes from the window.
The door swung wider and closed silently in a flash of movement. There was a quick patter of tiny feet on the carpet and then the all too familiar weight of a body at the foot of Mercy’s bed. Without looking she knew it was Cleo.
At seven years of age, Cleo was the only person allowed to travel consistently with Mercy from town to town. Her small legs curled up under her chin and her arms encircled her knees. “I’m worried about this move,” Cleo whispered.
Her long dark mousy brown hair fell over her arms in a curtain. Mercy finally turned from the window and looked at her wide-eyed friend. She paused a moment to take in Cleo’s pale skin and light green eyes shining at her in the dark.
Every move was nerve wracking and always held the chance of Mercy being taken hostage for questioning, or possibly killed by angry fanatics. Still, Cleo had never before felt the need to express fear out loud.
“Why are you worried?” even as she spoke Mercy turned her eyes back to the window.
She knew staring at anyone too long made them uncomfortable. “They are so close now,” Cleo persisted in her whispering.
No one was listening to their conversation. Everyone was asleep and Mercy could feel it. “There’s always some danger Cleo. It’s true the Others are almost here but this is what we have been waiting for right? You should be relieved the end is in sight. We will have answers,” Mercy ached to turn her eyes to Cleo again.
It was so lonely sometimes, having to avoid contact with others. “Do you want me to tell you a story? How about the one with the bunnies? Two young hares, rump to rump like duelling pistols, crouched by the gate,” her voice drifted off, she could feel Cleo was uninterested.
“What do you think they will be like?” there was awe in the small girl’s voice.
She had already given it thought but she was curious for more ideas. Smiling, Mercy turned her head and stared just above Cleo’s, “The women will be beautiful. They will wear flowing dresses, they will sparkle with jewelry and fantastic makeup. The men will be handsome in tailored suits, funny moustaches and wear silly monocles like butlers.”
The girls giggled and watched their anxiety break apart like so many tiny raindrops.
This short story post was written for the SpeakEasy at YeahWrite for their weekly writing challenge. This one is challenge # 156!