Jove felt a mix of annoyance and panic. With eyes shut tight, the cool metal of the ladder rung seemed to cool some of the burning in his head. He spoke in a measured voice through gritted teeth, “Would you rather wait for the guards to find us? We can’t stay here. We definitely can’t go back.”
An unsteady sigh sounded nervously from a few feet behind. “I-I think we should give ourselves up then. We’ll die for sure if we go up to the surface.”
Jove spun around to look at his best friend. Virgil had never given up like this but now he stood dejectedly wiping his grimy glasses on his dirtier shirt futilely trying to clean them while he waited for my answer without meeting his eyes. Virgil had always been the short, stubborn ass of the gang who refused to give in no matter how tough the going got. This wasn’t him.
Jove was striking even now covered in the filth accumulated from hours of crawling through sewage. A tall boy with bright blue eyes and long dark hair shaved on the sides, he was a fierce friend and natural leader.
“Virge don’t you know-” Jove began sharply.
“Of course, I know.” Virgil snapped. “Don’t bark at me like one of your new recruits, I’ve followed you since the beginning but… but I won’t follow to your end.” He finished with his voice a few octaves lower in a false swagger.
“We have to try.” Jove implored with a desperate, fanatical gleam in his eye. “I have to try. I won’t go back to Juvie or be forced into the hole, I’d rather die.” Nodding encouragingly, Jove motioned with an outstretched hand and watery smile.
Virgil merely shook his head wearily and took a step backwards.
Jove’s vision blinded with sudden rage at his friend’s foolishness. He had the urge to punch the face of his longest follower who was now telling him he would have to go alone.“You actually believe their stupid fuckin’ lies?” Jove spit into Virgil’s face. “That the surface is uninhabitable due to out of control global warming?”
“Why else would our ancestors have moved here?” Virgil solemnly replied.
“A thousand reasons!” Screamed Jove. He spoke increasingly more rapidly with bulging, angry eyes, “Famine, plague, war, debt, taxes, fuck! How should I know? No-one wants to go to the surface because we’ve been told that we’ll die within hours. But has anyone in living memory even tried to see if this is true?”
Virgil sighed and seemed to look through his best friend. He softly whispered, “It was the massive global warming events of the 21st century… Everything I’ve ever read… confirms…” The grey eyes of his flicked back to reality from ODINN to stare sadly into Jove’s vibrant blue ones. He had just skimmed through every book and article he’d ever read just to double check. Jove’s heart lightened considerably as he realised that this behavior was for him. Virgil didn’t want to leave his side, not really. But, his best friend truly believed something that Jove did not. They both knew that this is where they part.
Jove had no idea what to say but Virgil walked forward to embrace him. They hugged tightly for a few seconds and with a clap on his back, Virgil’s dirt and tear-smeared face turned from Jove’s to walk through the door. Jove had no idea if his friend had looked back or not, he was already climbing the cold metal rungs toward the unknown.
Been working hard on my novel and working long hours at the day job. I apologize for the lack of content and interaction recently gotta get back to daily posting. have this slightly manic plan to make up all those days I’ve missed with stories. I realize this is short but its all I feel comfortable posting, the rest of the work is in development and editing. I’ve been considering different environmental charities to donate a percentage of profits (if I get any) from my novel. Any suggestions? Thank you for reading,