Reborn - alternate ending (The Born Trilogy Book 4)

By: AE Watson

Chapter Sixteen

I look back at them and wink. I like the winking thing. It makes me feel like I know something I definitely don’t.

I walk from the woods, past the broken branches I did last time, and cross the broken highway where the bloodstains are still splattered on the cracked road.

I don’t like being without my weapons, but I don’t imagine the rules of the towns have changed much. What has changed is the blue-eyed guy next to me this time.

Jake looks nervous and smiles. "So we just walk in? They won't shoot us?"

I look up at him and smirk. "That’s how it works usually. They want the trade so they don’t normally kill the customers."

He doesn’t look like it eases him at all.

We cross the road and I hear it; it still makes my stomach turn to stone.

The screams of the men who rip and tear fill the air. I see them running for us, hoping to rob us of whatever we have and rape me, of course.

Jake turns to run but I grab his hand. As the first ones get close, I see the bullets hit.

They drop mid-run.

I put my hands into the air so the guards see that it isn’t me. Jake copies me, looking anxious and ready to run. The last couple thieves stop when they see the ten dead men on the pavement.

I glance at Jake. "This is easier with Mitch."

He swallows. "Was it like this last time?"

I nod. My eyes sparkle. "It was worse."

I can see him understand what I did for him as he shakes his head but has nothing to say.

We cross into the gates. The guard flashes me a grin. "Smart girl."

I give him a grin. "That wasn’t me. Maybe it was God."

He snorts. "Welcome to the trading post."

Merchants don’t rush at me like last time. They watch me from the lean-tos and shanties. I walk to the one where the old lady was. She sees me and scowls. I smile. "Surprised to see me alive?"

She mutters, "And yet, you came back." She sees Jake behind me and instantly her face splits into a grin. "But this time you brought me something I would be willing to trade for."

I look back at Jake. He gives me a clueless look. I smirk. "Yeah, he's not for sale."

She shrugs. "Too bad. We would pay by the pound for something that beautiful and that size."

Jake frowns. "What?"

I laugh. "I need needles and if you have any of the antibiotics left, I need that too."

A slow smile creeps along her old face. "Well, someone went and destroyed all the farms and labs so the antibiotics are all gone."

My hand lashes out fast, grabbing her throat and lifting her to her toes. "I have things to trade."

She gags and sputters but breaks out into a laugh. I toss her back into the stacks of trash bags. "I know where your son is."

Her eyes widen. "LIAR!"

I shake my head. "I know where he is."

She scrambles up. "How—how do you know where he is?"

I remain stoic.

"I can get you needles but the antibiotics are gone. Everything is gone. The power hasn’t been on here in a while, but I can get you the needles. Where is he?"

She grabs for me, but I shove her back. "He's dead. I killed them all. You want to know who ended the power and the farms? It was me. I murdered every doctor I saw."

She screams and leaps for me, but I drop her skinny body to the ground and hold her there. "I did it especially for you. You and the other people of this shit hole, who traded the girls to the farms and camps." I get off of her. She is trembling and twitching, but still manages to pull a knife from under her dress. She leaps at me but Jake grabs her arm and bends it to stab the knife into her chest. He freezes and steps back.

She gags and opens her mouth to scream but she can't; he must have stabbed into her lung. Blood fills her mouth and she drops to the ground.

He's about to freak out. I point his face at mine. "Thank you."

He stops, realizing he saved me. His eyes dart back to the dying woman. I shake my head. "Trust me, she earned this fate."

He swallows and nods. "Okay." He doesn’t believe me, but he never sat in the woods, terrified and listening to the screaming girls begging for death over the farms and being loaded into the trucks. I did.

Her body stops making sounds. I step over her and start to rifle through her cabinets. I open a drawer and a moth flies out. I wave it away and see the needles with plastic wrap on them still.