It was brighter outside than it was in the hall, despite the clouds that hovered over the half moon. I followed Tom out, listening carefully for any sounds inside. The struggle had stopped abruptly, and so had the thoughts. The back of the church showed a small enclosure, a graveyard surrounded by forest and black iron gates. It looked dilapidated and in need of maintenance. On the other side of the graveyard, somewhere in the trees there came a muffled sound, and then a conclusive thump.
Tom ducked behind a tombstone, but I stood frozen with nowhere to hide. I saw the barrel of a gun first, dull silver in the light, and then the thin arm that held it. The girl walked slowly out from the shadows of the trees, eyes narrowed at me. In her other hand was a knife, droplets of dark blood fell to the grass. She cocked the gun and began walking towards me again, and then I realized this was the blonde girl from before, the one who ran away. She had changed her clothes and tied her hair up into a bun, but I recognized the face.
"Why did you bring them here?" she said, now only a few feet from me.
I heard Tom's thoughts buzzing in my head, leaping from question to question and landing on his always inevitable impulse. He was going to attack her.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, keeping my voice low as I stared into the bullet behind the black hole.
"You know! You led them here!" she said, taking one more step towards me. Her hand was steady around the gun.
Tom chose to move then, and I felt the prickle of adrenaline in his blood mirrored in mine for a moment. The girl yelled as she was shoved over, but at the same instant my vision blacked. I couldn't feel Tom's presence, and I was alone in the black. Then the voices started filtering in. A blonde woman with a pretty smile and too-red lipstick ruffling my hair, a cat snuggled in my lap, a familiar apartment, an explosion. Dr. Worth standing before me with a needle, saying things like "Hold out your arm, this will only take a second.", and a fire, the wet ground as we ran.
I gasped as if my chest had been crushed the whole time, and my vision slowly returned, clearing away in slow black spots. I saw her wide eyes first, gun pointed at me and Tom in quick shifts as she stepped back. I noticed her legs stumble slightly as she moved. Tom lay on the ground, his face turned away from me; his body too still. Tom, get up, I said to him, but he didn't move.
"Tom," I said aloud, as close to yelling as I dared.
The girl began to leave, backing away from us faster now. I struggled to get back up and follow her, my body heavy.
"What the hell was that?" I said. I stared at her this time and ignored the gun. "Did you kill him?"
She shook her head and then adjusted the gun that was fixed on me, although less steadily this time. I couldn't hear his thoughts, I couldn't feel his consciousness connecting us. The line was silent, not even the sound of a dial tone to break my conscious. I was alone now and true silence hit me.
"What did you do?" I said, glancing back at his still body, wishing for him to move.
"Gravedigger," she said, eyes flickering to Tom and then back to me. "I searched his memories."
I said nothing. I heard, as if from a distant voice the girls thoughts. I have to tell Eliah.
"Can you hear my thoughts?" she said, whispering the words as if she were afraid of the answer.
"I'm leaving," she replied, and turned away.
"Wait," I said, "how did they find us? Who brought them here?"
"It was you guys, probably," she said, holstering her gun. "Where's your other friend?"
"She's gone," I replied.
"They got what they came for, then. That's why we're still here." What's so special about her?
"They came for us, not her" I said, glancing back at the church. She was right, the Watchers were gone. "Look, you did this to Tom, you have to help us."
"I can't. This has never happened before. Bring him back inside," she said and made a move as if to leave, but then stopped. "I'll be back tomorrow night, meet me here. My name's Payson."
The shadows of the trees hid her and there was nothing but the sound of shifting branches and then silence, foreign to my mind. Tom, wake up, I thought. He hadn't moved. I lifted him up and carried him back inside. The room was dark, and everyone lay sleeping as if nothing had happened. There wasn't a light on upstairs, and no voices or thoughts drifted into my mind. I stared at the two empty beds, my mind plagued with Tom's memories and the realization that Alice meant something to the government. Where ever she went, if the Watchers took her, she wouldn't be coming back.
I awoke to the soft, faint sound of rain. The light from the windows filtered in blue, it was still too dark to see clearly. Tom sat up in his bed and he turned to me as I sat up.
"The hell was that? How long have I been sleeping?" he said.
Without waiting for an answer he got out of his bed and looked out the window where the incessant light of the V-screens flickered in.
"Ten after six," he said, eyes reflecting the images that flickered across the screen.
There must be cameras, I thought. How else could they have found us? Those screens are everywhere.
Tom grabbed his backpack. We should go.
"Wait. Do you remember what happened last night?" It was foreign for us to speak to each other aloud. Tom stopped and turned back to me.
"Yes, I saw it. Why should we stay here and wait for her to finish us off?"
"The Watchers are after her, too. You saw what she did, she's like us. She calls herself a gravedigger, does that sound like a spy for Control to you?"
Tom narrowed his eyes, "It does. We should go after Alice, or have you already given up on her? We're the ones that got her caught in the first place, and what if she leads them back to us? This is unfinished business, we can't just run away."
"And what if she's dead already and we waste our time?" I said it, but I didn't believe it myself. I paused. "Did you dream?"
"No, not after having my memories rummaged through like a bank vault,"
"Just wait until tonight, maybe she can help us find Alice," I reply. Do you really think we could do it on our own?
There is a sound at the doorway where Daniela stands, "Awake already? Come help me with this," she says, gesturing at us to follow her.
I glance at Tom and we both get up. Daniela looks tired and her eyes are red. We follow her up the stairs carefully into the hall, past the altar in the main room to an aisle where something is hidden beneath a blanket. Daniela is thinking of last night, and I can see the towering figure of a Watcher, holding a man by the throat. I can hear his gargled voice, but I'm watching from behind the smallest crack in the door, too afraid to move. And then that man is dead on the ground.
"He was right. Gerard was right about Leo and now look what's happened,"
As she says this, tears begin rolling down her face. I tell her to sit down and look at Tom. We have to bury his body. Tom nods, eyeing the covered corpse with concern and something else marring his expression.
The wooden door at the front of the church cracks open and in walks a young man, soaked through from the rain. He grins at us past the droplets of rain running down his face.
"Security's not very tight around here, is it?"