I limped back home, wincing every few minutes from the pain. I knew I needed to stop moving soon, or else I could injure myself in another way. I just needed to make it home. If I could make it of course, I was in so much pain I wasn't completely sure I could. I ended up having to make many stops so I could rest. It took over ½ an hour to make it home, and the house was only a couple blocks away from the park. I was amazed I didn't get taken by the police; I probably looked really bad even though I had put the poultices on.
I finally made it to the front door, and I used the makeshift key that we had all made for each other to let myself in. Thankfully, nobody noticed… except for Logan. Logan quickly yet making it look as unsuspicious as possible ran up to me. I groaned. I had really hoped to sneak in unnoticed so I could get to the actual medicine in our rusty cabinet or some long clothes to hide my injuries. I guess not.
"What did you do this time?" Logan whispered ferociously "You look like crap!"
"Really Logan, were going to talk about this in here!" I snarled as quietly as I could. "At least let's go outside so the other ones don't find out what happened!"
"Fine" He muttered. We both snuck outside as quickly as we could. My heart was racing. I really didn't want to deal with this. Logan could be so overprotective sometimes, especially about me.
"So, what did you do this time?" He snarled. "Before you left you were perfectly fine and uninjured and now you look like you've been hit by a car!"
"I was caught by a passing gang!" I glared back "I just defended myself! Why do you care so much anyways?"
"I care about you!" He shot back angrily. "You didn't come back for so long, and then you come back looking like crap! I was scared, and I don't want that to happen again!" I vaguely noticed that he didn't completely answer my question, but I was in too much of a rage to really care.
"Jeez Logan, I can take care of myself!" I snapped. "You don't have to worry about me all of the time!"
"Maybe I do! If I had been there maybe you wouldn't have been so badly injured!" Logan finished abruptly. That's when I realized exactly how worried he had been about me.
"Look, I didn't want to be attacked by that stupid street gang" I started hesitantly. I didn't want to be injured. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was nothing I could do to prevent it. I can take care of myself; you don't have to worry all of the time.
"…Right, I'm sorry" Logan muttered. "We might as well get back inside, everyone will be wondering."
"Good idea" I murmured. "Can you get some long clothes that I could wear to disguise most of my injuries? I don't want anyone else to know how badly I'm injured."
"Sure" with that he slipped back inside. I stood outside for a couple seconds, shivering as the sky grew darker, and the air turned colder. I waited for about five minutes until Logan walked back outside with a bundle of clothes. I slipped the sweatpants over my shorts, and I pulled the baggy sweatshirt over my head. This would at least hide most of my injuries. I didn't know what to do about my black eye. Logan had suggested an eye patch. I had glared at him so fiercely; he had backed away as fast as he could. I finally resolved to put another round of herbs onto my eye, and hope for the best.
Logan went inside first, and when he stuck his head out, I followed. Everyone else had put dinner onto the table. I guess either Foster or Annie had made dinner, because it wasn't burning or black.
"Oh gosh Dawn, what happened to you?" Annie gasped. I groaned inwardly, there goes plan A. "What did you do to your eye?"
"I…" I started.
"She got stung in the eye by a wasp" Logan finished for me.
I flashed a quick look of gratitude to him. "Yep, I was walking in the park when a wasp came up. I tried to brush it away when it went up to my eyes and stung me. I rushed away and I went to look for some herbs. I didn't want to scare you guys, but that's how I hurt my eye."
Almost everyone looked like they were buying my story. Guess who wasn't looking like they believed me… Ryan. Ryan had been at school the longest and he knew that wasps couldn't make my eyes look like they had been punching bags. Everyone else (except for Logan and me of course) hadn't been at school for long enough to know that wasps didn't cause black eyes that looked that bad. At least it was spring, so it was believable that wasps would be around. I would have been in so much trouble if it had been winter or fall.
Thankfully, Ryan looked like he would keep my secret safe for now. I knew this wouldn't be over though; I would have to talk to him later and give him the full story.
We continued to eat dinner silently. For a while, everyone just concentrated on eating.
"Dawn, did you bring back any herbs?" Foster asked tentatively.
"Of course" I said. "They're going to be used as medicine though; I'll get some cooking herbs tomorrow. There are a lot of herbs in the park."
"Thanks Dawn! I've been running really low on basil and oregano" Foster responded eagerly.
"Hey Dawn…" Drew mumbled. "Have you made your decision about starting a rebellion? I know it isn't tomorrow yet, but I don't want to wait any longer!"
"Yea, have you?" Kat said. "Please tell me that you have! I'll be so happy!"
"Please tell me that you have!" Jack added in to the plea.
"Everyone calm down, I've decided okay!" I finally said over the rising plea. "If it's okay, we can talk about this after dinner. I'm not talking about my decision until we all finish dinner."
After I said that, I regretted my decision. I have never seen anyone eat as fast as my gang did. This must be ridiculously unhealthy for them, but I couldn't do anything about it now.
"So what did you choose to do?" Annie asked.
"I have decided to rebel against President Jones, and to help these children" I started. "This will take time though. We can't just go straight to the President and raise a protest, we need help. We will need to find other homeless children and see if they want to help. We will also need other gangs help. Also, we aren't just rebelling against Jones; we are also trying to help out other children escape. We need to make a plan to try and figure out how to do this.
"What can we do right now?" Jack asked.
"First, we need to improve our fighting skills. We will have to fight against many people during our rebellion, and it's possible that we will have to show our strength against gangs when we ask for them to join us. I don't know which gangs will, but I'm going to try to send either Logan or me to the gangs that I think that will, or I will send more than one members to try and help with those gangs. There is a good chance that I will mess up and send someone to a gang that wants you to fight, and everyone must be a pro at fighting. We will start training tomorrow. Also, every day I want someone to walk around the city, and if you hear a house with fighting, hide and spy inside. If you see a child fighting his/her parents, watch and try to catch the kid's attention. Try to tell them silently that they can run, and that you will help them. Don't go into the house unless the child makes it known that they want to run, but do not, by any means, try to fight the parent. Use any other method to distract the parents, but do not fight them! Don't put your life in grave danger. I don't care what you do otherwise, but be as safe as you can. I don't want to lose any of you, but unless we help out these other poor kids, we aren't really fighting for anything.
"Are you sure that we can't start now?" Ryan almost went to his knees in plea before a glare from me stopped him. "I want to learn how to fight now! If father comes back tonight, I want to be ready to stop him for my new family! Also, we could start patrolling tonight maybe! Please?"
"No Ryan, I want everyone to get a good night's sleep before we start" I answered. "Also, father won't come tonight, he never found me, and I've hidden in the stupidest places ever. Even if he does find this hideout, we always have a guard to protect us if needed. Don't worry. Speaking of guarding, I'll take the first guard position, Drew; you can swap with me in a couple hours. Ryan, like you said, you don't know how to defend yourself as well as the rest of us do. When you get properly trained, I'll add you to the guard schedule. For now, enjoy the rest while you can. Annie, you will take over after Drew, and Jack will take over for Annie. That should be good for tonight."
"Fine" Ryan muttered. This made me feel ridiculously awkward. It had been awkward enough telling Ryan what to do, he is my actual older brother. He used to boss me around when we were younger, and now it's all been swapped. Now he was acting like a little child, and I was the older sibling. It was just plain weird!
"Come on, let's get some sleep" I told the gang.
We all began to set the blankets and pillows up. I cleared a spot so that I could sit comfortably. I hoped that nothing else would happen that it would be a peaceful night that nothing would happen. I didn't believe that would happen though.
"Dawn, Logan, can I talk to you for a moment?" Ryan whispered to the two of us. I really didn't want to talk about anything right now; especially I was positive that he wanted to talk about what really happened to me. This was the last thing I wanted.
"Of course" I breathed into his ear, forcing myself not to show how annoyed I was. "Just wait until the other kids calm down and actually try to sleep."
We wait for a few minutes, than both Logan and I get up and tiptoe to Ryan's sleeping area. We both sneak a quick glance at each other before sitting down. We both know what he's going to say, and neither of us wanted to give the truth.
"I'm sorry for pushing this so soon, but Dawn, what really happened to you?" Ryan started as soon as we became settled. "I can tell that you weren't stung by wasps, they can cause eyes to look black, but not how you look. You look like your eyes were substituted as punching bags or something. If possible, can you tell me the truth?"
Crap, just plain crap. I was really hoping that this wouldn't be what he wanted to talk about, but I knew deep inside that this is what he wanted to talk about. I really didn't want to talk about this now, but I might as well get it over with.
"I was in the park today, debating on if I should try to protect my gang and not start a rebellion, or if I should help other children when a gang called the Blizzards surrounded me" I started to explain my story. "I looked around for a way to escape, but there was none, and after a bit of talking, we began to fight." I had decided to water down my fight as best as I could so that he wouldn't think of it to be really bad. "After I defeated a few guys, they began to back away. I mean, some tried to defeat me, but they mainly were backing away. A couple didn't. One of them ended up giving me this black eye. This made me extremely angry, but there wasn't much that I could do. I was exhausted from the earlier fighting, and I was injured. A guy had stabbed me in the arm earlier, and I had other injuries. I was able to knock him out, and the other guy had been too scared of me too put up a decent fight. I had started to run away from the guy with the knife when he began to throw knifes at me, so I went back and knocked him out."
"I had seen her when she had come back home after the fight" Logan started his side of the story right after I finished. "I had forced her to give me some answers and after a little while, she told me this story. While I didn't really want to lie, we didn't want to worry the gang, so we hid what really happened and we hoped that everyone would believe the wasp lie."
After Logan finished his story, Ryan let out a huge breath of relief and his shoulders released all of their tension, and I felt confused. What was he thinking right now? He had always been so overprotective of me when I was younger, why was he relaxing when I just told him I had been attacked. I really wasn't expecting him to be so happy about it.
"Thank goodness! I thought that dad had found you or something!" Ryan exclaimed in pure relief. My insides tightened with guilt. Of course that's what he would think, he had just escaped from our father, and now I lie to him about how I was injured. I felt horrible for putting that fear onto his shoulders.
"Gosh, I'm sorry Ryan" I say. "I should have told you the truth about what happened to me. I should've known that you would've thought that father came back." Soon a horrifying thought rushed into my head, and I felt horrible for causing this. "This is why you wanted to start learning how to fight tonight. You thought that father had done this to me and you wanted to protect me from him. You thought that he was nearby."
"Yes, I did" Ryan said softly. "I was so scared when you lied, I thought that you didn't want to tell the gang what had happened, and I had thought you had told Logan the second you arrived home, but not me. Please don't ever do that again!"
"I won't, I promise" I told him.
"Thank you" he said.
"Let's go to sleep before anyone finds out that were still awake and that Dawn briefly abandoned her guard post" Logan broke the silence that was beginning.
"Good idea" Ryan said. He looked at the time briefly and looked at me. "Actually, I think that it's Drew's turn to guard."
"Yea, I'm going to wake him up and try and get some sleep" I muttered.
I went over to Drew and I gently shook him awake. Thankfully, Drew is a very light sleeper, so this didn't take much time. He took over as guard, and I lay down to get some sleep.
The last thing I heard before passing right out was Ryan calling Logan to talk to him.