Chapter Thirty Five

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David was Abby's son.

The man who had once spared her life was now delivering her to someone who planned to end it. The irony of it all almost made her laugh.

The hallways leading to Abby's office were littered with a few passer-byers, their eyes huge saucers of shock. Hushed whispers, intermingled with barely concealed threats skittered after them as the group walked past.

Their weapons had been taken away, but Rachel held on to the comfort of one last weapon she held that no one could take from her, carefully mulling over all the ways she could use it.

Abby's office, in its entirety, was like a steel box, with four metal walls and only one glass pane as a door that let in little to no light.

The room was no longer decorated by a cheery sunrise or faux beaches—no, it was now bathed in stark reality. It was the perfect setting for abandoning all pretenses and baring the truth out in the open once and for all.

The plant in the corner of the room smelled of sweet rot, the single desk bleeding into the darkness of the walls where the fluorescent lights couldn't quite touch. Abby stood, adjusting the flap of her jacket as she wound around her desk towards the group. She went straight to Rachel, eyeing her with eyes the color of storm clouds.

"We welcomed you into our home, gave you shelter, food, and safety, and this is how you repay us?"

Rachel realized Abby didn't know yet that they had overheard the conversation between her and the nameless capital man. If she wanted to continue playing the benevolent leader, Rachel would humor her.

"You're right..." Rachel trailed, making her voice as apologetic as possible. She cast her eyes to the ground, her shoulders slumping in mock defeat.  "How could we have betrayed your trust when you gave us a purpose in life?"

"That's right," Abby replied, straightening her back.

"I mean, all the trouble you've gone us, getting the antidote when we got sick. You've sure done a lot for us..."—She cast her eyes back up to take in Abby's reaction— "And I can't help but wonder what you get out of all of this?"

"What I get?" She scoffed. In her periphery, Juan twitched and Simone's eyes remained glued to the ground. "What I get is the certainty that the capital will soon be brought down no thanks to people like you who spread evil and bite the hand of the person who feeds you."

Rachel inched closer to Abby but David placed a halting hand on her shoulder, stepping between her and his mom, just where she'd wanted him.

A crude laugh escaped Rachel's lips. "Oh Abby, it was nothing personal, really. Don't you know that the world isn't about good and evil anymore? It's about surviving. I was just trying to survive."

Abby's mouth worked to form a response but her eyes betrayed how shocked she was to have her own words thrown back into her face. As if to insult Rachel with her lack of response, she spun around and tapped her fingers against her desk.

"Get them ready for transport."

"What about Officer Rodriguez, ma'am?" A guard inquired.

"Her too. We have no room for traitors in our home."

"I wonder if this what your husband envisioned when he brought everyone to the bunker? You know, you never told me what happened to him but he must be dead if a monster like you was left in charge." Rachel said sweetly.

Abby spun around quicker than she thought was possible, chest rising and falling rapidly, lungs looking as if they would burst through the fabric of her white blouse. She could no longer ignore Rachel, not after that, and she planned to use it to her full advantage.

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