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The Other Side of John

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Chapter 1: A Safe Place

 

Juliana ran through the alley, wiping tears across her face. She couldn’t believe she’d actually shot him. Dead. A million thoughts ran through her head and seemed to converge at once, she ran into the first diner she found and tucked herself into a private booth in the back to collect her thoughts...her heart racing.

What had compelled her to kill Dixon? Albeit she had formed a strong bond with the Smith family, particularly Thomas, in a short period of time...but to kill a man for him? Who to trust? She had never truly felt as if she belonged with the Resistance, yet she knew she needed to do something that would make a difference.

Then there were the Smiths. A robotic, eerily charismatic Nazi family who had initially sent chills through her body upon their first meeting...yet, a part of her wondered how loyal they truly were to fascism, underneath their facade. John and Helen were once Americans, who had grown up and even lived a portion of their adult lives in freedom. Surely they couldn’t be that brainwashed, she thought. And in her life experiences it seemed that those who appeared to be trying so hard to play a certain role, seemed to be overcompensating in some way, perhaps a lack of real loyalty. Then again, she could be wrong...before she could get any further in her thoughts the waitress interrupted, asking to take her order.

“What can I get for you today darlin’? Everything ok?”

Juliana quickly nodded, realizing she was breathing quite heavily and looked a bit tattered..wanting to dispel any curious thoughts, she cleverly answered,

“Just a coke and a turkey sandwich, sorry I’m out of breath from trying to catch a bus. I didn’t make it, but it’s not a big deal, I needed to eat. I’ll just get the next one.” Juliana smiled politely and appeared to have quelled any doubts the woman may have had.

She went to the restroom to wash up, still attempting to calm her nerves long enough to devise a logical course of action for herself.

Upon returning to the table, she sat down and drank the entire coke, hastily wrapping up the sandwich and stuffing it into her coat pockets. She tossed some money on the table and headed for the door. She ran square into her waitress, as she walked with her head facing downwards.

“Sorry I’ve got to run, the next bus is coming. I left money on the table. Thank you.”

The woman nodded but seemed concerned. Juliana hoped she didn’t raise too much suspicion, but she had too many other vital decisions on her mind to worry too long about it.

Almost within the instant she exited the diner and rounded the corner, a resistance member came up behind her. She felt the unmistakable solidness of a gun against her back, carefully undisclosed.

He whispered into her left ear, “Act normal, don’t make one false move or you and your parents will all be killed”

“I’ve done everything you people have asked me to do. I want out.”