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It took Ryan all of a second after leaving Sharkey’s place to decide that he was going to visit Georgina and the scientists. He had to see for himself the suffering she was enduring and felt bad for the fact he hadn’t been to see her since the first couple of weeks. The main reason for that was that he’d grown irritated of her aloof demeanour. That, along with the growing relationship between him and Shaz, had caused him to get on with his days and put Georgina to the back of his mind.
It was certainly a conflict of interests for him. Shaz had done something decidedly few women had managed in his life and worked her way into his affections. The problem was that Georgina simply wouldn’t go away; she lingered in his heart. The idea that someone might be mistreating her angered him despite the irony in that thought process.
He reached the building where the scientists and Georgina were kept and entered. The guards on the inside offered scrutinising glances when he came in that quickly turned into respectful ones.
“Y’alright Ry?” one greeted.
“Good thanks. Just here to see how the scientists and the girl are getting on.”
“No problem. They’re in the usual place.”
Ryan let himself into the room he knew they’d all be congregated in and all heads except one swung his way as he entered, some with obvious scowls on their faces.
The one exception was the person he was there to see. She hadn’t even seemed to register his arrival. Shaz hadn’t exaggerated: Georgina looked bedraggled and unhealthy. His heart sank. He’d never wanted this for her. On the one hand, he felt responsible; on the other, he cursed Sharkey for choosing to have her fall apart this way despite having the power to keep her looked after.
He slowly drew near; she continued to look at the floor beneath where she was sitting. He didn’t acknowledge a single scientist despite their gawking at him.
“George,” Ryan said quietly, stopping in front of her; she didn’t look up. “Georgina.”
Her eyes, shrink-wrapped with tears and dark circles surrounding them, travelled upwards until they met Ryan’s. There was an initial elation about them, evidenced further by a slight smile that briefly appeared. It passed in a split-second to be replaced by an ambivalent mixture of anger and grief. “Why are you here?” she croaked.
“What the hell are they doing to you?” Ryan practically whispered as he knelt down in front of her.
Georgina didn’t answer. Her eyes glazed over as she looked straight through Ryan at something illusory that only she could see.
“You look like you haven’t eaten or slept in weeks.”
“Don’t want to eat. Can’t sleep,” she replied robotically.
“George, you know that you need to keep your strength up if you’re going to survive this. You can’t give up now.”
“Survive what? You put me in this situation!”
“Would you rather be dead?”
“I am dead! Whatever this is right now, it isn’t life.”
“It won’t always be like this. You know as well as I do that things can turn on a sixpence in this apocalypse. We’ve come through every bit of shit it’s thrown at us; we’ll come through this too.”
“You sold us out.” Her face turned solemn. “You sold me out. After you saying that it was you and I against it all, you handed me over to them to save your own skin. To think I was fooled into believing you still loved me. Why do I never learn where you’re concerned?”
“I do still love you, Georgina. Can you not see that I did what I had to do? We could all be dead now if I hadn’t.”
“Callum and Dylan are dead. You and Kas killed them. I don’t care what you say; you’d have killed any one of us that night, including me and Jay.”
“I’d never harm you.”
“Save it, Ryan. Just get back to your new life as a scavenging murderer. Whether you intended for me to end up in this position or not is irrelevant. It doesn’t change the fact that you completely forsook every member of our group for your own gain.”
Ryan returned to his full height and drew in a breath. “I’ll save you from this. I’ll fix it all. You can mark my words. This is the last time I’ll ever let you down.”
Georgina looked up at him with an ironic smirk. “Every time is the last time according to you.”
“You don’t have to believe me and I wouldn’t expect you to. If I’d have thought you’d end up like this…” Ryan trailed off as he looked around at the dim room around him. “I’ll get you out of here. I promise you.”
“I’m not asking you to. I don’t expect you to. I’m completely apathetic to the situation—to you. Do what you feel you must to spare your conscience.”
“My conscience has nothing to do with this. I love you and I’m not allowing this treatment of you to carry on.”
“Okay,” Georgina simply said, unwilling to engage in further conversation and give Ryan further opportunity to delude himself.
“Sit tight; I’ll be back soon.”
The conversation done, Ryan reluctantly backed away from Georgina and made for the door. A scientist gave him a glance of distaste and he shot back with a threatening one of his own that saw the scientist immediately shrink and get back to their business.
He closed the door behind him and paused outside. A whirlwind of thoughts, feelings, and emotions surged through him. It was impossible to ignore the sensation of victimisation. It was clear that Georgina blamed him. Although his actions had caused her and Jay’s suffering, they surely had to see that his choices were limited back at the house. They could have all died! Would that have been preferable to the current set of circumstances? Could she not see that this way gave them a fighting chance at least?
One thing was clear: Sharkey was harming people Ryan cared about and unnecessarily so. It couldn’t be allowed to continue. There was only one person he knew for sure that would be willing and able to help.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read ASAS: Consequence–Chapter Eight now!