For a moment, I doubted Addison's ability to use the various technological paraphernalia in front of him. He spent at least ten minutes fiddling with the tangled cords, flicking switches, and mumbling angrily to himself when something did not work the way it was supposed to.
"Would you like some help?" Kieran asked with good intentions, not realising that the middle-aged man may be offended by his offer.
"I know what I'm doing, alright? I may not be as tech-savvy as you teenagers with yer smartphones and i-thingamajigs, but I set up this system, so I damn well know how to use it!" he exclaimed in a gruff, angry tone.
Kieran's face reddened with embarrassment. "Sorry, sir," he mumbled.
Once Addison shoved one more cord into its socket, pixelated images began appearing on the screens and horrible buzzing sounds started coming from the speakers. Gradually, as Addison slowly turned a couple of knob-like switches, the images on the screen started become clearer, and horrible buzzing sound became voices.
"Addison, is that you?"
"Addison's coming online."
Once everything was just the way he wanted it, Addison sat down in front of the screens. "Hello everyone," he greeted them. "Any news?"
"Nothing out of the ordinary here," replied a woman with smooth brown skin and long brown hair tied up in a high ponytail. Her deep brown eyes were full of seriousness. "Things aren't getting worse, but they sure aren't getting better either."
"We've been running around putting up posters," said a young man, perhaps in his early twenties, with scruffy dark blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was accompanied by a few other young men. "Not that anyone is going to see them. Although we did here gun shots the other day."
"Other Rebellion members have been trying to devise a plan to bring down The Domination," said a thirty-something year old man with curly dark hair, long enough to be tied back into a small ponytail. A woman and a man about the same age as him sat in the background, having a whispered conversation. "They've mentioned it to me briefly, but I don't know any full details."
It was then I realised who these people were. They were members of the Rebellion, the group mentioned on the poster.
"Well, I've had an interesting day," Addison told the people on the screens as he gestured for me and Kieran to move into the view of the webcam. "Came 'cross these two runaways. They're from one of those schools."
After that, we were plunged into a rather lengthy conversation, in which I learnt a lot about these people. Zoe, the beautiful woman with the dark hair and dark eyes, lived alone. Her husband was brutally murdered by Domination members, her parents now worked as slaves, and she had no idea what became of her younger sister. The handsome young man with the shining blue eyes was Liam, who was currently living in Alumuna with three of his mates: Christopher, Thomas and Joshua. The man with the curly dark hair was Will, and the people conversing in the background were his brother, Lee, and his brother's wife, Eve. Will seemed unwilling to share much about his personal life. Like Zoe, they did not live in Alumuna.
Once the conversation was closed, Addison reluctantly answered the many questions I had. "Yer a curious youngin, aren't ya? Just bursting with questions, you are," he grumbled, though the slight smile on his face suggested he actually found my curiosity and eagerness amusing. "Rebellion members talk using radio and video calls. My gadgets only let me reach a few people in the area close to 'ere, but Will and Zoe keep me up to date with important stuff. That's what we rebels do. We work as a team. We pass the messages on and make sure everyone gets the news."
I paused briefly before asking my next question. The buzzing curiosity inside me did not drown out the lessons my parents had drilled into me for years, and that was not to stick my nose in other people's business. I'd always struggled greatly to follow this rule. "So, Will mentioned that the rebels are planning an attack on The Domination. Do you think it'll happen? What will they do?"
Addison let out a heavy sigh. "I dunno. I hope it happens, but it has to be done right, ya know? We can't just barge in there like a herd of running bulls and shoot 'em all dead."
With all the new knowledge I'd gained about our country's current situation, what had taken place while I was away at that prison of a school, and why I'd been sent to that prison of a school in the first place, sleep was practically impossible. I lay on a sleeping bag, kindly provided by Addison, and stared at the dirt ceiling. Addison's home wasn't exactly a pleasant place to sleep. The inside of the dirt hideaway got incredibly hot and stuffy, to the point that the air began to sweat and drops of moisture formed on the dirt walls. The sound of Keiran's heavy breathing and Addison's snort-like snoring were intensified as a result of the confined space. I silently begged sleep to come soon, wishing to have a break from the awful heat and ridiculous noises. Unfortunately, when sleep did finally come, it was not pleasant either.
I was hiding a white, stone pillar in an unfamiliar building. I could hear the dulled sound of voices coming from a nearby room.
"Ready? Go!" shouted a voice from my left. I turned to see who it was, but the person had already started sprinting towards a grand white door mere metres away from us. I found myself being dragged, as if by a magnetic force, to follow them. As a collective group, we burst through the door into another room, which held an assembly of people.
"Fire!" shouted the same voice that had told me to run. I responded to the command as if I were a machine responding to the press of a button. I raised the weapon in my hand and pulled the trigger repetitively, painting the marble floor in thick, crimson blood. Once the gunfire and agonising screams ceased, all was silent for a moment. But that moment of peace only lasted for seconds. As if triggered by the massacre, chaos broke out. People running rampant, thieves shattering store windows and climbing out with handfuls of goods and cash, fires being lit in random public places, out of control fights occurring around every corner. The world had been plunged into anarchy.
I woke abruptly, sweat pouring down my face. I didn't know whether it was from heat or the anxiety my nightmare had caused me. My mid-sleep thoughts had brought to life Addison's words about the Rebellion. A massacre of The Domination members was not the answer.