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Mary Ellen Quire

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The Card Part II
By Mary Ellen Quire
Saturday, May 08, 2004

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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For those of you who have taken the time to read The Card, this is the second part of the story that involves Jason and Renee Quinn.




Jason Quinn kissed his young wife’s lips as he walked out into the cool Saturday morning. They had long since left Australia, a result of his own mistake not Renee’s. Living under the pressures of secrecy in a world of technology was almost impossible to do as he was starting to find out. He disliked being back in the states worse than anything in the world, but, right now an American outside of their own country was not highly recommended to anyone, even those on the run.

Taking off into the shade of the budding oaks, he began running hard on the dirt path. Memories of moments too close for comfort filled his mind as his heartbeat sped up with his breathing. Big Brother was surely still on his trail. He was a fugitive in his own land. And the secret agency he had once worked for hunted both he and his wife for what they knew about all of it.

The creek passed quickly with each step and he could see a small glimpse of a squirrel now and then playfully chasing it’s own conquests. Today he would just do the loop, he thought as he picked up the pace. Summer would soon be upon them and the heat along with it. The thought of it was fine for everyone who had the luxuries of electricity and such, but the cabin that he and Renee had stowed away in during the long winter was without air conditioning. Jason took in the cool, spring air as he remembered what Renee had told him about the Kentucky summer heat. It would be unbearable and he knew it. Swallowing back his own worry, he crossed the little wooden bridge and came back on the other side of the huge stream of flowing water.

Renee met him outside on the wooden porch with a cold bottle of water. The birds chirped feverishly as they warded off intruders. His young wife laughed as he consumed all of the bottle’s contents in mere seconds.

“You weren’t gone that long, sweetheart.”

“You be amazed at how fast I can run.” he laughed, “I’ve had enough practice.”

Renee smiled at her husband’s comment, something she felt she could at least do now. For a long time after she had been kidnapped by a man named Jim who worked for a secret agency against a form of Big Brother, she had been unable to crack even the smallest grin. The thoughts of everything she had experienced were just too much for her. They had both been hunted for what they knew and what everyone thought they knew. Renee doubted that her life would be anything like it used to be. For everything was to be kept under the wire; jobs, money, housing, food…everything. Any fool with a computer and a half-hearted cause could make them sorry for even the smallest mistake. At first, she thought she would have been better off if Craig had killed her. But when she realized just how much Jason had loved her by the of risk faking his own death and setting up their escape out of the country, her attitude changed. She began smiling again, thankful to just be alive.

“There’s fresh water in the sink,” she told him, “You can wash up and we’ll have breakfast out here if you want.”

“That sounds great.” he said, going into the little one room cabin, “Give me a few.”

Renee flopped into a wooden rocking chair that sat on the porch. She had never expected to be sitting in one of these until she was a good sixty years old or so. Maybe that was a sign, she thought. Maybe she was not going to make it to be that old and this was God’s way of saying she should enjoy now what she wouldn’t be able to later. The thought saddened her slightly, yet, she really couldn’t imagine running for another thirty years. How could anyone? True, the world was a big place, but it had become a lot smaller in the last few decades. Renee found herself cursing the man who had ever invented the camera. A device that started out so very innocent had become humanity’s nightmare. Though she figured most people just took it in stride, living their lives with little thought to anything that did not readily concern their immediate well being; she knew that there were many just like her and her husband who knew what really went on.

She wondered how terrified they must be, knowing that the tiniest bit of information could lead to the end of their lives. Sighing, she watched the birds busy themselves in the early morning light as Jason finally made his way back out onto the porch. He looked freshly washed and sported a clean pair of jeans with a button down shirt tucked tightly in his pants. He could always make the best out of any situation, she thought, as her hands made their way up her pony tail. She, on the other hand, hadn’t seen any form of civilized dress since they had left the states the first time.

“What’s on your mind?” he asked, gently kissing her on the top of her head and sitting down in the chair beside her.

“The usual.” she sighed as she gave him a smile, “Have you grown bored with me yet?”

“You? Never. Me, on the other hand, well…that’s a whole ‘nother thing.”

“Whole ‘nother? Taking on a little Kentucky talk, eh?”

“For you? I’d take on about anything.”

“I knew you loved me.”

Renee watched the beauty of their seat in nature for a while after he went back inside. They couldn’t live this way forever, she knew it and so did he. For the past couple of days she had looked on as he scribbled a design onto paper. A design that, he told her, might help a little with their problem. Kissing her on the forehead, he folded and slipped that same paper into his jacket pocket.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“You don’t want to eat something first?”

“That’s okay. I really should get going.”

“I want to go with you.”

“Sorry, but I can’t risk it. People still think I’m dead. You, they know, are still alive.”

“Where are you going? Just in case…”

“An old colleague of mine.”

“Not from…”

“No. From college. I think he can help. I may be gone overnight, but don‘t worry. Just stay here. I’ll be back.”


 

Like what you're reading so far?  Check out the rest of the story at the Speculative Fiction Centre's first short story anthology Horizons available through most book distributers.
  
 

       Web Site: Speculative Fiction Centre

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Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 9/21/2006
A continuation of a great story. It held my interest....M
Reviewed by Lee Garrett 6/24/2004
An original plot. Well developed story line and characters. I found the cyber-espionage angle especially interesting. Well done.


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