Something happens when you think you're about to die. Something takes over that lets you know that if you don't do something you won't live. I don't know what comes over me.

You wouldn't think that I had two guns pointed towards me.

You wouldn't think that I'd never really been much of a fighter.

“You have new orders now. Kill ALL men. Including Gem.”

I push past my fear. I push past all that concern that I'm carrying with me. I run forward and immediately wrestle with one of the terrorists. The gun goes off! It misses but just barely. I can feel this surge throughout my body as I struggle with the terrorist for the gun.

“SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM!” I hear the terrorist I'm struggling with say to the other.

The other doesn't shoot. Maybe it's the confusion. Maybe she can't get a clear shot. I'm not sure what it is but all I know is that I'm on the floor now. The terrorist is on top of me but the assault rifle is in my hand. I have it! I can just feel the salty sweat from the terrorist over me. I can see rage in her eyes as she looks down at me.

I pull the trigger!

She doesn't scream. There is just salt and this look of complete shock as her body tenses up and finally lets out this quick release. She's dead.

The other terrorist screams or so I think she does. I'm finding myself pushing this heavy woman off of me and I hear Amethyst let out a loud scream. I'm shooting wildly towards the other terrorists. The bullets are surging with no sense of control or anything. Amethyst is screaming and for a moment I think I hit her until I hear Rahmell's voice bringing me back.

“Stop! Stop!” I hear my friend say.

I turn and realize I've laced the other terrorist with laser lined bullets. There are holes through her. She has collapsed to the floor bleeding easily.

Rahmell grabs the gun out of my hand when I come back to. I'm shaking. I've never killed someone before let alone two people.

“Oh my god,” I say.

My mouth is dry as I look at the bodies on the ground.

“What were you thinking?” Rahmell asks, “You could have gotten yourself killed.”

“They were going to kill you,” I state.

Looking at Rahmell I've come to the realization that I've done this more for him than for me. The idea of seeing Rahmell dead scared the shit out of me. Rahmell grabs me. He holds me close. His arms press up against me trying to either secure me or let me know that everything was going to be OK. I can't stop shaking in his arms. I still haven't come to the realization that I've just killed two people.

“She's trying to RUN!” Karington's voice says.

We turn at that moment. Rahmell has the gun at that moment.

“STOP!” Rahmell calls out to Amethyst.

Amethyst was making a break for the door. She is still facing the door. Her hands are up and slightly shaking from her nerves. She looks a little unsure of what to do in that situation but she turns around and her face has more confidence than her body language.

“You won't kill me.”

“I will,” I respond.

At that moment I mean it as well. Rahmell won't kill the mother of his children but this woman is evil. This woman literally just ordered people to kill her baby's father and her brother. Amethyst gave no fucks. She is sitting there right now with her hands up but when she looks at me she doesn't look as confident as Rahmell.

“Sit,” Rahmell tells her.

Amethyst listens to what he says. She sits on the bed and Rahmell peers out into the hallway wondering if any of the other terrorists heard the gunshots.

While he is looking I notice Amethyst looking at me. She is emotionless.

“They heard the gunshots. They are coming for you.”

“Shut the fuck up bitch,” I tell her.

I've lost all respect for Amethyst. Be she my sister or not.

“She's right,” Rahmell states, “We can't stay in this room. We have to go somewhere else.”

“Where else can we go?” Karington asks him.

“Tie her up with a pillow case. Make sure to make a gag for her. There is a garbage chute down the hallway. We can make a run for it.”

Amethyst laughs. She is acting as though all of this is amusing her. Luckily Karington and I are able to gag her so that she doesn't laugh too long. It doesn't matter though. Amethyst has betrayed us and there is something just horrible about all of this.

I can't wrap my head around it.

I'm not sure I'm going to make it out of here alive.

Making our way down the garbage chute at the end of the hallway is relatively easy. However making our way through the first floor was hard. It's not the terrorists. We don't run into many. We see one or two but they are in the distance. They barely notice us. What comes hard is the pile of dead bodies. The majority of the dead bodies were still around taken out by the explosion dragged into little neat piles. Others were killed by terrorists. Those are the cleaner deaths. Those are the bodies that are still pretty much in tact.

There is a stench all over what used to be a beautiful convention. My mind is blown on how people could be so cruel.

That's when I see it. I gasp.

“It's ok,” Rahmell tells me.

He actually leans over and grabs my hand. He holds my hand and gives it a tight squeeze. He looks at what I'm seeing. Shaddius is in one of the piles. His body is just laying there motionless. It's almost like these terrorists have no sense of respect for the dead.

They are just stockpiling bodies on top of one another...almost like trophies.

“Isn't that crazy?” Karington asks, “They are feminists and still manage to kill all neat---like housewives.”

He laughs at his own comment under his breath.

“You think this is funny?” I ask him.

“Listen, I just lost two of my friends today. No. I don't think this is funny. I also don't understand why we are dragging this bitch with us. Put a laser bullet in her head already,” Karington states.

He's looking at Amethyst. She's tied up. Her eyes get wide at that moment at the thought of what Karington is suggesting. In the next seconds she's letting out these silent tears and acting like her usual self. She's acting like a damsel in distress. All I could think about was bullshit. I hate that I was actually agreeing with Karington right now. Amethyst didn't deserve to be alive for being responsible for this attack. She didn't deserve to live.

“She's pregnant,” Rahmell replies.

“So because she's pregnant she gets to run around killing whoever she wants?” Karington asks, “You keep her alive and she'll get us killed. You're a fertile Rahmell, you can have more kids. Fuck her.”

Rahmell is getting pissed at Karington. Now isn't the time.

We haven't found a place to take cover. We are walking down a hallway with bodies. There could be terrorists coming around the dark corners any moment and seeing us walk through the hallways at the convention. There would be no where to hide except behind dead bodies and half collapsed walls.

I squeeze Rahmell's hand to let him know that it was OK. A part of me wants to leave Karington with Amethyst and just run off with Rahmell. I just wish it would be that easy. I can't think with my emotions right now. I have to be smart if I planned on getting out of this alive.

“We need her to get out of here,” I state, “We need to know what they are planning.”

“You mean what you are planning. Aren't you an Amazon?” Karington asks.

“I have nothing to do with this.”

“That's exactly what she said,” Karington responds, “Sorry if I've left the business of trusting Amazons from New Florida.”

“That Amazon just saved your life upstairs,” Rahmell reminds Karington, “You feel like you have better odds of getting out of here without us then go for it.”

It's enough to finally get Karington to shut up. He's limping every other step and he's having trouble breathing. He's in no condition to be my himself and quite honestly the convention was huge.

Rahmell steadies his hand on his assault rifle as we start making our way down another hallway. He must hear something because he signals us to wait.

He goes around the corner crouching low. In a few minutes he returns and signals for us to be quiet. He points to a room on the opposite wall and motions for us to go in there.

The room is a storage closet.

“What did you see?” I ask Karington as soon as we get into the room.

He closes the door behind him, “There are more gunmen.”

“You mean gun-women,” Karington corrects him.

Rahmell rolls his eyes and ignores Karington before looking at me, “The terrorists are gathering around the exits. They must be trying to stop hostages from leaving.”

“Or stop help from coming in,” I state.

Rahmell nods. We sit there for a few minutes. The storage room is hot. I'm sweating and so is Rahmell. We all end up taking off our shirts. It has to be over 90 degrees in the storage room. We must be close to the furnaces. A part of me wants to feel bad for Amethyst as she sits there in the hot corner sweating profusely and just looking like she is going to pass out but I can't.

As the silence goes on it becomes clear that none of us have a plan. Rahmell, Karington and I are all looking at one another hoping that something happens. We are all waiting for the next person to come up with a strategy of what happens next.

It's me who takes the gag off of Amethyst.

“You scream and I'll shoot you,” I tell Amethyst.

“He won't let you shoot me,” Amethyst responds looking over at Rahmell.

“I probably won't but if he just so happens to wrestle the gun out of my hand...” Rahmell states.

“I'm having your baby,” Amethyst responds, “What kind of man are you?”

Rahmell shrugs, “Listen. All I'm saying is I'd try to protect you and my baby but if anything happens... I love Gem so I'll forgive him. I think he knows that. So if I were you I'd just cooperate.”

A second passes. I look over at Amethyst. She is defiant. There is a defiance that I've never seen in her before. It's almost like this is a whole different girl. What happened to the ignorant, dumb girl that I had grown up with. What happened to that girl? I guess this was nothing new. I had underestimated her in the same way that I underestimated my grandmother. I had assumed my grandmother was some soft, homely housewife but meanwhile she was a part of a radical feminist movement.

“What do you want to know?” Amethyst asks finally.

“What is your goal here?” I ask.

“What's it look like?” she asks.

“Murder and mayhem?” Karington suggests.

“Bingo,” she responds with a smile.

Karington may be willing to dismiss this as just some radicals. I wasn't willing to just give that away. I knew these women. I grew up with a lot of these women. I had known some were tough. I had known some were a little extreme but I didn't know that it could be this bad.

“What is the end goal Amethyst?”

She smiles with this evil sadistic grin, “Grandmother wants them to end. She believes it's time. No more men. No more useless men.”

“Is it just me?” Rahmell asks, “There will be no one without men. You need men. You need women. It's natural law.”

“Some men. Very few are necessary,” Amethyst responds, “The rest can die. This is a movement. You may not understand but you don't need to understand it.”

“She attacked a convention with Ambassadors from everywhere. How does Ma Zoe expect to survive this?” I ask.

Amethyst is quiet.

She doesn't answer the question.

She is playing hard to get.

“It's not worth it,” Rahmell responds, “The other nations are going to stop this. Radicals don't plan. They just act out of radically. That's the point. They are maniacs.”

I wanted to believe that was true.

“This attack seemed very well planned,” I respond.

They tricked me. They got their enemies to give them exactly the tools that they needed to do this attack. They did it right under their noses.

“Maybe they just wanted to kill the president of Columbia,” Karington suggests, “Maybe that was what all this is about.”

I roll my eyes. I'm not sure if the president was still alive but even thinking about the president of Columbia made me think of the first lady of Columbia. Anastasia was in on this. This was being planned from the very beginning. This was a large scale attack. This was scary. My heart was beating faster and faster.

“It's bigger than one man. No. This is an attack on all men,” I state and look over at Amethyst, “Isn't it?”


“Why?” Rahmell asks, “All that talk about family. Why would you sign up to something like this Amethyst?”

“You have the nerve to talk to me about family?” Amethyst asks, “I was going to give you a child and this entire time you've been in love with my brother. What makes two men love one another? How sick is that? Women are here to reproduce for men. Vagina is the most beautiful thing in the world but somehow a man wants an ASSHOLE instead? Have you thought I was blind this whole time? Have you thought I didn't notice how close the two of you were. No. I'm not an idiot. Women are tired of being walked over. They are tired of being looked past. Now this epidemic of good, strong men who don't like women but instead like other men with the same tools as them. Disgusting. No. No. I'll fight with my fellow women. I'll kill with them.”

Amethyst seems to be taking this very personal.

“Is that why you became radicalized? Because of Gem and I?” Rahmell asks her.

Amethyst looks at Rahmell, “You think it doesn't hurt? You think leading a woman on for years doesn't hurt while you're in the closet trying to figure out your own sexuality.”

She was trying to play the blame game.

“You decided to get pregnant with him,” I defend Rahmell.

“It would have been nice to have a family with Rahmell, “ Amethyst states, “But Grandmother has other plans. Grandmother wants you all gone. One final attack. This is only the beginning. You have no idea what's coming.”

Her voice is haunting. It's full of sickness. Maybe it is my fault. Maybe my relationship with Rahmell has really radicalized her. There is so much hatred in her eyes. There is so much hurt and so much pain in her.

“How does she plan on doing it?” I ask Amethyst.

Amethyst turns.

She attempts to ignore me.


I grab onto her collar.

Rahmell literally has to pull me off, “Gem.”

“Let's just get rid of her. Let's just GET RID OF HER!”

“Gem please,” Rahmell states, “Come on. Karington watch her.”

Rahmell grabs me and pulls me out of the room. After looking both ways we walk to the other side of the hallway towards the garbage chute we came down on where it is pretty silent. He looks around and keeps his gun close to him.

Rahmell presses me up against the wall.

“I need you to keep your cool right now Gem,” Rahmell responds.

“I'm fine. I just can't take it.”

“You're not fine. I know you,” Rahmell responds, “You're not fine.”

“She's trying to blame me and you. She's trying to blame all men. They want all men dead. She's acting like you forced her to open her legs or something. She's acting like you raped her.”

“Maybe she has a point.”

I look at Rahmell with a hard look.

“You can't be serious.”

“I'm just saying that maybe she has a point about men,” Rahmell responds, “You have to look at it from all aspects. I probably should have let her known a long time that I wasn't all the way into her the way that I should be. I should have let her know that. Instead I wanted a baby. I wanted a family. I wanted to be normal. I wanted everything but her.”

“She isn't a child. She made that decision with you,” I respond.

Rahmell shrugs.

“Maybe. But she wanted me. I wasn't honest and I'm starting to realize that now. Honestly back in the day when I came to see her I'd use an excuse to sneak off and hang out with you. I'd have any excuse to be a part of you. I wanted to be your family. I wanted to be close.”

“But you didn't deceive her. You were honest. You always told her you just wanted a family.”

“I wasn't completely honest.”


“I told her I wanted her to have my baby but honestly what I wanted was for you to have my baby,” Rahmell responds.

The shock of it sheds a whole different light on the matter.

“Rahmell I mean we been friends for years I never knew---”

“Stop bullshitting,” Rahmell responds.

“I'm not.”

“Yes you are. You know it and I I know it because I've done it for years. Me and you have been more than just friends for years but we were both too pussy to act on it. Remember how we met?”

“You were mean as hell to me. You never wanted to play.”

He sighs, “Exactly. That's what kids do. They like someone but they don't want to show it so they are mean to them. Things haven't changed much. We were both way too passive aggressive. So instead of getting with the person I fell in love with I decided to get with his sister. I decided it'd be easier to have a baby with his sister. Maybe that would be our love child. We're men now but we still act like kids. I wanted kids with you. I wanted to be with you. She was just the next best thing and honestly it was never fair to her.”

I sigh. A part of me wants to join the pity bus with Rahmell but I can't. Amethyst could have talked about the issues that we put her through.

“Ok...maybe we have been more than friends with her. Maybe Amethyst did get caught in the middle of our love affair.”

“Maybe?” Rahmell responds raising an eyebrow.

“Ok Definitely. Still. To become radicalized and join my crazy mother is completely different,” I respond.

He nods, “I'm not saying she's right. I'm just saying don't take her head off. She's human. These women have reasons for being radicalized. They were human once. Maybe they still have some humanity in them.”

I can smell the dead bodies.

They aren't too far away.

Rahmell is kind. He's beautiful. He's blaming himself for all of this when he should be. For some reason that makes me just love him more. He's always put things on himself. He's always been a man about situations...except when it came to me. When it came to me he was that immature child and so was I.

“OK I won't ring her neck,” I respond to Rahmell.

“Thank you. Because honestly I may have been acting tough and having your back but I really want to have a child...my own,” I respond.

“As soon as that baby comes out of her I'm taking it away.”

He nods and laughs, “Hey. I'm not going to argue that. If she's this radical, I believe your much more fit to raise my children.”

“Let's head back.”

We start moving going back at that moment. That's when we see Karington standing there. He's left the storage area.

“What's going on?”

“She promised to let us go if I let her go,” Karington states.

“What?” I ask.

Karington doesn't have time to respond. Rahmell punches him. Rahmell punches Karington so hard that I hear this crack of his jaw. I'm sure Rahmell has completely dislocated Karington's jaw. If that wasn't enough Rahmell delivers a quick sturdy kick to Karington's rib cage. Karington moans out deeply once he receives it. When he gets it I enjoy every moment of it.

How could Karington be so stupid to let her go?

Rahmell searches for my hand, “We have to get out of here.”

Karington stretches his arms out, “Without me?”

“Fuck you,” Rahmell responds.

Rahmell grabs my hand and we start leading towards the opposite end of the hallway. As we run through the hallway we hear footsteps behind us. I have no doubt that Amethyst has found some terrorists and told them where to find us.

I hear Karington's voice.

“You said---you said you'd let me go!”


I shake my head. What an idiot.

Rahmell grabs onto my hand and run through the old convention area. As we take off I hear the sounds of people from the hallways we were just in. The area we are in now is the main area that had the dome overhead. Half of the dome has collapsed. The pile of bodies is not too far.

“MELLY!” I scream.

I point towards to the other side of the room. Terrorists are there. They are coming into the room. Rahmell unleashes a barrage of gunshots towards them.

“Get back. Get back! Go the other way!”

“I'm not leaving you!”

We duck behind a wall of dead bodies that have been piled up. My heart races as I see Rahmell trading gunshots with terrorists from behind the wall. We can't just leave but we have no cover to get away. If we attempt to make a run for it we'd be shot.

We couldn't stay because the gunshots were too loud.

We were trapped.

We were cornered.

Rahmell looks over at me, “Melly I'm running out of bullets...”

“You should surrender. They won't kill you. You're a fertile,” I respond.

“What about you?”

We're running out of time. It's no point either way. It's no point in arguing. Rahmell has run out of bullets. He drops the gun. We have attracted all the terrorists to our location with the gunfight.

Rahmell comes over to me. He puts his hands around me.

“I'm not living without you. I'm tired of pretending like this isn't what it is. Not anymore...” Rahmell responds.

I bury my head in his chest. The moment is passing fast. We are being surrounded by terrorists. I should be afraid. I should be terrified of dying. I should feel worried about trying to talk myself out of this or even beg for my life but I don't care about any of that. I just want to lay myself in Rahmell's arms and feel his embrace. He's right. We've been playing a game with one another for too long. If these were my last moments I'd enjoy them without any regrets.

Amethyst is there with her extremists.

“Not too far to run huh?”

“Wait...” a voice says.

That's when I see Anastasia, First Lady of the District. She's standing there in all her grandeur among these terrorists. As I look around I count almost 20. You would think by the damage they've done that this was an entire fucking army.

“What are we waiting for?” Amethyst asks Anastasia.

Anastasia shrugs, “Your grandmother just landed. The end is about to begin. Throw them in a cell. We need to prioritize our focus.”

A part of me was glad that she wasn't killing us but something about the way that Amethyst looks over at me seems to make me think that maybe there were some things worse than death.

I was afraid of why my grandmother was here and what she had planned...

To read the next chapter in advance please go to www.crushedcrown.com