IT WAS THE LIAR WHO WON
“It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat,”
“No, don’t think like that, Robin. We can win this, together,”
“We can’t Lear, not this war. Not when the world has crumbled to chaos, not when screams are the only thing you can hear as you hide in the streets, not when people are dying every single second.”
“I- Yeah, I know. I just thought… maybe we stood a chance, maybe if we had worked hard enough or maybe-”
“Quit it, Lear. You can’t waste your time thinking of the maybe’s. Not when we have a war to win.”
It’s been five weeks, twenty-two days, fourteen hours, and six- now seven minutes since this all started. Since war struck, since allies turned enemies, and now, I don’t know who to trust. Except for Lear. Lear Seyton, my best friend of eleven years, the boy who never left my side. Oh, and then there’s Camille. Camille Backster. That’s Lear’s girlfriend, I’ve never really liked her, she’s just… I’m not sure what the word is for her, but she's suspicious. Even though Lear says not to suspect her, I still do. I suspect everyone and their actions, except for Seyton himself. I used to trust more people, but that’s before they were taken away, or… you know; before they betrayed me. Take my parents, Father left to join the war, only to find out he was fighting on the wrong side, and by that stage, it was too late to turn back. And Mother… She died three weeks, nineteen days, sixteen hours and something minutes ago. I can’t really remember. Which I suppose makes me a horrible daughter, but give me some credit, I’m trying not to die.
Currently, my situation is hopeless. I’m living in Lear’s small apartment, with one proper bedroom (I’m sure you can guess which two people sleep in that one), a make-shift bed (it’s more like a squishy couch) dumped with pillows and blankets, tucked in the corner of the guest room (which is my humble abode, thank you for asking). A kitchen, a bathroom and a cramped living room that holds all our possessions. To make matters worse, the walls in this apartment are very thin, and the TV remote forbids us turning down the volume. It’s stuck on 87. So, the apartment is never really quiet, not when Lear’s living with his girlfriend anyway.
I step out of the comfort of my pillow fort, pulling out my phone to check the latest. (We don’t bother using the TV anymore). I sigh, the majority of our town is in ashes, people are being kidnapped every second and the remains of the buildings are slowly crashing down. How wonderful for a regular Tuesday. I walk into the kitchen, running a hand through my knotty hair, and wish I could have a shower, but we need to save our water. I look up from my phone, tucking it into my back pocket, and see Lear has decided to spend some quality time with his girlfriend, um, hello? This is not something I want to see when I wake up. I look away from their ‘PDA’ and clear my throat.
“Good morning to you both,” I roll my eyes as Lear pokes his tongue out at me before Camille draws his tongue’s attention elsewhere. I shudder, they’re disgusting. I’ve been living with them for two weeks, I think I might have to go outside, then I’ll die before I see another one of their making out sessions. I blink, erasing those thoughts out of my head, ‘Not during breakfast, Robin,’ I think to myself and pull out a slice of toast from the bag, and just start biting into it.
“Did you hear the news, Robin?” Lear suddenly calls over his shoulder.
“Decided to notice me, huh?”
“Now, now. We can’t all have Sir Seyton’s attention, can we?” Camille giggles in my best friend’s lap, as they both sit on the kitchen counter.
“Ok then, have it your way,” I mutter, completely ignoring him and the sad puppy eyes look he’s giving me.
“Oh come on, Robin,” Lear scoops his girlfriend into his arms before placing her onto the couch, then hurriedly rushes over to my side.
“You can’t stay mad at me forever! Besides, you might never leave this place,” Lear gives me the equivalent of jazz hands and runs his hands down my neck. I shiver, slapping his hands away.
“I think I might have to leave, whether you like it or not. You and Camille are taking up a lot of space in this apartment and obviously, three’s a crowd. Besides, when was the last time you went out to do grocery shopping? Yeah, that’s what I thought Roommate. Now go back to slobbering over your girlfriend while I will be doing productive things, such as shopping for food, something you never do.” I spit at my best friend, wondering what turned him into a simp. He used to be productive and helpful, but I think I lost that Lear a long time ago.
“Robin, wait-” Lear begins, but I slam the front door in his face before I can hear another word.
“Forget her Lear Dear, spend some time with me,” Camille drawls, knowing full well I can still hear her, especially when she uses the nickname I made for Lear when we were kids.
“She’s my best friend Cami, I’ll make it up to you, okay? I just need to make sure she’s okay,”
“Ugh, fine. You better come back though, I’m going to be so lonely by myself. And even worse, I’ll be so cold with no-one to cuddle me,” I shake my head, that girl will be the death of me. There’s a thing called blankets, Camille. I’m halfway down the second flight of stairs when Lear calls out my full name, making me stop in my tracks.
“Robin Tyrell Lavinia Whitmore. You listen to me, I’m still the same person you became friends with eleven years ago, even if I have a slightly clingy girlfriend. I’ll help more often, I’ll do as you say, I don’t want to lose another person, and I know you don’t want to either. So don’t ignore me, Robin. Please.” And maybe it’s the please that does it, because I don’t continue walking, and wait for my best friend to catch up.
We walk to the supermarket in silence, tiptoeing over the debris and dead bodies.
“We’re going to die.” I choke out suddenly, the sight of the battered bodies reminding me of my mother.
“We won’t, I promise. If we stick together like we always have, we can make it out alive. Have some hope, Robin,”
“My source of hope died the minute I met Camille. And that was two years ago when we were sixteen. So don’t give me that inspirational crap, I don’t believe in them, not anymore,”
“Robin, the world isn’t a fair place, Life is not fair, but we keep on living. For those who died in our name, okay?”
“Bastard,” I whisper, playfully punching his arm, “I told you not to keep telling me those enlightening stuff,” Lear laughs, one I haven’t heard in a long time, but then I suddenly shush him. Soldiers from the other side are patrolling the streets, and we’re about to get caught.
“It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat,” I murmur the words to myself, ones that I wrote long ago, in a dream-like place that I used to call home.
“No, don’t think like that, Robin. We can win this, together,” Lear reassures me, knowing exactly where those words came from.
“We can’t Lear, not this war. Not when the world has crumbled to chaos, not when screams are the only thing you can hear as you hide in the streets, not when people are dying every single second.” The words continue to replay in my head, “It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat,” “It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat,” “It doesn’t count if you’re already planning your defeat,”. The words I wrote down on a single piece of paper, nine years ago, when my father left for the war.
“I- Yeah, I know. I just thought… maybe we stood a chance, maybe if we had worked hard enough or maybe-” Lear’s words break me out of my trance.
“Quit it, Lear. You can’t waste your time thinking of the maybe’s. Not when we have a war to win.” I tell him and an eerie grin spreads across his face.
“That’s right. And you’re going to be the next one lying on the field, dead.”
I scramble back, from the young man who I thought was my best friend.
“No, no, no! Lear, this isn’t you! I know because-” A hard force hits my cheek, as Seyton slaps me.
“Shut up, Robin! You don’t understand me, or my intentions. I joined them because they promised me something you couldn’t. They told me they could bring my family back, my friends, I wanted to bring you home Robin. I was doing it for you because my best friend Robin died that day. The day when she saw her mother’s lifeless body and the tears that soaked the last letter her father ever wrote to her. I promised myself I would avenge the smiling girl I loved. I forced myself into believing this was right because it was for her. So I’m sorry Robin, I have to kill you. It’s the only thing stopping me before I’m reunited with my love.” My best friend pulls out a gun from his pocket, loading it, and placing his fingers on the trigger.
“YOU GODDAMN TRAITOR!” I yell, soldiers from my own side challenging the ones on the other. “HOW COULD YOU LEAR?!” I half sob, half scream, facing the boy I’d loved for so long, the boy who’d been my best friend for eleven years, the boy who never left my side.
“I did it for you sweetheart.” Lear whispers before the world fades to black.