Chapter 9: Parting ways

Chapter 9 “Parting ways”

“I was wrong to think, to dream that I was finally getting a normal life. I’ve forgotten who I was, no, I tried to change who I was. You were right, it wasn’t over. It never will be. As long as I live, I will be hunted. They won’t stop until they find me. Now I realized why should I care? Why should I fight, when I no longer have someone to fight it for? I lost both of you. Cameron, I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you. Mom, I’m sorry for leaving you, for not being there by your side when you needed me most.” John stared at the tattered piece of paper that he was reading. He lost count of how many times he has re-read it. He folded it carefully and placed it inside his jacket. John looked at the blue sky in a windy afternoon. He was sitting in a park bench, resting. After a few minutes, he grabbed his helmet beside him and decided to walk back to his bike. As he walked past by some shops, an electronic shop window display caught his attention. A couple of bystanders were looking at it. He moved closer to see what it was. It was a window display of some large plasma TVs. His heart raced when he saw the news being flashed on the screen. It was a video footage of a woman staring at the camera, standing in the middle of the road, naked. His feet were glued to where he was standing as he watched in shock.

“Mom” John said weakly, he slowly opened his eyes.
“John!” Said Sarah expectantly. “We’re gonna get you to a hospital, we’re almost there.” She added. John reached inside his jacket pocket with a bloody hand, pulled out an envelope and gave it to Sarah. He took a deep breath before speaking.
“Mom, I’m so sorry.” Sarah looked at her son with tears falling from her eyes.
“Don’t say that. You’ll be fine, John, please you can do this.” She said to him still holding his hand with the envelope between them. John was clutching her hand tightly, as he gasped for air fighting for his life.
“John, be strong. Don’t lose hope.” He said looking at the younger John. “Take care of mom.” He said to his younger self with his last breath.
“I will.” Replied John, he looked at his mother. Sarah felt John’s hand slowly losing its grip.
“John.” It was all that Sarah could say as she held her son’s hand. Cameron sat silently witnessing John’s heartbeat slowly fading until finally comes to an end. Derek watched the Connor’s through the rear view mirror still driving as fast as he could, while the woman named Alice sat silently beside him in the passenger seat.

A stubby, balding man emerged from the back door of a loading dock, wearing an apron.
“Hey Johnny! I need you to work some extra shifts tomorrow. Marcus decided to become sick. We got a busy day comin’” He said with an Italian accent.
“Alright Tony.” Said a man sitting on top of a small crate, drinking a soda.
“And someone’s looking for you upfront.” Said Tony then went back inside. The man got up, left the soda bottle on the crate, and followed Tony. He saw a woman, wearing a black trench coat, waiting for him outside the restaurant.
“Cameron?” He said to the woman as he stepped out. The woman turned around and said,
“John, Grandpa called. He said-“Cameron hesitated.
“What is it?” Asked John waiting for a response from her.
“He found out that your mom is in the hospital for more than a week now.” She said to John.
“What? What happened to her? Why didn’t she call me?” John asked clearly worried.
“She did. She called you last week remember? When she sent you that necklace.” Reminded Cameron, he couldn’t look her in the eye.
“And you told her to leave you alone. You asked her to let you live your life.” She added when John didn’t say anything. He felt guilty and ashamed when he remembered what he did, then turned his back and walked away from Cameron.

The atmosphere around the Connor’s living room paints an image of profound melancholy, as Sarah sat in the sofa reading a letter; her clothes still soaked with blood, her eyes filled with tears. The younger John stood silently near the fridge staring at Sarah, and then looked at Alice who was leaning on the kitchen sink, staring vacantly into space. Derek entered the house and moved beside John.
“How is she?” He asked John in a soft voice, looking at Sarah.
“She hasn’t said a word since we got back.” Said John gloomily. They both watched Sarah, who was still holding the letter in her hands, staring at it.
“Can you please tell me what is going on?” Alice said to Derek and John.
“Why did they kidnap me? What do they want?” She added, Derek turned to face her while John looked back.
“You probably won’t believe us.” Derek said casually. The woman just stared at him.
“Derek I’ll take this.” John said as he walked to the dining table, the woman followed him and sat down from across John. He sat wordlessly for a moment, thinking of how he can explain properly. Alice was looking at him, waiting for some answers.
“The people who took you, they’re looking for some people that has a connection with Cyberdyne. Someone familiar with the program that they were developing.” Explained John.
“Why me? I was just an intern.” She said to him. John didn’t know what to say next.
“You mean to say, that this is what it’s all about? My internship at Cyberdyne?” Asked Alice. John was having a hard time finding the right words to explain the truth about Cyberdyne, about Skynet, about her involvement with the resistance in the future without him sounding mentally disturbed.
“That’s not all. It has something to do with the-“He hesitated to say the word, dreading what might be her reactions.
“The future.” It was Derek who finished his words for him. Alice looked at him with a baffled look on her face.
“What? Pardon me, but did you just say ‘future’?” She asked Derek. He looked like he was about to explain something to a 3-year old child.
“In the future, you are an important member of the resistance led by him.” He said pertaining to john.
“Derek.” Said John trying to stop him.
“Against the machines that wanted to erase all of humanity. You designed the weapons that we use against them.” He continued, ignoring John.
“What’s all this rubbish that you’re sayin`?” The woman asked looking from Derek to John.
“Derek stop.” John said to Derek.
“I’m just trying to help.” He said.
“Well you’re not.” Said John who seemed annoyed by what Derek did.

There were a few people having a cup of coffee inside Uncle Ben’s diner. John sat at a corner table; he was wearing a black suit with a black tie, sitting in sullenness. Cameron approached him, holding a cup of coffee and sat from across him. She handed the cup to John and stared at him, trying to find words that can be comforting.
“I’m sorry if I left in a hurry without saying a word to you.” John said not looking at her. Cameron held his hand which was resting on the table.
“I understand. I knew you would fly out of New York to get to your mom, the minute I told you about the news.” She told John as he looked at her.
Thank you for being with me at the cemetery. I didn’t know if I can face the fact that I will never see her again.” John said sadly. Cameron didn’t say anything but smiled weakly.
“Now I know how you feel. I’d give anything; I’d do anything to get her back.” He added and bowed his head. Cameron got up and sat beside him; she embraced John tightly as he cried on her shoulder.

“You’ll always be in my heart. And someday we’ll see each other again.” Sarah read the last words on John’s letter, and tears continued to fall from her eyes onto the paper leaving several blots of smeared ink. When she looked up, she saw the younger John leaning on the kitchen counter, staring at the floor. Sarah stood up and walked towards him then held John tightly in her arms. He didn’t say anything but silently returned the embrace.

The day comes close to dawn, as the sky slowly turned to a dark shade of Vermilion. Sarah and John sat in the living room sofa, waiting silently. While Derek poured coffee onto his mug, Alice fell asleep in the dining table, her head resting in her arms. Cameron entered the house; she was met by Derek who grabbed her by her arms.
“Where did you take him?” He asked Cameron, somewhat infuriated. She looked at Derek nonchalantly. The woman asleep in the dining room jolted awake from where she was sitting.
“It’s done. He’s free.” Said Cameron.
“What? Where is he? What did you do?” Asked Derek who now seemed nonplussed rather than infuriated; he let go of Cameron’s arm.
“I did what he asked me to.” She said mechanically. John, who was listening to them, stood up and walked up to her. Sarah looked at them but stayed seated on the sofa.
“What did he asked you to do?” Asked John. Cameron stared at him and said,
“He said I can’t tell.” John looked at her inquisitively.
“When did he tell you that?” He asked.
“I thought you only take orders from the future John?” It was Sarah who spoke; she was no longer crying but still had traces of sorrow. Cameron looked at her and ignored John’s question.
“Yes. But it wasn’t an order. It was just a favor.” She said to Sarah. Derek and John looked at each other, perplexed by what they had heard. On the other hand, Sarah appears to be glad and gave Cameron a feeble smile.
“Thank you. For whatever it is that you did for him.” She said to Cameron in a shaky voice trying to hold back the tears. Cameron said nothing and just stared at Sarah.

“Grandpa.” Cameron said to an old, burly man who entered the diner. As she and John stood in the middle of the diner on their way out.
“Uncle Ben.” Said John weakly. The old man embraced him and said,
“Be strong my boy. Your mother loved you so much.” He let go of John and gave him a gentle pat on the shoulder.
“Sarah has her reasons for not telling us about her cancer. I know she’s in a better place now.” Uncle Ben said to him.
“I know.” John said sadly as Cameron looked on.
“Stay with us. I promised your mom that I will take care of you.” The old man said to John.
“I-I don’t know. I need to go somewhere, alone.” He said to Uncle Ben then looked at Cameron. Outside the diner, unbeknownst to them, a man with dark stubble was walking towards them. He stopped in front of the diner’s wide glass windows and aimed a SIG556 at it and fired, shattering the glass into a million pieces. The people inside were screaming, hiding and running for their lives. John, who was bleeding from a cut on his left eyebrow, ducked down and was trying to shield Cameron from the shooting. When the rapid gunfire came to a halt, John saw Cameron lying on the floor beside him, bleeding from two gunshot wounds; one on her shoulder and the other on her chest.
“No,no,no. Cameron!” His voice panicking, as he touched her face. She was not responding, and he saw Uncle Ben, suffered the same fate as his granddaughter. John looked outside and saw a man reloading his gun, looking around before stepping inside the diner through the shattered windows. John made a split-second decision, against his will, to leave Cameron and make a run towards the kitchens. He hid behind a wall near the door and peeks through a gap and saw the man, as if looking for somebody, his eyes glowed red. Realizing who it was, what it was, John ran towards the back door and escaped on foot. After three blocks of running and walking, he decided to take a rest. John took refuge behind a dumpster near a convenience store. He sat down on the ground and cried silently. The image of Cameron, bloodied and lifeless, flashed through his eyes. John felt numb, his body didn’t want to move; his mind ached as he drowned himself with guilt. His heart broken beyond repair; wishing that he would wake up from this horrible nightmare.

Cameron entered her room and removed the eye patch that she was wearing and placed it down on the bed.
“Where did you bury him? I want to see where he is.” Said John who followed Cameron from the living room. She turned around and faced him. John was stunned to see that she already had a human eye under the patch she wore.
“Where did you- Is that his-?” Said John who was completely stunned.
“No. It’s not his. Your eyes are green.” Replied Cameron. John took a second look and saw that her eyes were both brown, but the new one was darker.
“He said that he doesn’t want you to know where he is, so that you won’t have to find him.” She explained to John. He stared at her questioningly.
“Someday you’ll understand what he did. What you did.” Said Cameron then walked out of the room. John was left standing, speechless, pondering on what Cameron had just said to him.

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