Tarren walked through the back door of the orphanage with a sack full of bread hanging over his back, and saw Eugene pouring two glasses of water. “I hate working for Frederick. He wanted me to take the valuables from this farming family today because they couldn’t pay their loan.”
Eugene turned around and frowned at Tarren. “There will be time later for us to discuss that. Do you know who attacked the Pedestal the other night?”
Tarren’s eyes opened wide with panic. “What? No. Why, have you heard new rumors about who did it?”
Eugene shook his head. “No, but there is someone here from Daley Devices that thinks you had something to do with it. You didn’t, did you?”
Tarren forced a hurt look onto his face. “How can you accuse me of that? You know I was out looking for a job the night that it happened!”
Eugene sighed. “I’m sorry, Tarren. I just had to be sure. I’m sure once you tell the man this, everything will be taken care of. Come along, he’s waiting for you in the entry hall.” Eugene carried the glasses of water into the entry hall and Tarren followed after him. Eugene handed Lawrence one of the glasses of water. “Here he is, back from work. Go ahead and ask your questions and then you can return to your work.” Eugene took a drink from his glass and then started up the stairs.
Lawrence watched Eugene go and once he was sure he was out of earshot, he turned and smiled nervously at Tarren. “Hello, Tarren. The Enforcers asked for Daley Devices to help them track down whoever attacked the Pedestal, and to that end I have a few questions for you. You weren’t involved in any way on the attack on the Pedestal, were you?”
Tarren shook his head. “No, I was out looking for a job to try and help support the orphanage that night. You can ask Mr. Johnson, Dr. Samuel, and Mr. Trevor about that.”
Lawrence looked around to make sure that no one was listening in, and continued on in a quieter voice, “I know that you are a part of the rebellion, and that they staged a rescue attempt for one of their captured members on that night. I also know that you stopped by Mr. Daley’s house that night looking for help. What did you do after that?”
Tarren looked suspiciously at Lawrence. “After your boss refused to help, I went looking for someone else that would. You said that the Enforcers asked you to track this person down?”
Lawrence nodded. “Yes they did. They said they had their hands busy with ensuring the safety of the council members. Did you find anyone to help you after you left Mr. Daley’s home?”
Tarren shook his head. “The Enforcers asked you to hunt down the person that did this because they were too busy protecting the Pedestal? I saw a dozen or more in the market today! Why are you really here?”
Sweat appeared on Lawrence’s brow. “Perhaps now isn’t a good time to talk. I’m sure you are busy and have many things to do today. I’ll stop by at another time, perhaps.” Lawrence turned and started heading for the door.
“Wait.” Lawrence stopped and slowly turned. Tarren walked slowly toward him. “I don’t know who attacked the Pedestal, or how they did it, but I’m glad that they did. Because of him, my friends were saved, and the entire rebellion protected, no thanks to your boss.”
Lawrence nodded his head and smiled. “Yes, well, I’m glad to hear that. I may not be a member of the rebellion, but I am cheering for you. Everyone at Daley Devices is. If you will excuse me, I have lots of work to do back at the lab.” Lawrence let himself out of the orphanage.
John walked through the empty streets of Hope’s Landing after work, his his lunch box hanging from his pickaxe, which was hung over his shoulder . He considered, not for the first time on his walk home that night, stopping at The Miner’s Stop and having a few drinks, but Jessica would be waiting for him at home with supper. She wouldn’t be very pleased with him if he came home to a cold supper, so he decided against stopping there.
John heard a scuffling on the roof next to him and he turned and brandished his pickaxe, ready to face whatever was coming at him. He saw a masked man in a brown cloak sitting on the roof watching him. The masked man held up his hands defensively and said in a low, gravely voice, “Hold on there, John. I’m just here to talk.”
John tightened his grip on his pickaxe and replied. “How do you know my name?”
The masked man chuckled. “I know all sorts of things about you, John al’Forge. I know that you lead the rebellion, and that’s why I’m here tonight. I want to help the rebellion in their fight.”
John relaxed and looked up at the masked man. “I’m glad to hear that, but if you want to join with us you are going to have to change the way you do things. No more attacks like the one on the Pedestal. That sort of thing is only going to rile the government up.”
The masked man shook his head. “I’m not the one with the need of different tactics, you and your rebellion are. Things aren’t getting any better for the people of this planet. It’s time that the rebellion did something about that and drove out these despots.”
“If we do things your way, things will get worse for these people. How do you think the government is going to take your little stunt? Do you think they’ll just curl up in a ball and wait to see what happens next? No! They’re going to send their Enforcers out to find you, hurt innocent people while they do it, and they’re going to make us pay for the damage to their building. This is no way to change things for the better!”
The masked man sat in silence for a few seconds, and then quietly replied, “That’s fine.”
John looked incredulously at the masked man. “That’s fine? The people you are trying to save are going to suffer more than they ever have before, and you’re okay with that?”
“Eventually the government is going to push them too hard, and when that happens, the people will decide they’ve had enough and will flock to your rebellion to drive out the government of Aquore. It isn’t the ideal path to freedom, but it will get us there just the same. Things aren’t going to change if someone doesn’t do something.”
John shook his head, his face contorted in anger. He pointed a finger at the masked man. “There is no room in our rebellion for someone who thinks like you. I suggest that you get off this rock before you hurt the people that I care about. If that happens, I don’t care how strong you are; I will take you down.” John turned and started stalking down the street toward his home.
The masked man chased after him along the rooftops. “John, wait! Can’t you see that nothing will ever change with the way the rebellion is doing things now? You need a new strategy! Pinching their pockets isn’t doing anything either! At least give me the opportunity to speak with your people and let them decide for themselves how they want to fight.”
John turned and glared at the masked man. “I represent the rebellion as their leader. I decide how we act and when, and I have already told you the rebellion’s stance on this. If you try to spread your zealot gospel to my people, your fight will end right then and there! Do you understand me?”
“If you won’t let me talk with them, I will act on my own! Either agree to work with me or I will decimate the mine near Hope’s Landing. I won’t leave a piece of mining equipment functioning, and I’ll collapse the whole mine down on itself.”
John growled, “You aren’t coming near my people! Go ahead and attack the mine, but the Enforcers will be waiting for you! I’ll make sure of that.”
The masked man chuckled and replied, “Good. It will give me an opportunity to strike out at those who oppress my people. The more you can get there, the happier I’ll be. I’ll be attacking the mine in two nights if I haven’t heard from you by then. If you will change your mind and allow me to meet with your rebellion, tie a red string around the light pole at the corner of Milton lane and Malor street.”
John threw his lunch box at the masked man. “Get out of here, you fool, before I come up onto that roof and chase you off myself!”
The lunch box bounced off of the masked man’s chest, fell to the roof and slid off to the ground, followed by the sound of shattering glass. The masked man shook his head and ran off into the night. John sighed, bent over and picked up his lunch box. “Jessica isn’t going to be happy when she sees what I did to her containers.”
Doors opened up on either side of the street and people stood looking at John strangely. John smiled sheepishly at them and waved. “Sorry to disturb you, but there was, um, a cat up on the roof.” The people shook their heads and closed the doors behind them, and John quickly continued home.
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more of it, come back on Friday when I will publish part three, and check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page to connect with me and give me some feedback: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read.