Tarren pushed a broom through the sanctuary that was empty except for him and Pastor Gary. Pastor Gary looked up from the bulletins that had been left on the floor and said, “How are you doing, Tarren?”
Tarren shook his head. “Not so good, Pastor. How could anyone be good with everything that’s going on? The Enforcers are being more brutal than they ever have before. They don’t need much of an excuse to beat on you and drag you off to the dungeons, everything costs at least three times as much as it did two weeks ago, and then there are all those attacks by the Masked Man! This planet is decaying around us, and we’ll be lucky if we survive any of it.”
Pastor Gary nodded his head. “Things do seem to be pretty bad right now, but we believers can take comfort in the fact that this is all a part of God’s plan. God promises that he will use all things for the good of his people, and that includes the violence of the Masked Man and the government. We might not be able to see it now, but someday we’ll look back on this and know that this was necessary to bring on the future we need.”
Tarren’s shoulders slumped. “How do you do it, Pastor? How do you keep your faith in the middle of all of this suffering? It seems like God has rejected us and left us to fend for ourselves.”
Gary smiled. “I can continue to believe that God is in control because I can look at the history of the church. There have been countless instances when the world faced dark times, times when everyone gave up hope and accepted the end, but God kept his promises and brought his people safely through. We can look back at those instances and see that those dark times were necessary to bring about the good ones. It is those examples that I find confidence that he will do it again with this situation.”
Tarren offered the pastor a weak smile. “I’ll try to keep that in mind and to have a faith more like yours.” Tarren went back to sweeping. If Pastor Gary was right, then God could be using his work as the Masked Man to bring good for the people of this planet. Tarren could continue to fight the government if he was sure that this was all part of the plan to make things better.
Tarren walked down the stairs into Obediah’s basement and looked around at all the people gathered for tonight’s meeting. He shook his head at the low hum of whispers that filled the room. This wasn’t normal; the room should be filled with laughter and shouting. He wasn’t sure if it was the fact that they were working with the Masked Man, or if it was because of the Pedestal’s reaction. Either way, it weighed heavily upon him.
Obediah followed Tarren down the stairs and looked around the room until he spotted John leaning up against a wall. He nodded to John, and John made his way over to the table he used as a stage. He cleared his throat, and said, “If I could have everyone’s attention, we’ll get this meeting started.” He waited a few seconds and after the whispers faded away, he continued. “I have been in touch with Scott, and he has told me the site that he wants us to attack next. We’ll be heading to the mining site near Aquore’s Crater and doing the same thing to it that we did to Scott’s site.”
Someone in the crowd interrupted and shouted, “How can you continue to work with that maniac? Because of him, the Enforcers took my son away because he was playing outside after curfew. His mother and I have lost our five year old son because the government is mad at the Masked Man. Why should we be helping him? Maybe we should just turn him in and let things go back to the way that they used to be.”
John’s shoulders slumped and he said weakly, “Perhaps we could convince the Masked Man to mount another rescue attempt on the Pedestal and bring your boy out safely.”
The man’s hand formed into a fist. “I don’t want anything to do with the Masked Man! He’s brought nothing but suffering to this planet!”
John sighed. “I know that it’s hard to see it now, but the Masked Man is helping us get those in the Pedestal into the position we need them in so that they will negotiate with us. I don’t agree with his methods, and some day he will have to answer for his actions. Not to those bureaucrats up in the Pedestal, but to us. Until then, we need to use him so that we can get to that day.”
The man crossed his arms and frowned. “Very well, you can continue to work with this terrorist, but if anything happens to my son, I won’t hesitate to turn him in.”
John nodded his head. “Thank you for your patience. Scott wants the attack to take place two nights from now. How many of you will volunteer to work with us?”
Tarren watched the man that had spoken up push through the crowd while John counted the volunteers. That didn’t look like a man that was satisfied with the situation he had found himself in, and Tarren could understand why. His heart nearly broke when he heard about the fate of his son. If this plan of Scott’s didn’t bear fruit soon, he wasn’t sure he would be able to keep it up.
The next day Charlie, the man that had spoken up at the meeting the night before, made his way through the marketplace. The rebellion couldn’t understand his family’s pain; that was for certain. If they could, they wouldn’t continue to work with the Masked Man. If they wouldn’t do anything about this situation, perhaps Charlie could trade the Masked Man for his son.
He continued up the road that led to the Pedestal, but before he could make it to the gates, an Enforcer stopped him by leveling a spear at him. “What is your business at the Pedestal?”
Charlie held up his hands to show he was unarmed and said, “I am here to speak with the members of the Pedestal. I would like to make a deal with them.”
The Enforcer shook his head. “Do you have an appointment? My orders are that no one gets into the Pedestal without an appointment.”
Charlie shook his head. “I don’t have an appointment, but I do have information that the Pedestal will be very happy to hear. Please let me through and let me give this information to them.”
The Enforcer shook his head. “I’m afraid I can’t do that. I can take your message to them for you though.”
Charlie looked at the Enforcer hesitantly. This was his best chance of getting his boy back. He sighed and said, “I have information about where the Masked Man is going to strike next, and when.”
The Enforcer stood up straight and stared at Charlie intensely. “You’re right, that will make them very happy. Give me the details and you can be on your way.”
Charlie shook his head. “I won’t tell you anything unless you promise me that you will release my son from your dungeons. He is only a five year old boy that was foolishly playing outside after curfew, he doesn’t pose any threat to you.”
The Enforcer nodded his head. “Yes, yes, of course. We’ll make sure that you and your son are reunited. Now where and when is this attack going to happen?”
Charlie opened his mouth to respond, but then it occurred to him that the other members of the rebellion would be there as well. He couldn’t just turn them over too. “I have one other condition. You may find other people with the Masked Man, perhaps aiding him. You must promise to let them go as well. Otherwise, I’ll tell you nothing.”
The Enforcer sighed and rolled his eyes. “You have my word that we won’t arrest anyone that we find with the Masked Man. Now tell me what you know!”
Charlie nodded his head. “Alright, I have heard rumors that the Masked Man will be attacking the mining site at Aquore’s Crater in two nights. Now when do I get my son back?”
The Enforcer swung his spear butt into Charlie’s stomach. Charlie doubled over and fell onto the ground. The Enforcer grinned down at Charlie and said, “Oh please, did you really think that I wouldn’t realize that you were part of the rebellion? How else would you know where the next attack was going to be at? I’m guessing that those other people that will be with the Masked Man are going to be more rebels, so I have quite a bit too thank you for. I just might get promoted over this.”
Charlie gripped onto his stomach and wheezed out, “You lied to me. You said you would give me my son back.”
The Enforcer shook his head. “No, I said that the two of you would be reunited. I’ll make sure that you get to share a nice cell with him in the dungeon.”
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more like it, come back on Monday when I will publish part one of chapter 12 of The Super Morpher, come back tomorrow when I will have all of chapter 8 for you, and Sunday for an update video on what has happened in The Super Morpher so far, and a glimpse of what is going to happen in chapter 12. Check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page 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, and don’t forget to check out my newly published book, The Kids on the Case: Our First Case. You can buy a copy of your own here:The Kids on the Case: Our First Case.