Rebels of Darkness II, Chapter 5

A middle aged couple sat in their living room reading when they heard a knock on their front door. They nearly jumped from the startle it created! They stared towards the entryway as if some kind of ghoul would float in through the walls, and the wife wondered, “Who could it be at this hour?”

Her husband grumbled, “I’m getting my gun!”

He marched into the adjoining hallway and into the room where he kept his weapon, and his wife’s curiosity got the better of her. She gingerly walked to the doorway and peeked out of the peephole. She saw a rain-drenched, young couple standing on the porch with morose expressions on their faces, and she suddenly felt relieved. “Don’t worry, Marshall! They look harmless!” She opened the door and invited them in, “Oh, you poor things! Come inside before you catch a cold!”

“Thank you,” Kierram responded cordially. “You’re the third house we tried! I thought no one was gonna answer!”

“I’m sorry to hear that!” Marshall’s wife sympathized.

Marshall reentered the living room and casually conversed, “I know it’s late and everyone is spooked from that prison break…” Kierram and Gwynivara tried not to look too guilty at the mention of their ordeal with the FBI. “…but that’s no excuse to not be neighborly!”

Marshall’s wife gazed at them with concern. “What are you two doing out on a night like this? It’s not safe right now!”

“We were on our way home from church when our car broke down,” Gwynivara fibbed. “Can we use your phone?”

“Of course!” Marshall gladly gestured towards their telephone on a small table near a cozy chair, and as Gwynivara went over to it, Marshall studied Kierram and concluded, “Look at you two! You’ve had a rough day, haven’t you?”

Kierram honestly told him, “I haven’t been this stressed since I served in ‘Nam!”

Marshall gave Kierram a pitiful look. “Oh my, that’s a lot of stress! Paige, why don’t you make our new friends some tea?” She got up to do so as Gwynivara slowly dialed a phone number. “What are your names, by the way?”

Before Kierram had to invent some names for the two of them, Gwynivara got someone on the phone, “Hello, Missus Ashling. Can I speak to Riley, please? Thank you!”

After a brief pause, Riley anxiously addressed her, “Oh, thank the heavens! You have no idea how worried we were!”

“Did you hear what happened?” Gwynivara asked.

“Oh, yes! We’re up to speed!” Riley answered her. “Where are you guys now? Are you still in Richmond?”

Paige returned to the living room with with a tray that carried a teapot and two cups on it. She overheard what Riley said to Gwynivara, so she remarked to Kierram, “Still in Richmond… I thought you were coming home from church…”

Kierram inwardly panicked, but he smoothly prevaricated to Marshall and Paige, “We’re looking at multiple churches so we can pick our wedding venue.”

As Marshall and Paige congratulated Kierram, Riley inquired, “Our conversation isn’t private, is it?”

“No,” Gwynivara confirmed. Paige and Marshall fell silent again, so Gwynivara made sure to choose her words carefully, “Can you pick us up?”

“Actually, we were just about to head out and go find you guys,” Riley informed her. “Where are you guys?”

Gwynivara hesitated, so Paige helped out, “Twenty twenty Corona Avenue.”

In case Riley hadn’t heard that, Gwynivara repeated, “Twenty Twenty Corona Avenue. But our… car… is somewhere else. Can you meet us there?”

“Sure,” Riley obliged. “Where did you leave the ‘car’ at?”

“It’s by the Glen Laurel Expressway,” Gwynivara conveyed to him in the most innocent souding tone she could.

Marshall probed, “Your car broke down on the expressway? How come you guys didn’t use one of the call boxes to get help?”

Kierram quickly came up with, “We tried that, but it was out of order.”

Paige furrowed her brow to hear that. “Out of order? How is that possible?”

“Just our rotten luck!” Kierram nervously chuckled as he glanced around the room for a way to change the subject. He spotted a newspaper draped on the arm of their sofa, so he commented on that, “Oh look, Jimmy Carter is coming to town! That’s kinda cool!”

“You think that’s cool? Oh son, let me tell you about Jimmy Carter!” Marshall exclaimed.

As Marshall and Paige started to preach to Kierram about their political views, Gwynivara quietly talked to Riley, “So, you were about to leave? You found a car big enough for all of us already? What, did Agnes call for a limo or something?”

Riley let her know, “Actually, we went down to the pastry factory after it closed and took one of their trucks. They probably won’t notice that it’s gone ’til morning, we should be able to get there before dawn.”

“Uh, Riley, Richmond is less than two hours from Great Dismal Falls…” Gwynivara trusted Riley, but his projected plan greatly confused her. She knew Riley had a sharp mind, so it puzzled her as to why he thought they needed so much time. She had a feeling he had a good reason for it, but she also sensed that she wouldn’t enjoy the reality of his rationale.

“Listen, we’re coming to get you, but we’re not bring you back to Great Dismal Falls,” Riley revealed. “Not yet anyways. We’re going on a rescue mission in DC.”

Gwynivara got rattled to learn this. “DC? Who would we need to rescue in…?” It suddenly clicked for her, and she gasped, “Oh no! They brought…” Marshall abruptly stood up, and as he passed by, Gwynivara blurted to Riley, “That sounds great! You’ll have to tell me all about it on the way home!”

Riley finished their conversation with, “Okay, I’ll see you soon!”

Gwynivara sighed as she hung up. She felt grateful for the fact that these people let them use their phone and that they didn’t catch that she made a long distance call, but she wished that she could have had more privacy when she spoke with Riley so that they could coordinate things better. She agreed to meet Riley by the expressway, but she would have to figure out a way to both hide the other Rebels and signal to Riley exactly where to locate them at. Plus, she would have loved to have gotten more details on their rescue operation in Washington DC! After battling Rafeneita and escaping from Agent Cecilio’s attempt to capture them, she had hoped to get a little bit of rest! Despite that, she would not complain. For Riley to go through so much effort, she knew it had to be important! Besides, she had a pretty good idea of who they had to save, and she prayed that it wouldn’t turn out as dangerous as she feared it would be…

She joined Kierram on the couch, but before she could relay to him that they needed to get going, Marshall came back and plopped another newspaper on the coffee table in front of them. “That’s our candidate!”

They peered at a headline that read: “Don John Rialowe Enters the Race!” Kierram gave the article a look of confusion as he remarked, “Don John Rialowe? But he’s an ad man! He’s not a politician!”

“Exactly!” Paige emphatically countered. “He’s not a politician! Politicians have corrupted our democracy for long enough! It’s about time someone came in to fix our broken system!”

“Plus, he’ll run this country like a business,” Marshall added. “He’ll save our nation from going into another recession, and we’ll all earn more money too! He’s exactly what our country needs right now!”

Kierram politely differed, “I remember him having a lot of successful ad campaigns, but didn’t he also have a lot of failed investments after that?”

Paige brushed that off, “He can afford to blow his money if he wants to! He’s that rich! You don’t see Jimmy Carter’s peanut farm earning him millions!”

“Technically, I think his peanut farm is worth more than what Ford earned as president this year,” Kierram pointed out.

“Ugh, don’t get us started on Ford!” Marshall ranted, “He and Nixon were the ones who put us into a recession! Oh sure, we’re starting to recover now, but we could bounce back faster if he spent his money more wisely! Like, he could save our country millions of dollars if he didn’t give the Public Health Center funds to fight a fake virus!”

Gwynivara and Kierram blinked their eyelids in confusion upon hearing that assertion. Gwynivara had remained silent prior to that claim so that they could head towards the expressway and prepare for Riley’s arrival, but the brazen turn of this conversation threw her off enough to where she couldn’t move on without clarification, “Are you talking about Venenatus Sanguis?”

Marshall nodded vigorously in certification of this. “Oh, yes! Rialowe opened up our eyes to the lies they’ve been spewing to us! They’re making stuff up just so they can scare us into submission! Politicians want to keep us afraid so we stay under their control, but not Rialowe! Rialowe tells us the truth! Rialowe will never try to take our freedoms away like normal politicians do!”

Gwynivara and Kierram gave each other an incredulous expression, and Gwynivara hesitantly disputed this incredibly wild-sounding theory, “Um… People have gotten sick from this virus! Millions have it! Thousands of people from all over the world have already died from it!”

“Do you know anyone who has gotten this thing?” Paige challenged them. Kierram and Gwynivara grimaced from how close to home she got with her question, and they wouldn’t dare to disclose their honest answer, but they couldn’t come up with a fitting fabrication for their alter egos to use in response. Fortunately for them, Paige made the wrong assumption from their silence, “See! You haven’t, we haven’t, no one has! They hire actors to tell stories about these magical beasts that come out of nowhere and attack all the people around them, and people actually believe it! They made it up so they can snatch up people they don’t like! Well, we all know their secret now! They can’t get away with it anymore!”

“I know I’ve seen pictures of those beasts in the paper though!” Gwynivara did honestly see pictures of them in print, she just didn’t include her own experience with Venenatus Sanguis. A part of her felt as though trying to convince them of the facts would prove to be a futile effort, but she couldn’t help but take it personally! She put so much into fighting for the cure to save humanity, she almost died to help everyone, and they had the audacity to act like the crisis didn’t even exist in the first place! She found the concept both infuriating and mind boggling!

Marshall rebutted her, “Oh, it’s all staged! Hollywood and the mainstream media worked together to make it look real! They’re all in on perpetuating this nonsense! Well, everyone except for Vulpes Press!” He tapped his finger to the spot on his newspaper that showed the company’s logo. “You kids should start reading their stuff! You’ll learn a lot by ignoring all the bull from everyone else!”

Gwynivara could feel herself starting to become upset by their blatant ignorance, so she stopped herself from feuding with them about it. She didn’t want to end up hurting them from any beast she might have created from her triggered emotions, and while a part of her would have relished to see this ironic twist of fate for them, her morals thwarted her from inflicting harm on anyone except in self defense. So, she held her tongue and took a deep breath to try and calm herself down. She could tell that Kierram was bothered by their behavior too, but he seemed to find it more dubious than maddening. He skeptically grilled them, “So, how did Don John find any of this out?”

“He’s out there in the media all the time! He’s found a lot of it just by doing his job!” Paige proudly praised him, “Plus, he’s just a genius!”

“Why would a genius start a presidential bid a month before the election?” Kierram pondered.

Marshall boldly stated, “Oh, he doesn’t need more time than that! He’s already got thousands of people supporting him, and that number only grows each day! You’ll see! It’ll be the first time a third party candidate ever won the election, and he’ll be the greatest president ever!”

Neither Kierram nor Gwynivara knew what to say after that. Kierram couldn’t stand the lunacy of it, but he clearly began to grow weary of debating this issue. Gwynivara just stared at Rialowe’s picture. While she always thought his overuse of gel to slick back his hair made him appear fake and his dark brown eyes were totally devoid of any warmth, she remembered that a lot people really admired his visage. She figured that combined with him getting support from a recognized newspaper could get people to buy his deranged point of view on Venenatus Sanguis, but she found his motivation for doing so very strange! She couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to convince the world the disease didn’t exist, unless…

Piage interrupted her train of thought, “Oh, Marshall! These two have had a long day! They don’t wanna keep getting lectured about politics! Let’s let them get going!”

“You’re right!” Marshall concurred. “Read Vuples Press after your honeymoon! Go enjoy being married!”

“Thank you!” Gwynivara tried not to look too eager as she leapt out of her seat. Marshall and Paige happily said goodbye to them, and they watched them leave the porch and walk down the sidewalk with adoring eyes. Kierram and Gwynivara simply trekked forward and projected a nonchalant attitude to maintain their cover.

As soon as they rounded the corner and fell out of the territory where anyone in this area could hear them, they found the Rebel Officers, who merrily greeted them. John conjectured, “Since you were in there a while, you managed to get a hold of Riley, right?”

Gwynivara was still trying to process all that occurred in that house, so instead of verbalizing her reply, she just nodded. She wanted to fill them in all the new developments, but so much happened in the last few minutes that she didn’t know where to begin. Before she could come up with something, Bernadette rejoiced, “Oh, thank goodness! We’re going home!”

It stung Gwynivara to do it, but she refuted her, “We’re not going home anytime soon…”

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