Rebels of Darkness II, Chapter 6

He heard the footsteps reach the other end of the room, and after the sound of the shutting door hit his eardrums, he opened his eyes. As soon as he did, he heard a male’s voice declare, “Look, he’s awake! I told you he was faking it!”

To his horror, he saw that the men were standing next to the door but hadn’t actually gone through it. He cringed and inwardly admonished himself for falling for such an obvious ruse! These men in army fatigues walked over to him, smirking triumphantly, and the oldest one of them leered, “Lieutenant General Emorick Conley! We get to meet the legend at last!”

Emorick ignored their attempt to intimidate him, it didn’t phase him at all, and instead, he decided to focus on more pertinent matters. “Is this Fort Cragga?”

“Really? You think you’re in Fort Cragga?” the oldest man scoffed. “You don’t recognize the base you served at for most of your career?”

“What, you think I helped plan out D-Day in this room?’ Emorick shot back. “What is this place anyways? Storage?”

The oldest soldier snidely retorted, “I’ll ask the questions here, buddy!”

Emorick descried, “Buddy, huh? That’s a little different than Lieutenant General!”

“Once upon a time, you outranked me,” the oldest man conveyed in a condescending tone. “You lost the entitlement for that level of respect when you abandoned your post!”

“I didn’t abandon anything!” Emorick knew they were baiting him to get an avid response that would divulge whatever they wanted to dig out of him, but he couldn’t let an insinuation like that slide! “I would never break my oath to protect my country against all enemies, foreign and domestic!”

The oldest soldier brought up, “What about your oath to obey orders of your commanding officers or the commander in chief!”

Emorick justified himself, “I can’t obey an order that goes against the constitution of the United States!”

“I’m sorry, what part of ‘All persons afflicted with Venenatus Sanguis must go into quarantine,’ violates the constitution?” the oldest soldier challenged.

“You’re killing off your own people!” Emorick exclaimed. “You’re not putting people into quarantine, you’re locking them into solitary confinement until they meet their doom! People in our government are helping to spread the disease, and you’re doing nothing to stop it! It’s only getting worse, and I won’t be a part of it!”

The oldest soldier pushed him, “So, you think the way to solve it is to abandon your men? And you don’t regret it all?”

Emorick asserted, “I didn’t abandon my men, they abandoned me! I couldn’t do much good in quarantine, but I’ve made a difference with the choice I made! No, I don’t regret what I did!”

“What did you do after you fled from this base?” the oldest soldier questioned. Emorick kept his mouth shut, so the man pressed, “Did you help more traitors evade quarantine?” Emorick felt incensed to hear him disparage the Rebels like that, but he wouldn’t give him the satisfaction on this one! He had no idea what they had planned after he fell into a coma, but they were the only hope in getting a cure out there! The fate of the planet depended on them, and he refused to betray them for any reason! The oldest soldier insisted, “Don’t pretend like you acted alone! You were found in a factory truck, you didn’t get there on your own! Someone helped you!”

“What I did after I left For Firinne is inconsequential to you,” Emorick simply stated.

The man roared, “If you know about a criminal conspiracy and you fail to tell us, you-!”

Emorick hollered back, “I’ll what? If I knew anything, why would I tell you? What would I stand to gain by doing that?”

“A clear conscious!” the oldest soldier snapped.

“My conscious is clear! Can you say the same for yourself?” Emorick rebutted. The soldier looked a little shocked at his allegation, and when he didn’t reply to him, he knew he had unearthed a nugget of truth. “Go ahead! Try all of your interrogation techniques! Torture me if you want! I’ll keep giving you the same answer! Or you’ll push me to my limit, and my Venenatus Sanguis will create a beast! I’d laugh at the irony of your assholes getting sent to quarantine!”

All three soldiers’ expressions grew alarmed by that prospect, and while they didn’t say it out loud, Emorick knew he won that argument. The oldest solider tried to keep his cool as he suggested, “Come on, boys! Let’s go set his trial date!”

Emorick watched them leave the room, and while it amused him to watch them slink away with bruised egos, he couldn’t label himself as content. The fact remained that he was trapped! He couldn’t move anything but his head due to the restraints they put on him, and feared that even if he could free himself form them that he wouldn’t have been able to move as much as he needed to in order to get out of there. He escaped from this place once, but he didn’t have peak physical condition this time. If he could muster an incantation, he could sense that he would collapse immediately afterwards. His body needed to recover, but he didn’t have the time to recover! He needed to know that his Rebels stayed out of harm’s way, and he ached to rejoin them in their effort to protect the planet! He had no choice but to resign himself to the fact that if he couldn’t return to his normal self in time that he would have no choice but to accept whatever judgment that got given to him at his trial. He gazed forlornly at the ceiling and hoped that the Rebels would make it without him. He felt as though he had a dream about them battling the enemy and obtaining the cure, but it all seemed so fuzzy to him to remember any specific details. He sighed, and then he prayed that his Rebels were out there right now distributing the cure to people who would finally put a stop to this madness!

“Put the map down, Cody,” Riley instructed as the truck he drove exited the freeway. “Keep your eye out for the signal.”

“What’s the signal?” Cody asked him.

Riley answered, “No clue!”

Cody responded in confusion, “Then what am I supposed to be looking for then?”

“Something unusual. They’re not gonna hitch hike with their faces all over the wanted section, so they’ll send out something that catches our eye to let us know where they’re hiding. To strangers, it’ll blend in with the neighborhood, but there’ll be something just a bit off enough about it that’ll tell us their location,” Riley elaborated.

“That’s not very specific!” Cody criticized as he scanned the street and adjoining roads for something that could fit Riley’s vague description.

Riley shrugged. “It’s all I got, kiddo!”

Cody sighed, and then he noticed a small, blinking light in front of his window. “Oh look! A firefly!” Riley immediately pulled over into the breakdown lane, prompting Cody to inquire, “What?”

“Yup, there’s a whole line of them leading into the trees!” Riley indicated to a small stretch of forest that separated the expressway from the houses in the region.

“So? I mean, they’re pretty, but…” Cody relayed his skepticism as politely as he could.

Riley put on his emergency lights, and as he unbuckled his seat belt, he pointed out, “Have you ever seen fireflies in October?”

In that instance, it finally clicked for Cody, “Oh, that’s the signal!”

As soon as Riley opened the back door of the freight truck, Gwynivara and the other Officers dashed out from behind the trees and hopped into the back of the vehicle. From behind a stack of wooden crates, José as well as Rebekah, Naama, and Niqun peeked out to greet them. José kidded, “Nice of you to join us!” Gwynivara grinned as Riley shut the back door.

Once they had taken their seats, Riley opened a small window that connected the cab with the cargo area. “Ready?” he queried.

“Nah, let’s stay here a while longer!” John joked. Riley chuckled as he started up the truck.

“Nice outfits!” Naama studied their all black clothing with a slight amusement.

Bernadette defended their wardrobe, “Hey, they’re no Halston, but they’ll do in a pinch! It’s not like we had a whole lot of time to make them with the FBI on on tails!”

Rebekah complimented them, “You made them yourself? Far out!”

“You can channel your Venenatus Sanguis to do all kinds of things!” Kierram educated her. “You saw our old headquarters- my dad made that all himself! Well, other people helped once he taught them how to do it, but still! Look at all they were able to do!”

“Speaking of Emorick…” Niqun broached.

Gwynivara surmised, “He got captured.”

Niqun nodded in confirmation. “The military is holding him in DC. They’re going to court martial him as soon as he is conscious.”

“That’s what we figured happened when you said we’re going there,” Kierram commented. “It’s not gonna be easy getting past all those soldiers, but at least we have a couple hours to rest before we gotta do anything!” He kicked back into a more restful repose.

“Oh, uh-uh! You don’t get to rest ’til you fill us in with what you’ve been doing this whole time!” Riley scolded them.

Rebekah guessed, “You fought the origin on the mountain?”

Bernadette revealed, “Yeah! Her name is Rafeneita,a nd she’s some kind of military commander for her planet, which is about to collapse apparently. Some motorcycle cops helped us battle against her troops, and just when it looked like Gwynivara was gonna annihilate Rafeneita, she disappeared! But she left behind a parting gift…”

Gwynivara pulled out the ornate, cylindrical vial with the green liquid in it, and she proudly informed them, “It’s the cure!”

All of the other Rebels marveled at it incredulously, and José exclaimed, “Holy Mother of God, you got it!”

“We have the cure! So this nightmare is almost over! We won! Our planet is saved!” Naama rejoiced.

“I hate to be a killjoy, but if this was all over, our people wouldn’t be captured like this!” Riley observed.

Cody inquired, “Why did the FBI take you in even though you have the cure?”

John replied, “They don’t believe us! They think we’re a lunatic cult hellbent on murder! At first, we thought they were just under the Disease Safety Unit’s influence, but we think it might be something more…”

“There’s a politician out there that’s convincing a bunch of people that Venenatus Sanguis is fake, like the government made it up just to scare people into submission,” Gwynivara spelled out.

“Why would anyone wanna do that?” Rebekah reacted in disbelief.

Niqun abhorrently remarked, “That’s completely reckless! That’s only going to cause everyone to let their guard down and the disease will spread more!”

Kierram darkly asserted, “That’s exactly why we think he’s doing it! And we don’t think Don John has any motivation to do this for himself…”

“Don John?” Riley cried out in repulsion. “As in Don John Rialowe?”

“Yup!” Kierram affirmed. “He jumped in as a third party candidate earlier this month.”

Riley made a noise of disgust. “That clown is running for public office?”

Bernadette let him know, “He’s running for president!”

“Oh, hell no!” Riley blurted out. “People want that kind of incompetence running our country?”

“Incompetence we could handle, but it sounds like this guy is trying to kill everyone off!” Naama assesed.

Cody posed to everyone, “Is there someone else trying to destroy the earth, or is Rafeneita going after us again?”

Gwynivara, heavy with uncertainty, articulated, “Well, that’s the sixty four million dollar question, isn’t it? Who does he…?”

All of a sudden, they saw red and blue lights flashing from behind them! Everyone’s hearts practically stopped, and while they fell deadly silent, the tension was palpable! Riley’s face went completely white, and no one had to say out loud that he had no choice but to pull over. The police officer would only have chased him if he hadn’t, and they couldn’t afford for him to call for backup! As Riley parked the truck, Gwynivara and the others just implored the heavens that he wouldn’t find them!

2 thoughts on “Rebels of Darkness II, Chapter 6

  1. Wow! I admire your writing ability 😍

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