Rebels of Darkness II, Chapter 7

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” a good-looking, middle aged police officer asked Riley at his driver’s side window.

“Why would would a cop pull over a pastry truck? Gee, I wonder…” Riley answered sarcastically. He played it cool, but he as well as the others hiding in the back inwardly prayed that this man had a sense of humor.

To everyone’s relief, the policeman busted out laughing. “Oh, you did not just make a donut joke just now!”

Riley shrugged. “Hey, I’m just playing with the hand I’ve been dealt!”

After the police officer got over his fit of laughs, he wiped away a tear and commented, “Oh, that is too funny!” He regained some of his composure and then informed him, “Actually, I pulled you over ’cause you missed that weigh station back there.”

“I did?” He glanced back behind him and frowned slightly when he confirmed the policeman’s claim. “Oh, so I did! Sorry, I got a bit distracted!”

“It happens! Especially when you bring your kid with you.” He indicated to Cody, and then he addressed him, “Are you giving your dad a hard time?”

Cody automatically blurted out, “Dad? I wish! My real dad is a jerk!”

Riley smoothed out his response by saying, “My sister married an abusive a-hole, so I’m taking my nephew in for a while.”

“Aw, isn’t that sweet of you!” the police officer complimented Riley, and then he queried to Cody, “You’ve got a great uncle, don’t you?”

“He’s not my great uncle, he’s not that old!” Cody joked.

The policeman chuckled at that, and then he remarked to Riley, “I can see where he gets his sense of humor from!”

Gwynivara mouthed to the other Rebels in the cargo area, “Are they flirting?”

“I hate to do this to you boys, but I’ll need to run your license,” the police officer requested.

“Well sure, it’s right…” Riley pat his pant pockets, and then he cringed. “Uh-oh!” He checked around his seat, and then he expressed regretfully, “Oh no! I think I left it at that gas station in Petersburg!”

The policeman teased him, “Driving without a license! I didn’t peg you as a bad boy!”

Riley kidded, “I’m not bad- I’m just a good guy who acts a little naughty sometimes!”

The police officer and Riley both giggled, and Bernadette, in a hardly audible tone, whispered, “They’re totally flirting!” The Rebels looked pleased to hear their buddy sound so happy, but more importantly, it gave them a sprig of hope that they would get out of this setback without any of them getting caught and taken away!

“Don’t worry about your license, I can run your name and social through the system,” the policeman assured him as he prepped himself to take notes.

“His name’s Gavril Gravilovic!” Cody jumped in when he sensed Riley’s hesitation.

The police officer handed Riley his notebook and instructed, “Write that down for me, would ya?”

Riley gave the notebook and pen to Cody and fibbed, “You do it! I’m so tired, I don’t think I can even spell it right!” Cody gladly obliged, and Riley quipped, “My sister’s lucky she married a Smith!”

That made the policeman titter, and after he saw Cody finish, he told him, “Don’t worry about the social. I’m pretty sure you’re the only one with a name like that!” Cody passed it back to him, and then he directed Riley, “Wait here a minute.”

Once the police officer got out of earshot, Riley quietly regarded Cody, “Good one!”

“Thanks!” Cody grinned gratefully. “It just reminded me of a time my history teacher said it happened to him!”

“Let’s just hope your history teacher has a clean record!” Riley turned back to catch a glimpse of the policeman, who didn’t seem to show that anything dicey had come up.

Moments later, the police officer returned, and he announced, “Listen, I have some bad news…” All of the Rebels’ breath got sucked out of them when they heard him say that, and Gwynivara already mentally prepared herself for another harrowing escape…

The policeman let Riley know, “There’ a penalty for passing a weigh station, so unfortunately…” All of the Rebels’ got ready to use an incantation at the very second he tried to take anyone in. “…we had to issue you a fine!” They all breathed in alleviation to learn that. “It should arrive in your mailbox within a week.”

“That sounds fair!” Riley tried not to appear too excited to receive the news.

“If you feel like contesting it in court, I can appear as a witness. Just give me a call!” The police officer handed him a business card with his name and phone number on it.

Riley chirped, “Sure, I’ll call you…” He read the business card and finished his sentence, “Officer Zadok!”

With a smile and a wink, he corrected him, “I’d prefer it if you referred to me as Justin.” Riley beamed at him, and then Justin concluded their conversation with, “Talk to you later, Gavril!” With a switch in his hip, Justin merrily strutted back to his police car.

For a minute, Riley watched him while Justin spoke to dispatch with a content look on his face, and Cody had to remind him, “Shouldn’t we get going?”

“What’s the rush?” Riley responded while still watching Justin.

“Hey, maybe we shouldn’t be pushing our luck!” Kierram forcibly suggested.

Kierram’s interjection woke Riley out of his reverie. “Huh? Oh, right! Sorry!” Riley turned the truck back on and quickly took off.

In a celebratory mode, José conversed, “Hey, way to go! You scored a phone number!”

“No, Gavril Gavra-Something scored a phone number. If Justin knew the truth, he wouldn’t want anything to do with me!” Riley sadly sighed.

“That’s not true!” Rebekah disputed. “Cody doesn’t have Venenatus Sanguis, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to go out with me!” Cody nodded in agreement.

That mollified Riley somewhat, but he didn’t seem totally convinced. “Okay, but I’m still a quarantine evader. He’s not gonna wanna go out with someone who’s breaking the law!”

Gwynivara piped up, “But don’t forget, we have the cure! Once we get it out to the public, you’re no longer a felon! You should call him when it’s all over!” The other Rebels agreed.

“I just hope he’s not too mad when he finds out I lied about my name!” Riley mused.

“He likes you, he’ll forgive you!” Bernadette chimed in. “The only one who’ll be mad about this is Cody’s history teacher when he gets that citation…” They all shared a laugh about that.

The phone rang in a dark room, and Rafeneita picked it up, “Hello?” She paused while the caller spoke, and then she responded, “I see… Thanks for the heads up!” After she hung up, she thought out loud, “I know you’ll be there, Gwynivara! Just so you know, I’ll have a presence there too!” She cackled maniacally.

Gwynivara woke with a start, but her fears got quelled almost immediately when she realized she had awaken in Kierram’s strong and very warm arms! He gazed at her tenderly as he asked, “You alright?”

“I am now!” she fondly answered. He gave her a kiss, and she realized that they hadn’t had a chance to do many romantic things since they officially became a couple! They solidified their relationship after they fought Rafeneita on that mountain, but up until right then, they became too busy with Rebellion activity to do much else. It felt really gratifying to wake up next to him, but they were still heading to Washington DC in a freight truck full of other people, so privacy was out of the question! She couldn’t wait for the day after they finished rescuing Emorick so they could finally act more like lovers than comrades in combat!

“You had a nightmare,” Kierram observed.

With her attention temporarily fixed on her amorous ambitions, she had momentarily forgotten about her dream! She still didn’t want to alarm anyone with her visions, and although the others had been asleep, she hardly wanted to have them wake up to bad news. The last one she had stayed hidden due to a natural shift in conversation, but she knew that wouldn’t happen this time! However, she hardly wanted to begin her involvement with Kierram by acting dishonestly, so she decided that she really had no choice but to fess up. “I had a dream that Rafeneita threatened to go after us again! It seemed so real!”

Kierram nodded in comprehension. “Battle Fatigue. That’s what Dad always called it, I think they call if something else now though. Anyways, after a soldier came home from war, the shock of it never fully left him. It’s not something you can go through and just forget about! I got out of the Marines three years ago, but I still have nightmares like I’m still there! I haven’t slept since I contracted Venenatus Sanguis about a year and a half ago ’cause the things I see in my sleep seem so real, and I always end up creating a beast from that! AT least yours hasn’t driven you to do that, so you won’t become an insomniac like me!”

“First of all, when we get the chance, I’ll do everything possible to drive you to a peaceful exhaustion!” Gwynivara promised.

“Hey, watch it! There’s young ears here!” Niqun scolded her while she laid down with her eyes closed.

Cody reassured Gwynivara, “It’s okay, I know all about that stuff!” Riley gave him a surprised look, so he lied, “From books! You know, for educational purposes! I didn’t get your ‘naughty man’ joke to Justin at all!”

Gwynivara and Kierram chuckled at that, and then Gwynivara finished her thought, “And secondly, I hope all that comes from these visions is Battle Fatigue! I hope that Rafeneita doesnt’ give us any more trouble ever again!”

“Think positively!” John mumbled with his eyes still closed. “After we get Emorick, we’ll get the cure out and we can all go back to our families again!”

Gwynivara’s stomach twisted into a knot when he brought that subject up! Once she became a wanted criminal, she had to keep her family safe from those who pursued her, so she advised them to leave the state and change their identity. She had no clue where they went or what names they assumed, so she didn’t feel very sure about ever finding them again! She got some solace in knowing that once the cure came out to the public that her parents would know they could return to her again, but in the meantime, she had no inkling on how they were doing! She had always wished for them to find a way to live happily, and she liked to think that wherever they had ended up that they had stayed healthy and safe, but she had no way to verify this, which always unsettled her!

Riley suddenly made a sharp right turn, a move that shook the cargo enough to rouse the other Rebels out of their slumber! They all looked miffed to have that occur, and Naama griped, “You could’ve given us a warning, you know!”

“Sorry!” Riley apologized. “We’re getting close to DC, and this looks like the last exit before we run into another weigh station. I’m not risking going through that again, the next cop might not be as friendly as Justin!”

Bernadette asserted, “It looks like the sun is starting to rise anyways. We should ditch the truck before the factory notices it’s missing!”

“Don’t worry, guys!” Cody consoled them as they came to a stop near a forest trail. “Like Riley said, we’re not too far from DC. We’ll be out of Ruby Ridge in no time!”

After they all piled out and began trekking through the woods, Gwynivara posed to Riley, “Do you know where they’re holding Emorick?”

“Some soldiers took him apparently, so I imagine he’s on some kind of military base,” Riley guessed.

“They’d probably take him to him Fort Firinne,” Kierram told them knowledgeably. “It’s one of the most guarded places in the world! It’ll be a real bitch trying to get in there!”

José vehemently reacted, “Don’t try to talk us out of it! We gotta get in there! We don’t have a choice!”

Gwynivara excitedly disagreed, “Yes, we do! He’s gonna have a trial, right? A courthouse would be way easier to get into than the military base!”

Bernadette wondered, “Yes, but can we afford to wait that long?”

Before anyone could reply to that, they heard some sirens blaring nearby! They all grimaced as they frantically searched for a place to hide. Rebekah spotted a narrow path ahead of them, and she urgently recommended, “This way!” They all ran in that direction, just barely disappearing as a squad car rolled through the gravelly road.

They could still hear cop activity in the area, so they kept climbing up the hill that the pathway scaled. They beheld a house at the top, but it was surrounded by fresh, yellow police tape. They could hear more officers arriving, so Gwynivara made a judgment call, “Let’s take our chances!” They all scurried up to the taped off house.

The front door easily fell open, and as a cautionary measure, Kierram called out, “Hello?” They got no response, so John, who was closest to the switch, turned on the lights. When they saw why the house had been vacated, they all gasped!

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