Welcome back for another chapter of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw. The first two chapters have been posted in my earlier blogs. Here is chapter three for your enjoyment.
Chapter 3 (Demonstration of Loyalty)
I met Cole in the streets of Lockport on my way to a display in our district. Cole was outnumbered four to one in an alley behind the death stage. He was shielding Cassidy, trying to protect her long enough to let her escape or until he was dead. These brutes were trying to take advantage of the crowd’s noise to take Cass and do all the things a brother knows he can’t allow. They didn’t have any weapons, which stayed Cole’s ability to fend them off. She turned her head looking behind them with desperation in her eyes with what seemed like furious hope; hope to either see someone help him fend off this rat pack or die just as quickly to avoid the onslaught of offenses these men had in mind. I’d never seen such determination before. It was when Cole shouted, “RUN!” that her eyes met mine as I continued walking in their direction.
I don’t know if it was instinct, morality, or those eyes that led me to his side that day, but there was no hesitation once the decision was made. I held the heel of my knife so the blade hides underneath my jacket. The first two don’t recognize that their throats are open until I’ve stepped back from their initial rush attack to see the blood coming from my sleeve. The coughing and gasping cause enough confusion to incapacitate the other two before Cole can even understand that it’s over. Cassidy was holding onto Cole as if his life depended on it. It was this moment that made me realize how lonely my life had become, although I couldn’t understand if it was the thought of family or Cassidy that drew out this desire for another person’s touch.
“Do you remember where you should go when you’re in absolute danger?”
“Good. You’re only to go there when you are being hunted relentlessly or are severely injured. This person is close to me, so you know you can trust her. She knows who you are and will help you without question when you knock on her door.”
I didn’t always understand everything my father told me. “If you’re so close, why can’t I meet her now?”
My dad smiles because he always welcomes my questions and never makes me feel ashamed for asking anything. It prepared me for the world.
“She is in hiding and can’t risk being seen unless it is absolutely necessary. And you are the only one she’ll risk that for, so do you understand how important that makes you to her to risk so much?”
“So, she cares for me like you do?”
“Very good son. Now you understand the importance of depending on yourself more than anyone else. It will be your judgment that protects you more than anything, which will keep her safe until you have no other choice but to seek her out.”
“This definitely doesn’t seem like a rosy situation.”
“Sure it does Cole, just wait until they flower the tombs of these two.” And there it is, the reason I trust Jayden more than anyone else. I can’t help but give a quick smirk, which never goes well with Cole. “Okay, the situations are never rosy,” as Jay tries to make sure Cole doesn’t go into overload thinking of himself being up there with Cassidy.
“The guy looks familiar, but I’ve never seen the girl,” I admit.
“That’s the Lawson kid. I work with him up in the mines. He started a couple of years after me, but he’s probably put in more hours than anyone has.”
The conversation stops with the rest of the crowd as another whip lash comes down on his back, but that’s not what the mob goes quiet over. Inna walks over with a pair of scissors to the device holding this poor soul upright. All of his extremities are stretched out. His arms are being held up by his fingers, as each finger is twined around the tips and wrapped around the hanging bar. The hanging bar, another thing I’ve never seen used until today. Hangings are too quick to try and pry loose any tongues of the mob.
None of us have to ask why that girl is up there being made to witness this horrific scene, because we don’t know, and it is normally the girl that would be on display. All of us look at each other knowing the question that we all dare not ask aloud, “Has the rebellion done something to invoke this change in tactics?”
Up to this point, the young man has displayed great strength by not crying or screaming or pleading for his life to end. His resolve seems to come by keeping his eyes fixed on the young girl. This doesn’t make sense, why torture him when the girl will more than likely get a response from the crowd? The awful sound of bone being cut brings about some noises of those in the crowd losing their boiled turnips they had for breakfast all over the street.
It’s only when two fingers remain to hold up his right arm that he finally turns his face away from the girl. Even though he doesn’t make a sound, I can only guess that he doesn’t want her to see the tears that have boiled over from the pain. This small action seems to break what’s left of the little girl’s heart.
“STOP!” shouts the courageous girl.
© 2011 S. T. Lakata