Hello, everyone. The Wi-Fi has been down for quite some time, and I don't know when it'll be back, which is why I hadn't been posting much lately.
Anyway, this is the second part of my story called ‘The Wall'. Hope y'all like it!
The Wall: Part Two
“The High Council requests an audience." A woman's shrill voice perforated the silence.
“Yeah, right, like you need to tell us that every time you come in anyway, ever-present so-called High Council," Ned grunted.
The boys sniggered, and glanced up at the screen that had materialized out of thin air in front of them.
The woman sighed and inhaled deeply. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Nayla, would you spray some Everlastant around here? I can't believe this room was used only yesterday. Oh, and bring in some fresh flowers from the gard--"
“Hey, lady, just bloody get on with it, will you?! We don't have all d--"
“The High Council will NOT tolerate the use of swear words--"
“YOU AND YOUR BLOODY COUNCIL CAN GO TO HELL! NOW TELL US WHAT TO DO WITH THE GIRL!" Kurt shouted into the microphone.
The woman was shell-shocked, and still staring at the boys with wide eyes, took out a black spiral notebook and scribbled something down.
But she recovered quickly.
“The High Council will tell you that. I am not authorized to."
“Then why art thou 'ere, eh?" a boy with jet black hair and green eyes smirked. She was scribbling furiously. ‘Uses arcane words...'. Presently she looked up.
“I was merely told to... request you not to hurt the girl."
“'Course we won't," this time it was Peter, the oldest, who spoke. “But tell us why."
“She is very important. That is all I can tell you."
“And us? What about us, why are we here?"
“The High Council will tell you that." And the screen went black.
“That was a very informative conversation. Jeez, why don't they just tell us everything?"
“D'you think we should go ask the girl? She might know."
“Yeah, I think so too. They never said anything about not talking to her. I'll go."
He got up to his feet, his tall frame rising like a shadow out of the darkness. A gentle breeze blew his dark brown hair into his eyes, and he frowned. He saw a door before him, and knocked softly.
“Can I come in?"
Inside, the girl's head snapped up. Her eyes widened in surprise.
He opened the door. The girl sat huddled in a dark corner (well, almost everything was dark here) and she was looking at him; her sea-green eyes had a tortured and haunted look in them. She was beautiful, different... magnetic. But she would look more beautiful if she were smiling.
“Hey," he said gently.
She was still staring at him intently. Gosh, those eyes, he thought. They reminded him of Maui, where he'd been on vacation a few....months... or years ago. He didn't quite remember.
“Why am I here?" the girl asked him fiercely. She hadn't looked like that much of a fighter when he'd led her back to that room that day when she tried to escape. But then, some people never fail to surprise you.
“To be honest, I have no idea. I think all of us were sent here a few months ago. There seems to be no way to escape, since after you tried to get out, some kind of alarm went off, and we got a call from the High Council after that, telling us to...er...keep a closer watch on you."
“Oh," she said simply. Then she asked, “We?"
“Me and the other guys they sent here with me."
“Really? I haven't heard anything from outside."
“Maybe this room is insulated or something, I don't know."
They didn't talk for a while, each staring off into different directions.
“Don't you get bored in here?"
“Not really. You learn to live with your thoughts once you realize you're alone."
“Would you mind if I came to see how you're doing more often? 'Cause it must be pretty bad staying in here with nothing to do, and no one to talk to."
“Oh, I wouldn't mind. A little light in this endless darkness wouldn't hurt."
“....I remember reading that somewhere..."
“It's from a book by Spruce McHall, called Desparado."
“...Oh, yeah, now I remember. ‘The human tendencies to cling to another human, in times of loneliness, when normally it would not be appropriate, are fascinating.' That was a good book."
“Indeed it was."
He looked at her. She looked at him, trying to remember if she had seen him before. And then she smiled.
He got up and walked to the door. He stopped.
“What's your name?"
“Rose. What's yours?"
She remembered where she had seen him. The memory was not very pleasant. Before she'd been sent here, she had once known a boy named Jason. Jason Domiguez. He'd been after her for ages. Her eyes were hypnotizing, he'd said. There were days of passing notes in class, and phone calls in the nights, but she wasn't crazy. She'd seen the signs one day. Although dating at her age was normally not advisable, and you weren't really expected to be very committed to someone, Jason Domiguez was cheating on her, she just knew it. And she wasn't going to allow that.
So she decided that the next day she would tell him she didn't want to date him anymore. She would use the it's-not-you-it's-me tactic, the I'm-just-not-ready tactic, and he would have no choice but to let her go.
That was where Peter had come in. She'd known him for a few days before that. Apparently Domiguez had been bragging about his various exploits to his friends, too, the slimy git. Peter had had enough character to actually come and tell her. For that, he'd gotten into trouble. The next thing she knew, Peter was in the hospital with a broken nose. It had been bleeding when he'd come and told her, so she was surprised he hadn't gone to the school nurse first. Domiguez was suspended for causing physical harm to a fellow student for two weeks, Peter changed schools because his father had got a job somewhere, and so she was never able to thank him properly. Yet here he was, of all places and times to be in, with her. Fate worked in strange ways.
“Oi, guys, he's back," Kurt called out to the rest of the boys as he watched Peter walking towards them. He raised his eyebrows. Peter shook his head.
The guys sat down in a circle waiting for lunch, which was flown here by helicopters from who knows where.
“So how'd it go?" Winston asked.
“She doesn't know anything. The first thing she asked me was why she was here. She says she's okay, but she looks kinda lonely in there. I've been thinking we should invite her to the Council Meetings."
“But those are, like, random. Pop up outta nowhere at the worst possible time."
They heard a whirring sound right above them. The helicopter dropped their food packets in the centre of their circle.
“I fink we shid let 'er shtay with us," Ned volunteered through a mouthful of food after some time.
“What?! But she's--" one of the younger guys (his name was Quentin, but he said everyone called him Q) started, but stopped abruptly when he got dark looks from everyone around him.
He realized most of the guys were older than him, and probably did want a girl around, if only for variety.
All the boys looked back interestedly at Ned.
A tense silence followed.
“Okay, I'll ask her tomorrow," Kurt said, opening his own sandwich bag hurriedly.
“I'll go," Peter mumbled. He stared off into the distance, at the high walls that were surrounding them. A light bulb had just gone off in his head a few moments ago. He knew where he'd seen her. He'd been trying to--‘save' would be the right word here, he thought-- her from Jason, a fair-weather friend who became even more unfriendly after he'd told him off for cheating on yet another of his ‘catches'. He remembered that conversation as if it had happened yesterday.
“Aw, dang, Pete, remember I was telling you about that chick I saw at the park? I think she likes me," and then after a pause, “I think I like her too, man. I took her for a drive a few weeks ago, and almost every day after that, and, well, we....talk."
“Jason, you have a girlfriend who is in love with you."
“Yeah, I know, but did you ever catch me in love with a girl? I don't play for keeps, man."
“If Rose finds out, you're screwed."
“I know. But it's not like you're gonna tell her, is it."
“It just might slip out sometime."
“Dude, what the hell? All these times you never said anything and now you're all--"
“ She's a nice girl, you shouldn't do this to her!"
“ What's in it for you?" And then slowly a look of comprehension dawned on his face, and he punched Peter in the nose without warning.
“OUCH! JASON, YOU S--"
“YOU'VE BEEN SEEING HER BEHIND MY BACK, HAVEN'T YOU? WHAT'VE YOU BEEN TELLING HER?! YOU MORON!"
“Jason, just listen to me, I haven't been seeing anyone--"
“SHUT UP, MAN! JUST SHUT UP!" and Jason had stalked off without a word. Peter's nose was bleeding, and his insides felt on fire. Hurt and revenge burned through his veins. He was going to tell Rose. Now.
“Hey, Peter, everything okay?" He snapped out of his reverie.
“Yeah, just... yeah, I'm fine."
“Dude, you looked like you were gonna kill someone," Winston said, eyeing him cautiously.
He snorted. “I just remembered where I'd met Rose before." The boys scooted to face him.
“Ah, so you guys are on first-name basis already, huh?" Rajesh Subramaniam (his aunts from India all called him ‘Raj' or ‘Mani', so certain someones in his eighth grade class-- before he'd moved to the U.S., had insisted on fusing the two, and from then on his nickname was ‘Rani', which was not a very masculine nickname to have) ventured slyly, raising an eyebrow at him.
Peter rolled his eyes. “My friend was cheating on her."
“And you, being an immensely moral being, could not tolerate that." Ned grunted.
He chuckled. “No, I couldn't, so I told her exactly what he was doing--"
“So let me get this straight. You just decided to save her from your friend, AND lose your friend, AND make her see you as an older brother." Rajesh interrupted, ticking each point off on his fingers as he went.
“Hah! Buuuuurn!" Several of the boys chorused. Apparently saying burn was still cool.
“--You'd have done it too, if you knew what he was doing," he countered in mock anger.
“Chill, man, we were just messin' with ya. But really, it was that bad?"
Peter recounted the story of how Jason had given him a bloody nose, and was surprised to learn that Jason had been suspended for a few weeks after that.
“How did these guys know we'd been fighting?"
“Dude, everyone knew-after word got around that Jason was suspended, that is. Anything to do with Rose, and the whole school knows about it. Come to think of it, she must've been the one to tell them. Gee, you guys would make a pretty good team, y'know? Like vigilantes out to end the Reign of Terror of The Slimy Cheating Undeserving Boyfriends." Rajesh answered.
Everyone laughed. A few slapped Rajesh on the back. “You're a smart kid, you know that?" Winston said, snorting.
“I got all ‘A's on my end of year exams, dude. First in my class." Rajesh said nonchalantly. But he was smiling.
“The High Council requests an audience."