11 – Parley

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It was dark, and raining. Famine had informed me- through a messenger- that they were having a meeting at her house. I was there, but she wasn’t, and neither was anyone else. I stood and waited, water pouring over me. If I had to wait for another minute, I was just going to force my way into her house.

A minute passed, and I was feeling rather impatient. So, I checked her windows. They were all locked. So, I used my police ID card to force the door open. Then, I let myself in.

The house was empty. I was furious that they had sent me here without being here themselves. I decided that I’d help myself to whatever I wanted to have. I put her kettle on her stove, and started to prepare myself some tea.

I heard some laughter outside. They had finally arrived. Forty minutes and five cups of tea later. I wasn’t angry, though, because I had had time to warm up and dry off.

The door opened, and the laughing stopped. “Ren?” Famine looked around quickly, and saw me within a couple seconds.

“Ah, you’ve finally arrived. You know, I actually quite enjoy tea. It has a wonderful and earthy taste. It’s also quite warming after being in the rain for half an hour.” I took a gulp from my sixth cup of tea.

“Oh. How did you get in?” Famine was still in the doorway, and I heard a couple voices whispering. That was bothersome, because only a couple voices were present. There should have been more.

“I used an ID to force the door open. It’s rather easy to do, especially on older locks like the one in your home.”

She shrugged. “At least you didn’t damage anything. That’s something,” she turned and motioned behind her, “Come on in.”

Three other people entered the one room house. One was a rather large man, of a seemingly Asian descent, except his skin was darker than any other Asians I had previously seen. There was also a fit black man. Lastly, there was a robed figure. An eye for Death.

“Ren, you took extreme actions last mission. Extreme actions that weren’t orders. We’re here to discuss whether we keep you as a part of our resistance, or if we get rid of you.” I made no acknowledgement.

“I’ll say what I want to first,” Famine continued, “I can’t believe you would just shoot a child on reflex like that. I can’t believe your gun was drawn with children nearby. I’m disgusted by your choice, and I want you out.”

The large man stepped forward. “I’m Pestilence. My ancestors are Samoan. I do a hefty amount of cooking. I used to be a part of a large family, so I understand the value of your family. You single handedly destroyed a family. I will not forgive that. I want you out.”

Pestilence stepped back, and the next man stepped forward. I assumed he was War. He spoke, “I am War, as you might have deduced. I haven’t ever had much of a family. The people here took me in. I understand why you did what you did, and I think it is justified. I want you to stay.”

So far, there were two votes against me and only one vote for me. I hoped Death favored me a little more than Famine and Pestilence. “I speak for Death, as he can’t be allowed to be seen around places like this. Surely, you all understand. Death believes that Renegade took a step that no one else had the guts to take. He respects that, even if it may seem wrong. Death demands that Ren be allowed to remain in the group.”

“So what does a tie mean, four horsemen?” I asked. They all looked at each other. Finally the Eye of Death spoke. “In the event of a tie, Death makes the final choice. Seeing as how everyone has already discussed the end decision, you will be allowed to stay, Ren. However, it will be enforced that you follow orders more strictly. If you take action before receiving an order, you will be terminated from us.”

I nodded. “I’m guessing you were late because you had finished discussing this amongst each other before coming here?”

“Yes.”

“Yeah.”

“Mmm hmm.”

“Naturally.”

“Well, I wish you at least had had the courtesy of letting me know. Alas, everything turned out well in the end. Is there anything else you wish to discuss while I am here?” The three horsemen looked at each other. The Eye continued to stare ahead, his face covered by a mask.

“Yeah, we got one more thing,” Pestilence stated. “Death has taken way too much of a liking to you. All of us are starting to distrust him, including War- and War agrees with him.” War nodded.

“Death has always been a good friend of mine,” War began, “I was friends with him while we were eighteen. His father had kicked him out, and told him to learn the way of the world. I took him for a few months. At that point, he had already been on the streets for at least three weeks. He hadn’t ever been in such a difficult situation before, and he needed help to survive on so little money. I gave him advice concerning those issues. He stayed in contact with me over the past five years, and we started this rebellion together. Famine and Pestilence were there from the start of our formation, but not when we lit the sparks of revolution.”

War looked around. He had a cold and unattached look on his face. Yet, his eyes betrayed his emotions. He talked in a controlled and calculated manner, except he had a certain light in his eyes that told me it was all bravado. He was hiding something. It wasn’t something that would break him, but it was enough to cause him distress.

His peers gave him a nod to continue. He returned the nod, and returned to his story. “Death has made it clear that the common man was where he belonged. After spending four years out on our streets, he felt ill at ease with rich men. He has always made it known that he wants to create change without causing death. However, he seemed to agree with your murders all too quickly. We cannot accept that without at least some semblance of distrust.”

I nodded. “That’s quite suspect. You are right to be suspicious. However, I am not Death. In fact, I would be an excellent tool to get to Death. Imagine if you let me continue to operate how I do. Death will likely want to meet the man who is causing problems to be solved even more efficiently than before. He would likely want to reward such a ruthless woman.”

Famine looked at her, contemplating my musing. War’s head stayed upright and straight, but his eyes wandered, searching for his own answer. Pestilence was seething. He would most likely express his anger momentarily. The Eye was impossible to read. His mask covered all of his face, and he somehow managed to keep his eyes averted without it truly showing.

Famine spoke first, “I agree with your plan. I might not like, but it is for the greater good.”

War followed, “This feeling of distrust amongst my own friend is new and terrifying. I need to trust this feeling. You will guide us toward this goal. I agree with your plan.”

Pestilence shook his head before speaking in a terse tone, “I disagree. If we let her continue to kill families, we are no better than men we wish to fight. I refuse to let him do anything like that ever again!” War and Famine nodded, but didn’t truly acknowledge what he said.

“You have a point,” Famine said, “But so do we. Our two votes overrule-”

“What about the vote of Death?” The Eye had decided to speak up. I took my last sip of tea, set my cup aside, then stood up from the couch. I walked toward the eye while I spoke.

“If you know what’s good for you, you won’t tell death about this plan. Ramirez.” The Eye stepped backward. “I know who you are. Now, so do the horsemen. You’d be better off with your mouth closed. Go. Tell Death everything that happened before we began to conspire against him. Your services are no longer needed. And, by all technicalities, neither is your life.” Now, I could see fear in his eyes.

“Yes- sir- ma’am- uh-” Ramirez stuttered. He stumbled away from me, and bumped into the door. He quickly rushed out of it, and slammed it behind him.

“So you see, I’m off to a good start on the no-killing rule. He won’t be a problem.” The horsemen looked at each other. Pestilence sighed.

“Fine,” Pestilence muttered, “He can stay. But you two better keep her in line!” He angrily stepped  past us, his chunky body jiggling lightly. I moved aside and let him leave.

“Well, that seems to be resolved. Is there anything else you two would like me to know?” War and Famine looked at each other.

“No, Ren, that will be fine,” Famine informed me. War looked away from both of us. “Feel free to head home. I’ll clean up your tea.” I nodded at Famine, then left her house.

I forced myself through the thinning rain, marching to my home. I was rising in rank already, and becoming a focal point for this group, and I’ve only been here for three days. I’m impressing myself more and more everyday.

Next Chapter

Author: SashKab

I write short stories and essays, and post them to my site justmynarratives.wordpress.com

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