13 – Hoedown

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I opened the doors to the empty warehouse we were meeting in, the noise and bustle of the protesters was immediately apparent, and I felt hard pressed to shut the door behind quickly. I didn’t want some passerby to hear an incredible amounts of noise, and get too curious.

“WE WILL NOT STAND FOR THE WAY WE HAVE BEEN MISTREATED!” There was someone standing atop a few empty shipping crates, above the rest of the crowd. He was screaming into a sound amplifier, and the crowd was excited to hear what he was saying.

I grabbed a nearby bystander, and screamed at him while I gripped his shoulders. “What is happening? Tell me!” He tried to shake free, before panic set in and he yelled, “Ma’am- Sir- um- We’re rallying!” I tossed the person aside, and forced my way past people, trying to get to the center. This level of disorder and noise is going to cause us to be discovered, and then everything will fall apart.

I tossed people away from path nonchalantly, and without concern for the people I moved past. After some amount of time, people began to move aside for me, and stared all the while. They likely whispered to each other, which lowered the volume. However, it didn’t lower the volume enough to count. I was going to solve this problem, and there was nothing that anyone was going to do to try and stop me.

“REN!” I turned my head to look behind me, and saw War making his way through the path I had cleared. However, as he walked, the crowd closed in behind him. There was no turning back from this war path. War got close enough for me to hear him without screaming the words. “Ren, what do are you doing? You shouldn’t just toss our followers around like that!”

I turned my whole body to face him. “War. Perfect. I assume you have a plan to make this idiot stop his behavior?” War paused. His angry look subsided quickly, and was replaced by his usual bravado of calm.

He shook his head. “No, I don’t. However, I’m glad that you also want this to end. We’ll fail if we can’t organise. Stop that bastard, then try to figure out who he is.”

I nodded, and turned back to my path. It had closed up in the time that I had taken to talk to War. That meant it was time to reopen it, and cut out just a bit of noise once more.

I tapped the shoulder of the woman in front of me. She turned around, clearly confused. “Move,” I commanded, shouting above the crowd. She gave me a dirty look, and turned back around. I shrugged, and pulled her away from the group. She seemed furious, and tried to attack me. However, unlike myself, I have training in crowd combat. In one fell motion, she was on the ground, and I was on my way.

I spent around a minute and a half tossing people in the crowd onto the ground. After that time, they grew wise once again. They got quiet, and moved out of my way as I approached. I looked like a celebrity walking down the red carpet, and my adoring fans standing aside as I passed. Well, except there is no carpet, and my fans were actually struck with fear rather than admiration.

Eventually, I reached the point that I wanted. The shipping crates. The man standing on top of the crates was still shouting into his sound amplifier, and the crowd was still going wild over his rallying cries.

“WE ARE THE WORKERS! WE ARE THE BEES WHO ENSURES THE QUEEN STAYS ALIVE!” Hearing that, I laughed. I wasn’t sure that this man knew very well how to create an analogy.

I began to climb up the crates, which were somewhere around two feet taller than myself. I had climbed three crates before I stood directly behind the man. He was still shouting into his device, but his crowd began to grow somewhat quieter. It sounded like a few people recognised me.

Yet, the rallying fool still failed to realise who stood behind him. So, I took a step closer to him and tapped his shoulder. He turned around to look at me.

“What do you want?” I pointed to his sound amplifier, “That.” He laughed, “You think that you can just take this from me? Whatever, get out of here, whore!” He turned around, and tried to shout once more. I cut him off by squeezing his shoulder with a vice grip. He turned around, and tried to swing at me. I ducked with ease, and pulled my pistol out on him. He immediately stopped his assault. “Hey now, take it easy. There’s no need for guns here.”

“Hand over your device, or I will shoot you.”

He shook his head. “You wouldn’t dare.”

I pointed the gun down at his foot, and shot him. He screamed in pain, then fell over. He didn’t fall off the crate, but I almost wish he had.

“YOU BASTARD!” He shouted, and the sound amplifier picked it up. The entire crowd became silent. I picked up the sound amplifier.

The crowd was beginning to murmur, and those murmurs were becoming shouts of outrage. I yelled into the sound amplifier. “SHUT UP!” The crowd refused to oblige. So, I shot a bullet at the cowering man. He started screaming more. “Son of a bitch! What the fuck!”

I ignored him. “Detain this asshole.” Everyone murmured, until War shouted above them. “HE COMMANDED YOU DETAIN THAT MAN!” After that, a few people climbed the crates and carried the injured person away, passing him off from one person to the other.

“YOU’LL FUCKING PAY FOR MY FOOT! I’LL FUCK-” One of the detainers gagged him. I was glad. His voice was really starting to drag on my patience.

I picked the sound amplifier back up to my face, and issued another command, “Everyone step aside, and let War and any other horsemen available come over here.” People began to shuffle around, trying to find the horsemen. War’s path opened up the fastest, and that was followed by Pestilence’s, and his was followed by Famine’s.

“The way that all of you carried yourself tonight was excruciating and irresponsible,” I lectured the crowd. “This sort of irrational action will be our downfall. If you want to remain a stable protest group, you’re all going to have to cease this type of behavior.”

Just as I finished my speech, the horsemen made their way up the crates and next to me. I handed War the sound amplifier, and he gave me an affirmative nod. “Thank you.” I returned the nod, then walked away.

Pestilence grabbed my arm. “I still don’t trust you.” He let me go, and I moved past without  acknowledging his statement.

I slid off of the top crate, and waited on the crate below me. There were still a number of crowd goers who stared at me. They didn’t matter. What did matter, however, was what War was saying.

“Now that we are in order, I am prepared to tell you what our next motion will be. Our next motion is to lay low. We are going to give the police time away from investigating the crimes that we have committed, in order to give ourselves a bit of breathing room when we next decide to attack. Your respective area leader will inform you of our next gathering. Any objections?”

There was a murmuring in the crowd. I stood upright, breaking my lean against the crate, and stared out at the crowd. One by one, the crowd noticed me, and began to quiet down.

“Good. Pestilence, you may take over from here.” War handed the sound amplifier to Pestilence, then stepped next to Famine. He turned back to the crowd. His face was just a steeled now as it had been when he first began speaking.

“Okay, fellas,” Pestilence began, “I have some great news. I finally found my grandmother’s recipe for Keke pua’a.” The crowd cheered, and Pestilence laughed heartily. “Oh yeah, I knew you guys would love to hear that.”

That was about the time I decided that being there was no longer necessary. Pestilence was only put up to speak to relieve the tension in the crowd. I climbed down from the rest of the boxes, and promptly exited through the nearest door.

Pestilence was the comic relief of the group. I never would guessed, what with the stares of death he consistently gave me.

Next Chapter

Author: Kaleb Kathleen Walker

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

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