20 – Tea Party

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“So where do we go from here?” Pestilence wondered aloud. We had been at this meeting for about ten minutes, and the only progress that had been made was tea. Everyone had a glass of tea.

“I’ve been studying some nearby owners,” Shelby said, “There’s this guy named Bill Bundy. Coincidental, yeah, but he intends to try and tear down some of our low-income housing so that he install can some more hotels for tourists and the like. Disgusting, if you ask me. I want to target him next, before he can take any action.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad, Shelby,” Miranda interjected, “I only wish that I knew what I was doing so that I could be of more help.”

“Don’t you worry, yourself, Superior. Your support is enough for me to keep you underneath my roof,” Famine reassured her.

“Bill Bundy… Right, I have heard that name before. I agree that we should burn his home next,” War stood up to go to the sink and clean out his tea cup.

“So that’s settled, eh?” Pestilence chimed in. “We’re going to burn Bill Bundy’s home in two weeks, to the date. Sound good everyone?”

Everyone nodded in response to Pestilence. Everyone but Death’s eye. Death’s eye hadn’t spoken so far, but he finally chose to here. “This seemed rather anti climatic. Why did we have this large meeting to distribute so little information?”

Everyone looked at him, then at each other, and eventually made their eyes go back to him.

“I’ll tell you,” I stood up from the fold-up chair I had been sitting in, “We did this because we’re not doing anything for two weeks. We are using this time to plan ahead. Bill isn’t the only target we’re discussing here.” The eye’s mask kept its gaze centered on me, before eventually leaning back against the wall.

“Thank you, Ren,” Famine began, “Now, let’s decide who we should be taking down next. Three days after Bill’s home has been burned, we’ll hop along to our next target. I’ve heard tell that a certain CEO will be coming by to do a security check on one of his prestigious branches. He runs a fast food chain, and likes to randomly stop by locations to see if they’re meeting his standards. I’ve had someone keep close tabs on airline flights, and she pointed this out to me.”

“Alright, let’s have someone keep watch on this guy closely,” War added, “He might just stay in a hotel room, which would make the arsonry a bit harder, but we could always just have a hacker or two mess with his restaurant while he’s trying to inspect. Better yet, maybe we should convince all of the employees to turn against him.”

Pestilence laughed. “I really do love irony like that. Gets me going pretty good.” He stifled his chuckles, and let the meeting go on.

“Good. That’s two,” War said. “I’m thinking of a third, give me a moment.” The room was silent while War tried to think of his victim.

“Ah, right. A woman named Megan Carlisle. She recently obtained a nearby ranch, and she wants to turn it into more housing. Personally, I think a park would be much more fitting, hmm?” War smiled to himself. He must have a thing for trees.

“Is everyone alright with this plan?” Famine asked. Everyone nodded along. Death’s eye stared off into the distance. I kept my eyes trained onto him.

He stood up from the wall. “I suppose I will inform Death of your decision. Stay safe in the meantime.” He showed himself out.

“So we’ll be waiting two weeks before we’ll be able to make any moves?” I inquired.

Famine nodded. “Yeah, that’s the way it has to be. Personally, I think we should find a scapegoat to serve the sentence for these crimes, but everyone else has already disagreed. I see why they did, though.” She smiled and stood up. “Anyway, I’m glad with how the meeting went. Quick and easy. If anyone wants to hang around, feel free. It’s nice to just be friends for a bit.”

“I’ll stay for a while,” Pestilence said. “I’ll make you guys a snack, eh?” He smiled and laughed, before moving to the stove.

“I don’t see why not,” War said.

“I think I’d like to get to know you better. Let’s get some more tea,” Superior proclaimed.

“I’m tired- long day at work. I’ll head off to sleep. Goodnight guys.” Shelby yawned, then stood up and walked out of the door.

I waited for a few moments, before realising I didn’t want to stay. “I’ll be leaving too.” I stood up and went out.

I could see Shelby walking away. I still had a bit of time to catch up with her. “Hey, Shelby. You mind if I walk with you for a bit?” I hurried to catch up with her.

She turned and smiled at me. It was admirable, I suppose. “Sure, Ren. You can come with me.”

I came to her side, and we walked away. “So yesterday Zoey asked me if we were sleeping together.”

Shelby seemed to tense up for a second before relaxing. “I can see how she would think that. What did you tell her?”

I shrugged. “Nothing, really. I just offered her some tea, and she told me she didn’t care who I was sleeping with so long as she could have tea. I thought it was humorous.”

Shelby smirked. “Okay, I see the humor in it now. It’s not as funny when you have to explain the joke, though.”

I was a bit disappointed. I thought it was a good tangent. Either way, I decided to move on. “So what do you think of Superior?”

Shelby shrugged. “I don’t know, she’s certainly something. Her reputation doesn’t fit the way she really acts around us.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I find it hard to take her as seriously as she might want me to. She just seems super motherly, and that’s kind of funny to me.”

“I agree,” Shelby agreed. “She does have a tendency to be caring more than intimidating. I think the resistance might have done something to her.”

“I guess we’ll just have to see.” We continued walking, and let the silence hang for a while.

“Hey Ren,” Shelby cut through the silence. “I like that you’re okay with silence. Most people panic when it gets too quiet between them. I’m okay with the silence. Sometimes it’s alright to be quiet.” She stared at her feet for moment, as if frustrated by something. “Hell, maybe I just proved myself wrong.”

I laughed a bit at her statement, and she laughed too. “Don’t worry, Shelby. Everyone’s afraid of silence. Even me, sometimes.”

She put her hand on my shoulder. “Thanks, that makes me feel a bit better.”

We walked for a few moments more, when Shelby tried to turn a corner, and I kept going straight.

“Oh,” She said.

“I guess this is where we’ll be parting,” I replied.

Shelby came back toward me. “Yeah, I guess so. I’ll see you tomorrow, at work.” Shelby put her hands around my neck, pulled my face towards hers, then kissed me. She then quickly turned away and walked down her street.

“I guess that’s something,” I mumbled to myself. I turned, and continued my own walk home.

Next Chapter

Author: Kaleb Kathleen Walker

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

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